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Thread: X-Pat Thread

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    Default Ex-Pat Thread

    Some of us have expressed interest in moving to another country for retirement. Let's start a discussion about the pros and cons, and how various countries will fare in a PCO world. Link to articles and blogs if you find good ones to share.

    I'm curious about cost-of-living, quality of life (including climate and health care), economic and political stability, levels of crime and corruption, privacy, human rights and how well they respect the rule of law.

    What are the country's natural resources, and are they developing them? Is it self-sufficient in food production? How's its water outlook? What is its debt level? How will it fare when POOM happens in the USA, and when/if the IMS cracks up in 2019 as EJ forecasts?

    What are the country's policies on foreigners owning land? How stable is their banking system? Will they open bank accounts for USA citizens? What about taxes?

    What is their policy on bringing in gold, or a car, or personal possessions?

    Currently looking at Central and South America. These two blogs seem more grounded and practical than the usual fare: Paradise Uruguay and Uruguay Expat Life

    Colombia and Ecuador have a lower cost of living than Uruguay, but I don't know how they compare in other ways. Uruguay seems very peaceful and stable, but it has to import all its oil. Colombia is an oil exporter. ALL have affordable health care.

    EJ has expressed the opinion that we'll be better off here in the USA when the fan is hit. He might be right. But I am increasingly uneasy living in what feels more and more like a gilded police state. I'm willing to trade great plumbing and 500 brands of laundry detergent for a life without the TSA, the Patriot Act, NDAA, Obamacare, drones, etc. I think that a society where people are comfortable getting by with less might fare better in a PCO world than a spoiled society that has lost its self-reliance and is rapidly losing its civility. I could very well be wrong about this and welcome discussion.

    Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

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    Default Re: Ex-Pat Thread

    Check out this thread, start by xPat

    http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthr...leaving-USA%29

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    Default Re: Ex-Pat Thread

    The question boils down to a few issues about you personally:

    1) how are your language skillsi f you choose a foreign language based country?
    2) how do you deal with new cultures?
    3) can you move with blank expectations? are you adaptable?

    As I recall money is tight for you. So with that in mind, lets take a world tour quickly.

    Lets take all of Latin America for example. It is certainly not homogenous. Each country is different, and even parts of each country are different just like the US.

    You can live quite cheaply in Ecuador, but you will never 'blend' anywhere. You will always be an outsider. In Uruguay you can blend, as even a huge 'gringo' (they do not use that word there) like me can 'blend' as they have a few areas of germanic settlement where the people look like me. In Brasil, they look like the US, people from all over the world. In Mexico you would clearly be a gringo, but there are a lot of gringos in some parts of Mexico and they are a big part of the local economy so well accepted. In Argenina you can blend, as well as in Chile. In Costa Rica you would never blend, and the ticos there will always treat you as an outsider even if they are nice to you. Panama has lots of 'mericans, especially in Panama City and the canal zone, so you can sort of blend in there. They use the $USD and are pretty tied to us as well. Other countries like Columbia, Venezuele etc are not very high on the American expat lists.

    You could try and move to Australia or NZ, but I believe neither would allow you permanent residence, and both are expensive. Most all of the EU is expensive, and the fringe countries and former Soviet Satellites have off languages to learn of no value beyond their own borders. Africa is pretty much out -- you will never blend anywhere but South Afrika, which is not even remotely safe. And you will never blend in Asia, though you could live and probably be accepted in Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, and maybe Malaysia.

    So if your standards and income are not that high, you are really looking at Latin America.

    How's your spanish? Are you language adept or willing to learn?

    How are you with new environments? Could you pick up and move to anywhere in the US even now and start a new base of friends and activities on a moments notice? Do you make friends easily? Do you even need friends, as some do not.

    What is your living standard? Travelling by bus, bike and walking okay to save money? Or is a car a necessity? Happy with a day at the beach and a homemade sandwich and can of soda? Or do you need nice restaurants and cafes?

    Do you need to work, or will you live off Social Security?

    This kind of stuff is much more intrinsic to each person that the generality of moving. My wife knows I could move almost anywhere and be happy. She not so much.

    that all siad, I certainly sympathize with your concerns over the Su 'security state'. It is why I invest on two continents and two countries.

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    Default Re: Ex-Pat Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by doom&gloom View Post
    The question boils down to a few issues about you personally:

    1) how are your language skillsi f you choose a foreign language based country?
    2) how do you deal with new cultures?
    3) can you move with blank expectations? are you adaptable?

    As I recall money is tight for you. So with that in mind, lets take a world tour quickly.

    Lets take all of Latin America for example. It is certainly not homogenous. Each country is different, and even parts of each country are different just like the US.

    You can live quite cheaply in Ecuador, but you will never 'blend' anywhere. You will always be an outsider. In Uruguay you can blend, as even a huge 'gringo' (they do not use that word there) like me can 'blend' as they have a few areas of germanic settlement where the people look like me. In Brasil, they look like the US, people from all over the world. In Mexico you would clearly be a gringo, but there are a lot of gringos in some parts of Mexico and they are a big part of the local economy so well accepted. In Argenina you can blend, as well as in Chile. In Costa Rica you would never blend, and the ticos there will always treat you as an outsider even if they are nice to you. Panama has lots of 'mericans, especially in Panama City and the canal zone, so you can sort of blend in there. They use the $USD and are pretty tied to us as well. Other countries like Columbia, Venezuele etc are not very high on the American expat lists.

    You could try and move to Australia or NZ, but I believe neither would allow you permanent residence, and both are expensive. Most all of the EU is expensive, and the fringe countries and former Soviet Satellites have off languages to learn of no value beyond their own borders. Africa is pretty much out -- you will never blend anywhere but South Afrika, which is not even remotely safe. And you will never blend in Asia, though you could live and probably be accepted in Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, and maybe Malaysia.

    So if your standards and income are not that high, you are really looking at Latin America.

    How's your spanish? Are you language adept or willing to learn?

    How are you with new environments? Could you pick up and move to anywhere in the US even now and start a new base of friends and activities on a moments notice? Do you make friends easily? Do you even need friends, as some do not.

    What is your living standard? Travelling by bus, bike and walking okay to save money? Or is a car a necessity? Happy with a day at the beach and a homemade sandwich and can of soda? Or do you need nice restaurants and cafes?

    Do you need to work, or will you live off Social Security?

    This kind of stuff is much more intrinsic to each person that the generality of moving. My wife knows I could move almost anywhere and be happy. She not so much.

    that all siad, I certainly sympathize with your concerns over the Su 'security state'. It is why I invest on two continents and two countries.
    They say if you want the right answers you have to ask the right questions, and these are great questions.

    I'm studying Spanish now. Won't move to Latin American unless I'm reasonably fluent. Budget is tight- shooting for under $1200/month including health care. How will prices in these Latin American economies respond to PCO and the US$ convulsions that are ahead? Some of these countries actually use the US$ for their currency.

    It'd be nice to live where I don't need a car. Good buses and markets close by, with the weather mild enough to walk most days.

    I've lived in a dirt floor dugout with a wood stove and a badly built composting toilet and was grateful to have a roof over my head. I currently live in a 14x52 mobile home and am grateful to have a roof over my head that's bought and paid for. I think I'm pretty adaptable and not nearly as spoiled as many Americans, but who knows? It's been a long time since I traveled further than Albuquerque.

    I toured Italy, Greece, Paris and London when I was 15. Absolutely loved the fact that restaurants served room temperature water without ice. The only thing that threw me was the toilets at a park on Mykonos. Our park guide was so proud of their newly remodeled bathrooms. I opened the stall door to find beautifully tiled holes in the floor. Culture shock can be pretty funny sometimes!

    I'm comfortable as a hermit, don't need a lot of people around or constant things to do. As long as I can connect with my few close friends through the internet I'm OK.

    I don't like big, creepy crawly bugs though. Absolutely loathe giant cockroaches and Florida palmetto bugs, scorpions and centipedes. The humid tropics would give me a permanent case of the willies.

    Healthwise, I can't live at high altitude and can't be around perfumes or fragrance chemicals. Is the rest of the world as heavily fragranced as the USA, with its scented soaps, shampoos, hair gels, laundry products, air "fresheners" and cleaning products? Or is it worse? (one of my fantasies is that people will become so poor in the coming years that they'll stop buying all that cr*p and go back to using plain soap, baking soda and vinegar for everything. Then I won't feel poisoned every time I go out.)

    Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

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    Default Re: Ex-Pat Thread

    Well, If you can handle the heat and humidity, and though I have never been there, I would think Panama might be your choice, but up in the hills, not at sea level.

    I think that because it uses the dollar, there are Americans there (plenty of them), lots of foreign investment, should have cheap local food like most of central/south america, and they have a very significant resource -- the Panama Canal. Thus they have 'power' in trade to get what they need.

    Next up I would probably pick Mexico. Again, get out of the tourist traps and it is cheap, there are enough 'mericans there you are not that odd, and they have oil. They benefit from trade, are sort of under the US protectorate umbrella as our southern neighbor, and in a medical emergency you can get home fairly easily for US healthcare. Similarly you could consider Puerto Rico, though I tend to shy away from islands due to the cost of imports. That too is a US 'protectorate' as part of the US, so easy to live there as an American, but far enough removed from the mainland to be away from some of the security state insanity.

    If you need more three season weather you are looking at Chile, Argentina or Uruguay. Chile is expensive all around, Uruguay is expensive for imports, but not so ridiculous for local stuff. HC may be expensive for you depending on age. Argentina is a total mess. In a sense that is good and it is bad. It is good, because the people learn to get around the government where possible, so you can move there and overstay your tourist visa for YEARS, and only pay a very small fine if you leave. your dollar will go VERY far nowadays. And if yo livve out of Buenos Aires you can live quite cheaply, but again imports will be very expensive as will a car. Public transit is very cheap. they have some oil there. Finally Uruguay is cheap for food, expensive for imports, free to live if you want one of my houses on a farm (no internet at the house) and are willing to clean it out. Electric can be expensive. Public transit is avge cost.

    If you don't mind being an outsider my understanding is Costa Rica is cheap to live out of the tourist traps, and local food is very cheap as well. From what I have seen land and a small house is cheap too. Belize is supposed to be similar, though I know not for sure. Nicaraugua and Hondouras are cheap as well. People in both countries tend to be very poor and there is a lot of property crime.

    I don;t know much about the rest of SOuth American countries. You may want to poke around and ask questions here: http://www.expat-blog.com/

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    Default Re: Ex-Pat Thread

    You are awesome. Thank you.

    Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

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    Default Re: Ex-Pat Thread

    The most dangerous countries:



    http://www.theatlantic.com/internati...n-maps/274593/

    Anywhere there are people, there will trouble when times get hard.
    I think the best solution is to live in a geographically isolated country that is presently safe, within a local community of good people who accept you, and are near self-sufficiency, i.e., farmers.

    Europe is too diverse.
    New Zealand might be good, but I don't know much about it.
    The US is my choice, partly because of familiarity and the social structure, but I wouldn't want to live in the cities.
    raja
    Boycott Big Banks Vote Out Incumbents

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    Default Re: Ex-Pat Thread

    I would think Panama might be your choice, but up in the hills, not at sea level.
    A friend of mine has just gone this route, including up in the hills.He's been in the music biz most of his life and like all the arts, payoffs are few and far between. His savings, keeping his hand in music when he can, and SS are his monetary means. His Spanish is excellent, having grown up in Mexico City - his Dad worked for the agency and was stationed there. He's optimistic.

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    Default Re: Ex-Pat Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by raja View Post
    The most dangerous countries:



    http://www.theatlantic.com/internati...n-maps/274593/

    Anywhere there are people, there will trouble when times get hard.
    I think the best solution is to live in a geographically isolated country that is presently safe, within a local community of good people who accept you, and are near self-sufficiency, i.e., farmers.

    Europe is too diverse.
    New Zealand might be good, but I don't know much about it.
    The US is my choice, partly because of familiarity and the social structure, but I wouldn't want to live in the cities.
    Nice map! It keeps coming back to Uruguay for its culture, in spite of its cost of living not being as low as other countries. D&G's incredibly generous offer is hard to top. Or there's Salto. From what I've read it's considered a walkable city, is surrounded by farms and abundant water (this has become a big deal for me after living in deserts for 30 years) and has a lower cost of living than Montevideo. I would save a lot of money every month just by not having a car.

    Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

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    Default Re: Ex-Pat Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by shiny! View Post
    Nice map! It keeps coming back to Uruguay for its culture, in spite of its cost of living not being as low as other countries. D&G's incredibly generous offer is hard to top. Or there's Salto. From what I've read it's considered a walkable city, is surrounded by farms and abundant water (this has become a big deal for me after living in deserts for 30 years) and has a lower cost of living than Montevideo. I would save a lot of money every month just by not having a car.
    Not speaking from personal experience, but I have been looking at land in Portugal. It seems unbelievably cheap. I don't know what the cost of living is in Portugal, but it is a country in europe and they have supermarkets and the mail works.

    Check this out:
    http://www.homesforsaleinportugal.co...page=0&stype=S

    Too much for you? Try 50,000
    http://www.homesforsaleinportugal.co...page=0&stype=S
    Last edited by globaleconomicollaps; 04-04-13 at 01:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Ex-Pat Thread

    Let's do it, GEC! I'll be the pretty homemaker if you can bring the dough.

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    Default Re: Ex-Pat Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by BadJuju View Post
    Let's do it, GEC! I'll be the pretty homemaker if you can bring the dough.
    I think we have already established that shiny looks better with lipstick than you do.

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    Default Re: Ex-Pat Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by globaleconomicollaps View Post
    I think we have already established that shiny looks better with lipstick than you do.
    Somehow I think BadJuju would look more like this in comparison!



    Hey Shiny!, with all the problems in Argentina now Salto could be quite the place for you. I hear it is quite nice there. Also in the Lakes region.

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    Default Re: Ex-Pat Thread

    Shiny,

    Be careful with selecting Central America...while there are some good sized clusters of American expats there and it's an affordable retirement region for Americans(and others) there are also clusters of considerable crime.....off the charts violent crime.

    New Zealand WAS a fantastic destination for middle class emigration from the US, but that largely ended a number of years ago.

    In 2000, the average home in NZ was approx $50,000USD, today the average NZ home price in USD is approx $325,000USD.

    It's a fantastic place that seems to combine a fair bit of independent entrepreneurial spirit with a fair bit of social welfare...not perfect, but it works OK.

    Although I would rate NZ a good bit behind the likes of Canada and Australia as resilient/flexible countries for the difficult period ahead.

    If I was a young man without a family I'd probably look hard at Brazil.

    I know it's gotten more expensive....but it was an ideal location for emigration about 5 years ago.....but I think looking very long term, Brazil might well be in a position not too different from the US circa 1900....warts and all.

    I would not recommend Afghanistan as an emigration destination, but I certainly know a good number of folks making the jump to Dubai again.........3.5 years ago people were leaving Dubai like Saigon 1975....that seems to have reversed course. Dubai's gone crazy town again.

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    Default Re: Ex-Pat Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by lakedaemonian View Post
    Be careful with selecting Central America...while there are some good sized clusters of American expats there and it's an affordable retirement region for Americans(and others) there are also clusters of considerable crime.....off the charts violent crime.
    A friend of mine just moved to Ensanada. The house was burglarized the same day he moved in. They took everything. They pulled the bars off the window to get in. The police think they used a truck.

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    Default Re: Ex-Pat Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by globaleconomicollaps View Post
    A friend of mine just moved to Ensanada. The house was burglarized the same day he moved in. They took everything. They pulled the bars off the window to get in. The police think they used a truck.
    Yeah, I'm not an expert on Central America...but some folks who I trust who have a wealth of experience have mentioned that the narcocrime issue is spilling pretty heavily into Central America.....I think El Salvador and Honduras are battling for murder capital of the world at the moment.....and it may be spilling into Costa Rica.

    I reckon there's plenty of nice places to emigrate and retire to in Central America.....but I also reckon they've got their fair share of rather bad places as well.

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    Default Re: Ex-Pat Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by globaleconomicollaps View Post
    I think we have already established that shiny looks better with lipstick than you do.
    LOL'd so hard I startled all the cats :-)

    Crime is something to consider. The websites like internationalliving.com gloss over all the negatives while painting rosy pictures. I don't want that. Beyond crime in the present day, how will foreigners fare if the economy crashes in a very poor country where you don't blend in? I don't want to feel like a target.

    That said, there are certainly cities in the USA where I wouldn't want to live, and neighborhoods where I wouldn't set foot. The neighborhood i live in right now isn't so hot. I don't go walking at night.

    Portugal sounds interesting. So does Greece, actually. I feel more at home in the European culture rather than the Latin i.e. Spanish x Native American culture. This is not intended as a slight against anybody. I just think that I will always feel and be treated like a foreigner in Central and most of South America.

    Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

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    Default Re: Ex-Pat Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by raja View Post
    The most dangerous countries:



    http://www.theatlantic.com/internati...n-maps/274593/

    Anywhere there are people, there will trouble when times get hard.
    I think the best solution is to live in a geographically isolated country that is presently safe, within a local community of good people who accept you, and are near self-sufficiency, i.e., farmers.

    Europe is too diverse.
    New Zealand might be good, but I don't know much about it.
    The US is my choice, partly because of familiarity and the social structure, but I wouldn't want to live in the cities.
    Glad to know Greenland is safe! Maybe just a few Viking ghosts to threaten you.

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    Default Re: Ex-Pat Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by lakedaemonian View Post
    Shiny,

    Be careful with selecting Central America...while there are some good sized clusters of American expats there and it's an affordable retirement region for Americans(and others) there are also clusters of considerable crime.....off the charts violent crime.

    New Zealand WAS a fantastic destination for middle class emigration from the US, but that largely ended a number of years ago.

    In 2000, the average home in NZ was approx $50,000USD, today the average NZ home price in USD is approx $325,000USD.

    It's a fantastic place that seems to combine a fair bit of independent entrepreneurial spirit with a fair bit of social welfare...not perfect, but it works OK.

    Although I would rate NZ a good bit behind the likes of Canada and Australia as resilient/flexible countries for the difficult period ahead.

    If I was a young man without a family I'd probably look hard at Brazil.

    I know it's gotten more expensive....but it was an ideal location for emigration about 5 years ago.....but I think looking very long term, Brazil might well be in a position not too different from the US circa 1900....warts and all.

    I would not recommend Afghanistan as an emigration destination, but I certainly know a good number of folks making the jump to Dubai again.........3.5 years ago people were leaving Dubai like Saigon 1975....that seems to have reversed course. Dubai's gone crazy town again.
    I first started looking at land in SA due to experience Americans were having there with large soy & cotton plantations. But I gave up the idea because initial investment was too expensive and the land used LOTS of petro-based inputs to make things grow. In fact, it was Brasil that eventually pushed me into Uruguay by happenstance. Uruguay is in kind of a 'sweet spot' in the rain and latitude arena for growing crops, and double-cropping is easy most years. In comparison to most places it is a no-brainer once you understand what you are doing.

    I too would LOVE to go to Brasil. I would even go now as an 'old man' were it not for family. Brasilians as a whole are very friendly and welcoming. Sure they have a lot of crime there, but like anywhere else, stay out of those areas and you can be okay.

    And for anyone ever thinking of learning spanish with an eye to maybe move to Brasil, learn portugues first, and the spanish comes very easy. Learn spanish first, and the portugues does not come so easy. trust me on this one.

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    Default Re: Ex-Pat Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by wayiwalk View Post
    Glad to know Greenland is safe! Maybe just a few Viking ghosts to threaten you.
    it's funny how entire countries get safe/not safe ratings when nothing could be further from the truth. Some parts of Mexico are extremely safe, others not so. Just like no white person in their sane mind would walk the streets of bombed out Detroit at night (or even days I might think), but would have no issue walking my 'hood any day or night ever. Parts of Buenos Aires are downright scary, others no problem.

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