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      10-24-2021, 04:47 PM   #1
hl0m4n
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Lightbulb ► Expat Experiences

for those of you who have expat experience, care to share your story ?

where are you originally from?
where did you go?
how long did you stay?
thoughts/experiences?
any regrets?

more technical question that's on my mind: social security benefits are calculated on your 10 annual highest earnings. if you work as an expat in a country with tax treaty with usa (for example korea), does your overseas salary qualify for social security benefits?
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Last edited by hl0m4n; 10-24-2021 at 04:52 PM..
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      10-24-2021, 05:16 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hl0m4n View Post
for those of you who have expat experience, care to share your story ?

where are you originally from?
where did you go?
how long did you stay?
thoughts/experiences?
any regrets?

more technical question that's on my mind: social security benefits are calculated on your 10 annual highest earnings. if you work as an expat in a country with tax treaty with usa (for example korea), does your overseas salary qualify for social security benefits?
From the US.
Stayed and worked in Germany for 2 different periods in the 80's. About a year both times. I enjoyed both jobs, but circumstances changed and I had to come back to the US both times. Well, I didn't *have* to, but it was the best thing for me to do so. Although, I do sort of regret not trying harder to make things work out for me at the end of my second stint.

The first stint, I was working for Central Texas College, which had a contract with the Army to teach GIs how to pass the German drivers test. Rules and signs only, no road test stuff. I was classified as a GS-11 and had full PX/Commissary privileges, but I was technically working for CTC and getting paid in dollars. Because I earned under $80k (*way under*), it was all tax exempt. So for that year, my SSA earnings shows $0 earned.

The second stint, I was working for UPS. UPS is incorporated over there, so it was UPS, GmbH. I got paid in Deutsche Marks and paid taxes into the German system. I came back to the US in November and worked here for a couple of months, so I had some reportable income that year. But obviously none of the money I earned working for UPS counted towards Social Security.
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      10-24-2021, 06:56 PM   #3
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I am not sure if I encompass what you are looking for as i more reluctantly emigrate rather than did a stint so to speak.

I will say this much, it is exceedingly difficult to be far away from family, particularly if you have kids. It then gets exponentially harder as your folks age.

Stay close to family if you are civil is my advice.
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      10-24-2021, 07:14 PM   #4
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I just completed a nearly 3 year stint in Germany.

Raised in Detroit. Work for a very large Automotive German Tier 1, 12 years before I took the Expat near Stuttgart.

Overall a good experience. Got to attack the Ring. I got to lead a team of ~20ish people with PhDs, and very impressed with the talent there. Learned a lot. Helped develop some cutting edge stuff for my company. The American 'Can Do' mindset at the helm, with some very knowledgeable and motivated people leading the charge was a great mix. Definitely the highest point of my career so far.

It was a bit tough on my family. My wife continued to work remotely half time for U of M. My daughter was 3 when we left, and she turned 6 around the time we came back. It was hard for the at times for sure. But the travel was was well worth it, and we got so see some pretty cool stuff. Before Covid that is.

We've been back Stateside since May. It's good to be home, but I miss my previous role. But especially the 'Ring.
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      10-24-2021, 09:32 PM   #5
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Originally from NZ, so I'm guessing you're not wanting to hear my experiences in living here. Nor my rants about this place.
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      10-24-2021, 09:54 PM   #6
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Originally from NZ, so I'm guessing you're not wanting to hear my experiences in living here. Nor my rants about this place.
Lol. Beautiful country tho.
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      10-24-2021, 11:34 PM   #7
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@dinonz: i miss auckland haven't seen my aunt for 2 years now. they need to open the borders again.

@m_six: thanks for sharing. i think you answered my question regarding social security. if the tax exempt portion is not reported as income to social security that's not good for me. korea for example has a $110k tax exemption with usa. if what you say is true, if i make $200k only $90k be reported to social as income.
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      10-24-2021, 11:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
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@dinonz: i miss auckland haven't seen my aunt for 2 years now. they need to open the borders again.

@m_six: thanks for sharing. i think you answered my question regarding social security. if the tax exempt portion is not reported as income to social security that's not good for me. korea for example has a $110k tax exemption with usa. if what you say is true, if i make $200k only $90k be reported to social as income.
Yeah - sadly the borders are only open for us Kiwis.
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      10-24-2021, 11:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hl0m4n View Post
@dinonz: i miss auckland haven't seen my aunt for 2 years now. they need to open the borders again.

@m_six: thanks for sharing. i think you answered my question regarding social security. if the tax exempt portion is not reported as income to social security that's not good for me. korea for example has a $110k tax exemption with usa. if what you say is true, if i make $200k only $90k be reported to social as income.
That's how it was in the 80's. I have no idea how it works now. But back then, I paid no taxes at all. No deductions from my paycheck.
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      10-25-2021, 10:59 AM   #10
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I was an expat 3 times. First time London long ago and more recently in a remote hardship location. One thing I can say is that it's gotten easier to live anywhere as the world has gotten smaller. Every place has it's quirks and what seem to be contradictions, but it's certainly gotten more homogeneous because of ease of travel, telecomms and the internet.
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      10-25-2021, 11:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hl0m4n View Post
for those of you who have expat experience, care to share your story ?

where are you originally from?
where did you go?
how long did you stay?
thoughts/experiences?
any regrets?

more technical question that's on my mind: social security benefits are calculated on your 10 annual highest earnings. if you work as an expat in a country with tax treaty with usa (for example korea), does your overseas salary qualify for social security benefits?
where are you originally from? US by way of Russia (living in US since 1995, 35 Y/O)

where did you go? Poland.

how long did you stay? 1.5 years

thoughts/experiences? Great experience, in just about every European country many/most people speak English so there is no language barrier. It's safe and friendly, definitely safer than most places in the US. I had great housing, car and gas paid for, so every weekend I explored different parts of Europe (26 countries in total). I wasn't born in the US and am very used to different cultures and traditions, so there wasn't a culture shock or standard of living adjustment that many coming from the US may have. The Polish are very direct, can be terse and don't kiss your ass, and being Russian, I can appreciate that. I also lived in China for 5 months during grad school and it was a similar experience. Overall, very financially rewarding, but I would've done even if it wasn't. There's nothing like an expat experience.

The one thing I would pay attention is on the way back to the US. Even though I had been working at my company for 5 years, I didn't have a job to return to, but I started my search early, worked closely with HR and they set me up for a pretty nice return role. Don't put that off, make sure you have a solid transition plan.

any regrets? None, would do again in a heartbeat, just about anywhere in the world.

Some things you may want to negotiate in your package...compensation for travel back home (1-2 times yearly) and hired on as a US based employee, not a local hire.
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      10-25-2021, 11:28 AM   #12
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I worked in the Netherlands for a bit, but I retained my US salary and was just paid an additional weekly stipend while I was over there, so it would not have helped out with your system gaming.
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      10-25-2021, 12:21 PM   #13
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From Ireland. Been here since 2001. Came for economic opportunity, but I'm very homesick now--haven't been home since December 2019, and I used to travel back 4-5 times a year. Even though there is a huge expat Irish community here, I miss the simpler life--the one I ran from as a young man is so much more appealing as an adult. And since I can now work from anywhere, my time in exile is coming to an end. Life has become crazy here. Not sure how to put it any other way. Have to unravel a few knots first, but will be returning to Ireland permanently within the next 3 years.
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