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Discourage me from wanting to retire to those countries which are typically on the top of the best places to live.

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evagoblog
12/15/2017 15:29 EST

You all (this should not be a southern aphorisms, we are one of the few languages without a plural you) are the experts here, so I am asking you to dissuade, discourage and deter (can't think of another d adjective) from wanting to move to and retire in Scandinavia, Holland or Switzerland (and maybe Iceland). I've fantasized about it and I guess I have been thinking about it more and more lately. This is the main question but as you can tell from the PHD dissertation length, these are also my musings as to why, so those willing to read it, get your self a nice cup of coffee, tea or cocoa and find a comfy seat and those who would feel my blog would put them to sleep, just skip it and post your answers. I HAVE googled and read some, well most, actually are discouraging things about not immigrating there, and have not as yet gone to their government websites which will probably state that you may have to live there a long time with taxable earnings there to avail yourself of their social services but hey, I am a member here, so being a bit lazy and wanting to hear interesting, amusing, anecdotes will ask people to post here (if not too many expats from those countries respond, will post a link on those respective countries forums and ask them to post here.)

First, I guess the main deterrent should be the cost of living, with the savings, sale of condo in CA and an inheritance of the sale of property in the S,F, Bay area, my net worth is just under 1 million but that has to last me at least thirty years (I am estimating I will live to be 90's as my dad lived to be 89 and mom 95) as my social security is a pittance of the mid 500's which means that I would have to survive on around 36K a year. I know the taxes are very high not just income but for everything you buy, which provides the social net that I may NEVER get and will most likely need. I thought of cheaper places like Mexico, but although they do not have the mass shootings as in the U.S. there is a lot of graft and petty theft. I became quite enamored of Norway (which I think had the highest rated country in a satisfaction survey) when I left my backpack with my computer on the airport train from the Airport to Oslo and was reassured by the personnel that nobody steals anything on the trains and yes, I got it back two hours later intact. I liked the fact that people are so well taken care of, they do not feel the need to steal, in all the ratings of the best countries Scandinavian ones invariably comes out on top, the Netherlands as the one with the least economic inequity ( like it that in one of the Scandinavian countries, that traffic tickets are pegged to one's salary though it sounds a little Orwellian too) and for Switzerland, think I read once that this Romanian refugee came to S. worked for a couple of years, was laid off and got a long unemployment package which may have lasted the rest of his life (not that I am a schnorr, freeloader, as I said I have money to take care of myself,) but I guess I like that these countries are say, less self centered, thinking only of the good of the individual, which people in the U.S. do, rather than of the society of the whole, which the aforementioned countries (and likely mosr of Europe does) which is why so many conservatives (scold?) think it should be complment them as being.

I guess I have become disillusioned with the U.S. of late with the the Republicans being in power, and to hold it choosing to support a reprehensible man for president to get their horrible agendas passed and the escalation of mass shootings in the U.S. I keep thinking that the cycle swings back and forth as I should just wait for the regime (correct word?) change but the fact that there were so many people in the U.S. who did support someone like Trump makes me want to leave. (I realize that I can live in a Scand. type of bubble in the U.S. staying only in CA. WA. and OR. which with their popularity of cohousing emulates some of the best aspects of living like in Scand. with occasional forays to the East Coast-disregarding the "fly over" part of the U.S. but the availability of guns is everywhere. As a child of immigrants which has a repressive type of government, Communism (although in China has the most capitalistic one) I know I should be more appreciative of U.S., especially since my parents came from rich, educated families who suffered greatly from the government-they only had their education and my mom says 2K when they started here-though in 1947 that might not have been bad and did very well here. My cousin (all the ones who were born and raised in China are more patriotic than I who was born here) says sarcastically to me, why not move to Canada, it's cold there and they have high taxes too and you don't have to learn another language! BTW, from what I heard and read, Canada like probably all those countries I refer to do NOT want retirees!
My father who was very patriotic and as in intellectual was very appreciative of the U.S., when Nixon was about to be impeached, was very excited and said, "only in this country, is the government, stronger than the person in power!" In China they had emperors (the Chinese looked at the last dynasty as foreigners as they were Manchus from Manchuria) and one my cousins who reveres socialism, say China is a socialist country ruled by the Communists who are dictators like the royalty) so I guess that was why to him, having someone ousted for crimes and misdemeanors was important to him, and as Colin Powell said (or rather to paraphrase him) "this is a good country, people are voting with their feet to come here", do not know if I have to give up my citizenship just be a permanent resident, if I could access their healthcare etc., do not know if I want to RENOUNCE my U.S. citizenship especially now we are assessed that onerous charge!

Another deterrent, is that I am lactose intolerant, dairy farming is very prevalent as in the cold Nordic countries as in that climate they couldn't have much produce farms, and of course Holland really is into cheese. Thought of Asia, as they have very little dairy there and I can eat EVERYTHING but most countries are too hot including Taiwan, except for Korea and Japan which like Europe is expensive. I thought of the weather since I always lived in CA. but thought I could live in those countries I want to retire to for half a year and then live in a warmer climate for the other half the year, would I still be able to be a citizen those of those countries? I would move to N.Z. or Australia, no language problem, as they have the progressive liberal policies I would prefer to live under, but there is a reason, that they are referred to as "the Antipodes" if I want to travel they are far from EVERYWHERE (I was told that was why Quantas is so roomy, as the F.A. told me, it is a long trip to ANY where.) There was some 20/20 type of show in the U.S. where the expats extolling N.A. said it was like the past there, and I always wondered why that was a good thing, were they thinking it was because there was less diversity there, more white people and less minorities, that fact that the Scand. countries might be very homogeneous except for Sweden accepting immigrants may make me an Asian American woman feel that I would stick out.

I have been told that the Scand. especially, are somewhat reserved, if you are a foreigner, and difficult to make friends with, so even though in all these countries, they speak English fluently my friendship may be limited to expats (and if I want to be an integral part of the society I have to learn the languages ALL of which are difficult for those countries.) Perhaps I should see if I can find some episodes of NBC's Welcome to Sweden show! I dunno (sic), have I presented a good argument by myself for not staying (other than not knowing if I would ever be eligible for the government benefits which probably I won't? ) The only thing, though, which is important to me, in all these countries I mention, the likelihood of being killed in a mass shooting is nil, unlike the U.S. I found that EVERY state has had one, even serene Hawaii. All right, fire away, and if you want to be critical, sarcastic, sardonic towards me, please do so gently, it's going to be harsh enough for me to let go of this dream, fantasy, as I have wanted to live there for the longest time and know it will probably will not to be. I do NOT think you will be TOO harsh on me, as I do not think many Trump supporters who are rather xenophobic and rally under the banner of my country right or wrong, are on this site!

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rsetzer99
12/15/2017 16:07 EST

You don't need us to discourage you. Quick looks at the immigration requirements for quite a number of countries will, unless you are pretty wealthy, quickly remove them from contention.

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yanni
12/15/2017 23:54 EST

Hello,well I have never posted here before but cant help myself now.Where to live in SAFETYand be warm?
I am English,lived here in Greece for many years,been in this on-going crisis,the planet is in a crisis so choose everybody.I hate cold now and too much rain,I would not go back to the UK,too much violence,off the scale.If one is financially secure,medical cover first priority,then this is the place to be.Crete is a favorite,Pelopennese,Halkodiki.But Crete you can slowly learn the language and have the back-up of some interesting expats of all nationalities.Im in the Attiki area and I have never seen frost in twenty years.I would like to be around expats a bit for company sometimes which one would have on Crete or Hydra etc..If you are on your own then other expats around is good.Everyone speaks English here and the Greeks are more than happy to do so.The food is gorgeous and you can source around for the best prices,the countryside is superb,summer nights are thrilling,swimming is heaven,rents are cheap,the owner pays the property tax.Travel costs are cheap,and most of all its SAFE still,not the center of Athens of course,no one wants to live there,although there arent murders.Everywhere is crazy,choose the best weather and the safest.We still have corner shops here,open all hours,despite everything thats gone on here I still recommend it,it still has its culture and family values,along with the support they give each other.The language..you can easy pick up as you go along and its truly a beautiful interesting language,dont be scared of moving to Greece,you will love it,of course you must be financially secure.I can elaborate on medical matters further if anyone wants.Good luck to you,be happy and healthy from an English lady in Greece.

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yanni
12/16/2017 02:17 EST

Also I would add that I know a Swedish couple from Stockholm who are retired,I met them here in Greece near Loutraki,they try to spend as much time of the year when it is cold out of Sweden,Thailand for two months in Jan,Feb,Greece in September,they said that in older age the cold is unbearable and the woman gets sick in the winters when she stays there.They also were not happy with the migrant influx either,too many lone men making sexual attacks and robberies.

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Adreamer
12/16/2017 09:08 EST

Hello.

I have extensive experience with Norway, having lived here most of my life.

Even though I wish to move elsewhere myself, due to the climate, there is not much I can say to discourage you from moving here:

Housing in the larger cities is expensive, but if you don’t mind living in the countryside, you can find very affordable houses there. If you don’t mind fixer-uppers, you can find real bargains.

Road standards are often surprisingly low, and everything car related comes at a premium.

The politicians bumble and meander, but usually mean well. Cronyism seems rife in politics, which annoys no end.

You’ll not find groceries to be up to US standards, but selection is better than a lot of other European countries, I have found.

Taxes are high and numerous, but you learn to take it in a stride.
Climate: I feel it’s not a choice of 8-ish months of -5C to +10C, A.K.A autumn/winter/spring rolled into one, and 4 months of +15C to +24C, A.K.A. summer. Although the summer can be really great, it’s the long period of neither this nor that which makes me miserable.

Having a non-North European appearance makes no difference here. No-one, except for the odd freak, bats an eyelid.

Norwegians have become a lot more open and outgoing in their disposition over the last couple of decades. Not speaking the local language will impose a few hurdles when it comes to making friends, as will be the case in every country. Your own personality will determine how you fare. If you’re the outgoing type, language won’t matter much, and if you’re an introvert, being fluent won’t matter.

Sorry if I can’t say more to scare you off :-)

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