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Moving out of the US


goldendesign
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One, we're hoping you are a statistical miracle, and have to suffer through another 50+ years listening to your wife nag you about your socks being in the wrong drawer or the dishwasher being run before it was full.

Two, how are Denmark and Sweden in the winter months?  I'm guessing Copenhagen isn't quite as bad as Oslo (Norway) or Stockholm (same latitude as Oslo) would be.  Malmo looks right across from Copenhagen, so could be bearable - but aren't those still up around Anchorage's latitude? 

I think I would gravitate more towards the slightly warmer areas of Europe with somewhere like Portugal? If I wanted seasons, I might think Belgium or Netherlands (Luxembourg???). 

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I missed the memo. What’s up?

28 minutes ago, goldendesign said:

With my eventual demise a high probability

I would move to Switzerland tomorrow if possible. If your wife’s family is in Scandinavia, it’s all the easier to find a place there. 

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36 minutes ago, MoseySusan said:

I missed the memo. What’s up?

I would move to Switzerland tomorrow if possible. If your wife’s family is in Scandinavia, it’s all the easier to find a place there. 

Long story short; terminal-ish cancer. Nodules are now 7 with 3 of them greater than 4mm, growing faster than they like but still a decent amount of time until my departure date.

 

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Best of luck to you and your family as you work through some very complicated issues.  I toll hope you beat the odds and one day end up with your pants on backwards and your wife making fun of you.

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57 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

Two, how are Denmark and Sweden in the winter months?  I'm guessing Copenhagen isn't quite as bad as Oslo (Norway) or Stockholm (same latitude as Oslo) would be.  Malmo looks right across from Copenhagen, so could be bearable - but aren't those still up around Anchorage's latitude? 

We're gravitating to Denmark. Several indexes and reports put Denmark as the best for the main areas we want: COL = Happiness, Social structures, weather, and others.

This video was very helpful for us on the onset of this decision: 

 

 

We've both grown up in colder climates though for year round Denmark is on the whole both colder longer but not as cold as Michigan or Turkey (Ankara is about the same for the "how cold it actually gets", just for not as long)

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Sorry to hear about the cancer diagnosis…. 
 

Ultimately you gotta do what’s best for you and your family so I get that.  You had mentioned about applying for jobs in Denmark, is language not an issue there? (Assuming you don’t speak the language?) I understand you can learn & English is spoken in most European countries but visiting & living in a different country is much different.

My relatives in Holland often asked if we would ever consider living there.  As a teen I kicked the idea around of living with an uncle & racing bikes but as an adult no.  

But something my Dutch family often says does stick with me…  they often say we work so hard for so little. 

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1 hour ago, Razors Edge said:

how are Denmark and Sweden in the winter months?

Ah, cold is cold once it gets below 55 degrees, at that point it is all misery all the time.  Geothermal heat sounds pretty cool (wordplay), too!

I would leave in a heartbeat if I could and could take RO with.

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31 minutes ago, goldendesign said:

Long story short; terminal-ish cancer. Nodules are now 7 with 3 of them greater than 4mm, growing faster than they like but still a decent amount of time until my departure date.

 

I see. I didn’t open that thread. A friend from church had just passed from complications with chemotherapy. She had breast cancer, and something about the chemo caused sepsis. She died within six days after her first treatment. 
Fuck cancer, indeed. Fucked AF. 
I admire your perspective and steps to get all the ducks in a row. 

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4 minutes ago, donkpow said:

Cheese danish is my favorite.

I used to love apricot danishes as a child.  You don't see those anymore.  Or ham salad.  I miss ham salad more than apricot danishes, if I am being honest.

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3 minutes ago, Randomguy said:

I used to love apricot danishes as a child.  You don't see those anymore.  Or ham salad.  I miss ham salad more than apricot danishes, if I am being honest.

I have ham salad about four times a month. Not a danish pastry, though.

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Change is never easy, but it can be beneficial.  If you think this is a good thing for you, it's worth exploring.

In your diligence, be sure to check with someone familiar with international tax.  I don't have any personal experience with this, but I believe the US continues to tax your worldwide income unless you give up citizenship.  However, it has tax treaties with lots of countries so that the foreign taxes are credited to prevent double taxation.  Make sure you understand how the tax laws will impact you. Giving up citizenship can also trigger some tax consequences due to an "exit" tax that applies above certain levels.

One less significant but more of an annoyance to consider is setting up a bank account. A UK expat friend of mine had issues and it took far longer than expected due to some banks wanting to avoid US reporting regulations.  His employer eventually helped him and I'm sure yours can as well, but some advance diligence here can save some frustration if you don't already have a foreign account.

I admire the way you're analyzing potential future issues and planning ahead as well as exploring  what could be an exciting adventure for your family.

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@Kirby

All excellent points. I updated a list I have of things to know with a few. For the taxes I was planning on getting a financial planner/tax lawyer to help set up a few accounts. There is another youtube channel about a family that recently immigrated to Denmark from Chicago three years ago and they've been super helpful with information vlogs.

One was to solicit the services of above if you plan on keeping investments stateside like 401k, stock and 529s as an example. Since I plan and soon after the wife will to work from Denmark the banking should be straightforward. Chase, our preferred bank in the US has branches in Denmark so they might not be our final selection but will probably be our first.

We have talked about what assets to keep and leave and right now we are leaning on the clean break, just liquidate everything; house, cars, belongings, etc. Bring only minimal clothing and other items of personal nature and buy everything else fresh there. For the other taxing our income made in Denmark, I hadn't really thought about the US trying that. Honestly, I see this as the last move for me, maybe we'd go somewhere else in Europe once there but coming back stateside? Probably not. Probably not the wife either as she has more reason than me not to return. The daughter may and that's the main point of retaining and continuing to fund the 529, if she decides she wants to come stateside as an adult, she'll have the funds available to her. If not she can still liquidate them and use them to buy her first house since she won't need it to pay for college. 

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9 hours ago, goldendesign said:

We're starting to look at this more seriously. With my eventual demise a high probability we're looking at exit strategies for wife and child. Reasoning is varied but for the most part it boils down to support, affordability, and access to social structures. 

Here in the US, regardless of your politics I'm sure most of you can agree, unless you can fend for yourself with a meaningful income (middle class if that even technically exists) with a job that offers stellar medical and/or have support of family you are in for a tough time as a single parent. We are more and more thinking we don't mind a hike in what we pay for taxes if we actually see something in return. Better access to healthcare, education, and other social nets. I'm not assuming that my family will be destitute after I am gone but they will be more limited and if moving to another country now can establish a few years as residents/citizens of a nation that benefits them, then I'm game.

For all our travels we gravitate to the Scandinavian cultures. We loved Denmark and Norway as well as Sweden. There are plenty of tech companies where my skills are highly sought after, the cost of living may be high but the social benefits seem to far outweigh the additional expenditure. This would put family closer to relatives who want to help and can physically and financially help if needed too. For all the love I have for my immediate family I have reservations that when I'm gone they'll give a single shit about my wife or child. My parents at least on the surface love having a grandchild but in the end their 50 miles distance may as well be the ocean for how hard it is to convince them to come and visit her. It's always on us. Besides that their finances are suspect at best. If my wife we left as the sole provider they'd never be anything but an additional cost. My twin sister is, well herself. Again she loves being an Auntie but if the new boyfriend is still with the new-boyfriend-smell then we're so far from her mind she won't call for weeks. Elder sister is the same except also hundreds of miles away. 

I actually applied to my first job in Copenhagen. I have no illusions that I'd get this one but its a start of putting feelers out there. I understand on a surface level the requirements of immigration and am continuing to learn. Hopefully some conversations with headhunters or job interviews can illuminate other challenges we'll have to research.

A foreign country to move and a different language to learn (or no need?) at this time in life....or do you know if you could land a job offer where you can speak the language(s) well?  Are all local office /professionals required to be fluent in  English there? For instance in Germany, it's the millenial generation and younger who are required to learn English when they are young but there are varying degrees of English fluency.  I met and they worked for my dept. when I was managing a dept. for a global German engineering firm in Vancouver.  However, it's important to understand that there are a ton of  German professionals with university/college education, who still don't know much English.  Like Canada, just because we as children and teens, are required to learn French in school, doesn't mean we remember lots or can speak much at all. (every little bit helps though when going to Quebec/France).

So yes, on some work days, I was working in Metro Vancouver where for several hrs., I would hear German. It did bother me slightly not knowing what was said. But remember: in my parents' home, we grew not understanding 80% Chinese at all but trusting our parents... that's just within a family. I have lived a huge chunk of life in twilight zone like this.

Does your wife/child know of any these non-English languages for the target countries you're thinking of, golden?  As long as your family members are comfortable functioning for several hrs., in social and work situations where they might not understand what is being said. Or maybe they are motivated to learn the language or have a natural gift for language learning. I don't mean just cuss/kitchen/bathroom words either. 

******I personally have found alot of unilingual folks, get overly upset when they are surrounded by people speaking a language for several hrs. that they don't understand.  It sounds rude, but really? We (all of us here) do it all the time, speaking English on and on in front of non-English speaking people. 

So immigration to a non-English language country, as an adult needs to be treated as a lifelong adventure. 

I agree, the closeness/friendly interest of your parents, your siblings, is obvious now because they occasionally visit. But their life circumstances is not something you can rely on for their future attention when needed to your daughter, etc.

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6 hours ago, goldendesign said:

@Kirby

All excellent points. I updated a list I have of things to know with a few. For the taxes I was planning on getting a financial planner/tax lawyer to help set up a few accounts. There is another youtube channel about a family that recently immigrated to Denmark from Chicago three years ago and they've been super helpful with information vlogs.

One was to solicit the services of above if you plan on keeping investments stateside like 401k, stock and 529s as an example. Since I plan and soon after the wife will to work from Denmark the banking should be straightforward. Chase, our preferred bank in the US has branches in Denmark so they might not be our final selection but will probably be our first.

We have talked about what assets to keep and leave and right now we are leaning on the clean break, just liquidate everything; house, cars, belongings, etc. Bring only minimal clothing and other items of personal nature and buy everything else fresh there. For the other taxing our income made in Denmark, I hadn't really thought about the US trying that. Honestly, I see this as the last move for me, maybe we'd go somewhere else in Europe once there but coming back stateside? Probably not. Probably not the wife either as she has more reason than me not to return. The daughter may and that's the main point of retaining and continuing to fund the 529, if she decides she wants to come stateside as an adult, she'll have the funds available to her. If not she can still liquidate them and use them to buy her first house since she won't need it to pay for college. 

Are immigrants to any of these  countries, required to provide medical tests or maybe you're just thinking of the work visa route for yourself?

Canada requires medical tests of people applying to immigrate to Canada. All my relatives from mainland China had to submit this as part of their application pkg. submissions. I helped my father type up the applications:  Teenager Helps Father Sponsor Relatives to Immigrate to Canada – Cycle Write Blog (wordpress.com)  Yup, I knew  some adult stuff...sometimes grumpily. If anyone ever wants to teach teen not take their North American life for granted...

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@shootingstar

You make excellent points that are some we've considered and some we have not. I'll try to answer how we're approaching some of them:

Language: English is widely spoken in Denmark. About 86% of the population considers themselves fluent in English as a second language. When we visited, about 7 year ago, I found it easy to communicate in all major areas and with a barely perceptible issue in several small villages we were in hours outside of any city center. 
For learning, my daughter is young enough she just absorbs language so we are hoping she'll have an easier time acclimating to learning Danish. Especially with the timing we are looking at she'll be entering primary school (first school age is 6) so will be there from the onset of primary education. Wife already is fluent 2 languages and conversational in two more. She should have a leg up on most.

As for myself, well, I'm linguistically dumb. I can write code in 10 different "languages" yet get simple phrases in Italian and French mixed up when we traveled. I have hope that for the most part my broken Danish will suffice until we are established enough to take the Immigration language class they hold; it's a year and a half program that has a 90% success rate for non-natives to pass the language portion of immigration exam.

We know there will be hardships involved, this isn't just an extended vacation. There will be adjustments. The average home size in Denmark is 1100 sq ft. For the last decade we've been in a home 3 times that size. But there are also things I look forward to. For us now, the closest grocer is just outside our neighborhood. Literally just outside the subdivision entrance road. It is a 15 min drive of 4 miles. That kind of "required driving" inconvenience will be a thing of the past. But of course that adds the complexity of public transportation and bicycles as primary transportation.

I'm not worried about any health requirements; they don't have anything that prevents you from long term stay just because of a diagnosis (so my cancer is safe) and any other inoculations they may require can be had there for no cost. Yay socialized medicine.

 

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31 minutes ago, goldendesign said:

@shootingstar

We know there will be hardships involved, this isn't just an extended vacation. There will be adjustments. The average home size in Denmark is 1100 sq ft. For the last decade we've been in a home 3 times that size. But there are also things I look forward to. For us now, the closest grocer is just outside our neighborhood. Literally just outside the subdivision entrance road. It is a 15 min drive of 4 miles. That kind of "required driving" inconvenience will be a thing of the past. But of course that adds the complexity of public transportation and bicycles as primary transportation.

I'm not worried about any health requirements; they don't have anything that prevents you from long term stay just because of a diagnosis (so my cancer is safe) and any other inoculations they may require can be had there for no cost. Yay socialized medicine.

 

You could start learn Danish abit....now.... or whatever language for the country, that looks  possible for eligibility. Like get used to the language in a slow way now.  It would be even better if  you or wife had a job offer from the target country before leaving US. 

(Come on, B) lotsa people want all immigrants know some English before landing in North America. I get annoyed when people bitch like that...ok you go pick our farm fields, etc.)

I totally agree about liveable neighbourhoods ..everything within 15 min. walk (though some of us already live like this in North America).

Just a Canadian story a few yrs. ago:

A Filipino-Canadian employee, her uncle who was working at some factory in our city for quite a number of years, he ended up getting cancer. Anyway he was sending money back to his family in Philippines.  Uncle sadly died here...away from his family. Yes, he was in the hospital.

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24 minutes ago, shootingstar said:

It would be even better if  you or wife had a job offer from the target country before leaving US. 

Already working the network and building a CV that is Danish and Norwegian applicable. Both are on the list of countries we want to go to. I won't move until I have a job and the work visa secured. Then it'll be a frantic dash to sell all the assets we're not keeping and make the actual transition. 

I'd love to learn but right now I'll be stuck with english for the time being. From what I've read, seen (youtube), and experienced when I was there, this won't be an issue. Yeah they appreciate if you speak Danish but it's not like how the French actively shun you.

The story you shared is both sad and a reality for too many. I know at best I have a decade. I need to work and love somewhere where my death isn't the reason for my families burden. In the US that seems likely, elsewhere it is less apparent. The major things we started planning after my diagnosis was how to fund my daughters education, fund a trust to help with things after I'm gone and give them an exit strategy to somewhere there is support. None of these were extremally likely here. Sure in 10 years I'll probably have her education, mostly paid for, and the house would be paid for but all the other incidentals would be left up to  single income, single mom. In Denmark or another country that focuses on Social support, quality of life, and safety above most things, this seems more likely. 

Hell I might even live and then their stuck with me for the entirety of this wild ride.

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39 minutes ago, goldendesign said:

Already working the network and building a CV that is Danish and Norwegian applicable. Both are on the list of countries we want to go to. I won't move until I have a job and the work visa secured. Then it'll be a frantic dash to sell all the assets we're not keeping and make the actual transition. 

I'd love to learn but right now I'll be stuck with english for the time being. From what I've read, seen (youtube), and experienced when I was there, this won't be an issue. Yeah they appreciate if you speak Danish but it's not like how the French actively shun you.

The story you shared is both sad and a reality for too many. I know at best I have a decade. I need to work and love somewhere where my death isn't the reason for my families burden. In the US that seems likely, elsewhere it is less apparent. The major things we started planning after my diagnosis was how to fund my daughters education, fund a trust to help with things after I'm gone and give them an exit strategy to somewhere there is support. None of these were extremally likely here. Sure in 10 years I'll probably have her education, mostly paid for, and the house would be paid for but all the other incidentals would be left up to  single income, single mom. In Denmark or another country that focuses on Social support, quality of life, and safety above most things, this seems more likely. 

Hell I might even live and then their stuck with me for the entirety of this wild ride.

It must have taken you time to think of the future in this way for them, golden. I commend you. 

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9 hours ago, MoseySusan said:

I see. I didn’t open that thread. A friend from church had just passed from complications with chemotherapy. She had breast cancer, and something about the chemo caused sepsis. She died within six days after her first treatment. 

My wife got sepsis from her port. Hospitalized for ten days on IV antibiotics and they removed the port. 

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11 hours ago, Razors Edge said:

think I would gravitate more towards the slightly warmer areas of Europe with somewhere like Portugal? If I wanted seasons, I might think Belgium or Netherlands (Luxembourg???). 

Luxembourg would be top of my list despite some challenges. 
Lëtzebuergesch (Luxembourgish), French, and German are all official languages but strong French and German language skills are helpful. Many, not all, people, speak some English but it isn’t enough to only speak English. 
It is expensive.   A “secret” many locals use is to go shop in Germany even for every day items like toilet paper. 
pit can be difficult to find housing. 
 

@goldendesign, I admire your planning and courage n

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1 hour ago, Airehead said:

Luxembourg would be top of my list despite some challenges. 
Lëtzebuergesch (Luxembourgish), French, and German are all official languages but strong French and German language skills are helpful. Many, not all, people, speak some English but it isn’t enough to only speak English. 
It is expensive.   A “secret” many locals use is to go shop in Germany even for every day items like toilet paper. 
pit can be difficult to find housing. 
 

@goldendesign, I admire your planning and courage n

It would be wise to check cost of living..groceries, etc. Some of the countries aren't cheaper. Even more expensive than  CAnada.  :whistle: :party:  No, actually if  you live outside of a big Canadian city (provided it isn't a tech hub), housing, etc. not horrible. I actually find food in big cities for pricing quite competitive..

So goldendesign, did  Canada scare you away?  All the horror stories/rumours??  We speak the same language.

Yes, there have been 2 cancer deaths in my family....no personal bankruptancies, money-wise. I know other colleagues, friends with some cancer in family.  The tough part is if the person needs home care..and what types of arrangements can be made if family can't cope. That care is seldom publicly funded.

We didn't pay for pallative care for my father in a (teaching, research) hospital in final 4 months of life. He died of prostate cancer and chemo was last resort near the end, which weakened him. He had high quality of life for last 7 yrs. of life with treatments (no chemo) prior and visits with doctor specialists.  I will say to see health care specialists...is to live in a bigger city with several major hospitals. I have a strong bias since I lived in 3 of CAnada's largest cities which all have universities with medical schools, hospitals.  (Wherever there is a medical school there will be alot more physicians locally. Alot of physicians prefer to live and practice in cities/towns. It continues to be hard to attract doctors in rural areas. :( )

  In Europe the travel distances are less..way less...and impressive dense rail systems. 

this is a french blogger:  A Frog in the Fjord – A Blog on love, winter, food, and mainly about Norwegian people

 

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3 hours ago, goldendesign said:

Ha, I lived in Detroit for a time growing up and visiting Windsor was always a delight. The reason Europe is because of my wife is Turkish. This gets her closer to her family and possible support structure while still maintaining the high expectations of living. In Canada we would still be across the "pond" and beyond reasonable measures for her family to visit, or help if needed. Her immediate family is two sisters both with government jobs of long tenure. In Turkey you can retire when you've some number based on when you were born, number of years in government work, and the set retirement age for non government groups. For the elder sister that is 53 for the middle 56. Both of which is less than a decade away. The elder has a teenage daughter now and divorced, the middle no children or husband. They both live together already. They've both decided wherever my wife is that they want to all be together when the sisters hit retirement. They have several investment properties in Turkey above and beyond their current retirement pensions they would have. They could all afford to live together quite well in whichever European city they end up. So Europe it has to be since.

 

As for costs; being interested with numbers I pulled a bunch of current COL reports and can confidently say that the COL index is higher in Denmark (no surprise there). With a median across 7 reports of 114 or in quantitative form; everything I will buy will cost 14% more. The median salary required to live in the city centers of Denmark, ideally we want to be in the small towns just outside either Copenhagen or Arhus, is about $5000 USD ,for a family of 4, which means we may not need two salaries as we have here in the US. Since the median salary for my job at my current experience level in Denmark is about $11,000 per month take the tax rate of 52.06% which gives us around $5200 a month to afford to live. 

 

For sure, being close, location-wise, to her sisters will become more important as the years march by.

Well, hey you could take a 1/2 hr. train from Copenhagen to..Sweden (city of Malmo). :) 

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