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Cute and funny!
Wow you are really an intelligent man and full of good observations!!!!When Elena landed in San Jose in 2001 Argentines did not even need a visa to get into the US due to the friendship between Bush 1 and former Argentine President Menim. Elena and I got married a month later. First came the Green Card with massive documentation, legal fees and a rough interview. Once we passed all of that, Elena had to go down several times to correct errors in the paperwork and even technicalities like some bureaucrat did not like a photo. The citizenship application was a nightmare with 6,000 to 8,000 pages of documents required. It almost killed us to get it together and get it through the system. It cost a lot in legal fees also.
Now let us turn to the medical license here in the USA. Only 20% of the foreign medical graduates pass through all of the filters to become licensed US doctors. You have the tests that you referred to USMLE 1, 2 and 3. (By the way US medical school graduates take the same test. THen you have the California Medical Board that is damned tough. Elena had to make several trips back to Argentina to get documents from the University of Buenos Aires Medical School including a letter of recommendation from the dean of the medical school. After that mountain of paper work was complete next comes the FBI background check. It is not just a matter of running one's fingerprints through the FBI and Argentine Federal Police to make sure that the applicant does not have a criminal record, etc. It is a also a background check like one would get when applying to be a cabinet officer or for a super high level security clearance. Once that bureaucratic hurdle is complete you have to pass a physical examination similar to the one an astronaut has to pass. Then comes the hell of the scramble to get into a residency program. Elena and I spent months traveling all over the US to interview for various medical residency programs. On the day of the match we were so relieved to get accepted right here in San Francisco. What happened next was three years of hell beyond imagination including weeks of 36 hour work days in the ICU, etc. After going through that hell Elena graduated and became one of the top 10% of doctors hired by Kaiser Permanente. Our total actual expenditures and "sweat equity" truly came up to about $30,000.
You made a fascinating comment about US medical credentials not being honored in Argentina. What I have learned from doctors all of the world is that a California medical license is honored all over the world. I have an ex-girl friend who is a doctor in Spain. She told me that if Elena showed up in Barcelona with her California medical license, she would be required to pass one test before getting a medical license valid throughout the European Union. If Elena showed up in Argentina with her medical license from California she would have to take one test to get her medical license for Argentina. The same would happen in Chile. Only Brasil would give her a hard time about getting a medical license.
I applied for residency in Argentina because I felt that if Elena was a citizen of my country I wanted to be a citizen of her country also. The first step was to become a permanent resident. Argentina has a tough immigration department and that was a big surprise. For example on the police record check they wanted a letter from the chief of police of Pacifica. It had to state that I had no arrests or convictions for the last five years. It further had to attest that I am a man of good moral character. Every document in English had to be translated by a certified Spanish translator and authenticated by the California Secretary of State. We also wanted flexibility so that we can retire either here or in Argentina.
My dear readers I first started living in foreign countries in 1973. I have lived on six of the seven continents in every thing from almost wealthy neighborhoods to poor slums. I spent 8 months living in an African village as the only European there.
I often hear the Philippines and Thailand mentioned as paradises where you can live cheap.
I worked at a telecom comp[any for 8 years. I had a great engineer named Bill who was always saving my neck. When I was about to make a big mistake, he would smile at me like a nice older brother and ask the following question: "What's wrong with this picture?"
First is that Thailand and the Philippines both have problems with militant Muslims affiliated with Al Quaeda. The Philippines have 7000 islands. In theory you know where the militants are and avoid them. Likewise militant Muslims tend to stay in one area in the far South of Thailand. That all sounds good until some of the militants decide to leave their sanctuary and touch off some bombs or do some kidnappings in areas where Americans live.
Realistically you still have a low probability of being bombed or kidnapped. Your biggest danger is one day the US dollars crashes 50% against the Thailand Bat or the Philippine peso and you find yourself trapped in a place where you do not have the money to pay rent.
I also see many people praising low-cost medical care elsewhere. The US has the most expensive medical charges on the planet and that is a disgrace. Every other country in the world is cheaper. In these paradises that people often dream of you have two standards of medical care-a public system that is often abysmal and a private system that can be almost as good as here but you will pay for it.
One can find places like Canada, Britain, France,, etc with decent socialized medicine. If millions of Americans moved to these places these wonderful medical systems would collapse under the weight of all of the people. Michael Moore showed an example of Americans who sneak across the border to get free Canadian medical care. If they are caught doing this, they are arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and sent back to the US after paying a big fine.
I like Argentina because its crazy currency never appreciates too much against the dollar. Argentina has major street crime in the city of Buenos Aires and in the province of Buenos Aires. It is easy to get robbed, car jacked, kidnapped, etc. But in the smaller towns in the outlying provinces you have very little problem with crime. You also have nothing to fear from terrorists.
In Argentina you can enjoy a material standard of living every bit as good as the USA and a social and family life that is far superior to the USA.
And yes a lot of countries are looking for retirees but not the kind living on a $1,200 per month Social Security check. They want people with substantial assets and income.
I urge many of you to leave this place with over-priced medical care, education, housing,and a disappearing middle class. Please do your home work and prepare carefully before you make your move!
Many European investors bought those cheap Detroit houses and went on to "lost their shirts." There was a big article in the FT of London about that.
Thanks for the kind words.
There is time on your side to wait for higher and higher medical costs and more deathly poor people as the middle class disappears.
Bob you are a very austute man. My wife's ancestors come from Northern Italy. One of her retirement options is to go to Tuscany to live. My ex-girl friend is a doctor in Barcelona. We are still on very good terms and she gets along with Elena. Marivi suggested that the first step for Elena was to get her medical license in Spain. This would be easy for Elena as she speaks Spanish and was born and raised in Argentina and has an Argentine medical license. With the California license Elena would be able to take one test and have her Spanish medical license in about 90 days. With that in hand, her credentials would be recognized throughout the European Union. With her Italian language skills improved, she could go to Italy and practice. I am sure that countries like Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, etc are very picky about who is admitted to practice.
With respect to all of the paper work required for the citizenship application, we erred on the side of caution and gave them everything that they wanted and then some. The big issue was proving that we actually lived together and were a bonafide couple. We had to produce copies of all bank statements, tax returns, utility bills, property titles, mortgage data, credit cards, etc to prove that we were a couple. This whole exercise had me up 24 hours without sleep several times. It almost killed me.
A fascinating observation. Likewise when squatters are in houses awaiting foreclosure the bank pays the property taxes.
Thanks for sharing those excellent comments Money SHeep. Retiring to a foreign country is not a poor person's game!
Yes you must complete Chapter 13 to get the lien strip.
Yes one has to show a financial hardship to declare bankruptcy. Please consult a bankruptcy lawyer.
In bankruptcy you get a real low interest loan. With drops in property values it's possible, in some cases, to pay off the loan in 60 months.
You make some interesting points here. Let us address the comments on the second lien first. With respect to tax liability, if you are in bankruptcy this voids this liability. There is also another scenario quite similar where you can void the second lien tax liability. I have already done this with a $109,000 tax liability with the IRS and they approved it.
Some years ago Gretchen Morgenstern in an article in the New York Times pointed out that if you can produce for an IRS a true and accurate list of your assets and liabilities and you have a negative net worth this will also void the tax liability. I did this with the credit card debt using www.zillow.com to prove the current worth of the houses and printing out debt websites to prove debts. I recommend that you get an accountant to help you with this.
With respect to using Chapter 13 with a non-owner occupied house let me give you my personal situation. I have not made a house payment, HOA, or property tax payment for three years. At the moment I am in no danger of foreclosure. I have a wonderful tenant in the property. I will go back into Chapter 13 on the property in December. All of the past debts will be wiped out and I will be paying what the townhouse is really worth. In my mind this beats a strategic default where I have to write off 6 years of money and time invested in the project. Please look at this option for you.
Some people cannot declare bankruptcy for personal considerations like affecting a professional license or a security clearance.
With 4 rentals you probably have lost 50% of the value of the properties. The Chapter 13 would allow you to pay them off in 60 months, if you have the cash flow to do it. For example on my rental unit I would be paying the trustee just over $2,000 per month. Of course the banks will raise hell and challenge values. You will sit 12-18 months in court before your plan is approved. Please talk to a couple of bankruptcy lawyers before doing a strategic default on your life savings.
Patrick a great article and I congratulate you and basically agree with you. I am not sure that we will be able to sell the house that we live in now. The keys might have to go back to the bank.
The lien was $152,000. We paid some $22,000 in legal fees and another $20,000 in settlement fees. Wells Fargo is tough and hard nosed as hell. The first lien could be underwater as much as $100,000 or as little as zero, We did a major remodel and do not know the current value yet but it could be as much as $700,00. My wife refused to walk away from the property. I hope that she's right.
I am blessed to have a great tenant in my rental unit. He's a real estate agent and knows the market here, He says we are having a glitch up and prices will drop as we move toward end of year. Hold your money for now!
I would apply the same principals that Mike Burry did to make $700 million-use CDC's to bet against mortgage-backed securities.
I am going through the ceiling and the roof. Peninsula Heating and Air Conditioning can do this for you. They are real professionals!
All of your wonderful and informative responses are appreciated. I did research this topic well.
Assange's sex crimes in Sweden concern two women. In case 1 Assange allegedly assured his sex partner that he was going to use a condom when having sex with her. He then had sex with the woman without a condom. In case two Assange allegedly had sex with the woman a couple of times and they fell off to sleep. During the night Assange had sex with her again without her consent while she was sleeping.
Treason is very hard to prove in the US legal system. To the best of my knowledge only two treason cases have been brought in the 236 year history of the US.
Yes the US does not respect international law. If they really wanted Assange that bad, some FBI agents or Bureau of Diplomatic Security agents from the US Embassy in London would have grabbed him and put him on a military plane to New York or Washington, DC. In other words, they would have kidnapped him.
The data that Assange released was available to over one million US government military and civilian employees with secret security clearances. To get a secret security clearance all they do is run an NCIC check to make sure that you have no felony convictions or outstanding warrants. They also probably run you through a terrorist data base. This security clearance is easy to get. It would be hard to sell an espionage case to a US jury. It would also be hard to send Assange to Guantanimo Bay as world public opinion would villify the US.
Bradley Manning is being made a scapegoat for this whole thing. He is lucky to be in a military court and not in a civilian court. The military judges will give him a fair trial and a much lower sentence. The famous attorney F. Lee Bailey always said that if he was ever put on trial he wanted to be tried in a military court. (By the way he was a US Marine Corps JAG at one point in his career.)
no neither woman said no.
Please mail to:
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My compliments on the intelligent comments! Regardless of who gets elected the mortgage interest deduction will get capped at $500,000!
Patrick cash is tight now but this would be great for us starting in December.
This is an excellent comment. I wonder if people come to Hong Kong and London seeking a safe place to put money or they want to be "in the center of things." Certainly the increased housing prices push some locals out of the market. But all of the capital influx and spending certainly helps the local economies.
From my father I learned to be a student of history. I have studied the great depression. We have been living through a mini Great Depression 2. The politicians have sugar coated it and what is left of the social net has saved us from oblivion. Had President Obama not intervened as he did, we would have had cataclysmic Great Depression 2. I'm sure that it would have been worse than the one in the 1930's. There would have been incredible human suffering and social unrest. Violence would have been common place. In such unsettled conditions, it would have been easy for a politician like Hitler or Stalin to take power. God knows what would have happened afterwards. President Obama will get a good place in history for this achievement.
Are my wife and I better off than we were in September, 2008? We live in the same house that we did 4 years ago. We still own the same rental property that we owned years ago. We drive the same cars that we drove 4 years ago. We have the same television that we had 4 years ago. We wear the same clothes that we did 4 years ago. But our debt has dropped over $250,000 and our retirement savings have grown.
I am retired and my wife is a doctor. She has been spared the pain of unemployment. But we have suffered a lot of stress over the last 4 years.
You have to know the companies very well; that means knowing when they are in trouble!!!
I have owned a condo in San Jose for 6 years. I have seen it drop in value from $415,000 down to about $180,000. On the open market it would rent for over $1,600 per month. I can put it into Chapter 13 bankruptcy and get the loans down to the current value. I see appreciation starting to go up and the tax write offs are great. It still has potential. You have to look at yur total situation.
I know HOA's well and they are nothing to laugh at ever. One in San Jose cost me A $20,000 legal fee. I do not see a foreclosure for you. I n that foreclosure scenario they would have to take over the first mortgage on your condo that is probably underwater. Do expect a lawsuit and garnishment of any wages that you have.
There is a lot of merit to your comment and I appreciate it. If we all stood aside and let the market take its course, the housing market would crash another 50%. Interest rates would go up. Your savings would probably survive assuming that your financial institution did not collapse. Literally millions of people retired or nearing retirement would see their 401(K)'s wiped out. Several major financial institutions would collapse. Unemployment would go to 40%. There would be food shortages and starvation. There would be violent social unrest. The US government would eventually default on its debt. The entire world would be plunged into an economic calamity.Eventually things would sort themselves out. But you would have massive human suffering along the way. Also , as George Soros recently said, in that kind of environment a new Hitler could easily arise. This approach was tried in 1928-1932 and it failed miserably. Only those owning gold would survive in a sense.
A Chapter 13 would allow you to reduce the debt on the rental property to what it is worth today. You would then have 5 years to pay off that debt. The complication is that you own your house free and clear, If your state does not have a homestead law protecting your personal residence the bankruptcy trustee would be tempted to tell you to sell your personal home and give that money to creditors. Please consult a lawyer on this point.
Miami attracts international investors like crazy. I think that the local market there is healing and is an interesting investment possibility.
Jeff thank you so much for asking for my help here. I have done company bail outs on three continents. I have never seen a bank act in such a bizarre manner. Normally the bank would take over or foreclose the property and get a new developer to straighten things out. The owner has an interesting tactical possibility. He can declare bankruptcy using a Chapter 13 or Chapter 11. He can then get the current value of his holdings (most likely less than what the bank is owed) and have five years to pay the bank off in full. He needs to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer. If he is in the Bay area, I recommend Mike Comfort of the Comfort Law Firm at 650-288-0071 or email@example.com.
I feel great empathy for you. The big challenge here is that security clearance. In any other case I would advise you to move out to a rental unit, declare the property you are in a rental property and declare bankruptcy iusing Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you did that, your husband would lose his clearance and his job. Even a short sale would have an adverse affect on your credit. If your husband is at retirement age, I would recommend that he retire and then you have many other options to dela with the property. As things stand you are stuck there. But the market is improving so there is some hope.
A brilliant comment and thank you so much for sharing!!!
Sir I could not agree with you more!
She was sensing coyotes around. But your comment is original and funny!
My readers the super rich will benefit from such a collapse. When assets crash to pennies on the dollar the super rich will be in there "buying like crazy."
They are not building homes. They are renting furnished apartments in major cities all over the USA.
This was a 60 Minutes segment and landlords volunteer for the program. I'm sure they rent out their less desirable properties that do not move quickly.
I had one problem with a debt to the IRS in 1999. I ended up with a college student working part time handling my file. He was very nice and considerate and gave me two years to pay $479.00.
Argentina Or Uruguay
To answer the questions above I did make it to Esperance but it was a foggy day and no luck with dolphin sightings there. My turn table is a cheap $139.00 Victrola.