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Need your help-Cost of Living?

Need your help-Cost of Living?

Old Dec 8th 2010, 8:49 pm
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Default Need your help-Cost of Living?

Hi All, I read a lot of your posts on how expensive USA is. I have just received a 3 years J-1 visa approval as a research scholar with Maine University. My husband and daughter (6 months) received their J2 visa as well. However, they won't be joining me until a few weeks after my induction and I get everything up and running.

What I need to know is whether $60000 p/a salary/stipend is ok to live in Maine? Take into consideration that my husband might not find any work immediately and we have a 6 months old baby. Health insurance is covered by the university.

$60000 is equivalent to about £40000 and I know of family living on £20000 here. I read somewhere that cost of living is higher in the US than the UK, so is standard of living?
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Old Dec 8th 2010, 9:11 pm
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Default Re: Need your help-Cost of Living?

To get you started....

http://britishexpats.com/forum/showt...ving+in+the+US

If you use the search function and type in "cost of living in the US" you'll find a lot more....

Good luck!
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Old Dec 8th 2010, 9:11 pm
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Default Re: Need your help-Cost of Living?

Use the following cost of living calculator to estimate different costs in the area you will be living in. You could compare to New York City (Manhattan) to get a comparison similar to London (both have a similar cost of living index).

http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/...alculator.aspx
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Old Dec 9th 2010, 12:53 am
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Default Re: Need your help-Cost of Living?

With the previous cost of living calculator, you can't get the cost of living for Orono, Maine because it is too small but if you use the calculator to compare New York City (Manhattan) to Burlington, Vermont and then use the following link to compare Burlington with Orono, you should get some idea of the cost.

http://www.bestplaces.net/city/defau...675&op=2355575

If you are going to be living in Bangor Maine, the costs overall appear to be about 12% more expensive (housing seems to be significantly more but is still well below the US average.

http://www.bestplaces.net/city/defau...675&op=2302795

With a $60,000 per year income, that is well above the medium household income in Bangor of $34,249. A $60,000 income is in the upper 1/3rd income bracket for that area.

http://www.bestplaces.net/city/defau...675&op=2302795

Last edited by Michael; Dec 9th 2010 at 1:37 am.
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Old Dec 9th 2010, 1:50 am
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Default Re: Need your help-Cost of Living?

lets put it this way, I would have a nice little life on $60k in ME..
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Old Dec 9th 2010, 2:36 am
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Default Re: Need your help-Cost of Living?

Originally Posted by Manc View Post
lets put it this way, I would have a nice little life on $60k in ME..
Me too, it's more than our family of four (sometimes 5) live on here in CA.
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Old Dec 9th 2010, 2:47 am
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Default Re: Need your help-Cost of Living?

That sounds very good for a research scholar stipend.
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Old Dec 9th 2010, 3:55 am
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Default Re: Need your help-Cost of Living?

Originally Posted by rondelle View Post
Hi All, I read a lot of your posts on how expensive USA is. I have just received a 3 years J-1 visa approval as a research scholar with Maine University. My husband and daughter (6 months) received their J2 visa as well. However, they won't be joining me until a few weeks after my induction and I get everything up and running.

What I need to know is whether $60000 p/a salary/stipend is ok to live in Maine? Take into consideration that my husband might not find any work immediately and we have a 6 months old baby. Health insurance is covered by the university. $60000 is equivalent to about £40000 and I know of family living on £20000 here. I read somewhere that cost of living is higher in the US than the UK, so is standard of living?
I would look very carefully at that - check if you make any contribution (health ins premiums would be around $1,000 pcm and companies often pay, say, 70%, leaving $300 to come from you), also check any co-pays and deductibles etc.
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Old Dec 9th 2010, 5:58 am
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Default Re: Need your help-Cost of Living?

Housing appears to be fairly inexpensive in that area. Typically rent appears to be in the $600-$900 per month range but if you want to go upscale, it appears the rent is $1,000 per month and up.

It is hard to tell if the lake front properties are the price per month year around. Many lake front properties are used by the owner during the summer or rented out weekly at a very high price during the summer.

The following 2 story furnished 2,100 sf lake front property is $1,000 per month. The view and inside appears to be very nice but the furnishings are tasteless.

http://www.rentbangor.com/7_furnishe...25-bath.html#7

It's a little confusing that they list the price at $1,000 plus utilities for 6-8 month or a 12 month lease for $1,350. I suspect that they indicating that it is $1,000 per month if renting during the off season but it will be $350 per month more if you are renting during the full year.

In the US, property tax is included in the rental price (homeowner pays for it).

If you want to go more upscale, the following lake front 2,400 sf house is $1,550 per month

http://www.rentbangor.com/5_houses-f...kefront.html#0

If you want to go very upscale, you could rent this 5,500 sf home with a 4 car garage on a 60+ acre lot for $2,500 per month (but no lake front).

http://www.rentbangor.com/5_houses-f...me.html#6#12#0

Of course it would probably cost you a fortune to heat it during the Maine cold winters and cool it during the hot summers.

Last edited by Michael; Dec 9th 2010 at 7:50 am.
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Old Dec 9th 2010, 8:40 am
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Default Re: Need your help-Cost of Living?

After searching some more on housing, it appears that most lake front properties that are furnished are usually quoted at a low monthly price for winter and different high weekly or monthly price for the summer. So the one property that was linked to in the previous post that was furnished charges $1,000 per month for a 6-8 month rental from approximately September through May but $1,350 if you want it year round. That is not too bad since many of the furnished lake front properties can rent for over $1,500 per week during the summer.

One thing that may turn you off about renting a lake front property is that most are located about 20 minutes or more south east of Bangor which means that you will have a drive of 30 minutes or more to the University.

Last edited by Michael; Dec 9th 2010 at 8:59 am.
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Old Dec 9th 2010, 1:48 pm
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Default Re: Need your help-Cost of Living?

Originally Posted by Mummy in the foothills View Post
Me too, it's more than our family of four (sometimes 5) live on here in CA.

Both my kids live on less than 50,000 yearly and one is a family of 3 (in the NYC suburbs) and the other a family of 5 (large university city in Mississippi).
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Old Dec 9th 2010, 1:57 pm
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Default Re: Need your help-Cost of Living?

Originally Posted by Rete View Post
Both my kids live on less than 50,000 yearly and one is a family of 3 (in the NYC suburbs) and the other a family of 5 (large university city in Mississippi).
I think she'll be fine, too.

But she should consider the fresh-off-the-boat costs that your kids don't have:
* As you arrive with only suitcases, those incidental expenses for the stuff we've already gathered can really add up.
* With no credit history, you'll be paying extra deposits on electric, gas, cell phone, etc.
* A lack of understanding of the new environment you're in will undoubtedly cost you more.
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Old Dec 9th 2010, 1:59 pm
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Default Re: Need your help-Cost of Living?

Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post
That sounds very good for a research scholar stipend.
It sure does... wow.
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Old Dec 9th 2010, 2:12 pm
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Default Re: Need your help-Cost of Living?

Originally Posted by fatbrit View Post
I think she'll be fine, too.

But she should consider the fresh-off-the-boat costs that your kids don't have:
* As you arrive with only suitcases, those incidental expenses for the stuff we've already gathered can really add up.
* With no credit history, you'll be paying extra deposits on electric, gas, cell phone, etc.
* A lack of understanding of the new environment you're in will undoubtedly cost you more.

So very true but assume she/they will be shipping a good deal of their household items with them (at least the none electric ones). We all have had to give security deposits at some point in our adult lives for utilities, etc. Point #3 is a definite.
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Old Dec 9th 2010, 9:15 pm
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Default Re: Need your help-Cost of Living?

Originally Posted by fatbrit View Post
I think she'll be fine, too.

But she should consider the fresh-off-the-boat costs that your kids don't have:
* As you arrive with only suitcases, those incidental expenses for the stuff we've already gathered can really add up.
* With no credit history, you'll be paying extra deposits on electric, gas, cell phone, etc.
* A lack of understanding of the new environment you're in will undoubtedly cost you more.
I agree that they should be ok with $60,000 annual salary but I would be more concerned about adapting to a small town USA lifestyle. First of all they are 100 miles from Portland and 200 miles from Boston. They could feel very isolated.

If it is anything like northern Minnestoa where I have plenty of relatives, they should enjoy spending time in the local bar listening to country and western music, spend plenty of time at the lakes during the summer, enjoy snow mobiling during the winter, enjoy motor boating and water activities during the summer, and enjoy fishing, hunting, and other outdoor activities to adapt well.

Settling in to a new house and purchasing all the needed thing could be a large financial burden.
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