Retiring to Germany as a U.S. citizen

How to get a visa, plus other advice

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OldTymer2008
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.
Kat
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?'. 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.
OldTymer2008
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.
eurovol
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.
perdido
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.
eurovol
Uh, good idea Perdido. The bases also have PXs that sells goods right out of the states.
OldTymer2008
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.
dolfan
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).
Darkknight
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..
TheMoth
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.
tom_a
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 $$ than in the US.
Is it really?
Crawlie
It is not always about the money DK. Honestly. It isn't.
TheMoth
Just about Everything here is 2x more $$ 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.
Darkknight
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...
Johnny English
Wouldn't matter to me if electricity and petrol was free in the USA. Would still be too expensive.
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