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About Kavm

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  1. Investing advice for an expat in Germany

    Buffet / Berkshire Hathaway shares are hardly the best investment idea at this stage, but one’d know that only when selling... I like where MtBiking is suggesting. IShare ETFs have higher fees associated with them. I think the Vanguard ones are cheaper. But - yes, buying low cost, broad based index funds, covering multiple sectors would be the way to go. And, you want to get the low/no cost brokerage to get them...
  2. I do not think so but am not sure. I was covered by the company-provided health insurance. It was a US company which had a German branch/subsidiary (do not know how that was structured in relationship to the mother company). Not even sure how my contract was internally structured within the company for this period. I, of course, had the proper employment permission and taxes were filed on my behalf for two years by Ernst and Young. I recall that they were not insubstantial as the accounting company had appealed my assessment to some tax court and they were held up, etc. Do not know the details as I was focused on my work. I have the tax filings / dossier from E&Y from early 2000, but that’s all I have in way of records. 
  3. Hello john g! My wife is indeed a German citizen. As you know, public health insurance is an oxymoron in the US context but she is a professor and has uninterrupted insurance through her employer. It is great to know that she has a right to apply for the public health insurance as ‘returning German.’  I presume I would have to do one or more of: (a) spend one year in another EU country as suggested earlier, (b) look into antwartschaftsverschierung, or (c) take my medicine with the health insurance options available at the time. Correct?
  4. Thank you so much for explaining it! I will discuss with my wife and look further into it. 
  5. Thank you both for your very helpful advice. Gives us a very good starting point, and clears some important misunderstandings. We’d definitely need specialist financial advice to make the right steps - one to two years prior to the actual move. We do not have much of our assets in Roth IRAs as they are subject to income limits that we do not meet. Regardless, I will reach out Starshollow as we get a bit closer to the time and decision.    Barring health setbacks in the coming years, we are in decent health for our age group. But, who knows what happens in the interim years and what can be counted as pre-existing condition. The idea of spending a year in Ireland / Austria (both appealing destinations) could be something that we can pursue. Beyond that, I did not understand the idea of getting “Anwartsschaftsversicherung” now. We are currently based in the US and have good health insurance coverage now. Will not be moving to Germany before retirement - both because my business and my wife’s employment are there and because too much of our income will fall in 45% tax bracket in Germany. So, can/should we still look into getting Antwardsschaftsversicherung now? If possible, please explain a bit more about that. I will also google it to understand better.   Each of us have a long-term care policy that pays something like USD 350/day after 6 months delay upto a max of close to $1M over lifetime - for home or nursing home type care. The policy pays regardless of the country we are located in. Would we still need the nursing home policy in addition?
  6. First some background - My wife (citizen of US and Germany but with residence, work history and assets in the US) and I (US citizen), currently still 5-8 years away from retirement, have some thoughts of possibly retiring in Germany. Obviously the decision of where to locate ourselves is a lot more than a financial decision, and perhaps my limited German language ability (rectifiable) and inability to blend in from a skin color stand point (not rectifiable) will play a bigger role in the ultimate decision. However, the tax impact is not an insignificant factor we project to have financial assets between 5 to 10M USD in a mixture of pre- (401K, 303-B) and post- tax portfolio of stocks, bonds, US mutual funds and private partnership assets. The main purpose of this thread to confirm my macro-level understanding at this stage. We will engage professional expertise such as that on this board before making a final decision.   Taxes: From my understanding of the tax situation thus far  - We might be best advised to convert our US pre-tax assets to post-tax before establishing a German tax residency. That'd cause us to pay the top US tax rate at the time of such conversion, but that is below 42/45% German tax rate pre-tax assets would be subject after the German tax residency. Such a conversion would make the portfolio post-tax and we'd incur the German tax rate on only the returns generated by it.  - I understand that the tax rate for income generated from assets is 30.5% (= 25% + 5.5%)   Health Insurance: We will obviously forfeit the US medicare coverage in such a move. What I am less clear is the range of annual health insurance costs we should be budgeting for. Also, what might be a good assumption in the increases in the insurance costs with age. Again, interested in a macro-level understanding. Neither of us has worked in Germany. [I have as an ex-pat but only for a year - though taxes were filed on my behalf for two years.]   Impact of Real Estate investment prior to establishing German tax residency: As I indicated, a move to retire to Germany is yet unconfirmed and likely 5-10 years away. Yet, once in a while - the thought of buy an apartment - likely in Berlin/Hamburg (the two cities that interest us) prior to the move does cross our mind. If we don't retire here, we can sell it or keep it as a second residence. We have resisted it so far as we wonder if that might have a potential to complicate our tax picture outlined above.   We would appreciate any information or advice on the above points.