Retire in Finland Blog

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leisl
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Re: Retire in Finland Blog

Post by leisl » Tue Nov 08, 2016 5:50 pm

Rosamunda wrote:I remember when I first arrived in Finland there were quite a few 'Returning Finns' at my sons' school. Things weren't particularly easy for them. In a way, it's harder to be a Returning Finn than an immigrant (you're not an immigrant, but you're not quite Finnish either). As a Finn, you are expected to know how things work. With my UK passport I can still get away with :beamer: mumbling in Finglish when I go to the maistraatti or the bank, or the doctors etc but I would not feel comfortable doing that with a Finnish passport. I wonder if there is much resentment of Returning Finns among the Finnish population. Certainly in Budapest (I lived there for a couple of years) the Hungarians who returned in the late 90s were not greeted with open arms.

Just thinking aloud!
Interesting you mention that as I've known a couple and you're spot-on. Saw first-hand that Finns perhaps looked on them as sort of, I don't know, traitors, for having dared work abroad and become citizens of the world with a more open view of things - something which really should be encouraged imo. I've only half-experienced it (doctors refused to use English with me, police refused to use English, TE-office refuse to use English, all because I am now a Finnish citizen... and with at least one of them I have the legal right to an interpreter, but it just never seems to be worth the mental effort to fight this idiocy).

I expect this to be a thing for me in moving to the UK too. Worse as I've never lived there. Not sure when it will be, but I do know that I can't stay here interminably, it's simply becoming too much and I'm tired of the sheer effort. Very few Finns will shed a tear once I finally run out of steam of course ;) Hey ho just another taxpayer taking their money out of Finland eh?

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betelgeuse
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Re: Retire in Finland Blog

Post by betelgeuse » Tue Nov 08, 2016 6:34 pm

leisl wrote: Suspicion: that integration assistance and the associated free Finnish lessons might not apply due to the ages. Not sure anyone here would know though, we don't tend to have many retired foreigners around here who might have been in that situation. Betelgeuse might know or be able to track that info down.
Interesting question. According to the Act on the Promotion of Immigration Integration jobseekers have a right to get a integration plan.
An immigrant has the right to an integration plan if he/she is an unemployed jobseeker as defined by the Act on Public Employment and Business Service or if he/she is receiving social assistance under the Act on Social Assistance on a non-temporary basis. An integration plan may also be drawn up for other immigrants if, on the basis of the initial assessment, they are deemed to be in need of a plan promoting integration. (28.12.2012/919)
http://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/kaannokset ... 101386.pdf

Becoming a jobseeker does not seem to be age limited:
an unemployed person means a person who is not in an employment relationship or not in full-time employment in business or in his/her own work in the manner referred to in Chapter 2 of the Act on Unemployment Security, and who is not a full-time student referred to in Chapter 2 of the Act on Unemployment Security; furthermore, a person in an employment relationship is considered unemployed if he/she is fully laid off or if his/her regular weekly working hours are fewer than four.
http://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/kaannokset ... 120916.pdf

Based on this I would say integration assistance is unconditionally available through a back door.
Rosamunda wrote: It's a can of worms... If a US-based Finn returns to this country and is granted a state pension, can they then return to the US and continue to claim the pension?
For moves less than a year, yes.

http://www.kela.fi/web/en/moving-abroad_pensioners


betelgeuse
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Re: Retire in Finland Blog

Post by betelgeuse » Tue Nov 08, 2016 6:39 pm

betelgeuse wrote:
Rosamunda wrote: It's a can of worms... If a US-based Finn returns to this country and is granted a state pension, can they then return to the US and continue to claim the pension?
For moves less than a year, yes.

http://www.kela.fi/web/en/moving-abroad_pensioners
Actually for US it can continue to run indefinitely.
The social security agreements with the United States, Canada, Chile and Israel concern national pensions and survivors' pensions. The social security agreement with Australia concerns old-age pensions. This means that you remain eligible for these benefits from Finland even if you move to the other signatory country for a period of more than 12 months. In addition, the agreement with Chile entitles pensioners in the signatory countries to medical care in the signatory countries.


biscayne
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Re: Retire in Finland Blog

Post by biscayne » Wed Nov 09, 2016 8:05 am

Being bored on the train at the moment, I thought I'd ask about the pension thing........

I am curious as to how it works. In Ireland (me), there are 2 types of pension, a State Contributory and a Non-Contributory pension. The contributory one is based on your employment contributions (surprise, surprise) you have to have x-number of contributions to get it. Unlike most of Europe, it is not actually based on your salary, in other words once you have the required number of contributions you get it, but everyone gets the same payment. So if you were a high earning executive or a cleaner (no offence to cleaners) you get the same payment. Which is why we have a sort of complicated system of people having work pensions and private pensions. A work pension is different to a State pension...............some people have them some don't (yawn).....

The non-contributory one is paid to anyone who is legally entitled to be in Ireland and has no means of support. So technically you could move back to Ireland having been abroad and get it. The trick is, you have to have basically nothing. If you have property or money in the bank but no pension through work or contributions, they would make you eat your savings and property before they give it to you. Surely this would be similar in Finland? Surely you cannot just move here and get a pension? I'd imagine the blogger is having her US pension paid to her Finnish account. Which, again, begs the question, why not go somewhere with cheaper living? As an EU citizen she could choose a number of places. But each to her own.


Chaapa
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Re: Retire in Finland Blog

Post by Chaapa » Wed Nov 09, 2016 4:25 pm

Flossy1978 wrote:I have a question to ask about retiring in Finland. If you've never lived in Finland and never paid into the system at all, are you able to move over to Finland , get the pension, take use of free healthcare etc? And then does it mean the partner of the Finnish person gets to benefit in the same way?

It is kind of screwy if it is like this, isn't it?
I have never paid into the system in Finland, but I have paid into the American System. The US and Finland have agreements in place that will allow me to collect my American Social Security and pension while living in Finland. It is not our plan to use social benefits in Finland. We won't be wealthy, but if we wanted to live extravagently we would be going elsewhere.


Chaapa
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Re: Retire in Finland Blog

Post by Chaapa » Wed Nov 09, 2016 5:10 pm

Thank you all for your thoughtful replies and the discussion.

As I understand it, we will be paying taxes in Finland based on our US pensions ,which will be paid into Finnish bank accounts (Yes, converted into euros will the the currency fluctuations inherent in that) presumably. We will also be obligated to file in the US but probably not actually have any real tax obligation to the US. Our American pension money will totally be used in the Finnish economy.

My biggest worries are about integration for my husband. He speaks no Finnish, but will be needing some access to doing the things he enjoys-- in particular, he is an avid bicyclist and he loves to sing. He will need to find a tolerant choral group that will accept a older non-Finn. He is looking forward to language classes, but I have warned him that he may never speak Finnish fluently, as he has never learned a foreign language to the level required to function in a society. He likes to ride with a cycling club here in the US and may want to join a club in Finland.

There are some serious concerns here and I really appreciate your input.


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wolf80
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Location: Helsinki

Re: Retire in Finland Blog

Post by wolf80 » Wed Nov 09, 2016 5:45 pm

Chaapa wrote: My biggest worries are about integration for my husband. He speaks no Finnish, but will be needing some access to doing the things he enjoys-- in particular, he is an avid bicyclist and he loves to sing. He will need to find a tolerant choral group that will accept a older non-Finn. He is looking forward to language classes, but I have warned him that he may never speak Finnish fluently, as he has never learned a foreign language to the level required to function in a society. He likes to ride with a cycling club here in the US and may want to join a club in Finland.

There are some serious concerns here and I really appreciate your input.
Then why is your plan to move to the deepest countryside? In end-of-nowhere-mäki it will be very hard for your husband to integrate. In Helsinki there would be many offers in English, including English choir groups, and an American community to find friends. Also there is a much better offer of language courses here. Why not first move to the Helsinki area, and later think about the far North?


Rosamunda
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Re: Retire in Finland Blog

Post by Rosamunda » Wed Nov 09, 2016 8:07 pm

One of the options was Hyvinkää which is commuting distance to Helsinki, though smaller than both Vaasa and Seinäjoki. Vaasa, on the other hand, has a large Swedish-speaking community (25% in the city, a majority in the surrounding countryside) which might be more accessible from a language perspective. Also, Vaasa has an active internationalisation programme - trying to attract immigrants including refugees and asylum seekers to revitalise the countryside and provide cheap labour in the growing agro industry. As for Seinäjoki, I have never been there and know nothing about the place except for the fact that Atria is there (and they recently got approval to export pigs to China) and it is 99% Finnish speaking.

Cycling is not exactly a year-round sport. You can cycle in winter with the right bike but not many people do. Cycling is gradually becoming more popular but mostly among younger people: older folk tend to see cycling as a cheap way of getting around town, rather than a sport. Orienteering is popular sport that is "age inclusive" and there are some nice, friendly clubs around. Choirs are plentiful (church and non-church) and I don't see why they wouldn't let someone with little or no Finnish join in. It shouldn't be too difficult to find something once you decide on a place to live.

As for the language. It is extremely unlikely that your husband will master more than a few words in Finnish (living in Ostrobothnia won't make the task any easier, unless you opt for Swedish) and - god forbid - you need to consider how he would manage if something happened to you (grim thoughts - but I have heard of Finnish retirees in Spain confronted with such difficulties).

Why not just buy a mökki here and spend a few months in Finland and a few months in the USA each year? You would be able to avoid much of the hassle and yet still enjoy Finland without burning your bridges in the US. There are thousands (hundreds of thousands) of little wooden houses up for sale all over the country, crying out for some TLC...


betelgeuse
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Re: Retire in Finland Blog

Post by betelgeuse » Wed Nov 09, 2016 10:40 pm

biscayne wrote:So technically you could move back to Ireland having been abroad and get it. The trick is, you have to have basically nothing. If you have property or money in the bank but no pension through work or contributions, they would make you eat your savings and property before they give it to you. Surely this would be similar in Finland? Surely you cannot just move here and get a pension? I'd imagine the blogger is having her US pension paid to her Finnish account. Which, again, begs the question, why not go somewhere with cheaper living? As an EU citizen she could choose a number of places. But each to her own.
The Finnish employment pension lowers the amount of national pension (and after a certain point you get nothing). The national pension also has residency requirements before you can get it. Similarly to Ireland based on your description, if you are poor you will get income support.
Rosamunda wrote:Why not just buy a mökki here and spend a few months in Finland and a few months in the USA each year? You would be able to avoid much of the hassle and yet still enjoy Finland without burning your bridges in the US. There are thousands (hundreds of thousands) of little wooden houses up for sale all over the country, crying out for some TLC...
Travelling between the US and Finland can be quite demanding for old people. Going with the mökki option means accepting the strong possibility that final years will happen in the US (moving primary residence at that point probably would not happen). Given the long lifespans these days it can be quite a while.


leisl
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Re: Retire in Finland Blog

Post by leisl » Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:46 am

Rosamunda wrote:As for the language. It is extremely unlikely that your husband will master more than a few words in Finnish (living in Ostrobothnia won't make the task any easier, unless you opt for Swedish) and - god forbid - you need to consider how he would manage if something happened to you (grim thoughts - but I have heard of Finnish retirees in Spain confronted with such difficulties).

Why not just buy a mökki here and spend a few months in Finland and a few months in the USA each year? You would be able to avoid much of the hassle and yet still enjoy Finland without burning your bridges in the US. There are thousands (hundreds of thousands) of little wooden houses up for sale all over the country, crying out for some TLC...
This... so much this. Both paragraphs. Not even if something happened to the OP, if something happened to him. Not even necessarily something catastrophic: earlier I touched on my own experiences in the health system here and I'm generally fairly healthy, and quite a long way from retirement age, and I speak enough Finnish to mostly muddle through (more than the OP's husband is likely to acquire). I do recall with some amusement a lovely nurse who attempted to translate a procedure for me, who was kind enough to chuckle as I translated several words for her. But imagine I hadn't happened to know about the procedure in advance... it fast becomes a situation that nobody wants to be in, ever, wondering what's happening to them or to their loved one. As for Spain I have relatives who had been living there. They moved back to the UK (in their 80s) because they knew it would soon be time to consider assisted living etc - exactly as mentioned. She wanted support systems around both her and him, no more confusion over language or tackling the medical stuff. Not a moment too soon either, she died unexpectedly a month later. Try and imagine dealing as an elderly gentleman in a foreign country, doesn't speak the language and isn't capable of packing up their home and selling it alone, etc.

Assuming that the OP couple actually find the activities they're after in English (a big longshot if you go rural), it is a double-edged sword. What tends to happen with we "language-challenged" native English speakers from UK/US/Commonwealth is that we naturally seek out those of us who relate, and our superior social skills (hahaha!) ensure that we integrate successfully with other people who speak only English. Finnish goes out the window. Becoming fluent requires using it every single day in conversation. That's just not a thing if you culture your only friendships with people who speak in English. The capital area is full to bursting with ex-pat groups living in a no-Finnish bubble. Lovely if you want to feel included and have enough confidence to join them and get involved. Less so if your desire is to reach fluency.

tl;dr: OP I'm quite sure your husband could be happy here at least in the capital region but only up until/if one of you needs care. Integration: no; idyllic Finnish lifestyle: no; happily-ever-after: no.


theodoru
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I too am considering retiring in Finland

Post by theodoru » Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:16 pm

In one year I will retire. I will have social security, a state pension, income from rental property and quite a bit of money in my retirement account. Originally, I had planned to move to a less expensive state in the United States, but then Donald Trump was elected and I no longer feel as if this is my country.
So why Finland for me? My mother was born in Helsinki and is buried there. I have many cousins still there, so I will have family. I was told when I applied for a US security clearance 25 years ago that I had dual citizenship and am hoping to get a Finnish passport in addition to my US passport. From Finland, I also plan to visit the rest of Europe. I do not plan to purchase property in Finland. Instead, I will keep the building with two apartments in it that I own in the US and have my granddaughter live in it and manage the rental unit for me. During the miserable months of winter, I will probably visit back in the US. The only thing I hope for from Finland is healthcare.


theodoru
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Re: Retire in Finland Blog

Post by theodoru » Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:40 pm

How much does a mökki cost?


Rip
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Re: Retire in Finland Blog

Post by Rip » Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:29 am

theodoru wrote:How much does a mökki cost?
Depndes what you want. Running water? By a lake? Moderately close to a major southern town or far away?


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misu
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Re: Retire in Finland Blog

Post by misu » Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:36 am

I am an American-born Finn who lived my whole life in the USA.
Sooo...in other words you're an American? I mean, if you're born in the US and raised your whole life there, how can you label yourself as a "Finn"? That's pretty inappropriate, imo. Having Finnish citizenship is not the same as being Finnish. Come here and tell the Finnish people that you're a "Finn" and see how you feel then. Guarantee you will feel like a total alien.
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betelgeuse
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Re: Retire in Finland Blog

Post by betelgeuse » Thu Nov 17, 2016 4:38 pm

misu wrote:
I am an American-born Finn who lived my whole life in the USA.
Sooo...in other words you're an American? I mean, if you're born in the US and raised your whole life there, how can you label yourself as a "Finn"? That's pretty inappropriate, imo. Having Finnish citizenship is not the same as being Finnish. Come here and tell the Finnish people that you're a "Finn" and see how you feel then. Guarantee you will feel like a total alien.
It's an American cultural thing. They have a totally different concept about what is means to be X than Europeans. For them ancestry is enough.


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