Retiring to Germany as a U.S. citizen

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depends on whether you consider only taxes, or the whole package of deductions (health insurance, unemployment insurance etc.). I pay less than 20% taxes (I am in Steuerklasse 2), but with all the deductions it sums up to 40%. I guess OT2008 wouldn't have to pay into unemployment and retirement funds?

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@DarkKnight...

 

When I paid german taxes (3 years ago) and was single I paid aprox. 48% in tax/insurance etc. and my German wife reckons 48% aprox of her wages are gone with taxes, insurance etc...She does not earn that much and nor did I in those days as well...

 

General Point:

 

Whether some of this stuff is insurance or not...it's basically a tax...since the government can decide to do away with your payments like they did with Harz 4...people pay 30 years so-called unemployment insurance and then all of a sudden what they are entitled to is reduced..and suddenly decide that you have to work longer for your state pension.(in my book that sounds like a tax! - no contract no right of reddress in the courts...!).

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Taxes are not a worry, I am not actually going to be working in Germany. I received an email from someone at the German consulate, in order to get a permit, I have to prove that I have money to live on and health insurance. The money part has been taken care of, now its on to health insurance, like I said my health insurance cover in the US does not cover any care from a foreign doctor/hospital.

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@OldTymer2008

 

I think the tax issues was a tagent dicussion. I just wanted to add one point that you maybe should not fixate yourself on crime...I would stick my neck out and say you would be hard pressed to find the worst American Level crime rates anywhere in Europe.

 

Even, the UK which is the nearest in the crime stats to the US doesn't have the hard edge gangster culture you see in the US (says the Man who has had a few of his family members shot dead!!!).

 

Also the Statistician in me says using a Country as a category for average crime rates is a little misleading since the variations in crime within a country are as great as the country averages...i.e. Manchester Moss Side vs a village in Devon... Berlin Ghetoe vs Bavarian village...

 

Just wanted to flag that point...

 

Anyhow, since you are free and flexible...I think to start some where is the most important but keep in mind the great advice that people have given here...

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I don't want this to come out the wrong way, but another expat I met who lives in Koln, seems to knock down Munich as a city. He finds the NRW to be better as far as cost of living in Western Germany.

DarkKnight(Batman fan!! I prefer the Man of Steel) seems to feel things are expensive, since he is in Munich I would not disagree with him. I prefer the NRW, cost of living is much lower and the winter weather isn't as extreme as in Southern Germany.

Speaking of crime, I took the S-Bahn in Koln and it reminded me of subway systems in the Bronx, parts of Koln looked like New York's outer boroughs, I lived in NYC for a while.

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Munich is the most expensive city in Germany. Relatively speaking, cost of living is high. But standard of living is also very high. All depends on what you want and what you are coming from. Someone from Dublin would see Munich as very reasonable with a very high standard of living. Someone from elsewhere might see different. It's all relative.

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From what people say it is easier to integrate into Koln...people are friendlier..

 

So it maybe not a bad choice...

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Hi OldTymer2008,

 

As an American who has lived in MUC for 11 years, let me say that although prices are higher here, there are also money-saving aspects to living here:

 

1 - You may not need a car. Mass transit is good, safe, and reasonably priced if you can afford to travel after 9am. MUC has 576 km of bike paths, so biking is a healthy, free alternative. Our one car often hides in the garage for a week or more ;-)

 

2 - You may not need air-conditioning. Our home is solidly built, and by using the shades effectively it stays cool indoors despite the heat outdoors.

 

3 - A city offers numerous cheap or free ways to enjoy yourself, and if you like the outdoors, the possibilities are numerous.

 

Slow down and learn to enjoy life - in the Spring, sit in the sunshine at an outdoor cafe with a nice cup of tea and a delicious piece of strudel and watch the world go by :-)

 

(BTW: I know someone from South Florida who just moved back there after many years living here - she now realizes what she gave up. I just visited her and you couldn't pay me enough to live there!)

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OldTymer2008, I also forgot to point out that health care in Germany is somewhat "gentler" than the US. Many medications are plant-based or homeopathic, and "old remedies" are still often used. It's not that medicine is primitive, rather that folks here are less medicated that in the US. Whenever my daughter has been ill while visiting the US, the doctors always immediately prescribe antibiotics. They seem surprised when I first request something non-antibiotic. I was shocked to read that roughly one quarter of all American children are on some form of medication!

So I guess what I'm saying is that health costs here have a slightly different focus. Also, the increased exercise from walking/bicycling more helps keep you in shape too :-)

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While I´m not in the retirement category, I´d be wary of praising the health care system here in Germany. In my experience, I´ve started to think that it´s not the Health Care Utopia many people would like to believe. It´s basically a 2-class system. If you have private insurance then you get the best care/doctors etc. For public health care I´ve found that it´s a bit of a crap shoot. You may be lucky, then again, you may not be so lucky.

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Speaking of crime, I took the S-Bahn in Koln and it reminded me of subway systems in the Bronx, parts of Koln looked like New York's outer boroughs, I lived in NYC for a while.

Why would you say that? Was it because you saw a lot of graffiti? In Europe they tend to look at it as art, not an indication of entering a ghetto :)

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Just wanted to report on our recent experiences in the Stuttgart area--Denkendorf, to the east. Husband and I are retired school teachers (he a university professor), financially secure with more than adequate pensions and a healthy savings account, excellent health insurance from the US covering us here, no criminal or problematic history, and so forth--in other words what one would consider affluent 'model citizens'. We wanted to spend three years here, living on the local economy near our son and only grandchild (US Army family) who live nearby.

We arrived on Sept. 29, 2006, and are still awaiting our temporary residence permits--we made it clear that we didn't want a permanent visa. Our realtor (from whom we've rented a very nice apartment) phoned the authorities (he's friends with the local mayor) and it appears that we're being turned down. He evidently spoke with the office that now has our file but they didn't/wouldn't explain the rationale. Previously they had requested two letters in German from us about whether we had a home to return to in the US (we do) and also about an 'ending' date for our residency here. Our realtor helped us with those.

We don't know the reason but suspect it is because of the apparently tightening worldwide immigration situation after 9/11. We applied through the San Francisco consulate last Summer, they kept everything for 90 days, then returned our packet (keeping the $100+ fee) telling us our health insurance letter wasn't good enough--it didn't specify the maximum amount of coverage. We corrected that, came over to apply here at the advice of a German consular employee, but haven't gotten much better response here in Germany. The Rathaus employees are all very nice, smiling, and assure me that everything is 'in order' and that it should only be a matter of days. However, things don't bode well at the moment. It's very frustrating as we basically are just spending money on the local economy and aren't a drain, as far as I can tell, on their systems.

We love it here although it is expensive for us, compared to Oregon. However, we are enjoying the closeness to the outdoors, all of the walking, friendly people, etc--especially the wonderful bakeries. We use public transport and don't own a car--have been learning German.

However, we may be in Mexico, instead, in a few months. Wish us well! We haven't given up yet and would appreciate any advice.

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Oh, and just as an aside, my ex-husband saw the carnage after the car bomb went off at the Oktoberfest entrance years ago. Shit happens here too.

ETA just blew up parking gargage at Madrid airport. It affected air traffic yesterday but not today, our ryanair flight landed 20 mins early.

 

Europe as a whole holds a lot of appeal to Americans and Canadians, so I can understand why'd you would want to live here. And yes the cost of living is generally higher and (currently) the dollar is weaker but if your carefull you can live quite comfortable. Gas (petrol) may be 6 bucks a gallon but you can easily live without a car. With Ryanair and Squessyjet you can jet all over europe for a pitance. Only real negative is having to learn a new language every country you live in. But if you move near a big city than you'll always find english speaking expats.

 

Europe consists of 26 countries so if you can't get a visa for Germany I'm sure you can find someone somewhere that will want you :D

 

I'd make the move I'm sure you find like the rest of us you'd never go back.

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Europe consists of 26 countries

What happened to the rest of them? :o

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I don't know why everyone is so down on this guy.

 

He is going to be retired, and he has money. There is no reason he can't just rent an apartment for a year and see how it goes. If he changes his mind, he can just move somewhere else. Hardly anyone has given him advice on what is actually important, the visa needed to be able to stay here for a year (or whatever time period).

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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.

We are also considering retirement in Germany after living for several years in Missouri. I'm British, my husband is retired USAF and we have lived there as civilians before. We are weighing up all the pros and cons, but are strongly tilting towards Germany. I just hope to clear up a few points from your original post since there seems to be a lot of negative input and not a lot of positive.

 

First of all, there is a good expat community in various locations in Germany but I would recommend getting at least some basics of the language under your belt. We lived (and hope to live again) in a small village in the Hunsruck, and the fact that I spoke German helped us to really integrate with the local people. They were incredibly friendly anyway, but understanding them helped. :D My husband worked on government contract to a USAF base, so didn't use German all that much, but he is currently working his way through the lessons on the BBC's site. Very basic but a good foundation. Test your level then take what you need. You can find it here, for free:

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/german/

 

You said you served in the army but didn't say if you are entitled to Tricare. If you are, then healthcare can technically be had on US military installations, but they are often over-worked and retirees go to the end of every line. Some retirees use a combination of US and German services, seeing German doctors (and having notes copied to US records) then get their prescriptions filled on base. We are covered up to 75% and are still trying to work out what to do about the other 25%, so if anyone can recommend a good health insurance provider, I'd love to hear about it.

 

As for residency permits, I am not terribly sure since I am hoping my EU status will qualify us. Still researching that. Otherwise, I think it is conditional upon income.

 

Anyway, I wish you luck with it. We too love the lifestyle over there and have found that although Germans tend to take longer to consider a person a friend, once they make friends, you are friends for life. I can testify to that since I still have friends from decades ago!

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Hey there,

 

I hope that his helps. Check out this site. As far as permits and everything. I read in a recent reply that you don't have a problem getting a permit. But, remember you can be in Germany 3 months for every 6 months on your passport alone. Without a permit. So that will give you plenty of time to get your visas and permits in order.

 

Basic steps:

 

1.Find apartment or house

2. Need to have a regular house/apartment address ( even when you are not in the country)

3. Register yourself in the local city hall of the town you have your address in. The form you need is Meldebestatigung.

here is an example: http://www.web-amt.de/formserv/forms/Kirch...ervice/71131104

4. Then you can apply for the residency permit. (visa)

 

the link for the residency permit. the link for the form is:

http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/diplo/en/Wi...ufenthaltDt.pdf

 

This site below gives more information about the entire process and its in English.

http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/diplo/en/Wi...mmungen.html#t4

 

The only limitation with the permit information above is that if you decide to work in Germany (although you are retired) you will have to do other paperwork and it takes a bit longer.

 

As far as insurance. You can use different insurances. Here is a link for the one we use.

http://www.kkh.de/detail.cfm?pageid=131

 

My husband says that he found a page within that link that said that the medical insurance will cost roughly 100€-150€ a month. That is pretty cheap for good healthcare.

 

I hope that all of this helps. Good luck.

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when i lived in germany i paid 44% tax, but got a lot back every year when doing my "Steuererklaerung"... I would always get about a months net salary back from that. (per year). But all of these comments are based on a normal worker. Situation is totally different for a pensioner.

 

If you don't mind my asking, why are you living there Darkknight? You don't seem particularly keen on it.

 

Anyhow, I'm sure Oldtimer will have a fabulous time when he's there. BTW for normal workers the health insurance is somewhere between 12-15% of salary but I don't know what the situation is for pensioners, it would be different.

 

Best of luck for your move.

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