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One clarifying point: Residency permits aren't a problem in Ecuador. Very minimal monthly income will suffice, or buy a place to live for at least $25,000 and that gets you in. I don't know if they call these retirement visas or not, but it doesn't matter. You're free to seek any kind of gainful employment, either working for yourself or someone else.
This is very well trod ground for North Americans; Cuenca has been International Living's top place to retire for three years running now.
As for a visa in France, my understanding is you can get it with a certain amount of income from out of the country. It's a bit more than Germany, but I'm guessing $3,000 a month should qualify, even for a family. I mention the southwest part of the country because that's where you probably could live on $3,000. To make it in Paris or some other parts on that, you'd have to ditch the family.
Both France and Ecuador have extremely cheap health insurance.
And yeah, most of the commended countries for finding women have intolerable climates -- either brutal, soul-destroying winters or hot and humid year-round.
Budget is not a problem..just that you would have to accept you can not get a free standing house for that budget. If you want a free standing house you will not likely be walking distance to a tram station to go to work so you will also be looking at a car. And cars are expensive in germany.
The biggest issue in germany is you HAVE to speak german to get along. MOST people do NOT speak english well enough to talk to. You will even find that professional people like doctors, lawyers, dentists, chemists etc do NOT speak english above very basic levels. Sometimes not at all. You can not go to a professional person and hope they will speak english.
While in Germany I had to go to an optometrist, a dentist, a lawyer, plenty of chemist shops....etc. English is rare. In tourist type places such as restaurants etc they have english menus and some staff are likely to speak english. Even in IT many people have weak english. I can not work in Germany to any real extent as I do not speak german well enough.
$3000 a month? We would travel the world and have an adventure. People would be surprised to know that if you have no debts, a few grand can go along way. Especially in Latin America, and South-East Asia. There was an article on a city in Ecuador that was a good place for retirement.
Cuenca, Ecuador is the place.
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/best-plac ... 50049.html
But feel that it would enrich the growth of a child to travel to different countries. But with the $3,000 budget I would go for Cuenca, Ecuador as a home base.
Good news about the health insurance in France and Ecuador, I was surprised at how cheap it is in Germany. Re French visa this makes sense, countries that don't state an amount may be reasonable to deal with. Living in France does seem like a movie.
Re Ecuador, what I've heard is the same as several other Latin countries - show a pension or put up cash (bank deposit some places, investment in others).
For example I found this on Ecuador re the visas you mentioned:
"9-I: Pensioner Visa
Â· Retirement documents showing a stable income of at least $800 monthly, certified to be correct by the party responsible for the source of the funds, and authenticated by the Ecuadorian Consul in your country of origin
Â· Certification by Ecuadorian Consul that the funds are no less than $800 monthly for the applicant, plus an additional $100 for each dependent.
Note: the required income level is subject to change.
9-II: Investor of Real Estate or Securities Visa
Proof of investment of at least $25,000 (plus $500 for each dependent) demonstrated by:
Â· Updated certificate of title clearance indicating that there are no liens
affecting the property...."
Wish I could save up $25k but no guarantee of that. Where to go with pension, or to buy property, to me are separate questions from the one I originally posed here.
Perhaps some countries, perhaps Ecuador, one can bend the rules with help from a friend on the inside. I am hoping to avoid that, for personal reasons. I.e. I am interested in being able to live in a house on a lot in a city in a decent livable place, and be allowed to live there base on internet income, bank deposits verifiable, but no guarantee or certification of stability. Just month-to-month income, no employer to verify or certify it. I do realize that people finnagle these things, but I want to know where I can go without "finnagling."
Huge for me. If I can get started somewhere on my meager 3k, and have the right to open a coffee shop or tienda or sell real estate or whatever, I'm happy.
OK, visa problems aside, you and GS have made the point, Cuenca is short-listed.
Thanks for these, right on target and useful.
Saw the Ecuador episode already, had kind of helped form my view of Ecuador as not the easiest place for a month-to-month earner - like Chile, say - easier to get in if you are buying. But still, nice visuals.
Saigon? Hell, always sounds nice. But rents in this video are HIGH. Not saying high compared to big-city, but the whole 3k would be rent. I know Vietnam was suggested above and it is no doubt a great place to be single.
Portugal - interesting - these are low-end Latin America home prices!!!! - to live in europe!!... Bourdain's "No Reservations" did Lisbon tonight btw.... And they have a 10 year tax holiday, apparently, which helps - you get to keep the whole 3k, less FICA - easy in Central America, hard most places. And Fado music...
For Western Europe this is my top choice. I found a few jobs that don't require German on the ToyTown Forums, especially in IT which is my new career anyway.
I like it for all the reasons you mentioned plus its car friendly with a huge racing community. Berlin is still one of the cheapest capitals to live in. On a recent episode of House Hunters - International an American couple recently got a dog-friendly, furnish apartment for $1,200 right in the middle of Downtown Berlin. You can find apartments for much less ($500-$700) in Berlin if you look hard enough. Buying a home isn't much harder than in the United States, you just have to put more down, I think its 30% of the purchase price.
Its also a country that's openly admit to having not solved its cultural issues but is working towards solving them. They are also openly looking for high skilled labor to make up for the lack of graduates and the retiring Baby Boomers.
Depending on where you're going you can find low cost airline tickets for several of the medium airfields around Germany, not just Frankfurt International.
The only downside to Germany being a native Californian is that the weather generally sucks...
$3000US or $3000 Euro you should be able to make that work in any major city around the world. You'll more or less for your money depending where you are of course. Mexico and Central America and some parts of SEA are going to be the cheapest bar-none - http://travel.booklocker.com/2011/06/14 ... orld-2011/
Mexico isn't that bad, most of the violence is in boarder towns and in Mexico City. TJ is safe and heavily paroled. Playa is one of the cheapest locations for beach front property.
It depends where my dream girl is from on what I do. If she's Western European or an immigrant with residency and a EU passport, then we'll likely live at least a while where she's from.
If she's from Eastern Europe with only an CSI passport for example or none at all, then we need to come back to the States to get her legal status in order. While we wait, I was thinking about finding IT work in San Diego and living in Playa just outside of TJ. As I said you can get cheap beach front $600-$700 a month. Get a Sentri pass so I can use the express lane when coming back into the US. By living there, we can save money for a bigger move, maybe South America or Southern France, Spain or Germany. Spain because of all the unemployment and people leaving the housing market is great and very affordable.
While marring a local is not a realistic option for you, it is a realistic option for me. Its likely I'll end up marrying a European anyway, its just a question of Western or Eastern by birth. Plenty of Eastern Europeans running around Western Europe, I don't have to go into Russia, Belarus or Ukraine but I will.
If she's on that continent I'll find her... I've already screwed up a few chances anyway.
well, compared to california nearly everywhere else has more rain and more cloudy days!!
I like the weather in Germany as I run about .5C warm most of the time. So a cooler climate is much better for me.
The weather does change quite considerably inside small distances in Germany. For example Cologne is in a small valley with the river to mitigate the weather a bit. You get far less snow in cologne than in Dusseldorf even though Dusseldorf is quite close. 30 minutes on the train. I noticed this when I was working in Cologne and flying in and out of Dusseldorf airport. There would be NO snow on the ground in Cologne but FEET of it in Dusseldorf. Its quite amazing when you see these micro climates in action.
Cologne is one of the most livable cities I have ever worked in. I can highly recommend it. It is far more livable than frankfurt. Frankfurt is a "big city" with all that implies both good and bad. There are lots of good paying jobs but costs are higher than anywhere else I have seen in Germany. I have not been to berlin.
Really? Why would you say that? In germany most people rent. And the rental agreements are usually 10 years with fixed increases over the 10 year period. The landlord can not break the rental agreement. There is very little housing speculation in germany because of this. Also, the declining population is causing real problems in house prices. Some areas have growing populations and therefore pressure on housing prices....but many others have declining populations and falling house prices....
@Peter Northern California, the closer you get to Shasta and Siskiyou Mountains the milder the climate and it rains alot! Snows and but not cloudy very much. Great sking weather in the Winter, great outdoor weather in the Spring and Summer.
We are just blessed to have fantastic weather here.
I know about Germany's variable weather patterns. When I spent time there it was the summer, but we got a downpour in Frankfurt for basically no reason and then not another drop the rest of my time there, strange, it wasn't even overcast again.
@Billy Housing prices are high in Germany. That said the OP was about rentals and those are affordable. Its still not too unreasonable. It might shock somebody coming from Ohio how much homes cost, but I live in Southern California likely one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation.
The only difference and I know this going in, you pay the same in Europe and get less (smaller space). Just like you pay a premium for an American sized ice box, compared to the generally smaller fridge you buy in much of Europe.
Still not sure what we do about Thanksgiving Turkey in the generally smallish ovens though -
A freestanding house is simply not on the cards for most germans. Certainly not to rent on a monthly budget of EUR3,000. And EUR3,000 after tax per month would be a VERY good salary in Germany. That is 36,000 per year after tax which would put you on EUR65,000 or so depending on tax rates in your area.
I can tell you that is a LARGE salary in germany. You are talking senior IT person for that kind of money. Salaries are FAR lower in germany than the UK for the same position. Mainly because cost of living in germany is much lower too.