Leaving comfort for one of the world’s most expensive cities was a great financial decision

25 thoughts on “Leaving comfort for one of the world’s most expensive cities was a great financial decision”

  1. Love the story and the pictures and how you were able to save so much in such expensive city.

    And I’m impressed by the mandatory 9.5% contribution to retirement by employers!!!

    I have a friend who just moved to Australia. She had been there before/did her studies over there. But she now just left to go back and plans to stay there permanently. She really loves and enjoys the place despite how expensive it is.

  2. I really like that you took the plunge and went out on a limb by asking employers (or former employers) for jobs. My husband and I were able to make a cross country move when he got a new job because I asked my employer for a work remote set up (and they said yes). It is always worth asking!

  3. I thought Australia had strict emigration policies? How did you overcome becoming a resident, VISA, , etc to work and live in Australia?

    1. Hey Edward

      It’s true that Australia does have strict immigration policies, but there are a few ways to get approved very easily.

      If you are under the age of 33 and from a list of approved countries, you can get a 1-year working holiday visa. This is what most people do to get in the country and start working. At which point you need to find an employer who will sponsor you to stay in the country long.
      The second option is employer sponsorship. This allows you to stay in the country for up to 4 years as long as you are with your employer. There are many skill shortages in Australia so if you have the right skills it can be quite easy to find sponsorship once you’re in the country.

      We started with working holiday visas while we were on a “probation” period with our employers and then my employer sponsored Lauren and myself.

      Hope this was helpful!

  4. Nice! I immigrated from India to the Silicon Valley when I was 30 years old, so I am very familiar with starting afresh in a brand new very expensive place. Like you, the move has been fantastic for me financially, even though where I currently live is so much more expensive than where I came from.

    I plan to retire at the end of 2018/early 2019, and in retirement we plan to move to another expensive place – Amsterdam. We will be subject to their wealth tax, but their healthcare will help me sleep at night.

  5. Very cool. I’d love to travel around Australia for a while. My aunt lives in Melbourne and she did very well with her real estate investments. Those are two very expensive cities.

    1. Hey Amy

      I still need to do a bit more research on this. I know I can leave it with an Australian retirement account manager (like a Fidelity or Merrill Lynch) and access the money tax free at 55, but I would like to see if I can move it to a rollover IRA in the U.S. My other option is to withdraw the money and transfer it back to my U.S. bank account, but this would require paying 45% in taxes.

      If I can’t move the money into a rollover IRA I will likely pay the 45% in taxes and use it to max out my Roth IRA. I would like to have more control over the money rather than being at the mercy of some company’s fees across the world and also the exchange rate.

      Thanks for the question!

  6. Great Post! Back before we had kids, we spent some time in Australia — I can absolutely agree on the high cost of housing and food. OMG yes!

    Other things, like sunshine and a nice beach were absolutely free. If you’re the kind of person that likes the outdoors, Sydney is incredible! So many great beaches amongst its neighborhoods!

    So many other countries are like this — We just got back from a month in Japan and if it weren’t for the higher capital gains and dividend taxates we could totally live there cheaper than we do in the States.

  7. Unfortunately you will be looking at a tax rate of 65% if your departing australia super payment includes ANY contributions made during the period you held a working holiday visa. That rate applies to the entire super amount including contributions made while holding the other visas.

    Bit of a rip off really. You’d be better off transferring to a low cost fund (for example Hostplus Indexed Balanced fund has 0.02% management fee plus $78 admin fee per year) and getting it out tax free when you turn 60.

    Hope you have a great stay down under.

  8. I remember when my employer started explaining my superannuation retirement account to me and I was shocked by it! 9.5% they pay into it and none of your paycheck is put into it. It’s crazy awesome. I came to Sydney on a work holiday visa and several of the hospitality jobs paid $21-23/hour AUD. I lived in a hostel, paying $200 AUD/week (800 AUD month).

    Like you mentioned, food was so expensive so I basically never ate out, haha. Except for when it was food trucks and such sometimes.

    When I took a job in the outback, I was making $25/hour AUD and getting free accommodation!

  9. Did a similar deal of relocating ….. and airdropped into Asia … invested in the local stock market and real estate just before prices skyrocket and I am totally FI now …. though I still teach here in Asia … because it is fun …. then occasionally travel around Asia, Europe and North America … you can click on the above Michael CPO link to see more … it is Christian FIRE and Lifestyle blog for overseas global expats … P.S. .. half my coworkers are from Australia / New Zealand and they are great … CPO, From the Far Side of the Planet 🙂

  10. Hey would you like to join our cause? We’re building the biggest financial community that anyone has ever tried. And we’d like you to be apart of that. Let us know what you think!

  11. I’ve only been to Sydney once and yes, it’s pretty darn expensive! I was there on business travel and the problem that I saw more than others is that every time I went out I had locals buying me beers and wanting to drink with me since they loved us Yanks. An man, those Aussies can drink!

    Looks like you two have made a nice move, and I love the way you did it so deliberately and decisively. I only wish I could be so sure in my convictions!

  12. Great story! That’s awesome that you were able to line up a job by reaching out to an old employer. This goes to show that it’s important not to burn any bridges. I’ve never been to Australia, but hope to visit a friend there soon.

  13. Great story. One door closes and another one open. That was a major move. I really enjoy reading posts about people who take big chances in life and come out ahead. I have a friend who moved to Australia 20 years ago and never came back to the states.

    1. Hey J

      All of the dollar figures I listed are in USD. Our apartment is $590/week or $2,556/month in AUD. From my friends that live in Socal, they say the price is pretty comparable.

      Hope that helps.

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