Living in Two Countries - Pros & Cons

Chiron

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As the title may have given it away, I'm actually entertaining the idea of retirement in both Indonesia and the US about half & half during the year. I'm not exactly sure about the logistics, but maybe each 3 months make the transit back and forth. The reasons for considering this are probably too numerous and detailed, but have been weighing the various pros and cons. I've got to think that I'm not the first person to consider this, so maybe there's other pros and cons I haven't thought of. Here we go...

Pros:
1. Be able to maintain medical insurance and health care in the US using Medicare.
2. Avoid the possibility of Indonesian taxes (if the stay in Indonesia is less than 183 days per year).
3. Get to do some interesting retirement travel in both North America and Southeast Asia.
4. Wife maintains permanent resident status in the US (which has become more important to her recently).

Cons:
1. Very expensive maintaining two homes and buying lots of plane tickets. However, will get lots of FF points.
2. Speaking of planes - way too much time flying around (something I don't particularly enjoy).
3. Leaving your home(s) for extended periods of time, increases the risk of theft, damage, or other issues.
4. May not be eligible for KITAS or KITAP. Instead just get a SosBud visa on each visit.

The final point is not being able to do this forever, and not sure if this is a pro or a con. At some point this arrangement would simply have to end. I'm guessing it will get quite tiring as I continue to age. In the back and forth process, my wife and I will finally have to reach some sort of conclusion, pick one place or the other, and accept that place/situation with its inherent shortcomings. There may be a benefit built into this process, in that we can literally take years to explore the possibilities.
 

waarmstrong

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We are in the two house mode at present, excepts its 10 months in the US & 2 in Indonesia, as we have a child yet to finish high school. When our daughter moves on to college, we may do 6 & 6, or get rid of the Stateside digs and make the Jakarta house our permanent home base. Since we have a lot of family in the USA, if its plan B, we would still probably spend a couple of months vacationing ie free loading, in the States. The biggest drawbacks, are similar -- the grueling trips back and forth coupled with the visa hassles. Health is the monkey wrench.
 

waarmstrong

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Maintaining a house absentee in Indonesia is another problematic consideration. If you do not have a trusted, close relative willing to live-in and take care of the place (as well as competent enough to do so), I would be interest in your thinking on how to keep your indonesian house safe & livable. Our house in Jakarta can accommodate us & our live-in nephew and family; no one has to move out when we arrive.
 

Wisnu

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We hire a live-out maid to maintain our houses. Twice weekly, she will check it, clean from dust, let fresh air to circulate, and make sure the houses are ready anytime for us or occasionally our relative to stay.
We rented one of the houses before, but mostly ended up having to spend lot of money to fix it.
 

waarmstrong

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Even though we live in a relatively safe neighborhood, we, especially my wife, are lerry of leaving the house empty. A stretch of even a few empty days is not in the cards.
 

Jaime C

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I have been going back and forth between the US/Indonesia since the end if 2010. 3-4 months in each place. Work in US, then back to Indonesia. My wife and daughter started doing the same about 18 months ago.

For a US green card, they need to be in the US one day a year, unless there is a very valid reason.

It’s not easy, with the long flights and such. If you keep your eyes open for airline deals, you might do ok. Don’t bank on earning a ton of miles on the flights, unless you buy business class tickets. For some airlines (Delta and United), if you can prove residency in Indonesia, you are excluded from the required dollar amount of flights to get airline status. Many economy fares only yield a fraction of previous miles, though.

Normally, I’d suggest building up frequent flyer miles from credit cards. Many cards have 50-80k mileage bonus in the US. Just spend $3-4k in the first 90 days.

Some airfare deals are much cheaper originating out of the US. So, buy a RT out of the US, or if not sure of your return dates, use your frequent flyer miles for your trips. American Airlines, still lets you change dates on awards for free, if you don’t change the origin/destination cities.

As our daughter starts Kindergarten next week, we won’t be back in Indonesia until next summer.
 

Wisnu

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Our houses are located in compound with 24 hours security. Sure it's not a guarantee.
Every time we visit home, we always bring something for them, could be snacks or inexpensive souvenirs. Small investment but work very well to get extra security on our properties.
 

Chiron

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Maintaining a house absentee in Indonesia is another problematic consideration. If you do not have a trusted, close relative willing to live-in and take care of the place (as well as competent enough to do so), I would be interest in your thinking on how to keep your indonesian house safe & livable. Our house in Jakarta can accommodate us & our live-in nephew and family; no one has to move out when we arrive.
On the Indonesian side we’re considering one of two options. Buy one of these Hak Strata condo units, or make an investment to my wife’s family house compound. The less expensive option is to stay at the family house. There’s a lot of security built into this idea, as the house is always occupied by several family members who are quite dependable. There are a number of issues, like 900W electric, lots of mosquitos, and very noisy area. I thought about asking PLN to upgrade the house to either 1100W or better 2200W. In that way we can remodel a large room in the back (away from some of the noise, install an AC, put screens on the windows, and of course fix the leaky roof. The alternative is to buy a brand new 3 bedroom condo with RFID access, security guard, etc. There are no perfect solutions, so just have to pick our poison.

On the US side, am thinking to downsize to either a small condo (i.e. low/no maintenance) in a very safe area, or maybe an RV. The more I look into the RV idea, the more interesting it becomes. Every three months, I can just park the vehicle in a locked, secure garage. The downside to an RV is the depreciating value of the asset, and convincing my wife that we actually will not be homeless.
 

Vanhelsing

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Pro. Returning to each country refreshes the memory somewhat as to what I like about the place.
Con. Returning to each country refreshes the memory somewhat as to what I dislike about the place.
 

Chiron

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It’s not easy, with the long flights and such. If you keep your eyes open for airline deals, you might do ok. Don’t bank on earning a ton of miles on the flights, unless you buy business class tickets. For some airlines (Delta and United), if you can prove residency in Indonesia, you are excluded from the required dollar amount of flights to get airline status. Many economy fares only yield a fraction of previous miles, though.

Normally, I’d suggest building up frequent flyer miles from credit cards. Many cards have 50-80k mileage bonus in the US. Just spend $3-4k in the first 90 days.
It looks like you’re a man after my own heart. In our various trips over the years, I’ve signed up for just about every credit card deal out there. In some cases, cancelled the card, waited 18 months and started over. Recently I’ve mostly been interested in the cash back cards. Most notable are the Fidelity with 2% back into your investment account, and Costco with 4% back on gas and 3% back on all travel.

However, at this point in our lives, and considering the hassle of this arrangement, we’ll likely fly premium economy, which typically comes with a full complement of miles, and won’t completely break the bank. The thing to keep in mind is that your free ticket will either be an economy round trip, or you can upgrade the premium economy to business which would be a nice occasional treat.
 

Jaime C

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There is a fair amount of business class awards using miles if you’re flexible. Of course the amount of miles needed has shot up a lot. I used to fly CX and JL F for 135k round trip. Now it’s over 200k. I much prefer JL.
 

Minuteman

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Keep it simple: Summertime in the USA, winter time in Indonesia. That is...unless you like snow which I don't. :usa2::indonesia:
 

Davita

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Keep it simple: Summertime in the USA, winter time in Indonesia. That is...unless you like snow which I don't. :usa2::indonesia:
Depends on which part of USA and Indonesia one wishes to split their time...
i.e. If I lived in Scottsdale AZ. and Bali ID. it would be Oct-Mar in Scottsdale and Apr-Sep in Bali.
Right now the Bali weather could not be more beautiful...low humidity, mainly sunny with some sprinkles like yesterday and cool evenings...we dine by our pool most evenings.
Scottsdale, in the USA winter, is a paradise as the heat is much lower and gets downright cold when the sun goes down. We used to have parties in our walled backyard using LPG heaters.
 

Minuteman

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Depends on which part of USA and Indonesia one wishes to split their time...
i.e. If I lived in Scottsdale AZ. and Bali ID. it would be Oct-Mar in Scottsdale and Apr-Sep in Bali.
Right now the Bali weather could not be more beautiful...low humidity, mainly sunny with some sprinkles like yesterday and cool evenings...we dine by our pool most evenings.
Scottsdale, in the USA winter, is a paradise as the heat is much lower and gets downright cold when the sun goes down. We used to have parties in our walled backyard using LPG heaters.

A bit different than Salem Missouri. BTW, do you have a horse with no name? Living in the desert like that?
 

Davita

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A bit different than Salem Missouri. BTW, do you have a horse with no name? Living in the desert like that?
Strangely I've never seen a horse in the Valley of the Sun...and the real desert from where I used to live was many hours by car...somewhere between Phoenix and Las Vegas or Palm Springs. There are areas within the Valley that are preserved so tourists can get an idea of the Sonoran desert without having to actually go there.

Scottsdale....https://www.visitarizona.com/cities/phoenix-and-central/scottsdale
 

Daniel50

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The final point is not being able to do this forever, and not sure if this is a pro or a con. At some point this arrangement would simply have to end. I'm guessing it will get quite tiring as I continue to age. In the back and forth process, my wife and I will finally have to reach some sort of conclusion, pick one place or the other, and accept that place/situation with its inherent shortcomings. There may be a benefit built into this process, in that we can literally take years to explore the possibilities.
Yes, at some point as a person grows older one won't be able to go back and forth and need to make a decision. We have gone through different ideas, and times. At this point we are looking at Bali, at some point. We are both aware of the shortcomings but it is closer to my wife's family. Other then that we both like what Canada has to offer other then too much rain in the winter, where we are living. Like you it appears to be a work in progress and changes over time.
 

Jaime C

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I live near Scottsdale, and there are many areas with horse privileges. PV and many other areas have equine lots. I rode horses on the west side of Phoenix, as a kid, and you’d see lots of horses being ridden in the neighborhood.

If I had to be choosey, I’d stay out of Phoenix until the end October. Often still 100F until just before Halloween.
 

Banana72

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I'm in somewhat of a similar (but a bit different) situation. Fly back to the US once a year for about 2 1/2-3 weeks, usually stay with a friend there. Have a house that I've been renting out for a while. Only assets here I have are liquid assets (no property obviously unless years down the road i inherit our family house). Hoping to be staying in the US closer to 1-2 months in the future. I've always wondered about the tax...if I stay in the US more than 30 days in a year, that means I might be taxed as a US resident rather than and Indonesian resident, is this true? Right now I'm only taxed (in the US) on my stocks capital gain and rental income (in the US).
 

Banana72

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For a US green card, they need to be in the US one day a year, unless there is a very valid reason.
You mean a green card holder only needs to be in the US one day a year to maintain the green card? Definitely not my wife's case as she was sent to the secondary room a couple years ago and was given a lecture about being physically present in the US instead of just arriving for 'a couple weeks'. This after she showed bank accounts, history of residency in the US prior to living in Indonesia since 2009, having a sister living in the US, etc. I was in the baggage claim not knowing this was happening (we were separated in the custom's entry since I think permanent residents were not mixed with citizen's row yet at that time). She did not mention to them that we were married, I don't know if that would've made the difference. Long story short she ended up just surrendering her green card to the embassy in Jakarta.
 

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