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Old Sep 15th 2012, 6:41 am   #1
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Default move back to the UK, Wales!, from the US

Dear all,
I am from Cardiff. I have lived in the US 20 years now. I came over here to do a master's degree and ended up staying. So I am female, 44. I just bought a house, my first home. Perhaps I thought it would cure the terrible homesickness I have felt all these years. But it has not. I do not have a lot of family support back home, which is a major reason I stayed here, and my dear ex-husband is here. He needs a lot of support. He is very dear to me and much older than me. In any case, I think of moving home every minute of every day. I somehow felt I couldn't come home before. I was sort of ashamed of myself for not being successful, I suppose, and suffering from depression. So, I wait until I get what at least sounds like a decent job and a home, and now I feel stronger than ever that I want to be back in the UK. I feel so alienated here. My job is assistant dir. (dogsbody) of a computational math center at a university here connected with Peking Uni, but I am no mathematician. I also work a second job as a freelance editor for people all over the world--so that at least is portable. I am worried about money, trying to assess how bad the job situation is in the UK, and how realistic it is to attempt to find a job while being abroad. Can anyone relate? Or, offer any thoughts? I would not be moving back with a lot of resources, but I so wish I was home. Thank you for listening. I hope for happiness for all. I would especially like to be in Cardiff. Nicola
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Old Sep 15th 2012, 7:42 am   #2
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Default Re: move back to the UK, Wales!, from the US

Hi NicolaNick,
I just wanted to say welcome! Others will be along soon who may be more help on the career front. I`m back in the UK. It`s hard to say about jobs, except they are there, if your particular skills are in demand.
Just from a personal point of view it sounds as if you need a new start and are at a good point in your life to make one. I wish you luck,and hope you get lots of help and advice from the folks on here.
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Old Sep 15th 2012, 12:09 pm   #3
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Default Re: move back to the UK, Wales!, from the US

Hi jemima55,
Thank you. The whole thing is rather, daunting, and I would be doing it very much alone. I appreciate this kind reply. It is thinking about where to start as much as anything.
Nicola
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Old Sep 15th 2012, 1:58 pm   #4
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Default Re: move back to the UK, Wales!, from the US

Welcome to BE, I'm sure you will find lots of people with similar experiences and advice.

How often have you been back during your 20 years in the US?

My story is fairly similar, I was in the US for 16 years, but was also over that side (Bahamas) for the 7 years prior to that. I also went to the US to do a masters and stayed (did a PhD, taught at university). Coincidentally, I also came back initially to south Wales (Caerphilly) where I worked in what was essentially a temporary job and then got my current one (in Glasgow).

Be prepared for some serious culture shock when you move back. You may be one of the lucky ones, but after several years back in the UK I still struggle most weeks to feel at home here and miss large chunks of my former life in the US (that's why I asked how often you've been back).

Anyway, good luck with it all. It sounds like at least you are now in a position where you can consider seriously the possibilities of returning, which is a good start. You'll not be short of advice on here if that's what you are looking for - but it may make you even more confused!
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Old Sep 15th 2012, 3:24 pm   #5
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Default Re: move back to the UK, Wales!, from the US

Just a general comment. If you have not been in regular touch with the Overseas branch on the UK state pensions people in Longbenton (Newcastle Tyne) over the years your certainly want to if planning on moving back (or even if not). They allow you to make up certain years of Class 3 voluntary contributions that will ensure you get a full UK Old Age Pension and benefits when the time comes.
When I did it you could pay two years contributions once every year so as to slowly catch up on big arrears.
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Old Sep 15th 2012, 3:57 pm   #6
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Default Re: move back to the UK, Wales!, from the US

Dear holly_1948 and dunroving,
I am probably screwing up the reply, but here goes. Holly is this the body you are saying I should contact? http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/cnr/osc.htm?
Thank you for suggesting it--I had no idea.

Dunroving,
What do you feel is the culture shock? I mean what is it that you miss about the US and what makes you feel this shock?

For me, I feel like my vision is perpetually split. It is painful. I am no place. Perhaps, I would still feel split if I came home. But there are things about the US that I find so fundamentally ugly and stressful, like the health insurance situation, for example, that make me really want to leave. That is quite apart from the things that I miss about the UK.

I have not been back all that often. It became more and more painful to come back as I got older somehow, so I have avoided it.

Nicola
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Old Sep 15th 2012, 4:07 pm   #7
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Default Re: move back to the UK, Wales!, from the US

Dear jemima, holly_1948, and dunroving,
I want to tell you how alone I have felt with this for so long--especially as a single person. It is a great comfort to me to receive your replies.
I still feel so British, though perhaps I would feel less so should I return. I plan a trip back in any case in Dec/Jan, and will find out from the few friends I still have here how bad my "twang" is.
Nicola
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Old Sep 15th 2012, 5:01 pm   #8
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Default Re: move back to the UK, Wales!, from the US

Quote:
Originally Posted by NicolaNick View Post
I am probably screwing up the reply, but here goes. Holly is this the body you are saying I should contact? http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/cnr/osc.htm?
Thank you for suggesting it--I had no idea. ...
Yes, this section:-
Voluntary National Insurance contributions and how to pay from abroad

As they say, read carefully, a lot of it does not apply to people who emigrate to other European countries but probably does apply to someone in your situation.

OAP applies even if you never return. Other benefits are primarily for people who contributed for periods overseas and later returned to become residents.
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Last edited by holly_1948; Sep 15th 2012 at 5:04 pm.
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Old Sep 15th 2012, 5:12 pm   #9
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Default Re: move back to the UK, Wales!, from the US

Thank you. Whatever OAP is! I will go check it out xx Thanks x
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Old Sep 15th 2012, 5:12 pm   #10
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Default Re: move back to the UK, Wales!, from the US

duh! old age pension.
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Old Sep 15th 2012, 7:48 pm   #11
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Default Re: move back to the UK, Wales!, from the US

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Originally Posted by NicolaNick View Post
duh! old age pension.
Yes, I see
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/pdfs/nico/ni38.pdf
that they will let you pay roughly six years of arrears. Assuming you qualify to pay at all.

Either you worked and paid (what used to be called) NI stamps in the UK before leaving or you qualified for credits in some way. The rules on credits for students have changed a lot over the years so the thing to do is to enter into a correspondence with Longbenton. They will do reply by email after an initial enquiry by Airmail letter as I recall.

Assuming, by the sounds of it, you have roughly 20 years of UK working life in front of you then you want to pay as much arrears as they will let you. Apparently 6 or 7 years. Rates have gone up a lot in recent years, you just might want to pay only for the cheaper, older years after doing the arithmetic. Again ask the civil servant at Longbenton with help to understand your options and choose the best one in the light of changing retirement ages and so on.
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Old Sep 16th 2012, 12:22 am   #12
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Default Re: move back to the UK, Wales!, from the US

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Originally Posted by holly_1948 View Post
Yes, I see
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/pdfs/nico/ni38.pdf
that they will let you pay roughly six years of arrears. Assuming you qualify to pay at all.

Either you worked and paid (what used to be called) NI stamps in the UK before leaving or you qualified for credits in some way. The rules on credits for students have changed a lot over the years so the thing to do is to enter into a correspondence with Longbenton. They will do reply by email after an initial enquiry by Airmail letter as I recall.

Assuming, by the sounds of it, you have roughly 20 years of UK working life in front of you then you want to pay as much arrears as they will let you. Apparently 6 or 7 years. Rates have gone up a lot in recent years, you just might want to pay only for the cheaper, older years after doing the arithmetic. Again ask the civil servant at Longbenton with help to understand your options and choose the best one in the light of changing retirement ages and so on.
I am readin this thread with interest and this not meant antagonistically but back when I did not pay contributions and of course now am beginning with the hindsight of experience and age to see why I should have and whether I can. But I always wonder how does they differentiate between those of us who have been abroad... and those who have spent a lifetime not working or all of a sudden wash up on the shore of merry old Uk and start claiming? It all seems a little ad hoc to me?
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Old Sep 16th 2012, 1:42 am   #13
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Default Re: move back to the UK, Wales!, from the US

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Originally Posted by vikingsail View Post
... It all seems a little ad hoc to me?
There is
1. Basic Old Age Pension, either full or part.
2. Additional earnings-related UK state OAP. (There have been various schemes over the years).
3. Support benefits in retirement that are means tested and based on need.

Of the above, voluntary Class 3 contribution leads to only item 1.
Item 3 is for UK residents only.

Full basic UK State old age pension is presently (April 2012) £107.45 per week and is usually increased each April. Even if you can't get enough years of contributions credited to get the full basic pension it is still worthwhile to qualify yourself for a partial basic pension, especially if you eventually retire in the UK.

And of course, a person who returns and works for, say, 20 years will qualify for earning-related (contributions and benefits).
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Old Sep 16th 2012, 2:37 am   #14
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I am readin this thread with interest and this not meant antagonistically but back when I did not pay contributions and of course now am beginning with the hindsight of experience and age to see why I should have and whether I can. But I always wonder how does they differentiate between those of us who have been abroad... and those who have spent a lifetime not working or all of a sudden wash up on the shore of merry old Uk and start claiming? It all seems a little ad hoc to me?
Those who haven't paid don't get or qualify for state pension without 30 years paid in.
You can pay in something like 6 years back payments and then each year pay voluntarily and each year pay another couple of years back payment. So you could catch up if you have enough years before retiring.
I'll be paying the 6 years back payments when we move back and then adding to it each year to catch up and hopefully working too.
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Old Sep 16th 2012, 3:47 am   #15
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Default Re: move back to the UK, Wales!, from the US

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Originally Posted by Mummy in the foothills View Post
Those who haven't paid don't get or qualify for state pension without 30 years paid in. ...
You don't get the full basic pension without 30 years (39 or 44 years for most old people already past retirement age).
But you can still get a partial basic pension, roughly pro rata to the years of contributions.
It used to be that you must have contributed for at least 25% of the years of your theoretical working life (minimum school leaving age to actual old age retirement age) to get any basic state pension at all, but the rule is now more complex, you have to read up on it.
Anyway the point is, even if you don't have enough years to get the full basic you still want to contribute as many years as you can to get the biggest partial basic pension and other benefits for residents. Whichever way you slice it, it is one of the best deals you will ever find.
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