USA to AUS

Old Nov 16th 2019, 4:06 am
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Default USA to AUS

Anyone moved here to OZ from America? I’ve been offered the opportunity to move to Australia although I’ve never been there! What are some of your experiences of life down under compare to the states? I’ve heard great things about heath care, lifestyle, the beach and pace of life, but also is it true that Australia offers less professional opportunities than the US? Cost of living is really expensive in OZ too since everything is imported?
Any Americans moved to Australia and how are you liking it there? Any regret and would you move back to the US?
im currently living in Los Angles but offered the opportunity to move to Brisbane or Sydney soon.
Apprecite your thoughts!
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Old Nov 16th 2019, 5:46 am
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Default Re: USA to AUS

Originally Posted by Peter.st.giles View Post
Anyone moved here to OZ from America? I’ve been offered the opportunity to move to Australia although I’ve never been there! What are some of your experiences of life down under compare to the states? I’ve heard great things about heath care, lifestyle, the beach and pace of life, but also is it true that Australia offers less professional opportunities than the US? Cost of living is really expensive in OZ too since everything is imported?
Any Americans moved to Australia and how are you liking it there? Any regret and would you move back to the US?
im currently living in Los Angles but offered the opportunity to move to Brisbane or Sydney soon.
Apprecite your thoughts!
What visa will be arriving on? Are you being sponsored by a company and what's your line of work?
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Old Nov 16th 2019, 4:37 pm
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Default Re: USA to AUS

I believe it’s the 186 by an employer
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Old Nov 16th 2019, 9:07 pm
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Default Re: USA to AUS

Originally Posted by Peter.st.giles View Post
Cost of living is really expensive in OZ too since everything is imported?
The same things Australia imports are the same things America is imports.

Salaries on an exchange rate swap smash US salaries, same if you do a cost conversion.
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Old Nov 17th 2019, 1:02 am
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Default Re: USA to AUS

Originally Posted by Peter.st.giles View Post
I believe it’s the 186 by an employer
Right. I asked about your line of work because you were asking about 'professional opportunities'. Depending on your profession, either Brisbane or Sydney could be better for you.
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Old Nov 17th 2019, 1:03 am
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Default Re: USA to AUS

Originally Posted by Beoz View Post
The same things Australia imports are the same things America is imports.

Salaries on an exchange rate swap smash US salaries, same if you do a cost conversion.
Working conditions are much better too, even the basic statutory amount of annual leave is far more than is standard in the US.
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Old Nov 17th 2019, 1:46 am
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Default Re: USA to AUS

Originally Posted by Peter.st.giles View Post
What are some of your experiences of life down under compare to the states? I’ve heard great things about heath care, lifestyle, the beach and pace of life, but also is it true that Australia offers less professional opportunities than the US? Cost of living is really expensive in OZ too since everything is imported?
Not personally a septic, but know many here who are.

Plus points are indeed healthcare costs are more realistic, leave entitlement is generally 20days + per year, and from those I've talked to, they find it less 'dog eat dog'.

However professional opportunities are less (more branch office than main). Cost of living - things are more expensive, but then again your salary should be better. And you have to get used to the slow pace that aussies do things, and the jokes/ribbing. That can confuse those used to lack of irony.

Overall I'd say the yanks I know are happy here; certainly not seen any trying to go back.

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Old Nov 17th 2019, 1:20 pm
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Default Re: USA to AUS

I make less than I did in the US, and my wife, in a different profession, also makes less than what she would make in the US. In real terms Australian salaries are a bit lower than American ones and cost-of-living a bit higher here. But that may be subject to fluctuations depending on where you live now/where you are going to here. In general I don't think the disadvantage is enough to stop Americans from coming, and the advantage not enough to send Australians to the US. Per-capita GDP is about 10% lower here and qualitatively that feels about right.

Health care is basically a wash if you are on an employer-covered plan in the US. Health care is free at the point of use (not free), but many people take out private insurance anyways - I still actually come out behind here on health care costs compared to the US, even if I wasn't buying private insurance and was relying entirely on the government system, because what I pay into the health system in tax here is more annually than what I paid for private insurance in the US. You have to read the fine print on insurance here just as carefully as you do there. There are waiting lists for some procedures on the government system and those can be quite lengthy. Private insurance is not considered a standard employment benefit here like it is in the US - don't expect that in your compensation package. So be careful about cliches and tropes about "free health care" etc etc, actually do the financial calculations yourself and see where you are going to stand.

You get more annual leave here. Companies generally have to pay 9.5% on top of your salary to a superannuation fund. Only you will know how that compares to what your employer puts into an IRA or 401k or whatever for you in the US. Taxes are higher here. If you are on $84,000 USD (about $123,000 AUD) - your rate next year will be 22% in the US but 37% here (on a progressive scale), not counting the 2% levy for the health system. So, review the tax implications of your move very carefully.

Rules about contributing to Social Security while outside the US can also affect you down the track. This is another area where I come out behind. There is an age pension here but it is means-tested.

So if you're a real bean counter, it won't be for you, and you'll probably want to go back in a few years because of what you're leaving (financially) on the table.

For quality of life, expect to work as hard, if not harder, than you do in the US. You will find a similar office culture. You aren't trading down to a slower or more relaxed pace of life, in any way. You won't be knocking off early at 3:30 to go have a round of beach volleyball with the kids before dinner. In the workplace, I don't find Australians to be very parochial. They are open to new ideas and how things are done elsewhere and generally very approachable.

I live in rural Australia, which doesn't have an equivalent in the US and I love it here. The type of work I do, also doesn't really have equivalence in the US. So, I get something here that I can't get there, and that makes up for the financial shortfall. That's the question you need to answer for yourself, is what you are going to be gaining here, more than what you are leaving behind there?

Australian cities are fairly comparable to American ones. Sydney and Melbourne are about the size of Atlanta and Dallas. There aren't any New York's or Los Angeles's here. I remember sitting at a Sydney cafe a few years ago, looking out the window at the street scene and saying to my wife, that if I didn't know I was in Sydney, you could without much difficulty convince me I was in a place like Seattle.

If we had to leave the regions for some reason and move to one of the capital cities, I think we would be tempted to leave.

In terms of professional opportunities, it depends completely on your field. Re-read the paragraph above - there are no New York's or LA's here, so if you're in high finance, entertainment etc then yes it will seem limited coming from the US. Other fields you are probably fine.

If you have kids, the Australian school system is fine up to the latter end of high school and then you will have some serious decisions to make. There is a private school culture here that doesn't exist in the US to nearly the same scale. The Australian government schools excel at general and vocational/trade training pathways but don't tend to push kids at the high academic end as hard as you would expect coming from the US. So, if you have a high-achieving academic child expect to pay a lot of money for private education in Years 10-11-12 or go back to the US. For instance: Advanced Placement is considered by the universities here to be above Year 12 but below the first year of university (as they only do three years here). So if you have a child in 10th grade doing Advanced Placement, understand they won't be doing that in Year 10 here. Uni-bound students will do "ATAR" courses in Year 11 and 12 but that is not comparable to AP and they cannot do ATAR exams earlier.

For you, I think you would probably be in for a year or two of the exotica of being "Down Under" and when that wears off you will need to think seriously about your next steps, and whether being long-term here can be viable or if you need to go back. Whether being here will suit you really comes down to a complex set of variables and trade-offs.

Good luck.
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Old Nov 17th 2019, 4:12 pm
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Default Re: USA to AUS

Originally Posted by carcajou View Post
I make less than I did in the US, and my wife, in a different profession, also makes less than what she would make in the US. In real terms Australian salaries are a bit lower than American ones and cost-of-living a bit higher here. But that may be subject to fluctuations depending on where you live now/where you are going to here. In general I don't think the disadvantage is enough to stop Americans from coming, and the advantage not enough to send Australians to the US. Per-capita GDP is about 10% lower here and qualitatively that feels about right.

Health care is basically a wash if you are on an employer-covered plan in the US. Health care is free at the point of use (not free), but many people take out private insurance anyways - I still actually come out behind here on health care costs compared to the US, even if I wasn't buying private insurance and was relying entirely on the government system, because what I pay into the health system in tax here is more annually than what I paid for private insurance in the US. You have to read the fine print on insurance here just as carefully as you do there. There are waiting lists for some procedures on the government system and those can be quite lengthy. Private insurance is not considered a standard employment benefit here like it is in the US - don't expect that in your compensation package. So be careful about cliches and tropes about "free health care" etc etc, actually do the financial calculations yourself and see where you are going to stand.

You get more annual leave here. Companies generally have to pay 9.5% on top of your salary to a superannuation fund. Only you will know how that compares to what your employer puts into an IRA or 401k or whatever for you in the US. Taxes are higher here. If you are on $84,000 USD (about $123,000 AUD) - your rate next year will be 22% in the US but 37% here (on a progressive scale), not counting the 2% levy for the health system. So, review the tax implications of your move very carefully.

Rules about contributing to Social Security while outside the US can also affect you down the track. This is another area where I come out behind. There is an age pension here but it is means-tested.

So if you're a real bean counter, it won't be for you, and you'll probably want to go back in a few years because of what you're leaving (financially) on the table.

For quality of life, expect to work as hard, if not harder, than you do in the US. You will find a similar office culture. You aren't trading down to a slower or more relaxed pace of life, in any way. You won't be knocking off early at 3:30 to go have a round of beach volleyball with the kids before dinner. In the workplace, I don't find Australians to be very parochial. They are open to new ideas and how things are done elsewhere and generally very approachable.

I live in rural Australia, which doesn't have an equivalent in the US and I love it here. The type of work I do, also doesn't really have equivalence in the US. So, I get something here that I can't get there, and that makes up for the financial shortfall. That's the question you need to answer for yourself, is what you are going to be gaining here, more than what you are leaving behind there?

Australian cities are fairly comparable to American ones. Sydney and Melbourne are about the size of Atlanta and Dallas. There aren't any New York's or Los Angeles's here. I remember sitting at a Sydney cafe a few years ago, looking out the window at the street scene and saying to my wife, that if I didn't know I was in Sydney, you could without much difficulty convince me I was in a place like Seattle.

If we had to leave the regions for some reason and move to one of the capital cities, I think we would be tempted to leave.

In terms of professional opportunities, it depends completely on your field. Re-read the paragraph above - there are no New York's or LA's here, so if you're in high finance, entertainment etc then yes it will seem limited coming from the US. Other fields you are probably fine.

If you have kids, the Australian school system is fine up to the latter end of high school and then you will have some serious decisions to make. There is a private school culture here that doesn't exist in the US to nearly the same scale. The Australian government schools excel at general and vocational/trade training pathways but don't tend to push kids at the high academic end as hard as you would expect coming from the US. So, if you have a high-achieving academic child expect to pay a lot of money for private education in Years 10-11-12 or go back to the US. For instance: Advanced Placement is considered by the universities here to be above Year 12 but below the first year of university (as they only do three years here). So if you have a child in 10th grade doing Advanced Placement, understand they won't be doing that in Year 10 here. Uni-bound students will do "ATAR" courses in Year 11 and 12 but that is not comparable to AP and they cannot do ATAR exams earlier.

For you, I think you would probably be in for a year or two of the exotica of being "Down Under" and when that wears off you will need to think seriously about your next steps, and whether being long-term here can be viable or if you need to go back. Whether being here will suit you really comes down to a complex set of variables and trade-offs.

Good luck.
hi carcajou, thank you so much for the insight this is very helpful! The things that prompted me thinking about the move: health care, heard great things about Australian heathy care compared to the US and I’m glad to hear some local prospectives. Also pace of life and work life balance is terriable here in California so I was thinking could be better in Aus? Does Australia have a better social safety network than the US? Would you say OZ is more family friendly to settle down than America? How about retirement? As you probably know people don’t really retire in the US and everyone just kept on working until they physically can’t, I know a lot of Americans still work in their late 70s. With the lower salary but high cost of living how do people manage it in Australia? What about the ease of finding a job as an accountant? Thanks Again!
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Old Nov 17th 2019, 9:49 pm
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Default Re: USA to AUS

Originally Posted by Peter.st.giles View Post


hi carcajou, thank you so much for the insight this is very helpful! The things that prompted me thinking about the move: health care, heard great things about Australian heathy care compared to the US and I’m glad to hear some local prospectives. Also pace of life and work life balance is terriable here in California so I was thinking could be better in Aus? Does Australia have a better social safety network than the US? Would you say OZ is more family friendly to settle down than America? How about retirement? As you probably know people don’t really retire in the US and everyone just kept on working until they physically can’t, I know a lot of Americans still work in their late 70s. With the lower salary but high cost of living how do people manage it in Australia? What about the ease of finding a job as an accountant? Thanks Again!
All of what you're asking about is only relevant if you're on the correct visa. If your company is sponsoring you for a TSS then you'll be temporary residents and none of the above is applicable. Can you tell us what visa you're coming on and we can answer better?
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Old Nov 17th 2019, 11:05 pm
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Default Re: USA to AUS

Originally Posted by Peter.st.giles View Post


hi carcajou, thank you so much for the insight this is very helpful! The things that prompted me thinking about the move: health care, heard great things about Australian heathy care compared to the US and I’m glad to hear some local prospectives. Also pace of life and work life balance is terriable here in California so I was thinking could be better in Aus? Does Australia have a better social safety network than the US? Would you say OZ is more family friendly to settle down than America? How about retirement? As you probably know people don’t really retire in the US and everyone just kept on working until they physically can’t, I know a lot of Americans still work in their late 70s. With the lower salary but high cost of living how do people manage it in Australia? What about the ease of finding a job as an accountant? Thanks Again!
Well, as I mentioned there is every possibility you are actually ahead in the US health care system, especially if you are on an employer-sponsored plan there and are planning to rely on the government system here (which by the way does not cover everything - I know a few cancer patients who have been shocked at what was not covered here, and were out thousands). If you are on an employer-sponsored plan there and are going to do private insurance here, you are still paying the 2% income tax rate into the national system. You need to do the calculations very carefully and see precisely how it will affect you. If you can put the political party talking points aside - the health care system could easily be a reason for an American to leave Australia, not come to it. Especially if you are a family on the private system that would be largely employer-covered in the US.

Retirement, there is an age pension here but it is a sliding scale and means-tested. Employers generally pay a 9.5% gratuity into a superannuation fund for employees. Retirement age here is generally 67 but plenty still have to work way past that. If your super fund hasn't invested wisely and went poof in the recession a decade ago - and many did - you are really up a creek, and that's one reason why so many work past 67. There isn't any equivalent here to Social Security or something like a Roth IRA. Again this is something you need to do the calculations on very carefully to see where you stand and there are very strict rules about making contributions to SSA or IRAs while living out of the US.

Work-life balance is as much an issue here as it is there.

Australia is not immune to the same populist pressures sweeping North America and Europe. Fringe right- and left- parties are putting a lot of pressure on the main traditional parties.

So, you are an accountant, get out the calculator and see what you would potentially gain and what you would potentially lose.

No idea the job market for accountants here.
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Old Nov 20th 2019, 3:47 am
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Default Re: USA to AUS

Originally Posted by Peter.st.giles View Post

What about the ease of finding a job as an accountant?
I thought you already had a job offer and were being sponsored by a company? If so you don't need to worry about finding a job, you'll be required to work in the job provided by the company who sponsors you.
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Old Nov 24th 2019, 4:17 pm
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Default Re: USA to AUS

Originally Posted by carcajou View Post

Australian cities are fairly comparable to American ones. Sydney and Melbourne are about the size of Atlanta and Dallas. There aren't any New York's or Los Angeles's here. I remember sitting at a Sydney cafe a few years ago, looking out the window at the street scene and saying to my wife, that if I didn't know I was in Sydney, you could without much difficulty convince me I was in a place like Seattle.

If we had to leave the regions for some reason and move to one of the capital cities, I think we would be tempted to leave.


.
If your comparing Cities as opposed to Counties, then Sydney and Melbourne are both Larger by about 20pct now than LA in terms of Population at least. With Sydney and Melbourne both passing 5 Million residents. Melbourne will become the largest city here by 2022 and reach around 6 million population by 2026. Take time to check out the LA skyline v the Melbourne Skyline, there is a noticeable difference...... With large 20 story Highrise popping up all over Melbourne now, not just inner city. Namely Box Hill, Coburg and Dandenong.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melbourne
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Old Nov 24th 2019, 9:18 pm
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Default Re: USA to AUS

The LA metro area has 12 million people, not 5. LA has more people that Sydney and Melbourne put together.
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Old Nov 24th 2019, 9:33 pm
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Default Re: USA to AUS

Originally Posted by carcajou View Post
The LA metro area has 12 million people, not 5. LA has more people that Sydney and Melbourne put together.
Is that not like saying London and the South East though? Where London has 8.9 million whereas the London commuter belt AKA London and the South East has 14.9 million?

I'm referring primarily to the City boundaries of the Cities concerned.

Check the Skylines.

The only reason I got onto this subject is a while back in RL a Denver citizen tried to tell me that Denver was bigger than Melbourne, I took him at his word, then got home and checked. Then kept checking on populations. Useless information really, but it does seem to point at the fact that the Two Major Aus Cities are quite a bit larger than people overseas tend to realise.

Last edited by ozzieeagle; Nov 24th 2019 at 9:40 pm.
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