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Wat would you have liked to know, with hindsight, about emigrating to USA?

Wat would you have liked to know, with hindsight, about emigrating to USA?

Old Jan 2nd 2015, 12:39 am
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Default Wat would you have liked to know, with hindsight, about emigrating to USA?

The first shock I got was I was expected to be a Christian- but not by UK standards, I was expected to go to church and tithe, not to actually be a 'good person'.
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Old Jan 2nd 2015, 1:13 am
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Default Re: Wat would you have liked to know, with hindsight, about emigrating to USA?

You live in NW Houston? That's not my experience. There are a lot more committed Christians here than the UK, but I haven't seen such an expectation as you describe it. Possibly it's because church-goers mostly make their friends through church?
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Old Jan 2nd 2015, 1:56 am
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Default Re: Wat would you have liked to know, with hindsight, about emigrating to USA?

Originally Posted by OnwardandUpward View Post
The first shock I got was I was expected to be a Christian- but not by UK standards, I was expected to go to church and tithe, not to actually be a 'good person'.
The thread title looked interesting, but it turns out you just want to b!tch and moan, and start another argument.
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Old Jan 2nd 2015, 2:40 am
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Default Re: Wat would you have liked to know, with hindsight, about emigrating to USA?

Are you a Christian, O&U? I don't mind anyone being a Christian but if it's the first thing I know about a person after their name I realize to steer clear of them.

I think I've been here so long I can't remember what I didn't know Just sort of muddled through for so long. Oh, maybe the snitch thing. Seems to be no shame in snitching here.
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Old Jan 2nd 2015, 3:14 am
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Default Re: Wat would you have liked to know, with hindsight, about emigrating to USA?

Originally Posted by OnwardandUpward View Post
The first shock I got was I was expected to be a Christian- but not by UK standards, I was expected to go to church and tithe, not to actually be a 'good person'.
Americans are religious but not spiritual. It's a social thingy. For the most part they're hell-bent on getting to heaven...just in case the place exists.
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Old Jan 2nd 2015, 5:01 am
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Default Re: Wat would you have liked to know, with hindsight, about emigrating to USA?

A lot of Americans are a lot of things which depends entirely on the audience. I've become a lot less anything spiritual/religious since seeing so much done "in the name of <insert random deity here>".

I even used to be in a church choir when I was younger. I didn't really believe in it but it wasn't - shall we say - forced down my throat. Here I just make my excuses and find a beer or something. It's just not worth fighting the devout with all their excuses for believing.

Did I just offend somevody? Oh. Anyway, where's the next beer?
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Old Jan 2nd 2015, 5:04 am
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Default Re: Wat would you have liked to know, with hindsight, about emigrating to USA?

Originally Posted by jeepster View Post
...they're hell-bent on getting to heaven...
Deliberate, or just unintentionally comical way of phrasing that?

I was expecting the religion aspect here to be more of a lip service, social club thing - more along the UK lines of <faintly apologetic tone> 'well... who really knows for sure... but it's a comforting thought, isn't it, and the people at my church are such a nice group...' I'm used to there being an almost 100% correlation between being degree-educated and under 40 = non-believer, so it was quite shocking to find that almost everyone I meet here is openly religious, invokes God all the time in conversation, will launch into a long, rambling 'hallelujah' prayer before every meal, and says things like how they're teaching their children that being gay 'isn't what God wants'.

I'm openly non-religious - I usually explain it using that term, with a context explanation that that's the norm in Europe, different cultural practices, etc etc; one time I used the word 'atheist', and the person I was talking to actually took a step back (and probably crossed themselves behind their back).
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Old Jan 2nd 2015, 6:38 am
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Default Re: Wat would you have liked to know, with hindsight, about emigrating to USA?

My lack of imaginary friends has certainly kept my real friends list to a manageable size.
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Old Jan 2nd 2015, 6:40 am
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Default Re: Wat would you have liked to know, with hindsight, about emigrating to USA?

I am the last person you'd think would join a 'cult', I just got caught up in it all. Cost a lot of money and I got my feelings hurt in the end because the people will only accept someone who will not question anything. As soon as I did that was it- it was a shunning experience after that!

It's in my mind as I'm thinking about the new year- I'd like to go to church again some time, I'm not deeply religious but I always went in England, not every week, but frequently.

'I don't mind anyone being a Christian but if it's the first thing I know about a person after their name I realize to steer clear of them.'
@Mrs Danvers, some of my friends say that too, and some of my neighbors put up those signs 'pray for our country' or 'keep Christ in Christmas' etc and they're not meant kindly I don't think- more as in your face if you don't think the same! I don't say to people 'I'm a Christian' though culturally I feel like I am, and I feel like I should be able to without people assuming I am fanatical...if that makes sense.

I have thought about moving out of the suburbs and into town. Though the population around me has changed a lot in the years I've lived here, but I also don't have much in common with those people- young families- now.

@Kodokan the prayers in restaurants thing can be a bit much, ostentatious, and I won't get into the gay issue- that's just mean, but there are a lot of assumptions made about what a Christian should be which weren't anything like my upbringing where it was all about you've got to be kind to people. The anti-science stuff 'the earth is 7000 years old' etc I don't know what to make of that.

@GeoffM 'Here I just make my excuses and find a beer or something. It's just not worth fighting the devout with all their excuses for believing.'
I tried it this deep believing 'all you have to do is believe' stuff, but it didn't make sense, now I'd like to find something more like back in England- just a bunch of relatively calm people doing nice stuff in the community and as you say singing in choirs etc.
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Old Jan 2nd 2015, 7:45 am
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Default Re: Wat would you have liked to know, with hindsight, about emigrating to USA?

That's interesting - yes it must be a shock for a British Christian.

In LA, I found that many of the Jewish people strongly identified with the traditions but were not believers. Also Persians.

Apropos the title, one of my first experiences was a Persian neighbour saying, "You're from England? Why have you come to this terrible place?!" Wish I had met her before I left England
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Old Jan 2nd 2015, 7:57 am
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Default Re: Wat would you have liked to know, with hindsight, about emigrating to USA?

Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post
That's interesting - yes it must be a shock for a British Christian.

In LA, I found that many of the Jewish people strongly identified with the traditions but were not believers. Also Persians.

Apropos the title, one of my first experiences was a Persian neighbour saying, "You're from England? Why have you come to this terrible place?!" Wish I had met her before I left England
I'm curious - if it's so awful, then why can't you simply go back? Or is there something that prevents returning to the idyllic life in British utopia?

Just for the record, I may not be a US immigrant, but in my case, I wish I'd moved abroad sooner.

Last edited by amideislas; Jan 2nd 2015 at 7:59 am.
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Old Jan 2nd 2015, 7:59 am
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Default Re: Wat would you have liked to know, with hindsight, about emigrating to USA?

Originally Posted by amideislas View Post
If it's so awful, then why can't you simply go back? Or is there something that prevents returning to the idyllic life in British utopia?
I am back now. Took a while though.
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Old Jan 2nd 2015, 11:36 am
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Default Re: Wat would you have liked to know, with hindsight, about emigrating to USA?

I think especially with the existence of BE now, the title of the thread is almost defunct - how could you be unaware of anything really important, with due diligence? Anything you need to know is covered here, usually in multiple threads ("What is the best way to transfer money to/from UK/US?" Really?)

Back then (I left in 1983) there was no internet. In retrospect, I would have liked to know about the personal finance side and retirement side of things.

To play along with the thread question, though, here are a few things I think it's important to know:

National Insurance: For most people, continuing to pay Class II NICs is a no-brainer.

Pension schemes: Any UK occupational pension scheme is likely to be a good one. Think VERY carefully before cashing it in, especially if there are large penalties. It may help you buy that first car in the US, but it may also buy you early retirement - which do you prefer?

Bank accounts: Opening a UK bank account from the US can be difficult. Keep your bank accounts open, and use your parents' address.

Property: Think very carefully about selling your UK house, especially if you aren't sure how long you will be in the US. Chances are, your UK property will be worth more and grow more in value than any US property you buy.

ISAs and other tax-free income such as endowment pay-outs are taxable in the US. You can't open new ISAs once you are in the US. It may be worth keeping UK ISAs until/unless you know the US is your permanent resting place, and sucking up the fact you will be taxed on growth while you are in the US.
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Old Jan 2nd 2015, 11:45 am
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Default Re: Wat would you have liked to know, with hindsight, about emigrating to USA?

Originally Posted by OnwardandUpward View Post
I am the last person you'd think would join a 'cult', I just got caught up in it all. Cost a lot of money and I got my feelings hurt in the end because the people will only accept someone who will not question anything. As soon as I did that was it- it was a shunning experience after that!

It's in my mind as I'm thinking about the new year- I'd like to go to church again some time, I'm not deeply religious but I always went in England, not every week, but frequently.

'I don't mind anyone being a Christian but if it's the first thing I know about a person after their name I realize to steer clear of them.'
@Mrs Danvers, some of my friends say that too, and some of my neighbors put up those signs 'pray for our country' or 'keep Christ in Christmas' etc and they're not meant kindly I don't think- more as in your face if you don't think the same! I don't say to people 'I'm a Christian' though culturally I feel like I am, and I feel like I should be able to without people assuming I am fanatical...if that makes sense.

I have thought about moving out of the suburbs and into town. Though the population around me has changed a lot in the years I've lived here, but I also don't have much in common with those people- young families- now.

@Kodokan the prayers in restaurants thing can be a bit much, ostentatious, and I won't get into the gay issue- that's just mean, but there are a lot of assumptions made about what a Christian should be which weren't anything like my upbringing where it was all about you've got to be kind to people. The anti-science stuff 'the earth is 7000 years old' etc I don't know what to make of that.

@GeoffM 'Here I just make my excuses and find a beer or something. It's just not worth fighting the devout with all their excuses for believing.'
I tried it this deep believing 'all you have to do is believe' stuff, but it didn't make sense, now I'd like to find something more like back in England- just a bunch of relatively calm people doing nice stuff in the community and as you say singing in choirs etc.
I visited and lived in the US from 1983 to 2006. Other than one year I attended church, I didn't ever go to church. Over those 23 years, this was never once an issue for any of my Catholic, Baptist, whatever, church-going friends. Sure, I was asked a couple of times what church I went to (i.e., assuming I went to church), but my response that I didn't attend church was not an issue, we just moved onto the next topic of conversation.

The US is not full of religious fundamentalist hot-heads. Sure, they exist, but this thread reminds me of the one about relatives not wanting to visit the US because they are terrified of being shot in a mass killing. The US is no more full of religious nuts than it is full of gun-toting murderers.

If you're looking for British-style Christianity, maybe find an Anglican, Methodist, or Presbyterian church. I found many of them use the same hymns, similar sermons and structure of worship.
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Old Jan 2nd 2015, 12:18 pm
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Default Re: Wat would you have liked to know, with hindsight, about emigrating to USA?

Originally Posted by dunroving View Post
I think especially with the existence of BE now, the title of the thread is almost defunct - how could you be unaware of anything really important, with due diligence? Anything you need to know is covered here, usually in multiple threads ("What is the best way to transfer money to/from UK/US?" Really?)

Back then (I left in 1983) there was no internet. In retrospect, I would have liked to know about the personal finance side and retirement side of things.

To play along with the thread question, though, here are a few things I think it's important to know:

National Insurance: For most people, continuing to pay Class II NICs is a no-brainer.

Pension schemes: Any UK occupational pension scheme is likely to be a good one. Think VERY carefully before cashing it in, especially if there are large penalties. It may help you buy that first car in the US, but it may also buy you early retirement - which do you prefer?

Bank accounts: Opening a UK bank account from the US can be difficult. Keep your bank accounts open, and use your parents' address.

Property: Think very carefully about selling your UK house, especially if you aren't sure how long you will be in the US. Chances are, your UK property will be worth more and grow more in value than any US property you buy.

ISAs and other tax-free income such as endowment pay-outs are taxable in the US. You can't open new ISAs once you are in the US. It may be worth keeping UK ISAs until/unless you know the US is your permanent resting place, and sucking up the fact you will be taxed on growth while you are in the US.
Fair points and good advice.

However, for me personally:
  • Emigrating will not solve your life issues
  • Emigrating is not like visiting
  • Gut feelings trump objective lists
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