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Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Old Mar 19th 2019, 7:18 pm
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Default Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Hello All,

We moved to California, Los Angeles three years ago through DH's job ... He had a good offer of $250K per annum salary plus bonuses .... We're on an L1A/L2 visa and have been living in Westlake Village which is a lovely area. Or son started kindergarten here in a private school and is now in 2nd grade. I quit my job in UK when I relocated and haven't been able to find anything suitable that allows me to work from home like I used to in UK. Of late I've been contemplating returning to UK with my son until hubby can rejoin us in 2021. Most people react to our decision in a rather shocked manner and its made us start to rethink if what we're doing is right or completely mad ! I'd appreciate thoughts and advice please

The reasons we are thinking of splitting our family and returning are -
1. The massive cultural differences ... I've never managed to feel 'at home' in LA. The area we live in (Calabasas- Westlake Village) is chock full of superficial people with very little interest in anything but themselves (I generalise here- we've met some great people too). But in general the vibe is very shallow.
2. We aren't overly outdoorsy people as a family and miss our cultural trips in Europe and around blighty ... My son's deeply interested in all things history and historical stories and places. After the first few trips to Mexico and Canada, we find ourselves going for most of our vacations across the pond to Europe or back home.
3. Our son's gifted and was in a private school in England where he had access to one to one tuitions for a part of his school day whilst being able to study in a regular (not gifted) school where he could have a more balanced upbringing. Here we tried gifted schools but they looked decidedly unappealing as most children in these schools were very socially awkward and it felt too extreme a step for us to have to take. In contrast, he is constantly bored in his current school and I spend a significant chunk of time at home in the evenings keeping him challenged at his level.
4. Due to my son's quirky interests (Medieval history, Coding etc), he is unable to relate to most kids in his class and is suffering socially whereas in England he had lots of like minded friends. He was recently bullied by three significantly older boys in his school for being interested in Ancient gallic as a language and the school first turned a blind eye and then refused to take action as the children concerned had rich influential parents we can never compare to !
5. The politics here is unappealing at best.
6. Guns and a feeling of general safety .... we have witnessed a stickup in starbucks in Oakland and there's been a lockdown in our son's school once when a crazy guy with a knife was loose ....
7. My personal complete inability to understand the heavy focus on consumerism and materialistic aspects of the culture in LA ... I'm constantly put off by it ...
8. Although we are grateful that we have a well paying job and are able to afford this place, the high costs and utilities continue to shock me and I feel like we lived a better quality of life for less (case in point being food - better quality and bread doesn't last 5 weeks and milk doesn't last 3 weeks in UK!)
9. Just the general idea of raising our son in America with the materialistic values that seem to be everywhere is off putting ...

We have no family left in UK so that in itself isn't a major pull to return (in fact we have lots of cousins in New York and Chicago!) but in general feel ill at ease here. Our green card arrives in a few months so visa isn't an issue either. We are concerned that with Brexit this may be the stupidest decision ever and we might live to regret this later. America is still the market to be in in terms of growth opportunities for most careers in the western world today and UK's stagnating economy is a bit scary right now.

We'll truly appreciate any thoughts or suggestions.

Thanks for reading
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Old Mar 19th 2019, 10:24 pm
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

What's 2021?
Other things to consider:
Can you make up any drop in income that your OH may suffer if returning?
You'd need to make sure you don't drift apart if you did return. Maintaining two homes, making lots of trips both ways...does annual leave allow that even if affordable?
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Old Mar 19th 2019, 10:56 pm
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Firstly - don't listen to the 'what the heck are you doing' ?!! you'll get from other people. This is you and your families decision about what is right for you. That's it. You don't need to defend or explain and if anyone asks 'why' just say, we feel it's the right choice for us and leave it at that. Many people seem to have strong opinions on what is right for other people having never tried it themselves - irrelevant.

How does your husband feel about moving over to the UK again? It sounds like your mind is made up, that's a long list of why the UK is better for you and your family. It sounds like the US is not right for you and that's OK. It's fine to have tried something new and found out it's not for you. It's not a failure to move back.

I agree with BristolUK above - think hard about finances. If you're used to a lifestyle under his $250k salary do you feel you can adjust to a more frugal lifestyle if you're both not able to earn the same? It seems a long time for your husband to be separate from the family, what impact may that have on your son, you and your husband? Why are you waiting so long for your husband to join you? If you had made a decision as a family to return could you perhaps wait a year and then all return as a family? In the meantime for your son - look into private tutors/after-school/weekend clubs and extra activities he could get involved with to keep him entertained/challenged. Try to not influence your thoughts on the US with your son - I know only too well how difficult it can be when you're going through this to not speak too much of other places and to try to keep things neutral until proper conversations need to be made. Has your son communicated with you on his feelings?

I think as you've listed all the reasons to return (and in my opinion I do understand where you are coming from in most), now you need to do some serious research and work out finances against that research. Be realistic and understand that a downgrade in many areas may be what you need to be used to. Maybe that won't matter but it is something to really consider.

Take your time with this, communicate as much as you can with your husband, research x 10 and be very realistic with timelines and finances.

Wish you lots of luck with your decision.

Last edited by Still Game; Mar 19th 2019 at 10:58 pm.
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Old Mar 19th 2019, 11:05 pm
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Originally Posted by Still Game View Post
Firstly - don't listen to the 'what the heck are you doing' ?!! you'll get from other people. This is you and your families decision about what is right for you. That's it. You don't need to defend or explain and if anyone asks 'why' just say, we feel it's the right choice for us and leave it at that. Many people seem to have strong opinions on what is right for other people having never tried it themselves - irrelevant.

How does your husband feel about moving over to the UK again? It sounds like your mind is made up, that's a long list of why the UK is better for you and your family. It sounds like the US is not right for you and that's OK. It's fine to have tried something new and found out it's not for you. It's not a failure to move back.

I agree with BristolUK above - think hard about finances. If you're used to a lifestyle under his $250k salary do you feel you can adjust to a more frugal lifestyle if you're both not able to earn the same? It seems a long time for your husband to be separate from the family, what impact may that have on your son, you and your husband? Why are you waiting so long for your husband to join you? If you had made a decision as a family to return could you perhaps wait a year and then all return as a family? In the meantime for your son - look into private tutors/after-school/weekend clubs and extra activities he could get involved with to keep him entertained/challenged. Try to not influence your thoughts on the US with your son - I know only too well how difficult it can be when you're going through this to not speak too much of other places and to try to keep things neutral until proper conversations need to be made. Has your son communicated with you on his feelings?

I think as you've listed all the reasons to return (and in my opinion I do understand where you are coming from in most), now you need to do some serious research and work out finances against that research. Be realistic and understand that a downgrade in many areas may be what you need to be used to. Maybe that won't matter but it is something to really consider.

Take your time with this, communicate as much as you can with your husband, research x 10 and be very realistic with timelines and finances.

Wish you lots of luck with your decision.
Wish I could give you a hug. You could not have been more truthful and honest in anyway! It’s a family decision. The best for your son! I think we fear most peoples opinion which are irrelevant so to speak. If it does not feel right it’s probably not right. Understand that when you return you cannot fit into the same box. You already widened your horizon. All the best in your decision.
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Old Mar 20th 2019, 12:17 am
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

I too am experiencing a wish to move back to the UK after 25 yrs in NYstate but i don't have a clue as to what i can do about my Social Security benefits which i am now receiving Can anyone help? The one reason i want to move back is that I'm getting older and need to feel that i can be in a familiar place with commuter transport and not feel so lost in my environment
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Old Mar 20th 2019, 1:40 am
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Originally Posted by BristolUK View Post
What's 2021?
Other things to consider:
Can you make up any drop in income that your OH may suffer if returning?
You'd need to make sure you don't drift apart if you did return. Maintaining two homes, making lots of trips both ways...does annual leave allow that even if affordable?
Thank you for your response. There is no drop in income expected on our return as he will move with the same company. And 2021 MArch is the time when he is expected to return to UK and join us there if we move earlier.
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Old Mar 20th 2019, 1:44 am
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Originally Posted by Still Game View Post
Firstly - don't listen to the 'what the heck are you doing' ?!! you'll get from other people. This is you and your families decision about what is right for you. That's it. You don't need to defend or explain and if anyone asks 'why' just say, we feel it's the right choice for us and leave it at that. Many people seem to have strong opinions on what is right for other people having never tried it themselves - irrelevant.

How does your husband feel about moving over to the UK again? It sounds like your mind is made up, that's a long list of why the UK is better for you and your family. It sounds like the US is not right for you and that's OK. It's fine to have tried something new and found out it's not for you. It's not a failure to move back.

I agree with BristolUK above - think hard about finances. If you're used to a lifestyle under his $250k salary do you feel you can adjust to a more frugal lifestyle if you're both not able to earn the same? It seems a long time for your husband to be separate from the family, what impact may that have on your son, you and your husband? Why are you waiting so long for your husband to join you? If you had made a decision as a family to return could you perhaps wait a year and then all return as a family? In the meantime for your son - look into private tutors/after-school/weekend clubs and extra activities he could get involved with to keep him entertained/challenged. Try to not influence your thoughts on the US with your son - I know only too well how difficult it can be when you're going through this to not speak too much of other places and to try to keep things neutral until proper conversations need to be made. Has your son communicated with you on his feelings?

I think as you've listed all the reasons to return (and in my opinion I do understand where you are coming from in most), now you need to do some serious research and work out finances against that research. Be realistic and understand that a downgrade in many areas may be what you need to be used to. Maybe that won't matter but it is something to really consider.

Take your time with this, communicate as much as you can with your husband, research x 10 and be very realistic with timelines and finances.

Wish you lots of luck with your decision.
Thank you so much for your response Still Game ... Husband is fine with moving back to UK but is unable to do so in August this year (like me and my son plan to) due to work commitments. March 2021 is the earliest he will be able to join. We do not expect any drop in income as he will transfer over through his existing firm . whereas he

I think our son is the biggest reason we are even considering being apart from each other as he doesn't seem to have settled into his school at all. He is socially a bit of an oddity here whereas he had very good friends back home in his school. He constantly talks about returning to them . I think as a parent its hard to see that your child is unhappy on a daily basis in his environment.
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Old Mar 20th 2019, 1:45 am
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Thank you Elnino5. I can truly use a hug right now! Not getting much sleep either ! I noticed you're in Canada - culturally a much better or rather more suitable place for us as a family than LA ever will be
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Old Mar 20th 2019, 7:23 am
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

I think you'll be fine. It sounds like you've made up your mind, it is the right move for your family.

You're a great mum and you're right to feel saddened when you see your child not happy day after day. I think just make your plans and move.

Would knowing that you'll definitely be going back help to stay a while longer in US so you're not separated as a family for two years? I know you have a lot on your plate and loads of decisions to make (and I'm not trying to insinuate anything here) but just please just be honest with yourself and know there could possibly be an impact on your son/you/your husband being separated for so long. Of course families do this, it happens a lot and it's happening now all over the world just now but just with adding moving countries, new schools, new house, settling in, effectively being a single parent for a long time and with no family help just have a big open chat as to way you can pre-arrange how you'll all communicate and keep in touch as a family.
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Old Mar 20th 2019, 8:11 am
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Smile Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Originally Posted by julymermaid View Post
Thank you for your response. There is no drop in income expected on our return as he will move with the same company. And 2021 MArch is the time when he is expected to return to UK and join us there if we move earlier.
Maybe I missed it but where in the UK? Even a drop in income doesn't matter if housing is less expensive and it's the overall costs that count. If I look at salaries offered in Belfast I sometimes wonder how people manage but then again compared to Dublin housing is so much cheaper, so it's all relative. It's all about personal choice and even a high salary in LA doesn't mean anything these days. If I want LA in Europe without the glitz & glamour, I could just go to Alicante. You have houses, you have a beach and the restaurants are still affordable LOL
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Old Mar 20th 2019, 6:26 pm
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Originally Posted by julymermaid View Post
Thank you for your response. There is no drop in income expected on our return as he will move with the same company.
I had a couple of scenarios in mind with the income question. As you said OH had a good offer (to work in LA) I thought maybe that it was an improvement for going and, therefore, it may drop back upon return to the UK.

I also thought that if it became too difficult for you to be apart - financially and/or emotionally - and he couldn't return with the same employer sooner, looking for a different employer in the UK might become important even if a lower salary.

I say emotionally because in a reverse situation my wife was in Canada while I was in the UK to sell house and working in the meantime until moving over to join her. It was particularly difficult for her and I moved over well ahead of expectations, leaving a power of attorney for someone else to handle the house sale on my behalf.

And 2021 MArch is the time when he is expected to return to UK and join us there if we move earlier.
I assume that's fixed and conditional in some way. No chance of being brought forward or can he find a different employer should maintaining two homes/being apart become problematic.
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Old Mar 20th 2019, 7:46 pm
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

I say do what's best for your family. I have a family member that moved all the way to Georgia because of an awesome high school for her son. He's a really good kid but a bit of a nerd like many of us were around that age. For her son the move was idea because kids in that state are generally well behaved. It's the traditional South where manners and respect is higher up on the list of must do's.. If you can try and find a different school in your area that might solve the problem. Sounds like he just need to be in the right school and he'll make several friends. Have you tried Thousand Oaks and Woodland Hills? Every state in America is different but there are certain options no matter where you go.
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Old Mar 22nd 2019, 3:12 pm
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

$250K is a good salary but in LA does not go that far. I think splitting your family and supporting two households one in the UK and one in the USA off that salary will put unseen strains on your circumstances, e.g., potential finance and relationship issues. March 2021 is not that far away, think 24 months or 168 weeks I say focus on the end goal and plan to leave at that time as a family.
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Old Mar 22nd 2019, 9:37 pm
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Thank you so much for your responses. Great advice and lots of food for thought. I see the obvious biggest disadvantages as -

1. Being apart from DH
2. Managing two households

As such my husband is now working towards returning to UK sooner and I think we are now certain that we want to go back. He's infact started a conversation with his CEO today to figure out a return option.... I can;t thank you enough for your support at a confusing difficult time or us as a family . It means so much more than you'll know .... <3
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Old Mar 23rd 2019, 8:32 am
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Good luck to you and your's.
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