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Mon Jan 26, 2015, 01:11 AM

 

Is a Great Grey Exodus from America Starting?

Although there is no shortage of victims of the financial crisis, one group that has generally been missed is the middle aged and elderly. Yes, there are reports of people in their 40s and 50s moving in with their children or other relatives, but for the most part, this cohort does not get much attention.

Yet it isn’t hard to see how grim their prospects are. Many thought they’d be employed at decent jobs through age 65 and are un or underemployed. And those still working full time are often victims of downward mobility, and have lost a well paying job and are now working at a lower pay level. If you don’t have a decent level of earnings, you can’t save much or at all. These pressures come against a backdrop of loss of wealth due to plunges in home prices and to a lesser degree, financial investments. And that’s before we get to pension fund whackage and plans to “reform” Social Security and Medicare.

While people who are under financial stress don’t much in the way of options, I see more and more people of modest and better means planning on becoming expats to make their retirement incomes go further. San Miguel, Mexico, was long a destination for older Californians who wanted to stretch their retirement dollar. A once well off jewelry dealer (the “trade” has been in desperate shape for over a decade) planned to move to Buenos Aires, but his situation decayed too quickly for him to exit. Costa Rica is apparently popular with economic emigrants. And I’ve now heard two mentions of Thailand in the last three weeks. One came a reader who told me how his Abyssinian/Manx cat Precious had been trained to stay on a porch, except when he unwisely tried chasing roadrunners and foxes. His e-mail had this sad postscript:

Without going into a rant … we live in rural Clark County, NV outside Las Vegas, and are in that group of former middle class folks that have lost it all … having invested our life savings in this property (peak month Jul, 2006) we have not been able to sell. To view the place Precious and I were behind the fox, go to the home’s website and see the view from the “Perch” seating area. We gave up selling. We have it for rent with option to buy. We hang on but face BK or foreclosure like so many others. When we leave we are moving out of the country. At 65, unemployed since 2007 in a small town, and with a disabled wife, there is no starting over here. We will be able to save more than half my small government pension/her social security in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I am not bitter, but I no longer believe in capitalism or democracy as I once did; not the way they are being practiced now.


Those who are approaching retirement age and have the time, energy, and financial headroom would do much better to get out of Dodge. America ranks badly on pretty much every social indicator, which means that moving to what is nominally a third world county isn’t just a step up in terms of spending power but often in overall quality of life. Thus we are likely to see another sort of hollowing out take place: the lower income and wealthy elderly will remain here, while more in between who have the resources and energy will depart. We already have the economic-oriented literature depicting retirees as a burden. Imagine what a middle class exodus in this age group will do for the political and economic position of the aged.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/07/is-a-great-grey-exodus-from-american-starting.html

32 replies, 3241 views

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Arrow 32 replies Author Time Post
Reply Is a Great Grey Exodus from America Starting? (Original post)
ND-Dem Jan 2015 OP
elleng Jan 2015 #1
zappaman Jan 2015 #2
stevenleser Jan 2015 #16
appalachiablue Jan 2015 #17
truedelphi Jan 2015 #26
Wellstone ruled Jan 2015 #3
msongs Jan 2015 #4
Hekate Jan 2015 #5
dembotoz Jan 2015 #6
CANDO Jan 2015 #27
mnhtnbb Jan 2015 #7
PasadenaTrudy Jan 2015 #25
jeff47 Jan 2015 #8
ND-Dem Jan 2015 #10
jeff47 Jan 2015 #11
ND-Dem Jan 2015 #12
jeff47 Jan 2015 #14
ND-Dem Jan 2015 #15
jeff47 Jan 2015 #22
ND-Dem Jan 2015 #30
jeff47 Jan 2015 #31
Sen. Walter Sobchak Jan 2015 #18
SidDithers Jan 2015 #19
jeff47 Jan 2015 #21
oldandhappy Jan 2015 #9
flamingdem Jan 2015 #13
oldandhappy Jan 2015 #20
LiberalElite Jan 2015 #23
daredtowork Jan 2015 #24
Lydia Leftcoast Jan 2015 #28
mike_c Jan 2015 #29
AnnieBW Jan 2015 #32

Response to ND-Dem (Original post)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 01:14 AM

1. My 'retirement income' is ok,

but for political/social/cultural reasons, I've thought of leaving. Won't do, tho, because have baby grandsons.

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Response to ND-Dem (Original post)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 01:18 AM

2. Cuz they prefer North Korea over Baltimore?

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Response to zappaman (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 02:29 PM

16. LMAO!

 

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Response to zappaman (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 03:58 PM

17. So Balto. is a retirement destination, what's it like?

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Response to zappaman (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 05:34 PM

26. Oh the wisdom of Zappaman. n/t

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Response to ND-Dem (Original post)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 01:45 AM

3. Here in Vegas the R/V parks are full of folks in your boots.

 

Busted their butts to make a difference,played by the rules and bam,the bottom fell out. No job,no way to pay the mortgage,probably had to bring the kids and their families in for the same reasons. People forced to take early retirement or early Social Security just to try and make it day to day. Some of us just plain got lucky and are going to make it until the Rethugs destroy SS and Medicare,then we set up house keeping out on the BLM like many have already done.

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Response to ND-Dem (Original post)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 02:39 AM

4. our elected politicians of all parties allow us to be fleeced of all we have every few

years or so, and the fleecers face no penalty while the politicians get re-elected after false promises

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Response to ND-Dem (Original post)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 03:10 AM

5. I considered it during the BushCheney era, but the bottom line for me is this: my adult kids....

....are not moving anywhere. Periodically my husband still talks about Canada or New Zealand, neither of which we have ever visited (except a couple of weeks in Vancouver Island one summer), but the harsh reality is that we would be exiles from our kids and grandkids, not just the US. Exile is a lonely thing. Now, if our son and daughter decided to uproot themselves, I would be inclined to follow.

People are funny -- though the economy in this country has been anything but. I'm sure there are and will be enough people who decide to move that some clever folks will be inclined to write some articles about it, but I just can't imagine enough of an an exodus to make a significant dent in the actual population numbers. I remember when Costa Rica was the thing, then Belize, even Poland for Polish-Americans -- but I notice we still have a glut of elders in the US, and somehow I think you're still going to have to figure out what to do with us.

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Response to ND-Dem (Original post)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 06:19 AM

6. friend of mine near retirement plans to move to central america

so has been using her annual winter cruise to investigate potential spots
she just got back from her latest last week
she seems to be curious about Belize.

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Response to dembotoz (Reply #6)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 05:47 PM

27. I wonder....

 

how your friend's bank account would look had he/she forgone a few of those cruises? My mother and her husband(she's remarried) have blown through their nest egg and are left scrounging for cash. Neither one is particularly employable and yet they had to take a cruise so as to give the appearance of financial comfort. They are hard core conservatives and they had better not show up at my door asking for help. If they do, I'll just tell them to find their bootstraps.

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Response to ND-Dem (Original post)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 07:03 AM

7. We made plans--after disastrous 2004 election--to exit the country.

We were pursuing Panama, after looking closely at Belize. Canada will not take retirees--unless
you have a LOT of money (and after a brief look/see at New Zealand in 1994, decided not to go).
If the development where we were building a house in Panama (Bocas del Toro region on
the Caribbean side) had not experienced financial problems, I suspect we would be living there
now. We had opened bank accounts, applied for and received permanent resident visa status,
gotten our Jubilee cards (retirees get discounts on LOTS of things in Panama). After our fire
destroyed our house here in 2007 and the house we were building in Bocas had been stopped due to
not only the financial problems but labor issues/strikes, we finally gave up and decided we'd
be staying here in Chapel Hill.

Cautionary word to anyone who thinks about moving abroad: do not buy anything that isn't completed.
These were the typical US midwestern "boys next door" who were running this development and their
greed got them in over their heads--against the advice of their very well connected Panamanian attorneys.
They had ended up running a pyramid scheme. The development eventually was taken over by the investors
and the "boys" were run out of the process, and the development has actually completed some of the initial
plans and is operating. But what a mess. A lot of people lost a lot of money. It was only because we waited
and waited until the time was right--and our Panamanian attorney knew when to take advantage of some legal leverage--that we ended up
not waving goodby to the funds we had invested. Of course, it was several years waiting for that 'right time'
to happen.

So, beware! It is not the easy process that the folks at International Living would have you believe.

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Response to mnhtnbb (Reply #7)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 05:28 PM

25. I would just rent.... n/t

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Response to ND-Dem (Original post)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 10:37 AM

8. That option is not generally available.

Many countries make it difficult for older people to immigrate, unless they are wealthy or otherwise "special".

If you have plans to move to Canada as a 50- or 60-something, you better have several million in the bank. Because Canada doesn't want to pay for your retirement when you didn't spend your working life paying Canada.

There are other countries where "wealthy" is a much easier line to cross, but they aren't frequently listed as good options.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #8)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 12:40 PM

10. the article doesn't say anything about canada.

 

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Response to ND-Dem (Reply #10)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 01:57 PM

11. Nope, just an example of a frequently mentioned place.

Other countries have other rules. Point being, research immigration policy while choosing your destination.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #11)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 02:03 PM

12. not frequently mentioned in this article. retirees don't go to other developed countries in search

 

of a lower cost of living, so I fail to see why you wrote something almost entirely focused on Canada.

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Response to ND-Dem (Reply #12)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 02:17 PM

14. Yet frequently mentioned in this thread

and many other threads where people talk about leaving the US.

so I fail to see why you wrote something almost entirely focused on Canada.

Because an example is the entirety of the subject, not a small piece designed to illuminate a larger issue.

Again, the point is research immigration policy before choosing your destination.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #14)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 02:28 PM

15. i didn't see it mentioned at all in this thread, let along frequently. maybe i missed it, could

 

you link me?

I take that back; mentioned by ONE person in this thread and another person who told the first that Canada doesn't take retirees generally.

That's your definition of "frequent"?

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Response to ND-Dem (Reply #15)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 05:17 PM

22. If only that sentence had another clause. Perhaps after the "and".

As I've already said three times now, no matter what the destination country, you have to research their immigration policies first.

Canada's policies are an example of problems that can arise. An example is not an exhaustive list. Nor is your article an exhaustive list.

Do you want to spend hundreds of posts pretending to not understand the concept of an example?

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #22)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 08:00 PM

30. The article is about retirees who want to immigrate because they don't make enough to live decently

 

in the first world. Is there some reason you can't understand that?

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Response to ND-Dem (Reply #30)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 08:03 PM

31. That pool is a subset of the retirees who want to immigrate.

Do you want me to draw a Venn diagram?

Do the people wanting to immigrate because they don't make enough to live decently not have to check immigration policies?

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #8)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 04:40 PM

18. Canada isn't difficult but it does require a strategy

 

It isn't terribly difficult to transition from an employment visa to permanent residency. I came to Canada as an intra-company transfer, became a permanent resident and this past Fall I obtained Canadian citizenship.

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Response to Sen. Walter Sobchak (Reply #18)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 04:47 PM

19. Congrats on the citizenship...nt

Sid

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Response to Sen. Walter Sobchak (Reply #18)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 05:08 PM

21. Congrats, but my understanding is age plays a very large part of it.

Someone who's about to retire won't have paid much into Canada's social systems, but will be drawing upon them soon.

So a 20-something will have a much easier time than a 60-something.

Assuming the same wealth and skill set. A 60-year-old nobel prize winning scientist with a large bank account will have an easier time than a 23-year-old Starbucks employee.

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Response to ND-Dem (Original post)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 10:53 AM

9. Chiang Mai is great

Lots of good things for ex-pats. I used to live and work there. But how can you afford the retirement visa? I would rather be in Thailand than Mexico, but Mexico might be easier.

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Response to oldandhappy (Reply #9)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 02:07 PM

13. How much is that?

The Visa I mean.

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Response to flamingdem (Reply #13)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 04:48 PM

20. The retirement visa

is $25,000. Only once, but ... Once you have the long term visa you have to check in with immigration whenever you are leaving the country and tell them how many days you will be out of the country. Easy, just paperwork.

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Response to ND-Dem (Original post)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 05:20 PM

23. Yeah, I could live like a queen on my retirement savings in another country -

the catch is I'd have to move to Bangladesh.

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Response to ND-Dem (Original post)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 05:23 PM

24. Will the exiled still vote?

Or will they just go quietly?

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Response to ND-Dem (Original post)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 05:58 PM

28. A woman in my water aerobics class moved to Chiang Mai

She owned a condo in a nice part of Minneapolis, but once she retired, the monthly maintenance fees were eating up her whole income, so her son, who had been in the Peace Corps in Thailand, suggested Chiang Mai. That was two years ago, and she hasn't come back except for a visit.

Cultural activities--music, theater, dance, independent films-- are really important to me, and two of the most popular retirement spots, Belize and Costa Rica, have almost nothing in that area. Neither does Chiang Mai. I was surprised upon reading Insight Guides to some of the places that take American retirees that Mexico (it's not all dangerous) appealed to me more than either Belize or Costa Rica and that Malaysia appealed more than Thailand. The Philippines are cheap and beautiful, but the retirees seem to be mostly ex-military men with very young Filipina wives or girlfriends.

I would love to live in Japan again, but they already have too many older people and there would be no cost of living advantage.

I'm OK for the time being, but since my job is portable to any place that has broadband, I'm keeping my options open. In any case, I would not move anywhere without a long temporary stay first.

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Response to ND-Dem (Original post)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 07:41 PM

29. three more years....

We're hoping to retire in three years. My work has a faculty early retirement option that will let me teach one semester per year for up to five years, so we'll stick around for however many years I take advantage of the extra salary. Afterward though, we're planning to head south. Haven't decided where yet.

It's important to realize that while one can live for very cheaply in some parts of the world, that usually means living somewhat like a native of those countries. Living like an American there might be as expensive as living in the U.S. or even more so, i.e. owning a house with American style amenities, shopping in culturally familiar groceries and malls rather than markets and small businesses, American style entertainment, and so on. Living cheaply in Costa Rica means living like a Tico, or at least somewhere in between living like a Tico and living like a middle class American. Not everyone is ready for that. We're not sure we are yet, but the alternative will be poverty in America, which we ARE familiar with and don't want to return to in our dotage.

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Response to ND-Dem (Original post)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 11:53 PM

32. My Friends Moved To Costa Rica

And they love it there. We have considered going to Australia, but now that the Aussie Dollar is higher than the U.S. dollar, our money won't go as far. Plus, their standards for taking immigrants is really high. Hubby wants to move to Florida, but there's too many crazy right-wingers for me. I'd move home to Pittsburgh, but it's too damn cold in the winter!

All I know is that we're getting the hell out of the DC Metro Area.

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