Work, retirement outside the U.S

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Dave NoCal, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. Dave NoCal

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    It's looking like I will be retiring in about six years, maybe a bit less. If it goes as planned my retirement income will 60-70K (USD) per year. I have a PH.D. and a long teaching career and might be able to do some work without losing too much of my retirement benefits. My husband is finishing up graduate school this semester and should be a licensed mental health professional in several more years. He's quite a bit younger and probably has about twenty or twenty-five more years in the work force ahead of him. That's the backgound.
    Neither of us is particularly interested in staying in the U.S. Our tastes, interests, and values are more European. He speaks only English but understands Spanish fairly well and could surely learn it. I speak Spanish well enough to carry on everyday life but carrying out my profession might be a stretch. With time perhaps... My health is complicated by Lyme disease (borreliosis) but generally good. Easy access to antibiotics is a plus.
    So all you guys out there, where are some desirable places where we might begin the next phase of our lives together? Priorities are a liberal social climate, moderate cost of living, and civilized amenities. Spain is one of my fantasies but it might be difficult to make work financially. Mexico is good for retirement but not for working. Neither of us likes really cold weather very much. Your thoughts and experiences are appreciated and I look forward to hearing from you.
    Dave
    P.S. to all you hypernationalistic jerks who will want to say "good riddance," I've lived, worked, taught, paid my takes, and paid my dues in a nation that takes it all and treats us as second class citizens, so STFU.
     
  2. nudeyorker

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    Have you considered Australia?
     
  3. gymfresh

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    Funny coincidence. Just yesterday I bought a book called "Living Abroad in France" by Terry Link (I have no plans to move, just curious about it). It's an interesting combination tourist guide and how-to-do-it book. It's pretty specific, but a good read. And if you're in NoCal, the book's currently 66% off at Books Inc on Market St.

    Many Americans have retired in Belize and Panama recently, and like the climate, attitudes and lower prices. English is spoken in both places and they have very easy access back to the US. Costa Rica is also stable and wonderful, though may have fewer job options outside of San José.

    Spain is a great possibility because of the wide variety it presents. There's the mainland with vastly different regions, plus the Balaeric Islands, plus the Canary Islands, and even Spanish cities in North Africa. With the Spanish real estate crisis, prices have been coming much more down to earth. OK, as a Spaniard I'm a little biased, but it is a nice, progressive option these days. When I go back to visit family they're politely surprised at the slow pace of social change in the US, a significant role reversal from 40 years ago.

    Argentina has been faring well, too -- and boy do they love their mental health professionals. They produce 'em, they employ 'em, they export 'em... (People joke in Barcelona that every psychologist in the city is Argentine.) Climates in Argentina run the gamut from hot & dry to chilly & humid, and everything in-between. Several large cities have superb universities, even multiple universities. Argentina's not wild about the US government, but loves Americans. OK, I'm a little biased again -- I was born there and I'm an Argentine citizen, too. I love going back and seeing all that's new.

    Australia and NZ are both wonderful and have fairly progressive immigration policies.

    Singapore is beautiful, warm and has a vibrant economy, but sadly it's not quite there yet on gay rights. Thailand is more tolerant, if not quite progressive, though language is more of a barrier.

    Sounds like you guys have a while to research all this. I hope you find just the right place that fits!
     
  4. vince

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    You've got time to decide, so I suggest you visit/research some of the places you are interested in.

    I live in Turkey now and find it quite amenable to my needs and tastes at the moment. It's got all the amenities I need, an interesting culture, a low cost of living and a good climate.

    I have been thinking about Malaysia, Argentina, Southern Italy, or Anguilla as the next stop.
     
  5. Jason

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    Language is a big issue. Living somewhere where you can't communicate properly is a real problem - and even if you can manage today will you manage when you are 99? Learning a language is not that quick even when the intentions are there. And there is a difference between getting by and really knowing a language.

    So if you are looking in Europe I guess the British Isles. You will not get easy access to antibiotics here (or in most EU countries). A retirement income of £40,000-50,000pa is good. You need to look at property prices in the UK (or Ireland) which are likely to be higher than you are used to - unless you plan to rent you need a big dollop to invest in somewhere to live.

    There's also the option of a split between say England and Spain with a home in each. Many thousands of Brits do just this. Flights are frequent and cheap - the trick is to position yourself close to airports.
     
  6. Dave NoCal

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    One of the complications is that we are at different life stages. retiring somewhere with a stable income is probabaly the more simple part of the question.
    Dave
     
  7. midlifebear

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    Dave_NoCal:

    I was lucky. I liquidated everything in a huff in 90's and moved to Spain for three months. At a cocktail party in Sitges I discovered expats with the same educational background as me and they needed someone to "substitute teach" their English classes in the University of Barcelona's Department of Languages. It turned into a full-time job with UB arranging for me to qualify for permanent residency in Spain. Otherwise, to live in the EU you need to practically bribe your way into a residency visa. Then I traveled to Argentina for an inexpensive three-month travel vacation when their economy collapsed. I discovered The Squeeze on Calle Rividavia, he followed me home and I eventually married him. We get to live in both countries. It's not, however, without some difficulties. Corruption is out in the open in Argentina rather than simply hidden. Different countries have different traditions, no? And in Spain the Euro will eat at least a third of your retirement. The Euro does not show losing value against the Dollar any time soon. However, a Euro buys a lot more than a Dollar ever did.

    But I have two places to suggest that the two of you can easily sample for long stays to see if they fit what you're looking for.

    First, Panama (not the city in Florida). I travel to Panama at least twice a year to goof off on in and around the Caribbean keys. Panama City has a huge gay community. The combination of heat and humidity can be a bit overpowering, but the standard currency is the US Dollar and it buys lot more in Panama than it does in the USA. Housing prices for new ultra-modern chic cement/steel/glass homes is on the rise. But you can still buy a stunning 3/4 bedroom home in a gated community for about U$S200,000. Older homes and "quaint" spots in the City cost substantially less. The population is pretty much bilingual, tropical, and the dialect of Spanish is fast and lush. And the Panamanian government is actively recruiting US retirees to move there. Food is good, exotic, and there is no such thing as frozen orange juice. It's all fresh-squeezed (if not by you, by someone). Meat is a bit costly, but fresh produce is plentiful and much better than anything you've eaten in the USA.

    Second, Puerto Rico. If you've never been to San Juan, PR, you deserve to spend a couple of weeks spooking about the city and courting skin cancer on the beaches. The gay community is basically centered in San Juan. Yes, there are hurricanes. So what? Oklahoma has tornadoes. There are some stunning mountain pueblos with all the 'Mericuhn trappings of excellent plumbing, drinking water, and fresh fruit and vegetables 365 days a year. You never have to see another hot house tomato the rest of your life. The Spanish spoken in PR is almost an unbroken trill. They fail to pronounce all the consonants and love to slide vowels. So, the letter s is hard to pick out as is the letter r as in pué(s) and pa' qué (used for both por qué or para qué -- a big stumbling block for non-native speakers when learning to master when to use para versus por). Extra pluses are EXCELLENT home-grown coffee and, again, PR uses USA currency. Cost of living is about the same as in Florida.

    And then there is Uruguay. It's a gorgeous country. A bit on the small side. Doesn't really have any mountains (just low, rolling hills), the standard of living is quite high, Spanish colonial architecture never really caught on so you end up with lots of small estates and farms along the Atlantic coast, again rendered in 21st Century glass and steel. Vistas are important. But it does get cold along the Atlantic from April to October. Punte del Este has become the millionaire/billionaire playground of the Southern Hemisphere. Gay community is in Montevideo, a city that costs less to live in than Buenos Aires and is right on the ocean at the end of the Rio del Plata -- north side. If you have $50,000 you are willing to invest in a small business, that's basically all the Uruguayan government is really interested in when applying for residency. They want you to start a business and create jobs. Canada, by the way, thinks the same way.

    Buenos Aires, Argentina is an amazing place. Enormous gay community. Hate crimes are severely punished (no playing around and trying to make a hate crime not sound like a hate crime as in the USA). But the population is concentrated in Buenos Aires. The entire country is rather amazing. The Province of Salta has it's own version of the rugged red rock that makes Southern Utah/Western Colorado famous. You can basically pick and choose from any climate and similar ecosystem that can be found in Canada and the USA, but there are no moose. (Sorry, about that dear Canadians.) The government is in a stable state of instability. Inflation is a bit of a problem. But a 5 kilometer taxi cab ride costs the same as U$S3.50. If you like meat it's a great country to eat and live on the Atkins diet. Argentines are very European-looking. The men (not all, of course, but a good chunk of them) are the most beautiful and stunningly handsome works of art I've ever seen. I know. I married one. If you choose to live outside of the Capital Federal (Buenos Aires City) you can purchase a hectare of land in the Province of Buenos Aires that has a 4 bedroom, 3 bath, living room, study and dining room home (often the kitchens are separated from the main house by a breeze way), with a swimming pool and clay tennis court -- all fenced in (razor wire hidden in the top vines of scented jasmine) for U$S150,000 on up. But that means having to commute into the city. Driving in BsAs is not for sissies. We keep a car in BsAs and I refuse to drive. For the same amount of money you can spook about in the "better" neighborhoods (Belgrano, Palermo, Canitas) and find a one bedroom or studio apartment. Of course, the higher the floor, the more money. And like Uruguay, Pres. Christina Kirchner as well as the Argentine Legislature will let you migrate to the Southern Hemisphere if you have a minimum of U$S50,000 in your pocket, a business plan, and an immigration attorney. They do not require that you give up your US citizenship to quailfy for a national identity card (DNI). They do require that you undergo a two-hour psychological exam, one-on-one with a psychiatrist or psychologist as part of getting a drivers license. However, they speak funny. Actually, the dialect of Spanish in both Uruguay and Argentina is known as Rioplatense. Change all the y sounds (for example, llegar and ayer to shagar and ashare), throw in an Italian inflection and suddenly you're speaking Argentine Spanish (errr, they insist that it isn't Spanish. It's castellano -- casteshano -- cien por ciento). Fruits and vegetables are OK, but not like Central America, Ecuador, Brazil, Columbia, and Chile. Why? Don't know. Oh, and one last amusing fact: Buenos Aires is Big Dick Central of the Southern Hemisphere. I've met some beautifully hung Australians. But Argentine men have this strange attitude about their tools; they are very proud of them and not afraid to share that information. Even straight men I run into in BsAs can hardly wait to share with you what they are packin' "Have I told you about my penis? Have you seen it? Would you like to see it again?" I am not joking. I think it has something to do with the more than 10,000,000 Italians who immigrated to Argentina from about 1900 to 1966. There aren't quite 48,000,000 Argentines in the whole country, and about half of them are women. Go figure.

    Fortunately, I type about as fast as I can talk . . . maybe faster. Hope this long ramble gives you some ideas.:biggrin1:
     
    #7 midlifebear, Jan 30, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2010
  8. D_Cateryke Cheesysmell

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    Uruguay offers the advantage of being one of the last places on the planet you can get a true numbered bank account. Argentina, on the other hand, just nationalized a portion of all pensions and now require citizens to invest a percentage in government financial instruments. Food for thought.
     
  9. Dave NoCal

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    Thanks guys, midlifebear, you crack me up! "Have you seen it? Do you want to see it again?" LOL.
    Dave
     
  10. NCbear

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    I'm also thinking of getting the hell out of here. Thanks, midlifebear, for the information!

    NCbear (who's a bear as well, of course--as well as a fan of Wonder Woman :biggrin1:)
     
  11. Industrialsize

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    I would like to "retire" to Kathmandu, Nepal........I've been there 5 times, am in love with the place, and you can live like a king on VERY LITTLE. Yeah, the government is unstable and in a constant state of flux but is harmless if you know what areas of town to avoid. The downside is medical care is rudimenatary at best and most ex-pats carry insurance that will get them quickly to Bangkok in case of an urgent medical need.
     
  12. vince

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    I wouldn't let any language barriers stop you from living somewhere. You can usually pick them up pretty well in a year or two. Especially European ones. I learned Turkish, which is relatively hard and I'm terrible at languages.
     
  13. Strontium

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    Born in the US, raised in Australia.
    Just some quick thoughts from my multi-countried position:

    I was born in the USA, and now live in Australia (I have dual American Australian citizenships). I have travelled through parts of Europe and I also I know Malaysia and Singapore very well since I have family in both places.

    I would certainly NOT recommend Malaysia if you're gay (its illegal and the lifestyle options are very very limited. Plus: Lousy food, lousy sense of service. Polluted air. Polluted water. Corrupt politics. If you're Malaysian and reading this, how many times do you see the word "Rosak" on a piece of equipment? MAS: mana ada system?)

    Singapore has a very high standard of living ( I understand they've recently created a new category above First World to describe it and a few other city-states). Its the worlds 5th most wealthy country (by GDP PPP), ranks a very respectable 11th on the WHO list for health, but is also the worlds 10th most expensive city to live in. Taxes however, are low (20% is the highest bracket). Its economically and politically very stable and likely to remain so. It also survived the global financial crisis, and, with France, is one of two countries which retained a good measure of creditability (I'm told this by a classmate who's head of an bank in London). The city is surprisingly spacious, and its wealth, position and influence means that if you're in Singapore, SE Asia is your playground (an escape to Bangkok is a 45 min flight). I have gay cousins in Singapore, they lead very enjoyable lives. Singapore is looking for qualified immigrants, with a target of 10 million citizens by ?2020 or was it 2030. (Currently its about 5 mil).

    My personal pick for the number 1 spot (which goes above Australia as a place to live) is Thailand (a highly evolved civilisation in the true meaning of the word, and has so much which I like: warm climate, diverse landscapes, a gracious, refined and artistic culture, beautiful men and women, and the world's best food IMHO).
    But there's an important caveat:the Thai King is geting old, and many citizens have strong misgivings about his son, the heir to the throne. His ascension to the throne may destabilize the country. Arguably the monarchy has been the primary thing holding the country together during 20 or so years of political instability. (Thailand is a constitutional monarchy, like Britain).


    But I haven't been to Sth America, at all, and my comments must be viewed with this shortcoming. Hope they help, nonetheless.
     
    #13 Strontium, Feb 9, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2010
  14. Dave NoCal

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    Thanks guys. Singapore... That had not crossed my mind. I like the idea of Thailand but am more comfortable with uncertainty and unfamiliarity than my husband is.
    Dave
     
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