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Choice between MM2H and Singapore PR

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RobSg
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Choice between MM2H and Singapore PR

Postby RobSg » Wed, 17 Jul 2013 7:50 am

Hi all-
I was just talking to my friend, and I keep going back and forth about my choices, and then I told him that I'd seek advice here. So here goes. I know that I need to make the choice myself, but objective feedback from other experienced expats is welcome. My experience in this forum has been good.

I am 66 year old American, and have decided to retire. I was busily engaged in teaching for 42 years, more than half of them in Singapore. With US Medicare and the desire to be closer to my own family and culture, I now desire to have a permanent home base in the States, in Washington, near the Canadian border. The house prices are reasonable, and my close Canadian friends that I'm currently living with in Singapore will be in nearby Vancouver.

I am a Singapore PR, but I also got the Malaysian 10 year retirement visa called the MM2H. Here are my options, and your frank suggestions are welcome. especially since some of you are near retirement also.

Option 1 was the one that I was initially favoring. It involves giving up MM2H and withdrawing my RM150,000 from a Malaysian fixed deposit account. I would keep my Singapore PR for one more year because this place has been home since 1988, and it's hard to shake off. Also, the remaining money in my Medisave account is getting 4% interest which I look at as a darn good bank account. My reasoning for giving up MM2H is that in the future I can still stay in Malaysia for 3 months on a tourist visa and probably accomplish the same as if I were MM2H. MM2H only makes sense if Malaysia became my home base.

Option 2 is to give up my Singapore PR and keep the MM2H. My reasoning is that I think that the idea of living in Singapore as a retiree makes little sense. I can do it, but where is the quality of life? The MM2H is a long term tourist visa, but it is maybe more certain that my Singapore PR. I question whether Singapore will renew my PR given the fact that in the future I will not be contributing taxes to Singapore. I've heard that once you pass a certain age, you do not need to work, and you can still keep your PR. Is that really true?

Option 3 is to give them both up. However, I still feel an emotional attachment to SE Asia, and I would like to cut the cord only after I develop a great emotional attachment to the US.

Sorry to be long winded. I'd appreciate your feedback.

Rob

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Postby Wd40 » Wed, 17 Jul 2013 8:54 am

I think I agree with your option 1. Thats the safest approach. I am assuming, you still dont have any links with Malaysia nor have you bought any real estate there. How easy is it to regain the visa, in future, if you cancel and want to get back?

Singapore PR is impossible to get back if you cancel it.

So you should go by your desire to go to the states. Go there buy a home and see how it goes. If you need money immediately the MM2H visa is the 1st one you should relinquish. If you need even more money, then the Singapore PR is what you must also give up. If you dont need the money let the 2 visas remain until you are certain where you want to retire.

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Postby RobSg » Wed, 17 Jul 2013 9:05 am

Thank you, Wd40. I just called ICA, and I realize it's only one person I talked to there, but it does make sense. She said that to keep PR, you can certainly retire here, but you need to also live here. If I were to live in the States for half the time, and rent a place here the other half, that might not be enough to satisfy a renewal. The woman said it's fine to retire here, but I should also live here a good part of the year.

Rob

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Postby ecureilx » Wed, 17 Jul 2013 9:30 am

RobSg wrote:Thank you, Wd40. I just called ICA, and I realize it's only one person I talked to there, but it does make sense. She said that to keep PR, you can certainly retire here, but you need to also live here. If I were to live in the States for half the time, and rent a place here the other half, that might not be enough to satisfy a renewal. The woman said it's fine to retire here, but I should also live here a good part of the year.

Rob


A church friend of mine, who retired here, faced issues when his renewal of PR came up .. so I would watch that advice with a pinch of salt ..

You need to show some source of income / work etc. etc.

In the case of the Church Friend his volunteer work etc bailed him out ..

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 17 Jul 2013 9:36 am

Hey Rob, I see you are still flip flopping, just like me! Damn this place. You can hate it or love it, but you can't just leave it. Bloody strong magnet isn't it!

Frankly, I think WD40 makes sense as well, but you already did that a couple of years ago and ended up back here again. As far as I know, that which I told you before, about the over 55 thing and the REP here for PR, is still valid although I've not tested it as I'm still working full time - employer is making is difficult to leave! :-)

There was some discussion on this a while back as well, as what we haven't determined conclusively is whether the provision is for all PRs or only those whose PR was on the Family Ties scheme rather than the PTS scheme. If you have already called ICA on this (albeit a single answer) I think I would invest a morning and try to make a visit to ICA to have a chat with an officer so that the can show you something to support their claim. Not that I'm doubting the one you spoke to, but it is something that could have dire consequences if one were to proceed with the wrong info.

One thing I might add is the fact that it might be hard to keep the PR here without a fixed address, e.g., property you own here (speaking as a retiree - not an employed PR). I'm sure they would wonder why a person would retire here and only pay rent as it's an expensive alternative.......

I worry about M'sia. That isn't even on my radar scope! I made my last Mortgage payment here last month. So am breathing easier in that respect. I'll hit 66 years young in around 6 weeks as well but sure don't feel like it. ;-)

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Postby Wd40 » Wed, 17 Jul 2013 10:09 am

I dont know about Rob, but SMS, you have just too strong of ties here in Singapore, from what I have known from your posts. I think you should just settle down here forever.

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Postby bgd » Wed, 17 Jul 2013 10:24 am

You can’t retire in Sg on a PR you require a different visa and it costs.

This from another thread

http://www.ica.gov.sg/page.aspx?pageid=238
Quote:
Visitors are eligible to apply for a renewable Long-Term Visit Pass of up to 5 years if they meet the following criteria:
45 years old and above;
own a property / properties in Singapore worth at least S$500,000 (in total) for residential purposes and meet any one of the following financial requirements:
have savings of at least S$400,000 parked in Singapore in any form of financial instruments based in Singapore, or
show evidence of a monthly local income of at least S$7,000, or
have a combined, savings and 5-year equivalent income of at least $400,000.
must be in good health
have valid Medical Insurance in Singapore
For renewal of the Visit Pass for purpose of long term stay, the applicant is required to meet the same set of investment, financial and medical requirements as indicated in paragraph (1) to (4) above.


And link to the whole thread (you posted in this one Rob)

ftopic94614-0-asc-0.html

If you don’t need the money why not hang on to the Malaysian visa. At least it gives you flexibility, especially if you get back to the States and realise that 3 months in Asia is not enough. I guess you can cancel it at a later date if you so decide.

EDIT: Perhaps you can but just need to meet extra criteria, i.e. prove you won't be a drain on the country.

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Postby ecureilx » Wed, 17 Jul 2013 10:52 am

bgd wrote:EDIT: Perhaps you can but just need to meet extra criteria, i.e. prove you won't be a drain on the country.


I remember vaguely that MM2H also has some salary / income requirement ..

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Postby the lynx » Wed, 17 Jul 2013 10:57 am

ecureilx wrote:
bgd wrote:EDIT: Perhaps you can but just need to meet extra criteria, i.e. prove you won't be a drain on the country.


I remember vaguely that MM2H also has some salary / income requirement ..


Either in income or in investment.

http://www.mm2h.com/mm2h-requirements-terms-and-conditions.php

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Postby bgd » Wed, 17 Jul 2013 11:22 am

the lynx wrote:
ecureilx wrote:
bgd wrote:EDIT: Perhaps you can but just need to meet extra criteria, i.e. prove you won't be a drain on the country.


I remember vaguely that MM2H also has some salary / income requirement ..


Either in income or in investment.

http://www.mm2h.com/mm2h-requirements-terms-and-conditions.php


I wasn't clear, I was meaning Singapore. The link refers to the requirements to meet the Singapore Retirement Visa (or whatever they call it). If you are already a PR then perhaps the retirement requirements are different. There must be some financial criteria to be met, after all this is Singapore we are talking about.

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Postby Mi Amigo » Wed, 17 Jul 2013 11:32 am

Interesting thread. Two friends of mine who had both previously retired and spent some time away have had their REPs renewed recently. In both cases however, they are now doing consultancy work here and the ICA asked for documentary proof of this. So I realise that this may not be the same scenario as that of the OP, but if he had the desire / means to engage in some kind of ongoing paid activity that might help with an REP renewal.

At the end of the day I guess it depends on how one defines 'retirement'. Personally I have no desire to 'stop working' - I just want to cease being a wage slave at some point (tomorrow would be nice ;-) ). But I have every intention of 'working', or rather, keepng active and hopefully generating some kind of income from activities I enjoy doing, for as long as I can.
Be careful what you wish for

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ecureilx
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Postby ecureilx » Wed, 17 Jul 2013 12:01 pm

Mi Amigo wrote:Interesting thread. Two friends of mine who had both previously retired and spent some time away have had their REPs renewed recently. In both cases however, they are now doing consultancy work here and the ICA asked for documentary proof of this. So I realise that this may not be the same scenario as that of the OP, but if he had the desire / means to engage in some kind of ongoing paid activity that might help with an REP renewal.


What you described is what my church mate suffered, when his REP came for renewal .. as he was unemployed ..

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Postby RobSg » Wed, 17 Jul 2013 12:13 pm

Appreciate the responses. The MM2H Retirement visa is for 10 years and can be easily renewed. You need to show assets of a certain amount and show you have a certain income at the time of applying only. Finally, you have to have a fixed deposit of RM150,000, which can easily be removed when you leave the program. The MM2H visa allows me to be gone as much as I want, and it's very easy to renew under the same provisions I entered it with. I think Malaysia is quite stable, and the MM2H is ranked in the top 5 world wide in all surveys for expats retiring. It's above Thailand or the Philippines.

If you have family ties in Singapore and own an HDB flat as SMS does, it truly makes sense to live here, although the health insurance could be an issue later on. There is much uncertainty in my case. I only rent, and I am single. I suppose I could rent a master bedroom at about S$1500/month, but is that a good quality of life? If I lived here as a PR, it would probably be for the most 6 months of the year, and maybe do a little substitute teaching, probably too little to even be taxed. In spite of what some say that a PR can retire here, I believe it is only if they live here pretty much the whole year at the minimum.

I look at MM2H as being a long term retirement visa. It is not really permanent residency, because it really does depend on the policies of the country at the time. However, IMHO, Singapore PR at my age is not permanent either, because there is a certain degree of uncertainty about whether you will be renewed.

Being a resident of your home country is permanent, and so I like the idea of the US as a home base. It's just the choice between Singapore and Malaysia for the other part of the year that drives me nuts.

Rob

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Postby PNGMK » Wed, 17 Jul 2013 12:44 pm

RobSg wrote:Appreciate the responses. The MM2H Retirement visa is for 10 years and can be easily renewed. You need to show assets of a certain amount and show you have a certain income at the time of applying only. Finally, you have to have a fixed deposit of RM150,000, which can easily be removed when you leave the program. The MM2H visa allows me to be gone as much as I want, and it's very easy to renew under the same provisions I entered it with. I think Malaysia is quite stable, and the MM2H is ranked in the top 5 world wide in all surveys for expats retiring. It's above Thailand or the Philippines.

If you have family ties in Singapore and own an HDB flat as SMS does, it truly makes sense to live here, although the health insurance could be an issue later on. There is much uncertainty in my case. I only rent, and I am single. I suppose I could rent a master bedroom at about S$1500/month, but is that a good quality of life? If I lived here as a PR, it would probably be for the most 6 months of the year, and maybe do a little substitute teaching, probably too little to even be taxed. In spite of what some say that a PR can retire here, I believe it is only if they live here pretty much the whole year at the minimum.

I look at MM2H as being a long term retirement visa. It is not really permanent residency, because it really does depend on the policies of the country at the time. However, IMHO, Singapore PR at my age is not permanent either, because there is a certain degree of uncertainty about whether you will be renewed.

Being a resident of your home country is permanent, and so I like the idea of the US as a home base. It's just the choice between Singapore and Malaysia for the other part of the year that drives me nuts.

Rob


I'm 48. In 12 years neither Singapore or MY would be on my list. Maybe Thailand or Sri Lanka or another low cost of living country (but not Indo). Actually I'm really looking forward to lviing in the woods of NC with my wife - we have a 4 acre lot with a great house on it, well water, septic and are only costs would be electricity, property taxes and telecoms.


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