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The Masked Tulip

Are We Mugs To Stay?

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I don't want this to become another whinge about how awful the UK is and how the grass is green in some mystical far-off land but, reading the news this morning, are we mugs to stay here?

Reports circulating this morning that the banks will need another bail-out, that benefits are going to be cut and it appears that the middle classes - the main tax-payers in this country - are the ones who will be the big losers, the power companies say they need to add 6% to our bills to pay for upgrading the power infrastructure, pension companies taking most of our money in fees and commissions, etc, etc.

It just appears that the UK is going to become even more expensive than it has been in the coming years, house prices are showing no serious sign of a crash US or Eire-style.

Not that there is anywhere to go - is there? Is Oz and NZ any better in taxes and prices. Only the US appears to let you hold on to your cash once you earn it, houses are cheap relatively but, boy, one health problem and you can be poor and out on the streets faster than you know it.

Germany? Holland? Denmark? Who here speaks Danish - apparently the happiest place in Europe.

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Germany? Holland? Denmark? Who here speaks Danish - apparently the happiest place in Europe.

Denmark - also the best place in the world to do business, according to Forbes.

And with one of the highest rates of taxation in the world.

I'm not arguing that taxation is a bad thing. I think it's a good thing when it's spent on the right things. Which it appears to be in Denmark.

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Denmark - also the best place in the world to do business, according to Forbes.  

And with one of the highest rates of taxation in the world.

I'm not arguing that taxation is a bad thing.  I think it's a good thing when it's spent on the right things.  Which it appears to be in Denmark.

They spend more than 10 times as much as us on unemployment benefit.

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I don't want this to become another whinge about how awful the UK is and how the grass is green in some mystical far-off land but, reading the news this morning, are we mugs to stay here?

Reports circulating this morning that the banks will need another bail-out, that benefits are going to be cut and it appears that the middle classes - the main tax-payers in this country - are the ones who will be the big losers, the power companies say they need to add 6% to our bills to pay for upgrading the power infrastructure, pension companies taking most of our money in fees and commissions, etc, etc.

It just appears that the UK is going to become even more expensive than it has been in the coming years, house prices are showing no serious sign of a crash US or Eire-style.

Not that there is anywhere to go - is there? Is Oz and NZ any better in taxes and prices. Only the US appears to let you hold on to your cash once you earn it, houses are cheap relatively but, boy, one health problem and you can be poor and out on the streets faster than you know it.

Germany? Holland? Denmark? Who here speaks Danish - apparently the happiest place in Europe.

Come back and ask me in 20 years when you are still here.

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Not trying to turn it into a 'grass is greener' thread, but large areas of the developed world are going to be going through the same things re taxes, energy, welfare.

The US and much of Europe are in bits and in terminal decline.

Some of the candidate area such as Scandanavia are taxed higher than us.

In most Asian countries you'd only earn subsistence.

Healthcare is, as you say, a huge issue outside of the UK.

If you want to stay in the UK, I think your efforts would be best spent changing your own life here.

You don't need to use the bankstas products such as debt and pensions.

You can adjust your spending to avoid taxes such as CGT and VAT.

You can work hard and earn more with a bit of effort and creativity.

You aren't currently a prisoner to a mortgage or negative equity, so stay that wasy for now.

Avoid things which give the state a reason to tax, fine and intefere with you - e.g running a car or running a local business subject to property taxes.

I'm trying hard not to get so depressed about our situation as, at the end of the day, hardly any of this stuff affects me due to the lifestyle I lead. I consume little, keep myself to myself, and don't allow them to profit at my expense.

Edited by Kyoto

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And remember we are all looking for a house price crash, but a house would tie you to the UK and put you completely at the mercy of 'them' re mortgage, debt, property taxes, interest rates, risk of unemployment, welfare state.

Imagine if you worked for the public sector, have a big mortgage, ran a car, rely on tax credits, have kids to put through university - you'd literally be tied to this sinking ship.

Freedom and flexibility of renting is looking good in these uncertain times. Stay here, take advantage of that flexibility to adjust your lifestyle, and be free to jump if the situation changes over the next few years.

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Only the US appears to let you hold on to your cash once you earn it

When I lived in California as a single guy in the 90's, my tax rates were higher than the UK.

You need a lot of deductions (debt) to get your tax bill down or live in a no-income tax state.

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Not trying to turn it into a 'grass is greener' thread, but large areas of the developed world are going to be going through the same things re taxes, energy, welfare.

The US and much of Europe are in bits and in terminal decline.

Some of the candidate area such as Scandanavia are taxed higher than us.

In most Asian countries you'd only earn subsistence.

Healthcare is, as you say, a huge issue outside of the UK.

If you want to stay in the UK, I think your efforts would be best spent changing your own life here.

You don't need to use the bankstas products such as debt and pensions.

You can adjust your spending to avoid taxes such as CGT and VAT.

You can work hard and earn more with a bit of effort and creativity.

You aren't currently a prisoner to a mortgage or negative equity, so stay that wasy for now.

Avoid things which give the state a reason to tax, fine and intefere with you - e.g running a car or running a local business subject to property taxes.

I'm trying hard not to get so depressed about our situation as, at the end of the day, hardly any of this stuff affects me due to the lifestyle I lead. I consume little, keep myself to myself, and don't allow them to profit at my expense.

Wise words.

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I don't want this to become another whinge about how awful the UK is and how the grass is green in some mystical far-off land but, reading the news this morning, are we mugs to stay here?

Reports circulating this morning that the banks will need another bail-out, that benefits are going to be cut and it appears that the middle classes - the main tax-payers in this country - are the ones who will be the big losers, the power companies say they need to add 6% to our bills to pay for upgrading the power infrastructure, pension companies taking most of our money in fees and commissions, etc, etc.

It just appears that the UK is going to become even more expensive than it has been in the coming years, house prices are showing no serious sign of a crash US or Eire-style.

Not that there is anywhere to go - is there? Is Oz and NZ any better in taxes and prices. Only the US appears to let you hold on to your cash once you earn it, houses are cheap relatively but, boy, one health problem and you can be poor and out on the streets faster than you know it.

Germany? Holland? Denmark? Who here speaks Danish - apparently the happiest place in Europe.

Very well put TMT. We see the same problems here, and the same pros-and-cons in the same countries you mentioned. Everything.

In our case, since we will probably start a family in the next few years, we also think about our future children. Main differences for them: longer term, and no language or cultural problems.

In economic terms, the UK total government debt should peak at around 100% of GDP around the end of this parliament. But many countries are there already. Though we also have huge household debts, worse than anywhere else.

About tax levels, in the USA if you add health insurance to that tax bill it will be similar to Britain. Still, average income in the USA is much higher than here. Property taxes are much higher there - it varies by state. It is a very efficient country. But not so good for employees if you would like to have more than 1 or 2 weeks holidays per year. You would have to have your own business, be self-employed, or retired.

Netherlands? Switzerland? They seem to be very good countries to live. But I don't know enough about them yet.

Language-wise, I am not sure why, but Northern Europe worries me a bit more than French or Latin languages. Dutch sounds scary.

Back to the children point: For us, we would stay here. Much easier. Money is not all, etc. But for them??? In our case, the question then turns from "would we be mugs to stay", to "would we be selfish to stay"

.

Edited by Tired of Waiting

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I have Canadian PR. They have highish taxes, but not as high as ours. They have free healthcare, space and, if you don't want to live in BC, cheapish property that is currently correcting. It has shed loads of Oil and other natural reserves, and already has a renewable energy infrastructure providing the majority of its power.

My problem is getting a job that is the same level as the one I have here...the Canadians don't like hiring foreigners for their better jobs. I have two and half years before I HAVE to move there or lose my PR. At some point I may have to take the massive risk of just going without a job...the way this country is going I am becoming more and more of the view that it is a risk worth taking.

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I worked out in Holland and found most of the Dutch in Amsterdam spoke English. A few jobs in my line of work have began cropping up there paying good money and I am beginning to think seriously about it.

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In most Asian countries you'd only earn subsistence.

Healthcare is, as you say, a huge issue outside of the UK.

I note that you do use the word 'most'. However, have you been to Singapore / HK ?

If you want to stay in the UK, I think your efforts would be best spent changing your own life here.

I agree.

You can adjust your spending to avoid taxes such as CGT and VAT.

How does capital gain tax apply to spending ?

Avoid things which give the state a reason to tax, fine and intefere with you - e.g running a car or running a local business subject to property taxes.

Like speculating and spreadbetting?

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I have Canadian PR. They have highish taxes, but not as high as ours. They have free healthcare, space and, if you don't want to live in BC, cheapish property that is currently correcting. It has shed loads of Oil and other natural reserves, and already has a renewable energy infrastructure providing the majority of its power.

My problem is getting a job that is the same level as the one I have here...the Canadians don't like hiring foreigners for their better jobs. I have two and half years before I HAVE to move there or lose my PR. At some point I may have to take the massive risk of just going without a job...the way this country is going I am becoming more and more of the view that it is a risk worth taking.

Yes, I had heard that about the jobs and trying to keep the good ones for Canadians... in my line of work I am always getting calls from IT agents telling me about some really good IT type jobs in Canada so I find it confusing when I hear people say "Canadians keep the best jobs for themselves" but I have heard it numerous times now.

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Denmark - also the best place in the world to do business, according to Forbes.

And with one of the highest rates of taxation in the world.

I'm not arguing that taxation is a bad thing. I think it's a good thing when it's spent on the right things. Which it appears to be in Denmark.

If you want a decent car for a reasonable price, you'll have to smuggle one over the german border.

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I hear you - so many times I have thought about this. Right now the only thing keeping me here is the good job and the girlfriend. I would LOVE to skip over to Oz/Canada even for a few years to get a different perspective on things.

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I've had the opportunity to live in both Japan and Germany for a couple of years. Every country has positives and negatives.

Cost of eating out in Japan was much lower than the UK, which I loved. Healthcare and school fees for the kids are not provided through taxes though (one reason why the birth rate over there is so low). Language is a bummer to learn (three alphabets, one of 20,000 characters!). Mrs rantnrave also had to pretty much end her employment contract any time we wanted to take a holiday! Still, it's very safe over there with squeaky clean streets. Young people have no attitude issues and alcohol related problems are virtually none. The police still think any non-Japanese person is up to no good however and that can lead to a lot ot harrasment for foreigners. The government is unbelievably moribund and inept.

Germany was interesting. Definitely a higher standard of living than the UK. People work hard but holidays are very much a priority. Government benefit system is unbelievably generous too. Again, less alcohol related problems. However, life is very regimented. In our apartment block we had rotas for cleaning the steps, outside bins, sweeping snow in winter. Get these wrong and your life is made miserable. This structure extends to society where systems dominate everything and if you have a problem that doesn't fit into the structure then everything grinds to a halt. Customer service is absolutely appalling...

Here in Blighty, I reckon people are more flexible and accommodating than other places. There's an underlying sense of ironic humour to most things which I missed overseas. As pointed out on this forum, house prices are obscene though. I am serious when I say that most UK housing is on a similar cost level to inner Tokyo! The complete comparison cant be made though because houses over there are constructed very differently and gardens are non-existent in places.

So, yes, the grass is always greener...

Edited by rantnrave

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Back to the children point: For us, we would stay here. Much easier. Money is not all, etc. But for them??? In our case, the question then turns from "would we be mugs to stay", to "would we be selfish to stay"

If I have children, I'd like to raise them to be 'global citizens' - live in lots of countries, speak multiple languages, and be very flexible to change.

I think the next one or two years are going to be key for future of this country. We need to take big decisions and implement big change - e.g. shape of the welfare state, long term future of the NHS, taxation levels, size of government and state, cost of higher education, pension reform, banking reform....

We're at a crunch point where all of this needs to be rethought, and the answers will define what the country is going to look like over the medium and long term.

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I worked out in Holland and found most of the Dutch in Amsterdam spoke English. A few jobs in my line of work have began cropping up there paying good money and I am beginning to think seriously about it.

Yes, they do, but if you want to live permanently... Hold on, it doesn't have to be permanent. Though moving countries is a lot of work...

Anyway, I was going to say: if you don't understand the local language you can't read/watch the news, local news, papers, telly, magazines, the whole local "scene", culture, etc. It would be odd. You would find yourself doing the Costas expat thing and buying the imported Daily Mail! Nooooooo!!!!!!!!

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Come back and ask me in 20 years when you are still here.

Not me. I left the UK for Poland one year ago. Was easy, mind you I work on the internet.

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I note that you do use the word 'most'. However, have you been to Singapore / HK ?

The point was that we're above 90% of the world on all of the various metrics that the OP mentioned. The handful of countries that do compete usually share many of our problems and also have their own.

Singapore and Germany do seem to net pip us to the post based on what I have read of late, but for now, I think an extra 5% of effort on my part would net improve my situation versus upping and moving to Asia.

How does capital gain tax apply to spending ?

More generally, I am saying to arrange your affairs to minimise taxes. I guess CGT is a bad example as it's implicitly tied to a gain.

Edited by Kyoto

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Healthcare is, as you say, a huge issue outside of the UK.

How about - work in N. Europe, buy cover for emergency treatment or better yet negotiate as part of remuneration. Come back to Britain for non-emergency e.g. checkups, dental work?

AFAIK, as a long time resident in the UK, NHS won't know you are no longer paying UK tax/NI unless you are daft enough to tell them.

Anyway, I've already handed over huge wads of NI & UK tax.

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Benelux has been pretty immune to recession and Netherlands average earning now exceed those here. Have noticed lots of Poles moving over to Holland and also Belgium as they were struggling to send enough money home here.

The new wave of Irish emigrants are going to Canada and Australia by all accounts. SOme to NZ too. That's where the work is in the 'new world'.

Edited by gruffydd

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  • 149 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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