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 Post subject: Immigration as Part of a Retirement Plan
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 7:40 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 11:40 am
Posts: 19
I am not close enough to make any decisions about retirement, yet, except for 'Save!'. However, I read a lot of posts here and other financial websites about retirement, mainly: how much is enough? what to do afterwards?

A common thread that comes up in all retirement discussions is healthcare. People are extremely worried about paying for healthcare after retirement. I'm wondering if anyone is looking at immigration after retirement to address this issue. Were I faced with the possibility of retirement today, I would consider moving to someplace with a cheaper standard of living and, especially, cheaper healthcare over all. Thailand is the most immediate place that comes to mind.

Has anyone looked into this? I'd love to hear what you've found out about the pitfalls. Are there countries out there that place the health of their citizens above the filling of cronies' pockets?

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 8:06 am 

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I think you have to plan carefully and do a lot of research if you want to go that route.

For example, typically you can't have access to another country's free or subsidized healthcare system unless you're a citizen or permanent resident. Obtaining that status can take years. In Canada, for example, you have to apply for permanent resident status from outside the country, and the process is pretty rigorous. It can take two to five years to get permanent resident status here. And then you're faced with a healthcare system that's underfunded and understaffed (at least that's the current situation in many parts of Canada) with the result that actually getting healthcare can be a challenge. My girlfriend had to wait three months just to get a routine x-ray, and had to wait six months to see a specialist. It's almost impossible to get a family doctor in Montreal (most of the docs in town stopped accepting new patients more than a decade ago); if you get sick you either go to a clinic or the emergency room. You never see the same doctor twice. Hopefully this situation will be resolved eventually, but right now it's a bit of a mess. (I realize that not all Canadians have had bad experiences like this, but in Quebec it's a real crisis)

The other issue is that your taxes become more complicated when you move overseas. I used to do my own taxes but had to hire an accountant when I moved here from the States...I have to file in both the US and Canada (although I only actually pay taxes to Canada).


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 9:24 am 
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brad wrote:
I think you have to plan carefully and do a lot of research if you want to go that route.

For example, typically you can't have access to another country's free or subsidized healthcare system unless you're a citizen or permanent resident. Obtaining that status can take years. In Canada, for example, you have to apply for permanent resident status from outside the country, and the process is pretty rigorous. It can take two to five years to get permanent resident status here. And then you're faced with a healthcare system that's underfunded and understaffed (at least that's the current situation in many parts of Canada) with the result that actually getting healthcare can be a challenge. My girlfriend had to wait three months just to get a routine x-ray, and had to wait six months to see a specialist. It's almost impossible to get a family doctor in Montreal (most of the docs in town stopped accepting new patients more than a decade ago); if you get sick you either go to a clinic or the emergency room. You never see the same doctor twice. Hopefully this situation will be resolved eventually, but right now it's a bit of a mess. (I realize that not all Canadians have had bad experiences like this, but in Quebec it's a real crisis)

The other issue is that your taxes become more complicated when you move overseas. I used to do my own taxes but had to hire an accountant when I moved here from the States...I have to file in both the US and Canada (although I only actually pay taxes to Canada).


So if you wanted to do this, you could (theoretically) begin the process in the US before you are ready to retire. That's actually better than having to be there to apply, as you can get your ducks in a row in advance.

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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 6:40 am 
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This is an interesting topic. The recent book The 4-Day Workweek is all about early retirement to other countries, but it never addresses topics like this. (The book, though interesting, is flawed. Look for a review on the blog soon.) I've always wondered what it would be like to retire to, say, Mexico. What sorts of actual logistics would be involved? As for emigrating to a country with socialized medicine -- particularly European countries -- how many of them are actually open to people coming in? From what I've read, many have tight immigration quotas. Great question, CptofMySoul.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 10:12 am 
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Location: England
If you could move to the UK then after a year you are entitled to free treatment on the NHS.

It is currently possible to get a visa to retire to the UK if you have a close connection to the UK, you are over 60 and have an independant income of at least £25,000 (approx $48,000) per year.

Other visas you could use include British Ancestry visas if one of your grandparents was born in the UK but you need to work in the UK for 5 years to get permanent status.

The Irish embassy in the US said:
Nationals of other countries who ordinarily live in Ireland are treated exactly the same as Irish citizens in respect to healthcare. They are eligible for medical cards, subject to the means test, and pay the same charges for prescription drugs, attending a GP and staying in hospital as Irish citizens.
Private health care seems to cost between 54EUR and 84EUR a month. That covers things like private rooms.

If you have a grandparent born in the island of Ireland you can register as an Irish citizen.

Rumour has it that if you have an Italian grand-parent, you may be entitled to Italian citizenship. There may be similar rules in other European countries.

Note that with EU citizenship you have the general right to retire to any of the EU countries (separate rules may apply to the accession countries).

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