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An Expat Talks about Retiring in Nanning, Guangxi Provence, China

Submitted by richwood7


Nanning, China

An American retiree in Nanning, China appreciates the low cost of living and friendly locals. Unfortunately, the traffic is horrendous -- motor bikes are the fastest way to get around.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Nanning, Guangxi Provence

Why did you choose to retire abroad?

I only get $2,000 a month in retirement money

Are you retired abroad all year or part of the year?

All year

Why did you choose the country you retired to?

Thought it would be different, fun, and interesting.

Did you ever live abroad before you retired abroad?

No but I visited Europe twice, Ukraine once and all over Caribbean and Canada and all over America. Lived in 12 states.

How long have you lived abroad since you retired abroad?

Almost 3 years

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How many countries (other than your home country) have you lived in as a retiree?

Just China

What have been the most challenging aspects of being retired abroad?

Language, still working on it.and have a long way to go!

What have been the most rewarding aspects of being retired abroad?

China is more like the USA than a lot of Americans who have never been here would believe. Capitalism is rampant, so is hard work. Crime is very low. The people are very friendly and helpful. The police have helped my several times to find where I want to go, even telling me to follow them and they went out of their way to take me to the place I wanted to go. Rarely been ripped off buying things, but then I do my homework first and figure out what I should spend and I always can just walk away. Taxis are metered. No tipping. Buses are $0.15 if un air-conditioned and $0.30 if air-conditioned and that can take you across Nanning. A medium size city of just about 6 million! When I first came here I rented a four bedroom apartment of about 1,400 sq feet, fully furnished, with Internet hookup, on the top floor of a 6 year old building (18th floor) for 1,900 yuan or about $315USD, add another 600yuan (about $100USD) for utilities.

What would you do differently if you were just starting the retire abroad process?

Saved more money!

What is life like for a retiree in your city and its surroundings? (Is there an active expat community? Cultural Attractions? Recreation? Nightlife?)

Nanning is NOT a tourist area. I rarely seen any Westerners where I live. Sometimes I see them downtown. Really do not hang out with Westerners. At 65 I don't "party" much. Never was one for nightlife. Surprised there is no symphony in a city this big. Also I am married to a Chinese women I met after coming here. There is an English Corner where English speaking people can go every Sunday morning so the Chinese people can practice their English. Most Chinese cities have these "corners". There are numerous parks here, Vietnam is close if you want to visit there. So is Beihai and Guilin.

What residency documents or visas did you need to obtain to retire in your host country? How difficult was this process? (Please describe)

I just came with a one year visa "invited" by a female friend I met on the Internet. That didn't work out, but got me into the country for one year.

Did you buy a home or apartment, or rent one? Is this a difficult process? (Please describe)

As I mentioned earlier I rented an apartment. Wasn't hard but I needed some friends to help me. Took me all of one afternoon to find a place. As I mentioned earlier, it was fully furnished, also had three air-conditioner, refrigerator, clothes washer and big screen TV.

Financially, has living abroad in your host country met your expectations? Exceeded them?

A little more expensive day to day than what I expected, but my wife is "retired" she is 50 and her daughter lives with us so I am spending for 3 instead of one. On the other hand I now live in her apartment which she owns so there is no rent to pay. However her apartment is only about 600 sq ft, 2 bedrooms with a small quest room which we use for our computers, my file cabinet, bookcases and two wardrobes. I am thinking of renting a 30 to 40 sq meter apartment to use as a work area.

What are the most important financial considerations for retiring to your host country?

Try to get everything organized before you leave the USA. The banks and financial institution in the USA still are in the pony express and telegraph era. Most things require phone calls and they ALWAYS say they are experiencing an "unusual high volume of calls"(this unusual high volume is 24/7 month after month after month so what they are really saying is they don't give a damn about you the customer, they just want to save money and not hire enough people. I lost my ATM card and it took me 3 months to get a new one!

How much can a retiree live on comfortably in your host country?

It does not take much but unless you marry a Chinese citizen you can only stay here for one year and then you have to leave and get a new visa. In order to get a new visa you have to go back to you home country. And, there is no guarantee China will give you a new visa. No reason they won't either.

Do you have access to quality medical care? (Please describe - is it close? Expensive?)

It is difficult unless you have someone who speaks English go with you to explain the problem. After that it is easy. I have been three time to the hospital. Once to have a mole removed from my face directly in front of my ear under my side burns (so to speak) and have it biopsied. about 1,200 yuan including anti-biotics. or about $200. Another time was for an eye infection about 200-300 yuan for medicine (office visits are almost free) and to have a new prescription for my eyeglasses which had to be done at the hospital. I paid $0.50 for the exam (not to sure if they meant to charge more, they wanted me to buy the glasses there but they wanted 3,500 yuan about $581 USD (I do need progressive lenses and am very far sighted (+7 to +9 diopter correction I can barely make out the letters at the top of the eyechart!) I said "No way" and left. I later bought them for 1,028 yuan ($170USD). The hospital go out of there way to set me up with doctors that have some English ability and in one case they called in someone like an orderly who had been to America for college and was very good at English and he was i big help. Prescription medication is very expensive. I have diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol for $30USD I got my medicine in the USA for 90 days here it runs about 400 yuan for 30 days or about $66USD

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Is there a lot of crime where you live? (Please describe)

No, never have had to worry. Weird seeing police that don't look like a soldier! I did get stopped once while on my electric motorbike. for going on the wrong side of a bridge pillar. As did about 20 Chinese people. Was my fault, paid a 50 yuan fine $8.30USD same as all the Chinese people who were fined along with me.

Describe available transportation where you live. Do you need a car? Is there access to safe public transportation?

Transportation is great. No need for a car. If you need to haul something there are many mini trucks that will do it or taxis. Most taxis have meters so you just pay what the meter shows. No tipping. If it is 24.3 yuan just give the driver 25 and walk away. the extra 7/10 of a yuan is worth $0.11USD and don't worry about it. It is more of a hassle for the driver to try to get the exact change back to you. Buses are cheap but sometimes packed. Traffic is a nightmare and sometimes I walk even a kilometer or two and can beat the bus. The electric motor bike is the fastest and what I always use. Mine cost about 3,500 yuan (about $581USD)

Is there high-speed internet access where you live?

Yes, all over and I also bought a mobile hookup.

Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share about retiring abroad?

Walmart is here but don't think it is like a Walmart in the USA. Yes it sells clothing, food, some furniture and electronics but catering to Chinese. The thing I miss the most is hot dogs, good hamburgers (they have MacDonald's but they were bad in the states and beef patties are rare, their filet of fish is good). Keep in mind Chinese food in America is NOTHING like Chinese food in China. Not even close. Have never seen an egg roll here. Sweet and sour anything doesn't exist. Forget a good steak, doesn't exist. Pizza Hut does serve a good pizza and if you can find a Subway Sandwich shop they are FANTASTIC for an American craving USA food!

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