Making ends meet is quite hard when you live in a place quite different to what you are used to. This is especially true for those who leave the US to work in places like Britain or other European countries. For many Americans coming to the UK, communicating in the same language is taken for granted.
Just because we speak the same language as people in another country does not necessarily mean that the circumstances are going to be the same. Speaking the same language does seem to place you in a comfort zone; however, there are many other things to consider. After all, the place is new for you and might take a while or a long time to adjust to the way of life here. Aspects such as expat tax and expat banking among other areas are things that need much consideration.
To start with, the cost of living being different has a considerable impact on how you live from day to day. If you have grown up with a different way of spending in your own country, you might find your financial life in the UK quite different.
Some US expats find that they simply have less in terms of quantity as compared to their friends back home. It often takes a long time to get used to this. Also, when you do visit America again and are standing around friends, you will feel like the odd one out with a lower material standard of living. Yet, when you consider the quality of life, there is satisfaction.
The financial aspect of your life pervades everything you do, no matter where you live on this planet. So, when you have a lower material standard of living, you are bound to find homes more expensive than they are in the United States. In the UK you will most likely live in a home, including mortgages for expats, half the size of what you’d have in the US. You probably will not have a basement, and walk-in closets are hardly to be seen.
Everyone you know in the UK, including IT grads, teachers, journalists and engineers, all have similar homes with space that’s less than ideal by US standards. If you want to get a look at anything better than this, you would need to see those connected to the city or high income earners. Doctors who live higher up the scale don’t have the standards that Americans have. There are people with expat finance jobs and pharmacists as well who hold chemistry degrees, but have 5 figure salaries.
Other things you need to get used to as part of your way of life in the UK is bringing sandwiches to work and not going out for lunch as is done often in the US. While you won’t go out for lunch as much as you would in the US, you do have a brilliant National Health Service. As an American, you’d be amazed by this. Our salaries may be lower and we benefit from significant expat tax services, but we have everything social service woven together well in the UK.
Without a doubt, you will find a financial drop when you come here from the US. American culture is marked by gallon size soft drink containers and many other excesses, which are considered fun. However, in the UK the emphasis is on saving as much as you can. You are urged to be careful with your expat finance.
If you’re thinking about making a move to the UK, you must brace yourself for the expensive lifestyle and the need to look after your pennies. It’s a great place to stay and have a healthy life provided that you can manage on lower wages.