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samtheman

Moving To A Cheaper Country

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Like many Britons before me, I'm considering moving abroad in the next few years. In my case, to Poland where my girlfriend is from.

One thing that is holding me back for now is salary. The usual "but it's a lot cheaper to live there" statement is made whenever I speak about this to friends/family. This comment always ignores the fact that cost of living can be as cheap as you like but if your salary is reduced by more than your cost of living is, then your purchasing power will be negatively impacted.

I'm looking mainly for advice from individuals who have actually made the move.

I am looking to continue to work there. I speak ok colloquial Polish. In any case, my salary would likely take a massive hit (basically reduced by about 3/4, maybe 2/3 if I'm particularly lucky).

In terms of financial considerations, what should I take into account? What kind of savings should I have to be financially comfortable? I am fortunate enough to own a flat in the UK. Do I sell it? I was assuming that the fact that I have a flat in the UK would provide a fair bit of financial security if we needed to come back to the UK.

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If you rent your flat out, don't rent it to friends/family.

When we were living abroad I heard countless stories from friends who'd rented their homes to close friends or family they had previously got on well with. Almost without exception there were problems - trashing the place or not paying the rent or refusing to move out when they were finally coming home and needed it. Or else subletting to others who did ditto. They all thought they were being clever by avoiding agents' fees but so often it ended in massive headaches, hassle and expense.

One bloke we knew very well left his 'trusted' brother in law to manage the rental and pay his mortgage. Came back to find he'd installed his mistress in it, hadn't paid the mortgage for months and the house was about to be repossessed.

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Personally, I would keep the flat and some savings here for at least a year rather than burning your bridges. You never know when things might go bad. At the very least you want to keep the air fare and bit of cash to tide you over in a secret - even from your girlfriend - place.

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Hello samtheman,

Moving to Poland is certainly worth considering. If it comes to finding a job everything depends on your proffesion. The biggest job markets are cities Warsaw,Krakow, Wroclaw etc. However Its much more difficult to find a decent job in Poland then in the UK with salary nowhere near those back home. In my opinion you should reject everything below 4.500 kPLN net in Warsaw, Krakow and below 4k PLN net in other cities for a start. To rent a flat u will need roughly min 1,8 - 2 kPLN in WAW or KRK or 1,5kPLN elsewhere. Providing both of you work its not bad but it depends how prudent you are. Your money earned in Poland buys less than in UK. Housing quailty is better, weather is better, luxury and branded items are more expensive and less choice. It will be a culture shock for you at first , totally different mentality and lifestyle. Keep ur flat back home and let it out. Savings around 5k GBP should be sufficient to start with. Start applying for jobs while you still in the UK.

Written by Polish national who used to live in UK for 8 years.

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I did this a few years ago. I've lived in Germany, Wales and currently living in France. I rented rooms with a one month notice period for the first two and I've got a holiday let for 6 months in France cheap obviously over winter. When this ends in the spring I'll head off somewhere else.

I work for myself over the internet though, without a job like this my lifestyle would be impossible.

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Yes only EU because I have a dog. He doesn't like to travel in the car though, poor sod never knows when he gets in if it's going to be 10 minutes or 10 hours! :)

If I didn't have a dog I'd probably still stick to the EU as it's nice to have your car and all your stuff with you. Also it's a large area to explore with lots of culture, no visas, no borders etc.

Edited by honkydonkey

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I only have a woodburner in the lounge and no heating upstairs in France. I'm sure the pool is very nice in summer but at over 1k go a week no thank you. I pay 500 a month over winter. But yes it does take a hardy soul to live here right now!

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I like the thinking.

I looked into a few options some years back. My guess is if it works for the birds....

Not sure France would be my main choice, but language issues across europe will always be an issue. Considered Belgium? A lot of guys tend to be rude about it, but when you quiz them you find out they never set foot in the place.

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I like the thinking.

I looked into a few options some years back. My guess is if it works for the birds....

Not sure France would be my main choice, but language issues across europe will always be an issue. Considered Belgium? A lot of guys tend to be rude about it, but when you quiz them you find out they never set foot in the place.

Never considered it myself. I'm pretty much just exploring around to see where I like at the moment. I'm a big fan of the Welsh countryside, and I don't think Belgium or Holland would be particularly inviting in that sense.

Looking at the house prices in Ireland I may head that way for a while. Especially with the euro/£ rate on our side at the moment.

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Looking at the house prices in Ireland I may head that way for a while. Especially with the euro/£ rate on our side at the moment.

Think carefully before buying in Ireland at the moment. Actually, that possibly applies to many other Euro countries. I have been over there for the past 2 years and have studied the market carefully - in fact, I've watched it from zero to hero since the early 90's through the (huge) crash and have watched with amazement how short people's memories are there. Ramping is well under way, but even with the feverish massive jumps in prices, particularly in Dublin where demand is far greater than supply, people's enthusiasm seems to be cooling off or they are just getting despondent with the crazy jumps in prices. Taxes, charges and so on are now beginning to add up to a great deal - check out how much it costs to tax a second hand car.

The quality and design in Ireland is generally overall poor. The cheap houses in the countryside are cheap for a reason. The country areas are slowly but steadily declining as people are moving the towns and cities. Public transport is terrible - unless you are in a city, you need a car.The planning process is not something I'd ever put myself through there ever again.

The cost of living is very high - 3rd most expensive night out in Europe, after Sweden and Belgium I think.

The time to buy in Eurozone countries is when the Euro is not weak (just like the time to get a mortgage is not when interest rates are low) - look at all the Brits who got stuck in the south of France after doing just that.

Sadly for me, I did want to buy in Ireland, and should have done. But, the bargains ended 2 years ago - and there were many. 2009-2011 was the time to get a house at fair value. I don't see fair value anywhere there now (in comparison to other Euro countries). A long term rental somewhere not built up or in a touristy area can be very reasonable (in the lively cities and bigger towns rents are going up fast) and can be equal to the cost of just maintaining a house you own. This also gives flexibility.

I know of quite a few people/couples there with 35 yr mortgages - got together in their 20's, no longer anything in common..and they're stuck (many in negative equity). Thank the Lord no woman wanted me at that age and I managed to dodge that bullet.

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Never considered it myself. I'm pretty much just exploring around to see where I like at the moment. I'm a big fan of the Welsh countryside, and I don't think Belgium or Holland would be particularly inviting in that sense.

Looking at the house prices in Ireland I may head that way for a while. Especially with the euro/£ rate on our side at the moment.

My guess is you never visited Wales, Holland or Belgium. I could understand you saying you preferred one or the other just from the odd picture on the internet, but when you mention Holland and Belgium like they had anywhere near the same countryside as each other I need to question what you want in terms of countryside .

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I haven't moved abroad but I thought of doing so. However one problem is that if you work in IT in many countries qualifications are far more important than experience.

(We didn't move abroad in the end because my wife and I could not agree on which city to live in amongst other things).

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It worries me that she isn't willing to move to the UK to stay with you. How long have you been together in one physical location? Long distance doesn't really count. If it's not a long time you could end up arriving in Poland with all that money in the bank from selling your flat, then finding out your girlfriend has been planning to screw you over and hold you to ransom for the money or more likely get you to invest in an overpriced property in Poland. Or perhaps some dodgy business.

Most Polish women would jump at the chance to live in the UK.

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