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Company transfer to Troy Michigan

Company transfer to Troy Michigan

Old Oct 4th 2019, 9:25 pm
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Default Company transfer to Troy Michigan

Hi All
It's been an ambition to move to the USA for many years & finally the conditions are right & opportunity has arrived. It is by no means a certainty at the moment but it is looking likely.
I've done a lot of research on this forum & just when I think I understand I get confused again
So I think it's probably time to ask some questions of my own.
Firstly the background:
I work for a large global company & an opportunity has arisen to take a transfer to the USA.
We are a family of 4, Me (53), my wife (35, yes I know) & two daughters 13 & 11, 3 dogs & a cat!
I am a home owner so will be looking to sell that & buy a home in the US as we intend it to be a one way trip.
From what the company say, they will take care of all the paperwork, visa's etc plus moving costs etc to make it a seamless transfer.
There is a company medical scheme but it's so confusing I've given up trying to understand it.
So really I'm looking for as much advise as I can get, after reading this forum I've discovered there is a lot to it, there are questions I didn't even know were questions, so many things I hadn't considered.

So initially some questions.
Salary hasn't been negotiated yet,I know the cost of living is generally higher than the UK, so what figure should I be looking at for a comfortable lifestyle, not extravagant just reasonable, bearing in mind I will be mortgage free & no childcare costs. The internet tells me I should be looking at $65-70k for that area is that realistic? My wife will work at some point when the time is right & the necessary visas are sorted & her qualifications are verified, she's a beauty therapist.

I understand having no credit history can be a real issue, what kind of problems will it cause? Probably things I haven't even considered. After selling up in the UK & buying in the US i should have a reasonable pot left over to buy cars, appliances & furniture etc so I don't anticipate needing too much credit, but what haven't I considered?

I've got the whole pension thing to consider, I have a pension running with this company plus a frozen one from a previous company I can draw on at 55. What are the tax liabilities there?

I will be looking around different areas to live & I don't mind a commute to work (Troy) does anyone have any recommendations for a nice area with good facilities that a nice English family could call home? House budget would be around $250-300k

I have many more questions but I'll leave it there for now.

Thank you for reading & looking forward to some advice
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Old Oct 4th 2019, 11:42 pm
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Default Re: Company transfer to Troy Michigan

You need to find out EXACTLY what working visa the company will get for you, everything else depends on that.
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Old Oct 5th 2019, 12:51 am
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Default Re: Company transfer to Troy Michigan

Some things to consider with regard expenses which are not experienced in the UK.

Health insurance premiums - your employer will pay a portion of the monthly premiums and you will pay the rest. Coverage is usually 80% of medical costs up to a, what is called, out of pocket expenses ; after that the policy will usually pay 100% of costs. You MUST find out what your monthly premiums will be, PLUS what deductibles, co-pays are down to you.

Property taxes - my relatives in the UK are always amazed as to what I pay for annual property taxes compared to the council tax. They can be anything from 1% to 2% on the value of your home (what you paid for it).

With regard having no credit history, this hits you the most with car insurance - expect it to be expensive for first couple of years.
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Old Oct 5th 2019, 9:12 am
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Default Re: Company transfer to Troy Michigan

Visa is king. Find out which one it is and come back.
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Old Oct 5th 2019, 10:56 am
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Default Re: Company transfer to Troy Michigan

Salary hasn't been negotiated yet,I know the cost of living is generally higher than the UK, so what figure should I be looking at for a comfortable lifestyle, not extravagant just reasonable, bearing in mind I will be mortgage free & no childcare costs. The internet tells me I should be looking at $65-70k for that area is that realistic? My wife will work at some point when the time is right & the necessary visas are sorted & her qualifications are verified, she's a beauty therapist.
When I moved to the USA with my wife and 2 children with my company they had a formula based partly on exchange rates which took my salary in £'s, multiplied by 2.9 and that was my starting salary in $'s. e.g. £30k would be a starting salary of $87k

What visa are you going out on and will your wife be allowed to work? When we did our move the visa was a 3 year visa and only I was allowed to work. When we got our SS cards my wife and children's cards were stamped "Not Eligible For Work"

I understand having no credit history can be a real issue, what kind of problems will it cause? Probably things I haven't even considered. After selling up in the UK & buying in the US i should have a reasonable pot left over to buy cars, appliances & furniture etc so I don't anticipate needing too much credit, but what haven't I considered?
I wouldn't sell up before knowing exactly what visa I had. We kept our house and rented it out for a few years until we got our green cards. The company helped us secure a credit card but it took some weeks so in the interim period we used our UK credit cards.

I've got the whole pension thing to consider, I have a pension running with this company plus a frozen one from a previous company I can draw on at 55. What are the tax liabilities there?
I was in the same position and there were no tax liabilities until I started drawing from my UK pension, at which point it was taxable only in the USA. There is a form to complete that goes to the IRS who notify HMRC that one is a US tax paying resident so HMRC don't take taxes through PAYE. Depending on the type of UK pensions you may have to include them when you file FBAR reports.

My company provided and paid for a tax prep company to do our taxes for the years we were on temporary visas and in receipt of company moving expenses.
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Old Oct 6th 2019, 2:41 am
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Default Re: Company transfer to Troy Michigan

Hi Wolfie,

I live about 5 miles from Troy, Mich. (and I have always lived in Metro Detroit (except for my college years). Both my wife and I are retired senior buyers from one of the Big Three auto companies.

Some of your questions -

Salary - depends on what you do for a living, but $65 - 70K seems pretty low. If you are a professional, (engineer, marketing) I would think more like $95 - 110K. Less for lower skills, but not $65k low.
Place to live - No worries for you, Troy is a very nice suburb to live in. No downtown feel to it, however. All suburban lots. Go onto a website called Zillow and type in "Troy Michigan" in the search line; it will bring up all of the houses available in that area. $250k will get you a 3-bedroom house, $350k will get you a nicer one. Troy has good schools.

Taxes - this is my wife's expertise really, but $3,000 to $4,000 per year on property / school taxes.
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Old Oct 6th 2019, 12:15 pm
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Default Re: Company transfer to Troy Michigan

Originally Posted by SanDiegogirl View Post
Some things to consider with regard expenses which are not experienced in the UK.

Health insurance premiums - your employer will pay a portion of the monthly premiums and you will pay the rest. Coverage is usually 80% of medical costs up to a, what is called, out of pocket expenses ; after that the policy will usually pay 100% of costs. You MUST find out what your monthly premiums will be, PLUS what deductibles, co-pays are down to you.

Property taxes - my relatives in the UK are always amazed as to what I pay for annual property taxes compared to the council tax. They can be anything from 1% to 2% on the value of your home (what you paid for it).

With regard having no credit history, this hits you the most with car insurance - expect it to be expensive for first couple of years.
Thanks SanDiegogirl you make some you've highlighted some things I need to factor in, I'll take a closer look at the health insurance. I hadn't really considered the cost of property taxes & car insurance, these are the kind of things I need to find out more about
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Old Oct 6th 2019, 12:49 pm
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Default Re: Company transfer to Troy Michigan

Originally Posted by durham_lad View Post
When I moved to the USA with my wife and 2 children with my company they had a formula based partly on exchange rates which took my salary in £'s, multiplied by 2.9 and that was my starting salary in $'s. e.g. £30k would be a starting salary of $87k

What visa are you going out on and will your wife be allowed to work? When we did our move the visa was a 3 year visa and only I was allowed to work. When we got our SS cards my wife and children's cards were stamped "Not Eligible For Work"

Thanks Durham Lad, I'm not sure yet how the company calculate salary on these kind of transfers, that part of the negotiation is coming soon hence why I'm trying to find out some background costings so I've got my eyes wide open, I haven't really looked into the visa situation for my wife & kids, I'm going to rely on the company to help with all that, they have far more experience as they move people to the USA regularly, but obviously it will have to be the best one for us as a family & I will make sure it is. One HR rep told me don't worry about any of that, it's just a formality so we'll see just how much of a formality it actually is

I wouldn't sell up before knowing exactly what visa I had. We kept our house and rented it out for a few years until we got our green cards. The company helped us secure a credit card but it took some weeks so in the interim period we used our UK credit cards.

Yes that's sound advice, I'm all for keeping the house & renting for a while, it makes sense to me but my wife is very keen to sell & go, It will release a significant amount of money but you never know what the future holds. I guess buying a house in the USA isn't as simple as I imagine it is so I need a lot more knowledge on that.
I was in the same position and there were no tax liabilities until I started drawing from my UK pension, at which point it was taxable only in the USA. There is a form to complete that goes to the IRS who notify HMRC that one is a US tax paying resident so HMRC don't take taxes through PAYE. Depending on the type of UK pensions you may have to include them when you file FBAR reports.

My company provided and paid for a tax prep company to do our taxes for the years we were on temporary visas and in receipt of company moving expenses.
That sounds pretty straight forward, I'm not eligible to draw on pensions yet but it's just another consideration.

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Old Oct 6th 2019, 1:00 pm
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Default Re: Company transfer to Troy Michigan

Originally Posted by nain rouge View Post
Hi Wolfie,

I live about 5 miles from Troy, Mich. (and I have always lived in Metro Detroit (except for my college years). Both my wife and I are retired senior buyers from one of the Big Three auto companies.

Some of your questions -

Salary - depends on what you do for a living, but $65 - 70K seems pretty low. If you are a professional, (engineer, marketing) I would think more like $95 - 110K. Less for lower skills, but not $65k low.
Place to live - No worries for you, Troy is a very nice suburb to live in. No downtown feel to it, however. All suburban lots. Go onto a website called Zillow and type in "Troy Michigan" in the search line; it will bring up all of the houses available in that area. $250k will get you a 3-bedroom house, $350k will get you a nicer one. Troy has good schools.

Taxes - this is my wife's expertise really, but $3,000 to $4,000 per year on property / school taxes.
Thanks Nain Rouge, yes $65-70k seemed pretty low to me especially when you factor in some of the costs that have been mentioned, those figures were something I found on the internet hence my coming on here to ask people with real experience.
I've made some inquiries with colleagues who already work in Troy & they say it's a nice area but it's nice to get an independent opinion.
The cost of property taxes has really opened my eyes
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Old Oct 6th 2019, 1:13 pm
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Default Re: Company transfer to Troy Michigan

working for a large global company probably means they have the transfer package pretty much all worked out. If you aren't getting a promotion then your current grade level will have a pre-determined salary band in the destination city and you can negotiate within that band or better still, see if you can negotiate a grade rise.
Also, the "package" for moving you should also be pretty much worked out with only a few smaller decisions needing to be made by you.

With a 13 yr old, I wouldn't hang about getting this transfer done, the sooner the better to minimise disruption to their education. Also negotiate for green card sponsorship as soon as possible as this will make college finances here in the USA easier to handle and allow your daughter to work if she wishes. Internships are important here when they are at college.

If you're getting L1a then you can get this going very quickly, L1b takes longer.
Your US colleagues are probably having to make decisions about healthcare choices for next year right now. This would be a good time to ask someone about the costs for your family ( maybe a colleague if HR won't?) Just as a headsup our company plan next year offers 3 choices, so not too onerous.

Credit - there are banks that will offer you credit cards upon arrival - Wells Fargo/Bank of America/Advancial are ones that work for my clients. HSBC will sort you out ahead of time if you contact them. Also Revolut have just secured authorisation to work in the USA which may also be a good choice if you are having to transfer back money to pay your UK mortgage.

Let us know how it's all going and good luck!
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Old Oct 6th 2019, 1:13 pm
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Default Re: Company transfer to Troy Michigan

Originally Posted by civilservant View Post
Visa is king. Find out which one it is and come back.
Thanks for your input civilservant, I realise the importance & significance of the visa, I will be relying on the company sort that, they have a great deal of experience shipping personnel around the world, If they don't organise the correct one then the whole deal is a non starter. However, not to make any other enquiries as to the cost of living etc while waiting for visa details seems a little counter-intuitive, I need to know what it's going to cost before making my salary demands, if the financials don't add up the visa is really irrelevant.
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Old Oct 6th 2019, 6:13 pm
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Default Re: Company transfer to Troy Michigan

Standard response from the auld duffers here is 'what visa are you on'. The reason this is crucial information is because some visas will not allow your spouse/kids to work (ever - H visas) and some have conditions attached whereby you have to spend a certain period in your home country once the initial visa has expired (some J visas) and others do not allow you to seek permanent residence (aka the green card - some E visas).

Costs to anticipate in advance include:
- Car insurance as mentioned (not so much because of credit history but more because you don't have a driving record here and they consider you a new driver and therefore high risk).
- Cars. You'll need two. Most people buy on monthly plans. The less credit data you have, the higher risk you are and the more down payment/monthly payments you'll need to pay. Buying cars outright from a dealer is unheard of. A salesman laughed in my face when I asked if they did cash deals and said no, we make all our money on monthly payments. You need to buy from a private buyer if you want to buy outright and all the usual caveats and bullshit-detection apply.
- Utilities: no credit history - high risk. We had to pay deposits of a few thousand up front to cover our internet subscription and mobile phone plans for example. Also the cost of internet/tv/mobile phone etc is much higher here. Pay as you go mobile phones are not common although you can get 'family plans' which give you 4 lines/4 phones etc but expect to pay $$$.
- Health insurance: your company will pay the majority of your monthly costs but you will have a contribution to pay each month and the more people on that plan, the more you pay. Factor in $1000/month at least. Also every time you visit the doctor/get a prescription etc you have to pay a percentage of the cost (co-pay). Bear in mind that anything other than a routine trip to the doc can result in a MASSIVE bill and your copay could be hundreds, if not thousands. Although there is usually a yearly max in place.
- Clothes/fresh food/shoes. All more expensive.
- Rent: you may need to rent before buying a house. Furnished rentals are not common and paying first month, last month and a deposit equal to or more than a month's rent is common.
- Pets: shipping them over is going to be costly unless the company is paying. Also be aware of temperature restrictions. It is likely that several months of the year in Michigan will be no fly months because of the extreme cold. I think if you are using a pet shipper, this does not apply as they take the pets in a van from/to the plane/terminal whereas if you send them as baggage they could potentially be left outside for a lengthy period of time while the bags are being unloaded.
- One way move: this is a tricky one. Your employer has to apply for the greencard for you (unless you are highly specialized in something) and they will be in no hurry to do so as once you've got it you can F off and all the money they've spent getting you here will be wasted. The process takes at LEAST two years (absolute minimum, usually a lot longer) which is why people are saying make sure employer gets this started asap.
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Old Oct 6th 2019, 7:26 pm
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Default Re: Company transfer to Troy Michigan

Originally Posted by sherbert View Post
Buying cars outright from a dealer is unheard of. A salesman laughed in my face when I asked if they did cash deals and said no, we make all our money on monthly payments. You need to buy from a private buyer if you want to buy outright and all the usual caveats and bullshit-detection apply.
Erm, I recently bought my car, a three year old Ford, with cash from a dealership. Yeah they're not thrilled to do it but they are still under pressure to sell cars. As far as I know well-to-do people routinely pay cash for new cars as well.
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Old Oct 6th 2019, 7:59 pm
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Default Re: Company transfer to Troy Michigan

Originally Posted by HDWill View Post
Erm, I recently bought my car, a three year old Ford, with cash from a dealership. Yeah they're not thrilled to do it but they are still under pressure to sell cars. As far as I know well-to-do people routinely pay cash for new cars as well.
I bought 5 2nd hand cars direct from dealers for cash while living In Louisiana and Texas. While they do prefer to sell a car loan they would rather sell the car than see a potential buyer walk off to another dealership.
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Old Oct 6th 2019, 10:04 pm
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Default Re: Company transfer to Troy Michigan

Originally Posted by Wolfie_17 View Post
Thanks for your input civilservant, I realise the importance & significance of the visa, I will be relying on the company sort that, they have a great deal of experience shipping personnel around the world, If they don't organise the correct one then the whole deal is a non starter. However, not to make any other enquiries as to the cost of living etc while waiting for visa details seems a little counter-intuitive, I need to know what it's going to cost before making my salary demands, if the financials don't add up the visa is really irrelevant.
One would have thought that as you are being transferred you would obtain an L-1 and your wife an L-2 (this will allow your wife to work).

Getting a green card while on an L-1 is relatively straightforward, however, it is instigated by your employer, not you. So, as you have said you intend this to be a one way trip (ie. permanent as far as you are concerned) you should be an agreement from your company (preferably as part of the contract) that they will support you in obtaining a green card.

No-one can foretell what the future will bring and you might hate the US or your job might fizzle out, but if everything goes well then you have some leverage on your company to get the green card ball rolling.
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