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About strap

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  1. May I ask approx how much that would cost? We're just starting to explore our options for getting our stuff to the Philippines.
  2. strap

    Moody Blue has to Go Now

    Yes, I was sad to hear that. I've been a Moody Blues fan since high school in the 70's, and have seen them in concert several times. This one hit me harder than most celebrity deaths I read about. It felt like somebody I knew.
  3. strap

    A fly in the SS payment ointment....

    Let me try to get this thread back on topic. I'd hate to see it get closed, it's an important subject with potentially some really big financial implications. Here's my understanding and summary of a few of the facts being discussed. - Basically Part A is hospitalization insurance. Most all Americans who turn 65 get this free, there are no premiums. - Part B is medical insurance (think doctor's visits, lab tests, etc), things that happen while you're not hospitalized. - Part B is optional. You have to apply for it if you want it. I don't think you have to opt out when you turn 65. If you never apply, you never get it and they never charge you premiums. If you do enroll in Part B, you can un-enroll later. - The current Part B monthly premium for most new enrollees is $121.80 (not $200+). - There is a SIGNIFICANT lifetime penalty for not enrolling in Part B when you're first eligible or for un-enrolling, basically 10% per year of not being enrolled when eligible. For example, if you're 70 years old this year and decided to sign up for Part B, your premiums would be approx $180/month instead of $120/month. The penalty applies every month for the rest of your life. - I've never seen anything that indicates that the clock stops on the Part B premium penalty accumulating just because you're living outside the US. So I think if you're settled in the Philippines and have no intention of ever returning to the states (or Guam) to live or to have medical treatment, you may be OK without Part B. But if you're just testing the waters or want to leave your options open, you may want get out the calculator and do a little figuring before you decide to drop or delay enrolling in Part B.
  4. Yep...I got the same email today. It starts Aug 1 and will not be optional. Here's a quote from the email: If you do not have a text-enabled cell phone or you do not wish to provide your cell phone number, you will not be able to access your my Social Security account.
  5. We live in the US and I have most of our on-line banking, credit card, PayPal accounts, etc. set up for "two-factor authentication". This means when I log into one of the on-line accounts, I have to give a username and password as normal. But then there's another step. The website will send a text to my mobile phone with a 6-digit code that I then have to enter into the website to proceed any further. This works great here in the US and (I think) greatly reduces the chances of getting the accounts hacked. We're going to be visiting the Philippines for a couple weeks real soon, and I was wondering how well the two-factor authentication will work there. My T-Mobile phone plan allows free international texting, so hopefully if I do need to get into one of the accounts, the text would arrive and arrive fairly quickly. One option would be for me to temporarily disable the two-factor thing for the time we're there. The I'd just need my username/password. I'd rather not do that if I don't have to. And actually I hope I don't need to access any of my accounts at all during the time we're there, but you never know... Does anyone have any experience with any of this kind of thing?
  6. strap

    Where would you stay?

    Nephi I admire your sense of adventure but I have to say, if I had to check my bedroom three times a day for cobras...well actually I don't know what to say.
  7. I don't know, I've never been to Dumaguete, but that seems like an overly broad conclusion to come to based just on this particular incident. I'm not so sure that any city or country is a good place to be acting belligerently at 4 am in a bar...especially as a foreigner. And the fact that he was a foreigner may or may not have even been the main factor. How many times do things like this happen to locals all over the Philippines, and you just never hear about it. In any case, he certainly didn't deserve this no matter what, but I'm not sure this incident says anything about the overall safety situation of foreigners in Dumaguete.
  8. strap

    Buying Land

    I've asked about this and searched around about this, and to me the risk seems quite high. The basic law is that foreigners can't own land. So even if you buy the land in the Filipina spouse's name, things get real murky if she happens to die before you. The inheritance laws are anything but clear. Someone may be able to quote some subsection of some that law that seems to clearly state that you (the foreigner) continue to have at least some rights to the property after she is gone. But there is probably some other subsection somewhere that says something different. So if things got nasty with the spouse's family, it could come down to some local judge rendering his wise, unbiased, uncorruptable opinion on the matter. That could, and probably would, end badly for the foreigner.
  9. strap

    Balanga, Bataan?

    We're planning a move to the Philippines sometime within the next year or two. My wife's extended family is in Angeles City, Luzon. So it's pretty much a given that we'll end up on Luzon somewhere, and probably north of Manila. My one firm non-negotiable requirement (at least that I haven't cracked on yet) is that we have to be at least an hour from Angeles. I know that's probably not far enough, but it's better than being right next door to the family. My wife was over in the Philippines a few months ago, and took a day trip to Subic to check that area out. For some reason she didn't care that much for it. I think she thought it was maybe too touristy or resort-y. One city that's recently appeared on our radar as one to check out is Balanga, Bataan. I keep seeing references to Balanga being a "progressive" city with a young, progressive mayor. It has about 90,000 residents which seems like a good size. Not too big, but has a mall, a Robinson's, a PureGold, all the normal city stuff. It sits on Manila Bay, and...it's about an hour from Angeles. My wife will be back in the Philippines next month, and she's going to make trip to Balanga to take a look. Does anyone know anything, good or bad, about Balanga?
  10. Mark, Just wanted to let you know that I downloaded and used your Video Downloader a few days ago. It worked perfectly for what I needed. I installed another YouTube downloader about a year ago that I got from CNET or somewhere. That one really messed my laptop up with malware and other assorted crap. It took a lot of work to get it un-crapped. So it's nice to have one now that I can trust. Thank you very much!
  11. strap

    T-Mobile Sms

    We've got T-Mobile in the States. My wife was just over to the Philippines a couple weeks ago. Surprising to us, her T-Mobile number still worked when she got there. I looked at our account info on the T-Mobile website and sure enough our plan included free texting, (supposedly) free data, and $.20/min calls while in the Philippines. Texting and calls worked fine, but the data never did work as far as we could tell. I think it might just be slow 2G data anyway. It may be dependent on what plan you have with T-Mobile, but our plan isn't anything special and we hadn't specifically asked for international service.
  12. Shouldn't be a problem unless you are "an individual who is a member of, affiliated with, or is otherwise helping a foreign terrorist organization." ...which I doubt you are. :) Why is it really concerning to you?
  13. In preparation for our move to Philippines next year, I thought I'd go ahead and order some certified copies of my US birth certificate, our US marriage certificate, and my DD 214. And we'll order some copies of my wife's NSO birth certificate from the Phiippines. I don't know specifically what we'll need these documents for once we get there, but how many copies of each do you think we should order? Is 5 copies enough? too many? When you do have to submit documents for whatever in the Philippines, do they normally return them? I'd like to get enough copies now to last...a long time, rather than try to deal with the hassle and delays of ordering more copies from the states once we're over there. Also, I understand you need to get documents like these certified or validated at a Philippine consulate here in the states. Is that a simple matter of showing up at the front desk of the consulate with a stack of certified birth certificates, etc and having them stamp them, or is it a little more inolved than that? (I suspect it's a little more involved. :))
  14. I know inheritance laws have been discussed here before, and I've tried to read all the old posts I could find as well as other stuff on the web. But let me see if I've got this right: I'm a US citizen, my wife is a filipina, but a naturalized US citizen, non-dual at the moment. We have one son, US citizen born in the US. Basically I as foreigner can't own property in the Philippines. (I think I could actually own a house, but not the property it sits on.) So, apparently it's pretty common to buy the house/property in the filipina spouse's name. But...what happens if my filipina wife dies before I do. It seems to get very complicated. My wife cannot just will the property to me. There's the concept of "compulsary heirs" in the Philippines. Under that concept, in our case our son would get 1/2 of her estate and I would get 1/4. This seems to apply regardless of whether we are foreigners or not. The remaining 1/4 she could will to whoever she wants...except me or my son, because you can't will property to foreigners. Kind of a mess! So, assuming everything above is correct (big assumption) my question to those of you that have built/bought a house is how do you handle the possibility that your filipino spouse will die before you? It all just seems very risky.
  15. strap

    When You Are Gone

    When I'm fully retired, I'll have three streams of income. And I emphasize STREAMS, not large rivers, and certainly not an ocean of money. :) I'm setting things up so, if I go first, the streams will continue for my wife...at a somewhat reduced rate. - Social security: She continues to get some (or maybe all?) of my monthly benefits. - My work pension: I've set it up so she would continue to receive half of my monthly payment as long as she lives. - My 401k retirement savings: One option for withdrawing the money is to set up a guaranteed monthly payment that pays out over 20 years, and if I should die before the 20 years is up, she would continue to receive three-fourths of the benefit for the remainder of the twenty years. I haven't decided for sure on this one, but that's what I'm leaning towards. Those three small streams together should be enough to get us through the month, and will continue to get my wife through the month if I'm not around anymore. And we hopefully will have enough of a pool (or maybe more like a small pond :)) of money saved up for emergencies, etc. But anyways...as others have said, it might be wiser to leave behind a steady monthly source of income if possible, rather than a large pot of money. This might help protect her from herself, and others. My situation is a little different maybe than a lot of you. My wife is actually slightly older than I am, and we've been married a long time. But I think the concept is the same.