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Welsh & moving to NYC in Jan 2020 - advice?

Welsh & moving to NYC in Jan 2020 - advice?

Old Sep 14th 2019, 8:37 pm
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Default Welsh & moving to NYC in Jan 2020 - advice?

Hi all,
In early Jan 2020 I will be moving with my husband from London to NYC as he's been asked to help set up a restaurant there (he has been awarded an E2 visa and I have a dependent one).

I have a ton of questions but for now, does anyone have any advice or anything they wish they had known when they moved to NYC? The broad plan is to get an Airbnb for a couple of weeks when we first arrive. As I won't be working while waiting for work authorisation I will be finding us an apartment/sorting out admin.

We will definitely be tight for money as are living on one salary (~$55k) until I can work. I'm hoping to find a community in NYC and particularly a fun smallish choir, as that has really helped me to make friends as a Cardiff girl in London.

Thanks in advance!
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Old Sep 14th 2019, 8:58 pm
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Default Re: Welsh & moving to NYC in Jan 2020 - advice?

$55K in NYC?! That doesn't sound like enough at all.

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Old Sep 14th 2019, 9:16 pm
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Default Re: Welsh & moving to NYC in Jan 2020 - advice?

Hi Rene -
I've heard that from someone else, but always difficult to know what 'comfortable' means to other people. Currently I'm in London (also a ridiculously expensive city) on around £28k pa and for me that is really liveable at this stage in my life. My husband is on £45k in the UK and has been told he'll be on a comparable salary in the US, but that hasn't been completely confirmed yet. Good to know we should probably try to negotiate if poss anyway.
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Old Sep 14th 2019, 9:36 pm
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Default Re: Welsh & moving to NYC in Jan 2020 - advice?

Whoa!!! $55K per year in NYC or for anywhere in the Tristate area is ridiculous. You will have city, state and federal taxes to pay, plus healthcare insurance and meds. Take a look at the cost of rents. Where are you going to live...on the street?
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Old Sep 14th 2019, 9:57 pm
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Default Re: Welsh & moving to NYC in Jan 2020 - advice?

I'm actually interested in this amount being so ridiculous, though I am conscious that while waiting for a contract we've very broadly based it on currency conversion, so it's probably been skewed by the weaker pound.

I just read that: 'According to U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013-2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, the median individual income in New York City is $50,825.'
Allowing for some increase in prices in that last two years, surely half of NYC households aren't living on the street? Perhaps I'm missing something?

Edited to add that we are relatively frugal and don't plan on living in Manhattan, obviously.
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Old Sep 14th 2019, 10:16 pm
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Default Re: Welsh & moving to NYC in Jan 2020 - advice?

Originally Posted by spinellie View Post
I'm actually interested in this amount being so ridiculous, though I am conscious that while waiting for a contract we've very broadly based it on currency conversion, so it's probably been skewed by the weaker pound.

I just read that: 'According to U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013-2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, the median individual income in New York City is $50,825.'
Allowing for some increase in prices in that last two years, surely half of NYC households aren't living on the street? Perhaps I'm missing something?

Edited to add that we are relatively frugal and don't plan on living in Manhattan, obviously.
Take a look at the payroll taxes, social security and healthcare costs per month...then there is rent to pay, travel costs. Admittedly everyone’s idea of the cost/standard of living is different.
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Old Sep 14th 2019, 10:53 pm
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Default Re: Welsh & moving to NYC in Jan 2020 - advice?

Originally Posted by spinellie View Post
I'm actually interested in this amount being so ridiculous, though I am conscious that while waiting for a contract we've very broadly based it on currency conversion, so it's probably been skewed by the weaker pound.

I just read that: 'According to U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013-2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, the median individual income in New York City is $50,825.'
Allowing for some increase in prices in that last two years, surely half of NYC households aren't living on the street? Perhaps I'm missing something?

Edited to add that we are relatively frugal and don't plan on living in Manhattan, obviously.
Yes, people do live on much less, but one presumes that you aren't moving to NYC to live a frugal life in the barrio. Rent will probably be around $2K a month to live in a decent area, then there are all the other items that Jerseygirl has mentioned.

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Old Sep 14th 2019, 11:09 pm
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Default Re: Welsh & moving to NYC in Jan 2020 - advice?

Originally Posted by spinellie View Post
Hi all,
In early Jan 2020 I will be moving with my husband from London to NYC as he's been asked to help set up a restaurant there (he has been awarded an E2 visa and I have a dependent one).

I have a ton of questions but for now, does anyone have any advice or anything they wish they had known when they moved to NYC? The broad plan is to get an Airbnb for a couple of weeks when we first arrive. As I won't be working while waiting for work authorisation I will be finding us an apartment/sorting out admin.

We will definitely be tight for money as are living on one salary (~$55k) until I can work. I'm hoping to find a community in NYC and particularly a fun smallish choir, as that has really helped me to make friends as a Cardiff girl in London.

Thanks in advance!
Hey, I moved from London to NYC a couple of years ago.

$55k is poverty level in NYC, especially if you want to live in Manhattan, which probably isn't feasible on 55 anyway.

As a general rule to have a comparable living in NYC you want to double the number of your salary in pounds and then stick a dollar sign infront of it. So with a £48k salary in London you'd want $96 minimum to maintain the same standard of living. I went from £60k to $100k out of naivety and it was a step down.

55k gross would be about 34k take home. Average rent in NYC for a 1 bed must be about 2k in a shittier neighbourhood. So you'd be spending 24k on rent alone.

Without wanting to shit on any parade I would ring the alarm bells heavily. 55k is an absolute joke to ask someone to move continents for. They're taking the piss.

Last edited by GeneralPowerpoint; Sep 14th 2019 at 11:24 pm.
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Old Sep 14th 2019, 11:28 pm
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Default Re: Welsh & moving to NYC in Jan 2020 - advice?

Not to be negative, but you urgently need to work out the salary situation. I'm from London and lived in NYC for 8 years, and left in 2015. $55k for 2 people is extremely low. I know you may be used to a low income lifestyle in London, and that's fine, but it's not just a case of doing a simple currency conversion. London and New York are similar from a cost of living perspective (I'd say London is probably a little more expensive, but that's just my anecdotal opinion), but that's not to say that you can just directly convert a GBP salary to USD and be fine. $55k is seriously, seriously low for 2 people. If he's on 45k GBP, I'd say an equivalent would be around 90-100k USD. To put it another way, it's the equivalent of moving to London on around 25k per year for a couple.

A very important point....will they be paying for healthcare insurance for both of you? If you're expected to pay for your own health insurance, I'd say it's basically impossible to live here on that income. Of course you can go uninsured, but this would be extremely reckless. This isn't a minor detail. You need to find this out, and find out the details of the insurance plan they're offering you. If you're expected to pay for it, it's going to be around $600 per month for a basic plan.

Pretty much all NYC apartments have a rule that you need to make at least 40x the monthly rent. On an income of $55k, that's going to mean a maximum rent budget of $1375 a month. This is a very very low budget for an NYC apartment. Look at Streeteasy to get an idea of costs. On $1375, you're probably not going to get an apartment and will most likely need to try and find a room in a shared apartment. To find your own apartment, with no broker fee on $1375, you're going to need to look at very undesirable, and possibly dangerous areas. It's almost impossible to overstate what a low budget this is even for a studio apartment. I just searched streeteasy for a studio or 1 bed in Queens, with no fee, and it returned 2 results, both of which would require 1hr+ commutes to get to Manhattan.

If you do want to find your own apartment, rather than share, apartment rentals in NYC are often through a broker, so you have to pay a broker fee of 10-15% of the annual rental. You don't have to use a broker, and can look around yourself on craigslist, but some apartments will have an agreement with a broker so even if you find it yourself, you still need to pay. It's too much to type the in's and out's of apartment renting, so research what 'no fee' apartments mean, how brokers work etc etc. You will almost certainly want to avoid a broker fee.

The other major issue will be lack of credit history. Credit history is not transferable between countries, and credit scores in the US are a VERY big deal. When I moved there, with an income roughly double that of your husband, I couldn't even get a mobile phone contract and had to use a pay as you go for the first year. When renting an apartment, you'll need to put down a security deposit, but the landlord will almost certainly run a credit check as well. Without a credit history, they will either not rent to you, or they'll want multiple months up front. When I moved to NYC in 2007, my salary was just over $100k, and I'd been making 50k GBP in London. Despite a relatively decent salary, I had to pay 3 months rent security deposit ($7500), plus broker fee of around $4k (the building had an exclusive lock up agreement with broker, and we'd been turned down for multiple apartments due to lack of credit and were starting to get desperate), plus the first months rent. i.e. just under $15k just to move into a 1 bedroom apartment. Without credit history, or the ability to pay more up front, you're going to need to rely on finding a landlord willing to work with you, which is going to be very difficult. You might have more luck using a broker, explaining the situation, and seeing if they'll work with you, but then you'll be paying a fee. I'm not saying this to scare you or discourage you, but to make you aware. I'd say lack of credit history/credit score is probably one of the biggest challenges for people moving to the US.

NYC is an amazing place, but I really think your husband need to negotiate more money, or have a solid plan of how quickly you can start working. Forget income statistics, you came here to ask people with actual experience of living in NYC. I think it's important that you go into this with your eyes open, and understand that your income will be a serious challenge to being able to enjoy it.

Last edited by pejp; Sep 14th 2019 at 11:55 pm.
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Old Sep 15th 2019, 1:38 am
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Default Re: Welsh & moving to NYC in Jan 2020 - advice?

Originally Posted by spinellie View Post
I'm actually interested in this amount being so ridiculous, though I am conscious that while waiting for a contract we've very broadly based it on currency conversion, so it's probably been skewed by the weaker pound.

I just read that: 'According to U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013-2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, the median individual income in New York City is $50,825.'
Allowing for some increase in prices in that last two years, surely half of NYC households aren't living on the street? Perhaps I'm missing something?

Edited to add that we are relatively frugal and don't plan on living in Manhattan, obviously.
Yes, you are missing several things. The biggest one being areas of abject poverty which still exist in NYC and bring that figure down, rent controlled apartments (which you’ll not get), public housing, and several other factors.

https://slate.com/business/2014/01/n...you-think.html

Again, not being negative, but being realistic. Citing stats won’t help when you can’t make rent. 55k is going to be above the poverty line, but not by much. If you have to pay for your own health insurance, you’ll be below the poverty line. Also, these figures will include people who have access to public housing, public assistance programs etc...you will not have access to those. I remember how exciting it was to move here, but you’re talking about living absolute paycheck to paycheck. If the company offering the job is UK based, hopefully they’re just naive to the costs and will work with your husband. If they’re US based and therefore know what a reasonable NYC income should be, they’re taking advantage. It’s not quite ‘human trafficking’ levels, but it honestly isn’t far off.

Last edited by pejp; Sep 15th 2019 at 2:17 am.
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Old Sep 15th 2019, 3:41 am
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Default Re: Welsh & moving to NYC in Jan 2020 - advice?

OP, you should know that $55K is close to, if not below, minimum wage in NYC (it depends on size of company). I would not call it doable for two, tbh. And I am not a high falutin expat. When I moved to NYC, my salary was $50K for one person and I was young-ish and very used to sharehouse living. I rented a room in an apartment with two others in an okay-ish neighborhood in Brooklyn about 45 mins from my job in Chelsea and got by fine.

Even if you have visions of housing martyrdom, as a couple, you should plan to get your own apartment. Apart from anything else, it would be infeasibly difficult to find a room in a shared place as a couple IMO. And honestly, as new arrivals, you probably wouldn't want to add the extra pressures anyway.

So applying the "40x rule" (which is real and will be applied by landlords/realtors/etc.) you'd be looking for a studio at $1375 as mentioned earlier. I don't think that is impossible if you look to the outer reaches of the subway in Queens (no, don't try the same in Brooklyn). The express trains might help keep the commute manageable. However, this would not involve a NYC that is anything like what you have seen on TV! I can't see you finding a community choir in the depths of Queens, unless you fancy singing in one of the 800 or so languages other than English that are spoken here. There are certainly bustling communities, but they tend to stick to the lines of specific migrant groups and I just can't quite imagine an outsider breaking in.

Don't get me wrong, I love Queens! But it is NOT what most people think of when they think "NYC". And it would add a whole other world of culture shock for new arrivals.
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Old Sep 15th 2019, 5:11 am
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Default Re: Welsh & moving to NYC in Jan 2020 - advice?

Where exactly is the restaurant?

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Old Sep 15th 2019, 2:30 pm
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Default Re: Welsh & moving to NYC in Jan 2020 - advice?

Please OP, for your sanity and safety, do not do this.

Those above have more knowledge of living in NYC than I do, but having just visited there it's clear how expensive it is just for groceries.

And this to the fact that an E2 does not lead directly to a Green Card and I'm not sure why you would do this to yourself.
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Old Sep 15th 2019, 2:47 pm
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Default Re: Welsh & moving to NYC in Jan 2020 - advice?

Everyone has a different expectation of the cost of living, it all depends on how you live, but $55K for two new immigrants is ludicrous IMO. There are also many hidden costs ie emergency trips home, medical expenses...even with insurance co-pays, deductibles and meds could costs thousands. Healthcare insurance alone would cost several hundred per month and you really don’t want to be without it. Plus as pejp has already mentioned, broker’s fee for rentals, probably need to give 1st and last month’s rent for a deposit, which is refundable when you leave. Utilities, phones, gas, leccie etc, I remember we had to put a deposit of several hundred dollars down for each as we had no credit history. Taxes...probably need someone to do these at least for the first year.

To give the OP an idea of expected salary...Pulaski (a BE member) who used to live there, often says $200K min.

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Old Sep 15th 2019, 3:07 pm
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Default Re: Welsh & moving to NYC in Jan 2020 - advice?

If you look at the fact that the average salary for a secretary in NYC is about $36K, with a legal secretary averaging $50-60K, why would a company pay a mere $55K to someone who is allegedly so valuable to their restaurant that they are importing him from the UK?
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