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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: FXF on March 02, 2016, 01:28:34 AM

Title: .
Post by: FXF on March 02, 2016, 01:28:34 AM
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Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: david51 on March 02, 2016, 09:19:54 PM
My only advice is to prepare for hot summers.
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: superone! on March 02, 2016, 09:35:51 PM
I live in Southern CA, I have a friend who lives in Woodland Hills and loves it. Anecdote != data, etc. but this is probably doable.
Some things to think about...

- How long to you plan to be in CA? A lot of your other questions are dependent on this. It might not be a big deal to live without a car for a year in LA, but doing that for 5+ years is a bit of a hassle.

- that said: You'll probably want a car. Woodland hills isn't a great area to public transport from. There *is* under-touted public transit in LA, but it's not as easy to access where you'll be.

- You should look into requirements for your wife to work.  In addition to the visa, she'll need some kind of documentation to work as a primary school educator, and may need state certifications if she works for a public school.


Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: Bracken_Joy on March 02, 2016, 10:01:15 PM
You're asking the right questions. Which is a great step! I'm posting to follow and to bump it so you get visibility. There was a great thread a while back about a woman moving from Oslo to Texas with her husband... Exflyboy is a member on the site who is a British expat in the US, and had a lot of great feedback on that thread (pretty sure that's the right forum member... I apologize if I misremember!). I don't have time to find the thread right now though, but maybe someone can link it. Lots of great info on there.
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: dios.del.sol on March 02, 2016, 10:29:34 PM
It's bloody expensive though. A reasonable flat for us seems to cost in the range of 1.5-2.5 k (according to zillow, we currently pay 870€). Is that just the way it is?

Yes. Sorry. I paid $800/mo before coming here. Now I pay $2035/mo.

Is cycling if I live reasonably close to work viable?

Depends on the area, but most areas have bike-able (if ugly and unpleasant) routes.

How is the public transport in and around LA?

Depends on the area. Typically it's stronger for the commute routes to/from commercial centers during typical commute hours.

Will my wife be able to work as a teacher in California?

CA has some stringent teacher licensing requirements. Start doing research early.

Getting a credit rating will likely be annoying? Credit cards will have to be got and used?

Yes. I had a friend move from France for a post-doc and he didn't want to believe that a debit card was insufficient. Credit cards and credit ratings turn you into a real person here. Else, you don't exist. I exaggerate, but only a bit.
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: Bracken_Joy on March 03, 2016, 09:21:09 AM
Ah! Found the thread I mentioned:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/a-brand-new-start-in-the-us/ (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/a-brand-new-start-in-the-us/)

And it is indeed Exflyboy.

Re: establishing credit, I found a couple resources. It seems like it would be advisable to get on soon, since apartments, cell phones, etc all are known to pull credit history.
http://www.immihelp.com/newcomer/establishing-credit-history.html (http://www.immihelp.com/newcomer/establishing-credit-history.html)
I know several people who have used the secured credit card route to establish a payment history as adults. If you can't organize some sort of cosigner (most common if you're marrying into the US- not your case), then it can be a good option.

http://wanderlustmarriage.com/establishing-credit-in-the-usa-as-a-foreigner/ (http://wanderlustmarriage.com/establishing-credit-in-the-usa-as-a-foreigner/)
This source recommends applying for an American Express card in your home country.

Re: driving
Looks like the conclusion here is you have 10 days to drive on your EU license, after you've "established residency", ie, moved.
https://aeuropeaninsanfrancisco.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/can-i-drive-in-california-with-my-european-driving-license/ (https://aeuropeaninsanfrancisco.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/can-i-drive-in-california-with-my-european-driving-license/)
Some sources site the 12 months law mentioned there, but it seems California may be more stringent. Particularly if the license is not in English.

Definitely negotiate moving costs! That should go without saying. And a cost of living adjustment. LA really is that expensive, haha.
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: mm1970 on March 03, 2016, 09:58:30 AM
Teaching might be a challenge.  Do some research.  There are stringent requirements.

Woodland Hills is nice I think.  I've driven through it.
You'll need a car.
It's not cheap to live here at all.
I don't know how easy it is to bike in that area.

I looked up that company on Glassdoor - overall and in the LA area for salaries.

There was only one salary listed for sales in the LA area, and it was between $122k and $132k.
Six figures is reasonable.
 
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: sunnsurf on March 03, 2016, 11:09:15 AM
An electrical engineer in LA in technical sales with 6 years experience can expect to make around $150-$160 including bonus. This is my field though I have about 16 yrs experience.
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: FrugalZony on March 03, 2016, 11:41:04 AM
I can confirm that the American Express transfer trick works.
Apply for one in Germany NOW, the longer you have it before moving, the better.
Then once in the US, call them and tell them you are an existing customer and want a US based one.
If you don't do this now, be prepared to only receive a prepaid credit card to build up credit slowly and be prepared to plunk
down a ton of deposits to utility companies and such, as you don't have credit history.

I know of many Europeans, including myself, who have done this successfully.

If you are not getting an expat contract, maybe you can negotiate into your overall deal, that your employer will sponsor
your Greencards after a certain amount of time.
It's not a ton more money for the company compared to renewing the L VISAs after a couple of years and for you it would give you some
long term perspective in case you want to stay.
If you have any say at all in this, try to push for an L1A, versus L1B, but they may not give you the choice.
Either way your wife will receive an L2 and will be able to work.

Negotiate some tax help, despite the non-expat status, for the first year, to make sure you get a grasp for multi country taxation issues.
Most multinationals offer this to their transfers at least during the first year when two countries are involved.

If you arrive in the middle of the year, try to still max out your 401k if possible. I wish I had frontloaded in the first year, but back then
had no clue about what I was doing, let alone heard of Vanguard.

Regarding your foreign bank you may fall victim of FACTA and they may or may not cancel your depot. Some may grandfather in your holdings, but won't allow you to purchase new.
DKB has been known to allow US persons keep their investments.
I can pm you a couple of links to message boards where expats discuss these kinds of things, let me know if interested.

Get info on how your company handles paying into the home country vs. host country social security system.
Given the choice what would you prefer? This strongly depends on your long time plans (also see above, GC and VISA).


I was in a very similar situation a few years ago, feel free to pm me, if you think, I can help with any other information!
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: arebelspy on March 03, 2016, 11:57:19 AM
Hah.

It's fun that I can tell Ali "[FrugalZony] is giving advice to [FliXFantatier]" (only using your names, cause she has no idea about screen names), and she thinks that's cool, since 99% of the forum stuff she has no idea what I'm talking about.  :D
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: FrugalZony on March 04, 2016, 12:38:59 AM
Which one, they have like two dozen to choose from... o.O?
I personally signed up for the gold card and also got a gold card once we got here.


I would like to highlight this mustacian question.
Should I stop with my monthly buying of ETF as I will likely have to sell everything within acouple of months?

I suggest you read up on FACTA and ETFs, it depends which funds you hold, where they are domiciled etc.
I first was told by my bank they would let me keep funds I already owned, just cannot buy new ones and then later
they ended up canceling my depot, forcing me to sell a bunch of stuff and transfer the rest to my account in the US.
I would check with your bank directly to get some guidance before taking any major decisions.
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: Bracken_Joy on March 04, 2016, 07:58:45 AM
Which one, they have like two dozen to choose from... o.O?
I personally signed up for the gold card and also got a gold card once we got here.


I would like to highlight this mustacian question.
Should I stop with my monthly buying of ETF as I will likely have to sell everything within acouple of months?

I suggest you read up on FACTA and ETFs, it depends which funds you hold, where they are domiciled etc.
I first was told by my bank they would let me keep funds I already owned, just cannot buy new ones and then later
they ended up canceling my depot, forcing me to sell a bunch of stuff and transfer the rest to my account in the US.
I would check with your bank directly to get some guidance before taking any major decisions.
I've now gone with the blue amex.
ING-DiBa has confirmed to me that they would cancel the depot if I moved to the US.
I've more or less resigned to the fact that I will be selling and taking all the cash over to reinvest there.
I really don't want to deal with more bureaucracy than necessary and I don't want to risk doing something illegal that might cost me dearly down the road.
At least I get to buy cheap vanguard etfs. :)

Did you read the other thread I linked? It talked about the tax implications of how/when to transfer assets between countries. Lots was real estate focus, but some of the resources are more general. And the US tax stuff is obviously very good to know!
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: mm1970 on March 04, 2016, 12:59:56 PM
An electrical engineer in LA in technical sales with 6 years experience can expect to make around $150-$160 including bonus. This is my field though I have about 16 yrs experience.
shoot, maybe I should switch over to sales.  Except I hate travel.  And sales.
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: sunnsurf on March 04, 2016, 01:58:49 PM
An electrical engineer in LA in technical sales with 6 years experience can expect to make around $150-$160 including bonus. This is my field though I have about 16 yrs experience.
shoot, maybe I should switch over to sales.  Except I hate travel.  And sales.

Technical sales is quite different from typical sales jobs. It's not really selling. It's more about consulting. And your "customers" are engineers with a real need to see you. Travel is typically local.  I made 6 figures with a B.S. degree right out of school. It's been quite lucrative for me.
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: Goldielocks on March 04, 2016, 02:16:05 PM
Hi...   I have a few answers for you -- below each section   (I was an expat on L1 with my DH & kids joining me)


Working
Will my wife be able to work as a teacher in California?
What will she need to provide?

It will take at least 3 months to obtain a "work authorization" for your wife, which will be tied to your L1 visa status, I think it needs to be renewed every 6 months or a year.   Some employers for degreed "white collar" work do not like hiring people who do not have permanent status in the USA.   Moreover, I believe the teaching status will take additional certification / verification for her.

I would recommend getting early childhood education courses underway in her first few months, before she can work, then apply at the private preschools or daycares with educational components.


Finances

As far as I can tell no German bank will allow me to keep my ETF invested in Germany, due to strict financial rules from the US, correct?

I was able to keep my canadian retirement and brokerage accounts, but they were frozen while I was non-resident.  The financial rules are essentially that the foreign banks need to report accounts and incomes to the USA, and that is an administrative burden, not to mention against privacy of their german customers, so they say no.   Asian banks say no often as well, for this reason.  Double check if this applies for L1 holders, or only permanent residents, however. 



Bringing over my money from Germany and then being able to enjoy the benefits of Vanguard should be no problem right?
What do I have to keep in mind when transferring my money over the Atlantic? Currency fees, transfer fees, etc.


Research a foreign exchange house to exchange large currencies,  you may save a few percent over bank rates.  Should be no problem to open any us account once you have "resident" status.  Easy Peasy.


I will have to start understanding 401k and roth I guess?
These are actually pretty easy.  The big thing to watch out for is that the 401k has a 10% early withdrawl penalty, so if you return to Germany in a few years, your US trading accounts will likely be frozen (with most banks), and then you will eventually need to pay the 10% fee to access your money / bring back to Germany in future.  Germany might allow you a tax credit to offset this, Canada did not for years.  There are at least 2 banks in the USA that allow non-residents in the USA (canadians, anyway) to hold accounts, but most refuse due to the extra reporting and risk, and they can change their minds without notice.

What bank would mustacians recommend I go to for my day to day living?
Getting a credit rating will likely be annoying?
Credit cards will have to be got and used?

To get credit rating and banking -- I used the bank that my company wanted me to get a mortgage through (they were funding a step up mortgage), so they cleared the way for me to get a credit card. 

My DH however, had to get one of the nasty cards with a $80 per year fee, put $1000 up front for a $1000 limit, have $19% interest and overage / late charges.  This lasted for a year, when the next $80 fee kicked in before he was able to get a more "normal" card.  His equivalent FICO with the Canadian branches of the credit agencies was over 800, but it did not transfer.

So,  First get a checking account at a major bank, and get a credit card with them.  Bring a letter from your employer, if you can, to smooth the way.   In 2 years, you will have awesome credit rating (from zero), and there will be no barriers.

And yes, it is pretty much ESSENTIAL to get a credit rating established, (rental cars, utilities, phone, hotels, etc) so focus on that for 2 years, after which, you can stop using them if you like.   Visa Debit cards work OK from the bank accounts in the USA.

When can and should we apply for social security numbers? From what I understand we cannot work without one right?

Upon entry to the USA, you will bring your L1 application letter as you cross the border agency.  This will take 1- 3 hours.  When you arrive, the very first business day, before working, you need to go to the Soc. Security office, with your L1A visa and make the application.  You should get your number right away.  Take this to your employer for the I-9 form to be completed (all new hires in CA need to have the I9 completed to show legal work status), and payroll set up.

Your wife will need to make an application for "work Authorization" -- I think we did it by mail.. anyway, it came in the mail about 3 months after applying.


Miscellaneous

Will mustacians in LA accept us in their esteemed circle?
I moved outside of San Francisco, and there was a healthy Expat community, and I mingled with a lot of German, French, Brazilian, Asian, Indian expats, in the usa for 2-5 years at a time.  I found americans pretty receptive, open and accomodating, especially when you look somewhat like the person you are talking to, and the hispanic friends I made at work were especially nice to my family.

Are there any things I should keep in mind when negotiating with my employer?

-See if they will put you into temporary paid accommodation for 3 months, and
-provide a letter to a major bank to help you get a credit card, and a letter to help get a rental apartment with a USA credit rating.   Rental leasing is typically for a year, and you will want to know about the area you are going to live in before committing.

-Negotiate for 3 weeks vacation.  Many US employers try to insist on everyone getting 2 wks as a new hire, regardless of prior experience.
-If you are looking to move permanently, then ask them for assistance with fast track greencard application after 1 year in the USA.
-Ask for tax preparation asssistance for your first year, when you need to give tax returns to two countries.

The other item that surprised me in the USA was that retirement benefits, such as pension $'s did not vest for 5 years at my former company.  That is a very long time to work there.  So ask about benefits and vesting periods.


Will I need to open carry, clap when coming across green traffic lights and give exorbitant amounts of tips everywhere?

California has more laws about legal handguns than other states, Do not worry about open carry, etc.   But yes, there are many non-legal weapons out there.

Tips -- 20% for restaurants, always have a few dollars on you for shuttle porters that help with your bags, attendents at hotel free continental breakfasts, or anyone else who you see putting in a real effort to provide good service to you.  Chances are at least half of their salary is tips, unlike at home.   I never carried cash at home, but found it embarrassing to not have tip money at hand in the USA, usually in my pocket.

Will Trump let us stay should he become the next President? He won't I am reasonably confident in that.

I don't think Trump can do anything about it, even as president, once you are legally in the USA...  BUT.. watch out because green card (permanent resident) processing or L1 renewals can get shut down or restricted by the federal or state side governments.  It happened while we were there, and realizing that it would take another 3 years to get green card status made us finally pack up and leave the country.


What other questions
I was surprised that completing taxes myself, in my second year, that I had to complete 3 tax forms - federal, state, and ATM calculations.  Not fun.  i only had one set in my home country.
Second -- how mortgages work in the USA was a lot different from home, even when the ads actually read almost identical.
I was surprised how few people at work grew vegetables, went hiking /camping or other nature-like outdoor pursuits.  Some do, but many were too busy with long days and long commutes.  i had assumed that California sunshine would make everyone relax a bit more than what I saw at work.


Good luck!  Relocating without children should make this an adventure for you.

The hard part will be finding a place to live that you like / afford, then for your wife to find work.  Once you have that down, I am sure you will love the experience.

Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: mm1970 on March 05, 2016, 09:36:49 AM
An electrical engineer in LA in technical sales with 6 years experience can expect to make around $150-$160 including bonus. This is my field though I have about 16 yrs experience.
shoot, maybe I should switch over to sales.  Except I hate travel.  And sales.

Technical sales is quite different from typical sales jobs. It's not really selling. It's more about consulting. And your "customers" are engineers with a real need to see you. Travel is typically local.  I made 6 figures with a B.S. degree right out of school. It's been quite lucrative for me.
Hm...well that changes things if its more local. 
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: Laserjet3051 on March 06, 2016, 10:18:41 AM
(http://i.imgur.com/cjJlVJW.png) (http://i.imgur.com/cjJlVJW.png)
My employer wants to send me and my partner to the US for a couple of years.
While many details have not been discussed or finalised yet the process is far enough along for us to consider it a done deal and begin planning in earnest.
My wife and I are super excited and looking forward to this adventure.

Now as you can imagine we have so many questions.

But first some context.
We are both 30. I'm an electronical engineer and she is a primary school teacher.
I will likely be getting a local contract, not a sweet sweet expat contract with the accompanying perks.
I will likely be getting an L1 visa, meaning my partner is allowed to work. So that is a relief.

My employer Dassault Systèmes (http://www.3ds.com/) (You might know CATIA or Solidworks) is a large multinational simulation software manufacturer with ~14k employees
worldwide. They regularly send people all over the place so I assume they know what they are doing. I am not sure how much leeway I will have when
negotiating details of my expatriation and local contract though.

My workplace will be in Woodland Hills (here  (https://www.google.fr/maps/place/Dassault+Systemes+of+America/@34.1775464,-118.5927501,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0000000000000000:0x3b99f5e8312705ce?hl=en)to be precise)
(http://i.imgur.com/dQ6nrYVl.png) (http://i.imgur.com/dQ6nrYV.png)


Open questions

Living and Location
  • Woodland Hills seems like a nice place to live right?

I used to live there. Yes, WHs is very nice, the more south you are in WHs, the nicer (and more expensive). Especially south of Ventura blvd up on the hill.

  • It seems to be a relatively safe area too?

Safe? Hasnt MMM taught us safety/security is an illusion? With regard to probability of being violently assaulted on the street , youre probably pretty good/safe in WHs. Auto theft/auto vandalism? Not so good. Still, I felt pretty safe on the street in WHs.
  • It's bloody expensive though. A reasonable flat for us seems to cost in the range of 1.5-2.5 k (according to zillow (http://www.zillow.com/homes/for_rent/Los-Angeles-CA/house,condo,apartment_duplex,mobile,townhouse_type/12447_rid/any_days/34.20875,-118.541751,34.139514,-118.653331_rect/13_zm/), we currently pay 870€).
    Is that just the way it is?

YES. If you want substantially cheaper rent in the SFV, you going to have to live in the Van Nuys/Panorama City area. However, this will increase youre commute time and its a scummier locale with much more street crime.

  • What are overall living costs like? Judging by comparison websites all over the interwebs. 30% more than Munich seems to be a rough estimate.

The high cost of living in WHs is a function of the general area (Los Angeles) with the exception of housing. Focus on the latter, it will make a big difference in your budget.

  • Is cycling if I live reasonably close to work viable?

Yes. Cycling is very dangerous in the SFV due to traffic. However, there was a new public transit line built several years ago that spans the SFV in an east-west direction. If you can live along that line, its efficient to traverse the SFV for work.

  • How is the public transport in and around LA?

Awful. Probably the worst transit system in the world designed for a major metro area. Buses sit in the same gridlock traffic for most routes that cars do, even in the express bus lanes. For example, a 10 mile bus ride from LAs west side to the SFV can take several hours each way in rush hour. Live close to work! Its necessary for survival in LA.

  • Can I live without a car?

Yes, just dont have the desire to leave the SFV or its immediate surroundings (Santa Monica/Burbank, etc). LA is massive in scale, and walking to Hollywood is not an option. There are bike paths that can get you around the whole metro area, some are safe, some are gang infested. Pick your routes carefully.

  • Will it be a problem to get my EU driving licence recognised in California or will I have to go through tests et al.?

Working
  • Will my wife be able to work as a teacher in California?
  • What will she need to provide?

Finances
  • What can an electronical engineer working in a specialised area doing techsales, presales, consulting, etc. expect to earn in SoCal with 6 years
    of professional experience? Currently I earn ~60k€ taking the aforementioned +30% for living standard into account six figures doesn't sound
    completely unreasonable, but I have no idea about the situation on the ground in SoCal for people in my profession.
  • As far as I can tell no German bank will allow me to keep my ETF invested in Germany, due to strict financial rules from the US, correct?
  • Should I stop with my monthly buying of ETF as I will likely have to sell everything within acouple of months?
  • Bringing over my money from Germany and then being able to enjoy the benefits of Vanguard should be no problem right?
  • What do I have to keep in mind when transferring my money over the Atlantic? Currency fees, transfer fees, etc.
  • I will have to start understanding 401k and roth I guess?
  • What bank would mustacians recommend I go to for my day to day living?
  • Getting a credit rating will likely be annoying?
  • Credit cards will have to be got and used?
  • When can and should we apply for social security numbers? From what I understand we cannot work without one right?

Miscellaneous
  • Are there any mustacians here who have moved state side from Germany?
  • Will mustacians in LA accept us in their esteemed circle?
  • Are there any things I should keep in mind when negotiating with my employer?
  • Are there any things I should know in regards to expatriation to California?
  • What important questions haven't I asked?
  • Will I need to open carry, clap when coming across green traffic lights and give exorbitant amounts of tips everywhere?
  • Will Trump let us stay should he become the next President?
    Spoiler: show
    He won't I am reasonably confident in that.


More to come I am sure.
I will try to keep the OT updated with relevant information and answers from y'all.


(http://www.ccpweb.org/School/images/line-stars.jpg)
USA USA USA
Spoiler: show
Am I doing it right? ;)

Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: Capsu78 on March 06, 2016, 02:05:28 PM
A little background music for your decision making process:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CN7aAYS7FuU
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: pk_aeryn on March 06, 2016, 02:46:47 PM
I live in LA, though I've never met other Mustachians in person.

I can tell you that you will want a car.  But  if you need to buy one, it really depends-- how close will you live to work?  If you're very close and you don't mind taking the extra time, a bus or bike is possible. LA is working hard to improve bike-ability, but there is still a lot of road rage toward cyclists.  Whether you can bike will depend on the route you need to take and your personal fortitude.  There are lots of people who bike in LA, but they either have no choice (too poor) or are young, fit, and to some extent andrenaline seeking.  So it's very possible but it depends on your personality.


If you can bike or bus to work, you could look into Zipcars for when you do need one.

Woodland Hills is a safe, upscale suburban white neighborhood and it's priced accordingly.

CA has the strictest teacher credential requirements in the whole nation.  And there is a lot of competition.  My brother is CA born and educated, got his teaching credential, but could not find any work.  He had to move to a small town in AZ where we have family connections in order to get a job.  Your wife may have a very difficult time finding work, especially if she doesn't speak or understand Spanish.  This could be less the case in Woodland Hills, but there is high competition for teaching jobs.

It's possible that she could find a private school or college who is looking for a German language teacher but it's not a popular language so I imagine that will be rare as well.  Expect her to have a tough time finding full time work, but she can look into substitute teaching and tutoring.

Things to keep in mind when negotiating with employer: health benefits.  Ask what plans they have and how much they cover, how much of the premium you are responsible for per pay period.  Between different employers this can be hundreds of dollars a month difference.   Ask how much vacation time and sick time they offer.  The U.S. does not mandate that any employers provide any time off.
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: Jet9 on March 06, 2016, 03:20:37 PM
Hi there! Welcome to SoCal:

Regarding Teaching:

If your wife is planning to teach in a public school, she will likely need a California Teaching Credential. I doubt she will be be able to get this accredited just with her (Lehramt, is it?), but you should begin trying now. She would need to get the German University/Lehramt credentials translated and accredit by a company such as ERES to apply (but ask the folks at the website below which companies are acceptable). She should bring letters of recommendation from current employers in English. Contact these folks http://www.ctc.ca.gov/ to get more detailed info. She may need to take exams to get the credential, get fingerprinting done, etc.

If that all is impossible/too complicated, I would recommend that she apply for a substitute teacher credential. She needs to have proof of a college degree from an accredited institution (like ERES) and apply. The benefit of subbing is flexibility; you can get to know a lot of different schools and work/not work as you prefer.

You might also look into the possibility of any Waldorf/other German American schools, charter schools, or other private schools which may be able to more easily accept German Teaching credentials (again, get them translated and accredited now). Good luck to her!

Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: MustachianAccountant on May 05, 2016, 06:18:46 AM

Living and Location
  • Woodland Hills seems like a nice place to live right?
  • It's bloody expensive though. A reasonable flat for us seems to cost in the range of 1.5-2.5 k (according to, we currently pay 870€).
  • Is cycling if I live reasonably close to work viable?
  • How is the public transport in and around LA?
  • Can I live without a car?


So, I am an American currently living in Germany, so... Hi!
I've never lived in LA, or anywhere near there, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt.

Current exchange rate $-->€ puts an €870/month rent at something like $1,000/month. So not *too* far off what you're finding. Still might be worth looking for something cheaper. (Speaking of which, will  you be paid in dollars or euros?)
Germans LOVE to bike, and the biking trail system in Germany is awesome! If you're going to bike in the U.S., it can work, but be prepared for a rude awakening - drivers are not as tolerant of bikers, and there is no suburban/rural bike trail system through the fields.
Likewise, in general, the American system of public transportation does not hold a candle to the European public transit system. So, in very urban areas, you will find decent public transportation, but go outside the city even a little bit, and it disappears.
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: FrugalZony on May 05, 2016, 10:28:15 AM
So I have received further information on the benefits offered by Dassault Systèmes.

Quick questions regarding that.
Whats the difference between Health Investment Plan, Coinsurance Plan and Copay Plan? I cannot really figure it out... And the calculators don't help me as I have nothing to go by for 'typical expenses' to enter into the questionnaire....

They also offer the following:
Legal Insurance -$9 biweekly
Identity Theft Insurance -$6.44 biweekly

In Germany I would say no thanks don't need that. But I just have no idea what to think of the US legal system. We always read all these horror stories about everyone being sued for everything. So do these make some degree of sense and is the price ok?

Also will these benefits usually be deducted pre- or post-tax?

My company also offers the legal plan as well. I think I pay $8 biweekly. And it is post tax in my case.
So far it has been useful for:
Getting divorce papers checked
Getting a will, end of life directive, power of attorney package done
Immigration paperwork for DH
Reviewing documents for a house purchase

The value of all these outweighs by far what I have paid for it until now.

I don't know what yours covers, but I have found it very useful and have used it every year I paid for it.
Unlike Germany, where you have a waiting period, after signing up for legal insurance you can use it right away and you can add or drop it in any given year, as long as your company still offers the benefit..
I would look at what kind of coverage exactly they offer and would try to assess the likelihood of you needing any of these services
and then decide based on that if those $18 per month are worth it to you or not.

Regarding health insurance, from a European perspective the US system looks ridiculously complicated.
Health Investement sounds like possibly and HSA, but in order to be sure you'd need to look into your documents and read up on what it means (my company offers an online portal for you to review all details and get explanation, so ask if they have that).

Coinsurance is your share of the costs of a health care service. Normally you have a deductible and after you hit your deductible, you will pay a certain percentage of each service you use, the insurance will pay the rest.

Copay is a certain amount of money (usually in USD not a percentage) that you pay for a particular service.

Sometimes you can have both a copay and a coinsurance. Cheaper insurance plans tend to have higher coinsurance.

For your first year, I recommend looking at out of pocket maximums and considering that as your "worst case" cost.
When you look at it that way, you will probably realise that compared to Germany it is not that much more expensive (considering you are a high earner and are in the top brackets of the public insurance, things may look different if you have private insurance in Germany).

Clear as mud?
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: lsalinas on May 05, 2016, 10:59:18 AM
FrugalZony mentioned that their legal plan covered immigration paperwork, though  a lot of legal plans will not cover immigration.  Check the information on what the plan covers and doesn’t cover before you determine whether it will be useful.

I don’t think you need identity theft protection, especially if you aren’t going to permanently immigrate to the US. 

The Health Investment plan is a health savings account as well as a coinsurance. 

I believe all of these benefits would be deducted pre-tax. 

I second all the advice that you should live near where you work  because LA traffic is brutal, there is no point in wasting your life in the car trying to get to and from work.  But yes, a car is essential in LA.  Also trying to find a cheaper place to live usually just lands you in places that aren’t as safe. 

I don’t think anybody answered the question about which bank to use.  All the big banks are pretty much the same, I usually just bank with the one closest to my home for convenience. 

I work for a German parent company so I know a few Germans that were sent to Los Angeles for a few years.  If you want to get some advice in your native language pm me your email address and I can put you in contact with them.  I bet they could answer most of your questions, though they probably can’t answer some of the financial questions because most of them were VERY spendypants when they were here.   
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: Fred2004 on May 05, 2016, 11:11:09 AM
Housing is the main cost...

I liked San Diego much more than the LA area and am trying to leave CA all together I think...congestion, smog...

It's hard to find a 1 bedroom apt for less than $1,500...
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: cj25 on May 05, 2016, 12:44:13 PM
I've worked in Woodland Hills for 10 years now and lived in the surrounding area my whole life, so if you have any specific questions, let me know. 
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: galliver on May 05, 2016, 01:23:04 PM
Hi! I'm working on finishing my PhD in Pasadena (and yes, I know about Solidworks/Dassault!); I'm not too familiar with Woodland Hills specifically, but I've been in the LA area 1.5 years now (my advisor switched institutions after my 4th year, I started my degree in IL). I live with my (gainfully employed) bf and my half of our baseline shared expenses runs about $1200/mo (including rent, groceries, utilities, internet, car insurance, gas, cleaning supplies, "house stuff", a little eating out). That's basically everything you need for a pretty nice little day-to-day life (swap out cell phones, which aren't included, for all/part of eating out if desired). That still leaves me a lot to play with even on my graduate student stipend of $33k/yr so I think the cost of living is a little exaggerated (I do admit it gets harder with raising a family in the picture...daycare is probably staggering and buying a house in a good area definitely is. Though if you're open to a condo, it's not as bad...) (Note: by "play with" I do mean I spend some of it; unfortunately not quite so badass yet as to live on $1200/mo voluntarily. Working on it, maybe. :) )

Anyway...Rent is undoubtedly expensive. When we moved we set our goal as far as rent around $1000-1500 for a 1+ bedroom (some 2brs showed up in that range, which suited us fine). We landed one right in the middle of that, after finding all the $1000-1100 apartments subpar (they had suspect electrical--including an AC unit plugged into a non-grounded outlet!) That said, I've met people in other parts of the city paying closer to $1500-2000 for a studio. Unless you are picky with housing (must have granite, DW, W/D, lots of living area, etc), you can probably aim for the lower part of your range ($1500-2000). Since it sounds like there are no kids in the picture, you might be able to score a bargain in a good part of town but a bad school district (that can influence prices a lot here).

On the bright side, although rent is expensive, utilities can be minimal! After two winters here, we have never used our heating (except the heated fan in the bathroom a few times), and our AC use is quite low even in the summer. Except for a few intense heat waves each year, cool nights and good thermal-inertia construction get us by with just window fans. Note: being on the first floor helps; growing up in the SF area we had a townhouse and the top floor got SWELTERING when it was hot. Our water is included and we don't have gas, so I can't comment on that. Groceries, especially produce, can also be had quite inexpensively...at least if you mostlly stay away from the more conventional chains (Vons, Pavilions, Ralphs, Albertsons); they're fine, but produce especially tends to be very overpriced. My favorite place for vegetables is Super King (though I don't trust their meat handling practices), but it's a bit of a trek so for small stock-ups we go to Sprouts, and sometimes for specialized things we like Trader Joes. You've probably heard this already, but if you shop for everything at Whole Foods, you will not have any money.

I bike to campus using quiet local streets (and have mostly encountered very considerate drivers). I would not try this trick on tiny, busy streets in downtown LA. I've also used buses and trains to get around; they'll probably feel like nothing after Munich, but if you're expecting nothing-nothing, you might be pleasantly surprised as I was. Try planning some routes using transit directions on Google Maps. However, I think a car is still advisable in most parts of the area; I know some students get by without owning one, but they tend to live near/on campus and there are several grocery stores near there and multiple Zipcar (car-sharing/rent-by-the-hour-or-day) locations on campus. So it's a little different than your average suburban neighborhood. Basically, even if you can survive without a car, you're spending all your time working around its absence whereas it can streamline errands and commutes immensely...and allow you to get out into the mountains and beaches and enjoy the essence of California life! :)

As far as your wife working, you've gotten better advice from others, but I did want to note that a college friend of ours married a teacher from another country (who came over to join him) and she ended up working in afterschool programs/care in the school district. I presume her certification to work as a teacher didn't transfer, but her experience did. So she still got to work in the school environment but just not in a classroom-teaching role. (She did eventually leave the job when they had a baby and the paycheck would barely cover daycare.) Other options along the same lines that might have options: museums/children's museums, enrichment classes (e.g. through local park district), summer camps. The YMCA may be good to check out, if that sort of thing is of interest (even temporarily while she sorts out if she can transfer the certification...just don't tell anyone that!).

I don't think open carry is legal in CA (at least expressly) and I don't have *gasp* any kind of firearm permit and they even let me become a citizen last year. Of course, if anything happens it will be my fault for not carrying (just kidding!)

Would be down to go for a hike, bbq, or picnic if you manage to get here and get settled before I finally graduate and flee this burning desert for more northern climes. :D
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: Bracken_Joy on June 22, 2016, 07:04:43 AM
Wooohooo! I loved the gif meme wall so very much.

Pre-emptive welcome to the US!
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: Mrs. Healthywealth on June 22, 2016, 07:46:53 AM
Woodland Hills is pretty and seems safe, my brother used to live there, and I have family in the area. There may be unsafe areas, just as there are for most places.

+1 for recommending a car. LA is not really easy to get around w/o one. I've used the public transport system, and my boss uses it most of the time to go from Woodland Hills to dwntwn LA.  Traffic to get to LA will suck in the morning, so its good that you don't have to go into the city from Woodland Hills.

I find LA to be very friendly of diversity for the most part, but assholes are everywhere. Northern and Southern California to be pretty diverse. I work for the gov't and there are people from all over.

Your wife may have to take the CBEST, and other courses to teach, but i'm not a 100% sure. she should contact whatever board oversees teaching credentials.

Welcome to LA, and I love it here. Tons to do, and loads of nature you can appreciate.   
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: arebelspy on June 29, 2016, 12:38:57 AM
Congrats on the approval!  :)

My current best guess is that I will start working in LA on the first of August.

Is this still the case?

How's the moving prep going?  Anything tough to give up?  Anything you're particularly worried or excited about?  How is the wife feeling?
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: FrugalZony on June 29, 2016, 08:21:13 AM
Yay! I vividly remember that wind down period before our own move.
Passports came back with the L-Visa stamp in them....and then it started to sink in....
and the remaining preps accelerated and everything was leading to this new path....

Nothing beats the excitement and feeling during those first few weeks in a new place and new country.

I hope you'll have an awesome start!

Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: arebelspy on June 29, 2016, 03:19:05 PM
Well I'm glad you're making it in before November 8th, when they start to build that wall to keep you foreigners out!

;)
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: Lunasol on June 29, 2016, 03:36:41 PM
Nice thread! My future plans involve moving to CA aswell, but that might happen in no less than two years.

Looking forward to reading more about your adjustment time/moving etc :)
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: SoccerLounge on June 29, 2016, 09:05:14 PM
Congratulations, and pre-emptive welcome to the United States!
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: mustachianteacher on June 30, 2016, 04:11:15 PM
Hello! I live on the edge of Woodland Hills and have family in Europe, so I think I have a sense of what will surprise you. Woodland Hills is HOT. August, September, and the first half of October have the worst weather you'll experience all year: insanely hot (well over 90 most days), and then the hot, dry Santa Ana winds will start around the beginning of September, but sometimes later. Don't let the awful weather discourage you, but be prepared to experience some climate shock. It's hotter than hell during the day and only cools down a little in the evenings. My mom grew up in Belgium and still can't cope when she visits us anytime between April and October. The only saving grace is that you're about a 25-minute drive from the coastal beaches, where it usually 20 degrees cooler. (Just got back from the beach about an hour ago, actually. It's 95 in the valley today, but it was only 72 on the beach.) Be prepared for some big electric bills during those months because you WILL want to run the air conditioning, and that's not cheap. You'll adjust, though, I promise!

You will need a car, most definitely. In Woodland Hills itself, there is a corporate area called The Warner Center, which is where you'll be working. (I checked your map -- you're right on the edge of the Warner Center.) That's a nice area: very walkable, many shops and restaurants, a park, a hospital, many apartments and condos, etc. Within that small area, you can get by short-term with just a bike or on foot if you live in one of the apartments in that area. Eventually you will probably need a car, though, especially when your wife gets a job since schools are more spread out and public transpottation around here is severely lacking compared to Europe.

I am also a public school teacher here and can answer any questions your wife has. You can message me if you like. Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is the public school district around here and is the second largest school district in the country. (New York is 1st.) They're always hiring, but not always in the areas or positions everyone wants. I've worked for the district almost 20 years and am pretty knowledgeable about the ins and outs, but again, message me for more specifics if you want. The place to start looking for info is probably here: http://achieve.lausd.net/hr  It can be quite a process to get credentialed, though, so if she needs/wants to start working immediately, it would probably be easier to look at private schools. Private schools usually don't have the state credentialing requirements that public schools do. In fact, a very good primary school is quite close to the Warner Center: http://www.woodlandhillsprivateschool.com/  I know it sounds like a dull name for a school, but they used to be known as The Farm School because they have some animals on campus and learning about animals is part of the curriculum, but I think they got tired of that nickname!

I know I didn't answer all your questions, but I know a lot about the area and a lot about teaching here, so let me know if there's anything more I can answer in those areas!
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: mistershankly on June 30, 2016, 07:07:18 PM
Congratulations on your move to LA.  Woodland Hills is nice and I hope you settle in quickly and enjoy things here (I live in LA).  The suggestion that Woodland Hills is HOT may be an understatement.  Just be prepared for the heat and keep yourself cool and hydrated in the summer months. 

Once you're settled in, I HIGHLY recommend (and I mean VERY HIGHLY) you rent a car (or drive if you choose to buy one) and drive up the California coast taking Hwy 101 and then Hwy 1... go through the coastal towns, visit Hearst Castle in San Simeon, drive through Big Sur (it's like another planet), and check out the bay area (SF, Berkeley, San Jose).  This drive alone will help you understand why California real estate is so expensive and how phenomenally beautiful (most of) the state is.

Enjoy your stay!
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: meg_shannon on June 30, 2016, 07:17:28 PM
Congratulations on your move to LA.  Woodland Hills is nice and I hope you settle in quickly and enjoy things here (I live in LA).  The suggestion that Woodland Hills is HOT may be an understatement.  Just be prepared for the heat and keep yourself cool and hydrated in the summer months. 

Once you're settled in, I HIGHLY recommend (and I mean VERY HIGHLY) you rent a car (or drive if you choose to buy one) and drive up the California coast taking Hwy 101 and then Hwy 1... go through the coastal towns, visit Hearst Castle in San Simeon, drive through Big Sur (it's like another planet), and check out the bay area (SF, Berkeley, San Jose).  This drive alone will help you understand why California real estate is so expensive and how phenomenally beautiful (most of) the state is.

Enjoy your stay!

My husband has a conference in San Jose at the end of October. We plan on flying in a few days early, possibly to San Diego (we have family there) and drive up. He grew up in CA, but I didn't, and I want to see more!
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: Lunasol on July 01, 2016, 08:39:08 AM
(Just got back from the beach about an hour ago, actually. It's 95 in the valley today, but it was only 72 on the beach.)

I was in CA in April and we went to Newport and I was so cold on the beach I had to wrap myself around a scarf/shawl
It was totally disappointing! I was expecting hot and sunny and sweaty weather and feeling like a california babe but no, it only started getting hotter in the past weeks :(
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: mustachianteacher on July 02, 2016, 01:27:52 PM
(Just got back from the beach about an hour ago, actually. It's 95 in the valley today, but it was only 72 on the beach.)

I was in CA in April and we went to Newport and I was so cold on the beach I had to wrap myself around a scarf/shawl
It was totally disappointing! I was expecting hot and sunny and sweaty weather and feeling like a california babe but no, it only started getting hotter in the past weeks :(

Oh yes, April at the coast is lovely -- cool and foggy. We have May Gray, June Gloom, and then July Fry: morning fog and lingering cloudiness throughout May and June, and then BAM, July rolls in like a fireball and it stays that way through October usually.
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: Lunasol on July 03, 2016, 12:21:46 PM
(Just got back from the beach about an hour ago, actually. It's 95 in the valley today, but it was only 72 on the beach.)

I was in CA in April and we went to Newport and I was so cold on the beach I had to wrap myself around a scarf/shawl
It was totally disappointing! I was expecting hot and sunny and sweaty weather and feeling like a california babe but no, it only started getting hotter in the past weeks :(

Oh yes, April at the coast is lovely -- cool and foggy. We have May Gray, June Gloom, and then July Fry: morning fog and lingering cloudiness throughout May and June, and then BAM, July rolls in like a fireball and it stays that way through October usually.

haha I like the nicknames for the months, the BF never shared those with me...

Hope you keep hydrated throughout the hot season :)
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: ShoulderThingThatGoesUp on July 11, 2016, 05:14:57 AM
Every water provider in the USA has to produce a quality report with lab test results from customers' taps. USEPA has strict rules on quality and you should not need a filter. It may taste different due to the geology of local water sources, though.

What happened in Flint required all levels of government to cover their eyes and plug their ears. We do have a problem here with a culture of unaccountability for government employees.
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: Bracken_Joy on July 11, 2016, 08:14:56 AM
You definitely want renter's insurance, and in fact, it is often required by landlords. It's cheap though, about $10 a month here in Oregon.

Obviously you will need health insurance. My husband and I don't have dental or vision insurance, but if you wear glasses and will need appointments and new glasses or contacts, vision could be a good idea. Unless you have bad teeth I wouldn't bother with dental- for adults, the cost of the premiums ends up higher than paying for cleanings for most people.

You could look at disability insurance, but I don't know a lot about it, having never had it. With your partner not working and relying on your income, though, it may be a good idea. Other users here could probably speak more to that!

Re: tap water. It'll be safe, it might just taste gross. And in summer, it might not really be "cold" so much as "tepid", in which case a pitcher in the fridge is nice to cool it down. But take my advice with a grain of salt: Oregon water tastes great, and so I'm a water snob whenever I visit LA.
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: SoccerLounge on July 11, 2016, 06:48:00 PM
I hear internet can be a shit show in the US. What providers would you recommend? Is it possible to get just internet without cable et al?

Yes - internet providers over here are regional (due to the size of the country), rather than national or supranational as in Europe, so the service you have is really determined by where you live. You'd have to ask an LA metro area resident for more expert information, but a good way to know which services are in your area is to ask your employer. Then, you can compare their various (bullshit) SPECIAL OFFERS!!!, i.e. regular price ;) , and find what works best. I have never had cable TV but have had internet from cable providers several times. The other common options are DSL, dedicated fiber optic (if you're lucky) and satellite. Fiber or cable internet (without the TV) is usually the best blend of quality and price, but, again, depends who offers what in your local area.
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: Goldielocks on July 18, 2016, 11:41:03 PM
If you will be getting health insurance from your employer, you will still need bridge insurance until the employer's kicks in.   Some employers pay for the bridge insurance, some only do if you negotiated it.

Renters insurance is a "yes", but you can get it after you move in, as your German tenants / house insurance covers you in transit up to 10 or more days.  You also need car insurance ( once you have a car).  The rest of insurance is quite optional, depending on your needs and circumstances.

Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: GeorgeWood on July 20, 2016, 08:15:02 AM
Got some good advice from this topic, thanks! My wife and I (+ one child, expected in november) are considering moving to the US from Germany for a couple of years too, although only next summer. Our situation might be a little easier due to me being a US citizen (have been doing FBAR and two income tax returns for a few years now - might be able to give a little help if needed, though not professionally), but then again, we won't be having a German employer sending us there. Still pretty confident it's going to work out, can't wait!

Any lessons learned so far? Something you wished you had done earlier than you did?

Good luck to you!
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: Goldielocks on July 21, 2016, 10:58:05 PM
If you will be getting health insurance from your employer, you will still need bridge insurance until the employer's kicks in.   Some employers pay for the bridge insurance, some only do if you negotiated it.

Renters insurance is a "yes", but you can get it after you move in, as your German tenants / house insurance covers you in transit up to 10 or more days.  You also need car insurance ( once you have a car).  The rest of insurance is quite optional, depending on your needs and circumstances.
So doesn't the employers health insurance kick in on my first day of work then?
I will be insured in Germany till the end of August and start working on the 1st of September and just assumed that was ok. I might be able to swing it that my German insurance is valid till I have confirmation from my new health insurance.

You need to ask.  If they often hire or transfer from out of country, they may have it all covered for you.  If this is new, unusual to bring someone in, they may not think of it.
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: galliver on July 22, 2016, 11:20:36 AM
So our departure is getting ever closer. We will be flying non-stop MUC to LAX on the 31st.

What sort of insurances should I be picking up on my own dime?
e.g. do I need renters insurance?
Are there any must have insurances or better to have insurances?


As for specifically Woodland Hills:
  • How is the tap water quality, is it good enough to just drink or should be consider a filter of some type? In Germany tap water is of ridiculously high quality and highly regulated.
  • I hear internet can be a shit show in the US. What providers would you recommend? Is it possible to get just internet without cable et al?

Water quality is fine; things like what happened in Flint, MI are the exception in the US rather than the rule (which is that water is safe to drink, and if it's temporarily not then it's reported by news outlets, police & fire department social media, etc). In my opinion, though, Southern California water tastes awful because it's SO hard. We get limescale on our tea kettle after one use (protip:  pick up some citric acid from the spice aisle at an ethnic food store for cheap; Use 1/4 tsp at a time; it doesn't leave horrible aftertaste of vinegar). Anyway; we put our drinking water through a filter pitcher, which helps some, but when I get tired of it, I make a bottle or pitcher of water with mint, cucumber, basil, lime, etc. My work has a reverse osmosis filter in the breakroom that's the best water in the building, but those things are pricey so I'd only maybe get one if I was staying here for good (we're probably moving away within a year). TL;DR this isnt' a rush issue; get here and try it (it's safe) then adjust the flavor using filter or other measures if necessary.

Internet: it's going to be determined by your specific address, basically. You can use www.cablemover.com to find out what's available at any addresses you're considering. FWIW we've had good luck with Charter in Pasadena, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will be good in Woodland hills.

Heat: I think being close to the mountains makes this less extreme for us, but we do get 35C+ temps somewhat frequently. The great thing about CA is that it's dry heat and you get cool nights. If you get a lower-floor apartment, you will very possibly be able to get by with just fans most of the time; or just running your AC for an hour or two in the evening to cool the place off. In the almost 2 years we've been here, there have only been a few stretches of 3-5 days each that we ran our AC continuously.
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: coffeehound on July 22, 2016, 06:37:37 PM



Working

Finances


Miscellaneous
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: Lunasol on July 28, 2016, 11:30:32 AM
How exciting! this thread is already a few months old, time how it flies......
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: SoccerLounge on July 28, 2016, 12:50:06 PM
Soon we will be welcoming you to America! Try to travel around some after you've settled in a bit - this country is gigantic and there is just so much to see (even if we only talk about geography / environments) :)
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: jengod on July 28, 2016, 11:49:47 PM
WIFE TEACHING OPTIONS: If your wife is a native speaker of German, she might want to inquire about teaching in some capacity at this [excellent] charter school: http://www.goethecharterschool.org/

German is an uncommon language for foreign language study in Los Angeles (Spanish heavily predominates, some French, Asian languages are becoming more common), but there is a large German expatriate population that should be able to give her some assistance.

Tivoli Rainbow Garden Preschool in West L.A. also has a German language program. http://tivolikindergartenla.com/

If she has a math or science background, she can probably get an emergency teaching credential from Los Angeles Unified School District in no time. A "STEM" (science technology engineering math) background would also be appealing to many local private schools.

There's a Goethe Institut located on Wilshire Blvd. that might be a good place to inquire. I've seen a German-American Club of some kind on Lincoln Blvd. in Venice.

Note that these places are LONG drive/bus ride from Woodland Hills, as far as gridlock goes.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT: I think the Metro Orange Line (an express bus line that has a dedicated "track" like a train) will be your access point to the rest of the Metro system. Metro buses and trains are well-integrated into Google Maps. If you will be taking Metro with any frequency, get a TAP card, otherwise just keep a couple of dollar bills on you. I'm sure L.A. transit is an absolute tragedy compared to whatever the Germans run, but it has improved radically in the past 20 years and has become a relatively pleasant way to travel. Now, it's not fast, but it is quite pleasant. (We are a voluntary one-car family and frequently use L.A. buses and trains to get around.)

http://media.metro.net/riding_metro/maps/images/rail_map.pdf

When you arrive in L.A., maybe take the Orange Line to the Red Line to Union Station and hop off and see a little of that section of downtown L.A. and just get a sense of the transit hub of L.A. and the distances. You can eat lunch at La Golondrina on Olvera Street, etc.

OTHER: The Los Angeles Public Library system is excellent. (Note there is a city system and a county system; I am referring here to the city system, which I consider superior.) This will be your local branch: https://www.lapl.org/branches/woodland-hills  Go visit once you are settled in and get a library card (you just need some form of ID showing your address and I believe that's it); you can check out materials from anywhere in the 72-branch, 15-million-item system as well as check out ebooks online, etc. Visiting the Central Library downtown would also be a fun Saturday activity, Google ahead for the tour schedule--a docent can give you a history of the building architecture and show you all the features of the collection.

GOOD LUCK!
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: arebelspy on August 23, 2016, 03:43:10 PM
It's been about 3 weeks since the move... how's it gone?!  :D
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: arebelspy on August 23, 2016, 05:09:06 PM
Nice, sounds like you found some good places to explore!

Where'd DW end up with regarding teaching?
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: meghan88 on August 23, 2016, 06:31:10 PM
So far so good. :)
finished our first road trip. :D

Las Vegas 2/10 - No need to come back intersting once, that will do for life

Almost time for work. :)

heheheh.  My sig-O went there on business and it was declared that we'd NEVER go there.

Sounds like you're in a region with a lot of Mustachian resources nearby ... I'm sure you'll do fine.  A company like Dassault is usually a class act when sending people abroad.  Hopefully if the exchange rate works in your favour on the way back home, you can give yourself a "raise".  Worked for me in 2002 when my Cdn$ salary was translated into Euros and then back again in 2003.  If the exchange rate works against you, you can argue that using the exchange rate at time of transfer has penalized you.
Title: Re: Moving to LA from Munich - So Many Questions
Post by: Fred2004 on September 26, 2016, 12:24:10 PM
So far so good. :)
finished our first road trip. :D

Death Valley 9/10 - coming back in spring to camp and enjoy the night sky
Las Vegas 2/10 - No need to come back intersting once, that will do for life
Grand Canyon 9/10 - coming back to hike and spend more time there
Dixie National Forrest 9/10 - coming back to hike and spend more time there
Desert overall 9/10 - just gorgeous
Grand Staircase 8/10 - just hiking in a real life western.
Bryce Canyon 10/10 - Gorgeous! definitely coming back to hike and spend more time there
Salt Lake City 7/10 - quite nice, might be a good place to live, enjoyed the counter culture there. :)
City of Rocks 7/10 - A heaven for climbers, lovely hikes for sure but a long way off the beaten track
Lake Tahoe 9/10 Beautiful, coming back to hike and spend more time there. :)

Almost time for work. :)

Did you go to Red Rock Canyons just outside Vegas?  It's more of a climbing destination...but it's got a lot of hiking too probably.

Wait till you see Yosemite... (Joshua Tree...Smith, Oregon...etc)