Retiring to Germany as a U.S. citizen

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Posted

I am an American citizen interested in retiring in Germany. I used to be a civil servant in Miami, FL where I currently reside. I traveled to Germany nearly a dozen times over the past six years and would love to spend my retirement years there, it also seems to be easy to get to Italy from there, frankly I prefer colder weather. I am getting both social security and my retirement pension. I am also ex US military but was in Okinawa when I was in the service. I heard of American servicemen living there, I was wondering if I could get a residency permit. I have a regular source of income, and actually found the cost of living to be cheaper than South Florida, I am currently spending a winter holiday in the NRW and I really like it.

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Posted

I see 20 people have looked at this and none had an answer. Perhaps because they're thinking 'you want to leave S. Florida to retire in Germany?' or just 'huh?'. B) I grew up in St. Pete and know how you feel, actually, but don't really know the answer to your question. My feeling is that you'll not have many problems getting a residence permit as long as you can prove your independant income.

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Posted

I am a retired police officer, I got to see the real gritty side of Miami, if any of the readers got to see the things that I saw over my career they would understand why I don't want to live in Miami. I don't think anyone in Germany has seen a dead body after a car bomb went off, have they? Miami is known as the drug gateway of the US.

I thought about Italy but its almost as crime ridden as S. Florida. I value a place where I don't have to sleep with a semiautomatic pistol underneath my pillow.

I remember the story of a NYPD officer, Frank Serpico, who went off to Switzerland because he got sick of New York. That is my sentiment on Miami.

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Posted

Keep your USAA bank accounts and have everything deposited there. Apply at the German Embassy for the ability to live and work here. Get your healh insurance squared away. Get rid of everything. Take it all to a flea market and sell it all. Then move here and learn German and enjoy your retirement.

Or move to Tennessee and become a Volunteer and Titans fan.

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Posted

Check into also to see where you decide to move to if a US military base is near by. The bases would hire you in a heartbeat, but you would not get a residence permit through them. It is income though and the residence permit would not be a problem as long as you would have steady income. I know you said you want to retire but a little income would be nice and easier for the permit. Good luck.

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Posted

Uh, good idea Perdido. The bases also have PXs that sells goods right out of the states.

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Posted

I already have a pension and social security payments, I know both could be transferred to a foreign account. How much would health insurance set me back? I don't think my health benefits cover any care that is provided outside the US.

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Posted

Or move to Tennessee and become a Volunteer and Titans fan.

Id rather shoot myself in the face than root for the Volunteers.

Seriously, you need to check with your insurance company, if they know what is good for then they will cover you here, as it is cheaper than the states (at least the fraunarzt my wife is seeing is really cheap).

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Posted

But everthingelse is more expensive. Starting Jan.01 2007 the VAT (Tax) goes to 19%.. Florida still has what 7-8% tax... If you are single,

they also take 48% of your monthly paycheck before you even see it. Bank accounts here are mostly NO INTREST or 1-3% unline the US accounts.

Just about Everything here is 2x more $$ than in the US. Starting Jan.1 its going to get even more expensive. I don't know exactly where you live in FL or

what your lifestyle is like but I'd seriously consider ALL OPTIONS before you even think of coming here to retire..

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Posted

I remember the story of a NYPD officer, Frank Serpico, who went off to Switzerland because he got sick of New York. That is my sentiment on Miami.

Frank Serpico has been living quite openly in the Hudson Valley/Catskill Region of New York since at least the early 80s. I guess Switzerland does not have decent maple syrup. ;)

Anyway, I have often thought of retiring to Germany, although that day is still decades away and the Oregon coast is beginning to entice me. My suggestion would be to visit the closest German Consulate and just ask them what would be needed. I read about a couple who retired in France and they even qualified for the national health system there.

It would be a great move and I wish you luck. Report back on what you find out if you can.

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Posted

they also take 48% of your monthly paycheck before you even see it.

Doesn't apply to pension benefits. In any case, marginal income tax rates in Germany are not much higher than the US, as far as I know.

Bank accounts here are mostly NO INTREST or 1-3% unline the US accounts.

Current money market rates are 3-3.5 %. Just check out Citibank or any of the online banks.

Presumably, US banks offer slightly more, because current US interest-rates are somewhat higher than Euro-rates. So is US inflation. Big deal.

Just about Everything here is 2x more $$ than in the US.

Is it really? :unsure:

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Posted

It is not always about the money DK. Honestly. It isn't.

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Posted

Just about Everything here is 2x more $$ than in the US

I did not find Germany egregiously expensive. Food and booze were more than reasonable. Some consumer items seemed higher, but how many TVs do you need? Gas/Petrol is dearer, but one does not need to drive as much as some other places.

I also had been living in New York City before coming to Germany and as a result everywhere outside of Scandinavia seems cheaper.

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Posted

Here's a quick comparsion. US locations were chosen from as close to the OP as possible. (In/Around Miami)

Power (Cost per KWH)

-------------------------

US - Florida Power and Light - 8 US cents or 0.0608 Euro cents

DE - 3600er Paket - 14.91 Euro cents or 0.19 US Cents (Cheapest but might not be avail in all areas)

DE - Watt Ihr Spart 2,0 - 21.69 Eur cents or 0.28 US Cents (Most expensive..Well for my area)

As predicted, price is 1-2x more in DE

Gas (Regular, Per Gal)

-------------------------

Miami / Valero-995 East Hialeah Drive - $2.24 (Cheapest)

Miami / Texaco-NW 167th St & NW 12th Ave - $2.61 (Most Expensive)

DE - Average - $5.29 or 4.02 Eur

Again 2x the price, These are just 2 examples, but I think you get the picture. Anybody want any

more comparsions? Let me know...

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Posted

Wouldn't matter to me if electricity and petrol was free in the USA. Would still be too expensive.

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Posted

Hi OldTymer,

Afraid I don't have anything helpful to add, other than seconding the previous suggestion to go the the nearest consulate: home page for German Consulate General in Miami. The address and phone number is on this page.

Anyway, don't let DarkKnight scare you off. Yes, some things are definitely more expensive, and the Dollar/Euro exchange rate is not helpful, but if this is your dream, I think you should pursue it. I moved to Munich 5 years ago, and won't ever leave, if it is up to me. So, hope it works out for you, and if you ever make it around to Munich, post again, and I'll buy you a Mass of Munich's finest - Augustiner Helles. (I love talking with retired cops - my uncle was a homicide detective, and I loved hearing his 'war stories'.)

Good luck! :)

EDIT: DarkKnight does have something of a point by playing devil's advocate here - it will be good to inform yourself of living costs before making the move, just so you have an idea of if living off your pension and Social Security will cover everything. Search Toytown, and I am sure you will come up with some helpful information.

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Posted

EDIT: DarkKnight does have something of a point by playing devil's advocate here - it will be good to inform yourself of living costs before making the move, just so you have an idea of if living off your pension and Social Security will cover everything. Search Toytown, and I am sure you will come up with some helpful information.

Strange that such information comes from a US citizen who decided to live and work in Germany though...

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Posted

Do you mean, why don't I quote the costs for him? If I had that at hand, I would, but since I don't know where in Germany he intends to settle, it would be difficult to say. And of course, I don't know how much he gets from his pension and Social Security. Or did I miss the point of your post? :huh: (Quite possible as I am very tired)

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Posted

Jeebus fuck, DK! Don't you get tired of being so wrong?

Florida still has what 7-8% tax

That#s just sales tax on almost everything you buy. You left out all the other taxes, like the ABC, the licenses on establishments, the state and Federal income taxes, the lack of health insurance...

they also take 48% of your monthly paycheck before you even see it.

For Steuerklasse 6. For normal single workers it's around 40%, including payments intot he social and pensio systems.

Bank accounts here are mostly NO INTREST or 1-3% unline the US accounts.

Please to be showing me a bank in the US which offers even 3% on a savings account or STFU.

Here's a quick comparsion.

Your electricity comparison -- like damned near everything else you post -- is a load of bullshit. Florida power usage is considerably higher than Germany's (lighting, A/C) and the source is cheaper. Appliances and devices on the German market are also considerably more efficient.

The F-State is a cheap-ass place to live but the cost comparison is about equal, excepting Munich due to real estate/rent and food prices. It's a hell of a lot worse in New York City.

woof.

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Posted

Jeebus fuck, DK! Don't you get tired of being so wrong?

That#s just sales tax on almost everything you buy. You left out all the other taxes, like the ABC, the licenses on establishments, the state and Federal income taxes, the lack of health insurance...

For Steuerklasse 6. For normal single workers it's around 40%, including payments intot he social and pensio systems.

Please to be showing me a bank in the US which offers even 3% on a savings account or STFU.

Your electricity comparison -- like damned near everything else you post -- is a load of bullshit. Florida power usage is considerably higher than Germany's (lighting, A/C) and the source is cheaper. Appliances and devices on the German market are also considerably more efficient.

The F-State is a cheap-ass place to live but the cost comparison is about equal, excepting Munich due to real estate/rent and food prices. It's a hell of a lot worse in New York City.

woof.

Miami is not cheap, a one bedroom apartment can cost over 600K + assuming you want to live in area where you won't find crack dealers. I am actually in Germany right now, and found a few apartments, rents aren't too bad, I am going to move to the NRW if I get a residency permit. I am spending a couple of months here, so far have been here for a month and have scanned prices, gasoline and electricity is more expensive. But I have found places that include electricity in my rent.

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Posted

1. Sales tax is what I was talking about so comapring the FL state sales tax to the VAT is correct as they are both put on All goods bought.

You don't pay"ABC, the licenses on establishments, Federal income taxes,or health insurance." on any Items you buy in the store.

The cheapest State sales tax is NONE (Alaska) the most is 7.25% (California) Still 11.75% less than Germany's 19% (% wise and before USD/Eur conversion)

2. Don't know what country your living in but half of my pay goes to Taxes and other state shit.. and Im SK-1

If I make say 80k a year, and only get around 42-43k in my account after deductions, that looks a lot more than 41% in taxes...

Maybe it will go down in 2007, but I highly doubt it...

3. Here's one at 4.8% Here's one at 5% and Here at 5.26%

4. Now adays most of the Appliances and Electronics sold in EU land are also slightly modified and sold in the US market. Most all new Apps. are energy Efficient.

You still have no clue do you.. Living in Germany Is more expensive. And if your not working and planning to live of your Pension, then you should consider this, and research all aspects of life in Germany before you move here. Thats' the point I'm making. So Now that you've been smacked down (Yet again) go back to tending bar, and STFU...

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Posted

It was more expensive for me to live and work in Montgomery County, Maryland than it is now living in Munich. And let's not even discuss Crystal City, Virginia rent rates.

Still, it is cheaper to live in Tennessee. Go Vols.

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Posted

I was planning to live in the NRW which in my opinion is cheaper than Miami, a few staple items I bought from the local Stussgen were cheaper than my supermarket in Miami. I bought a whole loaf of white bread for a Euro, whereas in Miami pay the equivalent of two Euros. A liter of milk was about 35 Euro cents, which makes it under 2 US dollars for a gallon. I found a two bedroom apartment that I could rent long term, fully furnished with heat and electricity included for about 600EUR, my son pays nearly double that for his apartment. Miami is a dangerous city as I mentioned I used to be a cop and saw it all, even talking to local Polizei, they don't have half of the worries I have had, I used to get shot at least once a week. Germany is a fairly low crime country, and that is one thing I like, I hate guns, but kept one under my pillow for a while at home. I know Munich is expensive, but I think the NRW offers better value for money.

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Posted

@OldTymer

If I were you, I would try to spend six months here to get a real feel for things before making a full commitment to moving here. This maybe cheaper than moving over here completely and going back if you don't like it. I would say this to anyone moving to a place they are not familiar with, whether it's Germany or some tropical island. Speaking of which, the climate here is not really good. Do you want grey skies and precipitation almost all year around? There are a couple of other places in Europe which combine good weather, low crime rates and affordable housing, you know?...

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Posted

I used to get shot at least once a week.

Do you mean shot AT, or shot? If it was the latter then I can quite understand why you would want to leave.

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