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Some questions about the USA

Some questions about the USA

Old Sep 27th 2012, 3:16 pm
  #1  
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Default Some questions about the USA

Hi guys I just have some questions about the USA haven't decided whether
to move yet and have plenty of time to think about it but a few things I want to know.

As I understand it in the USA you need to have 40 credits to qualify for the
retirement pension and you can earn 1 credit per quarter. I live mostly off
investment income and in the UK I can make voluntary contributions to my
state pension such that I qualify for a full pension when I retire. Can I make
voluntary contributions to the US state pension? How much would my pension
be if I did make voluntary contributions?

I've been searching online for a while for the answer to this question but haven't found anything.

Secondly which US city has the best transport system? I here it is DC metro
but not sure.

Thirdly how much would health insurance for a single male cost?
I don't smoke but I am obese. No previous health conditions.

thanks for help guys.
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Old Sep 27th 2012, 3:20 pm
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Default Re: Some questions about the USA

Welcome to BE.

First off...do you have a visa/green card or are you a USC or married to a USC? If not your first concern should be a visa. Take a look at this...if you fit into one of the categories you may be in with a chance of moving here.
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Old Sep 27th 2012, 3:29 pm
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Default Re: Some questions about the USA

Originally Posted by n62alpha View Post
Hi guys I just have some questions about the USA haven't decided whether
to move yet and have plenty of time to think about it but a few things I want to know.

As I understand it in the USA you need to have 40 credits to qualify for the
retirement pension and you can earn 1 credit per quarter. I live mostly off
investment income and in the UK I can make voluntary contributions to my
state pension such that I qualify for a full pension when I retire. Can I make
voluntary contributions to the US state pension? How much would my pension
be if I did make voluntary contributions?

I've been searching online for a while for the answer to this question but haven't found anything.

Secondly which US city has the best transport system? I here it is DC metro
but not sure.

Thirdly how much would health insurance for a single male cost?
I don't smoke but I am obese. No previous health conditions.

thanks for help guys.
First what is you status wrt US immigration/citizenship. I assume you have the appropriate citizenship or visa to live in the US, but just wanted to check.

You cannot make voluntary contributions to the US SS system. You get credits from payroll taxes paid by your employer and taken from your wages.

You can continue to make voluntary NI contributions if you live outside the UK.

If you get your income from investments you should make sure you know hoe to deal with them for both UK and US tax purposes. If the investments are UK based the US taxes could get complicated.

As to transportation I would expect the best systems are in the larger cities that promote public transportation, NYC, Boston, San Francisco, BC, Chicago.

The health insurance cost is too open ended. It will depend on where you live and your age. But as an example in MA where you must have insurance the monthly cost of a single 50 year old male for a $2k deductible plan is $500. For more coverage you can go as high as $1000.
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Old Sep 27th 2012, 5:36 pm
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Default Re: Some questions about the USA

thanks for the replies guys. as for my visa status I haven't applied yet but if
I do it'll probably be through Eb-5. I am aware the program is ending on september 30th i'm hoping they extend it or replace it with something else.

thanks for replies anyway.
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Old Sep 27th 2012, 8:22 pm
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Default Re: Some questions about the USA

Originally Posted by n62alpha View Post
thanks for the replies guys. as for my visa status I haven't applied yet but if
I do it'll probably be through Eb-5. I am aware the program is ending on september 30th i'm hoping they extend it or replace it with something else.

thanks for replies anyway.
If you have $1m to invest, why are you concerned with paying into state pensions?
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Old Sep 27th 2012, 8:26 pm
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Default Re: Some questions about the USA

Originally Posted by Bink View Post
If you have $1m to invest, why are you concerned with paying into state pensions?
Indeed...would have thought pensions would have been least of the worries too as not to many people rely on a state pension alone these days, certainly in the US.
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Old Sep 27th 2012, 10:51 pm
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Default Re: Some questions about the USA

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
Indeed...would have thought pensions would have been least of the worries too as not to many people rely on a state pension alone these days, certainly in the US.
It all helps. A million dollars isnt much anymore. It will safely produce around $40k a year for someone who's 65 with the average life expectancy. So getting $15k or $20k a year from a state pension is not insignificant.
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Old Sep 27th 2012, 10:54 pm
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Default Re: Some questions about the USA

Originally Posted by n62alpha View Post
thanks for the replies guys. as for my visa status I haven't applied yet but if
I do it'll probably be through Eb-5. I am aware the program is ending on september 30th i'm hoping they extend it or replace it with something else.

thanks for replies anyway.
If you have foreign assets I assume you know that as a US resident they will all be taxable by the US. You will also have to comply with the IRS regulations regarding foreign assets
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Old Sep 27th 2012, 11:28 pm
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Default Re: Some questions about the USA

Health insurance for a non-smoking fat-knacker - somewhere around $500 per month - but you will have copays, annual deductibles and co-insurance at that rate. A recent ER room visit left me shy of $1,000.

Also, as you won't be part of a company insurance (group), you will be in the position that they may drop you like a bad nightmare if you do actually get something seriously wrong with you - thank god for the NHS.
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Old Sep 28th 2012, 6:51 pm
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Default Re: Some questions about the USA

Unless the OP can get a group plan he is very unlikely to get an individual plan if he is obese.
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Old Sep 28th 2012, 7:28 pm
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Default Re: Some questions about the USA

DC metro and transit is much better than NYC OR Chicago. but thats just my opinion.

DCmetro trains are alot cleaner than nyc and a more safer area to be in at night.
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Old Sep 29th 2012, 2:01 am
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Default Re: Some questions about the USA

you would have to take out a private retirement plan to be safe. You cannot pay into Social security like NI. There are many different retirement plans such as IRA's where you can chose your contributions. If you are going to be working many companies offer 401k retirement plans or 403B's that you can elect to pay into. Health insurance is expensive and you could be looking at least 600 per month. All US transit sucks, buy a car:-)
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Old Sep 29th 2012, 2:32 am
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Default Re: Some questions about the USA

Originally Posted by lgabriel73 View Post
you would have to take out a private retirement plan to be safe. You cannot pay into Social security like NI. There are many different retirement plans such as IRA's where you can chose your contributions. If you are going to be working many companies offer 401k retirement plans or 403B's that you can elect to pay into. Health insurance is expensive and you could be looking at least 600 per month. All US transit sucks, buy a car:-)
If the OP is coming in on an EB-5 I imagine he/she will be self employed and will be able to set up a retirement plan like a Solo 401k
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Old Oct 1st 2012, 1:17 pm
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Default Re: Some questions about the USA

Originally Posted by redarmy990 View Post
DC metro and transit is much better than NYC OR Chicago. but thats just my opinion.

DCmetro trains are alot cleaner than nyc and a more safer area to be in at night.
The DC is definitely cleaner and safer than NYC or Chicago.

Of course, that's because it is tiny and closes early every night - and barely runs even when it supposed to be open. I'd call it a sad excuse for a public transport system.
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 4:57 pm
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Default Re: Some questions about the USA

Originally Posted by n62alpha View Post
Can I make voluntary contributions to the US state pension?
No. The UK is a bit unusual in allowing that, or maybe it isn't but you can't do it in Canada either.

The more relevant point is Medicare, which you qualify for when you hit 65 provided you are an LPR or US citizen at the time (or have enough qualifying quarters), however if you haven't contributed to it for at least ten years you have to pay for Part A (the most important bit) which is $450 a month at the moment if you've never contributed at all. Plus you have to pay for the other parts.

Secondly which US city has the best transport system? I here it is DC metro but not sure.
The US is very car orientated, it really depends on where exactly you live in said urban area.

Thirdly how much would health insurance for a single male cost?
I don't smoke but I am obese. No previous health conditions.
Very hard to say, depends on age and where you live and so on. Plus it is all in flux with the new healthcare law. But in the thousands pa for sure.

If you are unhealthy, the US is not a logical place to move to, imo. Even if you have insurance, you still end up paying for say, 50% of your prescription costs.

Now you may think you're okay with that.

Here in Canada there's one thing I get that costs me very little because I pay into the govt. prescription drug plan (which is about $750 a year). If I bought it over the counter it would cost me $30. In the US the cheapest I've ever found it is $120, so if I was paying 50% it would be twice as much as the over the counter cost here.

Prescription drug costs are staggering in the US, because they don't have the bulk purchase contracts like Health Canada and the NHS enter into. It also creates shortages of common drugs that are unprofitable.
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