Author Topic: Potential Relocation from Texas to Vancouver?  (Read 825 times)

TexasForever

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Potential Relocation from Texas to Vancouver?
« on: January 08, 2019, 05:26:25 PM »
Hi All,

Ive begun the process of interviewing for a job that would potentially move us from Houston, TX to Vancouver, BC. Still in the very early stages, but wanting to make sure were considering all aspects of what the move would entail. Obviously there are financial considerations to be made but also social, familial, etc..

Anyone have experience in moving from the US to Canada? Advice on things we should make sure and consider? Wife stays home with our two young children (2yrs and 6 months) so her job will be coming with us :) We do own a home wed need to sell, but what would be the impact to 401k / Roth contributions and existing accounts? Obviously the healthcare situation is very different.. just trying to consider all aspects.

We will, of course, be doing extensive research in the coming weeks, but also thought Id tap into this brain trust. Will also be looking for any other threads or resources that may already exist on this or similar topics. Thanks in Advance!

use2betrix

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Re: Potential Relocation from Texas to Vancouver?
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2019, 08:02:27 PM »
Im just really curious what you would change your username to??

iluvzbeach

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Re: Potential Relocation from Texas to Vancouver?
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2019, 08:47:23 PM »
^^^ My question exactly. ^^^

In all seriousness, I cant answer your questions, and you dont mention whether youre a US citizen, but its possible @Chaplin or someone he knows could share some insights.

SnackDog

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Re: Potential Relocation from Texas to Vancouver?
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2019, 08:52:50 PM »
Prepare to meet a lot of Cheapskates!  Canadians practically invented frugality.

And get ready for Moosehead beer and Tim's coffee.

sixwings

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Re: Potential Relocation from Texas to Vancouver?
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2019, 08:54:41 PM »
I live in Victoria which is a ferry ride from Vancouver.

Vancouver is a great city and I lived there for a few years. Howeverr, there's definitely things to consider. First and foremost, real estate in Vancouver is absurd and has shown signs of softening so a purchase could be risky. Cheaper real estate will be at least an hour out of the city and traffic is truly horrendous and the public transit options are overcrowded. I like the winter rains (because it means snow in the mountains), but many don't. And there's some micro-climates like the North Shore will twice as much rain as Vancouver.

Upsides of Vancouver are plentiful too though. If you like the outdoors then access is easy. THere is easy access to Squamish or Whistler from the Sea to Sky corridor or you can journey through the valley into the cascade mountain range. Easy access to the Okanagan for wines, lake time etc. Very easy to eat a sustainable local diet as farming is big in the lower mainland. Vancouver itself is a pretty new city and well maintained and there's a lot of good restaurants, good schools etc.

But really, the price of real estate is insane. Just insane.

Also don't look at living in Richmond unless you speak mandarin fluently. It has the largest concentration of asian immigrants in north america and many signs are in mandarin and many people don't speak english so it can be challenge.

Canada has similar savings tools as the 401k/Roth. We have the RRSP (registered retirement savings plan) where you can contribute up to 18% of income up to a max and deduct that from your taxes, pay no taxes until you retire and then it's taxed as income. We also have the Tax free savings account (TFSA) that allow you to contribute 5500 per year and any gains or income  to that account is not taxed. Also only 50% of capital gains are taxed as income. I'm not sure if you can just roll over the 401K into an RRSP but it's probably possible.

Also be prepared for your money not to go as far as in texas. With GST/PST everything is going to be 12% more than you think, food is generally more expensive, etc.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 09:03:59 PM by sixwings »

canuckiwi

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Re: Potential Relocation from Texas to Vancouver?
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2019, 09:17:51 PM »
I also lived in Vancouver for a few years recently and can echo the points made by sixwings.

Vancouver proper has many things going for it with access to the outdoors being a prime one. I also found it easy to live there without a car due to the Skytrain, bike infrastructure and car share options.

Vancouverites generally love living there, and if you stay long enough the ridiculously high housing costs start to seem normal.

Housing costs are not normal though, and should be a major factor in your moving decisions.  Studio or one bed condos/ apartments are plentiful in inner city Vancouver but will still cost up to $2K a month to rent. If you have a family and need more space, you are probably looking at $3K or more a month in rent. Or maybe two million to buy a house? Condos with more than two bedrooms are much less common and hard to find.

You could live for cheaper further out, but are then missing out on a lot of the reasons for moving there.

Zikoris

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Re: Potential Relocation from Texas to Vancouver?
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2019, 10:04:35 PM »
Vancouver's awesome. Lots of Mustachians - we have a little club and go on hikes and stuff. We're going to try to host a screening of Playing With FIRE when it comes out. Housing is expensive if you only want mainstream options, much cheaper if you're creative and/or flexible. Groceries have a huge price range as well. Public transit and biking are great here. Lots of outdoor activities. It's just overall a nice place. We don't plan on being here permanently because ultimately we want to live somewhere a lot smaller and quieter, but it's great for now.

The only thing that kind of sucks is the long, grey winters where it rains for a month or two straight. We're able to tough it out by going somewhere tropical every January, but it would be rough otherwise.

Chaplin

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Re: Potential Relocation from Texas to Vancouver?
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2019, 11:42:38 PM »
^^^ My question exactly. ^^^

In all seriousness, I cant answer your questions, and you dont mention whether youre a US citizen, but its possible @Chaplin or someone he knows could share some insights.

Saw the batsignal. I worked in the US for almost five years and then when I returned to Canada almost about 15 years ago I moved to Vancouver. I'm a Canadian citizen so moving back was easy, but to move to the US I had to get a work permit. Your situation would be the reverse I assume. Presumably the company interviewing you is aware of the requirements. Let us know your situation (US citizen, for example, and what they have told you about the work permit process) and I can point you in the right direction.

My wife was able to work in the US due to the type of work visa that I had (intra-company transfer, which means that my Canadian employer moved me to the US). If I had taken a new job there my wife would not have been able to work based on my visa but would have had to get her own which would have been difficult due to her line of work not being eligible for most visa types. The situation would be analogous for you.

As mentioned a number of times, Vancouver real estate is a world unto itself. This summer we sold our 1500 sq. ft. townhouse for $1.23M (CAD) and moved to Victoria where we bought a 2300 sq. ft. house on 1/3 of an acre for $930K, so $300K less for a significant upgrade. Victoria prices have climbed rapidly in the last few years too, partly due to Vancouver refugees, but the difference is significant.

I loved living in Vancouver thanks to the walkability, transit, proximity to mountains and water, etc. I did find that it was becoming bittersweet though since it seemed like the real estate market, which is completely disconnected from the local job market, was going to make it a victim of its own success.

Moving to new cities and new countries, even similar ones, is one of the most mind-expanding things you can do for yourself and your family. Don't let any of the concerns expressed here dissuade you if the job is right and you can make the numbers work. It's just good to understand what you're getting into.

damyst

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Re: Potential Relocation from Texas to Vancouver?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2019, 05:41:02 PM »
You could live for cheaper further out, but are then missing out on a lot of the reasons for moving there.

I wanted to +1 this important point. As a Texan, you're probably accustomed to large homes, large cars, and plenty of elbow room. Metro Vancouver can't offer you that. It can offer a sad and overpriced facsimile of that, which would probably leave a bad taste in your mouth.

I think the better strategy is to embrace the urban lifestyle and see how you like it. Live close to where you work and play. Plan to get around on foot or bike or transit. Let city staff maintain your green space for you.
If you find you dislike the lifestyle and are pining for Texas, you can go back, knowing that you didn't miss anything by not settling in Langley or Abbotsford or Maple Ridge.

Also, a word of caution: as a U.S. person for tax purposes, don't even think of contributing to a RRSP or a TFSA without talking to an accountant first.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 07:15:03 PM by damyst »

TexasForever

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Re: Potential Relocation from Texas to Vancouver?
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2019, 08:09:43 PM »
I’m just really curious what you would change your username to??

^^^ My question exactly. ^^^


The irony of this thread is not lost on me :)

TexasForever

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Re: Potential Relocation from Texas to Vancouver?
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2019, 08:14:59 PM »
Thank you everyone for the replies - very helpful insights!

After several discussions with the wife over the last few days, weve decided to stay put. One of the biggest reasons being that we are planning for another little one in the next year or so and want to be around family for that. However, this opportunity has been a reminder of the endless possibilities out there. If we were a few years further down the road, we may have decided to give it a shot.

Thanks again for the responses!

soccerluvof4

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Re: Potential Relocation from Texas to Vancouver?
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2019, 03:32:11 AM »
Thank you everyone for the replies - very helpful insights!

After several discussions with the wife over the last few days, weve decided to stay put. One of the biggest reasons being that we are planning for another little one in the next year or so and want to be around family for that. However, this opportunity has been a reminder of the endless possibilities out there. If we were a few years further down the road, we may have decided to give it a shot.

Thanks again for the responses!



Ok then change your username to Texas-still-4-now! haha...  ! Good Luck to you.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Potential Relocation from Texas to Vancouver?
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2019, 09:42:56 AM »
After several discussions with the wife over the last few days, weve decided to stay put. One of the biggest reasons being that we are planning for another little one in the next year or so and want to be around family for that. However, this opportunity has been a reminder of the endless possibilities out there. If we were a few years further down the road, we may have decided to give it a shot.

Though another way of thinking about it is that if you decided to have the next little one in Canada, they would be a dual citizen at birth, you might get up to eighteen months of paternity leave (partially-paid), and the government cuts you a check for each kid (up to an income ceiling, but presumably you would qualify while on paternity leave, if not normally).

Good luck on your decision either way, I think the bolded part above is the important one.