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to ask whether 55k is doable for a family of 5?

(154 Posts)
DoWeStayOrDoWeGoNow Wed 23-Jan-19 08:31:33

Please do not hate me for asking if your family income is considerably less than this.
It is neither a stealth boast nor is it me being goady.
It is simply not wanting to go from the frying pan into the fire without thinking things through properly, especially with Brexit coming up.
My partner has been offered a job with the above salary - after tax that would be 3326 pounds a month (although I am not sure with pension payment, car lease and the like whether that would be a final figure but it would be close).
He is in his late 40s with 25 years experience and is the sole breadwinner. There are five of us - in theory, I would be working but only if son's SEN can be accommodated in the state school system. So cannot rely on me bringing in a wage and iirc 55K is above the threshold for child allowance.
Family of 4 living in the Northwest cost of living without rent was estimated at 2185 - there are 5 of us but in theory, in a band A terraced house, we can do it. Well aware it depends on outgoings whether we are nofrills and primark we are compared with waitrose and zara we're not.

Why am I asking?
My partner would be taking a massive paycut to do this as well as effectively demoting himself. I would ask in the Living Overseas section but I suspect, particularly with Brexit as it stands, I will be asked what on earth I am doing.

But....there is no 'right' time to come home.
If we don't return now, then when?
I have no job here where we are, no pension rights, some friends but no real ties, my parents are not getting any younger, my son needs to come back to a school system where I can better advocate for him, my eldest is scared she won't be able to manage the A-level equivalent here, my partner and I have been unhappy here for a while now but are also aware of reverse culture shock and time is running out.

Any advice? Please be gentle with me, I am stuck between a rock and a hard place right now and trying to do the best for all my family.
I guess I am asking what you would do and whether any similar sized families can confirm that those figures are within our means (Not asking you to divulge your financials, simply whether you could live comfortably and within your means on that amount).
Thanks in advance flowers

lljkk Wed 23-Jan-19 08:35:26

That's good money outside Oxbridge cities/London, esp. in Northwest.
You might be better to ask people if they could help you break down what the likely costs will be for rent/mortgage, weekly food, council tax, to run a car, etc, then you will know for sure that the salary is adequate.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Wed 23-Jan-19 08:36:18

Do you have property to come back to or would you be needing to buy or rent?

I think you probably could make £55k work but I don't necessarily think I'd opt for that unless you've exhausted absolutely all options elsewhere. Our economy isn't great right now, and our schooling for SEN needs a lot of improvement. Would your son need to start again with statementing and everything to be properly assessed for the help he needs? That could take significant time.

My instinct is that if your partner makes much better money where you currently are, I'd seriously look at making schooling better there or perhaps moving to a middle ground if he can get a better paid job there and you can have better schooling. It won't mean your are "home", but I'd be nervous taking a pay cut in such an unstable economy.

HoneysuckIejasmine Wed 23-Jan-19 08:36:31

I think it's doable now, but who knows what will happen to cost of living after Brexit. I think most people expect the North to be relatively hard hit by any economic disruption.

TrickyKid Wed 23-Jan-19 08:40:57

Family of 5 here on about the same as a combined income and a mortgage of £600 a month. Compared to what we've lived on in the past it's very doable but we're happy with a simple life, no going abroad, don't ear out much, low cost hobbies etc.Depends how you want to live.

BongoBingoBam Wed 23-Jan-19 08:42:07

God no. A pay cut and a demotion just because of brexit? Why? Just see how things go and move back after brexit if you still want to move back at that stage. Don't let the scaremongers dictate a massive life decision. A pay cut and demotion are hard to get back from and work your way back up the ladder, I wouldn't be asking my partner to do this. We earn circa 65k as a family of 3 and sometimes struggle so no I wouldn't be doing this.

BarbaraofSevillle Wed 23-Jan-19 08:42:35

The child benefit threshold is after pension contributions, so you might get most or all of the child benefit depending on how much he puts in his pension as it's reduced on a sliding scale above £50k after pension contributions.

Depending on the nature of your sons SEN, you might be entitled to DLA.

Have a look on the Citizens Advice benefits calculator.

How comfortable you will be depends a lot on what your housing costs will be.

If you're not working and have a little time to spare, you can help make the most of your money by being really good at budgeting and being money savvy.

DoWeStayOrDoWeGoNow Wed 23-Jan-19 08:44:31

Thank you lljkk I found a calculator-index online and will have a look at filling it in after a brew. Council tax would be 91 pounds a month and we would be back in our two-up two-down at least in the short term (2 kids sharing, one in the back bed, DH and I on futon in lounge - not ideal I know) so I know it is probably going to be okay until we find our feet.
I just need a push because it will mean the last decade was for nothing (DH will be back where he was and we might as well never have left in the first place) but that's negative thinking, right?
How long do you keep driving for when you're hopelessly lost but don't want to go back on yourself?

BongoBingoBam Wed 23-Jan-19 08:46:11

Such a bad decision. You're not thinking straight. Only you know your reasons and motivations but it's making no sense to me right now.

DoWeStayOrDoWeGoNow Wed 23-Jan-19 08:50:48

Thank you to others for your replies. cake brew
Brexit was not just the main catalyst.
My son has to start school this September.
Home schooling is illegal and he was excluded from his kindergarten (sensory processing issues and anxiety) as they could not meet his needs. Montessori or a special school might be a solution but he refuses to learn the language (his siblings are fluent). Cannot afford international school.

DoWeStayOrDoWeGoNow Wed 23-Jan-19 08:52:31

Bongo, you are right - I am a mess right now sad

NoSquirrels Wed 23-Jan-19 08:53:36

Have you gained from working overseas? What was the plan back then? What has changed it?

BarbaraofSevillle Wed 23-Jan-19 08:55:59

I don't think coming back to the UK is necessarily a mistake. You need to think about your current situation. However bad Brexit might make things, it could still be better in the UK than wherever you are overseas for your current situation.

OP, it sounds like you own a house in the UK? How much is the mortgage? If you've been away a while it could be quite small. If you come back, could you extend, or sell that house and move to a larger property?

SkylightAndChandelier Wed 23-Jan-19 08:56:47

I don't think I'd do it right now.

I think you'd cope, but with the uncertainty around Brexit, I'd stay put until things have settled down. Also, we just moved to the North, from previously living in the mediterranean - and the biggest jolt (which we knew was coming) was how dark it is, and what an affect on your mood it has. It's really weird, and I sound ridiculous, but coming from a place where it was bright sun every day, to overcast and still dark at 7am has been the hardest thing.

If nothing else, the pound is up and down, so better to keep money in Euros (or whatever other currency) until we see which way the wind is blowing in my opinion.

thaegumathteth Wed 23-Jan-19 08:58:08

Don’t carry on with a bad decision just so you’ve not ‘given up’. It just compounds the issue.

FWIW we have a similar income and 4 of us. We manage fine however we have a tiny mortgage which helps. It’s definitely doable though.

IMO you shouldn’t worry about the last ten years. Focus on happiness for you all and the next ten years:

SkylightAndChandelier Wed 23-Jan-19 08:58:51

Just seen your update - in your case, there are many other issues then.

I will say, that once we'd paid for all the stuff you end up paying for when you arrive in a country, then all the stuff you end up paying for when you leave a country, we, also had a good few years where we didn't move forward financially - but we did in work experience, so you won't be coming away with nothing.

blutoo Wed 23-Jan-19 09:00:56

We live on less than that in the South East. It's ok here but in the North you'll be living well as a lot of things cost less up there. Nothing to worry about.

TwoBlueFish Wed 23-Jan-19 09:01:45

DLA for your son may be possible for your son (depending on how much care he needs) but you do need to have been resident for 2 out of the last 3 years. There are some exceptions if you’re coming from an EEA country but you’d need to investigate. If he received DLA at at least the medium rate of care then you would be entitled to claim Carers Allowance.

Your biggest cost is going to be housing so it really depends on where you’re going to be living. If you’ve been out of the UK for a reasonable length of time then your credit history may be non existent so you may find you need 6 months rent up front or need to shop around more for a mortgage.

For schools you need to take a look at the EHCP process for your son and start investigating which area has suitable schools. Connecting with a local support group for your son’s needs may help with this process.

£55K is definitely doable in the north west. Hopefully you have enough savings to get you settled back in.

I moved back to the UK 12 years ago with a child with special needs and now live in the north west.

DoWeStayOrDoWeGoNow Wed 23-Jan-19 09:03:03

The plan was for DH to get head office experience then return to the UK in a management role so that we could afford to support our eldest to go to university.
Somewhere along the way things went awry.
DH got promoted here whereas the UK had the banking crisis.
I ended up having more children which, much as though I love them, was in hindsight not the best idea.
We got stuck here I suppose. There was one opportunity to return which he should have gone for but at the time eldest broke down about leaving so we chose not to uproot her. She now finishes her GCSE equivalent this summer and we are on the clock wrt 16-19 education in the UK as she is already 17. If we don't return now she will have to do further ed here and we will be stuck for another two years minimum, potentially six years if she were to further study here.
Which makes DH and I then in our 50s looking for work in the UK.
I just feel like we have really messed up on all fronts.

Racecardriver Wed 23-Jan-19 09:05:32

That really isn’t doable. Have you considered moving to a different country instead?

BongoBingoBam Wed 23-Jan-19 09:06:20

What country are you in OP? I think that would have an impact on replies especially brexit etc

NicolaStart Wed 23-Jan-19 09:09:03

The state education system has an obligation to educate him!

It might take some battling in your part to get the right support or the right school but they can’t just not take him.

I’m not sure what your main objective for coming back would be?

If you are unhappy and not thriving where you are, what is to be gained by staying?

Genevieva Wed 23-Jan-19 09:09:58

Could you sit it out a bit longer and wait for a more senior job to come along for your husband? A lot of hiring decisions are probably being delayed at the moment because of Brexit uncertainty. When the way ahead is clearer, more job opportunities may materialise.

Romanov Wed 23-Jan-19 09:10:19

It would help to know where you are (and what the language is)

I think your main issue is your son, and language avoidance... what are your plans to deal with that if you stay?

I dont think you should panic move anywhere - you have no idea what will happen with Brexit

JinglingHellsBells Wed 23-Jan-19 09:11:16

My advice is it's do-able, but you need to do some prep.

For the NW that is a good income- in fact it's twice the average UK salary of £27K.

Most important is to investigate house prices because you will be cramped in a 2-bed home and it's not sustainable for you and your DP to sleep on a sofa.

1 Have your UK home valued

2 Look on Right Move at the costs of larger properties in the right catchment areas for good school.

3 Start discussions with mortgage providers. You could still get a 25 year mortgage perhaps as the retirement age now in the UK is 67 for younger people.

You need to sort these basic housing commitments/ costs first.

On average, food bills in the UK (which can vary hugely) would be around £80-£100 a month minimum for a family of 5.
(That includes all stuff like loo rolls, laundry and cleaning stuff.)

Then you will have transport costs- do you need to buy and insure a car(s)?

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