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Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 82
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Ok, so I have decided to do it. Now what? I am feeling very overwhelmed in all the things I need to do and organize before moving from the states. Granted, I will be only there for a year..but still..banking/bills/moving stuff/etc..
Any advice from people out there who have done it?

Qs. for Lan: Is your Adapter Book out yet?

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 179
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Well, as you may have picked up on in other posts, I'm real close to retiring .... like I have one shift to go.

I have made some arrangements regarding how to handle my money while I am out of pocket, which I hope to be, often.

The first thing I did is get on line with my broker. I use Prudential Securities, and they have a very good web site. With it, I can basicly do anything regarding my portfolio, from anywhere, at anytime.

The second thing I did was get on-line with my bank. I use two accounts. Money goes in the first one. The taxes are paid, then, and what is left is moved to a second account. I can access these accounts, again, anywhere, anytime.

The third thing I did was enrole in PayMyBills.com. This is basicly my checkbook. All bills come to this account, are scaned in, and I am sent an e-mail letting me know something is due. I can then write a check or make an EFT directly from my second checking account or my money market account with Prudential. I mostly use my second checking because I know that all money in that account has had the taxes paid on it.

The fourth thing I did was get myself on-line with my VISA. So I always know what is happening with my card. I basicly make EFTs from my second checking into my VISA, and mostly use the VISA to pay for everything but routine bills.

It's working out real well. In fact, better then real well. I'm more informed then I was before, more flexable then before, and maintain better records then before. I should have done these things long ago. It's made managing my money sublimely simple.

Perhaps you will find one or more of these ideas usefull.

Good luck and happy trails to you. Maybe we'll raise a glass sometime soon.

Joined: Apr 2000
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mcjennifer,

Official publication date for my new book, Adapter Kit: Belize, is September 9. May be available a little before that. Bookstores and Amazon.com are taking preorders now.

Thanks for asking.

--Lan Sluder


Lan Sluder/Belize First
http://www.belizefirst.com
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 1,080
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Wow, Florian. Those are some awesome tips. I'm printing it off, and I'm not even planning to move anywhere any time soon. Thanks for taking the time. I have found your posts to always be interesting and helpful. Congrats on your retirement, and thanks for your service.

Kathy


"You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 82
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Yes, Florian. Thanks for the tips. That sounds pretty workable!

So, can I ask two more questions?

What about health insurance?

What about stuff (i.e-should I put my stuff in storage, attempt to bring it down (but pay tax), sell it all?) Any advice would be great.

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 1,080
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McJennifer -- This is just what I would do, for what it's worth.
1. Get rid of everything you don't need or love.
2. Take with you what you think you absolutely cannot live without for one year. (Try to find out what is available on the Island. If it's available there at reasonable cost, don't bring it)
3. Store the rest. Remember, this should be stuff you need or love.
4. Make part of your sabbatical the concept of "minimal living." (Read "Gift from the Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindburg).

It's just a suggestion.

Kathy


"You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 179
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I'll be maintaining my health insurance for a while. I get to keep mine from work. I would maintain US health insurance anyway.

The health service in Belize is generally quite good, but limited in scope. I would not give a moments more thought to going to a Belizean doctor then I would one in the US. But figure Houston or Miami for anything serious.

I will be putting my stuff in storage. Kind of depends though. Myself, I would not drag it all down there just for a one year deal. Besides, you'll be suprised what you won't miss.

About PayMyBills.com ..... it cost $10/month plus fifty cents per transaction.

They give you an address. Mine is a post office box in South Dakota. You give this address to all your billers. They send the bills there, where it is scanned in and archived. You can look at an image of the actual bill anytime you like.

Also, to get your account set up you go to your bank and have some papers signed by a bank officer. Then you can access your checking account directly from the PayMyBills.com website.

The way it works out is the first thing I know is I get an e-mail saying a bill has come in. I then go to the PMB site and look the bill over. Then I schedule a payment. If PMB can make the payment by EFT they do, but if they can't they print a check and snail mail it to the biller.

I receive a second e-mail when the actual transfer occurs. The payment shows up in my checking account over at the bank the same as if PMB was not involved except that the check numbers are specific to PMB.

I can also write a check to anyone. It will be printed out, put in an envelope and mailed out. Don't have to have a bill in hand.

It's a bit pricy, but for me it is the cornerstone of making myself 'place independent'. Been using it a while. Works smooth as oil.

Jezzz .... I sound like a bloody commercial. All the same, it works real nice.

One thing I forgot to mention is that I have given my CPA power of attorney with regards to my first checking account. He will be making the tax payments and moving what is left from the first to the second checking account. At the end of the year he will prepair my taxes with his records plus a CD that PMB will send to him containing my spending records. He also has a copy of my will and the power to make my wishes happen.

I have also arrainged for Prudential to send a copy of all of their stuff directly to my CPA. Hopefully at the end of the year I will have to do nothing more then sign the form and check (bleh!). I may not even have to sign the form. Yet, at the same time I have a better idea of my situation and more information at my fingertips then I did before.

If there is a way to further automate all this and further simplify it, I'm all ears.

Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 82
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Thanks for advice from both of you.

Yes, actually that is the biggest part of my sabbatical. As a young professional in corporate america..i really got caught up in "stuff". Now I have stuff and no perspective to enjoy it (just hefty credit card payments!). So I am getting back to the basics. I have sold or am selling all my major things (car, stereo etc). It is more the little things. I was in San Pedro last week and checking funny things out, like how the Ice Cube Trays they sell don't have proper ridges..so it is hard to get ice out. Not that will be a huge problem....but just makes me wonder what to bring.

Paymybills rocks. Just signed up!
I think I will get international expat insurance or something.

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 1,080
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Oh, Jennifer, I just thought of something. Be SURE and bring your own bed linens. I have finally found "my perfect bed" -- the perfect mattress pad, the perfect sheets, and the perfect comforter. Of course, you won't need much, but take whatever it is that you like, because I'm pretty sure you won't find their linens very satisfactory.

Also, a nice high-intensity lamp for reading/writing. I had a heck of a time finding lamps on AC. The ones I did find are beautiful (and expensive), but I really would have liked to have gotten at least one high-intensity lamp.

I'll keep thinking...

Kathy


"You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 1,080
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Don't forget binoculars.


"You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
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