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Moving to Michigan - Cost of living, Salary and more

Moving to Michigan - Cost of living, Salary and more

Old Oct 3rd 2011, 8:46 pm
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Post Moving to Michigan - Cost of living, Salary and more

Hello all!

I am a British Expat currently living in Germany with my South African Expat wife and new Son.

I have a chance to move to Michigan with my current employer and am looking for some advice.

As we are living in Germany we have a very good social benefit system and the cost of living is split, from what I can tell, in a very different way from the States. For example I wouldn't stress too much about getting life insurance immediately in Germany but feel that I would need it in the States.

We have fairly normal life style requirements but by no means what to feel 'strapped'

My company will be providing Medical Insurance, Basic Life Insurance and Disability Insurance. Plus relocation costs.

I am looking for information on the following...

1. A breakdown of living costs in Michigan, i.e how much for rent, food, running two cars, communication etc.

2. Taxes in Michigan and the States in general

3. Living in Michigan, I would be living in Rochester most likely and working in Troy, what is to do in the area?

4. Schools in Michigan

5. What would be considered a reasonable disposable income (after all bills) to live a comfortable life in Michigan

6. What is a reasonably good household income or individual salary in Michigan for a married couple and one child (for now)

Thanks in advance...
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Old Oct 4th 2011, 2:08 am
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Default Re: Moving to Michigan - Cost of living, Salary and more

Since that is sort of at the edge of the suburbs of Detroit, you could probably use the Detroit Metropolitan area to get a rough estimate of the cost of living using the following link.

http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/...ec_id=m1025820

However there are different costs in different suburbs primarily when it comes to housing so I would suggest you should search for apartments/houses in Troy to get a better idea of the housing costs there.

Your address will determine which schools your children will attend. When looking for an apartment/house, check which school district that property is in and then find that school district on the internet and there should be area maps indicating which school your children will be attending, Generally you can also determine how that school is ranked in the state.

Search the internet to determine the income tax rates for Michigan. Normally it will give the marginal tax brackets but this is normally after exemptions and deductions.
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Old Oct 4th 2011, 3:29 am
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Default Re: Moving to Michigan - Cost of living, Salary and more

Originally Posted by mikewells85 View Post
My company will be providing Medical Insurance, Basic Life Insurance and Disability Insurance. Plus relocation costs...
What's the cost to you for the medical? Will you still have a monthly contribution? What about co-pays, deductibles, levels of cover etc? It's a little bit more complicated than the employer offering cover.

How good is the disability cover? Is it something that kicks in after x number of weeks sick? Is it 60% of your salary? It's all different.

What about repatriation costs? What about greencards? What about getting EAD for the OH so she can work?

You can check out glassdoor.com and salary.com for average type of salaries and cost of living calculators will probably be easily found.

City-data.com is also a good site for finding local cost of living.
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Old Oct 4th 2011, 1:32 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Michigan - Cost of living, Salary and more

just as an add-on to what bob was saying , i would also check out the wiki here on BE , i believe there is a very good entry covering relocation and what you should be asking for ...at the very least it should give you a decent starting place for negotiations with your company
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Old Oct 4th 2011, 3:36 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Michigan - Cost of living, Salary and more

Originally Posted by paulpur View Post
just as an add-on to what bob was saying , i would also check out the wiki here on BE , i believe there is a very good entry covering relocation and what you should be asking for ...at the very least it should give you a decent starting place for negotiations with your company
http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Compan...on_Packages_US

Yes, there it is and it's a great starting point on things to consider
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Old Oct 6th 2011, 7:58 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Michigan - Cost of living, Salary and more

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
What's the cost to you for the medical? Will you still have a monthly contribution? What about co-pays, deductibles, levels of cover etc? It's a little bit more complicated than the employer offering cover.

How good is the disability cover? Is it something that kicks in after x number of weeks sick? Is it 60% of your salary? It's all different.

What about repatriation costs? What about greencards? What about getting EAD for the OH so she can work?

You can check out glassdoor.com and salary.com for average type of salaries and cost of living calculators will probably be easily found.

City-data.com is also a good site for finding local cost of living.

The deductable is $4000 for the family, no deductable on preventative care. Seems that most of the insurance is 100% cover after deductable. No monthly contribution is required but I believe I can pay in to a kind of savings.

Live insurance is 200% of anual salary, up to $200,000 max.

Short term disiblity insurance kicks in on day 1 due to injury, day 8 due to sickness for up to 13 weeks. Pays 60% of earnings.

Long term disibility kicks in after short term runs out and is till social security retirement age. Pays 60% of salary.

Dental, preventative is 100% provider, Basic procedures 80% provider, Major procedures 50% provider. $50 deductable for Basic and Major procedures.

There is some vision insurance as well.

As for Visa I would be on an L1 and my wife on an L2, so we would both be eligable to work. I believe the L Visas can last for up to 7 years. Then I would have to think about Green Cards.

Nothing on repatriation, except a good relationship with the German half of the company and a verbal agreement that they would ship me back to Europe if it doesn't work out.

Thanks
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Old Oct 6th 2011, 8:05 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Michigan - Cost of living, Salary and more

i would definately get the repatriation in writing as well , and also perhaps 1 or 2 trips back home per year if possible
if you are remotely interested in working in the U.S permanently , i would perhaps even get then to put in about sponsoring your green cards, and have them put in at what date they will do it
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Old Oct 6th 2011, 10:19 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Michigan - Cost of living, Salary and more

Hi,

Can you not get your employers to let you all come out on a 'look see' to see if relocating is suitable? I live in the Detroit suburbs and it's not everyone's cup of tea.

However, some info from my experience......

The best public school systems in the area you are talking about are said to be the Rochester, Birmingham or Bloomfield Hills schools districts. If you look up a house online it will generally tell you what school district the property falls in.

Property and therefore rental prices vary widely over the suburbs. The tenant usually gets to pay the property tax as part of the rental amount. We rented a 3500 sq foot house which cost $3500 per month. I would suggest that you go on one of the property websites and check out Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, Birmingham and Troy as well as Rochester Hills. You can get a realtor here to work with you to find a place to rent. There is not much in the way of rental Lettings agencies a la the UK - the landlord will be your contact if things need sorting out.

Michigan is much maligned but it has some beautiful scenery and lots of metro, county and state parks. It does get extremely cold here in the winter, however and it can snow really heavily. Skiing and snowboarding popular but those pesky glaciers ground down any mountains so not Colorado. The car (or SUV) is king here and four wheel drive is a really good idea to get through the winter.

Detroit also has The Tigers, the Lions, the Pistons and the Red Wings, all top sports teams and also ballet and opera and an orchestra. There's a great zoo in Royal Oak and the Henry Ford is a fantastic place to spend the day. Fab art museum downtown too, and a science centre, although that is rumoured to be closing. It's only a 5 hour drive to Chicago or Toronto as well (that's close out here).

Long term, if you stay and get a green card, the University of Michigan always ranks highly in university tables and Michigan State does well too. Wayne State has a regarded medical program. A visa won't get you in state tuition, you need that green card to benefit and if you check out colleges, you will see that the difference between in and out of state tuition is huge.

Hope this helps.
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Old Oct 6th 2011, 10:46 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Michigan - Cost of living, Salary and more

Originally Posted by mikewells85 View Post

As for Visa I would be on an L1 and my wife on an L2, so we would both be eligable to work. I believe the L Visas can last for up to 7 years. Then I would have to think about Green Cards.
You'll want greencards sorted sooner, or you'll be up the creek. Especially if you aren't L1A.

The L2 spouse needs to renew EAD card annually, some might get it for 2 years though, it's not cheap, so get the employer to stump for it.

If it's not in writing, it's as much use as a well used tissue. Get the greencard and repatriation costs in writing.

Anything else is stupidity.
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