Where in the world have you moved to AND achieved a better standard of living?

(86 Posts)
suebfg Mon 24-Dec-12 22:17:16

DH and I would love to move abroad for a while, have an adventure and a nicer way of life. Where have you achieved this?

Thanks and Merry Christmas to you all.

somanymiles Mon 24-Dec-12 23:00:47

We live in Canada - we can afford a much bigger house and get to spend our weekends hiking, kayaking etc if we choose. It's quieter than the UK and that's a mixed blessing - less diversity and culture but pleasant to walk and bike around. There are orcas, bears and cougars here. TBH I would swap it all to be near family and friends. I suppose it would be fun to have an adventure for a couple of years but it's easy to get stuck abroad...

Mosman Tue 25-Dec-12 08:22:52

Are you married to or Canadian ? Just wondering how one gets into Canada these days ?

fussychica Tue 25-Dec-12 18:22:48

We moved to Spain and had a better standard of living for 8 years - didn't work, had a bigger house, pool, relaxed lifestyle, great weather but recently moved back for various reasons.

Unfortunately, the economic crisis in Spain means it's not a place I would recommend in the short to medium term, especially if you have kids.

We moved to the UK ... I would say it may not be equal in quality to what we could/did have, but at least it is affordable ...

mosman we moved to Canada with a company that hired us as expats. We've managed to stay 4.5yrs so far. We should be able to get perm residency quite easily due to DH profession and having a child born here. But if we were paying local taxes we'd find it terribly expensive. Travel is pricey and as everything is so far apart we can't just get in the car and pop somewhere for the day or weekend. I don't find the lifestyle better than the UK although we live in a much nicer area. We do enjoy the snow though and summers are lovely and hot.

ripsishere Tue 25-Dec-12 23:36:21

We lived in Bangkok for four years. Had a pretty good standard of living. DHs employers paid for our flat, health insurance and visas.
Switzerland was ridiculously expensive and we had no life.
Antwerp was much better.
Kuala Lumpur is so so.

Mosman Wed 26-Dec-12 00:03:39

We are in Australia on a 457 and it's extremely expensive, I am used to having about £1,000 left after bills so $1600 and that was even in the GFC. Every cent goes on either bills or food here and I genuinely do not know what we'll do when the kids need new school shoes in Feb.
However to look on the bright side DH is working here which he wasn't in the UK, we just need to tweak a few things around my job or find another job which will sort us out and then I do think we will have a better standard of living. It just might take a while.

NotMoreFootball Wed 26-Dec-12 01:09:22

We are in the Southern USA and the standard of living and quality of life is much nicer than other places in Europe we have lived. You have all the shops / restaurants / amenities of modern life but with warm summers, mild winters, mountains, lakes and beaches within easy reach. The cost of property is so much cheaper than the UK that it is normal to live in a huge house with a pool, tax and health insurance is complicated but we have still found that we are substantially better off financially even after that is taken into account. The locals are very friendly and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to live here.

ViperInTheManger Wed 26-Dec-12 01:15:39

Just move up north! We have a better house, more disposable income and an area that is good for bringing up children shit shops and weather though

Mosman Wed 26-Dec-12 01:25:36

We lived up North in the UK, can't say i'd be going back there any time soon.

kissmyheathenass Wed 26-Dec-12 01:29:15

Viper,where abouts are you? We are considering moving north. Is the weather really awful?

Mosman Wed 26-Dec-12 01:41:01

Anywhere lovely up north has house prices equal to London, however the job situation isn't as good. The weather is irrelevant tbh if we ever moved back to the UK it would be to the midlands on a train line to London.

I live in Switzerland and have a great standard of living. It's one of the best countries in the world for living standards.

Great schools, low tax, housing standards are excellent.

I shop over the border in Germany and France so have the best of both worlds.

The country is beautiful and you can be in the Black Forest in minutes from here, and Italy in 2 hours.

The downside is you need a job to get a decent permit, so can't really move on a whim, and buying a house requires a 20% deposit.

suburbophobe Wed 26-Dec-12 01:57:24

NoMore, sounds good, but what about the guns everywhere?

Couldn't live like that....

Me? Am in Europe, and too cold most of the year, but yea, where to go?...

Am in the "sandwich generation" anyway right now (aging mum, LP. DS at uni).

Maybe one day grin

we moved to NJ, USA. It's expensive compared to most of the USA but we have a better standard of life than we would on equivalent money ($50k) almost anywhere in the UK.

It's a shame in some ways as I would like to be a lot closer to family, but DH would take a paycut of over ten thousand pounds if we came back, and we wouldn't ever be able to live as we do (relatively modestly but we aren't scrimping the way many friends in England are). I am job hunting right now, and in a year or two we may be in a better position to come home.
Childcare and rent is ludicrously cheaper here. Ditto fuel, food, kid's shoes etc. we talk about moving back home when the DCs are in school. Health insurance is quite frightening- hard to know what's covered and what anything will cost, and you worry that one car crash or sick child will bankrupt you. For that alone I want to move home. I would miss how lovely the people are, though. We are very happy here and it is nice not to struggle.

thelittlestkiwi Wed 26-Dec-12 01:58:00

Depends what you mean by standard of living. In NZ we have less stuff, housing is expensive and we run out of money every month. But we have sun (normally, not this week!), sea and more importantly time. DH spends 15 mins commuting and life is easier. Stuff is easy to book- e.g we decided we wanted to go to Waiheke, an island off Auckland, on a Thursday. Booked the 5.30pm ferry on the Friday which takes 15 mins and were in a holiday apartment by 6.30pm. We've seen Billy Connolly, Kylie, Flight of the Conchords and other stuff we'd just not be able to get tickets for in the UK. I also expect people to be nice.

So our quality of life is much better. Although we are skint all the time.

NatashaBee Wed 26-Dec-12 02:03:05

We moved to Michigan. House about 4 times the size of the one in England, more money left at the end of the month, good school district (although the one in the UK was good too). I miss home though and m&s food. And the weather is crap.

ViperInTheManger Wed 26-Dec-12 02:03:20

We are on the Fylde coast, our nearest town is Blackpool which has tacky and horrid parts but has some good points but there are some nice, quiet-ish seaside towns and countryside within easy distance.

Have family who live north of Preston and there are some lovely villages and small towns in that area (like Garstang, Longridge and surrounding areas)

We moved north when DCs were young and have never regretted it.

Pudgy2011 Wed 26-Dec-12 02:12:34

I moved to the Cayman Islands 5 years ago, met my husband, got married, bought a house and had a baby.

Life here is much easier than in the UK, we earn excellent tax free salaries, our employers pay for health insurance, we live 5 minutes from work and the beach and full time day care costs the equivalent of £300 a month.

Of course there are down sides, we live 4000 miles from our families, it is very expensive here and we have to fly off island to do a decent clothes shop.

I love our life here though, it's Christmas Day and we've just come back from the beach.

GoodKingWenSOLOslas Wed 26-Dec-12 02:15:02

I'd love to move or emigrate, but Ds says he wont go. I would probably want to wait until he has got through secondary ed anyway, but even then he wont go with me which I find slightly unacceptable. He's 14. Dd is 6 (today) and it wouldn't affect her as much I don't think.

Mosman Wed 26-Dec-12 03:15:14

My DD aged 12 was far from keen but it's a case of knowing what is right for them and taking them kicking and screaming if necessary.
They can always go back to the UK

SavoyCabbage Wed 26-Dec-12 03:21:07

I've got a walk in wardrobe but no family to clap for my dd's school play so it depends what you think of as being a better standard of living.

runningforme Wed 26-Dec-12 04:28:39

We live in Canada, and although it is much more expensive where we are for food, rent, mobile phones, cable, kids clothes etc, it is a much better standard of living and the summers are wonderfully long and hot. We live in a great area, the kids enjoy free swimming at outdoor pools all summer and free outdoor skating all winter. Kids activities and classes are quite reasonable, and my son has recently started at a school where he has half of his day in French. But banking is 10 years behind the UK and it is expensive to travel anywhere.

We are planning on moving home in time for DS to start secondary school, as we are really missing our families. If It wasn't so expensive to fly home, then I might be tempted to stay.....
savoyCabbage says it best

ClaudiaSchiffer Wed 26-Dec-12 04:35:14

I'm in Adelaide (well just outside), South Australia.

We have a bigger house here than in the UK (but a bigger mortgage too).

The weather is heaps better.

It is much quieter and much more relaxed than the UK, dh is less stressed, and rather than commuting from Brighton to London he can now drive or cycle to work. The kids are in a lovely school (but I know there are lovely schools in the UK).

We live in a really beautiful area, 5 mins from world class wineries and 20 mins from the city centre.

Generally things are good, but there is a lot that I miss. Adelaide is very pleasant but culturally pretty dull, I miss the vibrancy and life of a bigger city. You can drive for hours here and see fuck all.

So, er, to answer your question, we have achieved a better standard of living in material terms, but as dh says, every place in the world has trade offs.

HollyMadison Wed 26-Dec-12 06:01:52

We moved from London to Singapore and have a better standard of living. Nicer home, more facilities and activities for kids, easy public transport, fantastic healthcare, swimming all year round. We are still saving but hard to compare that aspect as our job situation has changed.

FellatioNelson Wed 26-Dec-12 06:50:08

Qatar here. Everything is very expensive compared to the UK, so the tax-free thing is a bit of a red herring. Also while the salaries are tax free they are not generally as generous as salaries at home. In terms of actual money earned we do not make any more here than we did in the UK. However, our outgoings are fewer and smaller, in spite of things being expensive here. Petrol is the one very cheap thing here, and we save about 6 or 7 hundred per month alone on that. DH's is commute is now a twenty minute drive which costs pennies, whereas his season ticket and parking in the UK used to cost 4 grand per year, and that was coming out of taxed net salary remember, so those things can make a huge impact.

We are in a rented house here, our UK properties are rented out and making us money which is our pension, basically. We don't have things like council tax (we were in the highest band) and buildings insurance here, and although utilities are expensive our old house in the UK used to eat oil like nothing on earth, and it cost a grand a time to fill the tank. Having said that, our rent here is extortionate, and much more than our old mortgage was.

Overall we will do well out of this, but only if we make a concerted effort to save, and keep reinvesting any spare money we accumulate. It can be tempting to live the life of Reilly and splurge everything on meals out and holidays etc, when you live here.

Having said all of that, we only really came for the lifestyle change and to have an adventure and some fun. And we are doing that.

FellatioNelson Wed 26-Dec-12 06:52:34

Incidentally, don't know what you and DH do career-wise but Qatar is booming at the moment and expats are arriving in droves every week. There is masses of opportunity here for people in certain sectors.

barnet Wed 26-Dec-12 06:55:05

Norway: great standard of living, although both need to work full time. Childcare cheap, lots of jobs, outdoor life, relatively equal society, great place to grow up.

bbface Wed 26-Dec-12 07:06:54

Mosman, anywhere nice up north is NOT just as expensive as London. Are you kidding me? London is a micro economy, separate from the rest of the Uk and certainly up north. I lived in zone. 2 West London where you could not, you absolutely could not, find a one bed flat for less that £450,000. And at that price it would be in need of extensive decoration. I also lived in zone 1 at another time, Chelsea, and you would be looking at an average of £550,000 for a one bed flat, nothing special at all, probably basement flat. A house? In Chelsea? Not for less that a million, and that will be a two to three bed, terraced, no garden.

Tell me, where up north would these kind of prices possibly apply?

Iheartpasties Wed 26-Dec-12 07:09:01

We moved from Cornwall, uk, to Sydney, Australia. Massively better life and standard of living. It's down to the fact that in Cornwall me and my DH had to work to live and scrape by, 2 cars a mortgage etc but over here DH works and earns loads more (due to him working in the city) and I am a sahm, he earns good money and we enjoy a lovely lifestyle. I feel very very lucky.

bbface Wed 26-Dec-12 07:10:25

Oh and Op we moved from central London to Kent. Absolutely love it. Transport fabulous, schools brilliant, wonderful selection of shops, delis cafe and restaurants, easy parking and sensational greenery. I text DH the other day whilst he was at work to say that I can not imagine a more liveable yet at the same time so naturally beautifully place, on earth.

MrsMushroom Wed 26-Dec-12 07:15:26

Mosman I'm amazed at how expensive Oz is right now. We're here for Christmas....I'm in the supermarket some days thinking TWENTY dollars for a large box of ice lollies??? I got a beautiful cushion for 30 dollars here the other day....how can lollies be almost as dear?

Other stuff that amazes me is clothes and books. My God!

MrsMushroom Wed 26-Dec-12 07:17:14

Really it depends what you value...my idea of a good life may not be the same as someone elses....so to me, swimming all year round isn't a good thing at all....to someone else it could be amazing!

ClaudiaSchiffer Wed 26-Dec-12 07:21:38

Iheartpasties, can I ask whereabouts in Sydney you live? My dh and I talk about moving there but the property prices in the suburbs I've looked at are insane. So it would be great job + nice house + massive commute for dh.

But I'd love to go there if we could afford it and dh didn't have to compromise on huge draining commute etc.

MrsMushroom, Australia is VERY expensive. You kind of get used to it (or cease to be daily shock about it) but I never buy books here anyore, fish is out of our price range, clothes tend to be shit anyway so I stock up on return visits to the UK.

Mosman Wed 26-Dec-12 07:24:53

bbface you're right but I'd say zone 1 and 2 are a different planet.
If you look at altringham, wilmslow, hale, west Kirby, Harrogate top too be honest the only places I'd move back to you could buy a house in London for a similar price and be less exposed in terms of employment.
We were in a nice area of Liverpool and when the recession hit it was like they pulled the plug out and switched off the lights. The north was abandoned.

Iheartpasties Wed 26-Dec-12 07:27:44

We live on the Northern beaches, used to live in Manly but moved to Manly Vale to get more bedrooms. We rent - we own a home in the UK and rent it out. My DH commutes ten mins down the road to an office block that's near a shopping mall. A commute to the city isnt too bad - the ferry is one option, its 30 mins from Manly to Circular quay, and there are 2 fast ferries (20 mins), we don;t have any trains over on the northern beaches but there are buses. There are some nice suburbs near us as well. I think the commute to the city can get complicated though the further you go from Manly.

hopefulgum Wed 26-Dec-12 07:28:37

MrsMushroom, what kind of Ice lollies were they? $20?!! I live in Oz and I don't recall ever seeing them for that much. Was it a box of 100? However,I agree it is not cheap to live here.

I'm reading this thread as I am curious about the cost of living elsewhere, though can't give any advice as I live in Australia and haven't lived in the UK. I do think the cost of living is quite high here. However I do live in a really beautiful place - 5 minutes from a white sand beach, with glorious views of the islands and ocean, but it has nothing to offer culturally like London would offer. Living in a place like this (buying a large house and land)would cost about 600K (pounds). I guess it really depends on what you want for yourself and family.

Dh and I are interested in working in the middle East to earn some big $ to pay off our mortgage. Does anyone know if teaching pays well there?

Mosman Wed 26-Dec-12 07:28:50

At the moment I'm ordering books and clothes online from M&S and JL but the food bill is killing me and that situation is only going to get worse as the kids grow.

MrsMushroom Wed 26-Dec-12 07:31:54

Hopeful they were mixed ...like a box of what looked like classic iced lollies...kids ones. About twenty in it I think. A tub od basic icecream was about 6 dollars...which is dear...in the UK I can get one for £1.99. There's a lot of choice in the UK though so you do compare.

lightrain Wed 26-Dec-12 07:39:05

Mosman, I came on to say the same as bbface. There are a lot of lovely, lovely places up north for peanuts compared to the south. The places you've mentioned are expensive, but still not London prices. However, there are loads and loads of places that are lovely up north for less - I live 30 mins from Manchester, 40 mins from Leeds in a little village in Peak District, 4 bed lovely house for less than £200k. I have lived in Australia and down south, the price difference is astonishing (even things like tradesman from north to south of uk). If you we're looking for a market town up north there are still other options that are not the towns you mentioned where you could have a beautiful, beautiful house for £300k. Down south that couldn't happen - nor in Aus cities, as I'm sure you know.

Australia was beautiful but v v expensive and for us, being closer to good friends and family was worth leaving the sunshine and gorgeous beaches. Up north uk is honestly a world away from busy, cramped towns I lived in down south in uk. I know all southern towns are it like that, but value for money is up north in more 'nice' places, for sure.

lightrain Wed 26-Dec-12 07:42:15

Mosman, the amount we saved when we moved back to the UK on shopping (clothes, food, books, etc.) was staggering. Also the amount if choice and quality was amazing compared to Aus. That's another thing that made me want to come back to the UK!

MrsMushroom Wed 26-Dec-12 07:51:11

I find it almost too clean here in Adelaide....it's too cold looking despite the warmth! There is some lovely architecture in the city but the suburbs look a bit like Florida retirement settlements.

Mosman Wed 26-Dec-12 07:53:43

Again it's the jobs issue though with the UK we only came out to Australia to find DH a job because he'd been out of work for nearly four years aside of the odd bit of consultancy work. Don't get me wrong if he was on £50,000 and living on the Wirral he'd be happy as pigs in muck. Given that my counter part was made redundant last week though I still think from that perspective we made the right decision to move out of the north west. I'd retire there at a push but is encourage my children not to live oop north.

Speedos Wed 26-Dec-12 08:23:41

I am Australian but live in Surrey and I think Sydney is one of the most expensive cities in the world now, we just got back from a visit. I think Sydney is more expensive than London for going out, Auckland, NZ is on par with London. The cost of food is astronomical in both places.

We love the UK, so much choice for everything, great supermarkets, cheap holidays and heating in houses and everywhere you go!

SucksToBeMe Wed 26-Dec-12 09:59:17

I live in Argentina for 6 months and UK for 6 months. In two years we will move permanently to Argentina. We love it there, it's sunny and people are lovely.
Here we struggle to have any money at the end of the month on a very frugal life style, (do not smoke,drink,eat meat, live in a caravan etc)
I used my meager saving to buy 2 v cheap houses over there that we rent out. So that will be our main income, and I have something to leave DS and DD in my will.
Here I could not save up for a deposit for a house. hmm
We live in a small coastal town there and the schools seem adequate. I will only miss Corrie,Emmerdale and 'Enders!

hopefulgum Wed 26-Dec-12 10:40:47

I am wondering how much you'd spend a week on groceries in the UK? I feed a family of five (sometimes 6, DS2 sometimes eats with us, but rarely as he's working), and I'm not extravagant - hardly buy packaged food, but do buy nice cuts of meat etc, and I spent between $300-$400 ( about 192 - 257 pounds). Is that comparable what you'd spend in the Uk. For some reason I always had the idea that food - especially fruit,vege and meat was expensive in the UK. Or is it just that it's quite expensive to eat out?

Mosman Wed 26-Dec-12 10:48:41

In my opinion you couldn't fit £250 of stuff into a tescos trolley it just couldn't hold that much. The only time we ever did a £300 shop was when we moved house and had to buy everything from cleaning materials to frozen veg, sauces the absolute lot and I think there were a few DVDs in there too. Ask me how often half a trolley at iga comes in at $400 dollars, it's usually more.

MrsMushroom I totally agree with the earlier statement that it's each persons individual choice of what makes a great standard of living.

For me Australia would be hell. I love seasonality in a year. I don't want a hot Christmas, slightly less hot and wet summers and I quite like being at the top of the food chain... grin

What I love here are the Med like summers - swimming in lakes and open air pools and the properly organized snowy winters (trains still run, runways clear,motorways safe).

I like the fact that I can be at the local airport in 15 minutes, can park right in it, and can be in the UK with family in an hour on an Easyjet flight should anything ever happen.

When dh was offered a job in Australia that was the biggest issue for me taking two days to get home and the cost of a second hand car.

Oh, and our satellite dish picks up UK channels so I get a Sunday Corrie fix if I feel like it!!!

I didn't want to like Switzerland, I never thought I would. The job moved me first and we just thought we'd try it for a few years. Perhaps it's the area we've moved to, the friends we've made and how straightforward life is here that makes it great.

That said, if I get a transfer to the Boston office I'd probably consider it, or Germany,which has really grown on me as a country.

fussychica Wed 26-Dec-12 15:35:33

I'm envy of you binfull Switzerland sounds fab. Retired so not a possibility for me. Spain was great while it lasted but isn't somewhere I want to be any longer.
UK offers so much choice of everything except the weather which is dire anywhere. I've lived in the Peak District & South East and now live in the South West, It's just the degree of wetness that variesgrin
bbface where in Kent are you? Sounds interesting - see I can't keep still.

FunnysFuckingFreezing Wed 26-Dec-12 15:42:08

we're in Jersey. Much better standard of living than the UK, lower taxes, higher wages. But it is quite difficult to get in and there are restrictions on who can work here and who can buy houses. The weather is usually better although this year has been very wet and windy. France is nice and close for holidays, only 50 mins on the ferry

heather1 Wed 26-Dec-12 16:00:00

We are in Switzerland - DH was offered a job here. Its a mixed bag.
Good quality of living in that: Company pay for DHs travel, trains run on time, beautiful hikes, kids walk to school, in summer we swim in the lake, its close to visit family and friends in the UK, DS play outside likes its the 1970s, Germany is close for cheaper shopping.
But not so good in that: its really expensive to buy food, eat out, the Swiss are not so friendly as a rule, son has been bullied in school, it looks the same superfically but culturally its very different, very sexist and racist. My 5.5 yo is in kindergarten and will not learn to read in German until August 2013.
My experience is that for the person at work they often love it. Its the partner and children who actually live in the country day to day and deal with issues as they come up.
Think about the personalities of your children. 5yo DS has been fine. Loves it and is happy. Has no experience of school in the UK. Senstitive 8yo ds not so happy. 18mths on still misses the UK and his friends. Now being moved to an international school in the hope he will be happier than at Swiss school which can be very tough and hard. (he has been badly bullied). In retrospect we wouldnt of moved here if we had even suspected how he would have reacted to the move and the experiences he would have.
Oh and if anyone says they will be fluent in the language of the country in 6 months that is utter rubbish. It will be at least 1 year and then they will still be in some respects behind their peers (unless they go to a school where the language is English and then they will be in a little expat bubble and will be unable to play with the local neighbourhood children).
My experience anyway. However I do still love it when we have had a great days skiing!!

captainmummy Wed 26-Dec-12 16:41:32

AM very jealous of those in other places - I'd go anywhere i think! I am so up-to-here with England and the 'health and safety', can't do anything, don't do this, brigade. Common sense is out the window.

I went to South Africa a few times lately, and love Cape Town. My dp is South African and would love to go back - the only thing stopping us is the crime, and the poverty. There is a huge divide between poor and not-so-poor, and while we would be not-so-poor, it's really hard to see. And it's expensive too, unbeleivably.

Sorry to hear of the bullying Heather. Sounds awful. My ds is in a bilingual private school, so has been reading and writing since he left UK primary at 5 years. He is learning High German too, not Swiss which is better for the future I think.

jinglebellyalltheway Wed 26-Dec-12 16:56:09

England

DelGirl Wed 26-Dec-12 17:01:03

Moved to Italy 2 years ago and there are pluses and minuses to Italy and the UK. Overall I prefer Italy for the moment but have a vague plan to move back when dd is 11 for secondary. She is in a great local school at the mo with only 11 children in the class and is completely bi-lingual. However I think I would prefer her to have her secondary education in the UK partly as I am more familiar with it and I think the way the education splits at age 14 is not for us. I do plan to spend more time in Italy in the future and very fortunately have homes in both.

TheUKGrinchImGluhweinkeller Wed 26-Dec-12 18:37:00

We moved from Surrey to Bavaria in Southern Germany in 2007. We had a young toddler when we moved, and have since had 2 more DC.

We have a better standard of living here - but as others have said it depends what you want. For me it was an active advantage that it is normal, natural and easy to be a SAHM here, whereas in Surrey we needed 2 incomes to pay the mortgage. We have a bigger house here for less money, and the children have a thousand times more freedom, as somebody else said it is like going back in time several decades - it is absolutely the norm for children from age 5 or so to play out, walk to school etc. here and by contrast I find children of my acquaintance in the UK a weird combination of precocious yet immature, often unable to sort out there own disputes with peers and lacking self care and independence skills that are normal and natural in comparable children here. My children have (touch wood) not had any negative experiences of school and Kindergarten here - but then the eldest was only 19 months when we moved and the other 2 were born here, so by the time they started Kindergarten and school they were indistinguishable from any other children. My kids are local kids with an English mum, which is different I guess than being "foreign" kids.

There are loads of potential negatives here - I like that kids don't generally leave their mum til they are 3, and then only for morning Kindergarten, and I am happy with half day school - the children start 2 years later here but within a year they are at the same stage as UK peers, so I can't actually see any advantage to full day school from age 4, aside from the childcare element! However if both parents want work before your children are old enough to be left alone sometimes, and don't want to or can't hire a nanny or an au-pair then this would be the opposite of a better standard of living, clearly!

The kids becoming bi-lingual is in itself an absolutely huge positive reason for moving, IMO but requires a long term stay in one country - as others have said, children do not pick up a language from scratch in 6 months - some in fact struggle for years, especially if they are in an English bubble at home and don't play a significant amount with local friends outside of Kindergarten and school. Apparently if you remove children from significant exposure to a language they have acquired before the age of 10 they are also likely to almost totally lose the language.

For us so far the kids have benefited, though who knows if this will remain the case as school can be very unforgiving and inflexible as I understand it... You certainly don't get much in the way of differentiation and it is very one size fits all, until academic selection occurs going into year 5.

I am sometimes happy here and sometimes totally miserable. We live in the country and I sometimes feel very isolated, partly but not entirely because my German is functional but not great - I can chat within my comfort zone but find it hard to build genuine friendships, partly because I often can't just say what I want to off the top of my head but it is also cultural as well as linguistic.

I am a little sceptical about travelling "for an adventure" unless either the kids are very young - under 5 I'd say, or the adventure is short - a maximum of a year as a one off, and the children can understand that. Otherwise I struggle to understand why people think a transient lifestyle with only nuclear family as constants, and the awareness that any friendship or "home" will soon be a thing of the past, is in the best interests of children.

FannyFifer Wed 26-Dec-12 19:23:42

We moved from Republic of Ireland to Scotland was at the height of the "Celtic Tiger" & the cost of living was horrific.
We were paying over 1000 euro to rent a tiny damp 1 bedroom house, couldn't always afford to go to Dr (60 euro) or pick up prescriptions.

Moved to Scotland got on property ladder within 9 months, both got jobs, NHS, thank feck. Schools and higher education are free. Our standard of living, although we earn a lot less is so so much higher. grin

SentimentalKat Wed 26-Dec-12 19:42:06

Define quality of life!
We have moved around quite a bit, and as clichéd as it sounds, home is where the heart is! Which means that for us, at the moment, England offers the best quality of life. Not that everything here is perfect far from it, but it works for us as a family.

The one thing that I have learnt from moving around is that it is very liberating to allow yourself to be different! You absolutely do it have to do what "everybody" does.

SentimentalKat Wed 26-Dec-12 19:42:42

You do not have to do what everybody does....

Salbertina Wed 26-Dec-12 19:47:12

Were likely moving back to Uk to achieve this, mainly for aforementioned reasons plus security and ability to work for me

Salbertina Wed 26-Dec-12 19:53:36

Better standard here- weather, beautiful outdoors, fresh seafood, emerging market happening vibe sometimes umm thats it sad though is overwhelmingly beautiful doesn't pay the bills or keep you safe at night

Better Uk- nhs, free schools, lower cost of living, job market, security, kids can walk around, range and ease of travel, public transport, only need 1 car

nooka Wed 26-Dec-12 20:07:01

We have been incredibly fortunate in our move to Canada, and for us as a family it's been (mostly) great. We live in BC which is undoubtedly beautiful, relaxed and friendly. Our town is a bit rustic and has very little 'culture' but has all the basics required and is incredibly easy to leave - 30 minutes takes us into wonderful empty wilderness. On the downside it takes a long time and is very expensive to get back to the UK (or Europe for that matter).

Because there isn't a huge amount to do that costs (not great restaurants, only one cinema, no concerts etc) we managed to be frugal enough to have dh be a SAHD for four years which he loved and gave the children much of the stability they lost in the move (in my experience moving is very tough on children and not enough considered by many families because there is so much emphasis on how 'great' the experience will be for them). Now he is working again we are going to be quite well off, at least at the same level as before our move.

One thing to bear in mind is that moving can be quite bad for your career. Lots of the best places do not have the best jobs, and UK experience isn't always thought to be as of much value to the local employers. Returning can bring the same issues too. I've probably lost about 5 years of career progression, and I don't think that is particularly unusual.

NanoNinja Wed 26-Dec-12 20:27:09

We're in Switzerland too. In some ways have a much higher standard of living - public services generally work, feel less likely to be a victim of crime, lower tax and higher salaries, lots of outdoor activities. But it is eye wateringly expensive ( particularly rent where we are, eating out, food shopping, clothes ). I can live with all that, but the hard thing for me is being away from family and friends. And not being able to get a good Indian takeaway...

For a great Indian go to Lorrach in Germany, on the border to Ganges restaurant! grin

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Thu 27-Dec-12 04:59:19

OP I'd reiterate that you have to decide what better standard of living means to you. For some people, it's largely financial. For others, it's about access to hiking, skiing, beaches etc, even though they might be worse off in terms of cash in their pocket. For others it's about culture/social norms. For others, safety for their children and good schools. Then there are those who value lots of museums/galleries etc. Now, unfortunately, these things tend not to co-exist so you have to decide what's important to you. Without turning this into a thread about a thread, you already said on your Dubai thread that time with immediate family and your son's education are important to you. At the same time, you said you're not a big socialiser, so maybe moving somewhere with a big expat/ English speaking population isn't so critical to you as it might be to someone who's a "company junkie".

You also have to think about what challenges you would class as "adventure" and what would simply be tiresome/ make you want to lose your will to live. Personally, I find learning languages very difficult. I know I would be miserable in a country where I wasn't fluent in the language and was dependent on communicating predominantly in that language so I have limited myself to "expat-lite"- i.e. countries and major economic hubs where there is a significant english speaking population. On the one hand, that's a bit lame of me, but I don't see the point in making myself miserable just to look intrepid. On the other hand, other things that bother some people, like scary driving and inclement weather don't bother me that much.

I quite fancy west coast of the US or Zurich

LarkinSky Thu 27-Dec-12 08:33:52

Switzerland also (French speaking part). Although we don't have it all and miss extended family particularly for our young DC - our nuclear family can feel quite intense without grandparents, aunties and uncles popping by helping with childcare regularly to 'dilute' the pressure of being the only two significant adults in our children's life. Of course family visit frequently (thanks Easyjet) and we've built a good circle of friends here, but that's how I feel essentially.

Otherwise our standard of living and career prospects are fantastic, far higher than would be even in London. We're pretty happy.

LarkinSky Thu 27-Dec-12 08:35:46

Hear hear RichMan, good post.

MrsMushroom Thu 27-Dec-12 10:54:43

HopefulGlum We are a family of 4 normally resident in the UK and we spend about 70 to 80 pounds a week on grocery shopping. here in Oz it's SO expensive e're in shock with it.

One reason we think, is that there's not the economy brand things....we rely on buying certain goods VERY cheaply. So I buy rice, flour, pasta, binbags,noodles etc for pennies in the UK and we can't do that here...the same with cleaning things...they're pence in the UK as long as you get economy stuff.

We never buy economy meat or fruit or veg though and we eat well on that amount of money. We don't really buy much snack food or anything like fizzy drinks.

ssmile Thu 27-Dec-12 13:46:53

Interesting thread. My sister is married to an Ozzie and they moved to QLD 6yrs ago. We nearly followed but did serious pros and cons list of all the things we value. Commute time, job, house, location to coast, outdoor activities, schooling etc. We decided to stay here in Devon as were better off financially, climate &family etc I just couldn't take my kids away from their grandparents. Ironically my sister is now looking to move back to Devon, her husband loves living here in UK. He is from Sydney and until they potentially inherit there is no way they can afford to live in decent house in Sydney plus the cost of living there has rocketed they don't eat meat everyday as its just too expensive on one income. Luckly they kept their house here rented out but also they all have dual nationality so I suspect they be living dual lives for few years.

Totally agree with richman, it depends what you value.

We used to live in rural Scotland which is absolutely stunning, moved to urban sprawl in Asia and really value the access to a vibrant mixed culture. Equally, life here is massively more expensive but we have a good expat package so we live a more epensive lifestyle thanks to that. Without the expat package, we couldn't afford to live here as we do.

NanoNinja Fri 28-Dec-12 11:31:46

Thanks for takeaway tip, binful. We're in geneva, so a little way away. I am getting good at making my own curries!

Oh boo, well perhaps make a special shopping trip to Germany one weekend!

In some waysi am sooo much healthier due to the expense and scarcity of takeaway meals!?grin

Perhaps the difference for me, is that I don't really have an extended family, so all ds has is us. With no grandparents to factor in it was probably an easier move to make.

FifromN12 Wed 02-Jan-13 09:53:06

Its great to see everyone around the world! Currently in London and moving to Cape Town this year with SA hubby and French/SA little boy

We're in LA....in some ways standard of living much higher...weather is amazing, access to mountains, beaches, deserts, and inner city stuff. DH on a much higher salary, we can afford a lot more, DS thriving

But I miss my friends and family and it's a very transient city, not really somewhere anyone seems to put own roots in. And I'm on a spousal visa so can't work, evn if/when I can my industry is tiny and stagnant here

We're going to have. Very difficult conversation about moving back in a few years...

skratta Wed 02-Jan-13 22:24:56

We have a great life in a suburban area of a large village/small town in Connecticut.

The weather is actually great, we've got a great community, large houses, the children can play on the streets and bike down the roads, which they couldn't do when were in the UK. We are actually quite close to New York, which is great because we can go and have fun easily, but have a relaxed life here. We have a basketball hoop in our front garden and DD1 and 2 play with their friends outside there to practice shooting or whatever they call it. It's green, and lovely. It's not as vibrant as London for instance, or as fast paced, but its perfect for a family due to being close to a big city etc;

Also have to say, Stockholm. We only moved to the UK to follow jobs (first Belfast, then St Albans) but we moved from Kiruna to Stockholm. I love Stockholm. We lived in an area called Liljeholmen, it was next to a giant park with a giant lake, a playground area, slopes to toboggan on. We lived in flats, but they were very large, well insulated and were amazingly good quality compared to the UK for instance with a giant communal garden thing which was great, with a playground, and we knew everyone in the block, there was a train station, and tram stop close by, it was quiet and friendly and not too snowy (although I say that as we moved from Kiruna, which is way up North, in fact I think roughly 150km past the Arctic Circle!) There was Gamla Stan nearby, and it was easy to get around. In fact, Gamla Stan (the Old City) was great- Christmas market, resteraunts, beautiful old shops, a great place. There were also loads of great museums to visit, and if you speak English as a first language (I don't, I'm Swedish, but DH does) then it's also easy to get around as so many people understand it.

I'd reccommend Connecticut or Stockholm. However, some parts of the Stockholm Archipelago (islands around Stockholm, from fifteen mins from Stockholm to a few hours, the best ones to live on I'd say are around thirty minutes from Stockholm, so not as close, but easy to get there too). A very nice community, beautiful landscape, loads of outdoor sports, especially kayaking, esay to get to the city, sometimes wonderful beaches, and from my experience a lot of people living there are very welcoming and lovely.

captainmummy Thu 03-Jan-13 09:35:57

Am jealous of you FIfromN12 - i'd love to move to Cape Town. Whereabouts are you going? I love the South Africans, v friendly, and the weather is great. when we were there in april last year, the weatherforecast was 'cold' - at 16C! Not happy with the crime or poverty tho, or the way you have to drive everywhere. No-one walks. Are you going to a gated community?

Am jealous of everyone, actually. Really want to move away, but will have to wait 5-6 years until DC finish school/college.

FifromN12 Thu 03-Jan-13 13:01:33

@Captainmummy
I have lived there before (9 months) in the Southern Suburbs where hubby is from. We will go back in the same area and looking to buy a house (with a pool;). It’s not a gated area and I didn’t feel unsafe when he was out. We will have an alarm (I do have one here! As 2 breaks ins on my street last month- and we live in a leafy nice area) and high walls and a dog!. You do get used to it! But I agree its not for everyone as we are all different. Violence (sadly) happen in the Cape Flats and shacks mainly. But this is another conversation to have!! My hubby will keep his job working from home and I will either go back with the charity I worked for or find something else. I do want to work part-time which is very difficult here financially to do so – I am full-time at the moment. I do have friends there already which helps. As for the driving everywhere I miss driving!! Try take the tube (London) with 2 kids;) I did walk to the shops while in CT (only during the day) and you do tend to see the weekend walkers quite often.

Its not as close to my family but I do love his family…

One thing I have learned is that the grass isn’t always greener and it’s what you make of it. But we believe we will be more secure financially and my little boys will be going to great schools. And its where hubby is from. Amongst the many reasons why we are moving.

Doing it now before my babies get too old to move them! And nothing is forever.

captainmummy Thu 03-Jan-13 13:59:14

Thanks Fi - that sounds positive! Of course I only speak to the SAs over here - and they're here for varying reasons, crime and poverty being only part of it. I got stuck in Jo-berg during the Ash-cloud, and walked to the nearest shop (5mins) against the horrified advice ofthe house-maid. This was a nice residential suburb, but I saw very few people out even in midday.

Cape town is supposed to be safer, it certainly seemed to be to me. we even walkd at night round the V&A

Maybe I'll look again at SA?

FifromN12 Thu 03-Jan-13 14:17:47

@Captainmummy - I must say I think people have a misconception about it well at least for CT and I was one of them! I put my hands up! It all changed when I went to live there. I hear Jhb is another story and don't know much about it.
When I talk to SA's in London they are quite negative (mainly JHB) but I feel like they are justifying their move... and some do regret...many I know moved back to CT little by lilttle as London isn't all the paradise they thought it would be. But I of course understand those who leave as can't find work there.
I do think travelling opens your eyes to the different opportunities and gives you a different insight to the world no matter where you choose to live. (eck thats cheezy)

captainmummy Thu 03-Jan-13 15:58:35

You're right it's the work thing, esp with AI. I'd love to go back even just to visit, it's so beautiful.

Good luck.

CaHoHoHootz Sun 06-Jan-13 22:16:57

I lived in San Francisco , Quebec and SA, for quite considerable lengths of time, and I loved living in each country but I am glad we returned to the UK. There are so many different things to consider about the pros and cons of various countries I dont think. I could ever choose a 'best place' to live.

hmm Although, if I had a magic wand to away the poverty and violence SA might get my vote. I lived in Joberg and found everyone really friendly. We never had any problems but we were careful.

WhataSook Mon 07-Jan-13 21:06:36

What an interesting thread! I am in London and thinking of moving back to Australia but keep hearing how expensive Aus is now and so I really dont know what to do! We have no family here but sadly have got used to this and we do a lot of stuff always together.

My worry is that we woukd like another DC and I struggled with depression when DC1 was born and just cant think how I would cope next time.

Mosman Tue 08-Jan-13 11:12:51

If you had private health insurance you'd receive a great standard of care in Australia which might go some way to preventing pnd. However the birth is likely to be more medicalised in my experience in Australia

complexnumber Thu 10-Jan-13 10:35:40

I have just read this thread with interest, comparing others situations to my own living in Oman.

Then I realised that I have no idea what my standard of living would be back in the UK. I have been living overseas off and on since 1984, the longest I have spent back in the UK in that time period was about 3 years, and that was over 12 years ago!

I am happy here, we do have a flat back in York which we stay at every summer. But I don't really know if my standard of living would be better if we lived there permenantly. I think not.

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