To refuse to move to USA with hubby

(327 Posts)
CookieTramp Thu 24-Apr-14 05:36:00

I don't know what I'm really after here, but please offer your perspective.

We moved to where we are 2 years ago and I love it. Ds1 hs in reception class at school and it's a great school. I have a 4mo baby.

Husband's company wants him in NY and has upped offer to $150,000, and DH says we will be able to save £1000+ a month on that, whereas here we are not able to save. I don't work at the moment, except a little freelance from home.

The main reasons I can't agree are: 1. My mum. She is more my mainstay than DH, really. She has a fantastic bond with DS1 and will have with DS2. We need her and also it will break her heart. We have very little family and my dad died 7 years ago. 2. We will lose the school place and with the squeeze on places could easily get one out of area. 3. I do not know if we really will save what DH says and no clue how to work it out definitively. Relocation package is €5,000, which to me seems like it won't touch the sides what with flights to and fro and furnishing a 4-bed house out there from scratch.

Main issue I suppose is our relationship is not great and DH has never grasped the concept of emotional support. He takes his responsibilities seriously and gives lots of his time to the kids but I don't feel he is really there for me. I'm too scared to leave all my other supports and put myself in a position where he is all I have. We were in Relate last year and DS2 was conceived in fit of optimism thereafter.

So DH is desperate to go, as the job there is beyond his wildest dreams. I would hate to hold him back from that. One possibility is he goes for a year on his own (he needs at least the first two big projects) but how could I do that to DS1, even if I could do it to DH?!

It seems impossible whichever way I turn and we need to decide soon. Hubby keeps saying about financial gain (but is it really?!) and I will make new friends but the biggest loss is my mum and the school place. dH says would be for a couple of years.

Over to you. I am soooo stressed and distressed.

musicalendorphins2 Thu 24-Apr-14 05:46:44

Bring your mum with you? You could always return, you would at least be able to have the money to do so. perhaps discuss with your dh, you will try for 2 years, and if not happy you and your mum and child would return to where you are now.

KaFayOLay Thu 24-Apr-14 05:51:57

I would be inclined to send him off on his own.

My dp moved to NZ, I couldn't bring myself to go. I was in the same industry as him and could've earned mega bucks but that isn't my driving force.

So, after 7 years together, he left whilst I packed up our life together and sold the house. No children were involved.

10 years on, he has citizenship, we still talk regularly but I have no doubts I did the right thing.

Best of luck cookie, it's a tough one.

StickyProblem Thu 24-Apr-14 05:52:58

Where exactly in New York? Is it NYC? I can't see $150k, which is £90k, going very far there, although I'm only guessing. People on the expat board might have more idea. I also agree that the relocation package will cover flights but not much else, not even a car. I think you're right about the financial gains not really being there. Does he expect you will sell your current place? Getting back on the ladder could be a real problem.

Could you ask him to go alone? It wouldn't be great for your relationship... but sounds like you have a lot to lose.

Good luck with the decision flowers

Poughle Thu 24-Apr-14 05:54:28

I wouldn't do it if your relationship is not good.

I think I'd want a trial period of 6 months or so where he goes on his own. With the extra money you'd save on not having to move, you could easily afford visits. After a few months revisit the situation.

You can always change your mind and go, but if you go and then change your mind, you will have lost the school place.

LettertoHermioneGranger Thu 24-Apr-14 05:54:48

I can see both sides. It's a great opportunity, and could be a wonderful experience, especially if for only a couple of years. However, that doesn't mean much if both parties aren't on board. You can get on board, decide you want that experience, but one person half heartedly going along with it isn't going to make for a good situation.

Your children are so small, and on hand that makes them easy to move around, it also means your mum would miss out on the day to day experience of them while they're small, which sounds like is important to you.

Long distance can work if both parties are on board, but it's incredibly, hugely difficult. Your husband also misses out on your children being small in that scenario. He does get an amazing opportunity, and this could I assume be good for your family so far as his lifelong career.

As for the financial side, it's hard to say without knowing your situation exactly, but NY is the most expensive place to live in the US. A four bed house - well, I assume you'd be in a suburb with DH commuting, because that's near impossible to find in the city. Housing prices are shocking, and it's a huge possibility you'll find yourself paying much more for a smaller place than you're comfortable in.

I can't say what the right decision is, but imo the most important thing is for you to be fully in agreement with the decision you make as being best for your family. If you don't want to go, you shouldn't. It could be a great opportunity, but only if you want that.

ICanSeeTheSun Thu 24-Apr-14 05:58:48

I doubt you will be able to save £1000 a month.

Has he factored in school fees, medical insurance, hiring/buying a car.

I couldn't do it, I need my support network around me.

EggsFlorentine Thu 24-Apr-14 06:00:45

Hi, cookie well as someone who is currently in the USA due to her husband's work, and previously worked in relocating people, I hope I can give some insight...

Firstly, you are quite right, 5k is laughably low for a relocation package - are you sure it is including flights? I would expect the company to offer flights for all the family, visa costs, 1 month temp housing, and 1 year tax support in each country as the bare minimum. (I would also expect a cost of living allowance (COLA) and housing contribution each month if it is finite in length, or a large one off payment if it is a permanent move).

Can't help you on the emotional side of whether you should or not, but in my experience it can be hugely stressful, especially if it ends up costing you a lot to get yourself set up out there - but surely if he goes alone that will be an even bigger burden if you have to maintain houses in two countries? So please firstly, negotiate a more generous package and then decide what is right for you and your family.

EggsFlorentine Thu 24-Apr-14 06:03:21

oh and of course every relationship is different, but I feel I should mention my husband and I have agreed that we wouldn't want to raise children in the US (don't have any yet), due to 1 - lack of close family support 2 - cost of healthcare 3 - cost of university. Although of course the last one is a way off for us yet!

CookieTramp Thu 24-Apr-14 06:04:47

Not possible for Mum to move. Wouldn't get visa and wouldn't want to.

KaFayOLay, nice idea but with the kids in the mix, i don't know. It feels like either I make my son unhappy or I be unhappy myself.

Don't I have to cave in and go for the sake of the kids?

nooka Thu 24-Apr-14 06:10:25

I'd look very very hard at the package, including most importantly health insurance costs and then look at where you would need to live for a good school in commuting distance of your dh's work and the associated costs (rent, taxes etc). Try somewhere like British expats for advice. We moved to New York six years ago and found it very expensive (we then moved on to Canada). You also need to be aware that on some visas you will not be able to work. Check whether the company is ready to commit to applying for green cards for both of you.

I'd then look at the contract, in particular whether your dh will retain UK rights such as holiday allowances and not being 'at will' (means you can be fired for no reason) whether they will pay for repatriation, how much help you'd get with settling in etc, whether they will pay for flights home, how much they will contribute to health insurance etc. €5,000 is not much at all - international moves are very expensive. I'd say you need flights and shipping costs paid at the very least, plus accommodation for the first month or so while you find a home and wait for your furniture to arrive (you don't want to buy everything over there). You may need to go over for a week or so in advance to get that sorted or have your dh go in advance or some companies offer a relocation agent. You need to make sure that everything is written in the contract otherwise you can very easily get shafted as once you move you are pretty much at the company's mercy.

Then you have to think about how easy or hard it will be to rent your current home (assuming you own it) and all of the work involved with the move.

With regard to your mother I'm not sure that there is any easy answer. She may or may not be able to or want to visit for a while, but I doubt very much that she will be allowed into the States for more than a few months at a time so the relationship will undoubtedly change. Also bear in mind that unless you are really keen on the move it will be very very hard and even if it goes well it may test your relationship.

That said New York is a fun city, and if you get the right area and have enough money it could be a great experience.

mirpuppet Thu 24-Apr-14 06:10:26

$150K is not alot in NYC or the suburbs. With a family he would not be able to save anything like a £1000.

CookieTramp Thu 24-Apr-14 06:12:17

Hi Eggs. Your perspective is really appreciated. I have no experience with relocation.

Healthcare is included, and visas too. I should have said that. But other stuff like COLA and flights being included (is that normal? at what level?), and tax stuff, and housing contributions is brand new information. 5k feels low to me... I'm glad you confirm.

House would be in New Jersey, as we definitely couldn't afford NY itself. Need 4 bed so that mum can come and stay on long stays.

OliviaBenson Thu 24-Apr-14 06:14:27

It's a family decision IMO. You shouldn't feel like your the one who has to sacrifice everything.

You need to do some research into housing costs, cost of insurances (medical etc). How much annual leave will your husband get? (I believe America has lower minimum.) is your husband listening to your side and concerns or is he just seeing the benefits of money and the job for himself?

My gut feeling is that you shouldn't go.

EggsFlorentine Thu 24-Apr-14 06:19:34

Glad that all the stress I went through with our move is at least useful info for someone else!

Key questions you should be asking:
1 - length of stay (also v. important for tax implications)
2 - will he be seconded from the UK office (i.e. they will still be his employer) or permanent move to US office
N.B. if the former you will still likely have to pay tax at UK rate so no savings there
3 - the visa for you as spouse - are they also going to get you a work permit if you want to work out there (you will likely have an L2 visa and the work permit can only be applied for once in country and takes at least 3 months)
4 - If still in the UK payroll will they protect you from exchange rate fluctuations? and you should ask if you get wire transfer allowance too
5 - schooling costs for children? and help finding suitable schools?
6 - company car in US?
7 - if not permanent, you should expect 1 return flight to the UK for the whole family once a year

Errrr that's all I can think of for now... will keep musing

EggsFlorentine Thu 24-Apr-14 06:21:24

Oh yes I saw someone mentioned annual leave - if he is still part of the UK business he should expect to have the UK allowance (which is nearly always higher than US), but of course public holidays would be in keeping with the American office. If a permanent move I'm afraid you'll have to get used to not many days' leave... although a few 'personal days' are the norm here, though I am yet to understand quite what they are!

PedantMarina Thu 24-Apr-14 06:24:44

YY to $150k not being all that much, relatively. It's not bad, mind, but it's not so stonkingly mind-blowing that it trumps all other arguments. And £5k for relocation package is just paltry. Sorry.

CookieTramp Thu 24-Apr-14 06:32:13

Thanks Eggs. I am writing all this down! About schooling costs, though... I thought it was paid for by property taxes so that if you live in an expensive area the schools are good?

CookieTramp Thu 24-Apr-14 06:33:06

And to clarify, he would work for US office, not be seconded from here.

CookieTramp Thu 24-Apr-14 06:34:28

Also, apparently they have agreed to €150,000 (offer last year never went above €120,000) because of having a family to house and pay for. If he goes alone I think it will be €120,000 again. Is that fair?

CookieTramp Thu 24-Apr-14 06:35:27

Oh and I already have L2 visa from last year when they flew me and DS2 out there while hubby worked there for 9 weeks.

Mrscaindingle Thu 24-Apr-14 06:36:38

I think if you could plan on going for say, two years, not putting all your eggs in one basket and getting your husband to agree to this you could perhaps make it work.

I moved to Canada, my heart was in it and I was still so homesick that I had to come back eventually. We gave up our house and jobs as it was a forever move for us and it just about crippled us financially. Other expats who rented their UK house and had jobs to go back to fared better than us, nearly all the expats i met struggled with home sickness and missing family, especially at big family occasions.

Look at it as an experience and as others have said your children are so little they will be much easier to move and move back again. I personally would not take the option of your husband going on his own based on my own experiences. Distances of that far away are very hard, my 'D'H went to the far east to work for a year or two and we have now separated which may have happened anyway but the distance was definitely a factor.

Admiraltea Thu 24-Apr-14 06:38:19

Seriously depends where he will be working, if Manhattan then rents are unbelievable $2-3000 / month for 1 bed 1 bath. Living off the island means commuting which is as much fun as in any city, and associated expense.

Is medical for whole family included?

Schooling is very different even down to vaccine certs required for admission www.health.ny.gov/publications/2370.pdf

Any decent company will get relocation experts to support you but $150 000 salary is only the start of the package..agreeing wholeheartedly with Eggs.

(disclaimer..I'm the one left in UK but have a restless bunch of friends and relations so have been on the end of many phone calls)

olgaga Thu 24-Apr-14 06:39:45

Sounds like a crap deal all round by NY standards.

You'd be better off if he went ahead then see how it goes. As long as you have a decent pc he can Skype you all, live as cheap as he can and make his "fortune".

I definitely wouldn't go if things are shaky between you, not for any money.

EggsFlorentine Thu 24-Apr-14 06:45:31

Afraid I'm not much help with schooling costs in US, just know that I would expect a company moving someone abroad to take on relevant costs (such as if children need to do an IB course because they will transfer back).
Re the 120k vs 150k you need to be careful of what they are deeming salary and what is extras relating to the relocation. You should expect to have it broken down into the component parts so you can see what they are thinking the money covers and what extras would be left to you. Also any bonuses/ pay increases will be based on the salary not the extras.
When you say a permanent move watch out for there being a clause that you would have to pay back relocation related benefits (as opposed to salary and usual US employee benefits) if you were to return to the UK and/or quit the job within x many years.
And if it is permanent, would the salary at 120/150 be forever or lowered once you were deemed 'natives' in US?

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