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Everything posted by Buzznut3000

  1. Retiring soon. What to do about health insurance?

    I used to think health insurance was crap in the US until I moved to Germany.  In my situation at least, its way worse.  It's surprising to me that Germany is not considering a single payer system as they seem to be rather progressive in other areas.
  2. I'm in favor of it, but I hope they regulate the sharing companies a little better than in the US.  In a lot of cities, there are literally piles of them everywhere.
  3. I was told by Barmer there is no way you can get on after 55, no matter what your income.  We even filed an appeal and it was rejected.  They said income had nothing to do with it, although they didn't specify want happens if you are completely destitute. I can only go with my own experience.
  4. Any Aussie expats out there?

    Fair enough.  I felt that way about US expats until I'd been gone for several years, then I began to soften my opinion and in some cases seek them out.
  5. Just to sum up this thread as I see it.  1. Housing in Frankfurt is high and going up every year.  We started looking in 2015 and its hard to believe how much things have gone up, although rent seems low to me compared to comparable places in the US.  We decided to buy outside of town and it looks like our house has gone up about 20% in 3 years.  2. You cannot get on the public health insurance if you are 55 or over unless you had been on it before (even if your German spouse is on it and you are in perfect health).  3. State and Federal pensions from the US are exempt from German tax as well as rental income from a property there (although, of course they are taxable in the US).  The only other income that might be exempt is if you are an American citizen working for the US government here for example at the Consulate. All other private pensions and Social Security benefits are taxable.  4.  Germany is expensive to live IMO, especially if like me your income comes in US dollars.  Even so we found most things more expensive than where we lived in the US (Austin , TX which is about the same size as Frankfurt).
  6. Any Aussie expats out there?

    The Darmstadt Meetup group used to meet occasionally here. It's pretty good, actually.   Not sure why you would cringe over an Aussie bar.
  7. Any Aussie expats out there?

    Yeah I thought that was weird too so I looked it up.  If you are intending to return to Australia with 6 years you can register as an overseas elector.  If you are living permanently overseas you cannot vote and must file a de-enrollment form.  Source:  Did you register and get a postal vote form?  It would be odd if they still required a witness.
  8. Converting a US driver's license to a German one

    They are supposed to send it back to the state where is was issued, but some offices apparently don't know or don't care.
  9. If it helps anyone, I applied for the conversion (Texas DL with full reciprocity) as soon as I established residency.  They said I couldn't get my German license until the full 6 months had elapsed but they processed it and I had my license a few days after the 6 months.  It's a weird deal where your license is only good for 6 months but you have to wait until the 6 months has passed to switch it.
  10. There are several checks in place to guard against people doing this.  You have to show your residence document.  You are supposed to hold the license you are trading for at least 185 days (this was told to me when I traded my Texas DL).  There is also a 3 year limit (someone always posts that this has been changed but never has a source).  It appears though that many offices just don't care enough to bother with any rules.  The office I went to was rather strict but others have reported that they were able to get away with this.
  11. Glad to hear you are settling in.  I feel your pain, last year we were being audited by both the US and Germany at the same time!  I wouldn't agree totally with your last sentence, though.  I have income from rental property in the US and that is not taxable in Germany.  Germany was trying hard to find something to tax but ultimately failed (my other income is from a government pension which is also not taxable in Germany). 
  12. Retirement in Germany

    I'm an American retired in Germany.  My resident permit was no problem as my wife is German.  You'll need someone to help you with the paperwork for sure as you can't count on anyone speaking English in any government office.  A couple other things I discovered:  1. You cannot get on the public health insurance if you are over 55 even if you are in perfect health and your spouse is on it.  2. Learning German in your 50s (or older) is a LOT harder then I thought it would be.  3. Be sure you have at least 3 more years on your passport, otherwise renew it before you arrive.
  13. Life in Weiterstadt

    International Kids' English Club in Darmstadt info:
  14. Life in Weiterstadt

    There are a couple of active groups on  I'm sure some of the folks have kids that might be a good fit for you.
  15. Moving Expenses from USA

    We used Rainier moving from US and were very happy with them.  We moved a small amount of furniture and personal things, I think it was around $7000 (40ft container, Houston to Bremerhaven) but we also had to store our things on both sides for a short time.  They packed everything for us and unpacked at the other end.
  16. German house insulation vs US?

    I grew up in Fargo ND which makes Chicago seem like Miami (Fargo was -35C yesterday)  Our house was insulated pretty well, better than the older house I now live in in Germany.  The places I lived in Texas and California were not very well insulated.  I think the newer houses in Germany are probably better insulated than most in the US but anything more than 20 or 30 years old probably is not.
  17. Bad luck.  I have ordered multi-vitamins several times from the US.  A couple times they were stopped at customs but they released them to me at the customs office (Hanau) without further charge.
  18. Relotius Case: Fraudulent Reporting in Spiegel

    The thing is his lies are so obvious that the only reason he got away with it is his stories fit in with what the Spiegel editors wanted to believe.  They were sure everyone in America is a right wing bigot and he delivered the goods.  Most of the falsehoods could’ve been detected easily with a quick phone call or even a simple Google search.
  19. Access Netflix TV shows and Movies

    Netflix periodically collects the IP addresses of the servers of various VPN companies and blocks them.   Eventually you will tune in one day and it won't work.  An option is to purchase a unique IP address from the VPN company, which will likely never be blocked.  If it is for some reason, they will issue you a new one.
  20. Relotius Case: Fraudulent Reporting in Spiegel

    Those on the far left do seem to feel that the ends justify the means.
  21. ApplePay!

    I can't imagine the 80% of businesses that won't accept credit cards in Germany will embrace this.
  22. GLS - too much to expect

    GLS is so bad in our town, they never actually deliver anything.  You get an email (sometimes) that they are "sorry they missed you" and you can pick up your package at local store.
  23. Overseas envelope sent by post: will it arrive?

    Apparently we were extreme assholes for interrupting his very important texting.
  24. Overseas envelope sent by post: will it arrive?

    Next time figure out exactly what you want and look up how to say it before hand.  My German also sucks and I have to do that.  Also, nothing against Berlin, I think its a cool town but last time I was there and asked directions from someone on the street he yelled at us for 5 minutes and even followed us down the street yelling at us.
  25. Bank forces to take its life insurance

    I've received several mortgage loans in both the US and Germany as well as a commercial loan for an HOA.  I can tell you the bank can stipulate just about anything they like before handing over their money to you.  Especially if your credit is borderline.  Some banks require you acquire their credit cards or use their other banking services before they'll deal with you.  The loan I got for our HOA, the bank required us to raise our monthly HOA fees.  No particular reason, they just said raise it or no money.