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Cost of living in US/Canada/Caribbean vs northern UK

(9 Posts)
tigercametotea Sun 05-Jun-11 12:40:45

We're currently living in the North (though not originally from the North - DH isn't British and I am but I didn't grow up in UK and most of my family are not based here any more). DH plans to ask for a transfer to one of his company's branches abroad (US, Canada or the Caribbean) in the next 2 years or so. I know it sounds really vague at the moment because there are so many branches and they tend to not be in the major cities as DH works in a line related to the agricultural/food manufacturing sector. We don't know which branch will be the one with a vacancy for him, salary-wise as well, not got that much of a clue though it would be a mid-management position and will probably include medical insurance (though DH said it will probably be we have to pay half of it and the company pays half, something like that). We have 3 DCs aged 8, 4, 2. I am quite wary of moving yet again (we've moved to 4 different cities in the UK in the last 8 years!) and would like a bit more stability now... with 3 DCs now I will only consider a move to another country if its going to be worthwhile doing it. The move can be permanent.

I would be interested if anyone here can tell me their own experiences of living in the places I've mentioned above and how the cost of living is like (even if it might seem a bit outdated).

tigercametotea Sun 05-Jun-11 12:48:05

Many of the branches in the US are based in the Southern or Midwestern states btw, there is one in LA, one in Western NY and one in Eastern NY. In Canada though, there are branches in Montreal and Winnipeg amongst others which are in smaller towns.

tigercametotea Sun 05-Jun-11 12:48:56

I'm just thinking LA and NY would probably be quite expensive to live in though would it be more expensive than living up north in England??

fustyarse Sun 05-Jun-11 12:52:32

we lived in the US for a coupke of years...TBH the cost of livivng probably about balances out in comparison to the UK.

Petrol is cheaper, definitely

Grocery shopping perhaps slightly cheaper,and you can realy get into making use of all the coupons that are printed- used to save me a fair old whack

eating out is much cheaper

if your medical insurance is covered that will be a massive saving to you. my babysitter used to pay about $500 a month for hers (she had an existing condition, but still shock). You absolutely HAVE to have insurance,so I would investigate that before making a decision. If you have to pay for it yourselves, that would even out the cost of living in compaarison to the UK - if you don't have to pay then you will be cheaper there. Make sure you get dental covered too

obv where you live will have an impact on your house price/rental

running a car is generally the same for repairs, tax, insurance etc but petrol is about 1/3 of the price it is here, or was 3 years ago

WRT Canada - they get free healthcare too

lazydog Mon 06-Jun-11 19:55:41

"WRT Canada - they get free healthcare too"

Ermm, no we don't!

Basic healthcare (so with loads of exclusions!) is "free" in as much as, depending on the Province you reside in and your income level, you may or may not have to pay a monthly premium (compulsory) to obtain that basic level of care without incuring a charge each time you go to see a dr.

In BC, for example, if you don't have supplementary insurance through a private plan (whether employer funded, or paid by yourself) you will likely spend a fortune on the most basic of prescription items (a lot more is prescription only here, compared to the UK OTC stuff) and there is all sorts of other pretty fundamental stuff not covered, such as ambulance travel shock, crutches if you injured a leg, physiotherapy or if you need the services of counsellors or psychologists, none of that would not be paid under the basic plan, either...

You also pay through the teeth (sorry grin ) for all dental work unless you have private cover.

Etc...etc...etc... You get the gist!

lazydog Mon 06-Jun-11 19:57:43

"none of that would not be paid" confused

none of that would not be paid

roary Tue 07-Jun-11 12:51:40

In Alberta there are no healthcare premiums at all; in other provinces they vary. It is very unusual in Canada for an employer not to provide supplementary insurance (I believe but am not certain that employers over a certain size are legally required to do so). That supplementary insurance covers everything from optical to prescriptions to dental. I went through my entire childhood without once paying for the dentist despite going twice a year.

LAzy is dead right about prescriptions though - it is a benefit offered on the NHS that does not exist in Canada - although again supplementary insruance usually covers. The big difference is that there is no option to go private for anything (there is no private system of doctors/hospitals) outside laser eye surgery or plastic surgery. Some things IME are a much higher standard than with the NHS (for example usual to get a private room after delivering your baby in Alberta, not on a ward as in the NHS).

lazydog Tue 07-Jun-11 18:45:36

We have insurance through my husband's work that's a pretty standard level package (he works for the school district.) We get 80% of prescription charges paid, usually 100% of dental stuff but more major procedures (bridges, crowns, etc) are only 75% covered by our plan, as were my replacement veneers which had to be done recently (not just a "cosmetic" procedure...they were originally done 10 years ago in the UK because I had huge chucks out of my 2 front teeth from an assault by a toddler with a TV remote grin and one had cracked, and there was a tiny bit of decay behind the other.) With 75% cover, that procedure still cost me $500!! Oh, and if you choose white fillings for molars you only get the equivalent cost of an amalgam filling covered, which I only found out when the bill arrived - doh!

roary Tue 07-Jun-11 19:43:33

I know, I am amazed by what NHS dentistry covers (assuming you can find an NHS dentist....)

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