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To ask for advice on life changing decision

(60 Posts)
amba4 Tue 15-Mar-16 20:27:56

I am on the verge of a huge decision and looking for any advice, perspectives and am happy to be told to get a grip. I can't see the wood for the trees and need ideas.

We left the UK two years ago to move abroad to another country. There were a few reasons but the main ones were financial. We had a small amount of savings, I was earning a small amount self-employed, DH had a pay cut and we had gone through the maternity leave and child-care financial black hole. We wanted to save a deposit for a house and had slowly scraped together a small amount that would not have got us anything half decent.

We moved to a place where DH's skills are in short supply so over the past two years he has been on a higher salary. I have also been able to go back to work and our youngest started school. In the past two years we have saved a substantial amount for a house deposit through DH having a higher salary, me working and living really cheaply (about £50k).

The dilemma is this. Where we live now works really well on paper. House prices are about 20% lower than the part of the UK we would go back to. My earnings would be about the same in either place but DH would take a 30% pay cut in his sector to return to the UK. Our DCs would have to change school and adapt to a different school system (they are key stage one). But while we are better off financially here, I am just not happy. I feel like I would be settling if we were to stay here. I am bored and just generally miss the UK. My DH is happy enough to stay where we are though he does miss home too and has at times said he wants to go back.

AIBU to throw away a better financial situation to move back to a place where I think I would be happier, with all the upheaval that would involve? We have the house deposit saved and my thinking is that moving abroad has at least helped us to achieve that and maybe if we moved back we could adapt to having less money overall as long as we were not needing to save in the way we have been.

Any advice or perspectives would be appreciated! I either need to make a decision to go back and start the massive planning involved in that with DH or put it to bed for now.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Tue 15-Mar-16 20:32:13

Is there a middle ground? I wouldn't come back to the UK for such a pay cut, life is expensive here and it looks like it's only going to get worse. The shine of being home will wear off and you'll be miserable at giving up a good lifestyle to be really frugal.

Is there somewhere where DPs skills are still in demand that you could go and build a new life? Or are there things you could do where you are that would make you happier?

theycallmemellojello Tue 15-Mar-16 20:33:25

I guess you have to identify why you're unhappy and whether it's likely to change. FWIW I think that 2 years is not that long to settle into a new culture, so it could be that you need more time. Do you have local friends? Do you think the saving might have been subconsciously always intended for an English house, so you weren't really giving yourself the chance to make a go of it? What about giving yourselves another couple of years there, then coming back if it's still not great. Or if that doesn't seem do-able, then there's your answer - you need to come back.

amba4 Tue 15-Mar-16 20:35:59

Just to add a bit more detail, the pay cut would be from about £65k to about £45k, this is obviously still a very decent salary but would we be mad to voluntarily do this? I would hopefully also be able to find work back in the UK but its not certain and I wouldn't earn anything like that amount.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Tue 15-Mar-16 20:36:02

Actually I think I'd stay, unless you're desperately unhappy and you have tried absolutely everything to settle. You have a better life there, your kids are at school, you can save. Stop saving for a bit and throw yourself into enjoying life there. The grass is always greener.

WipsGlitter Tue 15-Mar-16 20:36:18

Apart from the house what would you gain from coming home? Would you be able to live near friends and family? Do you think it's a better school system here?

What exactly do you miss about the UK? Make a list.

amba4 Tue 15-Mar-16 20:38:24

jello you might be right about subconsciously saving for an English house, I haven't ever really felt final about the move. I have made some friends and have had periods of feeling more settled but there is another feeling I can't quite shake and I feel like I need to take it seriously. With everything involved in a move it might take 6 months to a year for us to get back over there either way.

amba4 Tue 15-Mar-16 20:41:20

Glitter we would be closer to family, which is a bonus although we wouldn't be able to live close enough to have much day to day involvement with them. To be honest our DCs are in great schools and I am not sure about the UK school system, that was one of the factors in us moving in the first place! But its occurred to me recently that there must be perfectly nice schools they could go to in the UK if we plan the move right.

DinosaursRoar Tue 15-Mar-16 20:48:52

If you aren't happy where you are, then y ou aren't suddenly going to become happy, but the longer you leave it before you move back, the harder it will become - your DCs will find it harder to relocate the older they get and the more they have a life that's independent from you. They also might end up settling in your adopted country, meaning that moving once they are older and finished education means living in a different country to your DCs.

I would move, while £20k a year is a lot of money, £45k is still a decent standard of living unless you want to live in central London. Assuming you are working too that pushes your family income up to a good level and you won't need to save in the same way.

amicissimma Tue 15-Mar-16 20:59:58

Or, an alternative view to DinosaursRoar: wherever you go you'll still be you.

MatildaTheCat Tue 15-Mar-16 21:00:34

If you want to come back to the uk maybe spend another year or two building a cushion of money to support the shortfall when you return? You must have been living very frugally to save so much, has that impacted on you enjoying your life where you are now?

Perhaps save more money but at a slower rate so you can have more fun. Then have a date to review your feelings in a fixed period of time. You may feel more settled and want to stay, equally you may want to return and will be in a position to do so.

Headofthehive55 Tue 15-Mar-16 21:01:43

Move. Until you go where you want you won't settle. Just think the money you will save in not having travelling costs!
Think of it as having had a lovely adventure, and now your head is telling you to to return.
I've lived abroad, would have a better standard of living but the uk is home!

amba4 Tue 15-Mar-16 21:05:26

Thanks everyone. Just to clarify, I'm not exactly unhappy here, as in I'm not depressed or miserable. Its more a sense of not belonging here and that I just don't like it as much as the UK, even in terms of the landscape and climate. There is also so much going on and so much to do in the UK all the time compared to here. So I feel like I would be settling if I stayed here for years and I keep thinking life is too short. Matilda that is a good suggestion about maybe saving more of a cushion for when/ if we do move back.

TattyCat Tue 15-Mar-16 21:15:41

I think I'd stay put and keep saving before heading back to the UK. You will make a decision when you're more sure than you are now. If in doubt, do nowt grin

Sit on it for a while and revisit it now and again.

swquestion Tue 15-Mar-16 21:19:48

If you've managed to save £50k in two years (well done!) how abut staying say for another three-five years and trying to save another £100k. I don't know where you want to buy in the UK but that could be a good chunk of equity or even pay off a house outright? Then you could be nearly mortgage free/or mortgage free and the lower salaries wouldn't matter so much. Is that an option?

sonjadog Tue 15-Mar-16 21:24:42

Two years is nothing. I've lived abroad for 20 and looking back, after two years I was still very, very new. I think it is entirely normal that you don't feel settled and it doesn't feel like home yet.

Why not say you will have for five years and then move back if it still doesn't feel right? It will give you time to see if you do adjust, you will be in a stronger position if you return, and it gives you a time limit if you are homesick.

Jux Tue 15-Mar-16 21:28:39

Maybe, as you have been able to save such a substantial amount in a comparatively short time, you could afford to buy a house here and stay over there earning the large amount, for a time. Then you would have a house to come back to but no need to come back immediately.

This is what many of my relatives did when they were posted abroad and earning a packet.

SweetAngels Tue 15-Mar-16 21:29:22

I agree that maybe you need to pinpoint the reasons why you're unhappy now as that might not change by moving.
Also if you can stay there and carry on saving for another year or two that would obviously make a huge difference to your move back.
I would also suggest coming back to the UK for a long holiday eg 3-4 weeks and look at schools, jobs and housing while you're here as you might find the reality of the changes you a contemplating very difficult to put up with.
A few years ago when on maternity leave we too contemplated such a move, DH managed to get 8weeks unpaid time off work and off we went to said country. Suffice to say we didn't move, the reality of the different education system, much slower pace of life, different way of thinking, etc was too hard to hack for us and we just knew that we would never completely settle there so we had a lovely long holiday and left it at that!

BigQueenBee Tue 15-Mar-16 21:30:10

As the saying goes;" Money doesn't buy you happiness".
Your move abroad had made you see what a wonderful and culturally diverse place Britain is.
It is far from perfect we all know, that, but the grass is always greener and so on.
Some of my family live abroad and yes, the salaries are bigger as are the taxes and also the bigotry .( France)
I think I would rather settle for a less extravagant lifestyle with people I " get" than live in a more affluent country that is not as welcoming.
It sounds like you have pulled out all the stops in attempting to fit in.
I'd come home if I were you. You've seen how life is from two sides now .
I have a lot of foreign friends who tell me that although they miss some of the things from their home country, say Britain is perhaps one of the most welcoming places to live.

MrsGuyOfGisbo Tue 15-Mar-16 21:32:22

Depends where you are now (which country?) but education in the UK is very patchy - if I had primary DC would not want to educate them here now)

amba4 Tue 15-Mar-16 21:32:51

Thanks for the advice everyone. We have saved about £40k in the past two years (had £10k saved before we left but it took us forever to save that). Our earnings now are not that huge in the scheme of things, we just live as though we earn a lot less (like before!) and we rent a cheap apartment. I'm not sure how long we could keep this up though, its felt like more of a short-term goal that we have focussed on.

Out2pasture Tue 15-Mar-16 21:36:05

you have several different scenarios to think of.
hubby and i stayed and lived in a remote isolated community until retirement and then went to our dream location.
yes it is hard but for us the financial health was important. we put all three children through university (we paid all the costs) and the children grew up in a small safe environment. the children have no regrets of having grown up in the old location and are very happy to visit us in the new spot.
btw none of them live in the old remote village.

LetMeBakeCake Tue 15-Mar-16 21:36:13

Life is so short - you should do what makes you happy. If you can move to where you want to be then do it.

We moved 8 years ago from South Coast to another park of UK but nowhere has ever felt like 'home'. It set us up financially so I don't regret it but We are finally going to be in a position to move back this year and I can't wait.

ChildIllAgainHelp Tue 15-Mar-16 21:37:59

Bear in mind you won't be able to get a mortgage straight away after living/earning abroad.

amba4 Tue 15-Mar-16 21:39:45

Child is that really true about not getting a mortgage straight away? How long would we have to be back for? I had hoped finally having a deposit might make it easier!

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