Retiring to another country

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MemberSince99
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Retiring to another country

Postby MemberSince99 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:34 pm

Has anyone done it or considered it

I'm giving strong thought to doing this. For economic reasons but also I don't want to live in Wisconsin when I'm that age. And Wisconsin is a very high tax state as is my city here and I don't see any value in all the money they take from us.

I could really relate to tropical and going to the beach. Yeah I know about banana republics and corruption and the police state mentality but here there's plenty of that too and we are heading towards third world so I was thinking I might as well have nice weather.


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Re: Retiring to another country

Postby TXviking » Tue Jun 14, 2016 1:34 pm

I moved to the United States *from* another country, so I can certainly help offer some perspective -- both from a financial point of view and in general.

1) Immigration. Most countries will not allow you to just move there unless you happen to be a citizen of that country. Most will allow for limited immigration, but there are usually lots of hoops to jump through and it can be expensive and time-consuming. And you may find you do not qualify to immigrate to a particular country. As you consider places to move, make sure to research the immigration laws of each candidate country.

2) Taxes. Moving abroad will escape WI taxes, but not US federal taxes — US citizens are taxed on worldwide income. This can lead to dual taxation; in a retirement context, for example, your new country may want to tax your social security income and any private retirement income you may receive. Tax treaties sometimes avoid dual taxation, and the IRS allows a foreign earned income exclusion, but only for a limited amount of income. Research the tax situation; other US expats in your destination country can be a good help.

3) Language. You can learn a foreign language fluently, but it takes time. There are some tropical countries where English is the official language; however, there are many where it's not. Spanish, French, Portuguese and Dutch are all official languages in various Caribbean nations, for example. I recommend learning the official language of your target country, and I recommend starting now, even if you're years away from actually moving.

4) Culture shock. Moving to a foreign country can be fun and exciting. But there will be things you miss about home, and there will be things that are just different. Sometimes, that has practical implications (e.g. different voltage forcing you to buy new appliances), sometimes it's little things (the local grocery store doesn't carry your favorite foods from back home), sometimes it's just plain weird little details (e.g. I replaced all the door knobs in my house with levers because I was used to door levers growing up in Europe.) Also, don't underestimate the impact of moving away from friends and family.

5) Credit cards. Even if this is the off-topic forum, yes, it's perfectly possible to maintain US credit card accounts, bank accounts and finances while living abroad. Even as a non-citizen, I had no problems doing so once I had a social security number. And in fact, I recommend doing it to facilitate moving back to the US should you ever desire to do so.

Finally, since your primary goals seem to be escaping WI taxes and moving somewhere warmer, I can't help but plug my adopted home state of Florida. We have no state income tax, our sales taxes are generally low (6% statewide; some counties add another percent or so to that) and we have sandy beaches and plenty of sunshine. :cool:

thom02099
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Re: Retiring to another country

Postby thom02099 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 2:52 pm

MemberSince99 wrote:Has anyone done it or considered it

I'm giving strong thought to doing this. For economic reasons but also I don't want to live in Wisconsin when I'm that age. And Wisconsin is a very high tax state as is my city here and I don't see any value in all the money they take from us.

I could really relate to tropical and going to the beach. Yeah I know about banana republics and corruption and the police state mentality but here there's plenty of that too and we are heading towards third world so I was thinking I might as well have nice weather.


Yes. I have given it a lot of thought, and continue to do so.

For folks my age (65+), there can be very distinct advantages. Housing and health care are 2 factors that weigh heavily on such a decision. In most of the countries that I'm looking at, health care is universal, and significantly cheaper than here in the USA. While I would be giving up Medicare, the trade off is not to be ignored. And it is not a political football that could change at the whim of a change in administration. Universal health care is frequently considered a right. And for my age demographic, that is extremely important.

While there are some southeast Asian countries which frequently make the list for retirees, I've limited my searches to Europe, Central, and South America. In Europe, Portugal and Ireland are under consideration. In Central America, Panama and Costa Rica have been very popular with older ex pats for a while now, and they both have programs that make it easy to relocate and retire. At the top of my list are Uruguay and Ecuador, which is my top consideration.

Ecuador has a stable government, a stable economy, they use the US Dollar as their currency, and housing is inexpensive. A mecca for retirees is the city of Cuenca; it's a city of around 350,000; big enough to have amenities, but not too small that life would be difficult or so entirely different than in North America. And it's at elevation, at 8200 feet, quite similar to many areas in Colorado. Even though it's near the Equator, the altitude helps temper the climate. One can live in the mountains, and in a few hours be on the coast....not unlike some locations here in the States. One can live very comfortably there for ~$2000/month. Yes, it gets a lot of attention and more and more North Americans are moving there. It may not be for everyone, but it's certainly an attractive location for older retirees.
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Re: Retiring to another country

Postby Tubpbs » Tue Jun 14, 2016 4:17 pm

I would like to live in Italy but I'm at least 20-40 years from that being a possibility. Who knows what could go down in that time period...
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Re: Retiring to another country

Postby TXviking » Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:08 pm

thom02099 wrote:For folks my age (65+), there can be very distinct advantages. Housing and health care are 2 factors that weigh heavily on such a decision. In most of the countries that I'm looking at, health care is universal, and significantly cheaper than here in the USA. While I would be giving up Medicare, the trade off is not to be ignored. And it is not a political football that could change at the whim of a change in administration. Universal health care is frequently considered a right. And for my age demographic, that is extremely important.


Do your homework on this. Many countries will not grant free healthcare "rights" to foreigners. E.g. in the EU, most only grant it to EU citizens or to people with "indefinite leave to remain" or equivalent. Be prepared for the possibility that it will take you years before you earn the right to free health care, if you can earn it at all. For example, the UK will print "No recourse to public funds" on visas and residence permits – and the NHS is funded by public funds.

I looked into this a bit because I'm considering retiring to my native Norway at some point in the future. Health care is one big reason, and a motivation for hanging onto my Norwegian citizenship.

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Re: Retiring to another country

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:23 pm

It's true that an American often can't jump right into another country's socialized medical system. Americans pay Medicare FICA taxes for years, but then can't make use of the benefit if they retire abroad. Taxation can definitely be complicated.

Years ago I made an investment in PSMT with the idea that baby boomers would want to shop at warehouse clubs when they retired to the Caribbean and Central America. I sold my shares at a good time, and maybe will get back in eventually.
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thom02099
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Re: Retiring to another country

Postby thom02099 » Wed Jun 15, 2016 10:35 am

Absolutely, do the homework on the medical (as well as other) costs, and how they work for any medical situation you may encounter. I'm still exploring that part of it, and weighing the pros and cons of each situation. Giving up Medicare is not something to consider lightly, and this is a significant part of the decision making process. I may find that it's not advantageous for my medical situation. Various ex pat internet blogs and websites have a lot of information, finding objective information can be difficult. Due diligence.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathleen-peddicord/retire-to-ecuador_b_4561063.html Here is just one piece I've found on health care in Ecuador. Both the pros and cons are pointed out in the article. Still a lot more research to do.
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takeshi
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Re: Retiring to another country

Postby takeshi » Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:19 pm

I haven't as I have a long way to go before I retire but my parents moved to Japan 6 years ago when my dad retired. Medically it happens to have worked out very well for them. In late August last year he was finally diagnosed with intravascular lymphoma. It took about a month or more and transferring him from one hospital to another because it is very difficult to diagnose since its symptoms appear like an infectious disease. Japan seems to be leading the field in diagnosing and treating this particular type of lymphoma.

However, where they have really benefitted is in cost. His first two weeks at the Kyushu University Hospital came out to be nearly $2,000 but the bulk of that cost was for the private room he elected to have. Every subsequent month has been only $200-$300 per month and he has been in hospitals the entire time since then undergoing 6 rounds of chemo to treat the lymphoma.

Cost of living is typically high over there -- especially in the big cities but my mother is from a smaller island where cost of living is much lower and that's where they moved to.

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Re: Retiring to another country

Postby MemberSince99 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 7:40 am

takeshi wrote:I haven't as I have a long way to go before I retire but my parents moved to Japan 6 years ago when my dad retired. Medically it happens to have worked out very well for them. In late August last year he was finally diagnosed with intravascular lymphoma. It took about a month or more and transferring him from one hospital to another because it is very difficult to diagnose since its symptoms appear like an infectious disease. Japan seems to be leading the field in diagnosing and treating this particular type of lymphoma.

However, where they have really benefitted is in cost. His first two weeks at the Kyushu University Hospital came out to be nearly $2,000 but the bulk of that cost was for the private room he elected to have. Every subsequent month has been only $200-$300 per month and he has been in hospitals the entire time since then undergoing 6 rounds of chemo to treat the lymphoma.

Cost of living is typically high over there -- especially in the big cities but my mother is from a smaller island where cost of living is much lower and that's where they moved to.


I'm sorry to hear about your dad but it sounds like he is in the best of hands there.

And that is amazingly cheap. In the US the cost would be many times that in fact that's close to to cost per day here at a cheap hospital.

I was told Japan is way ahead of the US.

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Re: Retiring to another country

Postby saba » Sat Aug 06, 2016 1:49 pm

My wife's sister and her husband did this and live in Costa Rica. They love it and said they can do it on half of what it would cost them here. Whenever we visit them, they seem to be happy and mention it saves them a lot of money.

Great place to retire. May do it myself.



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