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About digibum

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    Honorary Somchai

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    Only my foreigner SIM card knows for sure

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  1. I guess the US is not in the civilized world. Unless you are going for a procedure that is not covered by insurance (elective procedures) you will not get a quote up front, even if you are not using insurance. The elective procedures advertise price because that's how they compete. You can get a nose job from Doctor A for $2,000 or from Doctor B running a special for $1,500. But it's not required by law. They do it because they know people are shopping prices. For anything that is not elective, they won't even tell you what they're going to charge for the drugs they give you while you're in the hospital. You might pay $100 for two aspirin. They'll just shove them in your hand and tell you to take it, and you get a bill for $100.
  2. It's funny because when OP first posted that, I thought, "That doesn't sound like Bill Gates" but assumed OP might have read something and gave him the benefit of the doubt.
  3. It's really not an investment. Even using your description, that's not how people talk about investments. When have you ever heard someone say, "Yes, we think that if you buy Apple stock, you have to just mentally consider your money gone, and maybe, sometime down the road, it could be worth a lot of money . . . or it could be worth nothing"? Buying Apple is an investment. What you're describing is, at best, raw speculation, and at worst, no better than putting your money on black or red on a Vegas roulette wheel. And, that's okay, but people try to talk as if it's an actual investment on par with a mutual fund, and it's not. For the vast majority of people, it is an unsuitable investment. Any financial advisor that sold an average investor an investment with the risk profile of Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency would have their license taken away and would be facing possible jail time. But, would it be suitable for Bill Gates to put $10 million into it? Sure, $10 million is such a tiny fraction of his net worth that for him, it would be like you buying a $5 lottery ticket. The other thing that you have to keep in mind when they talk about big names getting into the cryptocurrency space is that many of them are investing in the businesses that use cryptocurrencies to solve a problem other people are willing to pay for. For instance, some big name may not be putting their money into Bitcoin, rather they might be putting their money into a company that is creating a cryptocurrency platform that allows people to repatriate funds (i.e. when people working in one country send their money back to their home country - which is BIG business).
  4. That's also a good point. They're essentially unregulated in any way. Plus, if stolen there is a near 0% chance of ever seeing your money again. Those two factors combined make them a magnet for scammers and thieves. Advocates like to point out that Bitcoin eliminates the middle-man (i.e. banks) but banks offer you a layer of protection. You have to become a cybersecurity near-expert to protect your money.
  5. Thanks for a lot of very detailed info. Very, very helpful. On the quoted section above, I was under the impression that I could terminate the original lease. So, I was thinking this prevents it from being viewed as an extension of a lease. First least was terminated after death or lessor, assuming I inherit the property per the will, I then own 100% of the property (without a current lease) and have 1 year to sell. Then I can sell it to any Thai national for pennies on the dollar if they agree to a 30 year lease, which would be an entirely new lease since the previous one had already terminated. In actuality, I would probably wouldn't sell it to some random Thai person, but maybe my wife's nephew who she would want to get it after my death anyway. Also, per your above, it sounds like maybe I was using the wrong term of extending the lease. We would need to jointly terminate the previous lease and initiate a new lease (and obviously pay the fees associated with that)?
  6. My wife did work in the US, even got US citizenship, but she didn't work 10 years, so she'll be piggybacking on mine. Which is better anyway, half of my benefits will be more than 100% of hers due to the wage gap between us. Interesting on the Philippines application. I always just saw the phone number on the SS website and figured that's where I would start when I got old enough.
  7. Cryptocurrencies are not investments. They're speculation. If anything people like Bill Gates and Richard Branson owning cryptocurrenices is the exact reason that most people shouldn't go anywhere near them. Gates could lose $10 million and it would mean nothing to him. By the tone of your post, I don't think you're in the same financial position. One day, many years from now, we may all be using digital currency. But, I can assure you, if that day comes, you won't be buying noodles from the local noodle lady with Bitcoin. The problem with cryptocurrencies is that there is an interesting underlying technology and a somewhat novel approach to recording transactions, but the currencies themselves, are essentially worthless without speculation. There is no Bitcoin Co. that has revenue and profits and you can invest in the future growth of the company, because Bitcoin isn't a company. Bitcoin is simply a digital thing that some people say has value and it's based on a technology that is freely available to everyone. My biggest issue with crytocurrencies, especially Bitcoin is that there are often fundamental flaws that people ignore even when the evidence is irrefutable. For instance, when I first heard about Bitcoin back in the early 2010's, the first thing that intrigued me was the transaction capabilities. Everyone back then was saying that Bitcoin was going to replace every other currency on earth. No more USD. No more GBP. No more Euro. Everybody was going to be using Bitcoin in the future. But then I looked at the technology and the processing power required to do a transaction. Earlier in my career I had designed payment systems so I was well aware that good ideas often do not scale to large transactional volume. There was no way Bitcoin would ever be able to match even just the Visa credit/debit card network. I mean, like not even close. For instance, Bitcoin averages 4.6 transactions per second (TPS) as of Jan 2019. Visa network averages 1,700 TPS and they claim they can burst to 24,000 TPS. How would it handle even the Visa network's volume, let alone all cash transactions, MasterCard network, bank transfers, etc? Yet every so-called expert that I ran into was selling this story. They kept saying that I didn't understand the technology (even though I know waaaaaaay more about it than they do on a technological level) and that one day, sometime in the future, technology would catch up and the processing power would be there. I also have asked a lot of questions about the stability of Bitcoin. Why would someone want to get their paycheck in Bitcoin if the value of Bitcoin could drop 50% from Friday when I get my paycheck to Monday when I want to go grocery shopping? A core feature of currency people want to use is stability. The core feature of pure speculation is price volatility. Those two things aren't compatible. You might as well bet on your favorite sports team with every paycheck if Bitcoin is a currency. You might even get better returns. Several years later, they suddenly began acknowledging the TPS problem (check out the link for the Wikipedia page on the TPS problem) and the volatility problem and then they claimed Bitcoin was not a currency at all, it was a store of value like gold or a commodity. Wait, what? But I'm not against Bitcoin. I've used it. I've held money on Bitcoin and moved money across borders with it. It has certain specific uses. But I wouldn't put a bunch of money into Bitcoin expecting to make a steady return like I might with a mutual fund. It could triple in the next week or it cold be worth half of what it's worth today. The Bitcoin world is filled with hucksters that have no idea what they're talking about trying to sound like experts. To me that sounds more like a bad MLM scheme than an investment.
  8. Appreciate that and it's good advice. Similarly, I've been looking into the estate planning side of things as well. Recently had my father pass away and he created a great model to follow in terms of trusts and such. I haven't pulled the trigger on doing any of that for myself yet mostly because we're (me and my siblings) are still getting things settled but my father set everything up so we got a decent amount every year for the rest of our lives. I would like to do the same for my wife with our non-Thai assets. I trust my wife, but I'm less trusting of her family. They're not bad people, and I generally do trust them, just not on issues involving money. None of them have had any so I don't want them giving her financial advice (blind leading the blind). I want to make sure she has people who actually understand investing/money guiding her. Also things like claiming spousal social security benefits when she's eligible and so on. Fortunately, I do have some good people back in the US to help. In Thailand, I don't have that legal/accounting/investing network yet but I'm working on that too.
  9. Well, that part I can be a little more on board for. Never married back home, but never wanted to be. I was young and dumb in my early 20's and proposed to a girl but got lucky that she got cold feet. Eventually got wiser and saw what my friends were going through and pretty much accepted the fact that I would never be marrying an American woman.
  10. I've had both and I think the non-bar girl drama is different than the bar girl drama. There's certainly drama in both, I'm just saying it tends to be different.
  11. There's a girl that lives up in my wife's hometown and whenever we go up there for songkran or whatever she'll usually visit because my wife and her went to school together when they were kids and the families all know each other. She's married to a Thai guy, but about 30% of the time she comes over, she brings her farang boyfriend. Same guy, for about 7 years. Nice guy. The Thai husband knows about the farang boyfriend but the farang boyfriend doesn't know about the Thai husband. Or so I'm reminded every time she comes over so I don't slip and point out the obvious in front of everyone and cause somebody to lose face. She had the farang thinking they were going to get married and he tried to get her a visa to come visit him in Europe and, surprisingly, the embassy declined her application. Shocking. So then she's calling my wife (because, farang husband) asking her to ask me how to get her visa approved at an embassy from a country I am not from. I told my wife, "Tell her to quit being a whore. That helps." My wife laughed but then pretended not to be amused by my crude remark. LOL. He eventually figured things out and dumped her and, boom, she was on a bus to Samui to get her another one.
  12. In doing some research I cam across a thread that IssanLawyers started and he seems to indicate that they sometimes need to go and educate the land officers on how to do it. The thread also seems to indicate that some land officers steer you towards a 30 year lease because it results in additional taxes. It seems like if you had a good lawyer who went with you to the land Office, you might get a different answer. It's easy to say "no" to someone that doesn't know any better. It's an entirely different thing to say "no" to someone that knows the law.
  13. I understand that, but I've also been hearing that they're illegal for 20 years and nobody has really ever cracked down on them in any significant way. I also understand that they are the primary vehicle by which rich Thais pass around assets to avoid paying taxes, so that has to also be factored into the risk matrix. The few reported cases where they have been challenged, the person is given the option of restructuring the company or changing ownership of the property.
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