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Ask an Aussie

(113 Posts)
puthyjip43 Wed 02-Apr-14 13:43:52

Here to help with any q's about life down under for anyone thinking of emigrating

froginthepond Wed 02-Apr-14 15:03:06

Oh this is great thank you smile I have been researching online but i dont know where to start with health care. How much , policies, insurance costs etc. I read about paying for docs visits, meds and ambulace cover. Do you cover all your own costs or does employer contribute? Can you get dental cover?? I am aware its very expensive for dental work. We are looking at Perth for relocation. I read somewhere that health cover is more expensive in Oz than the States is that right?

kerloch Wed 02-Apr-14 16:25:57

Are taxes worse than the UK overall?

puthyjip43 Wed 02-Apr-14 16:54:00

Frog- private healthcare IS a pain- you need it for your dental, hospital, ambulance, physio, optician etc... What it covers depends on your level of cover and the amount of $$ you are willing to spend.
My cover is approx $10/week which is extremely basic.
Never heard if companies paying for health insurance, that sounds like an American deal?

puthyjip43 Wed 02-Apr-14 16:56:46

Kerloch- we pay less tax over here by a few percent (based on my mid range salary which was GBP 21k / now AUS$ 72k

Imsosorryalan Wed 02-Apr-14 21:51:07

Lovely! Are house prices really high? Is it cheaper to rent than buy? Also, food prices - are they loads more expensive?

A rather random q and if you're not in nsw, you may not be able to answer but are there any family friendly ( cheaper) places near Sydney's Coast line ( thinking south rather than north)?

puthyjip43 Thu 03-Apr-14 01:59:45

House prices are very high - the show 'wanted down under' with Phil what's his-name is very accurate .. It's all about location.
I'm in Perth and bought a big house in Clarkson in the northern suburbs- 4 bed/2 bath/double garage/big garden etc for $415k.. But the commute was killing me- an hour to the city and the traffic is terrible.
I then sold and bought 3 bed/1 bath much smaller but only 10 mins from city for $485k. Don't regret it for a second but if you are not working in the city you get much more for your money.
Not much diff between renting and mortgage- our mortgage is $2000 /month and we could rent it out for $500 week but the property market is crazy whether you are renting or buying.
Rental 'home opens' often have up to 50 couples apply for houses and have to try and outbid each other/ huge lack of housing in wa ( bit sure about nsw sorry)

puthyjip43 Thu 03-Apr-14 02:20:03

You would be shocked at the price of groceries, particularly fruit n veg in the supermarkets- but you will pay as low as 1/4 of the price if you shop at growers markets.
I would spend $150 approx for all shopping per week for 2 adults and 1 baby (but I'm always buying what's on offer)
There is not the competition in aus with the big 4 supermarkets.. We only have 2 main ones (coles and woolworths) and aldi is just starting to make an appearance. Prices are improving though- coles is now owned by ex-tesco boss and you can see the specials getting better and prices dropping.
Surprisingly what I have found IS cheaper here- dominoes pizza (from $5 large pizza), Asian type meals (Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Malay) due to large Asian population. But in terms of groceries I've not found anything as cheap or as varied as in the UK

saffronwblue Thu 03-Apr-14 03:12:01

Look at for house prices. Lots of variation between different states and different cities.
Wollongong is generally much cheaper that Sydney if you are thinking NSW South Coast.

saffronwblue Thu 03-Apr-14 03:18:25

Here is a nice house on the South Coast

ZootAlors Thu 03-Apr-14 09:57:44

We're planning to move to Brisbane, where my DH is from, next year, and I've been looking at house prices in preparation. We have what I thought was a decent budget (around $800-900K), but because I do not want to live outside the city, I have been really disappointed with what we could afford. Having a home that I love was a big part of the deal for me, but it's looking less likely sad.

Sunshineseeker80 Fri 04-Apr-14 10:13:07

We are moving to Sydney in June and have been advised to open a bank account with one of the Australian banks over here first to start building a credit rating - are any of them better than the others?
Also is there anything we should stock up on and bring over in the container? I know food items are a big no, but we have a 12 week old so will be bringing some bigger clotted for her, but anything else?

puthyjip43 Fri 04-Apr-14 10:39:27

Sunshine - bring toiletries! As many as you can allow for. Hair care, dental, shower gels, make up etc are soo expensive over here so get down to boots and buy up big.
Baby clothes much more variety and cheaper in the UK so that's a good idea. And also women's and men's clothes and shoes are best taken with you.
Electronics are about the same prices as the UK.
The main banks Austria wide are ANZ, commonwealth, NAB .. I would personally go with nab- never had any problems with them and they have less fees or no fees compared to others. GreT idea to get your credit rating started, I did the same.
Make sure you get 'no claim' certs from your car insurance company as it's transferable to when you get insured in oz
Hope that helps smile

Sunshineseeker80 Fri 04-Apr-14 10:46:54

That's great thanks! A big trip to boots definitely sounds in order... Have also been contacted by an FX transfer company this morning - do you need one of those to move savings etc to Oz or just use services offered by the banks?

puthyjip43 Fri 04-Apr-14 11:02:02

Hmmm I'm not actually sure about the FX companies or what they do.. I just opened my Aussie account and transferred the money from my UK savings electronically - it was pretty simple.
Also tracked the exchange rate for a good month or so and was ready to make the transfer as soon as I saw it was at its highest ( which was sadly much worse then it is now )

Kaza1 Sat 05-Apr-14 15:26:58

We're thinking of going in the next year. Is it really a better life for families? We've got three girls 9,8 & 5 want them to have a better start in life & more quality family time. Very nervous but excited. Thinking of northern territory xx

chloeb2002 Sat 05-Apr-14 17:19:55

Northern Territory.. Very very brave!
What is your profession? Great rural and remote payments up there but not where I would head with young kids! wink
We are brissy. 800$ for a city pad is an apartment. Even less in Sydney! Similar to living in the middle of any major uk city! Sydney is more $$$ than London now!
We pay more tax here. As citizens. 40% on most of it!
Remember to declare any amount over 10k$ you bring in as it will be taxable. confused
That includes bringing in 10k then 10k... And again .. If the ATo see a pattern they will audit. Then fine you!
No idea about toiletries. But it makes me chuckle. I guess if your moving here to live then suck it up! Plenty if cheap places to shop. SAMs warehouse. Crazy clarks. Etc. Buy in special... Really not a drama. grin
Fruit veg meat. Cheap. Great quality but it's still not a one stop shop. Big supermarkets are still the most expensive place.
Funny really , I think moving is just very subjective depending where in aus you are, what you want, expect etc.
Opening a bank account before getting here? Not sure. They need 100 points plus proof of address. (In aus)

Kaza1 Sat 05-Apr-14 18:31:24

Right might need to rethink location! My husband is a painter & decorator so coming on his points! Don't want something too rural but would like to b near water but not too far from a city for work. Thanks for ur advice :-)

saffronwblue Sun 06-Apr-14 01:19:16

Northern Territory can be a kind of frontier living compared to more urban parts of Australia. What kind of climate do you prefer? Tropical like Northern Queensland and Northern Territory, Mediterranean like Melbourne/Adelaide/Perth, cool/temperate like Tasmania.

CornishMade Sun 06-Apr-14 12:23:56

You need to read up about what the Northern Territory is like - not a common choice, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't suit some!
Also re being near water - you can't swim in the sea there for most of the year anyway shock

Kaza1 Sun 06-Apr-14 20:17:42

Eehh think we'll b changing our destination! Didn't realise about the crocodiles! We seen a migration agentonFriday & he said not to worry too much about location at the moment as my husband should get work pretty much anywhere. So might start the ball rolling with the visa & do some more research. Like the looks of Adelaide. Thanks for the advice :-)

chloeb2002 Mon 07-Apr-14 05:05:50

Painter decorator is a great job! My is a great place to live. Not for sea swimming and better generally for older people. One uni. Not the best schools. Generally low socio economic.
You could really choose anywhere!
Lots of suburban choices! Nsw mid north coast.. North qld..sunny coast..

Kaza1 Mon 07-Apr-14 08:49:06

Chloe thanks really nervous but feel l need to try it as don't want to live & regret something l didn't do! Where in Brisbane are you? I've been looking at Adelaide & brisbane. We want the good weather & to be able to get to beach at weekends with the girls & dog. Feels like the right time lve just applied for voluntary redundancy in my work & been accepted so feels like fate as the money was always a bit of an issue. Hoping to get the ball rolling in the next few weeks. Just need to decide type of visa my husband likes the idea of regional visa so he doesn't need to sit English test as he's dyslexic but willing to give the test a go of we decide it's the best way. I've started a book of research got a lot of homework to do :-)

cryingoutproud Mon 07-Apr-14 12:47:58

It sounds like everything could fall into place for you, Kaza. I hope so. Like you say, one of the reasons that we are making the move to Oz is because we just cannot live with not trying it. We've thought about it soooo much! So whilst we are of course anxious about the move, and realise there will be negatives as well as positives to the experience, we HAVE to try it! And it could be amazing of course. I haven't been to Brisbane but I really liked Adelaide. Great climate, friendly city, gorgeous beaches, not too big a place. Good luck with everything!

Chloe, I hadn't realised you were taxed on money you brought into Oz. What rate of tax is it? So if arrive with a lump sum will we be taxed on that? And then you're taxed on any other amount you bring in over $10k, is that right? blush

PossumPoo Mon 07-Apr-14 14:25:24

happy to be corrected - but I think crying that you aren't taxed on a lump sum if you bring it with you when you arrive and therefore it's not here in the UK earning for you ifykwim. A quick google found the below and I'm very hopeful it's correct as we are making the move home some day and while we are in the UK we are busy saving!

^Will you be taxed on the money you bring?

This is a common question, and the general answer is NO, unless you don’t bring the money with you at the time that you migrate. Even then, the only tax you will pay, will be on any increase in its value since you became resident here. This change in value can be just from the Exchange rate movements, or the interest you have gained from Bank Accounts in the UK, or even property value increases.

An example to try to explain this:

Assume you have a property in the UK valued at 100k, and 20k in the bank.
You move over when the exchange rate is say 2.4 to the A$, therefore you are worth $288,000.
Assume you bring your funds over 3 months later and the exchange rate at the time is 2.45 to the A$.
You bring 120k x 2.45 = $294,000.

Your worth has increased by $294k – $288k = $6,000 and this is the figure that is taxable as part of your income for the relevant tax year. If the value of the house had gone up or down it would affect the taxable figure accordingly.^

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