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Realistic Requests in ReLo Package?

Realistic Requests in ReLo Package?

Old Sep 13th 2007, 12:28 am
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Default Re: Realistic Requests in ReLo Package?

If we buy two new cars, then that's definitely the $50k used up. We were seriously considering nearly new and waiting for the new turbo diesels to appear over the next couple of years. And yes, we still have our european attitudes to cars - so seeing that the only version of my VW Golf TDi is a 2.5L petrol is a bit of a shock - haven't seen anything under 2 litres yet.
We were told, rightly or wrongly, that the cheap insurance was dependant on buying two new cars. It was implied that AIG and Int. Auto were working together and they were the requirements.
We didn't look into it because we had so much other stuff that was more important and we were buying new anyway.
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Old Sep 13th 2007, 1:04 am
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Default Re: Realistic Requests in ReLo Package?

Just thinking about our relocation package and startup costs. We have three kids.

We got $15k from the company to pay relocation (that is actually nearly 25% of husband's salary sadly enough). That covered 20 foot container door to door and packing included, flights, and a few bits and pieces. We're paying the selling costs for our house and for my visa - I had to apply for a green card but my husband is dual national so he didn't need one.

Since we got here we spent $18k on a nearly new Honda Odyssey, $10k on a high mileage Subaru. Our insurance isn't that high - similar to UK costs.

We put down a $2400 deposit on a house, plus we had to pay first and last month's rent upfront, so that was $7000ish gone. We've since moved to another rented property and so we've paid another $6000 out but not had the deposit cheque of $2400 back yet. You definitely need a slush fund for this stuff.

We bought washing machine and tumble dryer for $1200. Little things like kettle, iron, toaster, hairdryer, vacuum. Got two secondhand flatscreen TVs for $100, DVD player was $40 from Amazon, secondhand PS2 was $80 I think. We still need loads of things like lawnmower, power tools, more furniture, all sorts of things that you sort of forget about when you're planning.

We brought both our computers over from the UK and they work fine on US voltage.

Also because we have no credit history we've had to pay deposits upfront for things like mobile phone ($800), dish TV (they wanted $1000), cable TV etc. The credit card company would only give us credit if we put money into the account first, we're doing that to build up credit history.

We are actually getting a mortgage without a credit history but it's complicated and we're paying a higher rate of interest initially.

Not sure if that helps, but might give you some more ideas about calculating your costs...
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Old Sep 13th 2007, 1:22 am
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Default Re: Realistic Requests in ReLo Package?

We got $15k from the company to pay relocation (that is actually nearly 25% of husband's salary sadly enough). That covered 20 foot container door to door and packing included, flights, and a few bits and pieces. We're paying the selling costs for our house and for my visa - I had to apply for a green card but my husband is dual national so he didn't need one.
OH's company paid for all the container stuff door to door, packing and unpacking. They wouldn't have paid for any storage.
They paid for our visas and are now paying for our green cards (not without a fight).

We paid for flights for a house hunting trip but they paid the hotel and car hire for a week.
We tried very hard for more vacation but they wouldn't budge.

At the end of the day it all boils down to how much you want to live and work in the USA. At the time we felt the package was enough to make the move. In retrospect we should have pushed for more but I don't think we would have got it.
You have to also decide how much is enough without souring the atmosphere, if you are intending to come anyway.
We have negotiated other things out of them since we have been here and they have realised how much cash OH brings in for them.
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Old Sep 13th 2007, 6:39 am
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Default Re: Realistic Requests in ReLo Package?

Originally Posted by sangiano View Post
We were seriously considering nearly new and waiting for the new turbo diesels to appear over the next couple of years. And yes, we still have our european attitudes to cars - so seeing that the only version of my VW Golf TDi is a 2.5L petrol is a bit of a shock - haven't seen anything under 2 litres yet.
I would not bother buying a diesel in the US, and I'd generally be wary of Volkswagens here, regardless. VW have a small loyal fan base, but are otherwise not well regarded here (the cars are not reliable compared to the Japanese alternatives, and the dealer service departments have an awful reputation), diesel is unpopular and finding a qualified mechanic will be a challenge. Setting your sights on a Golf in the US is a bit like craving an Escalade in London, it just doesn't quite match the demands of the location.

Americans tend to prefer sedans (saloons to you) to hatchbacks, and almost all cars have automatic transmissions. Your generic family haulers in the US are the Camry and Accord. Both are highly reliable and safe bets for resale. Of the two, the Accord is arguably more engaging behind the wheel, and you might actually be able to find one with a manual transmission, although that could be a struggle. (Even BMW's often have to be special ordered if you insist on rowing through the gears yourself.)
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Old Sep 13th 2007, 6:42 am
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Default Re: Realistic Requests in ReLo Package?

Originally Posted by RoadWarriorFromLP View Post

Americans tend to prefer sedans (saloons to you) to hatchbacks, and almost all cars have automatic transmissions. Your generic family haulers in the US are the Camry and Accord. Both are highly reliable and safe bets for resale. Of the two, the Accord is arguably more engaging behind the wheel, and you might actually be able to find one with a manual transmission, although that could be a struggle. (Even BMW's often have to be special ordered if you insist on rowing through the gears yourself.)
Automatics are a plus of moving
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Old Sep 13th 2007, 6:44 am
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Default Re: Realistic Requests in ReLo Package?

Originally Posted by RoadWarriorFromLP View Post
I would not bother buying a diesel in the US, and I'd generally be wary of Volkswagens here, regardless. VW have a small loyal fan base, but are otherwise not well regarded here (the cars are not reliable compared to the Japanese alternatives, and the dealer service departments have an awful reputation), diesel is unpopular and finding a qualified mechanic will be a challenge. Setting your sights on a Golf in the US is a bit like craving an Escalade in London, it just doesn't quite match the demands of the location.

Americans tend to prefer sedans (saloons to you) to hatchbacks, and almost all cars have automatic transmissions. Your generic family haulers in the US are the Camry and Accord. Both are highly reliable and safe bets for resale. Of the two, the Accord is arguably more engaging behind the wheel, and you might actually be able to find one with a manual transmission, although that could be a struggle. (Even BMW's often have to be special ordered if you insist on rowing through the gears yourself.)
I got 11K which could only be used on certain things. Flight here, shipping, home rental and car rental. Some companies just give you a cheque others like mine gives you an allowance that they reimburse you. ie. you have to pay upfront and then once they have approved the expenses they re-imburse you. Don't forget that apart from a single one way flight and shipping charges everything gets taxed at 40%. I was lucky since I was shipping nothing over here so I spent the money on the flight (they talked me out of going first class sadly so it was just business) and spent the rest on car rental and crappy corporate housing.
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Old Sep 13th 2007, 8:22 am
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Default Re: Realistic Requests in ReLo Package?

Originally Posted by Elvira View Post


What's going on here.............. all but one of those quoted replies aren't mine...
Elvira, jumping doris,

Many apologies, I was copying and pasting with the wrong text. Oops.

It was well after midnight here - well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!
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Old Sep 13th 2007, 8:41 am
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Default Re: Realistic Requests in ReLo Package?

Originally Posted by Sally View Post
9% of your salary is $50,000? Cool.
All I can say is - I wish!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's costs over and above the ReLo that we expect and are prepared to pay (excluding buying a house) in the first month. From the replies to date, it seems it could be quite a bit less, depending on car choices.
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Old Sep 13th 2007, 8:42 am
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Default Re: Realistic Requests in ReLo Package?

Originally Posted by sangiano View Post
My wife has a job offer in Delaware (head-hunted). We would be travelling as O-1 & O-3 (already granted).

The ReLo package seems reasonably normal for a US Multinational company (Moving expenses,house sale, house buying, Temporary living etc.)

At the moment we have 2 sticking points:

a) The package only allows for 2 weeks car hire. Our Relocation Counsellor has told us it will take up to 4 weeks to obtain the SSN (and equivalent for me). We then have to obtain a Delaware driving licence and take the Delaware driving test before it would be possible to purchase cars.

We are asking for car hire (x2) for a period that will allow us to purchase cars.

b) Getting a figure for the Lump Sum element is proving difficult (well impossible really) and it is supposed to cover items such as temporary living, car hire etc.

We wish to have a "Settling In" allowance to cover the inevitable costs we will incur (especially as we will have to re-purchase all our electrical items). When we relocated to Italy this was 2 months salary.


These issues have been running for 6 months now.

We are not "20 somethings" and do not wish to give up everything we have worked for over 25 years. We do realise that the move will not be "free" and that we will need to make our own financial contribution to setting up a new life in the USA.

What do you think? Are we being unrealistic with our requests?

Thanks for your advice.
I'd say that although you may get other people's experiences in similar situations, there is a lot of variability and so you shouldn't use other people's experiences as a guide to what you should expect.

Bottom line is what has already been said: Decide what it's worth to get to the US, what is a deal-breaker, etc. Ask for more if you want to, but be prepared as to what you will do if they don't meet your demands.

For comparison, in academia the maximum you can usually expect is something towards your costs for flight and removals, little else. For elite researchers and professors, and elite schools, you might find hefty relocation packages, but for most university lecturers, I'd say you are unlikely to get much more htan $3,000 to $5,000. In comparison, your deal looks pretty good.
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Old Sep 13th 2007, 9:55 am
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Default Re: Realistic Requests in ReLo Package?

[Begin ramble]

It's well into the morning now and I have had sufficient cups of tea to fell human again.

I'm very aware that the nature of the forum is that it's the worrys and negative aspects that often get discussed and get undue prominence (like this thread). However, it is great to get independent feedback, since the stress and emotions of the situation often makes it difficult to see beyond the current issues. So thanks to you all for that.

I know that often people see a move to the States as "easier", mainly due to the language, but I don't think this is true.
Culturally and attitude wise, the States is poles apart from European countries, so moving to Italy might even have been easier, despite having to learn a new language.
That is why the settling in arrangements are so important; we know from previous experience what a nightmare it is when these are inadequate.

People have talked about hardship postings. I wouldn't describe it as that but it is less pay, considerably less holiday and an absolute certainty of living on one income. I am uncomfortably aware what it means not to be able to work.

The flip side is that it is a terrific job opportunity - with prospects. I think it comes down to what that is that worth. Sometimes you have to speculate to accumulate, as we did with our last move. We like new challenges, locations and cultures. Costs are cheaper, particularly for the large items like housing and cars which is a definite plus.

I don't think any of the items in isolation would be a deal breaker - it is a combination of Relo details arriving late, six months of chasing to get any questions answered and then a total intransigence to discuss "individual circumstances" as outlined in their documentation. All this sends negative vibes and feels like they were being deliberately evasive, not just incompetent. A "if it's like this when they're trying to hire you - what's it going to be like when we arrive" syndrome.

Despite the tone of the posts, it isn't all about money. There is a principle involved and that makes it very difficult (as it always does).

It isn't an easy decision to make and I hope you get the sense of that in this and other postings - it's too easy to make it sound black & white. I think even a small concession would tip the balance - let's see what happens.

Thanks for listening - it feels good to say it out loud (well in print anyway).
[End ramble]

The point that people have made about replacements is very valid. Items range from virtually new to needing replacement anyway. It is probably too easy to focus on electrical items and cars which must be replaced wholesale when moving from Europe to the States.

Originally Posted by RoadWarriorFromLP View Post
I would not bother buying a diesel in the US, and I'd generally be wary of Volkswagens here, regardless. VW have a small loyal fan base, but are otherwise not well regarded here (the cars are not reliable compared to the Japanese alternatives, and the dealer service departments have an awful reputation), diesel is unpopular and finding a qualified mechanic will be a challenge. Setting your sights on a Golf in the US is a bit like craving an Escalade in London, it just doesn't quite match the demands of the location.

Americans tend to prefer sedans (saloons to you) to hatchbacks, and almost all cars have automatic transmissions. Your generic family haulers in the US are the Camry and Accord. Both are highly reliable and safe bets for resale. Of the two, the Accord is arguably more engaging behind the wheel, and you might actually be able to find one with a manual transmission, although that could be a struggle. (Even BMW's often have to be special ordered if you insist on rowing through the gears yourself.)
Thanks for the sage advice - very useful. What cars are worth considering a size down from the Accord / Camry?

I know diesels have never been popular in the States. It was late and I was feeling particularly frustrated.
I believe the current almost total absence is due to some new particulate emissions laws, so all the main players have withdrawn for now.

The first car has got to be a manual though, although I know automatics have come on a long way since I last drove one seriously. The rental car will be an automatic for sure. A few test drives might be in order!
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Old Sep 13th 2007, 1:13 pm
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Default Re: Realistic Requests in ReLo Package?

Originally Posted by sangiano View Post
[Begin ramble]
Thanks for the sage advice - very useful. What cars are worth considering a size down from the Accord / Camry?
Mazda3
Acura TSX (Euro-spec Accord)
Honda Civic (very different from the Euro-spec model)
Toyota Corolla

You probably know this, but please keep in mind that small cars are seen as basic, economy transportation. European-style high-spec, luxury compacts basically don't exist here (with the exception of the Mini, which is extremely popular, and the Golf GTI). Ford doesn't even sell the excellent Euro Focus here... it's absurd, but there it is. People just aren't willing to pay more than about 25K for a small car.

I know diesels have never been popular in the States. It was late and I was feeling particularly frustrated.
I believe the current almost total absence is due to some new particulate emissions laws, so all the main players have withdrawn for now.
Yep. I think only Mercedes has a diesel-powered passenger car on the market here, VW has recently taken the TDis off the market.

The first car has got to be a manual though, although I know automatics have come on a long way since I last drove one seriously. The rental car will be an automatic for sure. A few test drives might be in order!
Manuals are going to be extremely hard to find here and need to be special ordered. Many models don't even offer it as an option. Also, if in a pinch you need to lend the car to a friend/whoever, it's extremely likely that they'll have no idea how to drive stick. Seriously consider an auto, IMO.
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Old Sep 13th 2007, 1:17 pm
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Default Re: Realistic Requests in ReLo Package?

We have a manual Mazda 3 - brilliant car it is. I'd say you can find small or sporty cars in manual - although nowhere near as available in the UK, you won't generally have to special order one.

But over here, you really should have an automatic - it makes it easier to talk on the phone, drink your coffee, eat your breakfast, put on your makeup and generally do all that other stuff that Americans do in cars
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Old Sep 13th 2007, 2:03 pm
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Default Re: Realistic Requests in ReLo Package?

Originally Posted by RoadWarriorFromLP View Post
...and you might actually be able to find one with a manual transmission, although that could be a struggle. (Even BMW's often have to be special ordered if you insist on rowing through the gears yourself.)
if your dead set on a manual, there are plenty of manual saabs around, but resale on a manual is a bit shite, and much harder to flog.
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Old Sep 13th 2007, 2:09 pm
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Default Re: Realistic Requests in ReLo Package?

Originally Posted by sangiano View Post

People have talked about hardship postings. I wouldn't describe it as that but it is less pay, considerably less holiday and an absolute certainty of living on one income. I am uncomfortably aware what it means not to be able to work.
You want to negotiate a decent holiday allowance if they are bringing you over.

If your on an H1B visa, there aren't much career prospects of going up, because you are tied to the job position for greencard applications and all that.

Diesel, I wouldn't worry about it, plus depending on where you live, it's really difficult to find, that and well, you just can't get it in most parts of new england because of the cold, it turns to sludge.
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Old Sep 13th 2007, 2:45 pm
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Default Re: Realistic Requests in ReLo Package?

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
You want to negotiate a decent holiday allowance if they are bringing you over.

If your on an H1B visa, there aren't much career prospects of going up, because you are tied to the job position for greencard applications and all that.

Diesel, I wouldn't worry about it, plus depending on where you live, it's really difficult to find, that and well, you just can't get it in most parts of new england because of the cold, it turns to sludge.
I believe he mentioned it is his wife who is getting an O1, and he would be on an O3.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that O3s are not allowed to work? So that would be another devil's visa...

Having been through 4 years of H4 hell - having believed DH's employer's assurance that it would only take 'a few months' to get the GCs - I would caution anyone to think very carefully about moving here on one of these visas.

Does anyone know what is happening about visa retrogression now? Have they sorted the mess or is it more of the same?
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