Regarding health insurance I have local Malaysian health and hospital insurance, which suits all of my needs. Most of the expats I know here have local insurance instead of paying extremely high fees for international health insurance policies. Healthcare in Malaysia is excellent and a fraction of the cost back home. Most expats here believe that the high costs of international policies are overkill because they are based on US payouts and costs. I must point out at this time that even though we, as American citizens have paid a fortune into Medicare, the simple fact that we live abroad disqualifies us from receiving the Medicaid benefits which we paid for. Besides this penalty for living abroad the US also penalizes us expats by requiring us to report our bank accounts and the amounts to the Department of the Treasury and also the IRS. These laws have caused some banks not to offer banking services to US citizens abroad.
Once I took care of the banking and healthcare issues I was ready to move. I sold my house, transferred the money to my Penang account and left for Malaysia on the 4th of July. I bought a condo and a new car and was all set to start my retirement life in Malaysia. By the way unless you buy a locally produced car, be prepared to pay 3 times as much for a safer foreign made car, such as Toyota or Ford. I have now been here almost 5 years and I guess I have almost gotten used to living here. I still haven’t gotten used to the extreme heat and humidity, but I am perfectly fine with the food and everything else. The cost of living here is very reasonable, when it comes to most items. Food is cheap unless you buy the few imported items available from back home. Some items such as vitamins are very expensive, so I order mine online which saves a lot of money, even including the shipping costs.
I find the people here to be extremely friendly and helpful. I do not hang around the expat community, as I prefer the company of local friends. Unfortunately there are many expats I know who do not choose to mix with the locals or take part in the local culture. There are many expat groups, as well as communities, for people who wish the company of fellow expats. I personally believe that if you choose to live abroad you should be involved in the community you have chosen to live in. Living abroad is not for everyone, but for those adventurous souls who have the courage to try something different I strongly recommend it and I also highly recommend Malaysia as a possible retirement home.
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