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Hi Pats,

I've been offered a Job in the US as a Technical Specialist salary circa
$80K. How does the cost of living in the US (I'll be based from home, so looking at New Mexico, but can live any where) compare to the UK. I'm married with two teenage kids ie: Per Month

Mortgage/Rent UK: £700 US:?
Council Tax £140
Gas £60
Electric £60
Phone £30
Internet (ADSL) £30
Water Rates/Meter £50
Foiod Shopping £500
Life Insurence £26
Mobil Phone £30
SKY TV (Cable) £47
TV License £13

Then there's running a car: Per Month (I know fuels cheaper!!)

Car Tax £10
Insurence £35
MOT(Over 3 years) £10
Breakdown Cover £14
Servicing £30

Plus anything else you can think of!! I'm looking at Los Alamos as according to a survey on the web it's the best place to live...Any ideas?

Thanks & Regards,

Rocom.
 

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Hi, and welcome to the forum!

The US is a big place, and it can be hard to compare living costs simply because (in my experience anyhow) you tend to spend your money very differently in a new country.

If you're considering New Mexico, for example, you won't have much in the way of heating bills, but your electric costs will go way up for air conditioning in the summer. Property taxes will vary from town to town if you buy, but some utilities (water, garbage pick-up, etc.) may be included in the rent if you are renting.

One (big) item missing from your list is health insurance (or health care costs). You need to consider whether or not your employment offer includes health insurance, because if it doesn't that can run you over $1000 a month to cover your family. Most employers split the cost in some manner with their employees, but if you're working from home, they may not offer it at all. If you need to cover your health care insurance yourself, you need to factor that into your budget.

Running a car is another cost that is hard to figure. Petrol is much cheaper, yes, but in the US people are conditioned to drive much longer distances - to work (no problem there for you!), to shop and for holidays. Having two teenagers will also run up your car insurance, as kids can get their driving licenses at age 16 (or thereabouts) and Dad is usually the one who springs for the additional insurance cost. It will also depend on what sort of car you're driving and how much you let the teens use it. Then again, it's not at all unusual for 16 year olds to have after school jobs, so you can always put the kids to work! ;)

Food is generally cheaper in the US than just about anywhere in Europe. There are a variety of options for "Cable TV" - either the local cable system, or satellite tv (google "DirectTV" for information) and some telephone systems are starting to offer tv bundled with their Internet offerings. In fact some vendors bundle tv, mobile phone, landline phone and Internet. But don't forget the option to do your phone calling via a VOIP connection... etc. etc. The US isn't nearly as well covered for high-speed Internet access as Europe - and I'm told it's more expensive in the US for comparable DSL service.

Taxes, in general, are usually considerably less in the US, though they cover far fewer "public services" which you may have to make up for at your own expense. (Retirement and the kids' university fees are the big items there - but those depend on your long-term plans.)

Don't mean to scare you off, though. You should have no trouble maintaining your lifestyle and possibly even improving your lot a bit, once you learn how the system over there works.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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And for your mobile phone, you will be paying for air time, not just outgoing calls. That means you are charged for incoming calls. There are some family plans that don't charge for calls between family members. Employers sometimes offer good deals that they have negotiated with the cell phone companies.

New Mexico can be very cold in the winter if you are in the mountains. They do have ski resorts there, up around Taos. Also, in the desert, it can cool off dramatically at night.

Again, I'm not sure what Bev means about not having high speed internet connections generally available everywhere. Mobile phone coverage can be spotty, especially since you are limited to calls on your subscribed network, and really remote areas won't have much of anything.

There are places near developed areas that don't have any kind of television service because they are too far out for cable and in canyons whose walls prevent them from getting broadcast or sattelite signals.

What I have read about American high speed services is that they aren't all that high speed, especially for uploading. Apparently some companies advertise really high speeds but only allow them on downloads. Weird, but I'm told it's true.

Medical coverage is the big deal. If your employer isn't going to provide it for you at a reasonable cost, you should probably reconsider the offer.
 

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80k gross. Deduct about 30% tax. What perks does your contract give you? Health insurance, housing allowance, trips home, car, phone ... Does your wife plan to work here? You say teenagers. How old are they? How will the change in school system affect their education in the future?
Give me some details so I can give you somewhat intelligent answers:>) What kind of visa will you be on?
 

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Things will depend on the type of dwelling you desire and amenities.

The $80K per year won't be bad for New Mexico, but it's not going to be outstanding either. If you were single that would be fine, but caring for three others will zap it from you in my opinion. Maybe I have high standards, but this is how I think things will roughly be for you.

Mortgage/Rent UK: £700 US:? Figure 3 Bed Home/Apartment $1200 USD
Council Tax £140 Not sure how this translates to the US
Gas £60 If this is based on a month then you're screwed as prices will be around $3.80/gallon and I suspect you will drive about to see the area so figure you'll spend about $240 for the first few months and then drop it to $160 per month.
Electric £60 This will fluctuate on the seasons. As mentioned above New Mexico in many places is high altitude and can get cold. I own a home in the State of Colorado and would pay around $40 during the summertime, with no air conditioner running and then up to $140 in the winter with gas furnace going as the temps drop below freezing in the night.
Phone £30 You will most likely have a hard wire land line for local calls $40 per month. Mobile phone I was paying about $50 per month with only 400 minutes (incoming and outgoing as stated above)
Internet (ADSL) £30 Will vary on the type of service. Dial up $30 or Cable High Speed $45. It will be fast enough for you.
Water Rates/Meter £50 Typically billed every two months and I paid $25 Wastewater, $15 Usage in Gallons <3,000gallons, and a few other fees maybe total $10. Keep in mind I'm single so add in the three others and your usage goes up, however it's not going to crush you because your fee will not double.
Food Shopping £500 All depends on you and the family here. Figure $700 for a single guy per month and this would include going out a few weekends too. The price of milk, eggs, bread, and other staples has risen sharply.
Life Insurence £26 Could possibly be free or included in your health insurance package. If free it wouldn't be anything significant. You'll see advertisements on television there, but don't get sucked in to those deals.
Mobil Phone £30 See above, but figure your girls and wife may want them too. Cricket can provide local call service and this is not very expensive, but no calls outside of the area code can be dialed.
SKY TV (Cable) £47 You'll most likely want the full package in order to watch EPL matches (early in the mornings too baby, but live). You will want a few specific channels FSC (Fox Soccer Channel) and Gol TV. EPL, Italian, French, Spanish, and German matches will be available on these channels. If you get into Mexican footy those matches will be local access channels in Spanish later in the mornings on Saturdays and Sundays. Cost will put you around $100 per month. But look to combine this package with mobile phone and internet and the companies will give you a better rate, plus you can have one lump charge to your credit card rather than multiple charges.
TV License £13 You'll be charged taxes and other fees in the TV Cable bill, see above.

I'm not sure what your clothing supply is like, but because of the cool temps in winter figure in a few jackets for everyone and other clothes.

Don't get wrong, it could be a great experience. If your wife can work that would help a lot, but the $80K doesn't seem like much for a family of four in my opinion. She could probably add an extra $20K per year, but I don't know how the work visas are set up. I know the information exists on this forum for your situation.

As stated above figure 30 percent taken out in taxes, which includes federal taxes, state taxes, and a few other items. You should have a tax accountant at the beginning of February help you file the taxes and chances are you'll receive some money back from the federal government and state government. If you owned a home you would receive a bit more because of deductions on interest payments and whole different topic.

Factor in purchasing a vehicle or two. Depending on your preference it could be costly. Let us know what you drive now and what your expectations would be in the US. You can find used/pre-owned autos for decent prices, have a mechanic check it out first. If you decide to go start another thread and things can be discussed in more detail if you think you might be getting taken.

Don't choose the place based on the web. You will want to be closer to the larger cities for schools and activities.

If the company offering you a position doesn't offer health and dental insurance, tell them ToGoF***Themselves. No excuses from companies not willing to put people on a health plan. If you smoke it will affect your payments. Deducted from a weekly or bi-weekly paycheck.

Best wishes.
 

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It looks like we overslept a bit. Check the date on the original post:>)
Don't understand how you concluded this, but I'd like to know. The original date was Feb 2008. I didn't join until April 2008, so a reply couldn't have been offered before this from me. If I was the original poster or someone else new here reading this thread because they are considering a move like the thread starter, I wouldn't mind receiving information. Because nothing was stated as to the acceptance and start date it could still be out there and now there is more information to be considered. Shall I continue? If not, thanks for contributing nothing significant. What insults me about your post, is that you assumed I didn't comprehend the date when it was posted. Do me a favor and take two steps away from your computer.
 

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cost of living in the US

Depends upon where you will live.

I live in Montana. 80k would seriously be comfortable living here for a family of four. We have a family of seven and live on less annually than 80k. There is public transportation within city limits. Your power/electric bill ranges from $70.00 a month up to $175.00 a month depending on the size of your home. Fuel prices are constantly rising and as of 06/17/08 the cheapest fuel is 3.99 per gallon. Food is about the same here as it is throughout the US however the price of automobiles tend to be a bit higher.

The cost of our phone includes our high speed internet for $75.00 a month but this does not include long distance.

cost of health care isn't to bad through my husband's employment, but typically it is expensive here. For family he is currently paying 100.00 per month and his medical insurance covers 80% of his medical cost and prescriptions. This does not include vision or dental.

Cost of housing is rather expensive. For a nice 3 bedroom 1 1/2 bathroom (which means you have two rooms with a toilet in each room but only one tub/shower) runs about 1500.00 a month and pets are not usually allowed.

Public transportation (where I am) usually ends around 7 pm at night and doesn't start back up again until around 6 the next morning. If you do not have your own vehicle then you must rely on a bike or taxi service. Cost of taxi (last I rode) was nearly 4 dollars per person with a minimum fee of 11.00.

I hope this helps some.
Best wishes
 

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I can not image the average family not being able to live comfortablely on 50 grand a year in America............
 
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