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Opportunity to relocate to LA

Opportunity to relocate to LA

Old Oct 5th 2012, 10:26 pm
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Default Opportunity to relocate to LA

My employer have offered me the opportunity to relocate and work from their LA office (Agoura area)

I'm married with 2 young kids.

Is the dollar equivalent of 60k enough for a family of 4 to live on in LA since my wife won't be eligible to work?

And how far will a £15k relocation package get me?

Does anyone know anything about:

- cost of living differences (between London and LA)
- income tax rates in California
- rental prices for a 3 bed in a nice area near good schools etc
-what suburbs I should consider.
- should I rent or sell my house in the UK?
- Am I eligible to drive with a UK license?

So many thoughts going through my head and really appreciating the advice.

Thanks
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Old Oct 5th 2012, 10:47 pm
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Default Re: Opportunity to relocate to LA

Originally Posted by Surreyguy24 View Post
My employer have offered me the opportunity to relocate and work from their LA office (Agoura area)

...since my wife won't be eligible to work?
Are you sure about this? What visa are they getting for you? If it is L (the usual choice for transfers) then she can work.
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Old Oct 5th 2012, 10:48 pm
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Default Re: Opportunity to relocate to LA

I think it might be an H1B but I could very well be wrong
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Old Oct 5th 2012, 11:20 pm
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Default Re: Opportunity to relocate to LA

Originally Posted by Surreyguy24 View Post
I think it might be an H1B but I could very well be wrong
Then not looking to work till next year then?

Guessing this is LA in California rather than the state? Oh, just noticed your bullet points, so CA.

Just make sure they gross up the relocation costs so you don't get stung at tax time.

You've got Federal, State and potentially city/county tax to consider. The IRS and state websites should give you an idea, but there are also loads of threads on BE you can search out.

Either way, most of those questions you can probably find answers too by searching. city-data.com is also handy for location specifics.

You'll need to get a local state license, by law within 10 days, but the practicality is within a month, but you've got to do the theory and road test. But a fish could pass it.

As for salary, glassdoor.com and payscale.com might help out, though if the missus doesn't plan on working and you're looking to live in a decent neighbourhood, so a house, that could be $3-6K a month ball park and you'd need 2 cars and not having US driving or credit history, will be expensive. So will $100K be enough? Plenty live on less and whether you live pay cheque to pay cheque or not depends entirely on your lifestyle. Guess it depends on how much the medical insurance costs you and what kind of cover it is.

Having kids in school and doing activities isn't cheap though either.

Welcome to BE and good luck!
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Old Oct 5th 2012, 11:46 pm
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Default Re: Opportunity to relocate to LA

60k is not a lot of money, maybe in the midwest, but probably not Los Angeles. Do some research on rent, car prices (heard gas prices were going up in California to $6 for some shortage), utilities are pretty high, car insurance, health insurance (what does your company's health insurance cover, how much will your premiums be, deductibles) food prices for a family of 4 could run $150 to $200 weekly. Etc, etc....
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Old Oct 5th 2012, 11:56 pm
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Default Re: Opportunity to relocate to LA

Originally Posted by AmerLisa View Post
heard gas prices were going up in California to $6
Just checked and they have indeed gone up in the last few days. Around here about $4.43; last week they were about $3.99 which is the level they've been hovering since I arrived six months ago.
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Old Oct 6th 2012, 12:04 am
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Default Re: Opportunity to relocate to LA

FWIW we live in a somewhat cheaper area outside LA (think $1250 instead of $2500 upwards for rent), have two kids, a wife not (currently) working, and I think we'd struggle on $60k. Not to starvation but to have a comfortable lifestyle, going out (cheaply) every other weekend, eating out once or twice a week. I don't commute and we only have one car. Mind you, we still get through plenty of gas a week.

Rent and health insurance are probably your biggest monthly outgoings once you've dealt with tax. Savings for the co-pays/deductibles/uncovered health insurance is probably another - our policies effectively mean paying double the premium each month if we maxed out on everything.

Definitely try to push that $60k upwards another $40k or so. What industry are you in?
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Old Oct 6th 2012, 12:26 am
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Default Re: Opportunity to relocate to LA

I think he is saying 60K's worth of dollars - so about $90,000? Housing in Agoura will be cheaper than most parts of London but still fairly pricey. You need 2 cars and gas is coming up to $5 a gallon.

There is federal income tax, state income tax, FICA (Social Security), property tax if you buy a house. Some of it can be offset against your total tax bill.

http://www.taxes.ca.gov/index.shtml

http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answ...eaning-of-fica

Housing, try looking at Zillow. I put in a rent of $2,500 in Thousand Oaks but you can play around with it.

http://www.zillow.com/homes/Thousand-Oaks-CA_rb/

Cannot advise whether you should sell your house in the UK.

Oh yeah check out how much you have to pay towards health insurance.
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Old Oct 6th 2012, 12:31 am
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Default Re: Opportunity to relocate to LA

Originally Posted by GeoffM View Post
Just checked and they have indeed gone up in the last few days. Around here about $4.43; last week they were about $3.99 which is the level they've been hovering since I arrived six months ago.
Check out the prices at "Low P" in Calabasas - one of my daughter's friends put a picture of their prices on facebook and got an angry response from another girl at the school saying, "Don't be mean to my family"

http://www.losangelesgasprices.com/L...222/index.aspx
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Old Oct 6th 2012, 2:21 pm
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Default Re: Opportunity to relocate to LA

Originally Posted by Surreyguy24 View Post
I think it might be an H1B but I could very well be wrong
You want to check that, especially if it's an internal company transfer an L1 would be a much better visa. Especially because that would also allow your wife to get a work permit. H1B is a bit unusually for sending someone to the US if you've already worked for your employer for a while.

$85-90k - which is what the dollar equivalent of GBP60k would roughly be - isn't exactly a fortune, especially not in CA. Obviously people with similar sized families live there and often on less than that.

I would check sites like salary.com how much the local pay for your job is to find out if your employer's offer is in the ballpark. It also depends on which contract you get (local or does your UK one carry over), what other benefits are included, what sort of health insurance is being offered etc etc.

Is the relocation package going to be "grossed up" (ie, the employer takes care of the taxes and the 15k are what you get to spend) or is that the total? If it is the latter, expect a nice fat tax hit on that.
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Old Oct 6th 2012, 3:19 pm
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Default Re: Opportunity to relocate to LA

Most of what other posters have said.Ditto. Especially the bit about whether your moving expenses are after tax and your employer is paying the tax portion. Otherwise $15K is going to be very tight moving a family and paying the tax portion.

House - personally I would never again get off the UK property market. I did once and now regret it. Ironically, I kept the house for 12 years while outside the UK, then on a whim (bad decision) sold it and regretted ever since for lots of reasons. If you can afford to make it work keep it - it will surely be worth more and will always be there should you ever decide to return which makes things a lot less complicated/ cheaper and easier when contemplating a return. Just look at and compare some of the threads on here to see how those who retained a house seem imho to have had it much easier when returning.

Healthcare - can be very expensive and not something that most Brits are truly familiar with. Always consider this cost as a basic necessity of life in the US - much like rent or food - internet research if your not sure how much, check with your US employer as well. But I offer this - on approx 90K US it will be fairly tight for a family living in CA. I pay $120 a month for one person which is my own contribution for good healthcare, thats for one person only, your cost would likely be a lot more for a family of four, I'm guessing at least double if not more. I still have every doctor visit copays ($15) and prescription charges (generic drugs $30 quarter for each drug) to pay. You can see how with a family that can begin to add up really fast over a 12 month period of relatively healthy living. The US is an 'elephants graveyard' littered with stories of people who have lost everything/ gone bankrupt through healthcare costs, unexpected or otherwise. It should never ever be taken lightly or brushed aside in a 'that will never happen to us' kind of way.

Rent/Daily Expenses - Really depends where in LA and what compromises/ tradeoffs you are willing to make. Eg, one poster quotes Victorville at about $1250 pm- its a nice enough area but quite far away from LA main. Another Thousand Oaks $2500 - Thousand Oaks is nice and probably somewhere most people would not mind living - so I would say anywhere between $2500 - $3500 for a reasonable place. Then add your utilities water, gas electric, cable! - that can easily add another $400-500 a month on a family home.

Food - its personal but I would allow at least $400-500 for a family of four. Petrol/gas again it depends. I do a small commute, about 15 miles each way a day - some days I go by public transport (it keeps me grounded in lala land). I spend about $60 per week, so $240 a month.

Imho and its just that, I would strongly think about your move on 60K sterling. Its not going to get you far or leave you with much money with a family to do those things which probably (I'm guessing) at the back of your mind your saying we could do all those things if we were to move there Just for fun, check out the Disney website in LA and see how much a two/three day stint would cost for a family of four - not an inconsiderable amount and that sums it up folks.

Oh and don't forget the cost of return trips to visit friends/ relatives back in the UK. Whichever why you cut it/ dice it up the average cost for an economy ticket LA to London all airports) is about $1000 person roundtrip so thats about $4000 for you per year or another $333 per month to save for.

Good luck with your decision.

Last edited by vikingsail; Oct 6th 2012 at 3:40 pm.
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