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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 Oct 6th 2016, 4:49 pm
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Originally Posted by HumphreyC View Post
Again the problem is comparing like for like I guess (London vs Bay area or NYC). On the quality of life issue, a lot of my Generation (Y) in the UK seem to be stuck in a 'generation rent' style situation. Property ownership (in general) seems to be a lot more achievable here and that makes a big difference to quality of life; having a house you can change to how you want it and a couple of acres as a blank canvas. Moving back to the UK and having to massively downsize while paying massively more for a mortgage seems unthinkable - but you never know.
One nice thing about the US is that you can get a 30 year fixed mortgage. In the UK these products are not available. It makes budgeting for the future a lot easier.
However my property tax in the US is a lot more than what I would be paying in the UK, it's almost like having a second mortgage.
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Old Oct 6th 2016, 6:37 pm
  #92  
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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
However my property tax in the US is a lot more than what I would be paying in the UK, it's almost like having a second mortgage.
Yeah - much more seems to be funded through taxation at the local level in the US (schools etc..) than it is in the UK - hence UK council tax is lower as it pays less of a proportion. For me the property tax is reasonable but if I was over the border in NH it would be a lot higher because they have no income tax on W-2 wages and 0% sales tax (the state has to get its pound of flesh somehow).

I have no idea why NJ and NY property taxes are so insanely high.
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Old Oct 6th 2016, 7:03 pm
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Sounds like the OP has 'lifestyle Envy'.. i.e. the grass is greener syndrome. He needs to really take a good look at what is important to him before he makes what could be a costly mistake.
You cannot compare salaries between the UK and the USA. you can compare lifestyles. What seems free and easy in the USA... Eating out for example costs an absolute fortune.. and is expected in many communities.. breakfast included- That styrofoam cup full of liquid the US calls coffee (I am comparing to Portugal here and not the UK) an every day item, costs 4dollars +. It's not usual to buy your breakfast in the UK,neither are you obliged to pay for your kids schooling if you don't wish too. I was just on Lopez Island WA... and could not get over how every simple meal out ended up being 100+ dollars.+ humungous tip( Don't even begin to add wine at 40 dollars a bottle) in the islands. Mainland not much different.. A college town sounds cutesy and Gilmore girls..but how far is it from other civilised areas.?. Many to me were sandwiched between very undesirable neighbourhoods..and they were always expensive.. Is the ability To walk in the neighbourhood important to you and your family? because you can forget that in many many places in the USA. The Uk is rich beyond measure in open spaces,parks, stately homes available to the public for free. The American writer Bill Bryson elogiese's over this in his many books on the delights of the UK. (he also went back to Hannover to give his kids a taste of his homeland.. soon hotfooted back though..just moved to a different area of the UK) so maybe you should give that a try first.. The UK is much much more than London and the South East... Try moving up to Manchester and living in Cheshire or the Lake District--(just about doable) You will get more for you money and be in lovely countryside...I would say it's worth a punt before you take the bigger leap. after all Trump is on the horizon...

Last edited by GeniB; Oct 6th 2016 at 7:10 pm.
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Old Oct 6th 2016, 7:26 pm
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Originally Posted by GeniB View Post
Sounds like the OP has 'lifestyle Envy'.. i.e. the grass is greener syndrome. He needs to really take a good look at what is important to him before he makes what could be a costly mistake.
You cannot compare salaries between the UK and the USA. you can compare lifestyles. What seems free and easy in the USA... Eating out for example costs an absolute fortune.. and is expected in many communities.. breakfast included- That styrofoam cup full of liquid the US calls coffee (I am comparing to Portugal here and not the UK) an every day item, costs 4dollars +. It's not usual to buy your breakfast in the UK,neither are you obliged to pay for your kids schooling if you don't wish too. I was just on Lopez Island WA... and could not get over how every simple meal out ended up being 100+ dollars.+ humungous tip( Don't even begin to add wine at 40 dollars a bottle) in the islands. Mainland not much different.. A college town sounds cutesy and Gilmore girls..but how far is it from other civilised areas.?. Many to me were sandwiched between very undesirable neighbourhoods..and they were always expensive.. Is the ability To walk in the neighbourhood important to you and your family? because you can forget that in many many places in the USA. The Uk is rich beyond measure in open spaces,parks, stately homes available to the public for free. The American writer Bill Bryson elogiese's over this in his many books on the delights of the UK. (he also went back to Hannover to give his kids a taste of his homeland.. soon hotfooted back though..just moved to a different area of the UK) so maybe you should give that a try first.. The UK is much much more than London and the South East... Try moving up to Manchester and living in Cheshire or the Lake District--(just about doable) You will get more for you money and be in lovely countryside...I would say it's worth a punt before you take the bigger leap. after all Trump is on the horizon...
Sorry, this is all twaddle, and not worth dismantling and refuting phrase by phrase. Suffice to say that "America" isn't a program that you sign up for like an all-inclusive cruise, it is available entirely a la carte and costs as much or as little as you want it to. And in any case a holiday in the Pacific NW is absolutely not a valid basis for generalizing about life in the US.
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Old Oct 6th 2016, 7:36 pm
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Originally Posted by GeniB View Post
I was just on Lopez Island WA... and could not get over how every simple meal out ended up being 100+ dollars.+ humungous tip( Don't even begin to add wine at 40 dollars a bottle) in the islands. Mainland not much different.
Er, yes it is. Lopez is only reachable by a 30 minute ferry, the restaurants there aren't cheap (captive audience and that), and if the cheapest wine you can get if $40 then you aren't in the most affordable ones anyway. Food is much more affordable in Anacortes.
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Old Oct 6th 2016, 7:57 pm
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Originally Posted by HumphreyC View Post
I have no idea why NJ and NY property taxes are so insanely high.

But property taxes aren't high across the board; every community has a different tax structure and mill rate. It's a fact of life that the property taxes are high in the communities with good schools and expensive houses where the executives live, much cheaper in the communities where the blue collar workers live and the schools leave a lot to be desired. For instance, commuter towns in Westchester County, adjacent to the city, will have far higher property taxes than a NYS town up near the Canadian border. Even Putnam County, just north of Westchester, is less expensive. Obviously it isn't fair when it comes to funding the schools, but that is why picking the right address is so important when deciding where to live in the US.
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Old Oct 6th 2016, 8:04 pm
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Originally Posted by HumphreyC View Post
.... I have no idea why NJ and NY property taxes are so insanely high.
IIRC NY funded it's state Medicare program exclusively through property taxes. It is the only state to have funded Medicare that way.

Sorry, I can't help you with NJ.
Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
.... For instance, commuter towns in Westchester County, adjacent to the city, will have far higher property taxes than a NYS town up near the Canadian border. Even Putnam County, just north of Westchester, is less expensive. Obviously it isn't fair when it comes to funding the schools, but that is why picking the right address is so important when deciding where to live in the US.
Westchester is a case study in local government inefficiency as it is carved up into 30-something municipalities each with their own schools, police, and fire brigades, and of course offices to administer the services.

Last edited by Pulaski; Oct 6th 2016 at 8:07 pm.
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Old Oct 6th 2016, 8:19 pm
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
But property taxes aren't high across the board; every community has a different tax structure and mill rate.
I may be wrong, but I think in general property taxes in the US are higher than council tax for an average family home. This may have changed due to the weak pound.
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Old Oct 6th 2016, 8:21 pm
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Originally Posted by GeniB View Post
Sounds like the OP has 'lifestyle Envy'.. i.e. the grass is greener syndrome. He needs to really take a good look at what is important to him before he makes what could be a costly mistake.
You cannot compare salaries between the UK and the USA. you can compare lifestyles. What seems free and easy in the USA... Eating out for example costs an absolute fortune.. and is expected in many communities.. breakfast included- That styrofoam cup full of liquid the US calls coffee (I am comparing to Portugal here and not the UK) an every day item, costs 4dollars +. It's not usual to buy your breakfast in the UK,neither are you obliged to pay for your kids schooling if you don't wish too. I was just on Lopez Island WA... and could not get over how every simple meal out ended up being 100+ dollars.+ humungous tip( Don't even begin to add wine at 40 dollars a bottle) in the islands. Mainland not much different.. A college town sounds cutesy and Gilmore girls..but how far is it from other civilised areas.?. Many to me were sandwiched between very undesirable neighbourhoods..and they were always expensive.. Is the ability To walk in the neighbourhood important to you and your family? because you can forget that in many many places in the USA. The Uk is rich beyond measure in open spaces,parks, stately homes available to the public for free. The American writer Bill Bryson elogiese's over this in his many books on the delights of the UK. (he also went back to Hannover to give his kids a taste of his homeland.. soon hotfooted back though..just moved to a different area of the UK) so maybe you should give that a try first.. The UK is much much more than London and the South East... Try moving up to Manchester and living in Cheshire or the Lake District--(just about doable) You will get more for you money and be in lovely countryside...I would say it's worth a punt before you take the bigger leap. after all Trump is on the horizon...
Disagree with pretty much all of this. Leaving aside the rest (as I can't be bothered to wade through it), who the hell pays 4 bucks for a cup of coffee?
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Old Oct 6th 2016, 10:15 pm
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Originally Posted by Nutek View Post
Disagree with pretty much all of this. Leaving aside the rest (as I can't be bothered to wade through it), who the hell pays 4 bucks for a cup of coffee?
I think living here is different to being a tourist.

I really liked Portugal when I went there for an extended holiday (5 weeks) - not sure I could live there though. It was certainly cheap compared to France and the people I met were really lovely. HATED the coffee. A thimble of something the spoon would stand up in. Each to their own.
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Old Oct 6th 2016, 11:37 pm
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Originally Posted by Nutek View Post
Disagree with pretty much all of this. Leaving aside the rest (as I can't be bothered to wade through it), who the hell pays 4 bucks for a cup of coffee?
Yeah, I got a $4 pourover the other weekend, but the whole three-minute process seemed rushed, and I don't think my barista had even waxed his mustache in the morning!
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Old Oct 7th 2016, 4:52 am
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Originally Posted by GeniB View Post
Sounds like the OP has 'lifestyle Envy'.. i.e. the grass is greener syndrome. He needs to really take a good look at what is important to him before he makes what could be a costly mistake.
You cannot compare salaries between the UK and the USA. you can compare lifestyles. What seems free and easy in the USA... Eating out for example costs an absolute fortune.. and is expected in many communities.. breakfast included- That styrofoam cup full of liquid the US calls coffee (I am comparing to Portugal here and not the UK) an every day item, costs 4dollars +. It's not usual to buy your breakfast in the UK,neither are you obliged to pay for your kids schooling if you don't wish too. I was just on Lopez Island WA... and could not get over how every simple meal out ended up being 100+ dollars.+ humungous tip( Don't even begin to add wine at 40 dollars a bottle) in the islands. Mainland not much different.. A college town sounds cutesy and Gilmore girls..but how far is it from other civilised areas.?. Many to me were sandwiched between very undesirable neighbourhoods..and they were always expensive.. Is the ability To walk in the neighbourhood important to you and your family? because you can forget that in many many places in the USA. The Uk is rich beyond measure in open spaces,parks, stately homes available to the public for free. The American writer Bill Bryson elogiese's over this in his many books on the delights of the UK. (he also went back to Hannover to give his kids a taste of his homeland.. soon hotfooted back though..just moved to a different area of the UK) so maybe you should give that a try first.. The UK is much much more than London and the South East... Try moving up to Manchester and living in Cheshire or the Lake District--(just about doable) You will get more for you money and be in lovely countryside...I would say it's worth a punt before you take the bigger leap. after all Trump is on the horizon...
What strange observations. I have always found eating out very reasonable in the US. What is wrong with paying $4 for a coffee, my coffee in UK is £2.55 so that seems on a par, $40 for a bottle of wine in a restaurant seems entirely reasonable to me too, in fact a bit on the cheap side, I would be concerned with the quality. And what do you mean by "it is not usual to buy your breakfast in the UK"? I either buy my breakfast or go without..
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Old Oct 7th 2016, 11:52 am
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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
What strange observations. I have always found eating out very reasonable in the US. What is wrong with paying $4 for a coffee, my coffee in UK is £2.55 so that seems on a par.
Coffee runs me about 2 bucks. Refills are free.
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Old Oct 7th 2016, 2:18 pm
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Originally Posted by GeniB View Post
The American writer Bill Bryson elogiese's over this in his many books on the delights of the UK. (he also went back to Hannover to give his kids a taste of his homeland.. soon hotfooted back though..just moved to a different area of the UK)
Hanover NH is a lovely place. The Brysons always intended to move back to England and they ended up staying eight years despite only intending to stay for five. All Bill Bryson's family live in England except for his elderly mum so you can't blame him for hotfooting it back.

On the UK and US he says

“I’m very happy to divide my time between the two countries,”...“But in a way it’s a curse because I can’t live in both simultaneously. In a perfect world, I might spend my afternoons in England and the evenings in America, so I can watch the Boston Red Sox on TV. My wife being English and me being American, we share an element of compromise.”

Think we all feel like that sometimes.
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Old Oct 7th 2016, 2:41 pm
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Default Re: Cost of living/quality of life/best place for kids -- US vs UK

Originally Posted by Moses2013 View Post
I don't know if it's more achievable in the US and again as you said depends on the area? I know plenty of people in the UK who can't afford a home but then again there are plenty living in tiny apartments in the US and are paying a lot more, or those who can't afford a home in the US. Then you have those who don't want to buy or live in a huge house and are happy to rent. I just had a quick search and found plenty of properties under 100K in the UK with large gardens. Even in Co Armagh you can find loads of houses with a garden for little money and you have two capitals that can be reached in an hour.
A big part of the problem in the US and maybe in the UK is far too many people are Financial idiots. They blow their money on cars they can't afford and other poor financial decisions and never save enough to afford a house or retire comfortably. If it wasn't for the forced savings of social security most would be in big trouble in their later years.
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