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Yankee expatriation

  • 21-05-2022 11:28am
    Registered Users Posts: 14 GardenLady

    The Mister and I are Americans, born & bred. But I had two grandparents who were born in what is now the Republic, so I'm eligible for citizenship under the Foreign Birth Registry. The way things are going here in the US, we have talked about expatriating if the far right regains ascendancy and a certain Cheeto is re-elected.

    It's easy to say the grass looks greener elsewhere. Tell me why we might NOT want to move to Ireland. And let me say, housing cost isn't it--we live in a suburb of Washington DC where single family homes near us are over half a million USD and up (way up), and our mid-range townhouse would sell for $450K US.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,054 ✭✭✭ John_Rambo

    Do you own the house outright?

    If so and you're coming over here with €450k, you have some sort of a decent qualification & the ability to earn good money you'll move to a nice area with nice people, eat in nice restaurants, go to the beach, take park in good activities, go on ski holidays ect... and think Ireland is brilliant.

    If you don't and you move in to a not so nice area with not much money and a **** lifestyle you'll be on telling everyone how crap Ireland is.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14 GardenLady

    We are not likely to be affected by Trump and his ilk directly. But the actions of the far right in this country are appalling in terms of voter suppression, promoting immigrant hatred, Islamophobia, advocating the overturning of marriage equality, some even advocating to make contraception illegal. While I'm personally opposed to abortion, I do not favor the Supremes overturning Roe, since I personally know someone diagnosed with colon cancer in her first trimester (and many voted for Trump in order to get a conservative Supreme court). And many in his evangelical base are pushing for what can only be called a theocracy, in which they use the government to impose their beliefs on others. Of course, the wealthy (like Trump) are not at all affected by these things and always have options.

    Yes, we own a home valued at $450K outright without mortgage and have half a million in non-retirement savings and a couple million in retirement accounts. Compared to the suburbs of DC, the housing costs in Ireland ae not a all disturbing to us.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14 GardenLady

    Oh John_Rambo, we don't need to earn a living; we are both retired.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,809 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Manic Moran

    Maybe you should wait and see if your theocracy fears come to pass before pulling the ejection handle, if that’s your primary concern?

    I’d say overall the arguments from us boardsies for leaving are about as strong as the arguments for staying. I would personally think that if you are both retired, I’d be more worried about how you are enjoying your golden years than who is running the country. Of course, you are the only people to answer that.

    So, really, I would give you the same advice that I would give anyone looking to move the other way, and ask “what do you want to do?” And “Where is your family, do you want to see them often?”

    For example, if you are foodies, Ireland has certain limitations. Yes, there are good restaurants, but there is not the same breadth of good restaurants. In DC area, you can get top notch anything from Afghan to Ethiopian to Vietnamese to Peruvian. I’m sure that someone will now chime in with something like “You can get good Hunan at my local…”, but something I have noticed as I travel around is that what locals think is good exotic food need not have any resemblance to what is actually good exotic food. It’s a bit like my trying to find good Chinese in central Texas. The places the locals recommend are generally terrible, but my perspective is skewed from having eaten Chinese in San Francisco’s Chinatown for two decades. In a nutshell, a cosmopolitan area like DC will be more diverse, and authentically so.

    Similarly, if you like traveling. DC has IAD and BWI both close. You can get a lot more places faster from there than DUB. Even more so if you don’t have foreign languages. Want a tropical beach vacation in winter? It’s a four hour direct flight from Dulles to San Juan, you don’t even need to leave the country. Same if you want to go skiing. Both of these get worse if your $450k won’t get you a place near Dublin. Which it probably won’t. (Yes, I know you can get to most of Europe from DUB and that’s some excellent travel, at least in Summer, but the request was specifically for arguments against)

    What are your hobbies? Do you like driving? Expensive petrol, and V8s aren’t appreciated, Fly private aircraft? Far pricier and less supported. Leave your gun collection behind if you have one. My dad makes US prototype model railroads, he is reliant on deliveries from me as obtaining the materials direct from the US is… inconvenient.

    Basically, other than just “existing”, which you can do anywhere, how do you see yourself spending your time? Which country better supports that answer?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 14 GardenLady

    Many thanks for the lengthy and detailed comments. To answer a few questions/observations... yes, we use BWI and IAD, which make many places easy to reach. Except for the pandemic, we have traveled quite a bit and plan to travel further. Most of our targets are in Europe, though New Zealand is also on the bucket list and far from either place. Tons of people we know have done Alaska cruises, but we aren't feeling it on that one.

    Yes we enjoy the restaurants and museums and other amenities of the DC area, but it's not an everyday or even every weekly thing. We would expect to spend the month of January in Florida, as we do now, because the kids and grandkids live there. The Mister is a scuba diver and instructor and he is big into photography. I am a volunteer master gardener with my county and would certainly garden wherever we go. We both enjoy travel and sightseeing.

    Health insurance is a biggie, I think. We are on Medicare (I'm 67, the Mister 71) and have outstanding coverage. And of course, the DC area has massive medical resources, and Johns Hopkins is not far up the road in Baltimore. In fact, Hopkins acquired a hospital in the county where we live. Because the Mister is is a cardiac patient (persistent a-fib controlled by medication) we will look at medical resources wherever we think about going.

    We considered Canada, but we don't want to go anywhere colder than where we are know. And both Toronto and Vancouver housing prices are staggering.

    I get the idea of enjoying our golden years and not worrying about politics. But that perspective seems to underestimate the pervasive toxicity.

  • Posts: 0 Abril Dirty Topic

    One thing I'd warn you about, check what is involved in getting health insurance coverage for preexisting conditions. I know in the EU, we tend to cover as long as coverage hasn't lapsed but I'd double check etc. We do have a public health system but having private coverage is often beneficial.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14 GardenLady

    On the idea of going over for a while as a test. One idea we have considered is going over for three months and renting an Airbnb in each of three places for a month each. Perhaps spreading them out to different seasons would make more sense than the three-month period.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14 GardenLady

    Well. Another school shooting. Another round of the politicians owned by the gun lobby offering "thoughts and prayers" and opposing gun control.

    The NRA convention starts Sept 3 in Texas. Singer Lee Greenwood backed out, among others. He appeared on Fox (Faux) News about it. "Greenwood said that the "unfortunate shooting in Texas took place at a very bad time, and for me to go and play at the NRA just days after the shooting would be an endorsement..."

    So, ya know, bad timing. And "unfortunate."

    I have little to say that doesn't involve language that probably violates the terms of use.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,050 ✭✭✭✭ BattleCorp

    Pssssst. The far left are pretty much just as big a pack of [email protected]

    Seriously though, we have our own problems here. It isn't Utopia, that's for sure. Housing is cheap if you live in the middle of nowhere here in Ireland. Housing in Dublin or in any city is expensive and you wouldn't get much of a house for $450k in Dublin.

    Financially you seem like you are in a good place so I wouldn't be in a hurry to move. There are nice areas in the US where Trump and his disciples will be well away from you if you aren't into his policies. I certainly wouldn't consider moving to Ireland just because the orange man might become president again.

    I would recommend that you come for a long vacation (three months), do your research and see what it's like here before you uproot and decide to live here. Try before you buy.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Ireland itself has too many immigrants flowing into the country; most from the EU but many - such as the Brazilian population - go unchecked into the country. The official estimate for the Brazilian population, to take just one example, is 22,481 in the country. Anyone in Ireland who is aware of what's happening in cities must know that the actual figure is probably many, many times this. On Deliveroo, you find that "Elizabeth" or "Sally" is about to deliver your order, only to find that it's a very attractive Brazilian man. I wonder what's going on here...

    So whilst you are concerned about Trump's attitude toward inward migration, you must also accept that many people within the EU are asking serious questions about the number of migrants that are quickly flowing into our countries and changing quite a lot about how we live in our countries. This isn't an anti-immigrant message, either.

    For instance, I personally believe that too many Americans "piggy-back" off the Irish culture / heritage because they are almost ashamed that the US has no culture or heritage at all. I don't like this kind of piggy-backing, where many Americans reference some Irish person 400 years ago as a basis to call themselves part-Irish. We're sick to death of Americans coming over here claiming to be part-Irish and going on and on and on about it. We don't care; not a bit. Only a few days ago an American at a bar was so self-indulgent about the fact his grandmother was Irish. He made sure, in his big loud annoying accent, that every person in the bar knew he was an American that had an Irish grandmother. It's so appalling and boring and irritating that Irish people have to put up with this kind of nonsense.

    Trump's rhetoric probably goes too far, but the idea that only the United States is concerned about migration is a false one. It's happening right throughout the EU and happened with the UK and Brexit.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,825 ✭✭✭ mikemac2

    Wasn't the USA founded on a cry for no taxation without representation?

    Yet US citizens abroad still have to file a tax return. Ah the FATCA system introduced under the Obama administration.

    Best of luck OP. If you arrive here the IRS will still be looking for money ;-)

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,271 ✭✭✭✭ briany

    There are always a fair few cosy cottages for sale throughout Ireland, often with a bit of acreage attached that could be snagged for considerably less than half a million (at or below 150,000 USD). I could nearly buy one myself, but they're often out in the middle of nowhere (by Irish standards, i.e. five miles from a town, so you're in trouble without a car) and probably have hidden costs (in need of 'modernisation'). These factors are what would bring the cost down, I suppose, but still I've always thought that Americans who like the idea of living in the Irish countryside would enjoy such places, especially if they have the money to put into them to really make them top-notch.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Well, it was in the Bison Bar & BBQ, and I left the bar on the basis that I was sick to death of hearing him going on and on and on about some Irish heritage. He thought he was the most amazing person and we were all in awe of his sickly boring stories about him apparently having Irish links. All he was doing was annoying the hell out of everyone.

    And yes, you're right. Occasionally, you do find quiet Americans with self-respect and so on. But even today throughout the city, a lovely nice day, was occasionally ruined by some big loud annoying American harping on about how Irish they feel they are. I don't even think it's just me. I think most people are just a bit bored and sick of it all.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,271 ✭✭✭✭ briany

    So, obnoxious people will pop up and ruin people's buzz here and there. This isn't a phenomenon that's new or a quality any more intrinsic to Americans than any other group of people.

    On the list of things that could ruin one's nice day out, I don't think a person going on about how Irish they are would even register with me. Now, if you were talking about something like a big loud hen party that took over the entire space, that'd be a different story...

  • Registered Users Posts: 170 ✭✭ Mr_Jacko

    That sounds quite rude, I certainly am not sick to death about the idea of Americans coming over and living here.

    I do wish the American system was a lot more straight forward, as the son of an American citizen I'm going to have to wait a few years to get my green card which is a hassle.

  • Registered Users Posts: 68,318 ✭✭✭✭ seamus

    As Manic Moran says, if you have some niche hobbies that you do (or would like to try), then Ireland will be a particularly expensive place to do it. Remember that if you do get an Irish passport, you will be free to travel and settle anywhere in the EU or the UK, which could be a better fit for those who do things like model railway or amateur flying.

    Housing is not as bad as some make out. Settling in Dublin is expensive and your money won't go far, but you will get decent properties outside of Dublin and not too far from the nearest town. If you go rural you will never get the gigantic properties that you find in the rural U.S. That's just the nature of it.

    There's a lot of stuff that can't really easily be explained. It's less tangible. Stuff like a lack of fear when out and about. Less contentious politics, less openly extremist people. A generally more relaxed pace of life. Our pubic health system is cracking at the seams, but private health insurance is not expensive compared to the US, and you will never be afraid that illness or injury will bankrupt you. You will never be afraid that if you can't pay your bills you will end up on the streets.

    I'd be inclined to ask yourself if you're definitely planning on moving somewhere. If so, then sell up anyway, and move to Ireland for 6-12 months. Get a one-year lease on a rural house near Waterford or Kilkenny and see how it fits. If you miss home, you're not committed to a house you've bought in Ireland.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,152 ✭✭✭✭ Igotadose

    As someone that's done pretty much exactly what the OP is thinking of doing, here's what I've learned in 7 years living in Kerry.

    1. Health care. HSE is pathetically bad; it's on the order of Medicaid in the US. Private insurance helps, but even so, it appears (anecdotally) that the quality of health care is much lower in Ireland than the US. The availability is much higher than the US, which is a good thing, but it's not as good especially as you get older and more esoteric problems. We're seriously considering purchasing a place in the US once we're Medicare eligible in order to be able to travel back for more advanced treatments. If I were you, the funds you talk about having, I'd keep the townhouse in DC and draw on the retirement to live off of.
    2. Where you live: really depends on what kind of life you want. We're content with a laid back life in West Kerry, but this means we don't go to the movies, we don't watch TV and we spend a lot of time outdoors and working outdoors. If you like the more cosmopolitan life, Dublin is probably closer, but expect you'll want to travel to London and the continent for more sophisticated art and music entertainment. Not that Ireland's bad, it's just limited.
    3. As Manic said, the food choices are pretty limited. But, you also can get excellent fresh local produce and meat and cook for yourselves.
    4. Ireland's a much safer place to live than the US. Something like 20 murders a year or some tiny number.
    5. Immigration is nothing like what you're used to, much much lower here. You won't notice.
    6. There's no US-grade homelessness in Ireland. Something like a couple hundred people sleep 'rough' on average nationwide. Most of the 'homeless' are people waiting on housing lists for free housing. There are probably more Irish-style homeless living around DC by a factor of 10 than in Ireland overall
    7. People. Irish can be very welcoming when you visit on Holiday. Living here full time, you'll find that people are people worldwide, some are nice, some are awful. I don't think Ireland is particularly better or worse than anywhere else in that regard.
    8. Driving. Be prepared for the ordeal of learning to drive on the left-hand side of the road. It can be done but it's a lot of work as you have to battle your instincts. You eventually won't be able to rent cars without an Irish driving license. This should really be an early priority and focus.
    Post edited by Igotadose on

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,520 ✭✭✭ yagan

    I've an aunt who moved back to Ireland after 50 years in USA specifically because of trump. She's much happier to be back and found the private hospitals here are as good as what she's used to.

    She still visits family in the US but too many were ardent Trumpers.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,393 ✭✭✭ mrslancaster

    Good idea, rent an airbnb for six months in Dublin and travel around to different parts of the country, see how things are. You can also travel to all parts of europe very easily from a Dublin base. Ireland can be great but doesn't suit everyone. My cousin and his family moved back from boston a few years ago. His wife is american and couldn't settle here, too far from her family, cost of property, lack of and slowness of services, weather etc etc. She particularly didn't like how a lot of things happen because of who you know, rather than as a citizens right and she found people were busybodies and gossipy. They went back in march. I know other irish people who emigrated to australia, NZ, Canada, UK, came back after a number of years, then couldn't wait to leave again because they had a better standard of living in those places.

    I would say try it for six months and you'll have a good idea if living here would suit you before you sell up. As others have said, 450k is not a big budget for property here and if you need to live near a hospital due to a medical condition, or an airport for frequent flying, that might limit your choice of location.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,520 ✭✭✭ yagan

    A big problem I've notice for the aunt who moved back after a lifetime in the US is how she gets frustrated that you just can't get what you want when you want. But she's come to appreciate that once a local tradesperson knows you the job does get done properly. I was horrified to hear how much she'd spend annually getting tradespeople in the US to fix the previous years repairs and that was considered normal with the mostly timberframe stock.

    Plus she found that when you do get a tradesperson they're a lot cheaper in Ireland. It's the waiting that annoys her.

    Her annual property taxes and charges in the US were around $16,000 so she's still pinching herself at our rates here. Initially when she moved into her house in a quiet mature estate here she was going to install security cameras and electric gates because she was used to gated communities. But having met the neighbours and internalised that statistically crime here is miniscule compared to most places she's lived in the US she obsesses less about that now.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,344 ✭✭✭ Glaceon

    Just about the driving licence bit, no US state licence is accepted in Ireland for exchange. You have to go through the whole process as if you've never driven before (theory test, 12 EDT lessons with 6 month wait and then driving test).

  • Registered Users Posts: 512 ✭✭✭ MakersMark

    450k dollars won't get you much of a house here.

    Unless you have additional income your pensions won't go far here either.

    You won't find car insurance here for under 5k for the first year at least.

    And contrary to popular belief, Irish healthcare is inferior to American.

    Finally there is nothing convenient here! Wanna buy some furniture today...sure, we'll deliver it when it arrives in November.

    I lived in CA for 14 years before Ireland, so I can give you relevant observations.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,426 ✭✭✭✭ Muahahaha

    Current average house price here in 280k in euros so $450k will get you an above average house

    I got car insurance while being treated as a first time driver just last October and Im a lot younger than the OP - cost me 550 euro, not 5k. Those figures are wildly inaccurate.

  • Registered Users Posts: 170 ✭✭ Mr_Jacko

    Interesting. I've 3-4 grandaunts over there and they've all gone down the trump rabbit hole. mind you these ladies are moving on must be in their early 80s now.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,520 ✭✭✭ yagan

    I'd only been used to seeing the US relatives rarely so generally had a positive impression from childhood, however seeing what they post on Facebook has pretty much trashed any fond memories I had formed.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,087 ✭✭✭ riclad

    a standard 3 bed house is 300k to 350k, in dublin, look on www.daft ie, search 300k ,you can buy a house in rural towns 200k , towns with 20k plus population. unless you live in a city ,town theres no gaurantee cable tv or broadband will be avaidable. the public medical service is free if you have a medical card, but if you dont have private health insurance it,ll take 12 months to get an appointment to see a consultant .health insurance is cheaper than american insurance.the weather is mild, it only gets cold for maybe 2 months. it rarely gets very hot, most buildings have heating,but no air con units.

    my advice is buy a house around 300k, maybe a bungalow, eg 2 to 3 bed single storey, house, hold onto 100k for emergencys.

    theres no extreme weather here, no hurricanes, maybe in winter it snows for a few days . right now inflation is high, cost of energy ,gas,oil,petrol going up .if you live in dublin city, you can use bus, or luas , eg its not essential to have a car .especially if you live near shops, supermarkets .if you buy in a town look for 1 that has a hospital and a train railway station . many america tv stations are avaidable on cable tv, sky tv satellite ,or on streaming services,

    house prices vary from county to county,

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,152 ✭✭✭✭ Igotadose

    Auto insurance in the US varies wildly based on your driving record and where you live. However, for a similar demographic to the OP we pay a fraction of what we paid living in 2 different 'major metropolitan areas.' About 1/3 actually.

    Ireland is much cheaper to live in than the US, except for energy & petrol.

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