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Questions About Cost Of Living In The UK  
User currently offlineWindowSeat From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1312 posts, RR: 57
Posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 5206 times:

Hi Everyone,

A close friend of mine is possibly looking to move to England - London (or thereabouts) in particular. His company has given him the option to live in any European country and work from home (conference calls in pyjamas - now that's a job I want). So anyway, he wants to move to the UK, but with the conversion rate, he'd be earning a lot less than when living, let's say, in Brussels or Paris. His salary will be paid in US dollars and that will be converted into the local currency of the country where he lives.

The long and short of it is that he wants to make it work so that he is living in the UK. I have advised him to carefully look at other options, but realistically, how much should he earn in GBP to live comfortably. He is single and a one bedroom apartment would do.

Anyone living in America moved to London? What has your experience been? How much should he be earning to maintain the lifestyle there. I pegged the number at a bare minimum of GBP 55k. Am I totally off base? He says he may settle for less. I just want him to have the best and not repent such a major life changing event. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Thank you.


I'm all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with keyboards.
25 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineBMIFlyer From UK - England, joined Feb 2004, 8810 posts, RR: 58
Reply 1, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 5202 times:

One thing I will say, living in london is expensive  Sad



Lee



Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
User currently offlineWindowSeat From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1312 posts, RR: 57
Reply 2, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 5196 times:

Quoting BMIFlyer (Reply 1):
One thing I will say, living in london is expensive

True, but it doesn't have to be Mayfair. It could be outskirts of London, anywhere West of London all the way to Heathrow.



I'm all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with keyboards.
User currently offlineCabso1 From Canada, joined May 2005, 502 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 5191 times:

Living in the outskirts of London, he should not need more than GBP 24k a year to live in the UK. Of course, if he chooses to live in other areas, such as Birmingham etc. he can settle for much cheaper.

User currently offlineOli80 From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2006, 685 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 5165 times:

Quoting WindowSeat (Thread starter):
I pegged the number at a bare minimum of GBP 55k

That is a bit OTT, but if your friend is in a position to consider asking for that much, he would have a great time!!

Quoting Cabso1 (Reply 3):
he should not need more than GBP 24k a year to live in the UK

I would think that more than that is necessary. If he wants to go out a couple of times a week into central London for nights out etc., he'll definitely need more than that.

I would say that £40k is probably a good figure to aim for. It would leave enough for rent, council tax and other bills, and he would have money to enjoy his Friday and Saturday nights.


User currently offlineThatplaneguy From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 82 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 5160 times:

I love the UK, but if I had a choice (unfortunately I don't) I would live in another European country like Italy, Spain or even France.

The cost of living is lower, better food, better climate, nicer women........

Too many stealth taxes here. The uk is "the land of pay and display" as a good Australian mate of mine once said.

Good luck.



Its about the airlines and the planes they fly
User currently offlineN229NW From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 1970 posts, RR: 32
Reply 6, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 5137 times:

If he is willing to live in a non-glamorous neighborhood in zone 3 or 4 (or even in parts of zone 2), and doesn't want an "executive" lifestyle, then 24k should be more than enough. There are lots of neighborhoods in West London that are quite well-connected for transport, and also interesting and vital but don't have good reputations (Shepherd's Bush, Kilburn if you are willing to go further north). These can be really great and exciting places to live, with all kinds of stuff going on right where you live.

It really comes down to your friend's taste and lifestyle expectations. If he want to live in a swanky bachelor pad in a fashionable place, own a car, drop a lot of money on drink and entertainment then of course he would need more, etc. But even if those are his tastes, If he isn't supporting a family, 40-50k goes a long way I would imagine...



It's people like you what cause unrest!
User currently offlineWindowSeat From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1312 posts, RR: 57
Reply 7, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 5111 times:

Quoting Oli80 (Reply 4):
I would say that £40k is probably a good figure to aim for. It would leave enough for rent, council tax and other bills, and he would have money to enjoy his Friday and Saturday nights.

Are you sure? You also have to look at taxation, right? At £40k he will be in the highest bracket at 40%. So with the standard deduction of £5035 he earns approximately £2167 a month. Let's say £900 for rent, £150 for council tax, TV licence, and other utilities, £ 200 for food and groceries, £300 for Travel and Entertainment, £200 in expense on clothes, electronic goods or a weekend holiday leaves him only £400 in savings each month. Is that realistic? He's going to be there for the next 5 yrs, and needs to start thinking about buying a house etc etc.

So, while £55k might be a bit OTT, £50k is an absolute must. no?


Thank you.



I'm all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with keyboards.
User currently offlineSingapore_Air From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 13745 posts, RR: 19
Reply 8, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 5100 times:

Cost of living in the Home Counties (outside London but within reasonable distance - we touch London), is getting ludicrous with utility rates and the house prices aren't great either.

You friend may have to get used to a tiny house compared to Americans who seem to live in the lap of luxury (stereotypically a Floridian or Californian house built on wood with decking, laminate floors and numerous rooms + double garage).

However, he could go for a lovely bachelor pad / penthouse in the middle of London. That would be most impressive.



Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
User currently offlineKaddyuk From Wallis and Futuna, joined Nov 2001, 4126 posts, RR: 25
Reply 9, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 5087 times:

I managed to struggle by on £13k per Year, living in West Sussex (One of the most expensive counties in the south east). A Person could live VERY comfortably on £55k a year. I'd also agree that £24k is a nice figure to be earning. You'd be able to own an apartment/flat and a car and still have money to spend on lesure activities...


Whoever said "laughter is the best medicine" never had Gonorrhea
User currently offlineSingapore_Air From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 13745 posts, RR: 19
Reply 10, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 5079 times:

To have a nice life £45k after tax is nice.

To have a comfortable life, around £35k after tax is comfortable.

To be able to live independently with hopes of acquiring assets and status symbols, £25k is needed after tax.



Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
User currently offlineKaddyuk From Wallis and Futuna, joined Nov 2001, 4126 posts, RR: 25
Reply 11, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 5077 times:

Quoting Singapore_Air (Reply 10):
To be able to live independently with hopes of acquiring assets and status symbols, £25k is needed after tax.

Not at all... £24k Gross Pay is quite a nice amount to be earning for a basic wage. In 2 years, i could be earning that amount (Plus Shift Allowances) and I could more than survive, owning/renting a nice one bedroom flat and still having enough money to spend to earn you so called "Status Symbols" (WTF Are they anyways?)



Whoever said "laughter is the best medicine" never had Gonorrhea
User currently offlineRichardPrice From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 5070 times:

Quoting WindowSeat (Reply 7):
At £40k he will be in the highest bracket at 40%. So with the standard deduction of £5035 he earns approximately £2167 a month.

Only the top £3,855 of that £40,000 is taxed at 40%, £4745 is not taxed, £2000 is taxed at 10% and the rest is taxed at 22%.

Otherwise, someone earning £37,000 (a couple of quid above the 40% tax barrier) would be paying significantly more in tax than a person earning £36,500 - thus the tax brackets.


User currently offlineRyangooner From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 969 posts, RR: 22
Reply 13, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 5066 times:

I live on the outskirts, best to live at the end of the underground, if your single you can get by on £20,000, you'll do ok on £25,000 and £30,000 plus i would say your quite comfortable...

Ryan



ooh to ooh to be ooh to be a gooner!
User currently offlineWindowSeat From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1312 posts, RR: 57
Reply 14, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 5053 times:

Quoting RichardPrice (Reply 12):
Only the top £3,855 of that £40,000 is taxed at 40%, £4745 is not taxed, £2000 is taxed at 10% and the rest is taxed at 22%.

Where can I find more information on this? Where did you get the amounts from?



I'm all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with keyboards.
User currently offlineSingapore_Air From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 13745 posts, RR: 19
Reply 15, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 5029 times:

Quoting Kaddyuk (Reply 11):
"Status Symbols" (WTF Are they anyways?)

Include a Ford, probably a Mondeo or high-end Focus, and a mid-priced holiday per year.



Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
User currently offlineGkirk From UK - Scotland, joined Jun 2000, 24960 posts, RR: 56
Reply 16, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 5027 times:

Does he have to live in or around London?
Other parts of England are much nicer, and cheaper, to live.
London is not the be all and end all of the UK you know, the further north you go, the cheaper it is (until you reach Glasgow and Edinburgh that is)



When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army Boys, we'll be coming down the road!
User currently offlineSean377 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 1225 posts, RR: 40
Reply 17, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 5027 times:

Quoting WindowSeat (Reply 14):
Where can I find more information on this? Where did you get the amounts from?

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/rates/it.htm

A handy tax calculator (use 503 as the tax code - that's the basic personal allownace (£5035 before tax is paid)).

http://www.listentotaxman.com/

Quoting Thatplaneguy (Reply 5):
The cost of living is lower

Possibly...

Quoting Thatplaneguy (Reply 5):
better food

Probably...

Quoting Thatplaneguy (Reply 5):
better climate

Definately...

Quoting Thatplaneguy (Reply 5):
nicer women........

No way!



Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man... Landing is the first!
User currently offlineOli80 From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2006, 685 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 5005 times:

Quoting Gkirk (Reply 16):
Other parts of England are much nicer

Depends what you like I guess. I've travelled around many parts of the UK, but I still prefer the South East, specifically, London. Manchester is okay, as is Liverpool, Leeds and a few other 'northern' cities, but they miss that 'wow' factor that London has. (I've never been to Edinburgh)

Quoting Gkirk (Reply 16):
and cheaper, to live

Probably, although I do hear that Manchester is being called the London of the north due to its prices.

Quoting Singapore_Air (Reply 10):
To have a nice life £45k after tax is nice

45,000 after tax!! That would be a gross salary of around, what, 70k.

Quoting Kaddyuk (Reply 11):
£24k Gross Pay is quite a nice amount to be earning

I just think that 24k gross is not really that much. If you are also a first time buyer (no deposit), you would struggle to get a decent mortgage.

To the thread starter, I do really think that your friend should be aiming for £40k+, especially if he wants to set up a savings account too. He probably wouldn't need a car as London transport is pretty extensive so that would save money as well.

Quoting WindowSeat (Reply 7):
Let's say £900 for rent, £150 for council tax, TV licence, and other utilities, £ 200 for food and groceries, £300 for Travel and Entertainment, £200 in expense on clothes, electronic goods or a weekend holiday leaves him only £400 in savings each month.

These figures seem reasonable, but, you might want to add a bit more to travel and entertainment. Nights out in London can be expensive (meal, drinks and club can be £100+ - depending on how much you party that is.  Wink)

Obviously the larger the salary, the easier it is going to be. But, if I was your friend, I would look for £40k+ for central London, and maybe a bit less for zone 4 outwards. Just my opinion.


User currently offlineSean377 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 1225 posts, RR: 40
Reply 19, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5000 times:

Quoting Oli80 (Reply 18):
but they miss that 'wow' factor that London has

I suspect you are talking about Central London here, possibly as a visitor/tourist. The rest of London (i.e. the residential bits) has little more to offer than any other part of the UK.

If you want to be in the South East because of the London connection, consider moving a bit further out (out of London altogether) and travel in when you want to experience the 'wow' factor. There are much nicer places to live!

[Edited 2006-07-09 12:28:05]


Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man... Landing is the first!
User currently offlineRichardPrice From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 4987 times:

Quoting WindowSeat (Reply 14):
Where can I find more information on this? Where did you get the amounts from?

The best place for this information - the Inland Revenue!

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/rates/it.htm

Well, my figures in my earlier post didnt come from the IR, and it would seem they are out of date - the IR page above has the correct figures for you to use but my posts point was still valid - its not a straight 40% deduction.

[Edited 2006-07-09 13:07:17]

User currently offlineCPDC10-30 From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2000, 4795 posts, RR: 23
Reply 21, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 4981 times:

Having recently moved to the UK from Canada I think I can chip in a bit here.

As I am not in they type of job that will be paying over £40k annually, I decided to specifically bypass London (not even think about it) and look for work in the North West (or North East from a Welsh perspective)  Smile Plus my father is from here, and I have always found people in the North to be much more friendly. There are plenty of IT jobs in the region and the cost of living is quite reasonable. I have found that other than for electricity and petrol the cost of living is quite a bit cheaper than what I was used to in Toronto. Keep in mind though that I am not living in a large city, but I am less than 25 minutes away from either of Liverpool and Manchester. The reason I have more money in my pocket in the UK rather than in Canada are mainly:

1. Lower income taxes and NI contributions.
This is the biggie. My net pay is around 75% of gross, which is substantially better than it was in Canada (not to mention I get paid more here too). I am at the high end of the 22% bracket and I end up paying less than that because of the tax free allowance.

2. Cheaper auto insurance
Even though I am rated as a brand new driver with zero no claims bonus, I still only pay about £800 per year for auto insurance - far cheaper than I was paying in Ontario with several years of no at fault claims

3. Cheaper groceries
This was a bit of a surprise at first, but groceries are about 25-30% cheaper than I was used to paying in Toronto - espescially for local produce. The Asda at Queensferry is fantastic. The one exception is toothpaste which is ridiculously expensive! This in combination with the non-fluoridated water gives you some lovely smiles around here  Smile


User currently offlineWindowSeat From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1312 posts, RR: 57
Reply 22, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 4948 times:

Thank you all for your replies. I asked some of your questions above and here are the answers...

He has to be near Heathrow since his job will require him to travel and be out of the country 60% of the time. He is responsible for Europe, Africa, and Middle East (hence he can settle in any European city, but he chose London). That is also the reason why cities like Manchester etc are out of the question, since he needs direct international links.

In the equation above, I did not include a car because I think he won't need one. What is interesting is that you mention the take home pay is greater than in Canada. I think one of the reasons I am worried about getting a higher pay is that take home pay here in the US is more like 65-68%.

Any more suggestions? Thank you.



I'm all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with keyboards.
User currently offlineOli80 From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2006, 685 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4923 times:

Quoting WindowSeat (Reply 22):
Any more suggestions? Thank you.

Maybe you could ask him whether he wants to live in a: house; apartment; live on his own; rent a room?

Whether he wants to be within easy distance of zone 1 or whether being close to zone 1 isn't that much of a priority.

since he doesn't need a car, he should save quite a bit of money on petrol (about £0.90 per litre at the moment) and insurance.

Being VERY close to Heathrow could have its advantages too. I believe house prices are quite low if you live under the approach. Plus you would have great spotting areas in your back garden!  Wink


User currently offlineEgmcman From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 898 posts, RR: 8
Reply 24, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 4918 times:

Quoting Kaddyuk (Reply 9):
I managed to struggle by on £13k per Year, living in West Sussex (One of the most expensive counties in the south east). A Person could live VERY comfortably on £55k a year. I'd also agree that £24k is a nice figure to be earning. You'd be able to own an apartment/flat and a car and still have money to spend on lesure activities...

If you don't mind me asking how long was that? It depends how much council tax has increased by the local authority and cost of fuel and utility bills (water, electricity etc).

Capital cities tend be the most expensive places to live in my experience.


User currently offlineWindowSeat From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1312 posts, RR: 57
Reply 25, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 4910 times:

Quoting Oli80 (Reply 23):
Maybe you could ask him whether he wants to live in a: house; apartment; live on his own; rent a room?

since he doesn't need a car, he should save quite a bit of money on petrol (about £0.90 per litre at the moment) and insurance.

I know for a fact that he wants to rent on his own, since he will be working out of home when not traveling. So, preferebly a house or an apartment, probably with a second bedroom that can be used as an office. I do think that he'll save quite a bit by not buying a car, since he won't be using it 60% of the time anyway.



I'm all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with keyboards.
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