A Big Decision to Make

Every once in awhile you find yourself at a crossroads. Each road leading to an entirely new destination, each with their own crossroads leading to places that you never could have imagined.

When you find yourself at one of these pinnacle moments in your life you know that the decisions that you make will be paramount and you know this with absolute clarity. This week I found myself at one of these crossroads. I’ve seen it coming over the horizon for quite a while now but I didn’t think that I’d end up here so soon. There’s a lot of pondering to be done.

I’ve said many times on this blog that my dream is to relocate to a far away land, preferably the USA. In fact, it’s been my dream to move there since my childhood, it’s been almost an infatuation. I know that I’ve got the “American dream fever”, but when analysed, a lot of my wants and needs also point to the USA:

If you want to earn the biggest software engineering salaries, you need to be in the USA (particularly Silicon Valley)

I enjoy working hard and progressing, I also have an entrepreneurial spirit. Silicon Valley is where I belong and being there brings endless possibilities (even more than London!)

It’s the best country to be a citizen of, with regards to variety

I plan to retire early, I have plenty of passions but these might change at a moments notice. If I were a US citizen, I’d have 50 states that I could move to. No matter if I wanted snowy mountains, desert planes, lush greenery, rocky shores or perfect beaches – there’s a state that I could move to which would accommodate these dreams.

I also love the idea of ranching, building, and farming. Doing that in the UK would be a lot harder and more expensive than it would be in the USA.

There’s more land and bigger houses

The general consensus is that there is much more land and bigger houses in the USA (not particularly in California or New York City). For comparison – I’d be able to buy a ranch in northern Massachusetts for $75,000. If I tried to buy the same in Devon I’d be looking at over £1 million.

Moving away is a mean feat until you have clocked up a lot of experience and become desirable. In order to get a green card, the hiring company has to pay thousands of dollars and prove that they can’t hire a US citizen to do the same job. Due to this fact, I’d put the notion out of my head whilst I progressed through my career. Now, with over 5 years under my belt and with my marriage just around the corner (I can bring her with me), the time has come to really ask myself; is this what I still want to do?

Option #1 – Apply for visa sponsoring jobs now

This option has become more readily available to me due to new work connections. I could be applying to as many jobs as possible right now to maximise the possibility of moving to the USA.

Moving sooner rather than later seems like it’s what my heart desires. I have the experience, I’ll be able to bring my wife with me, why wait? Like previously mentioned in this blog, I feel like my life is waiting to start, why shouldn’t I start it ASAP? Moving now would mean that I’d become a citizen sooner, so I could move to a higher paying job more quickly once I’ve obtained a green card.

But it would also put a severe dent into my FIRE plans…

My savings rate would suffer, at least initially. My soon to be wife would not be eligible to work without her own VISA, she’d effectively be house-bound until I get my green card, which could take over 3 years. We’d also be living in an extremely high cost of living area. I wouldn’t really have the option to do what I’m doing now and have a long commute because I’d have to be working really long hours to ensure that I successfully get citizenship. These facts may mean that my savings rate would dip to near zero, a long way from the 80% that I’m achieving today.

Option #2 – Start contracting in London and relocate in a few years

The reason I initially started working in London was because I knew that I wanted to start freelancing. I’ve now got the experience (and the London experience) to begin this journey, it would be frustrating to move away before I even got to try it out.

Contracting would increase my pay by a factor of 2 and with my savings rate already sitting at 80%, it would make my savings rate go stratestophic. Contracting for a few years may even allow me to become fully financially independent before moving to the USA. My stash would then be able to grow whilst I obtained my green card and earning less over there during this process then wouldn’t matter as much.

Doing this would also allow my partner to continue working and moving up her career ladder, which brings us to another question – what to do about kids?

We’ve teetered along the lines of whether we want children for quite a while now. Both of us feel like we don’t want kids right now. We’re not settled into a location where we know we want to stay, it’s certainly not a viable place for children. We also still have so much that we want to accomplish, so many places that we’re yet to visit. And I know that children won’t halt these aspirations, but it will definitely hinder them. We are definitely in agreement that we do eventually want children, we don’t want to grow old without them. We know that one day, we’ll want a family.

The only trouble is the time bomb which is a woman’s womb. We know that we can’t wait too long without increasing the likelihood of pregnancy difficulties. Especially if we want more than 1 child. Because of this, we’re aiming to wait until the age of 31 at the latest, which gives us just under 4 years to sort our shit out and prepare.

This timeframe leads us down two pathways:

Option #2.a – Have children in the UK and relocate when they are young (in around 10 years)

This seems to make the most sense financially, but it would put a huge spanner in our initial dream (which is to relocate). We’d be able to continue earning and saving as much as we can, we’d both get maternity pay and we’d have the support of relatives if needed.

The one issue that I see with this option (other than staying in England) is that we’d have to move house. We chose our current place with cheapness in mind, we live in a really shit area (I’m pretty sure we have drug dealers at either side of us) and the house is not suitable for children. The place allows us to save a very high amount of our salaries, but we’d definitely have to move if we had kids.

The problem is, there aren’t many other options for places to move that would allow me to work in London, we’d either have to increase our housing costs massively or relocate to outside of the London area reducing my pay by a fair bit and perhaps forcing me to take up another permanent position.

I could potentially look for a fully remote contract before moving away from London, this could segway beautifully into relocating to the USA if the remote contract is with an American company. It would decrease my salary of course, but maybe that won’t matter after I’ve got a significant amount invested?

Option #2.b – Relocate in a few years and have children in the USA

This seems like it should be a great option. My wife won’t be able to work for at least a few years when we move away, so why not have kids then? The main issue seems to again, come down to costs.

I’m told that even with company health care, your excess costs for childbirth in the US can still be around $20k. WIth these prices it would be ludicrous to move out of a country where we could have kids for free, then proceed to instantly have children.

The other problem is that when we first relocate I’m going to have to be working crazy hours in one of the most demanding work cultures in the world. I wanted to take more time off and be more relaxed when we had children, not work more! I would hardly get to see my wife and newborn and being in a foreign country with no friends or family, it wouldn’t be ideal.

Going Around in Circles

What a conundrum. I want to move away to start our ”real life” as soon as possible. Doing so straight away would be financial suicide. Moving away after a few years would be ideal but we’d need to start thinking about children around this time. And having kids would make for a horrible few years working in a foreign country with a newborn.

Staying in England to have kids seems like the most sensible option but that would mean we’d have to foot the costs (and stress) of moving homes when we know that we’re not going to be living there for very long.

It seems like there are no correct options. At least, for now, moving straight away definitely seems like a bad choice. Doing so would be thinking solely with my heart and not with my head. So I should hold off on those interviews.

The most logical choice seems to be to have children in England. But that means we’d have to wait such a long time. We’d be much older then, everything wouldn’t be as new and exciting. We may even run the risk of ending up not moving at all. Children in general are also very unpredictable. We could end up not being able to have them or have some other kind of problems. Should we hold off our dreams on the wisps of uncertainty? Or let the uncertainty happen once we have moved?

There are other options to consider. We could move to Canada for example, we’d both be able to work there. It would also be a lot easier to get jobs and sponsorship there. We could move to any number of countries, but I guess we’ll have to defer this thinking for now. I did promise to not think about all of this until after the wedding!

At least this post has taught me one thing – to not move straight away. To hold fire! I’ll focus on the wedding and then starting my first contract. Building up my cash will only make things easier down the line.

What do you think I should do?


35 thoughts on “A Big Decision to Make

  1. As someone who’s ten years older I’d say this first off. If you have kids in UK it won’t ‘take such a long time’ that time will fly by in the blink of an eye. You are very young and have all the time in the world. Personally I’d get myself more financially secure before making the decision to move. Flexibility is key.
    The time regarding women is valid but my partner is 35 and we are planning a family as we speak. The risks are higher true after 35 but only on average. The risks need to be put in perspective.

    Good luck whatever you decide

    1. This has made us feel a lot better, thank you.

      All we normally get are people telling us to worry and that we need our first child before we’re 30! (So this comment has been quite refreshing.)

      I agree with your point about flexibility. I just don’t want the air in my sales to give out, ya know?

      1. I’d add that we have 3 kids and our first was born when my wife was 38. I think having them earlier rather than later probably has its benefits if you have the choice, but don’t let the big 30 thing and the body clock theories put you off having them later if you choose.

        1. Thank you Dan, this has made me feel much better 🙂 I know I’ll want kids at some point!

  2. An interesting conundrum you have there SavingNinja, and ultimately one only you can solve.

    I’m older, greyer, and grumpier than you. I’ve also moved countries five times, and gone around the children loop a couple of times. Based on that, here is what I know:

    There are no right answers, there is just the choice you make and then need to make work, whatever it is.

    The “will we or won’t we” flip-flopping is far worse than any of the choices! Analysis paralysis becomes debilitating, and if you feel like your life is “on hold” now it will potentially get far worse.

    Each of you and your partner need to figure out what you want individually, and then compare answers. Don’t just assume what you personally want is what you collectively want. Big trap for young players this!

    The not being able to work thing is HUGE. Sounds small/simple now (particularly when it isn’t you facing the downtime), but when you add the isolation, culture shock, and long days rattling around an empty house biding time surrounded by strangers it can quickly escalate into a big problem.

    There is a second aspect to this, the adverse impact on your partner’s career/earning potential. She’ll take a hit each time she has a baby, and a longer hit if she decides to be a stay-at-home-parent for a while. Pensions, savings, advancement, etc are all collateral damage here. Fine if that is a conscious choice, but that should be an informed one.

    Finally be wary of conflating a bunch of separate decisions. From what I read here there are several independent decisions for you to make:
    * kids or no kids
    * contracting or permanent working arrangements
    * living in the UK or living in the US

    While each decision potentially impacts how the others may play out, none mean the door is closed on the others.

    For mine, get the marriage out of the way then go. You’ll never know until you try. If it works, great. If not, then you can always return to the UK, try contracting, etc

    You might love it and want to stay forever.

    You might decide to come back when you have kids, or when your kids are going to start school.

    There are always a million good reasons for taking the safe options, not rocking the boat, choosing money over living, etc. However none of those things make you feel alive, give you fun stories to tell, or stretch your horizons.

    There are also a bunch of other options you haven’t mentioned, like taking a job in the UK with a US firm offering the prospects of a secondment or internal move. This can be a good way to reduce the risk, and enjoy a “try before you buy” opportunity to see if you like the US before you make the leap into the Silicon Valley startup scene with all that entails.

    1. Thanks for the detailed response in-deed-a-bly!

      I’ve shown this to the OH and she seems to be quite indecisive. She sometimes likes the notion of not needing to work, but then she doesn’t know whether she will get lonely. I think the only thing to do will be to try something out, we know that we can always move back if we wanted to without too much lost.

      I really like your opinion with regards to grasping life with both hands. I think ultimately that will be what we end up doing, we (and I think most people as humans) always crave excitement, no matter how logical and tame we think we are.

      But first, the wedding! I’ll be coming back to this comment and the others after it to properly evaluate everything. And I’ll probably try picking up a contract or two as I think having all of that set up will put me in a better position to pick up a US contract (remotely) and get my foot in the door!

    1. Hey GFF!

      I know, I know. But I’ll never know that it’s the same unless I’ve lived there? 🙂

      I think I’ll try and do this with a remote contract of some sorts.

  3. My partner and I are in a very similar situation (age, married later this year, no children yet but considering in the not too distant future) but with a lusting for New Zealand. We are having the exact same dilemma and have endlessly gone round in circles with the pros and cons and “unknown questions”. For us the major ones are as follows:

    – Better quality of life/work life balance
    – Less densely populated
    – Better access to leisure activities
    – Better life for future children
    – Friendly people/ less division than UK

    – Visa process difficult/ potentially costly
    – Moving away from family and friends
    – No family help with childcare
    – Both happy in current jobs and may not find that elsewhere

    – Will we be able to find a job easily?
    – Dependent on where we move will cost of living/ wage put us in worse position financially?

    We are yet to come to a decision and I think it will take a lot more contemplating and research before we can come to one. Ultimately, it will come down to if we can answer our 2 big unknowns and what is more painful the risk of moving and it not working out or the never going and having deep regrets about it.

    Finally, I think it is very important to remember that while it may not be optimal, it should be fairly simple to set the move up so if it doesn’t work out you can always come back and resume your life here pretty much where you left off.

    1. Hey Steve!

      Awesome to find that I’m not the only one 🙂 We’d never considered New Zealand. Maybe we’ll add that to our exploration list pre-move and check it out!

      A very good point that we can move back easily. We may as well give it a go, right?

  4. Brilliant advice and wisdom from the comments so far. Not much for me to add apart from reinforcing a couple of points:

    * Your internal struggle to reach your decision to hold fire tells me that some time away from thinking about it will help. Information overload and decision fatigue might be affecting you.

    * To follow your heart or your head. In.deed.a.bly is spot on in this. The ‘your’ is plural. If it’s your partner’s dream as well, the the chances of success is far greater.

    I wish you all the best in this new adventure when you decide to embark on it. Also, congratulations on your forthcoming marriage.

    1. I echo this, brilliant advice!

      Yeah, I’ve already promised once not to think about this stuff until after the wedding, I need to actively try not to now as it’s so close 🙂

      To be honest, my partner matches a lot of my own thoughts, I even started writing this post out with ‘we’ instead of ‘I’, but then changed it due to realising that my readers don’t necessarily know who I’m talking about when I say ‘we.’

      Thank you for the congratulations 🙂

  5. All I can echo is that those are all big decisions which you and your partner need to figure out together. The not-being able to work would be a killer for me, to have to be financially dependent upon someone.

    The one thing you are certain about in terms of date is your wedding, so focus on that now and good luck!

  6. I agree with the comments above.

    This looks like several decisions rather than one.

    Break it down and list them out. This will help you focus. Order them in importance. Ask Ms Ninja to do the same. And talk about it. Be open and honest. Focus on the emotional and psychological factors. Money usually works itself out. But emotional harm (regret, loneliness, bitterness etc.) is much harder to repair.

    Ask yourself lots of: ‘and what thens’

    You want to have kids – and what then? Many people can’t or have great difficulty conceiving. And if you have kids, how will you look after them? Etc. Etc.

    1. Thanks YFG, we’re definitely going to have to tackle this head on after our wedding. I feel a mind map coming on!

      That’s a scenario we hadn’t considered, what if we can’t have kids? I know this is a bigger problem than a lot of people think. This would probably change things considerably.

  7. great post!

    I agree strongly with { in·deed·a·bly } and weenie – it’s very important that you and your soon-to-be wife are both on the same page! The issue with her staying at home might be a deal breaker – even if not now, it might become one very soon!

    I also feel that if you stay and have kids in the UK it would be much harder to move – not impossible, just much harder. I’d do anything to try things out before having kids. I love this saying that we always regret things we didn’t try 🙂

    in regards to the work arrangements – you can try something different – keep your day job for now and look for some freelance work for evenings, ideally, that work would be for US based client (being in the UK is great for this because of the timezone difference).
    That way you will not only increase your earnings but also try out contracting and build connections in the US etc. Who knows it might even lead to some job sponsorship. Of course, that’s a hard road, you would be very busy working long hours, etc but it might be really worth it!

    One thing for sure – use the power and energy you’ll (hopefully) have after the wedding and do some changes – don’t stall!

    Good luck! 🙂
    and all the best on your new path!

    1. Hey Twister,

      Ahhhh, don’t say that! I was just all happy when another commenter said that you can still do things after you have kids, now you’re saying that it’s much harder 😛 I hope that with enough financial padding, the flexibility will be there.

      I love your suggestion about working the evenings for a US client! It would be really hard for me though unfortunately as I have this blog and a couple of other ventures that take a lot of my free time already, and I need at least some sleep! 🙂

      Thank you for the luck <3

  8. Hi,

    Been in a similar position as you before, 10 years a freelancer, just had 2nd kid, on our 2nd home (family house in London). Now we’re looking into schools and as the first person said, the time is flying.

    You have many options ahead of you.

    Get married, have an extended honeymoon where you take in the world for 6 months. Potentially tying out the US West Coast etc. (It’s a great trip from Vegas — Sonoma) can be done in a month easily for about £4-5k.

    This should give enough time for reflection.

    Then, contracting should be a solid option upon your return and interview with a US company (Google or FB), with a view to relocate after a year or so.

    That’s what I’d probably do.

    Plenty of time to worry about retiring at your age, make the most of now.

    Take some risks.

    1. Hey Nick, great advice, thank you!

      We actually are kinda doing this for our honeymoon. We’ll be taking 4 weeks out and traveling around the west coast. This will be trip one on our places we could move to list, next up (sometime in 2020) will be Canada.

      We’re all about taking no risks in the FIRE community Nick! But I think I’ll have to take some in this regard 😉

  9. Wow guys, thank you for all of the great advice.

    We’re kind of leaning towards deferring this (just a little) whilst we save a little more and begin our lives as a married couple. We’re going to focus on exploring potential living places over the next year or two (hopefully backed by a higher wage whilst contracting). Normally we (or me, mainly) don’t spend too much money on holidays, but with the added need to explore each potential place (Canada, different US states, etc) I think we can stretch our budgets a little. Especially because the other option would have been to go straight away and earn/save less. We’ll also then feel a lot more confident in where we want to be (hopefully!)

    We’ve also decided that we’re going to focus on the wedding and not think about what comes after too much just yet! One thing at a time 🙂

  10. OPTIONS 🙂

    A few points of reference in my life:
    1. Friend went to China to teach English for 6 months, he hated it and was back within 2 weeks.
    2. Same friend worked in US for 6 months, think it was New England somewhere. Stuck that one out but don’t think he really enjoyed it all that much either. I guess the conclusion from these 2 points are that your plan to holiday to the potential move areas is a sound one!
    3. Wife’s cousin has just moved to New Jersey with her partner, he is US so is working but she cannot. From what I hear it is pretty hard being kind of alone and not working (as you would expect and other commentators have pointed out)
    4. My Cousin moved to Detroit (area, not city) with one young child, had another one while out there, and then moved back when they were both around 13-14 from memory. They obviously enjoyed it immensely to have stayed there for so long! We visited them once and the quality of life over there is ridiculous compared to over here, there is so much space and everything is much cheaper (barring housing in the obvious areas). However… CARS. As everything is spaced out so much you have to drive everywhere. Again depends on exactly where you live, but that is the general rule of thumb. I’m not sure I would like that part of it, if it were my every day existence.

    A couple of general points I would make:
    * I think you are taking money into account far too much in all of the decisions above. Say you move to US and love it then have a kid and it costs you $20K… so what? You will be making far more than you would be here (likely, at least) which should easily cover it. Also you talk about having to spend more on housing if you have kids here, again I would say… Aaaaaand? Kids will cost you money wherever you have them in many different ways, accept this as a fact and just do what you want to. I agree that people shouldn’t just have kids on a whim if they can’t afford them, but clearly you guys can so if you want them you should just go for it (when the time is right of course). You are in a very good financial position at a young age and really you should be focusing on what you want to do with your life. I can’t imagine you will ever be in a situation where you are scrimping and saving (involuntarily, at least 😉 ) – You also don’t actually seem to have much issue with working your butt off, which is great and also a big reason you probably don’t need to worry too much about the money side of things. (unlike myself, who is a slacker at heart). Point taken on not wanting to have a kid then end up working so much you can’t see it though… That could be the toughest part of the “move to USA and have a kid” plan to navigate and definitely requires more thought.

    * No decision is permanent. If you move and after 6months/1 year you decide you don’t like it, just move back. There is not actually that much you are going to lose in this situation (actually impacts your future wife more than you as she is going to be the one that cannot work in the initial period, so as others have said make sure she is on board with everything, however I don’t think a short break in employment, especially given a very solid reason such as this one, would impact her career progression too much). If anything it could look pretty good on your CV and make you more attractive for future contracts. You could even keep your current house and rent it out as a “backstop” so if it went tits up you could have somewhere to live readily available?

    * New York contacts? Sounds very cloak and dagger haha… Did they make you an offer you couldn’t refuse…? 😉

    * I love your way with words “the time bomb which is a woman’s womb” – such a lovely way to put it 😀

    People have said the time will fly by and while this is true when you look back on it, 4 years is actually quite a long time and your life can transform immeasurably** in that time span, so I would say you have plenty of time over the next 4 years to work out exactly what you want to do. Unless you are really hating your current lives right now, I definitely wouldn’t rush into anything.

    ** E.g: Me 4 years ago, working full time, not really enjoying it, no kids, lived in a flat, no side hustle. Now working part time, much more enjoying work/life balance, kid, live in house, side hustle that is bringing in >£40K/year 🙂

    Good luck with whatever you do and also for the big day!

    When’s the FIRE boys Stag do anyway? 😉

    1. Man you’re making me lust after America 🙂 The quality of life does just seem so much better over there, mainly with regards to material things like home sizes and cars. It’s weird that they play a factor when I’m heavily into the FIRE/frugality mindset? I guess that means that somewhere in the back of my head I crave this stuff and think I’ll eventually get that big house… I hope all my FI stash doesn’t get sunk into housing in the future!

      You’re right, I shouldn’t really be thinking about money at all. When we make a plan, what we want should be first and foremost, then we’ll make it happen! I’m hoping that I can have the willpower to be able to spend more on travel after we’re married to scope these places out!

      I wish I had New York contacts, but I instead have new WORK contacts! I thought I’d miswrote this, but you must have misread it 😛

      I’m having no stag do, me and the OH are very much loners, one of the effects of moving around so much (and living so far away from any family). The booze up with you and the FIRE gang are my only nights out 😉

      1. Ah hahahaa, can’t believe I read it wrong, I guess it was just because you were talking about the US and my brain made that connection.

        That’s an interesting point re: frugality but also desiring a bigger house. I mean I don’t know how big you are thinking exactly, but there is most definitely a sweet spot. I would like a slightly larger house, with a bit more room around it, but don’t want anything too much bigger because I struggle with the upkeep of this one already. Admittedly once FI you will have more time to upkeep, but my vision of FI does not include constantly doing DIY and gardening, I enjoy it occasionally but not that much! Also I wouldn’t want to hire someone to do it for me, as I am sure you wouldn’t either.

        I think the main point about US is really that in most areas, you can get a pretty sweet spot sized house (see something like Mr 1500 has) for very little money, compared to over here. Those houses and plot sizes would be considered large over here, but over there they are probably actually average or even below average sized!

  11. Ah one final thought…. If you make the move and Mrs Ninja isn’t/cannot work for 3 years, are you still going to split your expenses 50/50? 😀

    (Sorry couldn’t resist)

    1. Hah! Of course we are, she’s gonna have to earn her keep somehow! Maybe illegal dishwashing?

      In all honesty, there are probably so many ways to get around this. She could set up any number of online side-hustles and just do it in my name. That’s if I can still have side businesses whilst on a H1B sponsorship VISA. Come to think of it, I probably won’t be able to. How much would that suck? Having to close down all of my businesses (and even potentially SavingNinja?) as I can only earn income from the sponsoring company? (Otherwise I’ll be.. Teeekkin their jerrrbbs?)

      1. I’m not sure of the rules but I’m presuming you’ll still have British nationality and so could set up companies in the UK still? So she could just run side hustles via UK and get paid in £’s instead of $’s

        I know that the Mad FIentist lives in Scotland but still does all of his hustling via the US systems so he can take advantage of their tax laws etc that he knows so much about. He still uses US credit cards and banks, as well. So I am fairly sure you can do it the other way round, if that was beneficial to your situation!

  12. I tried to solve a really similar equation once. I think I completely understand your dilemma and considered similar alternatives as you did. Now, my thoughts:

    If it were just you, I’d say just go for it right away. Overthinking would be detrimental and wouldn’t help the decision. However, this also depends on how your wife feels about not working / working illegally for at least 3 years. If she is *really* fine with it – start applying. But an ambitious and restricted cohabitant will adversely influence both your lives and well-being. Talk it out with her. If she’s fine with being a housewife, the returns will overshadow any short-term losses you may have.

    By the way, the inability to plan wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me. Relocating for better opportunities is tough and unpredictable, but pays dividends. We’re adaptable beings and the life will sort itself out whatever you decide or whatever happens to you. The only obstacle is the partner visa. And getting an actual job, but that’s resolvable by pure consistency.

    An extra comment I’d like to add is: once you talk it out – drop it. Don’t reevaluate for a year or two and pursue fully what you decided on. Otherwise it becomes an endless cycle preventing you of progressing. Given the conditions, my forecast is that you will end up doing what you expect – contracting in the UK, but having a last (and structured) discussion on the topic before making it official wouldn’t hurt.

    Lastly, you also mentioned Canada, but I don’t think it’s worth it in your situation. What about the following alternative, that lacks on multiple levels of opportunities (which I understand are a big factor when considering the US) but maximizes earning potential: Switzerland?

    1. Switzerland… Now there’s a thought! I’ll add this to my visit list 🙂

      I think we’re going to scope out all of the areas beforehand and then re-visit the question (and this blog post with all of the awesome responses) in the future and have a good ol’ proper think through it all.

  13. Hi Saving ninja, interesting thread and comments. You’re young and doing well.

    I agree with above Switzerland is one to consider. Join a big company with a head office there and move with them.

    I got a friend moved his family to Australia and back. Wiped him out financially. So can be risky move.

    Just to put out there option 3 relocate within the UK, which is what I did. You can get a detached house outside south-east for fraction price.

    1. Ahh, don’t say that – you’ll put me off trying 🙂

      Relocating in the UK is definitely an option, and would become easier if I switched to contracting and sought out remote contracts. Thanks for the tips 🙂

  14. A conundrum, indeed! You’ve already received an abundance of great advice, so I won’t add anything to the do/don’t list – I’d merely like to add that I’ve also always been drawn towards America, so I understand where you’re coming from!

    It’s a great idea to go visit different areas (obviously) to scout out areas that could potentially house the future Ninja-family 😉 – In your situation, I would definitely try to reach out to some of your american peers (in the FIRE community) to ask, if someone could be interested in hosting a (short) visit from some like-minded people 😉
    If anything, the Americans are in fact a very friendly people (Trump and his peer aside…).

    Being on vacation is always nice – but when you “integrate” into the local community, you get a much better sense, of how life would be, if you were to actually move there. I’ve been to 10 different states, and have family in Michigan, so Michigan is naturally my “second home”, if I was ever to move to the US.
    If you’re a world traveler, you’ll be able to make any place your home – but having friends/acquaintances in the area would make “adapting” to the local “customs” a little more smooth, in my opinion, and would also help fend of the feeling of loneliness 😉

    I really wish I could hook you up with a few friends in Cali, but unfortunately I don’t know anyone in that area! – But I’m sure the FIRE community will help you out! Reach out!

    Good luck! 😉

    1. This is an awesome idea Nick! Although we have booked all of our Airbnb’s up already and we can’t pull out without paying something. I’ll definitely put it out there for our after married travels though.

      Maybe Twitter will be a good place to reach out? You shoulddd get on Twiitterr :)))

      Is relocation to the US potentially on the cards for the Total Balance family too? 😮

  15. A long time back I worked in Qatar in the middle east (a bit different to the USA!). I was there for three years and was able to save some money. A lot of things happened between then and now and I’ve been in London for the past 8.5 years. Basically, I have no regrets and although I was desperate to come back by the end, it was a fantastic experience.

    If you and your wife can go to the States then you should go now. I don’t see any reason to put off your dream any longer if you are going to earn more and have more money.

    You can have kids where ever you are, and worst case your wife can fly back to good old UK to have the baby (although they will have a US passport if they are born in the USA).

    I used to over analyse my life and wonder what if I do this and what if I do that. Basically, the best thing is to just do something. Waiting is rarely the right thing to do if you have an opportunity.

    Hope this doesn’t come accross too preachy! I wish you luck in your decision!

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