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Thread: Moving OS with a family- what to consider?

  1. #1

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    Default Moving OS with a family- what to consider?

    My H has been slowly progressing through an interview process for a job in the US. He would love the the job but we've been unsure how we would make the whole thing work if he was successful, due to us having a baby due in November.



    He has just started emailing a HR lady to discuss the logistics of the job- moving, expected salary etc before they consider flying him over for a final interview and she just said they would be happy to push out a start date to February next year at the latest. So our baby would be 3 months old then- suddenly it is all starting to feel in the realm of 'doable'.

    But what now? What else should we consider? Who has made/considered such a move and what do you think is important?

    Some considerations:
    - This is not an expat job so we don't think it carries a high salary- we would need a salary that supports a family plus covers some of our mortgage back home

    - Will have to organise renting out our house

    - Is moving OS with an almost 3 year old and a 3 month old madness?
    Last edited by meow; August 11th, 2010 at 12:52 PM. Reason: typos

  2. #2

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    I don't think that moving OS with children is madness whatever their age. You can get a relocation company to take care of heaps of the logistics. My brother's company provides a relocation as part of his package - if he moves into their accommodation they hook up utilities and so on. If he arranges his own housing they just provide removalists.
    Renting your house isn't really very hard and you can get an agent to do it.
    You might need to consider education and health expenses - can your children access free education in the States or do you have to pay even for a public school? Health insurance is a biggy in the US because of the cost of health care.
    What will you do with your furniture? Move it to the US? Sell it? Store it?
    Do you have pets?

  3. #3

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    Thank you for the ideas!

    You're right about education... I've been wondering about that. We're thinking in many ways now is a good time to go because we don't really want to go for a long time and this way we'll probably move back before our eldest starts school anyway. But I do need to look into kindergartens and occasional care options.

    The company pays relocation- they will move everything including our car if we want and they give us a real estate agent to help us find a place. Think they pay temp accomodation in the meantime then too. Only problem is we would have to pay to move it all back so we think we would sell the car and only move over furniture that we're happy to leave there when we're done.

    We do have a cat... what to do about her? Will have to look into how long she would be in quarantine I guess.

    Ah yes- health care! A biggie with any US job huh?!

  4. #4

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    Health care is a BIG consideration... although, get your DH to find out what's covered by his new employer, as that seems to be your ticket over there.

    You probably wouldn't want to move your car, given that they drive on the other side of the road. Import cars can be the biggest headache in the world to insure, so think that through as well. Might work out better to sell your car here, then hook yourself up with a new one over there.

    It's only madness if you think it will be madness. I don't really see why you couldn't do it. You'd just need to be fairly organised and have good contingency plans. I thinnk you'd be fine.

  5. #5

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    Yeah moving the car seems a bit dumb to be honest- it would be all wrong on their roads!

    I guess I'm just remembering how hard the first few months were after my son was born and I'm wondering if trying to move at that point would just be a huge nightmare. And organised is NOT my middle name Then again- I'm good at pre-planning and research so can be fairly organised and I'm also good at going with the flow so I think we could make it work.

    Will have to see where to from here I guess. Getting a little excited and there's no actual job offer yet! We don't know what the corporate culture towards work/life balance is yet either and we don't want to move to a job where my H is expected to work long hours.

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  7. #7

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    Hi !
    We've just moved overseas (from Brisbane to Belgium) with an almost 3 yr old, and a 3 month old. My DH is Belgian, so we moved for family reasons and we both had to leave jobs in Australia (though I am technically on maternity leave). My MIL had organised a rental house for us here, so at least we had accommodation covered... My Dh was lucky to find a new job pretty quickly.

    Its fantastic if the company pays for relocation. Make sure they get a shipment that goes speedily though, ours took FIVE months to get here, which was 2 months longer than quoted. Meant we had no kids toys, books, and just suitcases of clothes for the first 2 months (though we did get given loads of things once we got here, so it wasn't all that bad... quite liberating to be honest!!) But it was stressful. And it was hard to decide what to pack for shipping, what to keep out to take in our suitcases, and what to store.

    It's definitely not madness. It's an exciting adventure and something you will look back at and be thankful you did it. We have had no trouble at all, and the kids have been perfectly fine. Our DD will start kindy here next month, so will be bilingual before me! I have tracked down an expat group that runs Mothers Groups, so I have made some new Mummy friends with kids the same age as mine - that was the most important thing for me.

    The things I am missing are mostly food related! Pumpkin and sweet potato, and I am about to run out of vegemite They sell different things in the supermarket and you don't realise what you take for granted at home in Aus.

    I am also missing driving, and the independence of getting myself everywhere. We have just got a car but I have to learn to drive on the right. Bit scary with two kids! Once I can drive, I will be able to get out more, and that will help heaps. For now I am getting fit walking everywhere.

    Other things to consider are:
    - immunisation schedules and how you want to do that (if you vax)
    - preschool / kindy systems and if you need to enrol in advance
    - health insurance
    - baby bonus will be paid even if you are OS, and you might also still be eligible for family benefit payments, all tax related etc. Make sure you tell Centrelink before you go.


    Feel free to ask any questions you want, its still all very fresh for me! (we've been here 3 months now)

    Good luck!

  8. #8

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    Thank you so much for all your insights and experience! Oh boy- even 3 months waiting for everything to arrive is ages! For some reason I'm hung up on how we would live without our cloth nappies more than anything else

    Immunisation schedules did occur to me. We partially vax on a modified schedule and I did SO much research last time the idea of having to do it all over again with different vaccinations is a huge headache!

    Glad to hear you've found a mother's group I was thinking about that too and I'm pretty sure I would be able to get hooked up well within my H's company as they fly people in from all over the world so I think there would be quite a good expat community.

    So much to ponder- thank you. Ohhh I would need to send SO much vegemite in that first shipment!

  9. #9

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    Hi

    I can't help you with the move, but maybe with some other info...

    You will be able to send your child(ren) to public school - no fees involved...but keep in mind the school year is different - school year starts in Sept and ends in June - but your child can start at any time. However, which school depends on where you live so when choosing where to live, you want to take into account quality of schools...unfortunately, I don't know how you go about finding this info but I'm sure it's out there and US real estate agents who you will meet in your search for a rental will be able to provide you with info as well. By the way, with the way the property market is going there, you should get a good deal on rent.

    OH - make sure that in your DH's employment (and since it sounds like it is not an expat package) if they terminate him early, they pay for your move back home plus any "early termination" costs (i.e., of lease). Employment laws in the US are very different...2 weeks notice is norm and there's no statutory right to any kind of payout - only what you negotiate in the contract and giving what you are going to undertake to move, this isn't unreasonable.

    As a prior poster said, health insurance is key - so much so that it it's not part of the package, I would not go (however, I'd be shocked if it wasn't)...just make sure there are no waiting periods for anything - the HR representative should be able to provide this info. Make sure it starts from day 1 of move even if DH doesn't start work until day 10 (if you know what I mean)...if you can't get it from Day 1 because DH isn't starting work on Day 1, then make sure you have travel insurance for the gap. You don't want to be in the US without insurance - not even for 60 seconds.

    Bring all your children's immunization records - the public schools may want to see this --- or they may want a letter from your GP or a doctor there who would take into account your Aus history.

    Keep in mind that things are much cheaper in the US - you will be shocked about how much less cars, furniture, white goods, clothing, shoes, shampoo, make-up, sheets, towels, etc. etc. are....if you are curious as to say how much a car would cost - think of a car, and go to their US site - you should be able to find the "sticker" price - NO ONE pays the sticker price! but it is a start for comparison as well as costing.

    Hope this helps somewhat - what area of the US would you be living in?

  10. #10

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    Thanks!!! So many great tips. I'm making up a list for my H's phone chat that he has coming up with the HR lady!

    The job is in Seattle. Rainy Seattle

  11. #11

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    Seattle is fantastic...coming from sunny Australia, it will be a change but it is beautiful - so green and even though it does rain a lot, it's a very outdoorsy city - beautiful parks and very, very family friendly. And according to my sister (who lives in Seattle), great 2nd hand stores for children's clothing - some of which seems as if it was never worn. Also, great quality of food - Seattlers (or Seattlites...not sure what they call themselves) are very green (meaning all for organic, growing/eating local etc.) - great farmers markets and a large number of top quality supermarkets...I don't know if you are one to get excited over supermarkets, but the US has some fantastic supermarkets (whole foods, trader joes to name a few).

    Seattle also has a decent public transport system - where you live will be key in terms of how convenient it is for you (or your DH if he wants to commute to work).

    If you have any questions about Seattle in particular, I can ask my sister - she'll definitely know a bit about schools and areas as she's been there for over 10 years and has 2 young boys.

  12. #12

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    Oh wow! You're really selling it! I had heard it was outdoorsy and it is in a great part of the states for access to national parks. I will return and ask you for more Seattle tips if my H gets the job and we decide to take it

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by meow View Post
    Thank you so much for all your insights and experience! Oh boy- even 3 months waiting for everything to arrive is ages! For some reason I'm hung up on how we would live without our cloth nappies more than anything else
    Me too!!! I shipped them all, we had to, they are so bulky. We used disposables and then spent months stressing that DS would have outgrown all the Medium AIOs I had bought. Fortunately he still fitted them all, but it was a loooooong wait.

    It might take less than 3 months for your shipment to get to US. Ours had to go through the UK for customs, which added on heaps of time. Also we went with a cheaper company that basically "backloads" a container, so we were waiting for other people's stuff. We only shipped 4 cubic meters of personal things - no furniture.

    Working out the timing with shipping stuff / new baby might be tricky for you too though - we had ours collected from our house when DS was only 3 weeks old. They were not fun weeks. My poor DH

  14. #14

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    If you move and you need that vegemite or tim tam hit, pm me. My sister runs a business that sends aussie food overseas, everything from vegemite to maggi casserole bases.

  15. #15

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    Well, my H's phone interview with the HR lady is finally this Tuesday. This is the overview of their benefits and relocation assistance. Looks good overall in terms of health care and relocation costs... but 2 weeks of holidays??!! Any more alarm bells/questions you would ask?

    Health Care:

    * A choice of three medical plans designed to meet your individual needs (several in-network and out-of-network options), with domestic partner coverage
    * Dental plan
    * Vision plan
    * Company-paid basic life and accident coverage as well as optional coverage at a low cost
    * Company-paid short- and long-term disability plan
    * Employee assistance program including dependent-care referral services and financial/legal services
    * Health-care and dependent-care flexible spending accounts

    Time Off:

    * Salaried employees earn two weeks of vacation time in the first year, three weeks of vacation in the second
    * Six personal days every year in addition to six holidays

    Savings Plans:

    * Every full-time employee receives Restricted Stock Units
    * 401(k) savings plan with a company match
    * Several employee discount programs

    Relocation Assistance:

    We have partnered with a world-class relocation service provider to make sure your relocation is as stress-free as possible. Our service provider will assist you with real-estate and destination services to find just the right new location for you.

    * Packing, unpacking, and moving of your personal goods and car
    * Fully furnished, temporary housing, which will include maid service, utilities, and parking
    * Storage for your personal items
    * Rental or real-estate tours to assist you with finding a new residence
    * A rental car until your personal car arrives
    * Relocation allowance to assist you with incidental expenses
    * Payment of part of the tax liability incurred with most of your taxable relocation expenses

  16. #16

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    So my H received his job offer this morning and the salary looks good so we think we'll take it. Still need to chat about it over the weekend but I think it's looking likely.

    Soo... just bumping this thread again in case there are any more hints and tips for moving with a young family Thanks!

  17. #17

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    That's so exciting!!

    Another thing to ask would be if he is tied to the company if you take a relocation package and what are the penalties - for example (and not saying this will happen) if you guys decide that you don't like living there or your DH hates the job. It something to consider as we have friends who moved over here, took a $13000 relocation package and then he hated the job so left and they had to pay that $13000 back.

    Sounds like everyone is giving you great tips. I'm very jealous, I love the States!

    Make sure you go to Starbucks! Isn't it Seattle that the very first Starbucks opened?

    Sue x

  18. #18

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    Congratulations to your H!!!! that must be a big boost for his confidence!! (although i am miffed that he is taking you away...here i was going to tempt you to hang out with me at various cafes LOL!).

    have you had a squiz at the rental market in the town your moving into? sometimes gives a good idea of housing stock and areas that might seem nice.

    moving the cat shouldnt be too tricky. we moved with our cat back to Australia and that was a PITA $$ and time wise as we have really strict quarantine procedures, but friends that have moved to the UK (for example) said that it was nowhere near as full on...(we paid almost $2000 to relocate the cat). your local vet probably has a relocation service that is worth asking about as they then take care of all the admin etc...

    moving is madness whether you have kids or no kids and i dont believe age is really too much of a factor, especially before they start school. we have moved every 2 years in the last 10 years and you get through it. DD1 has moved 3 times (of course not OS...yet lol!), and her first time was when she was 3 months old (we moved interstate to come to melb). it actually wasnt too bad at all! my only really big tip is to get their room with their stuff sorted out ASAP when you get there. even if you are in temporary accommodation, get their porta-cots etc set up with the bedding (my tip: use their old bedding, unwashed from home....i found this REALLY helped...). get their routine in order as much as possible. i have found that DD coped quite well with the jet lag as the excitement etc of the journey (she was 2 at the time) really helped to tucker her out. we arrived during the day, so we tried (without too much insistence or focus) to keep her awake as long as possible (went for walks, bought snacks, watched DVDs). then when she did flake out in the late arvo, i let her sleep until just before dinner time and got her up for the dinner, bed, milk and storytime routine. it helped us get into a rhythm...

    although it's a big move, it will be a fun experience for you and the kids! think of it as an adventure!! (oh and we might need your tips and hints soon in any case, my DH is off...with us in tow...in March next year to test the waters in LA...oh boy).

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