Author Topic: UK expat in the US considering move back to the UK post-FIRE  (Read 4115 times)

REAL WORLD EXPAT

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UK expat in the US considering move back to the UK post-FIRE
« on: October 27, 2015, 10:53:59 AM »
So seriously started thinking of returning to the UK once wife and I FIRE all being well in 5 or so years. I've been in the US since 2002 (I'm a US citizen now but kept my UK citizenship) and all my money is in US institutions and plans (401k, IRA). Wife is a US citizen so I'll have to get her a visa but that won't be a problem.

Reaching out see if there are any others who have done the same and if there is anything I need to consider before making my mind up. A few things I have that I need consider:

Exchange rate risk.
Cost of living higher (though my plan is to settle in a LCOL area).
Tax - not sure how this will work so will need to read up or meet with a reputable tax specialist in the next few years - any advise?

Main reason for the move is to experience the UK and travel around Europe a lot - but for me the main reason is to go home. I enjoy it in the US but I've always felt like I am standing on the ground where I don't belong (though everyone has been great to me here) and when I go home I feel as if I am part of the land - this may sound strange and its hard to explain!

Any other US citizens FIRE'ed over in the UK?

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: UK expat in the US considering move back to the UK post-FIRE
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2015, 11:08:35 AM »
... but for me the main reason is to go home. I enjoy it in the US but I've always felt like I am standing on the ground where I don't belong (though everyone has been great to me here) and when I go home I feel as if I am part of the land - this may sound strange and its hard to explain!
...

Would'nt your american wife feel the same about living in the UK?

How about test driving living a couple of years there before you pull the trigger?

REAL WORLD EXPAT

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Re: UK expat in the US considering move back to the UK post-FIRE
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2015, 11:14:16 AM »
... but for me the main reason is to go home. I enjoy it in the US but I've always felt like I am standing on the ground where I don't belong (though everyone has been great to me here) and when I go home I feel as if I am part of the land - this may sound strange and its hard to explain!
...

Would'nt your american wife feel the same about living in the UK?

How about test driving living a couple of years there before you pull the trigger?

Yes she would - no matter where we live at least one and possibly both of us would be off home-soil so to speak - but that's what we signed up for so we'll deal with it.

We can do a trial run but I think it would have to be in short burst of less than 6 months (wife would have to come on a tourist visa and would have to prove she will leave) as I'm not sure if there would be a visa for our situation of try before you buy, but worth me a looking into it though.

daverobev

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Re: UK expat in the US considering move back to the UK post-FIRE
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2015, 03:02:50 PM »
The elephant is US tax policy on non residents, IMHO. You'll always pay the greatest amount of tax. God knows how the US would treat an ISA in the hands of a non resident. I assume you wouldn't relinquish US citizenship.

shanghaiMMM

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Re: UK expat in the US considering move back to the UK post-FIRE
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2015, 05:17:45 AM »
Posting to follow.

I'm a Brit, about to marry my US partner, with plans to move to USA and perhaps eventually follow suit and retire back to the UK!

It's the tax complications I'm most worried about I guess.

UnleashHell

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Re: UK expat in the US considering move back to the UK post-FIRE
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2015, 05:25:53 AM »
moving back is an option for us but I do have a few concerns. Tax isn;t one of them as post fire I won't earn enough to concern myself with US taxes (I think theres an exeption for under about 80k)

The nhs - thats good if you can back into using it - I think there is a wait before you can use it but I'm not sure. If you can get treated as a uk resident again then then you can get the card for use in the rest of europe so that takes care of health insurance.

COL - I'd have to very carefully consider where to live. Major cities and commuter routes might be out. I wouldn;t mind Cornwall or Devon but its a bit remote.

the weather - I'm in florida now so that'd be a bit of a culture shock.

General culture shock - I've been here 15 years. Its not the UK that I have in my mind - things change.

Kids - they have spent most of their life here - not sure they'd move. but that could be good - easy to get back and visit as they'll be adults...

a lot to consider.

REAL WORLD EXPAT

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Re: UK expat in the US considering move back to the UK post-FIRE
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2015, 05:38:32 AM »
The elephant is US tax policy on non residents, IMHO. You'll always pay the greatest amount of tax. God knows how the US would treat an ISA in the hands of a non resident. I assume you wouldn't relinquish US citizenship.

I would not relinquish US citizenship. I can't see us having any UK based savings vehicles to be honest, we'd just draw down from our US accounts to fund out lives over there if that is possible so from a US tax perspective I can't see it being that complicated, not sure how the UK would tax my US income though?

KCM5

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Re: UK expat in the US considering move back to the UK post-FIRE
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2015, 07:51:02 AM »
We're going to do this.

My spouse is a UK citizen and I'm a US citizen. We live in the US right now.

Regarding taxes, check out the tax treaty between the US and Britain. From my reading, in general, the money in the US will be taxed and treated as US income (ie taking money from 401(k)s).

We're not planning on moving until about 10 years from now, once we're FI. So I haven't spent a ton of time on the tax thing. But I do plan on consulting someone familiar with out situation before we get to the point of filing taxes.

KCM5

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Re: UK expat in the US considering move back to the UK post-FIRE
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2015, 07:56:18 AM »
Have you read up on getting a visa for your wife?

From my understanding, money that is accessible to you can be used to show that you'll be able to support yourself. I was doing the math a bit ago and we'd need somewhere around 80 to 100k in accessible accounts in order to get visas for myself and our daughter. Or my spouse would need to have a job. But it wasn't clear to me that the money could be in index funds or if it has to be in cash. Requiring it to be in cash sounds a little silly to me. Again, since its ten years down the road I haven't spent too much time researching it, because things can change.

REAL WORLD EXPAT

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Re: UK expat in the US considering move back to the UK post-FIRE
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2015, 08:27:50 AM »
Have you read up on getting a visa for your wife?

From my understanding, money that is accessible to you can be used to show that you'll be able to support yourself. I was doing the math a bit ago and we'd need somewhere around 80 to 100k in accessible accounts in order to get visas for myself and our daughter. Or my spouse would need to have a job. But it wasn't clear to me that the money could be in index funds or if it has to be in cash. Requiring it to be in cash sounds a little silly to me. Again, since its ten years down the road I haven't spent too much time researching it, because things can change.

I'm familiar with the visa situation as of today but being as it may change by the time we (may) apply I've not worried to much about it and unless they change the financial requirements to something ridiculous I'm not too worried about the money side of things. If it needs to be cash I'll sell some funds, I'll need to anyhow for supporting us while we are over there.

If we get taxed as if we are in the US and not again in the UK that would be great (at least as of today but anything can change), but I'll probably need to talk to an experienced tax professional to make sure before we go any further.

Sean Og

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Re: UK expat in the US considering move back to the UK post-FIRE
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2015, 06:48:04 PM »
Posting to follow also as we plan to RE to Ireland/UK but we will likely end up back in the US around normal retirement age (depending on what life throws at us of course!)

Plan is to FIRE in about 10 years so haven't done a lot of digging into the details yet. From what I did some time ago it appeared to be a little more complex than meets the eye. Mainly though, if the FEIE remains then it will be good but who knows if that will still be around in 10 years.

On the visa side I am Irish and luckily my US born wife has British citizenship by descent so we have some relative freedom there.

fa

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Re: UK expat in the US considering move back to the UK post-FIRE
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2015, 09:26:37 PM »
The elephant is US tax policy on non residents, IMHO. You'll always pay the greatest amount of tax. God knows how the US would treat an ISA in the hands of a non resident. I assume you wouldn't relinquish US citizenship.

Remember the exit tax.  Relinquishing US citizienship does not necessarily solve the problem.

sam

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Re: UK expat in the US considering move back to the UK post-FIRE
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2015, 09:39:33 AM »
Id be very interested to hear how you handle the 401ks ect, perhaps its possible to roll these into SIPPS/ISAs ect?

Sam

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Re: UK expat in the US considering move back to the UK post-FIRE
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2015, 09:45:46 AM »
My future plan is just live like a tourist in other country and just pay taxes on investments in US like I was living here...
then use credit cards/bank transfers to get spending money in foreign country

not entirely sure about the tax issue but I don't think it would be an issue, I'm not "working" or making an income over there... and I wouldn't be there long enough to qualify as a taxable person I think (planning half a year in both places)

if you travel in Europe enough, wouldn't that make you a tourist by definition? And you won't be taxed if you bring money with you... I mean taxed by that country and not the US where you are keeping money. Or are you moving money to UK as well?

Eurotexan

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Re: UK expat in the US considering move back to the UK post-FIRE
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2015, 10:28:17 AM »
Posting to follow. I am looking at FIRE in about 8 years and the current plan is to spend about 4 months in the UK (summer!) and the rest in the US so my residency won't change.

Interested to see the responses on the tax issues though as you never know when plans change!

Exflyboy

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Re: UK expat in the US considering move back to the UK post-FIRE
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2015, 11:24:24 AM »
As a UK ex-pat in the US I did a bit of reading up on this.

The US/UK have a tax treaty, in fact on your US tax forms it asks for "Foreign taxes paid", so they are not charged again in the US. I'm pretty sure this is a non issue but you will have to figure out how to set it up.

Reading on the NHS website I saw that it said you simply had to prove intent of living in the UK to have full (and immediate) access to the HC care system.. Its specifically stated some examples or proof such as shipping documents for household stuff, rental agreements etc.

I would be a little more concerned about what curveballs Uncle Sam would throw at you to be honest, not that I am aware of any. As a UK citizen you will be required to get a "Sailing permit".. The very notion of that fills me with horror, but I think its just a case of proving you don't owe the Government anything.

A friend of mine (also a UK expat) went and got his US Citizenship as his meant he could avoid having to get a sailing permit should he ever decide to go back. It also means you don't have to keep renewing your green card every 10 years. As mine expires in 2019, I might do this as well.

I went back to the UK this Summer and to be honest I was shocked at how expensive things had become, for some reason it didn't feel like home anymore but I guess after almost 20 years in the US that's understandable.