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Our Story..... (so far)

Our Story..... (so far)

Old Jul 26th 2006, 8:39 am
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Default Our Story..... (so far)

Not been on here for a while, used to be addicted twice daily, but lapsed slightly. Thought it was time we shared our story.

Decided January 2005 that NZ was the place for us, went down the investigative route, EOIs, medicals, job interviews, research etc. Sold up and arrived Auckland September 2005. Christmas was weird, jobs are good, kids are loving everything. Bought a house, slightly unprepared for the high interest rates, totally weren't prepared for the cold winter and lack of heating! Made some friends (got a few really good ones), lost some aswel (went back to the UK). This is not a doom and gloom post, but wanted to share what we've been through and come out the other side - just about smiling!!

(totallyish) broke, can afford a takeaway once a week though, so long as dominos (!!);
not been on holiday, and unlikely to be on holiday for a while - unprepared for the "distance" to even fly over the ditch;
bloody cold, even in Auckland in July at 3c at night with no heating;
cost of living is cheap when compared to UK, but even with a CBD salary you have to think in $dollars not £pounds - sausages are cheap, but electric and interest rates are high! (and petrol, overseas travel, gas, phone calls to uk);
can cope with all of the above, however worst was finding out expecting 3rd baby and then having miscarriage 12 weeks in, hospitals however have been great, midwives, DRs, specialists etc, as have follow up treatments after discovering further complications;
Having "friends" back in the UK who decide distance and time to call is too much of inconvenience is hard;
Having family who think the same is harder;
Family being ill, or going through difficult times is difficult, having a 24 hour flight time makes things more awkward;

However all worth while when you take the time to look at the scenery, enjoy the coastline, breathe the clean air, and listen to your children say that they love their life and don't want to go back to england, even if it means they get to spent more time with their nanny and grandad!

We've certainly had our experiences thus far in New Zealand, some brilliant and some crap, but we're still enjoying more days than we hate - so that's a good start and where we intend to stay!!!!

nohu ora mai
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Old Jul 26th 2006, 9:17 am
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Default Re: Our Story..... (so far)

Thank you for posting your experiences so far. We are at the beginning of research into moving to nz .
Any chance you (or anyone else) could post a few financial details like your house bills, petrol prices etc.
We are trying to work out how much we need to earn a month to cover these expenses + occasional holidays and flights to uk(my parents are elderly so I'd need to return annually).
Thanks
helinuk
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Old Jul 26th 2006, 9:34 am
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Default Re: Our Story..... (so far)

Originally Posted by helinuk
Thank you for posting your experiences so far. We are at the beginning of research into moving to nz .
Any chance you (or anyone else) could post a few financial details like your house bills, petrol prices etc.
We are trying to work out how much we need to earn a month to cover these expenses + occasional holidays and flights to uk(my parents are elderly so I'd need to return annually).
Thanks
helinuk
Hi
Firstly think in dollars not pounds - it took us about 6 months to grasp this!
This is based on a young family of 4 in a 3 bed sub-division section in a nice area of Auckland.
petrol - $1.77/litre
telephone inc internet - $150/month (we make around 2 calls/week to the uk, local calls are free, broadband is $40, line renta $40)
sky - $90/month - this is pretty much everything
electric - winter $300/month - summer halve it
rates - $100/month
water - $180/quater
mortgage - interest rate fixed 3 yrs 7.5%
health ins - $100 month (exc dentist and opticians)
car ins (which is optional in NZ) - $600/year fully comp for a 1994 Rav4
WOF (every 6 month like MOT) - $40/6 months
Road tax - can't remember figure but every 6/12 months.
Bottle of wine - cheapo plonk during week $8
Weekly shop of food at budget supermarket - $180 inc veg, meat etc
Flights return to UK best price I've found is $8,500 for family of 2 adults, 2 kids. (worst is about $40,000) !!!
Income tax - 30% of salary (as average).

These are all rough guestimates based on what we spend, I'm sure other ex-pats will have different guidance. If you want anything specific let us know. Best of luck.
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Old Jul 26th 2006, 10:33 am
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Default Re: Our Story..... (so far)

Originally Posted by P18PPS
Hi
Firstly think in dollars not pounds - it took us about 6 months to grasp this!
This is based on a young family of 4 in a 3 bed sub-division section in a nice area of Auckland.
petrol - $1.77/litre
telephone inc internet - $150/month (we make around 2 calls/week to the uk, local calls are free, broadband is $40, line renta $40)
sky - $90/month - this is pretty much everything
electric - winter $300/month - summer halve it
rates - $100/month
water - $180/quater
mortgage - interest rate fixed 3 yrs 7.5%
health ins - $100 month (exc dentist and opticians)
car ins (which is optional in NZ) - $600/year fully comp for a 1994 Rav4
WOF (every 6 month like MOT) - $40/6 months
Road tax - can't remember figure but every 6/12 months.
Bottle of wine - cheapo plonk during week $8
Weekly shop of food at budget supermarket - $180 inc veg, meat etc
Flights return to UK best price I've found is $8,500 for family of 2 adults, 2 kids. (worst is about $40,000) !!!
Income tax - 30% of salary (as average).

These are all rough guestimates based on what we spend, I'm sure other ex-pats will have different guidance. If you want anything specific let us know. Best of luck.
My goodness- you've replied so quickly!! Thank you so much! My hubby is going to be so impressed with this research!

If you were asked what salary would be ideal to live off - not extravagant- what would it be?
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Old Jul 26th 2006, 9:55 pm
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Default Re: Our Story..... (so far)

Originally Posted by helinuk
My goodness- you've replied so quickly!! Thank you so much! My hubby is going to be so impressed with this research!

If you were asked what salary would be ideal to live off - not extravagant- what would it be?
helinuk
Ohh that's a difficult question, it really depends on your lifestyle, size of family, size of mortgage and of course where you choose to live. A real estate acquaintance suggested to us that to live in Auckland and have a good lifestyle you needed to earn around $150k - this I hasten to add is their suggestion and is based on their lifestyle which includes zero mortgage, going to the gold coast for a winter holiday, followed by a couple of skiing trips, the odd weekend away in Fiji, a bach for the summer holidays and plenty of nights out to restaurants and functions.... this isn't quite our lifestyle (I wouldn't mind one like that though!). We had a sizable amount of deposit we put down on a house, the house purchase price was $520k, however our mortgage repayments are about double that of the UK due to the interest rates (and we've definitely up-sized). Husband earns around the $90k, and we are having to be extremely thrifty with our pennies.
I'm just about to go back to work which will give us some breathing space, so to be honest I don't think the $150k suggestion is too far off the mark. (obviously if you've got a smaller or zero mortgage then you could probably halve that figure) - it's the interest rate that's the killer.

If we did it all again, I may think further about keeping the UK home and just renting in NZ for a few years to see what happens to the $NZ, but then you're in the territory of not really emigrating and perhaps only doing it by halves??

I'm sure other members will have differing opinions on the salary figure ...
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Old Jul 26th 2006, 11:22 pm
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Default Re: Our Story..... (so far)

Hi,

Thank you for sharing your story. So sorry that you have been through a miscarriage and some other hard times, you are obviously a very strong family who are all helping each other get through.
I am having simular difficulties, my eldest sister in Germany was diagnosed with breast cancer in April and suddenly I felt like I might as well be on a different planet. She is planning a holiday here once the treatment is finished early next year as long as she gets the go ahead to travel from her doctors.
My friends here are great, but funnily enough I have also found that even my oldest and dearest friend in England hardly calls any more and the past few occasions I have called her she will talk for 10 minutes or so before saying she has to go and walk the dog or something

Keep smiling, spring is just around the corner
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Old Jul 27th 2006, 5:17 am
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Default Re: Our Story..... (so far)

Originally Posted by Jude J
Hi,

Thank you for sharing your story. So sorry that you have been through a miscarriage and some other hard times, you are obviously a very strong family who are all helping each other get through.
I am having simular difficulties, my eldest sister in Germany was diagnosed with breast cancer in April and suddenly I felt like I might as well be on a different planet. She is planning a holiday here once the treatment is finished early next year as long as she gets the go ahead to travel from her doctors.
My friends here are great, but funnily enough I have also found that even my oldest and dearest friend in England hardly calls any more and the past few occasions I have called her she will talk for 10 minutes or so before saying she has to go and walk the dog or something

Keep smiling, spring is just around the corner
Thanks for the kind words Jude J. Can't wait for spring to arrive!! I'm sure some of my miserable moods at the moment are winter related!
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Old Jul 27th 2006, 6:37 am
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Default Re: Our Story..... (so far)

Originally Posted by helinuk
My goodness- you've replied so quickly!! Thank you so much! My hubby is going to be so impressed with this research!

If you were asked what salary would be ideal to live off - not extravagant- what would it be?
helinuk
I would echo most of the day to day costs indicated by P18PPS.

Salary wise, it really does depend on so many things - however, for what it's worth here's our experience - we're a family of 4 (2 young children) living in chch - we're both working full time in mid range jobs - joint income $95k, we've got a small mortgage ($140k), we don't have sky by choice, but other than that our bills are similar - our electric is cheaper at about $90 per month (winter), but then we've got gas water heating at about $75 every 2 months and wood for the logburner about $180 every 2 months during the winter months. In chch we don't have to pay anything for water but our rates are slightly higher - $130 per month. We've also got daycare to include at $310 per week.
We have to budget and we have to give any out of the ordinary spending careful consideration but we do quite well and even manage to save a little every now and again

As a general guide we were advised to aim for $4k take home per month, remembering that income tax is higher
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Old Jul 27th 2006, 7:12 am
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Default Re: Our Story..... (so far)

Originally Posted by Joshlin
I would echo most of the day to day costs indicated by P18PPS.

Salary wise, it really does depend on so many things - however, for what it's worth here's our experience - we're a family of 4 (2 young children) living in chch - we're both working full time in mid range jobs - joint income $95k, we've got a small mortgage ($140k), we don't have sky by choice, but other than that our bills are similar - our electric is cheaper at about $90 per month (winter), but then we've got gas water heating at about $75 every 2 months and wood for the logburner about $180 every 2 months during the winter months. In chch we don't have to pay anything for water but our rates are slightly higher - $130 per month. We've also got daycare to include at $310 per week.
We have to budget and we have to give any out of the ordinary spending careful consideration but we do quite well and even manage to save a little every now and again

As a general guide we were advised to aim for $4k take home per month, remembering that income tax is higher
Thank you for sharing this COL. This is very helpful and is a good reality check.
We thought we might rent for a while until we know which area we really liked. Then buy something small(we'll sell our house here). Our plan is for hubby to semi retire from the rat race of a job he has now(its affected his health) and do something he enjoys - like tefl teaching. I probably have to work longer hours than I do now (15hrs) - as long as he can play golf occasionally and I can make a few friends we'll be happy.
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Old Jul 27th 2006, 8:39 pm
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Default Re: Our Story..... (so far)

Originally Posted by P18PPS
Not been on here for a while, used to be addicted twice daily, but lapsed slightly. Thought it was time we shared our story.

Decided January 2005 that NZ was the place for us, went down the investigative route, EOIs, medicals, job interviews, research etc. Sold up and arrived Auckland September 2005. Christmas was weird, jobs are good, kids are loving everything. Bought a house, slightly unprepared for the high interest rates, totally weren't prepared for the cold winter and lack of heating! Made some friends (got a few really good ones), lost some aswel (went back to the UK). This is not a doom and gloom post, but wanted to share what we've been through and come out the other side - just about smiling!!

(totallyish) broke, can afford a takeaway once a week though, so long as dominos (!!);
not been on holiday, and unlikely to be on holiday for a while - unprepared for the "distance" to even fly over the ditch;
bloody cold, even in Auckland in July at 3c at night with no heating;
cost of living is cheap when compared to UK, but even with a CBD salary you have to think in $dollars not £pounds - sausages are cheap, but electric and interest rates are high! (and petrol, overseas travel, gas, phone calls to uk);
can cope with all of the above, however worst was finding out expecting 3rd baby and then having miscarriage 12 weeks in, hospitals however have been great, midwives, DRs, specialists etc, as have follow up treatments after discovering further complications;
Having "friends" back in the UK who decide distance and time to call is too much of inconvenience is hard;
Having family who think the same is harder;
Family being ill, or going through difficult times is difficult, having a 24 hour flight time makes things more awkward;

However all worth while when you take the time to look at the scenery, enjoy the coastline, breathe the clean air, and listen to your children say that they love their life and don't want to go back to england, even if it means they get to spent more time with their nanny and grandad!

We've certainly had our experiences thus far in New Zealand, some brilliant and some crap, but we're still enjoying more days than we hate - so that's a good start and where we intend to stay!!!!

nohu ora mai

Really great post, realistic and balanced. Our kids have settled here so well, both of them talk about going back to the UK (which they now call 'up there', NZ being 'down here') for a holiday only, they don't think about going to live there again. They have wider groups of friends, from all cultures and countries, here than they did 'up there', and the kids here, in comparison, are more pleasant and more mature. They're also happier in school, more optimistic about their careers and definitely healthier because they're not stuck in front of the TV all the time. So on the odd occasion we've had panic attacks about what we've done we just look at our two and know we couldn't reverse it if we wanted to, which we don't.

Money wise, we get by. We're not paying a mortgage yet, no doubt that will make a big difference, but we're managing to stick to a tight budget and put a little away each month, which is more than we could do in the UK. So we've got no regrets, even though it's hard when reality checks hit (such as a family death in the UK and you can't get a flight back for the funeral).
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Old Jul 28th 2006, 11:52 am
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Default Re: Our Story..... (so far)

P18PPS I'm sorry to hear about your miscarriage - tough when you're away from your family at times like this. However, I'd echo what other people have said about friends and family - my friends are actually much, much better than my family They're useless! Most people agree that it ends up being up to you to call them! Our phone bill for International calls this month was $20 - mobile calls were $23!!!!!! We're with Telecom and I always use the 0161 before the international number and it's not expensive at all.
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Old Jul 28th 2006, 2:35 pm
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Default Re: Our Story..... (so far)

Originally Posted by helinuk
Thank you for posting your experiences so far. We are at the beginning of research into moving to nz .
Any chance you (or anyone else) could post a few financial details like your house bills, petrol prices etc.
We are trying to work out how much we need to earn a month to cover these expenses + occasional holidays and flights to uk(my parents are elderly so I'd need to return annually).
Thanks
helinuk
Just a thought about annual trips back to the UK. It could be cheaper to buy the tickets from the UK annually as you will have up to a year to use the return sector (ie to the UK) and then buy another return when back in the UK after that year and so on.

It would be much cheaper than buying them in NZ IF $8.5k would be a rare find for a family of four. At today's exchange rate this works out at around £2150 I think and I can recall that there were loads of deals in the £2000-2500 bracket for a family of four return when I did copious amounts of research for our trip last Xmas. Of course exchange rate fluctuations will affect this 'strategy', but thought I'd mention it.

On a similar note, hubbie & I always thought we'd leave some money in our UK bank account (£10k?) that could be used for such things when we move (no planned date fyi) along with a credit card to finance the occasional Amazon/online order also which may be much appreciated in hard times or when suffering from home sickness for example. A luxury that not everyone could afford or choose to do, but a welcome peace of mind to me.

Good luck with the move.
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Old Jul 28th 2006, 2:36 pm
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Default Re: Our Story..... (so far)

Originally Posted by P18PPS
Not been on here for a while, used to be addicted twice daily, but lapsed slightly. Thought it was time we shared our story.
Sorry to hear of your bad news, but great that you are still smiling! Enjoyable post thanks.
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Old Jul 28th 2006, 9:38 pm
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Default Re: Our Story..... (so far)

Originally Posted by uk+kiwi
Just a thought about annual trips back to the UK. It could be cheaper to buy the tickets from the UK annually as you will have up to a year to use the return sector (ie to the UK) and then buy another return when back in the UK after that year and so on.

It would be much cheaper than buying them in NZ IF $8.5k would be a rare find for a family of four. At today's exchange rate this works out at around £2150 I think and I can recall that there were loads of deals in the £2000-2500 bracket for a family of four return when I did copious amounts of research for our trip last Xmas. Of course exchange rate fluctuations will affect this 'strategy', but thought I'd mention it.

On a similar note, hubbie & I always thought we'd leave some money in our UK bank account (£10k?) that could be used for such things when we move (no planned date fyi) along with a credit card to finance the occasional Amazon/online order also which may be much appreciated in hard times or when suffering from home sickness for example. A luxury that not everyone could afford or choose to do, but a welcome peace of mind to me.

Good luck with the move.
Good tips thanks
Are you in nz now? Where are you, or where are you planning to be?
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Old Jul 29th 2006, 8:40 am
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Default Re: Our Story..... (so far)

Originally Posted by helinuk
Good tips thanks
Are you in nz now? Where are you, or where are you planning to be?
Hi,

No. In UK but hubbie is a kiwi (from Akl) so we will head over for a while at some point. Just not sure when the time is right for us as a family.
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