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Old 12-18-06, 10:34 AM   #1
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Hey Aussies...talk to me about living there...

Ok so here is the deal. My wife works in the pharmcutical industry and her company is looking for 2 reps with expierence to relocate to Australia. So we are intrigued. Of course it will depend on the compensation and the location but in general what are we looking at if we make this move?

How does the cost of living compare to the US?
How do the schools compare?
What types of things (other than the fact that both of our famlies are in the States) should we be thinking about when contemplating this move?

Currently we live in Central PA and both make ok money not great but not bad and no where near poverty...hell I have 4 bikes how bad can we be doing? Our local school district is pretty good (top quarter of the state) and the cost of living is reasonable though housing is a bit expensive.

Anyway just looking for any input on this topic so feel free to throw about anything out there.

Thanks
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Old 12-18-06, 11:15 AM   #2
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Ok thanks for the feedback.
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Old 12-18-06, 03:05 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ecnetsixe
When Matagi wakes up she will post in this thread for sure and have a lot of good advice on coming to Aus im sure!!
Gee, thanks for that kiddo.

Ok here goes......

Cost of living - food is cheaper here as are proper restaurants (not talking about fast food places). Fuel is much higher in price as is the cost of energy generally (electricity, etc). Clothing is more expensive here, as are consumer goods but the difference is less than it used to be.

As far as education is concerned, there is the same range of schools from absolutely atrocious to excellent that you would find in the States in both the public and private systems. I would say the worst of our government schools would be way better than the worst of your schools.

Cost of housing - how long is a piece of string? How much you spend on a house will depend on which city you end up in and which suburb you choose. Sydney is the most expensive city to live in and anywhere waterfront will cost you an arm and a leg.

Culturally, while things will seem familiar they will have a local spin so expect to have a few "whoa, WTF?" moments. We have a reasonable social security system so you will see far less overt poverty here than back in the States.

Geographically, the further north you go the more tropical our weather becomes. So anywhere north of Sydney, you get incredibly mild winters and hot and humid summers. Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia have more defined seasons. We only get snow on the ground in the alpine regions.

Unlike ecnetsixe, I would suggest you consider South Australia and Tasmania if logistics permit. These are two of our smallest states in terms of population and the cost of property is really low. Also, Adelaide and Hobart are very attractive cities.

Hope this helps, if you have any other questions I'll do my best to answer them - either post them here or PM me.
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Old 12-18-06, 07:57 PM   #4
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didn't Expat get sick of being ripped off when buying bikes and cars?

about 10 years ago (I think), there was some kinda Aussie Ford Capri (I think) that was sold in The States, and it was was bloody cheaper there than it was here, even though it was a bloody import!!!!! Many of us were really pissed off

So, all I know is that toys for boys down here are way overpriced

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Old 12-19-06, 03:14 AM   #5
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If you move to Oz go to Sydney. It's the most expensive city but if you're on an expat package that shouldn't be a problem.

Sydney is, IMO, the most beautiful city on earth, and is the one place in Australia that people should see before they die. The restaurants and cafes are almost as good as Melbourne, but the weather and location more than make up for that.

Sydney isn't as good as Melbourne and Perth for cycling though, but there are lots of things to do and see within 1-2 hours drive of Sydney.

The cost of living in Australia is roughly the same as the US with petrol being marginally more expensive.
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Old 12-19-06, 04:16 AM   #6
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melbourne was voted the worlds most liveable city. dont know who by tho. but well take it.

were crazy about our sport too. you better be prepared to hear all about footy and cricket!
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Old 12-19-06, 04:44 AM   #7
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melbourne was voted the worlds most liveable city. dont know who by tho. but well take it.

were crazy about our sport too. you better be prepared to hear all about footy and cricket!
Yeah, I still miss Melbourne.
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Old 12-19-06, 05:58 AM   #8
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Thanks for the feedback gang. I don't suppose you get PSU football (american style) down there.

My wife is still getting the info on where and how much so I really don't know much at this point.
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Old 12-19-06, 06:03 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Grasschopper
Thanks for the feedback gang. I don't suppose you get PSU football (american style) down there.

My wife is still getting the info on where and how much so I really don't know much at this point.

I'm not sure if they have college football, but you can watch the NFL on cable/satellite TV.
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Old 12-19-06, 01:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Johnny_Monkey
but there are lots of things to do and see within 1-2 hours drive of Sydney.
Anywhere 1 - 2 hours drive from Sydney is still called Sydney (if you start in the CBD)

Seriously though, Sydney is my favourite Aussie city. For cycling, the upper North Shore or South around Cronulla/Sutherland would be the best locations. Don't go West as it's all bogans in V8s out that way.
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Old 12-19-06, 04:03 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Grasschopper
Thanks for the feedback gang. I don't suppose you get PSU football (american style) down there.

My wife is still getting the info on where and how much so I really don't know much at this point.
I think we get the college games on ESPN on cable/satellite and of course we get the NFL games including Superbowl.
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Old 12-19-06, 04:08 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Grasschopper
Thanks for the feedback gang. I don't suppose you get PSU football (american style) down there.

My wife is still getting the info on where and how much so I really don't know much at this point.
Yeah, as JM mentioned above, you might struggle to get college football here - especially on TV (edit: or maybe we do, thanks matagi, no cable TV at my place ), but that's what the interweb is for... BTW are the Buckeyes still kicking butt like they were earlier this season?

Believe it or not, here in Melbourne we actually have a gridiron competition I think there's only about 6 or so sides & I bet they would get pummelled by most junior high school teams over your way, but still...if you're keen to see live (US) football
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Old 12-19-06, 07:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilchemy
Yeah, as JM mentioned above, you might struggle to get college football here - especially on TV (edit: or maybe we do, thanks matagi, no cable TV at my place ), but that's what the interweb is for... BTW are the Buckeyes still kicking butt like they were earlier this season?

Believe it or not, here in Melbourne we actually have a gridiron competition I think there's only about 6 or so sides & I bet they would get pummelled by most junior high school teams over your way, but still...if you're keen to see live (US) football
Well since Ohio State is one of PSU's rivals we don't like to talk about them kicking butt. But they are in the national championship game that will be the week after newyears.
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Old 12-19-06, 09:08 PM   #14
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Well since Ohio State is one of PSU's rivals we don't like to talk about them kicking butt. But they are in the national championship game that will be the week after newyears.
Aha, they're still doing okay then My nephew is fratboy/jock/party pig at OSU so that's the reason I have even the slightest idea of how the Buckeye football team was going. Thanks for the update.
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Old 12-20-06, 02:37 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by 62vette
Anywhere 1 - 2 hours drive from Sydney is still called Sydney (if you start in the CBD)

Seriously though, Sydney is my favourite Aussie city. For cycling, the upper North Shore or South around Cronulla/Sutherland would be the best locations. Don't go West as it's all bogans in V8s out that way.
The M2 and ED have made a big difference to access in and out of Sydney.

Cronulla is full of oiks IMO.
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Old 12-27-06, 07:53 AM   #16
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Whoa! I see some misinformation here. I'll log in after work, and give you a breakdown of how I fared moving from California to NSW. And I'll temper my opinions with some observations from the missus.
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Old 12-27-06, 07:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grasschopper
Ok so here is the deal. My wife works in the pharmcutical industry and her company is looking for 2 reps with expierence to relocate to Australia. So we are intrigued. Of course it will depend on the compensation and the location but in general what are we looking at if we make this move?

How does the cost of living compare to the US?
How do the schools compare?
What types of things (other than the fact that both of our famlies are in the States) should we be thinking about when contemplating this move?

Currently we live in Central PA and both make ok money not great but not bad and no where near poverty...hell I have 4 bikes how bad can we be doing? Our local school district is pretty good (top quarter of the state) and the cost of living is reasonable though housing is a bit expensive.

Anyway just looking for any input on this topic so feel free to throw about anything out there.

Thanks
Ok, here's my take:

The cost of living is much higher in Australia than the US. Food, clothing, utilities, petrol, and housing all cost more.

My Scion xB costs me about $22 a fortnight in petrol in the US. Expect to pay nearly triple that in Australia. If the comparison is made by relative wages, (a much more meaningful figure) the average wage earner in Utah county would only work one hour per week to fill my car. It would be more than 1.5 hours at the average wage in NSW (or at least Newcastle) to buy the same amount of fuel.

You like that free mobile phone and $30/month plan from your local cellular carrier? Forget about it. Plans in Oz aren't nearly as cheap, many don't include a lot of minutes, and they don't give phone away like they do in the US. Texting will be your friend, if it isn't already.

Foxtel has a cable package for about $96. Ouch! Get the internet instead.

Not only is your choice at the grocery store limited, but the prices are higher. And forget Mexican food. On the bright side, takeaway fish and chips are really cheap.

The schools are no different than the US. Some are great, some suck. I put more emphasis on the parents than the teachers. At least you have control over that.

Renting a house is affordable. Buying, not so much. The government does not allow you to deduct mortgage interest on your primary residence, but you can on a rental property. Go figure. There are also legal fees that seem to be much more than closing costs.

Are you planning to move there for a few years, or is this a permanent move?
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Old 12-27-06, 07:28 PM   #18
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If you move and start watching aussie rules rugby, the NFL pales in comparison.
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Old 12-27-06, 10:15 PM   #19
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are there any financial benefits leaving here?
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Old 12-27-06, 10:50 PM   #20
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are there any financial benefits leaving here?
Depends on your job skills and marital status. If you can command a high wage, you can probably live well most places. But if you're just an office drone, you need to do a lot of research. Having a wife and kids is also a big consideration. I went from single, making about US$70k/year to married with 3 more kids, and making about AU$40k/year.

Combined, I think we make about US$45k/year. But our house was only $169k. We could have bought a new house for even less, if we weren't picky about location. So it's all relative. I cannot ride my bike to the beach like we did in Newcastle. We do have a lake though, and mountains.

I suppose that rather than make it a financial consideration, look at lifestyle as well. If I was single, Australia would offer more in the way of good times. Much harder to raise a family there, but if I just wanted to work and ride my bike, and hook up with the local girlies, Australia would be the place.
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Old 12-27-06, 11:07 PM   #21
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I thought houses were relatively more affordable in the capital cites down here.
Like, for eg, no-one in New York owns a home

Last edited by 531Aussie; 12-27-06 at 11:13 PM.
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Old 12-28-06, 01:48 AM   #22
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I thought houses were relatively more affordable in the capital cites down here.
Like, for eg, no-one in New York owns a home

wrong Sydney is up there as being very expensive. Why overly inflated house prices atm. Although many people with home loans (note I dont call them home owners) are now facing negative equity. Plus the fact in Sydney you are stuck with owning a car forget about public transportation.

Not being down but that how it is. I wouldn't live in Sydney. Just not worth the frustration.
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Old 12-28-06, 01:53 AM   #23
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I thought houses were relatively more affordable in the capital cites down here.
Like, for eg, no-one in New York owns a home

It's not apples vs apples (or big apples in this case). NYC is not really comparable to anywhere in Oz.

Saying that though, I'm not sure if Expat was talking into into account exchange rate differences. I found the price of petrol in Oz to be not too much more expensive than the US, and the most I ever paid for Foxtel (cable or satellite) was about A$55.00 (no movies though). I pay 36 quid for the same package here.

Also some things throw you a bit. Olive oil in the US is twice the price you pay in Oz IIRC.
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Old 12-28-06, 02:06 AM   #24
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It's not apples vs apples (or big apples in this case). NYC is not really comparable to anywhere in Oz.

Saying that though, I'm not sure if Expat was talking into into account exchange rate differences. I found the price of petrol in Oz to be not too much more expensive than the US, and the most I ever paid for Foxtel (cable or satellite) was about A$55.00 (no movies though). I pay 36 quid for the same package here.

Also some things throw you a bit. Olive oil in the US is twice the price you pay in Oz IIRC.

its time for the big mac purchasing power parity test.

How much does a big mac cost in Aus? I've got no idea. Run that through the exchange rate and see how that compares.
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Old 12-28-06, 03:04 AM   #25
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its time for the big mac purchasing power parity test.

How much does a big mac cost in Aus? I've got no idea. Run that through the exchange rate and see how that compares.

I don't eat ***** so I don't know either.

I assume Oz is more highly taxed than the US, especially stamp duty on properties.
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