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Potentially relocating to London - need help!

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Alexander, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    Meh, I'm an inner London person. Formerly in Shoreditch (great place) now in West Kensington. Don't move outside London, you'll be too close to Lindfield!
  2. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks, all - the job is in Thames Valley Park in Reading. I'm thinking 3K GBP\month is the absolute max I would want to pay. I'm okay with a commute as well if it allowed us to live in a good area for the kids without going broke.
  3. Ah, you're well out of London then. Reading's quite nice, and also quite a bit cheaper to live in than London (as are most places that are outside the M25). You've also got the option of nicer, smaller places in Hampshire/Oxfordshire that are easily commutable. You'll be able to rent a 3-bedroom house in that area for no more than about £750 a month.
  4. *smb


    Nov 26, 2006
    You shouldn't have a problem finding somewhere reasonably priced around Reading. If I had a family and were working there I'd live outside of the city in Berkshire somewhere (there's a highish crime rate and plenty of drugs in Reading itself)
  5. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    sigh of relief - Reading is well away from London. With a decent job, you'll have no problems with accomodation, and finding a decent area for kids will be much easier. It's probably still not cheap (no where is in the UK any more), but you'll be fine on a typical proffesional salary.

  6. FunkyFrosty


    May 28, 2006

    Personally - I agree with everything you wrote here, the state school system there is as good as anywhere in the world.

    Heck - it made me into the mega brain that I am :ninja::ninja:

  7. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    My mother in law lives in Clapham and my sister in law lives close to Walthamstow tube station. The price sister paid for an upper floor of an row house was 250,000 pounds. Apparently the house mum lives in is now worth $100,000 and it aint much to look at. Although many places in Clapham are being fixed up and the street is full of high end vehicles. I really, really like being in London but I can't imagine how I'd live there on my wife's and my current income which keeps us quite comfortable in London Ontario.

    Congrats to the OP on the job offer. I think that would be a very exciting opportunity. My brother in law has lived in Paris and now is located in Manhattan (his company pays for his residence). Sounds great to me.
  8. Techmonkey


    Sep 4, 2004
    Wales, UK
    pshh. ya think that's commutin? ;)

    back in the 70s before there were speed limits on the motorway, my dad used to live in cardiff and work in london. he drove a very fast coupe and commuted *every day*.

    I'd hate to see his carbon footprint ;)

    but yeah, +1 to what everyone said - living in london very expensive for a family.(reading should be cheaper! =]]) if it were just me on my own I'd love to live there, and I'm applying to UCL. the city is beautiful, especially by night.

    if you do go though, good luck, and keep us posted :)
  9. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks all - I've been spending the morning researching and looks like housing will be around 1/3rd what I originally thought, which is great. Any insights on how taxation works? I know I'm in the 40% bracket, but not sure how deductions, tax credits for kids and charitable giving work. The HMRC website is harder to navigate then the IRS here in the US...:meh:
  10. OK, here's how it breaks down:
    First £6035 earned - no tax
    £6036 - £34800 - 20%
    £34800+ - 40%

    If you're in the higher tax bracket, only the amount you earn over the threshold is taxed at the higher rate (ie, if you earn £40k, only £5200 is taxed at 40%, all the rest at the lower rate). Tax credit for children is £2085 a year with £545 for each additional child (with 3 kids, your tax-free allowance will be £6035 + £2085 + £545 + £545 = £9210 - this means that only whatever you earn over this figure will be taxed for the year).

    So, worked out on a PAYE-type basis, assuming a £40k salary, it would work out thus:

    Taxable income at 20%: £25590 (£34800 - tax allowance)
    Taxable income at 40%: £5200

    Total tax (20% of £25590 + 40% of £5200) = £7198
    Net annual income: £32802
    Net monthly income (before NI): £2733.50

    ... you'll have to pay National Insurance contributions on top of this - this is what pays for the NHS, state pension, unemployment benefits, etc. That is a somewhat more complex calculation (done on a weekly basis) but usually works out to around 5% of net.

    There are other tax issues you should be aware of - VAT (value added tax - basically a sales tax) is applicable to most items and services and is charged at 17.5%. Some things are exempt - some foods, childrens' clothes, etc. But, unlike the US, this is included in the price you see for the item and isn't added at the point of sale. Also, you will have to pay something called council tax - this is roughly equivalent to property tax in the US, and pays for local services such as local policing and fire services, refuse collection, libraries and other municipal buildings, local road maintenance and so on. This varies according to where you live, and is based on the rateable value of your home - basically, the bigger your house, the more you pay. Typically, this will be anywhere from £80-180 a month, with some exceptions.

    All charitable donations are tax-deductible. The easiest way is to speak to the payroll department at your new job and get them to make the submission through the payroll system. This will give you the tax credit for it at source. Read more about it here: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/charities/giving-to-charities-indiv.htm
  11. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    My cousin lives in Wimbeldon. I found that area OK, but not great. It's very near the train station though, so transportation is very convenient. Her house is a 3 story row house, and it cost....an EXORBITANT amount. My Aunt and Uncle are in Surrey near
    Addelstone. It's a beautiful area, but I don't even have the guts to imagine what their "cottage" cost them.
  12. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks, RC - this is VERY helpful.

    Oh, and how's the music scene in this part of the world? :)
  13. Well, you've got the Reading Festival there every year on the last weekend in August... that's always fun. All the biggest names in rock, indie and alternative music can be found there. :)

    Other than that, Reading does have a reasonable music scene, with some music venues, rehearsal rooms, etc, but it's also well placed for easy commuting to Oxford, London, Birmingham, Swindon and so on for gigs. Take a look at the musicians section on the aforementioned Gumtree, or go to www.musofinder.com (probably the most widely used musicians wanted site in the UK) and see who's looking in the area.
  14. Happynoj


    Dec 5, 2006
    I like turtles.
    This is also not true. The vast majority of state schools now have the full shirt/tie/blazer thing.
  15. They all had the full uniform thing back when I was at school, but most of the kids I see now just seem to have the jumper thing... I'll take your word for it though. :D
  16. marcray


    Nov 28, 2006
    Englishman in Oyster Bay, NY
    Aging Former Bass Player
    Easy peazy... you won't have to pay close to that... I'm kinda jealous... I wanna go home so bad.
  17. Me too. :(
  18. A few other things for you to bear in mind...

    • Most of your electrical goods probably won't work, due to the mains supply having a different voltage - it's 240V/50Hz in the UK as opposed to 110V/60Hz in the US. So leave your TV in the US (not to mention that the UK has a totally different TV system). Computers, laptops and anything with a switchable voltage power supply should work though, with a plug adaptor.
    • If your mobile phone is from Verizon or Sprint/Nextel, it won't work in the UK. The UK has no CDMA network - it's all GSM and HSDPA(3G). On the plus side, you don't pay for incoming calls on UK mobile networks.
    • Dunno if you're that way inclined, but don't bother even thinking about bringing guns or any other weaponry to the UK. Most of it is illegal.
    • You'll be covered under the NHS from day one, as long as you're a legal immigrant. And visits to the doctor are free, and prescriptions are capped at £6.85 for anything in any quantity.
    • You'll probably have to pay a visit to the local DSS (social security) office in order to get your National Insurance number - this is reasonably painless and getting the number only takes a couple of weeks. Seeing the types of people you get in the DSS office is also a big incentive never to become unemployed...
    • British food is a lot better than the reputation it gets. It's also a lot easier to get organic food, and anything sweet automatically tastes better as HFCS isn't used in anything (even Coke in the UK still uses real sugar). Plus, you'll learn to love British shopping carts/trolleys - all four wheels rotate and you can spin them on the spot - much more manoeverable! :D You'll also learn to love Sainsbury's and Waitrose - all American supermarkets will seem horrible afterwards.
    • Get used to drinking. You'll spend a lot of time in the pub. Brits view the pub much the same way that Americans view the coffee shop, and many business deals are struck in the pub after a pint or six. :)
    • As well as the obvious matter of driving on the other side of the road, in the other side of the car, remember that most cars in the UK have manual transmissions, and you'll have to learn the procedures for dealing with roundabout junctions really quickly - there's a lot of them! Also, highway speed limits are higher, but people are generally a bit less insane behind the wheel. You'll rarely see a cop car waiting for people to speed past them, but, in their place, there's loads of speed cameras... beware!
    • You'll be able to see most of your favourite shows on TV, complete with a lot less commercial breaks (none at all on the BBC). If you get cable or Sky (satellite), you'll also get the American news channels.
    • Learn to have a sense of humour about being American - you'll probably get ribbed a lot about it, in a light-hearted manner. If in doubt, claim to be Canadian. :D
    • Remember that the UK uses a lot of different spellings and terminology for things - you'll learn most of these as you go along. Most Brits know all the American terminology too, so don't worry about it too much.

    If I think of any other nuggets of advice, I'll be sure to post them... :)
  19. marcray


    Nov 28, 2006
    Englishman in Oyster Bay, NY
    Aging Former Bass Player
    you're a Selsdon lad right? Great fish 'n' chip shop!
  20. marcray


    Nov 28, 2006
    Englishman in Oyster Bay, NY
    Aging Former Bass Player

    Now I miss home more... scotch eggs and nan's sausage rolls. Miss 'em.

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