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Should I move to London? Please help me decide :)
Old 02-05-2014, 07:45 PM   #1
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Should I move to London? Please help me decide :)

Hi, I would like to tap into the collective wisdom of this board to help with a difficult decision. I'm a 42-year-old software engineer who is more than likely going to retire with a paid-off house in 2015.

I've recently been offered a position with my company's London office. The job would be similar to what I'm already doing. They have offered me a raise to help compensate for the higher cost of living as well as financial assistance with the move. I would be moving with few possessions other than clothes and renting a furnished flat. I love London, lived there for a few years after university, and always wanted to go back.

My hesitations are that I don't want to have to sell my beautiful house, nor do I want to rent it out to strangers. The thought of the move is exhausting, especially when coupled with my already stressful job here. I keep trying to tell myself it would be worth it though when it was all done.

Although I don't consider myself to be a materialistic person, I think I would also miss my possessions! It wouldn't be worth it to ship them over, so I'd essentially be starting over there with just a few cheap basics.

Financially even with the raise this would not be a great move. It would likely set back my retirement plans several years, particularly if I sell the house at a loss. I would probably need to take another job in the States when coming back to pay my relocation costs and bridge me over until I can build up a cash buffer and get ready for retirement.

Any thoughts gratefully received.
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:56 PM   #2
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If you are so close to ER and you love your home, you need a decent incentive to make such a major move. I would be looking for a significant raise that more than compensates for increased living costs, and moving costs in both directions. Will they pay to put your furniture in storage? Real estate costs? Can you get someone responsible to housesit? OR……will they give you a housing allowance in London?
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Old 02-05-2014, 08:03 PM   #3
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If you are so close to ER and you love your home, you need a decent incentive to make such a major move. I would be looking for a significant raise that more than compensates for increased living costs, and moving costs in both directions. Will they pay to put your furniture in storage? Real estate costs? Can you get someone responsible to housesit? OR……will they give you a housing allowance in London?
Great points. I could probably negotiate some of this, but as an EU citizen I'm being hired under local conditions, so they are already making a concession by allowing me to keep my U.S. salary and giving me a raise on top of that.

I'd love to find a housesitter but not sure I can find someone willing to commit to two or more years on short notice. Would love to hear comments on this.
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Old 02-05-2014, 08:44 PM   #4
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hmmm, although London sounds better, DH and I might be interested in this house sitting opportunity. Feel free to contact me.

We are retired, want to move, but cannot figure out next step. VERY trustworthy.
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Old 02-05-2014, 08:54 PM   #5
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Great points. I could probably negotiate some of this, but as an EU citizen I'm being hired under local conditions, so they are already making a concession by allowing me to keep my U.S. salary and giving me a raise on top of that.

I'd love to find a housesitter but not sure I can find someone willing to commit to two or more years on short notice. Would love to hear comments on this.
Hmmm, I'm sure you could find an interested snowbird on this site!
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Old 02-05-2014, 08:55 PM   #6
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LONDON! Baby! In a heart beat!
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Old 02-05-2014, 09:07 PM   #7
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My advice would be don't go, retire in 2015 and then move when and where you want at your leisure.
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Old 02-05-2014, 09:14 PM   #8
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Do it!

DW and I almost pulled the trigger on a place. Decided our cash flow was on the edge and did not pursue it. Something about that city vs all the major ones appeals to us .
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Old 02-05-2014, 09:25 PM   #9
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I loved my time in London... but then I did not have to pay for any of my housing costs... I checked about a year ago and the one BR flat that I stayed for about 2 months was selling for about $1 million pounds!!! I am not sure what the monthly fee would have been...

I wonder what the 2 BR flat would have cost It was just across the street from Sloan Square... in the same zip as the Queen!!


RE prices over there are higher than high...


For your house.... what would be the cost of you keeping it I kept my house in Texas and I was away for more than 3 years... the last 2 I did come back about 1 weekend a month, but basically did not live in it...


As you say, salaries are lower over there compared to here... if you can live with it and still retire in a time frame you like, go for it... if you cannot, then retire and rent a place for a few months and get it out of your system on your dime....
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Old 02-05-2014, 09:26 PM   #10
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You say that your job here is stressful. How stressful is it likely to be if you move? The answer to that may help determine whether it's worth moving or not. If you'll be working long hours and experiencing much stress, that could detract from your enjoyment of London. OTOH, if you stay here and remain on track with your retirement plans, you can spend time in London while retired and enjoy it all you want.

Just a thought.
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Old 02-05-2014, 10:19 PM   #11
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Not a London lover myself. But to be fair.....I don't much like big cities at all. There are lot's of things a person wants to do......just a matter of whether it's worth it to you to move to London or not. To me.....nope. Now....I'm likely to move a lot further North in a few years.
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Old 02-05-2014, 10:32 PM   #12
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hmmm, although London sounds better, DH and I might be interested in this house sitting opportunity. Feel free to contact me.

We are retired, want to move, but cannot figure out next step. VERY trustworthy.
Wow, love this site! If I take the offer I will be contacting you for sure to explore our options.
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Old 02-05-2014, 10:40 PM   #13
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My advice would be don't go, retire in 2015 and then move when and where you want at your leisure.
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You say that your job here is stressful. How stressful is it likely to be if you move? The answer to that may help determine whether it's worth moving or not. If you'll be working long hours and experiencing much stress, that could detract from your enjoyment of London. OTOH, if you stay here and remain on track with your retirement plans, you can spend time in London while retired and enjoy it all you want.
This is sort of my gut feel right now - to retire first and then just go do the fun stuff. I do think there is something to be said though for living in a place and experiencing it as a local... riding the Tube each day to work, etc. It's a kind of depth of experience you can't really have as a tourist. And London is so expensive I don't think I could spend serious amounts of time there without working, unlike some cheaper places like Thailand.

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For your house.... what would be the cost of you keeping it I kept my house in Texas and I was away for more than 3 years... the last 2 I did come back about 1 weekend a month, but basically did not live in it...
Very interesting suggestion. My mortgage is not that high, although paying London rents and paying my mortgage at the same time would definitely put a crimp in any kind of saving. I think what I'm dreading the most is moving my things into storage after I worked so hard to get my house just the way I want. Did you have family or friends check on your house occasionally, and was your homeowners insurance OK with it?
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Old 02-05-2014, 11:41 PM   #14
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If you want to move to the UK after you retire, you can live within day trip range of London but outside the commute zone to make it more affordable. That is something we have considered doing.

I used to recruit IT staff in London for positions in the U.S., and I was always kind of shocked that the salaries weren't higher considering the cost of living there. This was years ago so maybe things have improved.
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Old 02-06-2014, 12:47 AM   #15
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When we moved to the Bay Area for DW's work, we had to decide what to do with our house in the south. We liked the house, it was paid for, and we intended to come back live in it for retirement. I thought of leaving it empty, I looked at hiring a house sitter, and I looked at renting it out. I preferred the house be occupied to keep the critters out and avoid problems going undetected for extended periods of time. And because of the high rents in the Bay Area, I really did not want the house to be a financial burden. So I decided to rent it out. I did not like the idea of having strangers live in our house, but that's the only option that made sense. The house generates a good amount of positive cash flow, which I set aside. It will probably sustain some damage from the tenants and that money will help erase all trace of it when we are ready to move back in.

Financially, the move to this high cost of living area has not been great for us. DW got a raise to compensate for the difference in cost of living, but really it did not. Once the higher rents and taxes are factored in, we are actually much worse off on a cash flow basis. We were FI before the move, so we don't worry too much about it. But it would have set our FIRE plans back many years otherwise.
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Old 02-06-2014, 01:02 AM   #16
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I would go and find someone you feel comfortable with to rent the house while you are gone. Best of both worlds.

Do you have any colleagues or friends in NM that might be interested?

I might throw my hat in the ring with ohyes for snowbird sitting (Nov-Apr).
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Old 02-06-2014, 04:51 AM   #17
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I'd take the job and rent the house. Although there are some horror stories out there, I rented mine three separate times to work in Rome (my university has a campus there)--although the duration was only 6 months each. Each time, too, my renters were graduate students. Never had the slightest problem with them, and they had use of the majority of my stuff, including my car. Plus, I made money with the rent. I guess if I were you I'd consult with a management/rental agency to help screen renters and to manage them while you are gone.

Even if you are close to retirement, it seems to me that the life experience of working in London--meeting colleagues, etc--will be a fabulous one. To immerse yourself in a culture for an extended period is life-changing, and to it (as I did) with an already "built-in" group of people provides a base of security and friendship that's otherwise hard to create on your own.
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Old 02-06-2014, 05:04 AM   #18
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LONDON! Baby! In a heart beat!
+10 :-)
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Old 02-06-2014, 07:44 AM   #19
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Have you spent long periods of time in places like NY or London? My daughter lived in Manhattan, now London, and while I love(d) visiting both I just could not adjust to such a lifestyle. You seem aware of the costs, but London's blow me away. That and the elbow to elbow mass of humanity, whether it's on the sidewalk or in the grocery stores. Yes, you can get along without a car which is nice, but it's a lifestyle that you better be sure of. I will say the level of civility is much higher than here. I love what DD calls the "car dance" where cars on single lane city streets will duck into driveways/parking spaces to allow others to pass. If you tried that here there would be gunplay. Best of luck.
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Old 02-06-2014, 07:50 AM   #20
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Where is your house? I lived in London for 28 years. I usually joke with people and say I only saw the sun 3 times. I currently live in Florida and prior to that in SoCAL for 20 years.

I must say if I was offered to go there long or short term now, I would decline. But I am English, and it is my home town, I know it well. It is VERY expensive, especially accommodation. If I was 45 and from the USA, I would take it for 2 years, you should have some fun for that time.

I would NOT sell the home here depending on location as houses prices have nowhere to go but up. I would give it to a rental company that specializes in rentals and tell them you want to rent it for 2 years. Get insured to the hilt and do not worry about it.

If you can find a reliable house sitter, that is willing to cover some costs even better, but they typically want to stay for free as payment for looking after the home.

BTW, the beer is great, I do miss it. But it is about 4-5 Pounds Sterling for a good Pint of Heavy now.
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