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To move to London on 28k?

(78 Posts)
TequilaLemonSalt Sun 08-Oct-17 22:03:27

I'm in my third year of uni. Just got through the first stage of the Civil Service Fast Track. Actually quite chuffed, as they write books on how to pass it, and I just did it on a whim after two glasses of wine blush

A bit presumptuous, but I'm starting to consider if I could manage it if I did get the job, and had to work in Westminster.

I have a 2 year old, and am a single parent. I currently live in the South East - Google maps says door to door commute is 2 hours.

My current rent is 1095 a month for a 2 bed terraced house. I got it because of a mutual acquaintance though, and I'm not even sure I could get a 2 bed in London on a 28k starting wage (?). I'm sure it's x3 annual income for most estate agents.

At the moment, my annual income - due to my part time salary, tax credits and student loan - is pretty high. Loads higher than 28k. Probably too high, due to student loans not getting included in benefit calculations, but I'm doing my best to make sure I pay handsomely into the system for the rest of my life, so I'd rather not get flamed. Plus I work my fucking arse off from 6am - 10pm every single day, either working, child rearing or studying.

I'll do the entitledto calculations etc., but I just wanted to see if anybody thought this was doable? Or even that I'd be accepted for a tenancy? If I'm accepted for permanent employment for the CS, will this help? I'm not sure how it would work staying here and commuting. 7-7 every day is very long with a 2 year old with an unstable father. But people do it, I guess. But it wouldn't be for a short amount of time. I'd feel sad. I'm not sure that's best.

I know I'm getting ahead of myself. But I'm really excited - I've cared for different groups from 2 year olds, to the mentally ill, to people who have LD, to the elderly; all my life, and I'm so excited to have the chance to work academically to really make a difference on a national scale. But if I can't make the £ work, I can't make it work sad

Opinions gratefully received!

TequilaLemonSalt Sun 08-Oct-17 22:10:24

This is what I just got from entitledto shock but will estate agents take this into account?

I'm really appreciative of any advice!

pigeondujour Sun 08-Oct-17 22:14:17

First of all, well done on passing the tests!

I can't give first hand advice on the living situation but I would say don't get stressed about the logistics at this stage in a very long application process. There are certainly single parents working in London on that money and less. I do think long days/commutes are part and parcel of living in that part of the country though. Does your child's father contribute?

Also, would you definitely have to work in central London? The CS has postings all over the country and they tend to be good at being flexible for people's circumstances.

BarbarianMum Sun 08-Oct-17 22:22:11

I think it would be financially very tough to afford rent and childcare on that sort of money, at least til your ds starts school. But it sounds like a great opportunity.

I'd start by looking at the rental on 1 bed flats and ringing round some nurseries to see if they offer the hours you'll need and for how much.

orangem Sun 08-Oct-17 22:24:47

I'm a single mum in London on £23k and I get £165/week tax credits. We manage OK but rent is low as I was given a council flat here due to DV. My family live here too and they can help with childcare. Your figure seems high but it might be because your rent would be higher.

I'd be careful relying on UC long term - it takes savings into consideration, which tax credits doesn't - so eventually when your salary starts to rise and you build up savings, your UC will get withdrawn.

The long hours wouldn't be ideal for me personally, it's easier when the dc are pre-school aged but harder when they get older with wrap-around after school care ime (because it often doesn't run as late as a nursery and the dc get tired after a long day at school). I currently have a 4pm finish working for the local council and a walking distance commute - not a high flying job but it suits my family needs. But obviously many parents do it in London.

IceCreamIScream Sun 08-Oct-17 22:25:50

Hey Tequila, I'm on the fast stream and have kids - if you want to message someone about how I've found it, send me a DM.

IceCreamIScream Sun 08-Oct-17 22:27:54

Meant to say they can and do take you having a child into account (with regards to your working location and working pattern). I've loved being on the scheme so far, but don't want to post too much as it'll be massively outing!

fartgate Sun 08-Oct-17 22:29:18

I work for Civil Service (HMRC) and they are centralising many of their offices so it's likely you'd be working in the nearest major city to you which I'm guessing would be London.

Do it if you can afford it. I have a great job, really really really enjoy what I do, I'm well paid (despite no pay increases 🙄🙄) and feel like I make a direct contribution to society.

If you can make it work then absolutely do it.

Good luck!

TequilaLemonSalt Sun 08-Oct-17 22:31:54

*First of all, well done on passing the tests!

I can't give first hand advice on the living situation but I would say don't get stressed about the logistics at this stage in a very long application process. There are certainly single parents working in London on that money and less. I do think long days/commutes are part and parcel of living in that part of the country though. Does your child's father contribute?

Also, would you definitely have to work in central London? The CS has postings all over the country and they tend to be good at being flexible for people's circumstances.*

Thank you for your reply! I know applicants get through about 5% of the time, so I'm trying to not get too excited. My DD's father contributes on an ad hoc basis; however he's likely to be going to prison soon. He's a mentally unwell and violent man facing serious offences (not against me or DD) and sees her in a supervised setting. His dad assures me that he will continue to contribute if he doesn't go to prison, but for obvious reasons I'm not including this in my calculations.

I'm not sure if I'll have to move to Westminster. All the different schemes I've applied for say UK wide. But my most hoped for scheme is social research, which seems based in that area. I'm struggling to find more info.

I'm in my early 20s, and this is the first grad scheme I've applied for, and by far the one I want the most. So I'm probably overthinking it. Doubt I stand a chance. 25% of successful applicants are from Oxbridge. I'm a single parent with perfect ACCESS course grades - which obviously aren't the optimal route into uni. But I did get 60/60 distinctions; equivalent to 3A* at A level. And I'm hoping for a first class degree - but my Uni's not at all good league-table wise. So my grades are exceptional (blush) but the locations are shit.

I was homeless at 16, I've come out of an abusive relationship at 23. I started uni when my DD was 5 months old and managed to get in the top 0.5% grades in my first year.

Hopefully all of that will count for something. If not, I'm proud of getting through the first stage grin

🤷🏽‍♀️

TequilaLemonSalt Sun 08-Oct-17 22:40:09

I've messaged you @IceCreamIScream, thanks again!

Do it if you can afford it. I have a great job, really really really enjoy what I do, I'm well paid (despite no pay increases 🙄🙄*) and feel like I make a direct contribution to society.*

This is all I want in a job really. Would be my dream to be able to say this 🤞🏽

Loopytiles Sun 08-Oct-17 22:43:00

I don’t think rent and childcare costs in or nearer London would be affordable on that salary.

TequilaLemonSalt Sun 08-Oct-17 22:44:39

@orangem

I got put forward for a council house due to DV and the fact I was at risk in my home but they said no, they didn't do that anymore - too many houses had been sold off 😩

It's hard isn't it. But it seems the civil service is pretty family friendly and flexible. So I could maybe do 8-4 if that worked better, or work through my lunch etc so I could spend more time with DD.

Up until now, id been looking into law. But that seems like the most unfamily friendly job ever - especially as a single parent with a toddler. I'm hoping to find us a middle balance: I just want to have a job that's enjoyable and interesting and makes a difference, allows me to buy my own home one day and take my daughter on the odd holiday, and also that I don't have to go without seeing her at all 5 days a week.

In this climate, it seems like that kind of job is rarer and rarer.

bbcessex Sun 08-Oct-17 22:47:13

Hi OP.. I don't think you meant to post your previous message! If so, report and ask MNHQ to remove

TequilaLemonSalt Sun 08-Oct-17 22:47:17

I don’t think rent and childcare costs in or nearer London would be affordable on that salary.

What about taking into account the benefit costs of £1500 per month? When I'm taking home £1800 as well? So £3300 in total?

I think I could make it manage; it's not far off what I'm on now - making allowances for slightly less rent and childcare now, but higher income in London.

But it's just if a landlord would rent to me on those figures?

TequilaLemonSalt Sun 08-Oct-17 22:49:11

Hi OP.. I don't think you meant to post your previous message! If so, report and ask MNHQ to remove

I did @bbcessex. I'm not sure what you mean? I'm not ashamed of being a DV survivor. I'm proud of what I've overcome.

SusanTheGentle Sun 08-Oct-17 22:51:06

Normally I'd say no, it's not enough. But. I believe CS wages, if you do well, do rise as you go up through the ranks - and that's what the fast stream is for, isn't it?

And if you could get posted elsewhere that would be better due to it being cheaper.

I reckon carry on with it, as sadly it is very hard and you may not have to make the decision anyway. Then if you get closer to offer stage, that's when to start asking questions and discussing your circumstances with them.

It might be worth the trauma of the commute for two years until you can get better pay and a flat there, for example.

danslenoir Sun 08-Oct-17 22:53:48

£1500 a month in UC?! shock How?! Why?! Your take home pay (UC+salary) is more than I get on a £45k salary 😳

<misses point of thread>

TequilaLemonSalt Sun 08-Oct-17 22:54:48

*Normally I'd say no, it's not enough. But. I believe CS wages, if you do well, do rise as you go up through the ranks - and that's what the fast stream is for, isn't it?

And if you could get posted elsewhere that would be better due to it being cheaper.

I reckon carry on with it, as sadly it is very hard and you may not have to make the decision anyway. Then if you get closer to offer stage, that's when to start asking questions and discussing your circumstances with them.

It might be worth the trauma of the commute for two years until you can get better pay and a flat there, for example.*

As far as I can see, you qualify in 4 years and earn between 45 and 55k grin

That's ansolutely ridiculous for me; my secondary school was ranked the 3rd worst school in the country and I'm currently paid the grand sum of 7.76 an hour.

I know you're all right. There's no point stressing about stuff till I at least pass the next stage.

I'm just so bloody excited grin

mintbiscuit Sun 08-Oct-17 22:58:37

Sorry, haven't read thread in full but wanted to give my view before bed!

I lived as a single parent in London on a similar salary. Zone 2. V close to the City of London as I did not want a long commute and spend time away from my son. I rented privately but had to have my dad sign as guarantor. There are landlords that will take that into account.

My son was at school when I moved so I only had after school/holiday club to pay for so can't comment on affordability from a full time day care perspective.

It was tight but doable.

TequilaLemonSalt Sun 08-Oct-17 22:59:58

£1500 a month in UC?! * How?! Why?! Your take home pay (UC+salary) is more than I get on a £45k salary* 😳*

<misses point of thread>*

I put £1000 down for childcare costs? Might not be right as DD will be entitled to 30 hours free by then. But now I pay £700, she does 33 hours and is entitled to 15 hours free (11 hours really). So I figure doing 45 at
least and being entitled to 30 hours (which is 22 hours across the year) would probably be £1000 plus in London.

I honestly think it's kind of crazy too. But also so fucking difficult to live on a low wage in this country that it's hard to say no to on an ethical level. At least I'm not staying working 20 hours as a receptionist all my life, and I'm actually committed to paying back this country both financially and in my future career.

I know you weren't slating me btw, just the moral conversation I've been having with myself.

TequilaLemonSalt Sun 08-Oct-17 23:02:39

*
I lived as a single parent in London on a similar salary. Zone 2. V close to the City of London as I did not want a long commute and spend time away from my son. I rented privately but had to have my dad sign as guarantor. There are landlords that will take that into account.*

My exes parents are my guarantors here. There's no way they would be if I moved away 😖

That's what I'm worried about. I could make the financials add up 100%. But I would need to find somewhere that would accept
me as a tenant.

Im happy you're making it work.

I'm naively hoping that being employed by the government might sway langlord's decisions. Is this unlikely?

MrsSchadenfreude Sun 08-Oct-17 23:03:41

So after around 5 years in the civil service, you would be earning around £50K, and taking home £3K or thereabouts, which is less than you get now? (I am assuming that on £50K you wouldn't be on benefits.)

TequilaLemonSalt Sun 08-Oct-17 23:07:27

So after around 5 years in the civil service, you would be earning around £50K, and taking home £3K or thereabouts, which is less than you get now? (I am assuming that on £50K you wouldn't be on benefits.)

But estate agents/ landlords would rent to me. As I said, most estate agents want you to earn x3 the annual rent. They don't include tax credits or anything like that.

So an average 2 bed flat in the area is £1400. 3x that for the year is 50,400.

Also, when I'm qualified I won't be paying a grand a month in nursery fees. But even with that, I'm sure I can make it work. I do now. It's just it I can find somewhere to let me a place.

longestlurkerever Sun 08-Oct-17 23:10:35

I'm a civil servant. Don't write it off yet. Not all civil service jobs are in London. Is the fast stream only offered in London? Some of my colleagues do epic commutes a couple of days a week because flexible and home working is really well supported in the civil service. Good luck!

longestlurkerever Sun 08-Oct-17 23:14:43

By the way op you mention the law. Have you looked into the government legal service? Much more family friendly than private practice. They do training contracts

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