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Old 10-03-2010, 08:56 PM
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Hello everyone, my name is Frank and I currently live in California. The wife and i are planning to retire to Australia in about 5 years time. She is an Australian citizen and we are trying to plan the purchase of a house as well as figure out the tax implications of a PERS pension abroad. It's going to be a monumental change for me and our two young daughters but everything I have read indicates it's a positive move and will benefit their future.

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Old 10-04-2010, 12:01 AM
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HiFrank and yes Australia has some great areas to live in away from the hurly burly of increasingly crowded cities but nothing like some US ones.
The wife probably has some ideas no doubt but if it has been a while since she has been back here, she'll notice changes.
I'd suggest that you do the partner visa earlier than later and get the daughters citizenship organised if she has not already done that and in having been married for a while and with children, you should get permanent residency straight away.
Have a look @ Partner Visa: Offshore Temporary and Permanent (Subclasses 309 and 100) and you'll see from the eligibility/application sections the Checklist in latter and Booklet #1 it is all relatively straight forward.
If you get your visa, you'll have a date by which to enter and validate it and so you could make a trip over to do that and have a bit of a look around where you may be thinking of retiring to and plenty of options depending on what you are after, costs of real estate being a lot cheaper away from the capital cities and a lot more peaceful lifestyle to be had.
I suspect you may find real estate prices here in Australia generally a bit higher than in the US and some people from Missouri who were out here once found that to be so, our average cost/average wage ratio being about 6 as compared to the US 3 apparently but that will also obviously vary on where and when if the market takes a dive, there having not been the problems in Oz. as the US has experienced or not yet anyway.
But other than that, I'd not suspect you find things here too much different to living in the US but just depends on what you are used to and of course far less people populating even our more populous areas.
A site like www.domain.com.au will give you some idea of real estate costs but if you are looking at making a complete tree change, one way of doing something that can lead to extra value is buying some acreage, either small/larger and there are all manner of lifestyles that people develop using various DIY to one extent or another KIT homes, perhaps even getting something like a barn type building erected with minimal facilities for living while you plan/build something more like a home.
Perhaps the initial structure even something you can have done before you move.
On location ideas, about 80+% of population lives on eastern seaboard of Oz and more concentrated in south east, the temperate climate area of Australia but still pretty warm summers and if you want a mix of reasonable summers, mild winters but having some snow handy if you are into winter skiing, the south coast of NSW is delightful.
If you want it warmer for a beach side retirement, you can do that on the south coast too though the north coast of NSW will be warmer and Queensland even more so though you start to get greater humidity tio contend with and more garden bugs.

Re the PERS, any income payment from within the states will I imagine be subject to US financial regulations and income from abroad for people in Australia is liable to taxation and you will find that most countries, US and Oz too probably have interaction allowances so if you have paid some tax in the US, there will be a credit re any tax liable in Oz.
There is generous treatment here re taxation of superannuation funds/pensions and so there may be some special arrangements in regard to a pension from the US.

There are possibly a number of alternatives to be considered such as if you can take the PERS as a lump sum at some stage when the exchange rate is looking more attractive, there may be some way of putting it into some sort of a fund here in Australia that will give you taxation advantages on income earnt.
You're probably best in the first place to see a pension fund/taxation accountant in the US who has knowledge of international moves to see what the situation is in the states and then even if an accountant there is not familiar with the position is here they may be able to find out but rather than total reliance on that [ and possibly fees ] you could possibly get an idea from having a look yourself at the IRS in the states and then Australian Taxation Office Homepage here and also talking to your local bank manager on situation in the US.
Most of the major banks here in Oz run international facilities and they are always keen to service individuals with sizable wealth as potential customers and should be able to advise on many areas.
ANZ - Travel and foreign exchange - Foreign Currency Rates & Currency Converter is one and the Commonwealth, National Bank and Westpac are other majors with http://www.bendigobank.com.au/public/ being less of a major bank but not far behind and well renowned for their Community Bank concept in addition to their normal banking set-up.
They also have an investment style associated organisation called Sandhurst Trustees, most banks having the same one way or another but I think the larger a bank gets, the more competitive it is for individual investment managers within and even our largest of banks the Commonwealth has been criticised re promoting margin lending with retired people here encouraged by an investment company to use their homes as assetts and no need to guess the result when the stock market goes down.
One of our smaller medical insurance finds also has an investment arm as well, Health Insurance, Private Health Cover, Home & Contents Insurance, Private Health Insurance - Australian Unity and you may even be able to get advice from them on what can be set up as a retirement fund with taxation advantage.

Last edited by Wanderer; 10-04-2010 at 12:05 AM.

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Old 10-04-2010, 04:05 AM
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Thanks for the welcome Wanderer, that looks like all good advice. We plan get moving on the girls soon. The rest will take some time but the move is still a few years away.

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