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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hubby has been looking for a new job this year.

When we moved to MS, I swore we'd never move again. However, after 5 years here, it is evident this isn't the right place for us and we're looking to move again. We always knew there was a high probability that we'd retire overseas as expats. Our money would go farther and we have little that is holding us here. However, with a 14-yr old pleasant-late-in-life-surprise that we're still raising the prospect of retirement seemed so far off.

Maybe not. Okay, not retirement, but an expat life. Many of hubby's job offers are coming in from overseas. Some of them are quite compelling. More and more we're facing the reality that we might be selling everything and moving to another country ... permanently.

Really permanently. The latest job isn't a contract. It would be a move and stay. That's a lot different from planning to return to the states. Realistically, we wouldn't be putting a few items in storage with the intent that we'd retrieve them when we return. Frankly, that's a little daunting!

Thoughts?
 

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Are we talking Europe or Asia or? As that would make a lot of difference.

What would concern me is the education for the 14 year old, would she be able to follow education at the same level or better than in the USA? Further what would be the health insurance? For Western Europe this shouldn't be too much of a problem, for anywhere else it is something I would research before signing the contract.
If you happen to move to Europe, feel free to ask me, I will answer as good as I can :).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Right now, an Asian country. Health care there is great and the teen would be going to school with the military kids. Hubby would be a civilian military employee. My biggest concern is housing and taxes. While we wouldn't have to pay any (or nearly zero) US taxes but we would have to pay in-country taxes that are almost 20%!

It is leaving stuff behind that has me freaked. For instance, we have a dining room set that we bought as an heirloom but it is huge and solid-wood heavy. It would be nearly impossible to find a place for it in an Asian apartment but I can't see putting it in storage for 6 or 7 years until we expat to another country. Yet when we do retire, I'll be sad to not have it. But then again, I'm not exactly sure who would get it once we die (none of the kids are in a position to take it now.)

And family ... we dislike MS in part because we never have a chance to see family. Moving overseas obviously isn't going to improve that situation.
 

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Have you checked for sure about paying taxes in the US? I always heard you had to, but I'm no expert.

The Muse is a FV member who has lived overseas for years. She might be able to answer some of your questions based on her own experience.
 

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I seriously think the language barrier,diff. in customs, and many more things would worry me not furniture. My good friend from High school just lived in Japan for a bit and costs are astronomical. Food. And getting all the familiar foods was difficult/impossible. When Dh traveled the first thing to do was look up etiquette.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, if moving to MS has taught us anything it is that we're adaptable - strange language (some people here need subtitles!), strange customs, strange food and lack of availability of items we're used to is something we have been dealing with for a long time. Thank goodness Amazon ships internationally! We'd also have a Costco (called Cosco there) and an Ikea. We are still trying to find out if we'd have access to the base stores and an APO address which, if we did, would make life easier. I've always believed "when in Rome ..."

I checked out the situation related to my medical issues and shouldn't have a problem. In some Asian countries exposure to food poisoning would be too high of a risk for me. That won't be a problem if we go to this country or the other country we're considering.

Yes, the biggest benefit of working overseas is you don't pay US taxes. In 2016, you don't pay federal taxes on the first $100,000 of income. That is wonderful when you're living in a country (like Saudi Arabia) that doesn't have an income tax but that wouldn't be our situation. Hubby is checking into the tax situation more. In some deals the company just pays the taxes to the foreign country and then you're exempt. We're also interested in seeing if we get a housing allowance.

In every move we've paired down significantly so we move the least possible stuff. We usually bring our beds and 5 pieces of furniture we always like to have with us. Hubby would move ahead of us while I stay and sell the house. He'd then have a better idea of what we need to bring and I can start shipping basic household items ahead.

I'm just in shell shock that this may be happening sooner than planned. It IS a long process. I guess by the time we get there, I'll be more used to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
In many ways it is! We live in a very rural area. The nearest "true big city" is 3-hours away which pretty much knocks out the odds of us going to any of them on a regular basis. I say that is akin to having to take a flight or boat to Singapore if you want something special or get away for the weekend.

From what I've read, the weather is hot and humid in the summer and the winters are bitter cold (being close to Russia and all) - which really isn't all that different from where we are now. In Asia, people complain that primary utility is electricity and it is expensive. Well, no different here. I regularly pay over $300 a month just for electricity and in Asia people are saying over $200 for all their utilities is a lot.

As for grocery shopping, I have a lot of brands that I like but that doesn't mean I can't find new brands I like. From what I'm told, I'll miss having peanut butter - which I eat daily. I guess I'll either have to stock up when I find it, or it'll have to become an occasional treat. This old dog can learn a few new tricks. It won't kill me.

Right now, DD is using the move to try to get her way. She is forever telling me, "This might be the chance I have to have this American (or Southern) experience!" Yeah well, she'll just have to miss out on some stuff I guess in the hopes she'll have access to other wonderful experiences.

To be residents in the new country, we can still travel to America for 3 or 4 weeks once a year. Frankly, if we do that, it would be more than we're seeing family now.

I'm still interested in hearing thoughts about decluttering. I usually hate to bring kitchen stuff (my least favorite room to pack) but the advice I'm getting so far is to bring some items because they're difficult to find there - like a tortilla press so I can make "Mexican food" that would be otherwise impossible to get. I'm tempted to bring our Keurig and huge supply of our favorite K-cups but what if I can't find a source there? It would just become a moldy paperweight after a few months. Questions. Questions.
 

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I guess what I would do about most anything that uses proprietary supplies that must be replenished is get rid of it before you leave. Like the Keurig. Or get reusable 'cups' for it that you can refill when you find a new favorite coffee wherever you're going.

For stuff in general, don't move anything you can use the internet to store for you, like recipes, novels, instructions for making things, etc.

Obviously, get rid of any duplicates as much as possible. And take a close look at things that perform similar functions. I presently own a large Foreman grill, a countertop electric grill, a sandwich maker, etc. If I was contemplating an expensive move, I would probably keep the Foreman grill and get rid of all the rest because of the Foreman have plates that will do pretty much all the same things as the countertop grill, sandwich maker, etc. so no real need to duplicate items so similar to each other. Keep the most versatile of your appliances (if you're taking electric appliances) and also consider non-electric stuff that would also work, such as using a frying pan or griddle to make sandwiches instead of an electric device.

Also consider if it will be difficult to buy certain foods you don't want to give up. If you have to make things from scratch, will you have the tools to do that with? Do you need to buy something before you leave? It's kind of a bad example since most every culture has some kind of noodles, but if you couldn't buy spaghetti where you're going, would you want a hand-cranked pasta machine? Stuff like that.

What will you be able to buy there? Is there a PX where you can replace things like dishes and cookware, and would it be cheaper than moving those items you're using now? Same for bedding and everything else needed for housekeeping.

If you're going to a military base or nearby, is there a chat room or forum like this one for that particular base? If so, then maybe you could ask questions of the people who are already living right there where you're going. They'd be a valuable resource for getting a lot of your questions answered. Are there relocation packets you can request for particular areas? That might be useful, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes! Decisions like that!

For instance, I use a counter-top griddle almost daily but it is pretty big and would dwarf the counters in an Asian apartment. And it can be replaced by a frying pan. I use it a lot so I'd want to bring it but I really don't need it. On top of it, the research I'm doing indicates that most people eat out because (1) kitchens are small (2) recycling garbage is required and huge hassle (3) it is so inexpensive to eat out. With having to take public transportation everywhere, bringing home lots of groceries is difficult (although many places offer delivery).

I'd want to bring my craft supplies, especially since I won't be able to work. Hubby will be working long hours and traveling periodically. The school day is longer there so DD will be gone, too. I'll be spending quite a bit of time on my own so craft supplies makes sense. However, I currently work full-time so it is hard to imagine exactly which crafting supplies I'll want or how I'll spend my time. When we've moved in the past, I'm usually the one out and about exploring everywhere.

I know I need a few great backpacks and a selection of excellent walking shoes - neither I have currently. Shoes will be difficult to buy there. Asian sizes are much smaller. My size is pretty much at the top of their clothing / shoe range. Hubby will have to order everything or buy when we visit the states. The winters are harsh so we already know we have to bring great winter coats and gear. It seems so silly to be getting rid of many things then go back and buy other stuff!

It is a good idea. As we go down this road, I'll ask if we an make contact with some of the group that is already there.
 

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It seems silly to get rid of stuff only to rebuy it, I agree. You'd have to weigh that against the cost of moving it. It might be more silly to pay a fortune to move used things if you could buy brand new things for less than the cost of moving the old things. I'm sure there would be exceptions, of course.

Purge, purge, purge clothing. Get rid of anything you don't love and that doesn't have much wear left in it or won't suit your needs at the new location.

Wouldn't a PX have products geared to Americans? Like shoes and things sized for American standards? If you need shoes though, I'd say get rid of the ones that need to be replaced and buy new right before you leave. You don't have to pay to ship something you carry over on your own feet. :)

Think small for crafts, and multiple use too. For example, I can do tatting, crochet, knitting, and embroidery with a lot of the same threads which cuts the cost and space needed for supplies, patterns are easy to come by online for all those, and the tools needed for each don't take up much space or weigh very much. If you buy sets such as the Denise Interchangebles for knitting and crochet, you will have many many sizes of hooks and needles in two neat, organized, lightweight book-style cases that would be easy to transport but meet many of your needs. Denise Interchangeable Knitting & Crochet Original Kits – Denise Interchangeable Knitting and Crochet If you plan on a craft that requires things like crochet cotton and you have the time and patience, wind the balls down so you can remove the core and save a ton of space. It's so tedious though, and I'm sure your time is valuable especially if this move is imminent.

Maybe pay close attention for a while to see what items you use daily or at least frequently, and make a list of them. Then maybe you can decide if it would make more sense to move those items or replace them on the other end. Also make a list of clothing you'll need there, what you have that it would make sense to move, and what you need to buy and where. Keep in mind if you're having stuff shipped from the US, you may have to pay import fees and other costs in the new country. I'm not sure how that would affect anything and if you have to pay import fees on what you move. Maybe it's all the same in the end.

Don't forget to consider your outdoor stuff, too. Will you be wanting to ship things like bikes or grills? Lots of decisions to make.

Stovetop griddles can replace an electric one. A good cast aluminum one is lighter weight than a cast iron one. Some of them are reversible, with ribs on one side for cooking things like burgers and steak, and a flat side for stuff like eggs and pancakes. And it can be hung on a wall or stood on edge to save space in a cabinet. If you're really concerned about weight, check out some aluminum camping griddles. Some are smaller and lighter than the home versions but might serve your needs just as well.

I've never done a move like this, so I'm just spitballing here. I hope it helps get the wheels turning for you though.
 

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The Muse is a FV member who has lived overseas for years. She might be able to answer some of your questions based on her own experience.
Yes! I've been living in Denmark for nearly six years and I'm happy to answer questions.

I have a blog where I've documented my experience from the beginning. It talks about stuff like taxes, culture shock, food, healthcare, the language, etc. Here's the link if you're interested: Sage & Simple - food. travel. expat living.

Alternatively, feel free to post specific questions here or get it touch via PM or email.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Cool!

I've started two lists: what to ship and what to put into storage.
 

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I have no feedback...but it all sounds sooo exciting to me!!!
 

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We actively sought employment overseas back in the eighties, but it didn't work out. I'm not sure we'd want to do it at this stage of life. But it's sure fun to watch someone else giving it a try!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It is quite compelling because we planned to leave anyway. This would be a step closer to that goal. Because of the kind of work that hubby does, we always knew this was a possibility. We didn't do it before because of his kids from a previous marriage. We wanted to be closer to them. They're grown and all our parents / grandparents have already passed on so we're much more free to locate wherever we want.
 

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Not WTG about the parents and grandparents being gone, but WTG about being closer to your dream future. :)

Our problem is we love where we live now, so can't figure out why we'd want to leave. I do understand about the job and your situation though. I hope it all works out as you'd like.
 
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