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Grass is always greener? Poland experience.


signal 1 | 14
27 Feb 2013  #1
I have laughed hysterically reading some of the threads on this forum from both sides ie. Pro Poland / Anti Poland. So it has been good entertainment. However I find myself in the position of considering a move to Poland (by my own choice) from where I reside which is both the USA & Canada.

I thought it might be good to explain some of my reason and then see the comments.

The Pros -
- growing economy (whoever runs your finance decisions in the government seems to be doing a good job) you avoided the recession and your debt to gdp is ~50%, and Poland has been largest recipient of EU funds.

- beautiful countryside, mountains, cities (I visited Warsaw, Gdansk, and whatever was in between)

- very nice people, friendly, low crime, solid values, respect of elders, general politeness

- ridiculously low cost of living. nice houses for zlt 700,000 - 1.5mln. Everything else is 1/3 to 1/4th cost. Gigabit internet for $40USD!!!!!!!!!!, food is higher quality, not genetically modified or plastic, and 1/3 the cost. *electronics and cars are not cheaper since they are imported of course.

- Low taxes (19% it seems on business, self employed, contracting income) National Healthcare * life expectancy in Poland has been high and is rising.

- Low traffic / congestions - I know some of you may not feel this is the case, but trust me. it is. When the road expansions and highways are more completed things will open up even more. the one highway I was on near Gdansk was one of the best roads I have ever driven on anywhere. (for example it takes 2 hours of congestion in Los Angeles to go about 20 kilometers.)

- Good craftsmanship. the homes seem quite solid and well constructed. modern amenities are plentiful, best cellphone coverage / data speeds I have ever seen in USA / CANADA / EUROPE (is this because nobody in Poland uses it yet?)

Potential Cons -

- suicidal drivers trying to pass each other on 2 lane roads.

- Polish is not the easiest language to learn

- Perhaps govt bureaucracy is worse? or perhaps it just needs some $$ to grease the wheels.

- Perception by Poles that there are no jobs and a depressing outlook. ( stop looking for jobs and start your own business on that Gigabit internet connection.)

I really cannot see what there is to complain about in Poland really. I have lived in London, Vancouver, most cities of the USA, and I see Poland as a place with HUGE opportunities for business and a tremendously high quality of life.

It may be true that wages inside Poland are low or unbalanced. So again, earn money on the internet in USD or Euros. Trouble affording the connection on your own to get started? Start a shared internet office for yourself and other entrepreneurs so you can all share the cost. Cant speak english? use Google translate, download / pirate Rosetta stone in english and learn. You can pay for it when you are making money. Someone please poke holes in this and help me understand why Poland isnt one of the greatest countries at present to live and build business in?

I can list a million reason why the USA and Canada are countries that are unsafe, unstable, and dangerous for your life and your business.

thanks
4 eigner 2 | 831
27 Feb 2013  #2
- ridiculously low cost of living. nice houses for zlt 700,000 - 1.5mln. Everything else is 1/3 to 1/4th cost

not really. It depends where you live in the States. You can buy a decent house in NC or SC for about 150k (even cheaper) and everything else isn't really that much or not at all more expensive than in Poland (been there myself long enough to compare).

life expectancy

USA - 78.37 Poland - 76.28

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy#List_by_the_CIA_World_Factbook_.282011_estimates.29
grubas 12 | 1,391
27 Feb 2013  #3
growing economy (whoever runs your finance decisions in the government seems to be doing a good job) you avoided the recession and your debt to gdp is ~50%, and Poland has been largest recipient of EU funds.

I see you have some insider's knowledge,huh?Well,the reality is more than a bit different.

your debt to gdp is ~50%,

That depends on who is counting.

Poland has been largest recipient of EU funds.

With the lowest amount per capita.

very nice people, friendly,

Some are some are not.

- ridiculously low cost of living. nice houses for zlt 700,000 - 1.5mln.

You can't find a nice house for half a million USD?Really?

Everything else is 1/3 to 1/4th cost.

It is not.
and so on ..
OP signal 1 | 14
27 Feb 2013  #4
yes you are making my point for me. Housing in one of the most inexpensive states in the USA is what it costs for a nicer house 15km outside warsaw. you are also confirming that life expectancy in poland is as high as the USA and climbing.

@grubas

a) im looking at world bank / imf economic data. what else should i be referencing?

b) its the World Bank counting, and if there is fraud, you think Poland might hide debt better then the USA? *shakes head*

c) please show me the reference, I dont see this fact anywhere, and want to consider it against the population and land area.

d) fair enough, so at worst its equal to all other nations

e) no, not within 15k of a city center like Warsaw. you cannot. and that is referencing my high end, 700k zlt is about 230l USD, but im sure you knew that.

f) it is, i provided gigabit internet (which you cannot even get in the USA unless you live in Google's Kansas experiment zone) and Ikea's own website prices in each country as my examples. What are your examples?
grubas 12 | 1,391
27 Feb 2013  #5
im looking at world bank / imf economic data. what else should i be referencing?

Just talk to one of THREE MILLION economic refugees who recently left this oasis of happiness and economic growth aka Poland.

) its the World Bank counting, and if there is fraud, you think Poland might hide debt better then the USA? *shakes head*

USA doesn't hide anything. NIPless finance minister of PL does.

please show me the reference, I dont see this fact anywhere, and want to consider it against the population and land area.

Just google it.

no, not within 15k of a city center like Warsaw. you cannot.

Yes you can.

it is, i provided gigabit internet (which you cannot even get in the USA unless you live in Google's Kansas experiment zone) and Ikea's own website prices in each country as my examples. What are your examples?

What does it matter?I don't even know how fast is my net connection but i know it is fast enough.Also in some cases infrastructure in PL is more modern than in some more developed countries simply because Poland has skipped some periods of technological development.
OP signal 1 | 14
27 Feb 2013  #6
USA doesn't hide anything. NIPless finance minister of PL does.

wow, ok if you say so. I guess i'll just have to believe you that somehow Poland has masterfully swindled the World Bank. Kudos.

Yes you can.

no, you cant. not to the equivalent standard, luxury, and quality. You can barely even buy a shack outside of Vancouver for $1,000,000 USD. In other equivalent cities in the USA the prices are similarly high. San Francisco, Washington DC, Boston, Chicago. Only once you get about 30+ kilometers away do prices start to drop.

What does it matter?I don't even know how fast is my net connection but i know it is fast enough.Also in some cases infrastructure in PL is more modern than in some more developed countries simply because Poland has skipped some periods of technological development.

what does it matter? either you are a luddite or being ignorant. I guess you can focus on cutting down some trees or digging up some coal since you havent realized that the future for most if not all economies is information technology and the internet.
pip 10 | 1,661
27 Feb 2013  #7
no, you cant. not to the equivalent standard, luxury, and quality. You can barely even buy a shack outside of Vancouver for $1,000,000 USD

now I know this is not true. Vancouver prices have lowered slightly. Of course a house in Kits or West Van will pull those prices but there are other areas, even North Van, that has prices lower than that.

I live in Warsaw, just within the city limits. I know how much houses go for here. you are estimating a little low. Warsaw prices are notoriously high.

We have high speed internet, 99 pln per month. We found it last year. Before this company we have we had cyfa plus. It was a joke. It had a limit and I always had a problem with it.---you are not wrong there. Poland needs better options than the monopolies.
OP signal 1 | 14
27 Feb 2013  #8
1 gigabit p/s $32 per month.. seems like lots of providers to me.
1 gigabit p/s $40 per month

there is a full list of providers on wikipedia.

as for Vancouver, sorry, North Vancouver is "not" Vancouver, and its full of squalor, dilapidated indian housing, and you are trapped by a bridge with insane traffic. the non-indian houses are old, outrageously priced for what you get,and full or rot and insects. anywhere in the surrounding area is well over 1 million for something even remotely liveable. spend a few minutes on a realty site and you will see. In addition, prices for everything else in Vancouver are 5 to 6 times higher then in Warsaw. Please show me a detached house anywhere in Vancouver, or nearby for less than 1.3 million that is anywhere near as nice as this $300,000 USD one in Warsaw.

This phenomenon has even become the subject of a comedy website: crackshackormansion.com.

i am happy to be wrong, but the facts are showing me otherwise which is why I invited this conversation.
phtoa 9 | 236
27 Feb 2013  #9
Man I don't know why people on this forum especially the foreigners living in Poland is bashing so hard on it.
It's pretty great here.

Start your own gig in this country if you have some foreign currency, and you'll live a good live.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,445
27 Feb 2013  #10
Please show me a detached house anywhere in Vancouver, or nearby for less than 1.3 million that is anywhere near as nice as this $300,000 USD one in Warsaw.

it is the price of the land that makes the difference, so YES Poland is still cheaper. Houses are more solid then the Canadian ones for sure.
OP signal 1 | 14
27 Feb 2013  #11
Man I don't know why people on this forum especially the foreigners living in Poland is bashing so hard on it.
It's pretty great here.

glad to hear.. I liked what I saw while I was there this past summer / fall
poland_
27 Feb 2013  #12
wow,

From reading your Pro's and Con's most could be gleamed by doing an hours reading on PF.

The reality of living in Poland is somewhat different, my suggestion to you would be to take 6 months off for R&D in Poland, it will save you a lot of money/time/effort for the future.
OP signal 1 | 14
27 Feb 2013  #13
this is the kind of horsesh1t answer which becomes so amusing on this forum. why doesnt an intelligent, educated, and experienced person address the points with conversation and facts? Thats what would "save" me money. However, I dont have much use for saving money. I like to earn it instead.

Please tell me what is so great about any other place in the UK, USA, Canada, that isn't outweighed by the opportunities in Poland?
thetenminuteman 1 | 80
27 Feb 2013  #14
- very nice people, friendly, low crime, solid values, respect of elders, general politeness

There's your first mistake right there.

- Low taxes (19% it seems on business, self employed, contracting income) National Healthcare * life expectancy in Poland has been high and is rising.

Actually, 18/32% for self employed people. If you go into the realm of limited companies with no experience in Poland, you're likely to get yourself into a complete mess. And yes, a good English speaking accountant running a limited company on your behalf could easily charge 1000zl+ a month.

National healthcare is very hit or miss.

- Perhaps govt bureaucracy is worse? or perhaps it just needs some $$ to grease the wheels.

Trying to bribe people as a foreigner is almost certainly going to land you in trouble.

and help me understand why Poland isnt one of the greatest countries at present to live and build business in?

There is one thing that you aren't accounting for, which is the human factor.

Anyone that's been in Poland for any length of time can share stories with you about how foreigners got themselves into a complete mess with the powers that be, often unintentionally. The tax offices for instance are known for unpredictable interpretations, such as the latest interpretation that families that receive discounts for having a large family are liable to pay taxation on these gifts. An insane interpretation, but made all the same.
Dreadnought 1 | 143
27 Feb 2013  #15
I,m with phtoa on this one but predictions for the future? Those in power now are preparing the Polish people for 'The Euro' why do you think Poland was given such a big handout???? Yes it was a bribe.....(and this is the last handout for many years) there is no reason to expect that Poland will do any better on the Euro than other economies that are failing with it......a lot of people will suffer and many may even die as a result of the Euro in Poland. Why the Euro?....watch the fat man 'President' and Donald Tusk get nice big fat jobs in Brussels that will make them millionaires and give non jobs to their families in perpetuity, thats how big the stakes are to these people, it has happened with British traitor political families, they have been happy to sell their country down the river for money and jobs on an industrial scale. They won,t have to suffer the wrath of the people though because they will live in a mansion in some other EU country.
thetenminuteman 1 | 80
27 Feb 2013  #16
Why the Euro?

To make life easier for everyone. Currency exchange risks, especially with currency pairs like the PLN/EUR can really hurt everyone. Quite a few import businesses were finished off by the dramatic slide of the Zloty not so long ago.

why do you think Poland was given such a big handout

Poland was savvy enough to cultivate very good relations with most of the big EU members. Nothing more, nothing less.
poland_
27 Feb 2013  #17
this is the kind of horsesh1t answer which becomes so amusing on this forum. why doesnt an intelligent, educated, and experienced person address the points with conversation and facts?

After living nearly 18 years in Poland, I have forgotten more than you will know in your 6 months of R & D, stop with your arrogance the departure lounge at Chopin Airport is full of returnees who have failed in Poland. My words of wisdom to you is solid advice.

However, I dont have much use for saving money. I like to earn it instead.

I do not know your financial status, from reading your post, you put yourself across as an achiever.

Please tell me what is so great about any other place in the UK, USA, Canada, that isn't outweighed by the opportunities in Poland?

Your family,friends and the comfortable slipper...
thetenminuteman 1 | 80
27 Feb 2013  #18
stop with your arrogance the departure lounge at Chopin Airport is full of returnees who have failed in Poland. My words of wisdom to you is solid advice.

I imagine you've seen more than your fair share of people who made a mess of themselves here?

I know of at least 3-4 people who lost a significant amount of money here, including one chap who got his assets in the UK seized as a result of a Polish court order.
poland_
27 Feb 2013  #19
I imagine you've seen more than your fair share of people who made a mess of themselves here?

I drove an Irish friend to Chopin airport last week, he is now going through personal bankruptcy in Poland, 4 years ago on paper he was a very wealthy man.
Dreadnought 1 | 143
27 Feb 2013  #20
Poland was savvy enough to cultivate very good relations with most of the big EU members. Nothing more, nothing less

Tusk simply proved that he is good at kissing ass better than some......he went to the people and said "vote for me I can beg for money better than the other parties" I would have hung my head in shame rather than say that......in fact I couldn,t believe it, I thought Poles were too proud to do that on a national scale.
thetenminuteman 1 | 80
27 Feb 2013  #21
No, Tusk proved that he was a capable lead negotiator.

As for your comments about begging for money, it really does show your contempt towards Poland. If you actually understood Poland, you'd know that Poles feel that they deserve this money.
OP signal 1 | 14
27 Feb 2013  #22
@thetenminuteman

fair points about navigating bureaucratic intricacies and assuming common sense procedures. However as you mentioned, thats something that becomes the cost of doing business through hiring competent advisors. Im also not per say advocating Poland's investment suitability or investment potential as I can see huge risk in getting the timing right on things like that.

I am however advocating Polands growth potential and high quality of life. Especially as compared to Canada / USA specifically.

My family would be with me in Poland, and my friends are already scattered across the world. As for the comfortable slipper, I guess the cost / quality and craftsmanship of the Polish slippers are looking mighty appealing all factors considered.
thetenminuteman 1 | 80
27 Feb 2013  #23
fair points about navigating bureaucratic intricacies and assuming common sense procedures. However as you mentioned, thats something that becomes the cost of doing business through hiring competent advisors.

The problem is that competent advisors will cost you the same in Poland as they will cost you in the west, or even more. You can get very lucky of course and find one that's competent and cheap, but these rarely speak English well enough to help you run a business. Remember, there's many things that are just completely different here, such as the way that you're expected to deal with many issues in person at an office rather than via e-mail, fax or letter.

I am however advocating Polands growth potential and high quality of life.

Poland will keep growing, that much is certain. But high quality of life? The healthcare system is effectively bankrupt, the social insurance institution is massively in debt, education is massively underfunded, the list goes on...

What you should ask yourself is one simple question : if you don't have patience to spend six months learning how Poland works, are you sure you can do business here?
OP signal 1 | 14
27 Feb 2013  #24
re: polish politics and politicians

I am wayyyy too stupid to know anything about either, but as an outsider looking at the state of the world and my own country. Poland is looking to land on the right side of everything the way I see it. The currency deflation to push back against europe's recession. the political maneuvering to fund infrastructure development, roads, highways, internet with EU funds, and the large investment in education, the delay of joining the euro until stabilization throughout the zone. All look like savvy moves. Even if they are by accident.

Joining the euro should bring more growth, more stability, greater trade, and an increase to property values as investment pours in. Yes, some people may get left behind and lost in the shuffle. However, they were probably going to get left behind anyway. Is it fair, no. but will it be beneficial overall to Poland. yes.. at least I think so.
thetenminuteman 1 | 80
27 Feb 2013  #25
and the large investment in education

Where?

Education is massively underfunded in Poland.

Roads are still nowhere near finished and won't be until the end of 2020. There will still be significant gaps in the network, too.
poland_
27 Feb 2013  #26
My family would be with me in Poland

If you have children of a school age and you wish International schooling per child 65 -70,000 PLN per year.

The house in your link is in Wawer I would not suggest this area, better off in Wilanow or Kabaty if you have young kids look at the area called Podkowa Lesne.
OP signal 1 | 14
27 Feb 2013  #27
Poland will keep growing, that much is certain. But high quality of life? The healthcare system is effectively bankrupt, the social insurance institution is massively in debt, education is massively underfunded, the list goes on...

these facts are all true in Canada and USA but to a much worse degree. and with a staggering national debt.

And yes, I can always leave after 6 months and call it a test drive. Or I can stay. the test drive might as well be a real drive as there is nothing for me to lose either way except the cost of plane flights and freight shipment of personal goods. my wife is polish, I would have the support of an existing thriving company in Warsaw, and my business already is location independant.
grubas 12 | 1,391
27 Feb 2013  #28
why do you think Poland was given such a big handout?

A handout?What handout?We pay for this "handout" every day.*************** foreigners robbing us blind and repeating like a mantra that they are giving us something.
OP signal 1 | 14
27 Feb 2013  #29
If you have children of a school age and you wish International schooling per child 65 -70,000 PLN per year.

good point, fortunately my daughter speaks fluent polish. spelling however might be a struggle. :)

Education is massively underfunded in Poland.

yes, and it is in USA / CAnada as well and getting worse. However Poland's funding is higher then in UK, and when I have a moment Ill compare it to USA. Im guessing its higher.

Roads are still nowhere near finished and won't be until the end of 2020. There will still be significant gaps in the network, too.

yes, and that all means growth, jobs, more areas opening up to provide first mover advantage opportunities to those who see the potential.
thetenminuteman 1 | 80
27 Feb 2013  #30
However Poland's funding is higher then in UK

That seems highly unlikely, given that as a percentage of GDP, the numbers are similar but the UK has a vastly higher GDP. Anyone that's lived in both countries can also point out the differences. Not to mention that Polish teachers in general are unmotivated due to low salaries and low standards required to enter the profession.

yes, and that all means growth, jobs, more areas opening up to provide first mover advantage opportunities to those who see the potential.

First mover? Those days have been and gone, that was the 2001-2005 period. Nowadays, you're looking at significant capital investment and a fight against many German companies who already moved in here.


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