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Denver - Cost of living

Denver - Cost of living

Old Apr 7th 2016, 11:11 pm
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Default Denver - Cost of living

Hi All,

I promise I have done some searching around the forums but can't really find anything specific to what I am looking for.

I am being relocated by my company to Denver this summer on an L1 visa, what I am trying to find out is 2 part:

1 - On a annual salary of $76k, working and living in the Centennial area, what is the rough approx of my new monthly pay? I have used a calculator (Salary Paycheck Calculator | Take Home Pay Calculator | Paycheck Calculator) and it has given me an amount of about 4.5k per month but I am just not sure if there are deductions I am missing.
My company is paying completely for healthcare (after deductable), I am single and moving on my own and as far as I am aware, I am not paying into a company pension scheme. Does that mean on that calculator mentioned above that I just need the basic info of salary with no other options changed and the monthly amount is correct?

2 - Is this a decent salary to live on considering I would like to rent a 2 bedroom place in the Centennial area (range $1200-$1600 per month on rent) or would I be struggling to make ends meet on that kind of money? I am not 100% sure on the day to day costs that come with living in the USA vs the UK.

Sorry for rambling, but any guidance would be greatly appreciated!
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Old Apr 8th 2016, 3:35 am
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Default Re: Denver - Cost of living

Denver is beautiful, I lived there for a couple of years. You should be able to find a nice apt for $1000 easily enough. You will need at least one months rent up front and don't expect to see it back, they have their excuses. Before you leave you need to beat them at their own game and not pay the last months rent, they screw everybody whose on college or on temp work, it's the renters game they play, " oh look at that scratch over there" etc etc...They tried that on me but the judge ruled in my favour knowing I was a neat and anal freak!😊👍🏼

$4.5k is quite good considering your company is paying your healthcare. Tax deductions of courses similar to UK.

Depending on how long you plan to live in America, you might decide to contact the British social security system to keep that active... There are ways you can pay into that from a foreign country, and so many of us accidentally neglect that and the years roll by.

Last edited by Chapdawg; Apr 8th 2016 at 3:46 am.
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Old Apr 8th 2016, 3:44 am
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Default Re: Denver - Cost of living

In my experience I usually estimate monthly take-home to be about 70% of gross, which comes out at $4,430, so very close to the figure you calculated. You should do OK on that assuming you can find a rental at about $1,200.

As Chapdawg mentioned you can apply to continue paying into the NI scheme, but if you are only going to be out of the UK for three years and are then returning it probably isn't worth it, because you only need 35 years of contributions for a full state pension.

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Old Apr 8th 2016, 3:58 am
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Default Re: Denver - Cost of living

Example American living per month:

Rent 1200
Petrol 200
Utilities 150
Car payment 300
Cell phone 120
Food. 200
Insurances. 50
misc. 200

Petrol $2.20 per gallon
Resteraunts meal $8-15 per person.
Verizon cell phone service is the best and most expensive at at least a $100 per month. Make sure you get UK coverage, it's like 3c a minute to a land line and 10c mobile to mobile....but FaceTime is better, but still eats data even with wifi.

You choose your standards but this is alright, it's not the ritz and its not the pits....You could probably still easily stash a good grand per month in the bank on top of living well.

Last edited by Chapdawg; Apr 8th 2016 at 4:12 am.
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Old Apr 8th 2016, 8:52 am
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Default Re: Denver - Cost of living

That is all great, thank you. It was just a bit nerve wrecking to not know exactly how much I get to have in my pocket each month, and when you have to rent for a year, you don't want to be stuck overpaying and living poorly outside of that.

I appreciate all your feedback.
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Old Apr 8th 2016, 12:49 pm
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Default Re: Denver - Cost of living

Couple of tweaks I'd make to Chapdawg's helpful list:

- cell phone looks high - that's around what we're paying for 4 lines. An unlimited calls/ texts/ data plan from someone like T Mobile costs $50 a month, but that's if you have your own phone so allow for phone purchase on top, at a price point that suits. If you're not much of a phone user and just want it for emergencies, there are other providers that do more cut-down plans for around $25 a month.

- car insurance for a newly-arrived person with no US driving history is usually $1k every six months. Some people report having success with bringing over proof of their UK insurance history and having it taken into account, which may reduce that price some.
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Old Apr 8th 2016, 2:11 pm
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Default Re: Denver - Cost of living

Good info, I had actually read that about the insurance as well and had already requested my insurance to send me the details of my history with them.

I am quite lucky for my phone as I will have a work phone to use, so that isnt an issue.
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Old Apr 8th 2016, 3:31 pm
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Default Re: Denver - Cost of living

Rent 1200
Petrol 200
Utilities 150
Car payment 300
Cell phone 120
Food. 200

These figures are pretty accurate however I would think you will pay more for car insurance at first... I paid just over $125 per months at first then it almost halfed.
Insurances. 50
misc. 200
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Old Apr 8th 2016, 4:03 pm
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Default Re: Denver - Cost of living

Originally Posted by nick.simpson19 View Post
.... I would think you will pay more for car insurance at first... I paid just over $125 per months at first then it almost halfed.
Insurances. 50
misc. 200
Watch out for car insurance that is too cheap - you might not be getting the protection you think you're getting. In some states minimum coverage is for a very small amount, and can leave you exposed to personal liability. I seem to recall that the legal minimum for third party coverage in some states is only for personal injury - and only $25,000 of liability. So hit someone's Mercedes, or injury someone badly enough to hospitalize them* and you can expect a law suit. So, in short, check how much coverage you're buying, and make sure it is adequate.

* I spent three nights in hospital six years ago (unrelated to a road accident), for about the most minor possible reason to require a multinight stay in hospital - I had to be on a 24hr drip and needed two minor skin excisions. The bill? Over $20,000! My health insurance at that time paid 90% of the bill.

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Old Apr 8th 2016, 4:23 pm
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Default Re: Denver - Cost of living

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Watch out for car insurance that is too cheap - you might not be getting the protection you think you're getting. In some states minimum coverage is for a very small amount, and can leave you exposed to personal liability. I seem to recall that the legal minimum for third party coverage in some states is only for personal injury - and only $25,000 of liability. So hit someone's Mercedes, or injury someone badly enough to hospitalize them* and you can expect a law suit. So, in short, check how much coverage you're buying, and make sure it is adequate.

* I spent three nights in hospital six years ago (unrelated to a rsod accident), for about the most minor possible reason to require a multinight stay in hospital - I had to be on a 24hr drip and needed two minor skin excisions. The bill? Over $20,000! My health insurance at that time paid 90% of the bill.
Ah, the good ol' American healthcare system!

Thanks for the insurance info, I will keep an eye out for that
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Old Apr 8th 2016, 4:51 pm
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Default Re: Denver - Cost of living

Originally Posted by BrownBandit View Post
My company is paying completely for healthcare (after deductable),

Do you mean they are paying in full for your insurance premium, or that they will also reimburse you for any co-pays and other costs (such as meds)?
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Old Apr 8th 2016, 5:29 pm
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Default Re: Denver - Cost of living

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
Do you mean they are paying in full for your insurance premium, or that they will also reimburse you for any co-pays and other costs (such as meds)?
I knew deductable was the wrong word when I typed that, I just couldnt think of the right one.

From how it has been explained to me (still waiting to sign the official document with the full details), I am fully covered by the company in a given year after a certain amount has been spent by me, so the initial treatment for anything will be out of my pocket, but anything over and above that is completely covered.
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Old Apr 8th 2016, 5:32 pm
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Default Re: Denver - Cost of living

76k is huge for that part of the US, the average salary here in the metropolitan area of Chicago is around 60 grand and our monthly rent for a 2 bed apartment a stone's throw from the downtown area is 2.5k, Chicago is comfortably in the top 10 most expensive cities in America so the op will be very comfortable on that salary where he's going

I would personally worry about a lack of a pension but that's for him to worry about

One charge he might find expensive is internet, cable, satellite, this is where the UK is a lot cheaper and generally better in my experience, though you do get 100s more channels here. While we have Xfinity from Comcast, it's pretty crap, as it is for relatives in other parts of the US so do your homework on providers. A friend has Dish and pays less for basically the same channels (all 700 of them), with faster internet and no reception issues. Generally your internet and TV will be anything up to $200 a month if you want the premium channels so a big increase on what Sky or Virgin costs
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Old Apr 8th 2016, 5:33 pm
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Default Re: Denver - Cost of living

Originally Posted by BrownBandit View Post
I knew deductable was the wrong word when I typed that, I just couldnt think of the right one.

From how it has been explained to me (still waiting to sign the official document with the full details), I am fully covered by the company in a given year after a certain amount has been spent by me, so the initial treatment for anything will be out of my pocket, but anything over and above that is completely covered.
That is how a normal US health insurance policy works. When you incur a medical expense, you pay the first bit (the deductible) and insurance pays all, or in some cases a predefined percentage, of the rest.
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Old Apr 8th 2016, 8:43 pm
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Default Re: Denver - Cost of living

Originally Posted by themadpooper View Post
I would personally worry about a lack of a pension but that's for him to worry about

One charge he might find expensive is internet, cable, satellite, this is where the UK is a lot cheaper and generally better in my experience, though you do get 100s more channels here. While we have Xfinity from Comcast, it's pretty crap, as it is for relatives in other parts of the US so do your homework on providers. A friend has Dish and pays less for basically the same channels (all 700 of them), with faster internet and no reception issues. Generally your internet and TV will be anything up to $200 a month if you want the premium channels so a big increase on what Sky or Virgin costs
I already spoke to my UK based HR manager and I will be putting aside money to bring back to the UK when my visa ends to then put that back into my pension plan.

As for the tv and internet side, I expected it would cost more, and it makes me sad that it is so poor compared to the UK. I am truly happy with streaming services like Netflix for my general tv watching, it's getting the sports channels I want to watch that is probably going to hit me hard!
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