Considering US move - head spinning!(32 Posts)
DH came home from work lady night with the news that part of his team may be relocated to the US and the company would like to know if he's interested in moving to either Boston or San Francisco. We're not opposed to the idea in principle but I don't even know how to start thinking about making the decision. I'd love to pick the brains of people who have done similar - what did you find helpful? What did you wish you'd known about before moving/deciding to move?
My first question: would I be able to work? Would DS be eligible for any sort of childcare or play group place? He's 2.5; we'd be moving before he turns 3.
I've spent some time in San Francisco, but it was ten years ago, long before DH and DS came along. What are the two cities like for families? We're very much into healthy living, organic eating, attachment parenting type stuff. I assume they're both good places for such stuff, but could be wrong. And can anyone comment on the general standard of living and what we should be looking for in a relocation package?
Sorry for the string of ill thought out questions - my head just doesn't know where to go!
If the company, who are sponsoring you to move, mention Ares as your move management company, tell them no.
They really were a sack of shite!
My DS' preschool and DD's inhome daycare (like a childminder) both required up to date immunizations
I live in Boston, so please feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions about Boston and its neighbourhoods. Even though you plan to only stay for a year or two, my experience of expats is that they very often end up staying longer than they expect, so I would suggest that you plan your living arrangements as if you will be sending your ds to school, i.e. pick a good school district. Boston public schools are generally not considered good, but there are several nearby suburbs with excellent school systems.
The US generally is more medicalised than the UK. If you want your ds to ever go into any state-accredited childcare, you will have a huge number of hoops to jump through if you don't have him fully vaccinated. If this is a deal breaker for you I would advise you to think really hard about whether this is a good move for you.
To reiterate what others have said, you need to know exactly what you're being offered before you go, and be prepared to negotiate on the things that are important to you. Healthcare is essential, but relocation expenses, holiday (especially as you're likely to want to visit family in the UK but this is NOT A HOLIDAY, you need actual relaxed time just with your husband and child too), temporary accommodation whilst you get settled, are all things that will make life easier for you.
Just to reiterate what other people have already said -- the absolute most important thing to look into is the health insurance you're being offered with each position. Check to make sure you are 100% clear on what is covered and what isn't, how much, who is covered, and if any of you take regular prescriptions find out as soon as you can how much they might cost for each refill.
Either way, be prepared for a shock if you're used to the NHS! Everything to do with health care in the US is insanely expensive and by no means anywhere near as efficient as the UK, even with good health insurance.
Overall San Francisco and Boston are both very expensive cities to live in (Boston's housing market is particularly expensive because of all the universities there). But I have good friends living in both and they are meant to be lovely places to live!
Thanks again everyone who's spent time and energy replying. I think at the moment DH is leaning more towards Boston, which is exciting. But it's still far from certain that it will actually happen. We don't have a firm offer yet, just lots of talk. He'll know more once he's been over next week.
Just a little bit more about our situation: I am well acquainted with the world of the expat, as I already am one! I'm Australian, came to London on a 12 month working visa ten years ago and oops! found a husband and got married. Our ultimate aim is to move to Australia, so although DH's family is here in the UK we are not particularly tied to Britain. We've never bought property here as we've always been going to emigrate 'at some point' but have just never got to that point. I'm thinking that it might work out quite nicely to do a year or two in the US then move to Aus.
So yes, I have benefitted from the NHS over the past decade, but I grew up with a more American-style health system and am used to paying for health care. Thanks for all the advice about health insurance packages; if/when things go that far I'll most likely ask for more advice from you knowledgeable lot and make sure we go through it all with a fine toothed comb.
Credit unions also offer a good alternative to mainstream banks, and often have contacts with insurance brokers for car / home insurance deals.
It was 14 years ago now, but we moved out to Texas with a two year old, he was up to date on MMR and DTap jabs, so just needed the chicken pox jab for entry to pre-school.
Health insurance - if you're thinking about another baby then check that pregnancy is included.
We moved with Interdean (think they were called Interconnex or something back then), they were excellent.
Cost of living - we found good food (brown bread, good meat etc) expensive, although I discovered a local supermarket with a great British aisle for reasonably priced UK staples (tea bags and Cadbury's chocolate!).
Definitely negotiate on holidays, trips back to the UK,and who pays for relocation should it not work out for any reason.
I would veer to Boston if you will end up in OZ one day. I was amused when I got here how many Californians see Oz as the ultimate place to live.....SF is lovely but expensive..same prices as London for apartments...I met a couple there who paid 3 k $ a month for a 2 bed apartment...nothing special..they moved from the uk...anyway I reckon having moved here and not realised the cost of living...you do need around 100 k if only one of you will work. But in SF probably more....more like 120 for a family to cover rent .....California is a lot like the west coast of oz.....I reckon Oz has the edge on the beaches but the sensibility is more liberal here than Oz.
Boston is more European in vibe....lots of history.
Health insurance essential. Pre school...you pay for it all.
But private schools can be reasonable...6 k for our local catholic private a year so that is less than uk.
I love the us and do not miss the uk at all so would say go for it....but do not accept under 100 k on salary.....negotiate hard.
We have a much better quality of life here and drive to amazing places within 5 hours for all our holidays.
Have not been back to the uk In Years...do not miss they weather.california is amazing but if you will go to Oz at some point boston may be more novel for you. Probably a little cheaper than SF but not by much. Good luck. We love the US.
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