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Relocation - UK to Connecticut (Fairfield County)

Relocation - UK to Connecticut (Fairfield County)

Old Jan 17th 2018, 1:49 pm
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Default Relocation - UK to Connecticut (Fairfield County)

Hi All
First time poster here, hopefully I can get some sound advice

My wife has been offered a job through her current company in NYC, possibly starting this Summer. We've been to the US a few times so are really excited at the prospect of living there for a few years or longer. We have 2 kids in tow (4 & 7). Although the job is in NYC, my wife only has to be in the office x2 a week so will be working from home the rest of the time. We're not keen on living in the city due to the kids and expense so we've been looking at commutable areas, mainly along the Connecticut coast and Fairfield county (Darien, Westport, New Cannan, Fairfield etc).
She has been offered a salary of 300k + 30k relocation package. I won't be working
Now on the face of it this salary sounds fantastic. However from doing a little bit of research (oh here & the WWW) it seems this might not be the case. I know these areas are expensive to live, but I wanted to share my figures to see if I'm in the right ballpark in terms of costs or completely wrong as it's very hard to work out exactly what the costs are and I don't want us to be left short after we make the move.

Take home pay $200,612 PA, $15,431 4 weekly, $7715 bi-weekly
(she would be paid bi-weekly)

Monthly Costs

-House Rent - $7500 (based on 3,4 or 5 bed house - expensive)
-Car Leasing x2 cars -$1000
-Car Insurance x2- $334
-Health Insurance/dental/vision -$875 (based on company scheme, family basic with $4800 max out of pocket)
-renters house/contents Insurance- $500
-Mobile phone - $100
-Pre-school fees/education - $1,833
-Internet - $100
-TV Satellite - $170
- Utilities (gas, water, elect) - $500
- Sewage, trash, snow - $50
- Car fuel - $100
- Clothing - $500
- Food/Groceries -$1,000
- Kids Activities - $400
- Train/Commute - $200 (10 trip ticket to NYC)
- Retirement planning 401k - $1541 )not got a clue about this)
- College savings - $416
- Entertainment, restaurants etc - $500

Total - $18,036 (-$2605). WOW.

I don't know if there is anything else I need to consider or if there is anything glaringly wrong in my estimates? Bonkers I know, but as it is, where we thought the salary is amazing, turns out it might not be the case.
Anyway, I'd appreciate any advice on the above.

Cheers
Kev
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Old Jan 17th 2018, 3:34 pm
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Default Re: Relocation - UK to Connecticut (Fairfield County)

Originally Posted by Kevthered View Post
Hi All
First time poster here, hopefully I can get some sound advice

My wife has been offered a job through her current company in NYC, possibly starting this Summer. We've been to the US a few times so are really excited at the prospect of living there for a few years or longer. We have 2 kids in tow (4 & 7). Although the job is in NYC, my wife only has to be in the office x2 a week so will be working from home the rest of the time. We're not keen on living in the city due to the kids and expense so we've been looking at commutable areas, mainly along the Connecticut coast and Fairfield county (Darien, Westport, New Cannan, Fairfield etc).
She has been offered a salary of 300k + 30k relocation package. I won't be working
Now on the face of it this salary sounds fantastic. However from doing a little bit of research (oh here & the WWW) it seems this might not be the case. I know these areas are expensive to live, but I wanted to share my figures to see if I'm in the right ballpark in terms of costs or completely wrong as it's very hard to work out exactly what the costs are and I don't want us to be left short after we make the move.

Take home pay $200,612 PA, $15,431 4 weekly, $7715 bi-weekly
(she would be paid bi-weekly)

Monthly Costs

-House Rent - $7500 (based on 3,4 or 5 bed house - expensive)
-Car Leasing x2 cars -$1000
-Car Insurance x2- $334
-Health Insurance/dental/vision -$875 (based on company scheme, family basic with $4800 max out of pocket)
-renters house/contents Insurance- $500
-Mobile phone - $100
-Pre-school fees/education - $1,833
-Internet - $100
-TV Satellite - $170
- Utilities (gas, water, elect) - $500
- Sewage, trash, snow - $50
- Car fuel - $100
- Clothing - $500
- Food/Groceries -$1,000
- Kids Activities - $400
- Train/Commute - $200 (10 trip ticket to NYC)
- Retirement planning 401k - $1541 )not got a clue about this)
- College savings - $416
- Entertainment, restaurants etc - $500

Total - $18,036 (-$2605). WOW.

I don't know if there is anything else I need to consider or if there is anything glaringly wrong in my estimates? Bonkers I know, but as it is, where we thought the salary is amazing, turns out it might not be the case.
Anyway, I'd appreciate any advice on the above.

Cheers
Kev
Welcome to BE! I'm in Fairfield County, though not in the "Gold Coast" locations you have cited. . .

Yes, those towns are expensive, but they are good places to live with excellent school systems. I'd cross Fairfield off the list, but the others are worth looking at, as is Wilton, a little further in from the coast.

I'm not much of a numbers person, but the only places I could see you being a bit short are on utilities -- in the recent cold snap we've been going through $500-600 worth of oil per month, plus around $130 in electricity -- and trash pickup and snow ploughing (your water will most likely come from your own well). Trash pickup will probably run around $150 a month (though you can buy an annual permit and do the dump run yourself) and ploughing will depend on your driveway. Mine runs me $75 per visit, and a big snowfall will need two visits. You should be able to get a pretty comprehensive TV/Internet/phone package for around your $170 number (different towns have different providers, mine is Spectrum). Your wife may need a Metro North commuter rail pass -- think that's probably around $350 a month (guessing there!) -- or it may work out better to just buy a ticket the two days she goes into the city.

All in all, your wife's excellent salary should give you a good life here. Good luck!
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Old Jan 17th 2018, 6:26 pm
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Default Re: Relocation - UK to Connecticut (Fairfield County)

Welcome to BE and good luck!

The renters insurance, sounds a bit high.
Pre-school, sounds a bit low.
Utilities, will depend on age/size of place. Oil heat could easily run you $300-600+ a month, while gas heat could be $100.
You'll spend more on petrol, that's probably a weekly thing.
Snow removal, may or may not be included in the rent, or could run you $10-200 a go, or you could get a shovel for $10 and do it yourself.

No idea of commuting costs down there, but have you factored in cost of parking? Down my way, can be anything from $5 residential rate to $70 a day depending on where you park.

TV/Cable/Internet/Phone package should be around $100-150 a month, certainly for the first couple of years as part of a deal. Mobile phone, anything from $30-100 a line depending on package/usage.

Kids activities, if you do summer camps, they'll be more, if you do things through town rec departments, they'll be less. Lots of libraries have museum/event passes to do things on the cheap. School sports should only start to be getting expensive for the older kid.

Car leasing, could be less, or if going high end, probably more due to no credit history, but you might be able to get a better deal doing it before you arrive. You can buy cheaper.

You'll want to set aside a chunk of your relocation cash aside for the tax man. You'll want to budget $50-600 per utility as a deposit, just in case, due to having no US credit history.
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Old Jan 17th 2018, 7:43 pm
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Default Re: Relocation - UK to Connecticut (Fairfield County)

Commuting costs from CT on Metro-North are about to increase, again, and will continue to do so (basically CT has run out of money and so is having to cut its subsidies - some Metro-North lines in CT may be cut back to peak-hour only service). Westchester County also has good Metro-North commuter rail into Grand Central. Try looking along the Hudson and Harlem lines. I live on the Hudson line and can get fast peak trains to/from GCT that take about 40 mins.
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Old Jan 17th 2018, 8:15 pm
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Default Re: Relocation - UK to Connecticut (Fairfield County)

College saving? Are your kids US citizens?
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Old Jan 17th 2018, 8:24 pm
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Default Re: Relocation - UK to Connecticut (Fairfield County)

Originally Posted by tom169 View Post
College saving? Are your kids US citizens?
As he said he is looking at being in the US for “a few years,” I took that to mean he would be continuing his UK strategy.
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Old Jan 17th 2018, 8:33 pm
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Default Re: Relocation - UK to Connecticut (Fairfield County)

What does your wife do?
Restaurants/entertainment sounds way too low.

Be careful in Connecticut. There are a lot of Yankees there that don't take kindly to folk who aren't from around those parts.
Plus Virginians.
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Old Jan 17th 2018, 9:47 pm
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Default Re: Relocation - UK to Connecticut (Fairfield County)

Originally Posted by Octang Frye View Post
What does your wife do?
Restaurants/entertainment sounds way too low.

Be careful in Connecticut. There are a lot of Yankees there that don't take kindly to folk who aren't from around those parts.
Plus Virginians.
I gather you have never visited CT.
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Old Jan 17th 2018, 10:45 pm
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Default Re: Relocation - UK to Connecticut (Fairfield County)

There was one in King Arthur's court. A Conntecticut Yanqee.

And Hartford, Connecticut is home to fabulous freelance insurance investigator, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.
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Old Jan 18th 2018, 12:24 am
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Default Re: Relocation - UK to Connecticut (Fairfield County)

I think you have a very generous budget and there are areas that look both high and maybe low on your budget but l am sure they will balance out and for me, l think you might have over budgeted but better to be safe then sorry.
Is there any reason you have picked Connecticut? Meant to be great, l only have brief experience of driving through it and remember thinking how pretty it was. The reason l ask is that we moved last summer from the U.K. to NJ and just thought l would suggest alternative locations if you were still at that stage. My husband's job is in NJ, hence our decision to live here but we have been blowed away with how nice it is. Lots of gorgeous commuter towns, fantastic school system and a really lovely place to live. Sadly still very expensive but thought l would mention it.
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Old Jan 18th 2018, 2:48 am
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Default Re: Relocation - UK to Connecticut (Fairfield County)

Wow that's a lot of rent.

If you don't need fancy cars I think you could cut your lease bill. We have a mid-range CR-V, we put down $1900 and pay $300 a month for 15k miles a year.

I'd have thought you could get TV and internet for $150 altogether. We pay $65 for Internet and don't bother with cable - just use netflix, iplayer etc. Friends say DirecTV is a good deal.

If they have natural gas in that area you might spend less on heating. We probably halved our bill by moving from oil to gas but it's not available everywhere.

But yeah, generally life can be expensive in the US, especially if you want to live near a big city and in a good school district.
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Old Jan 18th 2018, 8:10 am
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Default Re: Relocation - UK to Connecticut (Fairfield County)

thanks for all your replies, comments below. I had no idea everything was so expensive.

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
Welcome to BE and good luck!

The renters insurance, sounds a bit high.
Pre-school, sounds a bit low.
Utilities, will depend on age/size of place. Oil heat could easily run you $300-600+ a month, while gas heat could be $100.
You'll spend more on petrol, that's probably a weekly thing.
Snow removal, may or may not be included in the rent, or could run you $10-200 a go, or you could get a shovel for $10 and do it yourself.

No idea of commuting costs down there, but have you factored in cost of parking? Down my way, can be anything from $5 residential rate to $70 a day depending on where you park.

TV/Cable/Internet/Phone package should be around $100-150 a month, certainly for the first couple of years as part of a deal. Mobile phone, anything from $30-100 a line depending on package/usage.

Kids activities, if you do summer camps, they'll be more, if you do things through town rec departments, they'll be less. Lots of libraries have museum/event passes to do things on the cheap. School sports should only start to be getting expensive for the older kid.

Car leasing, could be less, or if going high end, probably more due to no credit history, but you might be able to get a better deal doing it before you arrive. You can buy cheaper.

You'll want to set aside a chunk of your relocation cash aside for the tax man. You'll want to budget $50-600 per utility as a deposit, just in case, due to having no US credit history.
noted on the renters insurance. Could probably do the snow myself and hopefully wife can walk to station, Uber or I can give her a lift. Will consider IAS for the car leasing. Didn't think of deposits for utilities.

Originally Posted by rpjs View Post
Commuting costs from CT on Metro-North are about to increase, again, and will continue to do so (basically CT has run out of money and so is having to cut its subsidies - some Metro-North lines in CT may be cut back to peak-hour only service). Westchester County also has good Metro-North commuter rail into Grand Central. Try looking along the Hudson and Harlem lines. I live on the Hudson line and can get fast peak trains to/from GCT that take about 40 mins.
I believe these are 2018 prices from the website. She would travel peak time anyway.

Originally Posted by tom169 View Post
College saving? Are your kids US citizens?
No they're not. But although I said 'a few years', we are open to anything including a permanent move. The college savings is just something I saw mentioned somewhere else so thought I'd include it as you never know. I also read about including Green car sponsorship from the company.

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
As he said he is looking at being in the US for “a few years,” I took that to mean he would be continuing his UK strategy.
As above.

Originally Posted by Octang Frye View Post
What does your wife do?
Restaurants/entertainment sounds way too low.

Be careful in Connecticut. There are a lot of Yankees there that don't take kindly to folk who aren't from around those parts.
Plus Virginians.
a hard one to cost. We don't go out too much as it is in the UK, most money is spent on the kids. Also we won't have immediate babysitters so that reduces the chances of going on a weekly pubcrawl Not sure what to make about the second comment.

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
I gather you have never visited CT.
Originally Posted by Octang Frye View Post
There was one in King Arthur's court. A Conntecticut Yanqee.



And Hartford, Connecticut is home to fabulous freelance insurance investigator, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.

Originally Posted by Ecto17 View Post
I think you have a very generous budget and there are areas that look both high and maybe low on your budget but l am sure they will balance out and for me, l think you might have over budgeted but better to be safe then sorry.
Is there any reason you have picked Connecticut? Meant to be great, l only have brief experience of driving through it and remember thinking how pretty it was. The reason l ask is that we moved last summer from the U.K. to NJ and just thought l would suggest alternative locations if you were still at that stage. My husband's job is in NJ, hence our decision to live here but we have been blowed away with how nice it is. Lots of gorgeous commuter towns, fantastic school system and a really lovely place to live. Sadly still very expensive but thought l would mention it.
I thought the budget was generous, but it now doesn't seem that way. I've been on a few sites to try and confirm actual take home pay and all the sites come up with different figures. Like you said, I'm sure I've under/over budgeted on a number of things but better to be safe than sorry. Location wise, we also looked at NJ, but visited Fairfield county in the summer and liked it. We would like to live relatively near to the coast if possible and schools are good, commute good. Thanks

Originally Posted by kins View Post
Wow that's a lot of rent.

If you don't need fancy cars I think you could cut your lease bill. We have a mid-range CR-V, we put down $1900 and pay $300 a month for 15k miles a year.

I'd have thought you could get TV and internet for $150 altogether. We pay $65 for Internet and don't bother with cable - just use netflix, iplayer etc. Friends say DirecTV is a good deal.

If they have natural gas in that area you might spend less on heating. We probably halved our bill by moving from oil to gas but it's not available everywhere.

But yeah, generally life can be expensive in the US, especially if you want to live near a big city and in a good school district.
YEP, rent is high but for nothing that special to be honest. This is what surprised me the most, considering what I pay now for our mortgage. Cars, I haven't seen those prices and just from research been told it will be 500+. TV - would want a package to include English Football.

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
Welcome to BE! I'm in Fairfield County, though not in the "Gold Coast" locations you have cited. . .

Yes, those towns are expensive, but they are good places to live with excellent school systems. I'd cross Fairfield off the list, but the others are worth looking at, as is Wilton, a little further in from the coast.

I'm not much of a numbers person, but the only places I could see you being a bit short are on utilities -- in the recent cold snap we've been going through $500-600 worth of oil per month, plus around $130 in electricity -- and trash pickup and snow ploughing (your water will most likely come from your own well). Trash pickup will probably run around $150 a month (though you can buy an annual permit and do the dump run yourself) and ploughing will depend on your driveway. Mine runs me $75 per visit, and a big snowfall will need two visits. You should be able to get a pretty comprehensive TV/Internet/phone package for around your $170 number (different towns have different providers, mine is Spectrum). Your wife may need a Metro North commuter rail pass -- think that's probably around $350 a month (guessing there!) -- or it may work out better to just buy a ticket the two days she goes into the city.

All in all, your wife's excellent salary should give you a good life here. Good luck!
Wow - expensive in the winter months. Didn't think trash would be that much to be honest. Like I said, on the face of it it's an excellent salary, not too sure about being able to have a good life though
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Old Jan 18th 2018, 2:45 pm
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Default Re: Relocation - UK to Connecticut (Fairfield County)

Originally Posted by Kevthered View Post


Wow - expensive in the winter months. Didn't think trash would be that much to be honest. Like I said, on the face of it it's an excellent salary, not too sure about being able to have a good life though
Depends on the town and if you rent, it might be included in the rent. Some towns do a pick up, so it costs you nothing, some towns use a town bag system, so it costs a few bucks a bag. Some towns don't even do a pick up, so you're left with private collection which depending on size of bin, if you want recycling or not, can run you anything from $35-150 a month, but a couple of smaller bins should be closer to the $50 mark. Or, just do a dump run and get the town dump pass, which can be anything. My town is $10 a year, neighbouring town where we used to live was $360 a year.

I don't know about CT, but I'm guessing it's probably the same, but certain things can reduce your car insurance. Down my way, having off street parking is a good discount, having covered parking is a bigger discount, both at home and work locations. Having car tracking type system saves money, driving less than 7K miles a year saves money, driving less than 3.5K miles a year saves loads of money, but this isn't realistic. Probably won't apply to you, but for us, being further away from NH saves a bit of money (NH doesn't have a requirement to have car insurance). Also save with a AAA membership which pays for itself because membership means you can drop car rental and roadside from your insurance package. We get a discount for paying in full, or within the first quarter, we also get a discount of 5% for making a charitable donation of $25 for the PanAmerican bike ride, which is well worth doing.

You don't say when in the summer you're moving and this can be tricky. A lot of houses will have leases up in end of September because of college positions and also end of August, for the schools, so looking for a place June/July can be very limiting while things open up towards the end of summer. Seems plenty of multifamily homes, or condo's all the time though, except in winter when landlords aren't allowed to evict people and they don't want empty places anyway. Might not even be the case down there, but it is where I am, so if you're able to get the company to cover a long stay hotel type thing for a couple of months, that might help a lot.
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Old Jan 18th 2018, 2:57 pm
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Default Re: Relocation - UK to Connecticut (Fairfield County)

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
Depends on the town and if you rent, it might be included in the rent. Some towns do a pick up, so it costs you nothing, some towns use a town bag system, so it costs a few bucks a bag. Some towns don't even do a pick up, so you're left with private collection which depending on size of bin, if you want recycling or not, can run you anything from $35-150 a month, but a couple of smaller bins should be closer to the $50 mark. Or, just do a dump run and get the town dump pass, which can be anything. My town is $10 a year, neighbouring town where we used to live was $360 a year.
Precisely -- online I see that the permit is $120 per year in Darien and only $45 in New Canaan (two of the towns the OP mentioned). Mine is $85. But many towns around here also weigh the garbage you bring in and charge a fee according to weight on top of the annual fee.
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Old Jan 18th 2018, 4:26 pm
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Default Re: Relocation - UK to Connecticut (Fairfield County)

You have to be very careful with your numbers, as your current estimate shows that you are on the edge. Choosing the right place to live is the most important factor here (rent cost), other services are more less the same in the surrounding areas and can be adjusted on the run. Rental cost will lock you in for the longer period.
You chose the most expensive area around NYC to live. Most of the people there have enough spare cash to afford second homes and extra vacations. Mixing with this crowd will be hard on your budget. I would check other areas again, such as NJ and Westchester county.
For rental cost you have to consider a security deposit (1.5 months of rent in NJ, for example) and commission fees (1 month rental in NJ).
Health insurance and 401k savings are tax deductible, so subtract their annual cost from the gross salary before re-calculating the take home pay.
Your groceries budget is low for this area, I would use 1,500$ at least. A restaurant bill could be anything between 100$ and 150$, so that leaves out any other entertainment, which is also expensive.
You didn't include any holidays cost or flights to UK (if any).
I'll emphasise again to get the numbers right. Once you get here, you'll have no access to additional credit in the first 6-12months. The banks here don't usually make personal loans, unless it is a car loan or home improvements etc. You credit limits on the card will be low as well. There is no overdraft concept as in the UK.
I have a similar budget for the family of 4 in NJ and I have to be careful how we spend. Having a larger house with the pool initially was a good feeling after London, but now after almost 3 years here my priorities changed. To have a balanced life and investing in kids education is more important to me than having a big house around here.
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