Author Topic: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!  (Read 10552 times)

Mojo

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Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« on: October 03, 2013, 11:36:32 AM »
Hi, first time poster and long time lurker here.  I was inspired by the MMM post “Get rich with moving to a better place." I think I'm in an ideal situation to do just that. I would appreciate some insight from you folks before I start.

So a little bit about me. I'm 23, a recent college grad and now a mechanical engineer living in the Midwest. I've enjoyed where I'm living, but I'd like to go in a slightly different direction career wise and also relocate to a city that's a better fit for me.

My criteria for a new city
Most Important
*** I want to have a mostly local lifestyle that doesn't require frequent car use. I want to bike to work. Having the option of walking or biking to social get togethers and leisure activities is also important. Which brings me to..
*** For leisure, good surfing and kayaking are a must. I'm being picky here, I know. I did enough of both as a kid to realize how much I miss them living in the Midwest.
*** Needs to be a place I can find a steady career. Ideally a large metropolis, no resort towns.
*** Good nightlife for young professionals
 Also Important
* Bike friendly
* Diverse
* General quality of life
* Cost of living (I realize this is a tough one since I'm asking for big cities with beaches. As long as I'm not spending an arm and a leg on food, rent and utilities I don't see this as being a problem. Being a “Mustachian" definitely helps).
* Not opposed to living overseas

Here is my list so far:
* Los Angeles
* San Francisco bay area
* Sydney, Australia
* Melbourne, Australia
* Cape Town, South Africa

Interested to hear people's thoughts! Can I live like a Mustachian in these cities? Any other ones I should look into? I'd also love to hear from those who have lived in any of these places. Also any advice on how to get started on this whole thing, especially for a place overseas, would be great.

A quick note on cost of living. I know Sydney and Melbourne are extremely expensive. SF too. But a perfunctory look at apartments for rent on craigslist shows me there is some extremely affordable housing available, in very nice areas. I've been able to find rooms for rent located within walking distance to the beach, for less than what I'm paying monthly in my current Midwest apartment. I would think that the higher income from living in a high COL city would be a great chance to save more..but I don't know what to expect and that's why I'm asking. Thanks for any input!
« Last Edit: October 23, 2013, 02:50:48 PM by Mojo »

gimp

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2013, 11:39:10 AM »
Bay area is definitely livable for cheap if you look hard enough. I loved it there, and I'll be going back asap.

StarryC

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2013, 12:00:06 PM »
So, I feel like Portland fits most of your goals.  I'll explain below.  But, I'm not sure what the demand for mechanical engineers is.  I'd try to find a job before moving.

Bike Friendly without a doubt, and you could almost certainly arrange your life, depending on your work location so that you could bike everywhere except the mountain and the beach.  And, probably it is hard to haul a kayak on a bike.  But we do deliver mattresses by bike, so who knows. http://www.mattresslot.com/mattress_lot/Delivery_by_bike.html   
Not really diverse, but more diverse than a lot of places
People do surf on the Oregon coast.  In wetsuits. It is about 1 hour away. http://www.oregonsurf.com/pages/orsurfguide/north.html?f=3&t=12628  But, lots of great Kayaking. 
Great night life.  Just don't call yourself a "young professional."  You are a hipster and you try not to talk about your job.

I am surprised you listed Los Angeles.  Yes, there is surfing, and if you lived in Santa Monica you could have a local life.  But, you'd probably have to drive to work.  When I lived in Santa Monica I hardly ever saw anyone on a bike.  Here in Portland I can be passed by an average of 5 bikers on my 2 mile commute to work in the rain. 

Mojo

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2013, 02:16:09 PM »
Thanks.  Portland is a place I'll be sure to look more into.  Love the bike culture and the general enthusiasm they have for the outdoors there.  Driving an hour to the beach is a bit of a turn off, but I definitely think I could he happy there.

The reason I include Los Angeles is because there are a number of companies located around LAX that I think I could reasonably get a job with (Northrop Grumman, Arup to name a few). That means I could live in Santa Monica, Culver city, playa Del Rey, Westchester, el Segundo or even as far south as Redondo and still bike to work. There are also several bike paths in the area.

It really all depends where I can get a job, though.

chasesfish

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2013, 04:31:22 PM »
Beach, engineer, and bike is a challenging combination. Being near the coast is expensive, I know, I've been trying to transplant for a while.

Zikoris

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2013, 05:18:54 PM »
If you want metropolis, beach, bike culture, and reasonable pricing, Vancouver's pretty sweet - there seem to be a lot of engineering firms around as well, not sure what the job prospects are like exactly though, since I work in another field. You definitely do not need a car here - the few places too difficult to bike/walk to are transit accessible(we have very good transit). Mild climate, very diverse, and lots of good food. Yay Vancouver!

pdxvandal

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2013, 05:34:01 PM »
Although there are similarities between Portland and Vancouver, the latter's cost of living is quite a bit higher than Portland's, especially housing. Something to consider. But you'll likely have more career opportunities in Vancouver.

Vancouver also is more cosmopolitan and larger than Portland. Portland has more of a small-town, neighborhood feel. You can easily not own a car here with great public transit and miles upon miles of bike lanes. I've lived in Portland for eight years and certainly not bored of it.

Good luck.

jflo

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2013, 05:59:03 PM »
LA's changed.  While still not the bike mecca that Portland is, we do have a regularly running metro and rail system that most choose to ignore and it does keep expanding.  The thing to keep in mind is that it is very much a hub and spoke system so moving in and out of the center is fine, but getting across town can be a pain.

That said, I do a combo bike/metro ride to work everyday.  Most think I'm nuts but the weather is gorgeous, my work just gives me the $100 price of a monthly parking pass in my paycheck (since I don't use it - quite common here and state law for larger employers who pay for employee's parking), and even if you end up taking public transportation, it's a whopping $1.50 a ride no matter how far or $65/mo.  Hard to find cheaper.  I live 17-20 miles from my work (depending on which nasty freeway), but my commute costs me $15/week and I get there almost as fast as the drivers (my last job was downtown - I got there faster than the drivers.)

Also easy to eat cheaply here.

The housing, on the other hand (and it is some of the worst consumer culture you'll find) . . .

Stasher

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2013, 06:37:11 PM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World's_most_livable_cities

Give that a look
I vote Victoria if you want surfing and the just drive up to Tofino.
I vote Calgary if you want some of the best kayaking rivers just out back in the Rockies

Melody

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2013, 06:01:31 PM »
My criteria for a new city
Most Important
*** I want to have a mostly local lifestyle that doesn't require frequent car use. I want to bike to work. Having the option of walking or biking to social get togethers and leisure activities is also important. Which brings me to..
*** For leisure, good surfing and kayaking are a must. I'm being picky here, I know. I did enough of both as a kid to realize how much I miss them living in the Midwest.
*** Needs to be a place I can find a steady career. Ideally a large metropolis, no resort towns.
*** Good nightlife for young professionals
 Also Important
* Bike friendly
* Diverse
* General quality of life
* Cost of living (I realize this is a tough one since I'm asking for big cities with beaches. As long as I'm not spending an arm and a leg on food, rent and utilities I don't see this as being a problem. Being a “Mustachian" definitely helps).
* Not opposed to living overseas

Sounds like your are talking of my hometown, Perth, in beautiful sunny Western Australia. As the centre of Australia's mining and oil and gas industry it's the place to be for a young mechanical engineer! With a lower unemployment rate than Melbourne or Sydney and greater access to jobs that require your qualifications you are more likely to get a visa. (Re the visa most people come out on an employer sponsored visa called a 457. Permanent Residency (PR) visas are harder to get, so most people do a 457 first (the other advantage with these are the employer pays all your relocation costs, health insurance etc) and then apply for PR after 2 years. )
The surf is also great (and the weather warm enough you barely need a wetsuit!) and the beautiful big wave/ pr surfing comp mecca of Margaret River is just 3 hours away, perfect for a mustachian camping weekend get away. And with 4 weeks a year of annual leave as standard, plus 10 public holidays you'll have plenty of time to explore your new home.
For Kayaking the whole city is built around the Swan river so it is easy to live right on the river. If you want rapids the best ones are in a town called Northam 100kms from Perth. (The annual competition is called the Avon descent.)

Regarding bike friendly, more or less any neighborhood within 12kms of the city would make it easy to bike, so it really depends if you want to live on the river or the coast. Riverside neighborhoods like Maylands are popular with young professionals as they have good amenities (small bars, restaurants etc) and are close to the city (5kms). Great dedicated cycle paths as well so you don't have to ride in the road. You can buy a basic apartment in this neighborhood for $220k (sounds expensive, but wages for mechanical engineers start at 80k and move north quickly as you obtain experience. ) Or you could rent a room with 2 others in a house for about $160/week. (Expect to take home >$1000 a week even after tax and 401k are taken out of your pay). Scarborough is a more expensive and further from the city (12kms), but you could surf every day before work. Also popular with young professionals this beachside neighborhood has bars, restaurants, and all other amenities. There are plenty of other suitable (bike friendly/fun) neighborhoods, if you ever make the move message me and I can tell your more.  (Must avoid outer suburbs - AKA anti-mustachian suburban wastelands!)

In terms of diversity, Perth is hugely culturally diverse, and as a result has awesome food, good ethnic grocery stores etc. The weather and the smallness of the city are great. The smaller city makes it friendlier, as you tend to keep bumping into the same people at the same places so it is easier to make friends.

COL, I kinda talked about it before, but to look at COL alone is deceptive. Yes Australian cities have a high COL, but Australian wages are some of the highest in the world, so it does balance. (As stated above it would be easy to get rent well under 20% of you wage, which is fine.... You can go lower than this if you are willing to live with more people and know people who have been in their houses a bit longer (rent is hugely sticky down here, it often won't go up until you move house). I have a friend who just rented out a room in her place for $100/week... in a neighborhood only 40mins WALKING from the city centre.)

Good luck!

backyardfeast

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2013, 07:12:56 PM »
I grew up in Vancouver and moved up Island from Victoria a few years ago.  I vote...Perth, Aus! :)  Vancouver's a reasonably livable city, but there's no surfing.  Victoria's an awesome place to live, but not a lot of large companies, and Tofino, etc is a nasty 5 hour drive which is only worth doing on a long weekend; staying in Tofino is also super-expensive.  Not really a great option.  And, you know...wetsuits galore!  The water's freezing!

California sounds like a better fit to me, and Oz, of course.  Maybe NZ too?  But remember too that kayaking is really best on the river and can be done on any coast (even where I live there's beautiful kayaking).  So if you were to take surfing out ofthe daily picture, that would open things up to.  Good luck!

HappierAtHome

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2013, 02:17:19 AM »
Melody's already said it all, but: seriously, Perth.

I know a lot of people here who go for a surf before school or work. And there's a lot of fun, outdoorsy stuff to do for no or little cost.

Only potential issue: it gets to 40 degrees Celsius in summer.

Left

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2013, 04:09:13 AM »
Hm, what about latin/south america? I've been to a few places and they could use your skill sets as engineer. The coast is pretty good, and tourist spots while expensive aren't too bad if you lived locally there (not paying tourist "rent"). You'd have to dig around for the safer places.

Or malaysia?

If you want to stay in the US, Arkansas has some nice rivers for it, but not sure about the culture/night life (never lived there to comment on it, so not a bad review of it, just no review to give on it).

Silvie

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2013, 04:57:19 AM »
If you want metropolis, beach, bike culture, and reasonable pricing, Vancouver's pretty sweet - there seem to be a lot of engineering firms around as well, not sure what the job prospects are like exactly though, since I work in another field. You definitely do not need a car here - the few places too difficult to bike/walk to are transit accessible(we have very good transit). Mild climate, very diverse, and lots of good food. Yay Vancouver!

I agree. I was there on exchange for a few months and I cried on the plan back home.

Exflyboy

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2013, 01:12:17 PM »
Portland is a good choice, Demands for ME's is high. If you have a PE license (like myself) you can easily make low six figures.. An RCG with a Masters from a good school can make about $75k.

Portland has a number of large employers and Hillsboro has a HUGE employer (I am an engineering manager for them).

One thing you need to be a little cautious of is moving abroad.. Your degree may not be recognised. I had had a heck of a time getting my UK Engineering degree accredited over here. Also if you move to the UK or Austrailia they refer to everybody and their dog as an engineer. It may sound trivial it drives me stinking nuts that anyone who services washing machines is suddenly an engineer... Even my Parents in England talk about people who would not qualify as a tech as engineers.. downright offensive.. Do nurses refer to themselves as Doctors?.. I don't think so!

Anyway.. Portland is a good choice, salaries are quite a bit higher than the surrounding areas.. This is why I commute 80 miles to get to work.. Its worth about $30k a year!

Frank

mm1970

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2013, 03:08:39 PM »
Beach, engineer, and bike is a challenging combination. Being near the coast is expensive, I know, I've been trying to transplant for a while.
Well, Santa Barbara fits all of these, but Mustachian, it is not.  And it's more of a resort town, and there aren't a lot of job opportunities.  I've managed to grow my engineering  career here, but the salaries are lower than anywhere else in coastal California.

Norrie

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2013, 04:19:37 PM »
Ha! Just coming in to suggest Perth, Western Australia, but it looks like several have beaten me to it. Read up. It's a lovely place.

abyss

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2013, 11:33:21 PM »
Here is my list so far:
* Melbourne, Australia

It's certainly possible to live mustachian in Melbourne, but the beaches aren't great. To get decent surf you probably need to drive 60-90 minutes  - fine for weekends but not a pre-work swim.

Mojo

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2013, 03:41:18 PM »
Thanks for all the great replies.  This is really helpful.

Question for the Aussies. I really like what I've read on both Sydney and Perth. So how do I go about this..?  Do I need to get permission to work there before applying to jobs, or should I just start sending out applications?

markbrynn

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2013, 06:33:17 AM »
Not voting against Australia because it's a lovely place, but just thought I'd add an extra option.

The Hague (or the Netherlands in general) have a couple of pluses on your list (and a few minuses).
Upside:
Decent surfing with wetsuit 3 minutes by bike from my house (excellent kite surfing due to constant wind)
Loads of canals/ocean for kayaking, but no mountains for the fun type (about 2-3 hour drive to Belgium is closest decent river kayaking).
Plenty of opportunity for engineers in variety of industries.
One of the most metropolitan environments in the world (people from all over, outward looking Dutch, International Criminal Court, etc.)
Amongst tops in the world in terms of cycling. I've gone years without having a car and even though I have one now I don't use it much. Work, home, shopping, beach, pubs, everything is within cycle distance or public transport as a backup.
COL is a mixed bag. Salaries are pretty high, taxes are pretty high, benefits are pretty high. Biggest perk is if you can qualify for 30% of your salary being tax free (applicable for foreign workers in a "in demand" field).
Vacation: Somebody mentioned 4 weeks in Australia. Standard in Netherlands is about 6 weeks. I've had 8 weeks in most of my jobs. Extremely flexible about part time work, extended leave, etc.

Downsides:
The weather is often (though not always, we had a couple of beautiful months at the end of this summer) lousy. Rains plenty and not beach weather for most of the year.
The country is FLAT. There are no mountains. There are few hills. (easier for cycling though).
Country is relatively crowded. I don't notice it that much, but there are certainly no wildernesses. On the other hand, in less than a day's drive I can be in Norway (ferry included), Poland, Slovenia or the south of France.

Good luck.

gimp

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2013, 10:18:50 AM »
Quote
An RCG with a Masters from a good school can make about $75k

I turned down around 75k without a master's near Portland, you can get more! (Though it might be the difference between ECE and ME).

Mae80s

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2013, 11:53:11 AM »
Thanks for all the great replies.  This is really helpful.

Question for the Aussies. I really like what I've read on both Sydney and Perth. So how do I go about this..?  Do I need to get permission to work there before applying to jobs, or should I just start sending out applications?

Not Australian, but have lived abroad many times before. I doubt Aussies can answer this for you, as they've only dealt with their system as insiders (have citizenship/right-to-work)

Here's more information from the Australian government about work permits and immigration:

http://www.immi.gov.au/managing-australias-borders/compliance/working-legally/

http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/

http://australia.gov.au/topics/immigration/working-in-australia


Also, I don't suggest moving to Vancouver or anywhere in Canada for that matter. Crap weather being the number one negative for everywhere in the country.

Also Vancouver is an expensive city and salaries aren't great compared to elsewhere.

I'd check out Oz if I was you.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2013, 01:43:54 PM by Mae80s »

frugaldrummer

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #22 on: October 08, 2013, 02:31:15 PM »
I notice you don't include San Diego?

Lots of surf, housing is more expensive than Midwest but cheaper than L.A. or SF, weather makes bike commuting very possible. Housing gets cheaper as you move out to the suburbs.  It's a great city for young singles, lots of nightlife and sports activities, lots of people move here in their 20's for the weather and beaches. 

Dutch Engineer

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #23 on: October 08, 2013, 10:30:21 PM »
Not voting against Australia because it's a lovely place, but just thought I'd add an extra option.

The Hague (or the Netherlands in general) have a couple of pluses on your list (and a few minuses).
Upside:
Decent surfing with wetsuit 3 minutes by bike from my house (excellent kite surfing due to constant wind)
Loads of canals/ocean for kayaking, but no mountains for the fun type (about 2-3 hour drive to Belgium is closest decent river kayaking).
Plenty of opportunity for engineers in variety of industries.
One of the most metropolitan environments in the world (people from all over, outward looking Dutch, International Criminal Court, etc.)
Amongst tops in the world in terms of cycling. I've gone years without having a car and even though I have one now I don't use it much. Work, home, shopping, beach, pubs, everything is within cycle distance or public transport as a backup.
COL is a mixed bag. Salaries are pretty high, taxes are pretty high, benefits are pretty high. Biggest perk is if you can qualify for 30% of your salary being tax free (applicable for foreign workers in a "in demand" field).
Vacation: Somebody mentioned 4 weeks in Australia. Standard in Netherlands is about 6 weeks. I've had 8 weeks in most of my jobs. Extremely flexible about part time work, extended leave, etc.

Downsides:
The weather is often (though not always, we had a couple of beautiful months at the end of this summer) lousy. Rains plenty and not beach weather for most of the year.
The country is FLAT. There are no mountains. There are few hills. (easier for cycling though).
Country is relatively crowded. I don't notice it that much, but there are certainly no wildernesses. On the other hand, in less than a day's drive I can be in Norway (ferry included), Poland, Slovenia or the south of France.

Good luck.

I live in the Netherlands, but I would not advice an engineer to work here, the pay is very low for engineers here, also the taxes are high. Also the weather is quite depressing.
I'm looking to move to the US (or Canada) for those reasons.

markbrynn

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2013, 01:52:13 AM »
Re: Dutch Engineer's comments:

There's a reason why everybody thinks that the USA is the best place to move to: Marketing! I see all sorts of recommendations to move to Seattle (also pretty lousy weather, I believe) or NYC (great mix of people, but crowded and expensive). Or LA (weather is great, but pretty lousy for cycling, bad air quality, etc.)

I've lived in Montreal, near Toronto, Boston, NYC and Houston and I've been very happy for the past 10+ years in the Netherlands. I was clear about the downsides, but the upsides are pretty great. I didn't even mention one of the biggest ones (for some people) in that it's one of the most liberal countries in the world.

Also in looking at the tradeoffs:
1. Australia and New Zealand are great (from my experience), but they're a long way from the OP's current home (which may or may not matter) and a long way from other places OP may want to visit. [reasons that I haven't moved there]
2. Taxes may be high in the Netherlands, but I don't have to worry about runaway health care costs; the country is generally very safe; public transport is great. And if you manage your career well you can find high paying jobs as an engineer.
3. Many countries will present a language problem (eg. in South America), which can be overcome, but may hinder early job prospects.

In the end, if warm weather for most of the year is important to OP then I agree, Netherlands is not the place. But no sense disregarding it just because you (Dutch Engineer) want to move somewhere else.

[Note: the whole message sounds a little chippy to my ear. None of that is intended. I suppose I'm just frustrated when Dutch people only see the negative in their country, and often forget/ignore the positives (and the negative sides of other countries).]

Dutch Engineer

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #25 on: October 09, 2013, 02:16:05 AM »
@markbrynn,

Thanks, I appreciate your input. Always good to hear things to relavate my position.
May I ask what kind of field your in? As a mechanical engineer it is really hard to make good money, you will need to find a management position.
How do you handle our 1,2% "savings" tax? I see this as a major problem for early retirement.

markbrynn

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #26 on: October 09, 2013, 04:29:09 AM »
@DutchEngineer

Glad my comments weren't taken the wrong way. Then against being relaxed about being blunt is another advantage to the Dutch.

Work in oil/gas. There's a pretty good sized group of companies working in the area, so opportunities available. It does help to become specialised or move to management to reach higher incomes (or zzp in sought after roles).

Regarding retirement savings and the dreaded 1.2% tax on all savings over €40k (every year!). I'm not quite there yet, but working on the different options that can help around that. One is for pension funds (exempt from the tax, and also income tax at the time of deposit). Another is that there is no capital gains tax, so you "win" on that side. [If my math is correct, until about 15 years you will still do better with the 1.2% wealth tax than a 20% capital gains tax (as in US) at a gain of about 9% per year. After about 15 years or so the continued yearly 1.2% will start to lose out, depending on the rate of return. So yes, in the long term we will be somewhat disadvantaged. On the other hand, nothing says you have to retire here. You could take advantage of the lack of capital gains tax and get out before the 1.2% hits you too hard.]

Dutch Engineer

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #27 on: October 09, 2013, 05:30:25 AM »
@Markbrynn

I don't want to highjack this tread, maybe we can continue this discussion via PM (private message) if you want.

Ive tried to get some projects as ZZP, but its quite hard to come by at the moment (I live in the northen part of the country), would like to focus more on oil/gas.

The 1,2% tax is from ~20K up.
I don't invest yet, also my savings fluctuate quite a lot because of a side business I have.
But my girlfriend is being hit hard by the 1,2% tax with her savings, but she is afraid of investing in the stock market.

Melody

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #28 on: October 09, 2013, 06:36:55 AM »
The Hague sounds pretty cool!
It might come down to a visa availability thing... another poster has already put the visa information links up, but I think a lot of the skilled visas require 2 years + experience for Australia, so it may be necessary to obtain experience before trying for Australia.
Also in looking at the tradeoffs:
1. Australia and New Zealand are great (from my experience), but they're a long way from the OP's current home (which may or may not matter) and a long way from other places OP may want to visit. [reasons that I haven't moved there]
2. Taxes may be high in the Netherlands, but I don't have to worry about runaway health care costs; the country is generally very safe;

If you live in Perth it is further from the US (than Sydney) but it's so close to Asia...
Bali/Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and many more are all serviced by cheap, frequent direct flights with budget airlines such as Air Asia and JetStar. So if the OP is interested to explore Asia then Perth would be a great choice..

Re 2: Same with Australia, once you qualify for a more permanent visa. Public transport is ok... I found Perth had similar services to San Diego - a viable way to get around, but car is faster/more convenient. Sydney and Melbourne and Pretty good - public transport would be be better than having a car if you live in the inner suburbs, but if you live far out you'll probably need a car.

Silvie

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #29 on: October 10, 2013, 12:44:55 AM »
One more advantage of The Hague, or Netherlands in general, is that almost everyone speaks English, so there's no need for you to speak Dutch. I know some foreigners who actually complain about it, because they don't get the chance to practice their Dutch. As soon as they say something in Dutch and their Dutch conversation partner notices they're not Dutch, they immediately switch to English!

markbrynn

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #30 on: October 10, 2013, 03:25:54 AM »
I've lived in The Hague for most of the past 15 years and only very slowly have learned to speak Dutch. It's easy to be lazy because English is almost always an option. It's good to learn it eventually as you miss out on a lot without it, but it is definitely true that language is not a barrier to getting around in the Netherlands like it is in so many other countries.

In reference to the question from the OP, I think the general culture of the city or country can be quite important. I've fallen for the Netherlands because of the more balanced view on work vs. life that I found compared to North America. I like having 8 weeks vacation per year and eat dinner each night with my family. I like the openness and tolerance on many subjects (not to open a can of worms), like sexuality, drugs, race, religion, etc. [And before anybody jumps in, the Dutch aren't perfect on these issues, but a far bit better than most countries from what I've seen.]

If you like the freedom to make your fortune, not be able to take much vacation, be immersed in sports and pop culture, have patriotism front and center (or whatever are the main cultural characteristics in the US), then being in the US probably works best.

I would argue that this cultural fit is at least as important for overall happiness as the weather (though some days I'd really like the rain to stop and be able to go for a swim after work).

Melody

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #31 on: October 10, 2013, 05:08:08 PM »
Culturally Australia is somewhere in between the US and Netherlands... (Reasonably tolerant, but there has been a strong shift right recently, partially due to 23 years of economic growth and also due to the crazy political things happening in our center left party with the "revolving door" of party leaders.) 4 weeks of leave and good work life balance in most jobs. And good weather! So it' a trade off for sure... This post makes me want to visit the Netherlands!

markbrynn

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #32 on: October 11, 2013, 01:56:43 AM »
"This post makes me want to visit the Netherlands!"

My job is complete...

Silvie

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Re: Young, single and feeling adventurous. Looking to relocate!
« Reply #33 on: October 11, 2013, 06:59:01 AM »
"This post makes me want to visit the Netherlands!"

My job is complete...

Haha nice to see a fellow ambassador of our beautiful country :) Also glad that people now know there's more to the Netherlands than just Amsterdam...