Why retiring in Portugal is for the birds

ford esap4e
RIP?

Okay, so mixed signals on the stock market.

Uncertainty abounds as to what to make of the positive performance of many large-cap tech stocks, following yesterday’s earnings report fiesta.

I’m still remaining in a (mostly) all cash portfolio position:  I have a suspicion the hammer is going to fall in late August, but I will probably take a nibble or two, here and there, early next week, before I depart for NY.

Looking around here in Florida, I see tons of new homes for sale flooding the market.  I am seeing the heartbreak of homelessness on the streets, again, despite state and county govt attempts to keep the indigent and uncared-about out of sight.  I’m even seeing newish cars and trucks abandoned and strewn on US1, as happened before in 2008 — when their owners could no longer afford the payments.

Paul Krugman is so out of touch.

The recession is not only very real in Florida, it has been present since mid summer.

The fake prosperity of free Fed money of the last 10 years has finally come to an end —  as normal people — of course not the beautiful people like Drake and DiCaprio who are partying the night away in St Tropez — suffer the ravages of inflation as food and housing insecurity rises in the land of the allegedly free.

IMHO there’s definitely going to be a Florida housing market crash (and not just the 25 or 50K sellers are currently taking off their original asking price):  the only question is when, and by how much?  Many potential all cash buyers, like me, are waiting on the sidelines for the current ridiculous prices to go down by a lot more than is being witnessed so far.

For housing prices to normalize in South Florida, we are going to have see homes that are now listed at say 800K ultimately close at 5 or 6.  By the time the Fed raised rates again in September, rampant speculative housing investment will be a thing of the past, until rates are cut to the bone again.

That is a good thing.

Meanwhile, the gear box on my 2010 Escape died yesterday.  I have to have it towed to the car mechanic to see if it is worth salvaging.  I don’t really feel like spending more money on this old beater, so we shall see.

Besides, I’ve already scored a 2023 Mazda CX-50 for my wife as a birthday present.

mazda cx-5-
My wife’s 2023 CX-50

So no worries about being carless in FL — plus I own a Subaru Impreza that has low mileage and is in impeccable shape up in NY — ergo no worries about wheels when I return to Westchester on Wed.

Lest I come across as smug, don’t for a minute think I don’t realize how very very fortunate I am to be in this position:  as I have spent part of my life quite poor, and remember exactly what it feels like when you don’t know, say, how you’re going to pay the rent next month.

Now I have been thinking a lot about this proposed Portugal trip in mid September.

This would be a scouting rihla –– as a possible D7 refugee, in case America goes up in smoke.

It would be costly, this trip.  7K for two weeks, I reckon, for both my wife and I.  That plus my having second thoughts about emigrating to Portugal, have caused me to reconsider this trip.

There are a lot of hidden expenses (which I will not get into here) that ratchet up the cost of moving to PT.

Not being an Instagram influencer, rock star, mogul, or captain of industry, I need to spend whatever money I have wisely, instead of frittering it away on potentially wild goose chases.

Then there are the various inconveniences, some of which apply to short stays, others to the D7 process — inconveniences that are only partly alleviated if you have an EU passport, which I did, prior to fucking Brexit.

These are:

No direct flight from JFK to Lison for example, unless you take TAP, which I won’t — that airline is bankrupt.

The hassle of driving stick shift in cars built for dwarfs.

The nerve-wracking dangers of driving on Portugal’s unusually dangerous highways.

The relentless unpleasantness of mass tourism, even during shoulder season.

The pesky orcas — chewing off your boat’s rudder.

The fake hash they sell by the train station in Lisbon.

The horrors of UHT milk.

The humiliations of going through the D7 process itself, where the Portuguese government compels you give all this personal info to some Mumbai outfit called VFS, based in deeply corrupt, homophobic, Palestine-betraying UAE.

The inherent rootlessness of being an expat.

The permanent sense of disorientation of not speaking the language of the society that you chose to you live in, late in life, after growing up somewhere else.

The risk that helpless foreigners will eventually be denied cheap access to health care (after all, why should Portugal continue to offer affordable quality health care to foreign geezers, when their own countries won’t?), or suddenly be taxed at much higher rates.

The possibility of a Salazar returning to power.

Gas prices going through the roof : the nightmare of shivering through winters in poorly-insulated houses where you have to wear sweaters indoors 24×7.

The wildfires, lack of water, and widespread government corruption.

The dearth of young Portuguese engaged in blue collar work such as carpentry or plumbing.

The difficulty of accessing the beaches, which tends to involve navigating long flights of wooden stairs down steep cliffs.  Not so easy when you have arthritic knees.

Then there are the treacherous rip currents and bone chilling temperature of the Atlantic itself.

The ubiquitous lack of shade, due desertification.

So do I really want to go and spend my so called twilight years amidst a constellation of foreign retirees who come and go with the wind?

The truth is, Portugal is no panacea or escape from America’s ills..

In the short term I could use that same 7K to purchase some needed items for my house up in Westchester…

smart tv $1,697.95
printer $300
mattress
luxury mattress $1,200
oven
gas oven $1,000

… and still have money left over for a high end Dell desktop to power a 4K monitor, as well as a new dishwasher.

With the  NY Jets’ pre-season about to commence, how could I possibly miss those early, crucial, season-defining games in September, especially considering that kickass 50″ smart TV I plan to buy next week?

Bottom line:  I’m not going to worry too much about the coming red tide in November.

The United States is unlikely to descend into full 1860 mode any time soon, despite the dire prognostications of the media talking heads, or the toxic plans of past, present and future MAGA traitors.

America’s justice system is likely to pick off a lot of these seditious troublemakers by 2024, including possibly the fat orange cunt himself.

So upon reflection, my plan now is this:  kick back in a non-insane part of America for three months, then return in late Fall to enjoy the pleasant winters that Florida has to offer — so long as one keeps interactions with the local MAGA nutjobs to a minimum.

That plan sits about right with me, and sounds a lot more prudent that wasting one’s money in a foreign country where I would never consider actually moving to anytime soon.  I have done enough of that over that last 20 years,

In the final analysis, I am an American. I plan to stick around this flawed country of mine, no matter how difficult things get.

Portugal?

Nice place to visit, for sure.

But it ain’t home.

 

PS I hope you enjoyed my lampooning Google in the last few posts.  I don’t really sweat it if the backlink analytics piece of software branded as “Google” lists leavingamerika.com or not in its search results; I blog only for ze pleasure I derive from “self-mythologizing” oversharing; nothing else, hombre.

 

leaving america