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Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Old Jul 15th 2016, 8:47 am
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Default Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Hi all, apologies if this is a bit of a ramble, but I hoped some people on here might be able to share their experiences. (And I am aware that it's hard to compare two countries, as individual people and regions differ so widely.)

Quick background: I was born and raised in the UK (dual citizen), moved to the US in 1998, met my wife, got married, had kids, then moved back to the UK (for various reasons) in 2009. The move back has been a mixed bag -- I don't regret doing it, especially as it gave my kids a chance to have a more global outlook and see a bit more of the world than many US kids do.


Lately, though, I have been wondering if it might not be time to jump back to the US. The main reason is financial: salaries in the UK are fairly low, and the cost of living is so high, that I have never really had the feeling of 'making it' here, more like just scraping by, month after month. Scanning the job ads and Realtor.com, it really looks as if the balance would be far more favourable in the States (even keeping in mind stuff like healthcare costs). I also have very fond memories of the overall quality of life in the US, especially in terms of children and growing up, people's overall attitudes (broadly optimistic and friendly vs. jaded and withdrawn).


How does any of this strike you? Are you 'making it' more in the US than in the UK? Are you planning to stay or move back? Do you feel that your move has been positive for your quality of life and that of your children?
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Old Jul 15th 2016, 9:17 am
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Usual answer to this is, 'same shit, different bucket'
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Old Jul 15th 2016, 10:04 am
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Originally Posted by transatlantic_chap View Post
Lately, though, I have been wondering if it might not be time to jump back to the US. The main reason is financial: salaries in the UK are fairly low, and the cost of living is so high, that I have never really had the feeling of 'making it' here, more like just scraping by, month after month. Scanning the job ads and Realtor.com, it really looks as if the balance would be far more favourable in the States (even keeping in mind stuff like healthcare costs). I?



I'm sure plenty of people in the US feel the same and what are your priorities? I don't know where you are looking for jobs, but just because there are many jobs and houses look cheap, doesn't mean you'll have a better life. The gap between rich and poor is always bigger in large countries and unless you have certain skills, some areas will probably be even worse.


I agree that it can be tough in the UK for certain people, but then again you have other people earning huge wages, so it's no different in the US. I also left the UK for Ireland, because my priorities were to have a house with garden, low mortgage and at least a minimum wage job will still offer me a decent lifestyle here, which I couldn't find in the part of the UK I was. Being classed poor in the US can be a lot worse than being classed poor in the UK. I still see unemployed people with a council house in the UK who can afford holidays and have healthcare.
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Old Jul 15th 2016, 2:16 pm
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Originally Posted by transatlantic_chap View Post
Hi all, apologies if this is a bit of a ramble, but I hoped some people on here might be able to share their experiences. (And I am aware that it's hard to compare two countries, as individual people and regions differ so widely.)

Quick background: I was born and raised in the UK (dual citizen), moved to the US in 1998, met my wife, got married, had kids, then moved back to the UK (for various reasons) in 2009. The move back has been a mixed bag -- I don't regret doing it, especially as it gave my kids a chance to have a more global outlook and see a bit more of the world than many US kids do.


Lately, though, I have been wondering if it might not be time to jump back to the US. The main reason is financial: salaries in the UK are fairly low, and the cost of living is so high, that I have never really had the feeling of 'making it' here, more like just scraping by, month after month. Scanning the job ads and Realtor.com, it really looks as if the balance would be far more favourable in the States (even keeping in mind stuff like healthcare costs). I also have very fond memories of the overall quality of life in the US, especially in terms of children and growing up, people's overall attitudes (broadly optimistic and friendly vs. jaded and withdrawn).


How does any of this strike you? Are you 'making it' more in the US than in the UK? Are you planning to stay or move back? Do you feel that your move has been positive for your quality of life and that of your children?
You have asked the same questions in thread after thread after thread since 2010! Time to either "just do it" or get on with your life in the UK!
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Old Jul 15th 2016, 3:14 pm
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

It depends almost entirely on whether you can get a decent job in a relatively low cost area.

If your preferred location / availability of jobs is tied to the north east (DC to New England) or California, then I doubt you'll be better off in the US, unless you're a doctor, lawyer, or a corporate executive. If your income is low-moderate you'll still likely be better off in the UK no matter where you look in the US.

Only if you have decent income (household income close to six figures or better) and can locate in The South, southwest, or midwest/ mountains, could you be reasonably certain of being better off in the US.

.... IMO.
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Old Jul 15th 2016, 10:01 pm
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Where did you live in the US and in the UK?

A move from central London to NYC, probably pretty similar affair. You move from central London to some podunk town in Alabama and it'll be a massive difference, not just in the cost of living but in the quality and living.

All going to really depend on what you do for a living though, I suppose. Go where you can get a job or a hub of positions and that may or may not limit choices.

That all said, post #2, sums it up nicely.
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Old Jul 15th 2016, 10:37 pm
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Originally Posted by mikelincs View Post
Usual answer to this is, 'same shit, different bucket'
As he said and I add. Whatever rathole you happen to inhabit their all pretty much the same one rathole is the same as another.
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Old Jul 16th 2016, 2:27 am
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Relate to your comment on 'month-to-month'.

The move here has definitely relieved that worry for me. Have to be careful though, once you get over that problem it's too easy to find something else to fret over.

Overall, very happy to have made the move definite upgrade in quality of life.
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Old Jul 16th 2016, 2:56 am
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

I find "salaries in the UK are fairly low" to be a rather bizarre comment. There is surely a vast spectrum of salaries in both countries. I would also stick my neck out and say that somebody that can command a high (or low) salary in one country has a pretty good chance of doing the same in the other.

If you want a change, do it, but I wouldn't be doing it because of some general notion of salaries being higher in the US.
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Old Jul 16th 2016, 7:34 am
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
It depends almost entirely on whether you can get a decent job in a relatively low cost area.

If your preferred location / availability of jobs is tied to the north east (DC to New England) or California, then I doubt you'll be better off in the US, unless you're a doctor, lawyer, or a corporate executive. If your income is low-moderate you'll still likely be better off in the UK no matter where you look in the US.

Only if you have decent income (household income close to six figures or better) and can locate in The South, southwest, or midwest/ mountains, could you be reasonably certain of being better off in the US.

.... IMO.
I'd just add that the geographic difference is more granular than that. Take New York, for instance. You can live like a king if you're a modestly paid administrator or professional (librarian, nurse, professor, school teacher, middle manager) earning say $40,000 to $90,000, IF you live outside NYC and its commuting area. Even big cities like Syracuse have dirt cheap property and generally low cost of living. In the little town in the sticks where I live, you can buy a nice village Victorian for $50,000, and a fixer upper for $15,000.

Mind you, wine is expensive in New York State...
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Old Jul 16th 2016, 4:23 pm
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Can I just mention , the cakes in the UK are much better and cheaper. This may affect the cost of living.
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Old Jul 16th 2016, 4:25 pm
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Originally Posted by Bermudashorts View Post
I find "salaries in the UK are fairly low" to be a rather bizarre comment. There is surely a vast spectrum of salaries in both countries. I would also stick my neck out and say that somebody that can command a high (or low) salary in one country has a pretty good chance of doing the same in the other.

If you want a change, do it, but I wouldn't be doing it because of some general notion of salaries being higher in the US.
Job security in the UK is much better. Most States at "at will" states.

Also a lot depends on lifestyle. Kid summer camps, TV and used cars are all more expensive in the US. Also being able to experience Europe cheaply is a plus.
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Old Jul 16th 2016, 5:21 pm
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Originally Posted by mrken30 View Post
Can I just mention , the cakes in the UK are much better and cheaper. ....
No, you can't, .... that is Nutek's job.
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Old Jul 16th 2016, 5:55 pm
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Originally Posted by mrken30 View Post
Job security in the UK is much better. Most States at "at will" states.

Also a lot depends on lifestyle. Kid summer camps, TV and used cars are all more expensive in the US. Also being able to experience Europe cheaply is a plus.


But exploring the US is also a plus. You can go from one state to another and have sea, mountains, heat, cold, humidity, dry heat, rain forests, glaciers, desert, and more.
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Old Jul 16th 2016, 8:00 pm
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Originally Posted by mrken30 View Post
Can I just mention , the cakes in the UK are much better and cheaper. This may affect the cost of living.
Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
No, you can't, .... that is Nutek's job.


Too funny.
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