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Retirement Decisions, decisions, decisions

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RobSg
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Retirement Decisions, decisions, decisions

Postby RobSg » Wed, 28 Aug 2013 10:28 am

I worked up until my 67th birthday a few weeks ago, and decided enough. I was going to try full time retirement and see how it goes. About a year ago, I applied and got the retirement visa (MM2H) from Malaysia, which is a 10 year social visit pass. For various reasons, I decided to give that up, and so no longer have the MM2H.

We have discussed this here before, and the belief is that retirement in Singapore for a single man like myself and renting an HDB flat is sort of an empty existence in retirement. I might be wrong, but it does seem to be that way. Having a wife and family is another story. It's possible to be here permanently, even in retirement if you have a family. I don't frequent bars, and I'm not an extrovert by any means.

When you are in retirement, you need to look for opportunities that occupy your time productively. In Singapore, I could get involved with community centres, do volunteer work, or get a new hobby. The problem I personally have, and it's probably only me, is in spite of my 40+ years as an expat overseas, I also feel as an outsider if I attempt to integrate myself into the culture. For example, I volunteer work at a community centre near where I live, and the looks of amusement and hopefully some admiration on the other volunteers took away from what I was actually volunteering for.

My actual interests are taking continuing education courses in the university, offered to seniors. Another interest, training a dog. Another interest, long hikes on mountain trails. Another interest, being a little closer to my brothers and sisters for the next 20 years.

I have dear friends, almost family, that live in Vancouver, Canada. I've known them and lived with them for 15 years in Singapore, and now they live in Vancouver as Canadians. I'm American, but I'd like to buy a small condo in a place like Bellingham on the Amtrak line and within 45 minutes of Vancouver driving. All the interests listed above can easily be accomplished there. Moving back to the States might be harder than I think, but every time I visit, I truly like the scenery, culture and people. The newspapers tend to really exaggerate at times.

That leads me to a selfishness on my part- giving or still keeping my PR. There is a part of me that just wants to cut all ties to Singapore, but of course returning as a tourist every few years. There is another part of me that has exactly S$40,500 in my CPF (Medisave only). My PR is good until 2017. I visited the ICA, and the person there told me that if I did not have a permanent address here or lived here for most of each year, in 2017 I would most likely get only a one year approval on PR. If I continued to stay away, I would lose my PR. At my age, she said work is no longer required, but what is required is living here for a good part of the year.
My inclination is to keep my PR only because I look at CPF as being a bank account with a great 4% interest. Also, maybe retirement in the States might not be what I’m thinking it is. Yet, I know Singapore does not offer a single older man a quality of lifestyle.

I’ll make an informed decision, of course. But particularly for you older expats, what do you think?

Thank you.

Rob

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 28 Aug 2013 11:40 am

Well, Rob, I'll hit two-thirds of the devil's mark in 4 more days! :o But, retirement just doesn't seem to be on the cards. Earlier this year my boss here decided to inform me that he'd like to keep me around for another 10 years and did some financial shenanigans to make me really think about it. So, it looks like, between the fact that I'd not be able to work if I went home (can't picture myself "retired" anyway) because of the general mess of the US and my age, I guess I'll stick around here for a while longer. But in my case, I'm married to a Singaporean so it's a wee bit different. But if I'm not going to be able to work here, I'm back to the US as I still cannot, for the life of me, see myself trying to eck out a retirement here. How to relak, man! Noise everywhere, all the time. I'd pack up and go back as well.

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Postby RobSg » Wed, 28 Aug 2013 12:25 pm

Thank you, SMS. I guess my decision now involves should I keep my PR if only for the high interest on the Medisave money? You've commented befire that if a person is not in Singapore to live and contribute, then he really should not keep PR. I feel the same way, BUT I like the PR for the interest on the Medisave.

I'd teach another ten years, but the school I was at asked the teachers over 65 to retire. Other schools are the same way. I will certainly not sit at home. There is a lot I'd like to do with my life that does not involve standing in front of students all day. This was my 42nd year in the classroom.

Rob

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 28 Aug 2013 12:34 pm

Rob, when you give up your PR, you don't have to withdraw your CPF monies. You can leave it there accumulating interest as long as you like. Back in the day, if you remember, one used to contribute to CPF if one were an EP holder. I have friends who worked here during the Mobile Refinery - Asia Badger Upgrade on EP's who left their CPF intact and came back to work again later (no CPF) and then eventually bought a condo and applied for and got their PR. But they never withdrew the original amount and it continued to draw the 4% all those years. So, jut leave it there until you want/need it and then make application online (I think) and withdrawn then. But it will probably be an all or nothing type of withdrawal I would guess.

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Postby RobSg » Wed, 28 Aug 2013 1:06 pm

Thank you, SMS. That's good to know.

Rob

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Tanuki
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Re: Retirement Decisions, decisions, decisions

Postby Tanuki » Wed, 28 Aug 2013 1:51 pm

Rob

You raise a lot of points, both pro and con here. It sounds like you'd really prefer to hop back to Washington more than stay in SIN. I would think that being closer to family/friends is a very important part of your life, especially since retiring. It's a conundrum for me at the moment as my wife and I are moving to SIN in a few days, leaving 2 daughters here in Seattle and one in the UK in university. Yet my closer friends are out in Asia. Where do I end up later? Hard to say.

Washington is very liberal around Seattle, then very conservative in the rest of the state, on the whole. There are tons of volunteering possibilities that will give you a lot of self-satisfaction. It'll be hard to find decent Asian food around Bellingham, so Seattle or Vancouver (esp Richmond) can fill that void for you.

Good luck in your choices!

David

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Postby Mad Scientist » Wed, 28 Aug 2013 5:17 pm

Rob, I am tad younger than you but I semi retired when I was in the early 50s.
There is no right or wrong or when you want to retire. It is all in the mind and body.
If you body is up to it and your mind can take the challenge then go for it
Idle mind is the devil's playground.
I came back from retirement after I got bored living in Sweden and Australia on each half of the year. Found a job with CERA in Christchurch and worked there for about three years until they said I am not wanted anymore.
Got offered another job but health has taken a toll to the body.
BUT I did managed to join Greenpeace when the Japs trawlers came down to Antartica for whale fishing, did trekking at Mount Cook, drove from Motala to Munich. Ice fishing and the lot
Whatever you decide, go for it as life is short and it ain't gonna wait for you
By then you will not be able to do what you wanted to do.
The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.Yahoo !!!

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 28 Aug 2013 5:24 pm

^^This!

I've always lived that way. It's the only way.

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Postby RobSg » Wed, 28 Aug 2013 5:45 pm

Really interesting posts, SMS, Tanuki and Mad Scientist,

Life is indeed short, Mad Scientist. I have always wanted structure to my day, and teaching did that, and it has been a very productive career. I am still very fit and keep up with the students, but it's time to call it quits at 67. I read about what you've done with earthquake relief, trekking and whale fishing, and I guess it's quite a motivator for other retirees. I look forward to that. It's difficult at times for a single person to be renting a place in Singapore for an obscene amount of money when I would like to own a place in my own country, and if I feel like I could lock it up and leave for months, it's fine. Doing that in Singapore is more difficult when you are paying S$2500/month rent. Anyway, you've had a lot of great experiences. I'm curious what brought you back to Singapore to live.

Tanuki, one of the reasons I love Washington state, particularly in the Bellingham area, is the opportunities for hiking in the mountain trails, taking courses in college, walking my future dog, and standing in one place and not hearing a sound for an hour except my own breathing. I'm quite liberal, so it's a good fit.

SMS, I am not sure if you are on Medicare, but I am. That's another draw to the States. I am paying for the Part B, the Supplementary, and the prescription drug plan. As one senior to another, that means that medical care is covered only in the States. I can't use that here in Singapore. I have to get my own private insurance, which is very costly, and I have high deductible.

Anyway, thank you for your comments. By expressing myself here to what you write, it helps me.

Rob

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Postby PNGMK » Wed, 28 Aug 2013 6:03 pm

I'm 47 and have been working through this with my wife who is a US Citizen (I'm an aussie).

There are a lot of parameters that may change but our current plan is;

1. Work in Singapore until oldest son is in NS - mainly because our youngest gets free schooling here via my wife and I'm still making good dosh. That puts us at about 10 years from now and 57.

2. At that point we'll probably move to the US - we own our place there and the place in Singapore we'll either sell or rent out. I don't plan on cashing in our CPF straight away though.

3. There is a wrinkle in the plan though and that is I should really try to work back in OZ for a few years to get an old age pension - for my birth year it starts at 67 though which is a long way away. My wife for similar reasons needs to work in the US for social security though so we are torn in two directions.

I'm am desperately hoping that Obamacare actually works because like others I am very concerned about the affordability of US medical care and insurance - hence one reason to keep our CPF and PR as long as possible is that we would consider getting on a plane to come back here for medical care! The alternative is that if I spend some time back in Australia (urggh the tax) and my wife gets PR we could get medicare there.

HOWEVER putting that aside the US is IMHO the cheapest place for us to retire - when we are there I am always astonished at how far we can make US$100 go compared to Singapore or Oz.

Anyways lots of conflicts of interest and constraints.

PS we have thailand on our list as a retirement option.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 28 Aug 2013 6:33 pm

Rob, can't remember but I think I've only registered for it as it had to be done before 65 or something. I don't have the paperwork here as I'm still in the office, but I think I signaled my intentions for Plan B as well.

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Postby RobSg » Wed, 28 Aug 2013 6:56 pm

SMS, I am happy that the political power of the seniors is something that politicians take seriously, so I treasure and feel confident in Medicare.

PNGMK, you have what I need to get- a home you own. My next big goal is to buy a very nice simple 2 bedroom/2 bath home in Washington state for about US$160,000-US$180,000. You have two good choices between Australia and US,and plenty of time to consider it. I really hope that Obamacare is successful for the reason you stated. It's so necessary.

I'm holding off on social security as long as possible. From age 66, it rises 6% a year until age 70, and then you have t get it. I don't need it yet.

Thank you again.

Rob

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Postby PNGMK » Wed, 28 Aug 2013 7:06 pm

RobSg wrote:SMS, I am happy that the political power of the seniors is something that politicians take seriously, so I treasure and feel confident in Medicare.

PNGMK, you have what I need to get- a home you own. My next big goal is to buy a very nice simple 2 bedroom/2 bath home in Washington state for about US$160,000-US$180,000. You have two good choices between Australia and US,and plenty of time to consider it. I really hope that Obamacare is successful for the reason you stated. It's so necessary.

I'm holding off on social security as long as possible. From age 66, it rises 6% a year until age 70, and then you have t get it. I don't need it yet.

Thank you again.

Rob


My wifes brother and two nieces live in Wa. State - west of Seattle towards where the nuclear research place is. It's a nice state. Low cost of living as well.

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Postby zzm9980 » Wed, 28 Aug 2013 8:08 pm

I'm a fair bit younger than you guys, so I can't contribute anything useful except this: Vancouver, Washington (not BC). No state income tax in Washington, and it is just over the river from Oregon which has no sales tax. Win-win!

http://goo.gl/tTh6au

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 28 Aug 2013 9:14 pm

^^This!

That's good to know! Nice


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