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hotblack42

Working Away From Home, Living In 2 Places - Why So Hard To Understand?

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I know there are some contractors on here and no doubt others who spend a lot of time away from home so I wondered if anyone has found any marvellous ways to get people to understand your situation.

My accountant, my business bank (Cater Allen), travel firms, fellow contractor scum all have no problem understanding that I do not spend all year living at 'home'.

Everyone else seems to struggle - High st banks, Insurers (the lady at Legal and General was pretty good actually once she 'got' that I was insuring a 2nd property), telecomms, utilities, small businesses, friends, family.

Yes, I will be away from my primary residence for more than 30 days at a time. No, I won't be in this evening. No I can't 'pop home' and get my birth cerificate / passport / last 3 months gas bill.

Grrrr....

I realise that 95% of people do not live like this, but surely its possible for them to imagine it and adapt their thinking. Do organisations really build their business process around the assumption that all their customers live in one home only and work nearby?

Sometimes when I call someone I can almost hear their eyes glaze over as my living arrangements veer ever further from their 'normal person' script and personal experience.

Not holding out much hope as have been living like this for 4 years and it only seems to be getting worse as organisations dumb down and commodotize their services, but if anyone out there living like this is having a better experience I'd love to hear about it.

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I feel for you. I lived like that for around 10 years - always the winter started when i was at work with summer clothes. The nausea of sorting out the Council Tax - I ended up having to pay Bristol their outrageous amount, when home in the Isle of Wight would've been cheaper, but they said I spent a bigger proportion of my week in Bristol.

Everything needed to wait till after the weekend when it came to documents.

The worst thing that happened in the time was my son, in Germany with the Army, broke his back and i had to fly out. I had to turn down a free flight from Filton offered by our chairman, who was also chairman of British Aerospace, as my passport was in the Isle of Wight and it was quicker to pay for a flight and meet a friend who brought my pass port to Heathrow. Nightmare. Since then, I've always carried my passport with me.

So...I didn't have a better experience, but had hoped it might have improved in 10 years! Good luck with it all. :)

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IME their systems aren't set up for it.

When I first lived in London I didn't use any of the addresses I lived at as my postal address as I thought they'd be short term and I didn't want the hassle of keeping changing it and picking up the post which hasn't been redirected , so I left my address as my parents' house and would travel down every three or four months to pick up the post.

Whenever there was anything that I needed to get more quickly than in four months' time it always took ages on the phone.

All they needed were fields for two addresses:

  • A permanent address that wasn't going to change
  • A time-limited temporary address that post should go to for a limited period

To cover that a lot of people would be in this position - students being the obvious one.

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The worst thing that happened in the time was my son, in Germany with the Army, broke his back and i had to fly out.

OK puts my problems in perspective. Its always at the back of my mind that Wife or (adult) sons might need me there pronto so phone is always with me, on and charged.

Hope your son is all OK now..?

The cost of being away such as your sudden airfare situation is the type of thing permies who have never worked away or been a contractor, take into consideration when they grumble about rates. Let alone being away from your support network.

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OK puts my problems in perspective. Its always at the back of my mind that Wife or (adult) sons might need me there pronto so phone is always with me, on and charged.

Hope your son is all OK now..?

The cost of being away such as your sudden airfare situation is the type of thing permies who have never worked away or been a contractor, take into consideration when they grumble about rates. Let alone being away from your support network.

Thank you - son was 'lucky'. No lasting damage.

You will build up a new support network - I hadn't been out so much as I was when away from home - less to do at home, I guess, so dinner with friends always a great escape from lone telly-watching or working in the evenings.

Edit to say: nightmare of double bills for power, gas, telephone, internet...the list goes on.

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Are you a UK tax resident? I think it makes some things a bit easier if you can remain one while moving abroad. (You have to take HMRCs statutory residency test online).

I get this too. I spend most of the year living and working abroad but remain a UK tax resident with a British address.

This has caused a bit of a nightmare in terms of tax and health insurance, which still has not been satisfactorily resolved after several years.

The best thing to do, in my experience, is just do all British official stuff using your British address and not mention being abroad unless you absolutely have to. If you do, just say 'I'm working abroad at the moment' and leave it at that.

Phone calls can be forwarded abroad using skype. Post is a bit of a difficulty because it can take a while to be forwarded, fortunately I have a relative at my UK address who checks/forwards things as necessary.

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Are you a UK tax resident? I think it makes some things a bit easier if you can remain one while moving abroad. (You have to take HMRCs statutory residency test online).

I get this too. I spend most of the year living and working abroad but remain a UK tax resident with a British address.

This has caused a bit of a nightmare in terms of tax and health insurance, which still has not been satisfactorily resolved after several years.

The best thing to do, in my experience, is just do all British official stuff using your British address and not mention being abroad unless you absolutely have to. If you do, just say 'I'm working abroad at the moment' and leave it at that.

Phone calls can be forwarded abroad using skype. Post is a bit of a difficulty because it can take a while to be forwarded, fortunately I have a relative at my UK address who checks/forwards things as necessary.

100% correct. Tell who needs to know - revenue, embassy, etc. Banks, and everyone else, do not need to know. If they specifically ask you, great, be honest, but otherwise do not tell them.

Also do not open your accounts overseas with branches of those banks (i.e. if you use HSBC in London, don't use them to open one in Canada). You never know when they will do some data mining and identify you as a fraud/other risk.

For post, yes, move everything to a trusted relative/friend in the months before leaving. Pay them an annual fee for the trouble - 50 quid or so. You'll often find this is tax deductible plus buys them a few pints to say thankyou.

Systems in large organisations are set up on the cheapest budget to handle bog standard customer situations. Complex customers cost money and unless you are making them moolah, you are simple not worth it. I suspect sometimes banks and others will rather kick you out as a risk than actually work out how to serve.

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I've worked away a lot, and it is a right pain in the bum!

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Not on the same scale as your problem but our house is slightly off the main road and sits away from the house it is numbered similar to. So ours is 10a but we sit behind 6 which is a few doors down from 10 on the main road.

Attempting to explain this to people you are ordering things from is often met with amazement that you don't just live on the main road. Ordering stuff like takeaways always involves a) a longer than usual call explaining, B) a longer than usual wait and c) usually going out into the road to find the person. Most of the places that have 'delivery instructions' on an order don't seem to pass these on to the driver or if the do they are ignored. ASDA deliveries seemed to be reliable but most others have problem.

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Not on the same scale as your problem but our house is slightly off the main road and sits away from the house it is numbered similar to. So ours is 10a but we sit behind 6 which is a few doors down from 10 on the main road.

Attempting to explain this to people you are ordering things from is often met with amazement that you don't just live on the main road. Ordering stuff like takeaways always involves a) a longer than usual call explaining, B) a longer than usual wait and c) usually going out into the road to find the person. Most of the places that have 'delivery instructions' on an order don't seem to pass these on to the driver or if the do they are ignored. ASDA deliveries seemed to be reliable but most others have problem.

Could you try giving the address as something like "Building 10a, 6 Main Road"?

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That is why standing charges gas/electricity are not a good thing for people who travel and do not want to pay for services they do not use......very difficult to get a good split tariff deal since they started trying to improve and simplify prices they have in fact made things far worse. ;)

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Wait, you live in one house but work and live in another? How bizarre!

No. 1 son left for Cardiff Uni Sep 2010, I started living away in the week Dec. 2010 and still am (May 12 to May 13 was on Guernsey & only came home for the weekend every 2-3 weeks - loved it!). No 2 son left for Liv. Uni Sep. 2011.

No. 1 son back home since May 2013 and can't wait to move to London to share a flat with me from Oct. He will have the place to himself a lot of the time.

No. 2 son planning to go direct to job away from home (possibly as far away as Boston or even San Francisco, eek!) with his theoretical Physics MSc next Spring.

The house in Gloucester was grand for a growing family / primary education but is now increasingly irrelevant. We have secured a lovely rented 2bed/2bath flat in SW15 over the road from Putney Heath so I think we all will spend increasingly less time at 'home'.

My wife just isn't quite ready to move on mentally - she has never been a contractor, all her family are died in the wool time serving permies (in Cornwall..) and she has a few very close friends in Gloucester / Chelt.

Also, I think she has been very surprised that my going contracting has had 'legs' with only a few short voids and to be truthful, so have I.

The boys and I are working on it. I think the tipping point will be when we have made a small circle of friends in Putney / Wimbledon. Her favourite niece lives there which will help.

Also if we end up with a son settled in North America easy access to Heathrow will be good.

Anyone want to rent a 4 bed house in Churchdown with guaranteed places for your sprogs in Chosen Hill or Churchdown Senior LOL?

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Isn't that near an airport.

Yes Staverton, 4700ft recently upgraded runway. Could accomodate ATR72 and BAe 146. 70-100 passengers.

Would love a regular service to London, Scotland, France, Germany, Jersey etc. 5 mins drive away but when this is mooted the misinformed, stupid and risible idiots whose only asset is their nasty leveraged house go ballistic.

Our house is directly under the primary incoming flightpath so airliners would pass over at about 200m.

Fine. 2 mins noise every couple of hours in daytime and maybe a poxy £25k off the house price.

I'll take that deal any day. Still have 1 whole house and now its 5mins from an international airport.

Could be cardoor to airborne in 40mins - fabulous!

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Car tax.

Your're not at home and the magic end of month comes round. You want to renew your tax, but you can't, because you don't carry the registration document of the car with you, and they sent the stupid form with the magic numbers on it to your home address. You can't even SORN the car. You could go to a post office sir....er, no I can't, I'm on a different continent.

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