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OVERSEA LIVING FACTS

From The Sunday Times - May 27, 2007
Want to retire overseas?
More and more Britons are leaving Blighty to pick up their pension abroad. Just how easy is it?
An increasing number of us are retiring abroad, drawn to warmer, sunnier climates where our pensions will stretch further, or to be united with children or grandchildren who have settled abroad. “The silver flight is the result of Britons being increasingly willing and able to spend their retirement in Adelaide, rather than Accrington,” says Danny Sriskandarajah, associate director of the Institute for Public Policy Research. He predicts that, by 2050, more than 3.3m Britons will live overseas.

Tony and Veronica Hastings, 66 and 60, are one couple who have made the move. Last year, they paid £205,000 for a three-bed flat on the Costa del Sol, in Spain. They keep a foot in the UK, with a property in Dorset, but spend most of their time abroad. “We can walk to the beach in 20 minutes, the bills are half what they were in England and our dustbins get emptied every day,” Tony says.

The Department for Work and Pensions says that for the 1million or more Britons who have a pension paid to them abroad, the most popular location, with 242,560, is Australia. In Canada, there are 155,120; in the USA, 128,970; in Ireland, 104,270; in Spain, 79,560. New Zealand, Italy and France are popular; so, are Cyprus and Malta.

AMERICAN OVERSEAS - By Liz Pulliam Weston MSN Money

With the stock market recently approaching new milestones, you may have revived your dream of retiring early. The only question is how.

The answer for a growing number of Americans making the leap into early retirement is moving to a country with a lower cost of living. The U.S. State Department estimates some 4 million Americans live abroad, not counting military and embassy folks. About a quarter of those are estimated to be retirees.

Poke around on the Web, and you'll find a whole industry devoted to retirees looking to live like a despot on $15 a day -- usually under tropical skies with daily maid service and umbrella-bedecked drinks thrown in for good measure.

From a financial perspective, spending your golden years overseas is certainly tantalizing. Consider how far your Social Security checks might go ...

By Channel NewAsia's China Correspondent Tan Bee Leng |  Posted: 26 August 2006 2150 hrs
SHANGHAI : Singapore is tapping the Internet to stay connected with its 140,000 citizens overseas.

The government has launched the Overseas Singaporean Portal to help nurture a diaspora of Singaporeans abroad, who are firmly rooted back home.

The government wants the portal to eventually be driven by overseas Singaporeans.

It was a time for the Singaporean disapora to celebrate.

Living, working and studying around the world - they now have a new-found connection.

The portal is meant to help Singaporeans abroad keep up with the latest news from home and to enable Singaporean communities overseas to connect with one another, as well as with friends and families back home.

The portal also boasts e-government services as well as web chats, blogs and online forums.

Mr Ng Hsian Pin, Overseas Singaporean in Shanghai, said: "Certainly at times, there will be jokes and even garbage language. But there will be gems and ideas generated on this website. We should look at it positively, many Singaporeans are proud of their country and their roots."

There are 140,000 Singaporeans overseas, among them some of the island's brightest talents.

And the government is keen to keep them connected to home...


SINGAPORE: Many want to retire abroad -  Posted Straits Times 21 Aug 2008 By Teresa Tan

TWO-THIRDS of Singaporeans polled in a recent survey said they have considered retiring in another country with a slower pace of life and lower cost of living.

And 75 per cent of them were between 21 and 34 years, according to the survey, commissioned by the Tsao Foundation, a non-profit organisation.

The survey on ageing polled 300 people from 21 to 55 years. It was carried out in June and July 2008 to gauge Singaporeans' level of awareness and preparedness for ageing.

It also found that:

  • 58 per cent are prepared for ageing and feel confident.

  • 80 per cent say they have started saving for retirement.

  • 92 per cent do not expect their children to live with them in their old age.

  • 90 per cent want to spend their old age at home, and not in a nursing home.

  • 79 per cent feel they will be financially independent and do not have to rely on family, government or social support.

  • 50 per cent feel comfortable with the physical and social support here.

    While the survey did not ask the respondents why they felt that way, Dr Mary Ann Tsao, president of the Tsao Foundation, said the findings have huge implications for society. For example, Singapore has to examine if there are enough services to help the elderly who live alone.

    She added: 'The findings have demonstrated that people are generally confident about their own level of preparedness for retirement but, as a society, we may have gone only halfway towards making people feel comfortable with the country's physical and social support for ageing.

    'This may be why some people feel less committed to living out their days in Singapore. And if so, this raises important questions for the public, private and people sectors, and for all Singaporeans.

    1,000 S'poreans give up citizenship each year - 21 July 2008 Straits Times
    AN AVERAGE of about 1,000 Singapore gave up their citizenship each year in the last three years, said Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng on Monday.

    The reasons they renounced their Singapore citizenship ranged from marriage to foreigners to yearning for a different environment, he said in his written reply to a question from from Non-Constituency MP Sylvia Lim, who wanted to know how many Singaporeans had emigrated in the last three years.

    Most of them took up new citizenship in countries in Southeast-Asia, the United States of America and Australia.

    Mr Wong said Singaporeans who emigrate generally do not declare this to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) when they leave.

    The only available data which gives an indication of the number of emigrants from Singapore is the number of Singaporeans who have given up their citizenship and left Singapore.    

  • Nationalism should not be exclusive
    By Terence Chong | Posted: 20 March 2008 0745 hrs - Channelnewsasia.com

  • SINGAPORE: The price of global city status is an enlarging overseas Singaporean community, which has profound repercussions for a nation-state of only 3.5 million citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs).

  • According to recent revelations, the country loses about 1,000 educated Singaporeans each year. In addition, there are an estimated 150,000 Singaporeans working or studying abroad, a good slice of whom will not be returning.

  •  The inescapable truth is that the overseas Singaporean community, per capita, is one of the highest in the world and will get bigger. So, the Singapore government has imported foreign workers, not just to replace departing Singaporeans, but also to meet industry demands.

  • By offering a conducive environment for work, family, arts consumption and the odd topless cabaret, the idea is to turn the little island into one giant Baskin Robbins — you are bound to find a flavour you like.

  • Singapore welcomed 14,600 new citizens last year, a 10-per-cent increase from 2006. To put it in perspective, 2001 to 2004 saw an average of 8,000 new citizens per year. Applications for PR status have also been increasing. In the first nine months of last year, 46,900 foreigners were granted PR status, compared to a total of 57,300 in 2006.

  • Quite clearly, the flight of educated Singaporeans, economically speaking, poses no short-term problems for Singapore. For every person who leaves, 14 others come to permanently take his place. As a solutions-oriented approach, the open-door migration policy is a resounding success.

  • Still, emigrating Singaporeans are framed as a problem, and the government's response has, so far, been either to woo them back or, in the not-too-distant past, to demonise them.

  • In wooing them back, the government takes a pro-active approach to reach out through organisations like Contact Singapore and the Singapore International Foundation, and with "soft power" vis-à-vis Singaporean-theme festivals in major cities around the world.

  • This is getting more play with the set-up of the Overseas Singaporean Unit, which is trying to connect the Singapore diaspora through its portal (www.overseassingaporean.sg) and initiatives such as Overseas Singaporean clubs.

  • When it comes to demonising Singaporeans, labels like "quitters" and people who are "rootless" were at one time bandied about with ease.

  • If one accepts that this overseas community is here to stay and will grow, then there is a need to re-examine our concept of nationalism in the global city.

  • Labels like "quitters" are designed to arouse Singaporeans' sense of nationalist indignity. They suggest a betrayal or abandonment, and mobilises nationalist sentiments against the emigrants.

  • But if we are willing to accept into the national fold PRs who have not yet forsaken their original citizenship, there is no reason to exclude overseas Singaporeans, both of the quitting and rootless variety.

  • Why embrace PRs who straddle two societies while cold-shouldering Singaporean "quitters" whose memories will always be rooted to this "little red dot"? The time has come to rescue nationalism from exclusivity.

  • Scholars are already talking about the "long-distance nationalism" of ethnic and religious diasporas that still hold political and cultural influence over their country of origin from afar.

  • Perhaps, Singaporeans should start thinking of a "situational nationalism" that accepts that nationalist sentiments are ephemeral.

  • A situational nationalism describes how nationalist sentiments are dynamic, never constant, and articulated as the subjective experience of the individual.

  • For example, it describes how Singaporeans overseas tend to be more patriotic than those in Singapore. It describes how this patriotism fades when they return and fall into the rhythm of local life. It accommodates PRs who proclaim a great fondness for Singapore without wanting to give up their citizenship.

  • Until the exclusivity and authorship of nationalism can be fragmented, we will find it hard to accept new citizens.

  • Foreigners take up citizenship not because they love the land (or lack of) or because of childhood memories, but because they love the green environment, the political stability, the economic opportunities and the family-friendly conditions. New citizens love the "Singapore System", while Singaporeans born and bred have more intimate ties to the land. To prevent this from being a discriminating factor, the exclusivity of nationalism has to be eradicated.

  • Situational nationalism also addresses the subjective interpretation of national events. For example, the National Day Parade can fill some Singaporeans with unbearable pride and others with utter cynicism.

  • Situational nationalism does not make you feel guilty for tuning out the ceremonial fireworks and other grand displays of public affection for the nation.

  • Situational nationalism is the most democratic form of nationalism because it is subjective and refuses to adhere to definitions by governments and the cultural elite.

  • It is the only way Singapore emigrants may remain Singaporeans and new Singaporeans can become nationalists.

  • The writer is a research fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

  •