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Topic: Stuck at a crossroads - to move or not to move?  (Read 2431 times)

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Stuck at a crossroads - to move or not to move?
« on: October 28, 2020, 06:15:05 PM »
Hello,

At the beginning of the year my husband and I had plans to move to Scotland. He's British and I'm American, we've been living in the US together for 5 years. For the past couple years we've fantasized about moving back to Scotland to spend some time with his family and enjoy a simpler/slower pace of life, at least for a couple years.

Cut to - 2020 - the year the world exploded! Obviously the pandemic put a stop to our plans, as we were hoping to get a visa based on my husband finding work over there, and the economy/job hunting is grim in Scotland at the moment. In a strange twist of events, he got offered a new job here in the US - more responsibility, better pay, WAY more stress... He ended up taking it so that we could save more money for a potential move once the pandemic passed.

We managed to get together the required savings for the spouse visa (62,500) a few months ago, and by February 2021 it will have been sitting in our account for 6 months. This means we would be able to apply for the visa (without him getting a job) in February. The question is.... should we?!

I know this is a very personal decision, but both of us are at a bit of a loss on what to do. It would potentially mean both of us quitting our American jobs and hoping we are able to find work once we arrive in the UK. We really do want to slow down and quit the rat race, but we also don't want to be completely irresponsible. The state of the U.S. right now is another reason we are leaning towards just taking the jump. We also want kids soon, so it sort of feels like now or never?

Anyway, sorry for the ramble! We are both clearly overthinking this, and would welcome any sane/rational advice from a third party!

Thanks  :)


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Re: Stuck at a crossroads - to move or not to move?
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2020, 06:32:37 PM »
I was going to ask if you’d be okay if you don’t find work, but then you say you want kids.  So I’m guessing you aren’t near retirement.

So kids. I came to the UK for work and met my husband while living here. Knowing what I know now, I wish I had my kids near an ingrained support network. My in-laws are lovely but we literally never see them. They are not “those” grandparents.  And we thought they’d be alllllllll up in our business. My kids don’t have a single cousin that lives in the same country they do.  It’s tough.  We’ve absolutely built our own support network but it’s a lot tougher than it needs to be.

I’m very risk adverse, so I wouldn’t move without a job.  But they also say no risk no reward.  But the economy here is very grim and unlikely to improve for some time. That doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be able to find jobs though.  Are you guys prepared to take major pay cuts?  The U.K. was already paying low wages compared to the USA but people are CHEAP now.  I haven’t seen a decent salary on a role since February!


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Re: Stuck at a crossroads - to move or not to move?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2020, 07:59:29 PM »
Thank you for your honesty!

I do think I sometimes underestimate how difficult it would be if we were to have kids away from my family. His family is lovely, but it's not quite the same as having your mom nearby. However, we are thinking this would be a relatively temporary move, with the intention to come back to the US eventually.

I am well aware we would both be taking HUGE pay cuts in the UK. That became apparent when my husband was applying for jobs. We would be seeing from less of a career/finance perspective and viewing it as more of an opportunity to visit with his family and have a new adventure. Although I'm sure the realities of that are harsher than I'm imagining,..


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Re: Stuck at a crossroads - to move or not to move?
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2020, 08:37:24 AM »
I'm just a little worried when I see the reasons you want to make the move.  What I see is:
1. Escape the rat race
2. Visit with his family
3. Have an adventure

I think you may be pretty dissapointed by just how much rat race escaping may happen.  My ideas may be skewed becuase I live in London and get a full dose of rat race, but I'm not convinced that there is anything inherent about living in Scotland that will be more relaxed.  Usually the rat race is driven by salary and salaries will be laughably low here.  In my industry, jobs that used to pay about £75k (in london, a different universe than Scotland) are currently paying 40k.  These are programming jobs that would probobly be more than $120k in a major city in the US.   It's hard to live the relaxed life if you are struggling for money.  Don't forget that it rains all the time in Scotland and gets dark at 4pm right now as well.  To be fair, I could be totally wrong and @phatbeetle  seems to be living the dream way up there.
2. Only you know.  Beware families can be less fun up close. 
3. Yes, you can have a fantastic adventure!  My wife and I have been adventuring here for 20 years and enjoyed it immensely.  Even while having kids, there's tons to see and do.  Did I mention that pre-covid I drove from my house all the way to Prague in the Czech Republic and Cork in Ireland?   
One more thing, not having to worry about health insurance is worth it's weight in gold. 


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Re: Stuck at a crossroads - to move or not to move?
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2020, 05:20:50 PM »
I'm just a little worried when I see the reasons you want to make the move.  What I see is:
1. Escape the rat race
2. Visit with his family
3. Have an adventure

I think you may be pretty dissapointed by just how much rat race escaping may happen.  My ideas may be skewed becuase I live in London and get a full dose of rat race, but I'm not convinced that there is anything inherent about living in Scotland that will be more relaxed.  Usually the rat race is driven by salary and salaries will be laughably low here.  In my industry, jobs that used to pay about £75k (in london, a different universe than Scotland) are currently paying 40k.  These are programming jobs that would probobly be more than $120k in a major city in the US.   It's hard to live the relaxed life if you are struggling for money.  Don't forget that it rains all the time in Scotland and gets dark at 4pm right now as well.  To be fair, I could be totally wrong and @phatbeetle  seems to be living the dream way up there.
2. Only you know.  Beware families can be less fun up close. 
3. Yes, you can have a fantastic adventure!  My wife and I have been adventuring here for 20 years and enjoyed it immensely.  Even while having kids, there's tons to see and do.  Did I mention that pre-covid I drove from my house all the way to Prague in the Czech Republic and Cork in Ireland?   
One more thing, not having to worry about health insurance is worth it's weight in gold.

I feel obligated to jump in and defend Scotland's honour! ;D In my experience living in Scotland (in Glasgow and in Moray), work-life balance here is immeasurably better than it was when I was working in the US, even without considering things like the much more substantial annual leave entitlement. I have definitely found the work culture up here to be more relaxed and the mindset to be more of work to live, not live to work - people aren't nearly as defined by their careers as in the US.

All that said - salaries are definitely WAY lower than the US and many parts of England. Cost of living and housing is also (thankfully) lower in general but the shock of seeing what salaries are (even pre-pandemic) was real.

It does rain a lot, especially in the west, and it's already completely dark now...which is not my favourite. But the summers more than make up for it and a sun lamp, vitamin D and making sure you get outside each day help through the dark months. Plus you're never far away from stunning scenery. :)
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Re: Stuck at a crossroads - to move or not to move?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2020, 05:29:45 PM »
I feel obligated to jump in and defend Scotland's honour! ;D In my experience living in Scotland (in Glasgow and in Moray), work-life balance here is immeasurably better than it was when I was working in the US, even without considering things like the much more substantial annual leave entitlement. I have definitely found the work culture up here to be more relaxed and the mindset to be more of work to live, not live to work - people aren't nearly as defined by their careers as in the US.

All that said - salaries are definitely WAY lower than the US and many parts of England. Cost of living and housing is also (thankfully) lower in general but the shock of seeing what salaries are (even pre-pandemic) was real.

It does rain a lot, especially in the west, and it's already completely dark now...which is not my favourite. But the summers more than make up for it and a sun lamp, vitamin D and making sure you get outside each day help through the dark months. Plus you're never far away from stunning scenery. :)

Correction, @phatbeetle and @elee27  are living the dream.  Highlander, you should listen to them as I don't live in Scotland and haven't lived in the states since the release of Windows 95. 


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Re: Stuck at a crossroads - to move or not to move?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2020, 06:18:13 PM »
Am I still the only person who had WAY MORE annual leave in the USA?  51 days!  Helped by every other Friday off (26 days), 5 days at Christmas, and 20 normal days.


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Re: Stuck at a crossroads - to move or not to move?
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2020, 06:56:21 PM »
I too have to defend Scotland, we are in the North East and its not as wet as the west coast but yes it gets dark here early, 4pm and you need the lights on inside to be able to see. Things are generally slower than in the US and yes salary's are a lot lower than the US and even lower than England but the cost of living here is a lot lower. Don't forget that health care is free and here in Scotland even our prescriptions are free.  It can be a bit of a culture shock when you first arrive but Scotland and its people are very welcoming and there is no better country for children to grow up in. but I could be bias  :P
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Re: Stuck at a crossroads - to move or not to move?
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2020, 07:23:47 PM »
I really appreciate all the replies!

It helps that I am a huge fan of Scotland myself. I studied abroad there (where I met my husband!) and have been on many, many trips over the years. We live in New England, so we are used to crappy weather (albeit, not as much clouds/rain).

It's sad to realize, but the biggest thing holding us back is money at this point. From my husband's job searching and some research, we've calculated that in Scotland, we'd be lucky to be making 1/5 of the collective salaries we have in the states. But I feel sad to give up on an opportunity to have an adventure just because of money. We have saved enough to get by (even if we didn't manage to find have jobs) for a year or two, and currently have the intention to return to the US at some point. Our only other fear would be how difficult it would be to find jobs when we come back.

I guess we just have to decide how much risk we are willing to take on!


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Re: Stuck at a crossroads - to move or not to move?
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2020, 07:41:15 PM »
I think a lot may depend on your industry and education levels too. Adapting is easier in some even though the salaries are lower.

Another member recently had to move back to the US from Scotland and the move to the US was much more expensive. Just keep in mind that you need to continue to meet the financial requirements for the visas for 5 years, as well as pay for them and the IHS fee, so it is an expensive adventure. I'm in England for my husband, I wouldn't be here otherwise, and Scotland sounds quite nice!! Once I have ILR and we can buy a home, it's honestly seeming like moving up there might be a good idea if my husband can keep working remotely.


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Re: Stuck at a crossroads - to move or not to move?
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2020, 07:48:57 PM »
What is the adventure you hope to experience here that you can’t have in the US? 

I ask because, for me, it’s just life.  I go to work to pay my bills (at its peak, I paid over £2,300 a month for childcare).  I use any money leftover to have fun, but not any differently than I did in the USA.

I think one thing that annoys me a bit is how expensive our annual trip to the USA is...  and that sucks up 2 weeks holiday.  It’s not “holiday” for me.  If you know what I mean.

But if we moved to the US, I’d have to spend my holiday travelling back to the UK with the in-laws.  I can’t!   ;D  They are lovely but anything more than a couple of hours and it wouldn’t be pretty!


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Re: Stuck at a crossroads - to move or not to move?
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2020, 07:50:48 PM »
Am I still the only person who had WAY MORE annual leave in the USA?  51 days!  Helped by every other Friday off (26 days), 5 days at Christmas, and 20 normal days.
I know no one in the US with vacation like that! You are a unicorn. :)


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Re: Stuck at a crossroads - to move or not to move?
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2020, 08:06:18 PM »
I understand what you mean, and I'm sure I'm glorifying things/ignoring the stressors of everyday life (grass is always greener, right?). But I think we were hoping it would be a unique moment in our lives (before things get too serious with kids etc) where we could spend some time with his family, explore a new country, meet new people and have access to shorter trips to Europe etc.

Now, I know with the pandemic, the access to easy travel may not all pan out for quite some time. And I'm aware this would cost us a lot of money. I guess we are just struggling to figure out if the experience would be worth it or not. The other option we are considering, would be to see if his work would be flexible with him doing a couple 2-month stays a year in Scotland. Who knows though!


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Re: Stuck at a crossroads - to move or not to move?
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2020, 09:01:44 PM »



Now, I know with the pandemic, the access to easy travel may not all pan out for quite some time. And I'm aware this would cost us a lot of money. I guess we are just struggling to figure out if the experience would be worth it or not. The other option we are considering, would be to see if his work would be flexible with him doing a couple 2-month stays a year in Scotland. Who knows though!
Just be aware you wouldn't be able to work while in Scotland on a visitor visa, even if its remotely.


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Re: Stuck at a crossroads - to move or not to move?
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2020, 08:27:29 AM »
currently have the intention to return to the US at some point. Our only other fear would be how difficult it would be to find jobs when we come back.
  If you have kids over here, It will be pretty difficult to come back.  You'll be too busy living to plan an international move and healthcare might make it impossible.  If America continues it's downward political trend you won't want to.


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