[Living in] London vs. New York

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[Living in] London vs. New York

Postby AQ » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:53 pm

Hi, anyone has experiences living in both places? I refer to both metros, not necessarily Manhanttan when talking about New York, e.g.

Got potential opportunities in both places and tried to decide in next month or so. Currently I'm in CA and a US citizen.

Things to consider:

1) Tax: in NY, the top fed rate is 39.6%. Add state and city tax rates and it could easily go north of 45%. Was told the top rate in London in April is 45%, but not sure what types of things it includes. Also in the states we have to pay SS, Medicare, etc.

2) health insurance: Believe it's universal coverage in UK and I consider this is a plus.

3) weather: I like mild weather in CA. In NY winter could be harsh and summer is humid. London seems a bit more moderate both ways? though I heard it's foggy all year around?

4) living expenses: it seems everything is so more expensive in London than NY. So even if tax rates are comparable, it's still more costly in London? Even more so if trying to buy a house? Anyone has a rule of thumbs that pay in London should be a certain percentage higher or lower in NY? (assuming annual income is a high six figure).

My questions focus on financial matters given this is a financial forum. But feel free to chime in with other aspects. For example, from my few trips to London, people there seem more friendly, and the city seems safer than NY. Both cities offer a lot of cultural events, etc.
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Re: London vs. New York

Postby VictoriaF » Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:27 pm

I like both London and New York and would live in either. If I had to choose, I'd go for London for two reasons. First, I think it is easier to get a job in NYC, it being the U.S., and so London appears to be a more rare opportunity. Second, from London you can explore Europe.

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Re: London vs. New York

Postby rjbraun » Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:04 pm

AQ wrote:1) Tax: in NY, the top fed rate is 39.6%. Add state and city tax rates and it could easily go north of 45%. Was told the top rate in London in April is 45%, but not sure what types of things it includes. Also in the states we have to pay SS, Medicare, etc.

3) weather: I like mild weather in CA. In NY winter could be harsh and summer is humid. London seems a bit more moderate both ways? though I heard it's foggy all year around?

4) living expenses: it seems everything is so more expensive in London than NY. So even if tax rates are comparable, it's still more costly in London? Even more so if trying to buy a house? Anyone has a rule of thumbs that pay in London should be a certain percentage higher or lower in NY? (assuming annual income is a high six figure).

My questions focus on financial matters given this is a financial forum. But feel free to chime in with other aspects. For example, from my few trips to London, people there seem more friendly, and the city seems safer than NY. Both cities offer a lot of cultural events, etc.

I'm no tax expert but I thought you would still have to pay some US taxes even though you're living abroad. In that case it would seem that your London top rate of 45% would rise with US taxes factored in.

I live in NYC and have traveled to London on occasion over the years. I don't know, London weather seems a lot bleaker to me. Maybe I'm just unlucky but overcast and grey seem to far outweigh the pleasant, sunny periods. Sure, NYC can get cold at times (like today), and humid in the summer, but at least it's not as cold as Boston nor as muggy as Washington, DC. I guess it's all relative.

Totally agree with #4. I find London outrageously expensive. If you want, you can spend an absolute fortune in NY but apart from the cost of housing (assuming you want to be centrally located in a nice area with decent amount of space, etc.) I think it's manageable to find cultural stuff to do at reasonable prices, and sometimes for free. Sorry, no metric to offer to equalize both cities' costs.

Personally, I find NYers can be quite friendly though I recognize that not everyone feels the same way. I did consider transferring to London at one point in my career. I heard that it wasn't so easy to be accepted socially, the way it is in the US. Basically, I got the impression that once the weekend starts people would hang out with their school chums and whatnot and if you weren't part of that group it would be hard to fit or at least be accepted. No idea if that's an accurate portrayal or not, but I do feel that is not at all the case in NYC. I haven't been to London in a while. I didn't feel particularly safe or unsafe when I've visited in the past. I can say that I feel reasonably safe living in NY. That said, it's a big city and I always aim to be very aware of my surroundings. But I think that would be true of London and really any major city.

Good luck with your decision.
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Re: London vs. New York

Postby livesoft » Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:16 pm

Don't discount the latitude. I think I recall correctly that NYC has same latitude as Rome.

London will be dark most of the winter. Can you take it? But it will stay light out most of the summer. It is not the Arctic Circle, but folks notice it.
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Re: London vs. New York

Postby LadyGeek » Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:23 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (travel).
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Re: London vs. New York

Postby ourbrooks » Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:35 pm

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Re: London vs. New York

Postby hq38sq43 » Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:58 pm

There is a scene in Three Days of the Condor in which the Robert Redford character is advised to escape danger by fleeing to Europe. He replies that he was born in this country and misses it when abroad too long. That scene has long resonated with me.

I have spent some time (not much) in both New York and London and would not decide to live in either place, or anywhere else, solely, or even primarily, for tax reasons. Standard advice is to consider taxes when making investment decisions, but not to invest based on them. Life is too short to be the dog being wagged by the tail.
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Re: London vs. New York

Postby NYerinLondon » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:13 pm

AQ wrote:Hi, anyone has experiences living in both places? I refer to both metros, not necessarily Manhanttan when talking about New York, e.g.

Got potential opportunities in both places and tried to decide in next month or so. Currently I'm in CA and a US citizen.

Things to consider:

1) Tax: in NY, the top fed rate is 39.6%. Add state and city tax rates and it could easily go north of 45%. Was told the top rate in London in April is 45%, but not sure what types of things it includes. Also in the states we have to pay SS, Medicare, etc.

2) health insurance: Believe it's universal coverage in UK and I consider this is a plus.

3) weather: I like mild weather in CA. In NY winter could be harsh and summer is humid. London seems a bit more moderate both ways? though I heard it's foggy all year around?

4) living expenses: it seems everything is so more expensive in London than NY. So even if tax rates are comparable, it's still more costly in London? Even more so if trying to buy a house? Anyone has a rule of thumbs that pay in London should be a certain percentage higher or lower in NY? (assuming annual income is a high six figure).

My questions focus on financial matters given this is a financial forum. But feel free to chime in with other aspects. For example, from my few trips to London, people there seem more friendly, and the city seems safer than NY. Both cities offer a lot of cultural events, etc.


I have lived in both places. A few observations:

- financial: London is more expensive. My rule of thumb was i paid numerically in gbp what i would have paid in the states in usd. That being said, many of the expat packages compensate for these COL disparities. That will of course be subject to the particularities of your job, etc.

- health care: yes (for now), though many expats and even locals supplement with a private option.

- Tax: Get an accountant. Assuming you are an American, you will have long arm tax obligation, but because your tax obligation will be higher generally in the uk, you will probably end up paying little here. Again, not intended as tax or legal advice, seek the advice of an accountant.

- weather: the weather is truly depressing in London. It is hard to overstate or explain. Not fog per se, really the low hanging omnipresent cloud cover. People say 'England has a lot of weather'. Do not go there for mild anything. You will also find more extremes in Summer because of lack of ac, eg in tube. Ny does get cold and you will certainly see snow there, but I found the weather much more pleasant.

- friendliness: Londoners are standoffish. I lived for four years in a flat and knew one other couple in our building. Nyers are the salt of the earth by comparison.

- safety: toss up. The difference was that in ny, I knew i was in the wrong place when I was suddenly the only one around. In London, the opposite (eg, 'yutes').

- travel: okay, this is why one goes to London. A different city every weekend, all an inexpensive plane trip away.

Good luck
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Re: London vs. New York

Postby killjoy2012 » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:17 pm

I've never lived in either city, but I have visited both for extended periods and I would pick London without a doubt. Cost of living is higher, and I have no clue how the taxes compare... but ultimately it should come down to what you personally want out of life... not whether you're going to save $5 by choosing one over the other. (However, I would bet that taxes would still be cheaper in NY.) London is more foreign/exotic, a rarer opportunity, a good base for exploring the rest of Europe inexpensively, etc. For me, NYC isn't attractive enough to offset the "costs" of moving away from family, etc... and if I'm a flight from "home", it doesn't really matter to me whether it's a 2 hour flight or 7 hour.

At a "high six figure income", I wouldn't think cost of living would be that much of a factor. And I would rent in London, not buy, esp for an expat.

Health insurance: my understanding is that the vast majority of "middle class" and higher people in the UK buy their own private medical insurance to augment the national healthcare system.

Weather - London is milder in the summer and winter compared to NYC, but it's also more overcast/dark.
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Re: London vs. New York

Postby rjbraun » Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:40 pm

I guess another consideration could be your longer-term career plans as well as personal ones. I've heard that it can be hard to return to the States once you're based overseas. What I mean is that if you decide you want to come "home" at some point then either you need to get your company to relocate you or you need to conduct a search from abroad, assuming you don't want to quit and then conduct your search. Obviously, it depends on your personal circumstances. If you travel a lot for work anyway then maybe it's not so hard to look for a job here, etc. I guess another consideration would be the challenge of pulling up roots once you might be settled in a place. I guess the flip-side would be maybe you love your new place and decide to build your life there. That could also be very exciting and satisfying.
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Re: London vs. New York

Postby FedGuy » Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:45 am

I've lived in both places and think that NYerinLondon has generally offered excellent advice.

I think a lot of it really comes down to personal preference. The thing I liked most about London was how easy it was to travel throughout Europe. I took weekend trips to places like Paris, Amsterdam, and Brussels, went to Italy several times, put together longer and more complicated vacations through Scandinavia and Central/Eastern Europe, etc. It was great.

On a day-to-day basis, the two cities feel like polar opposites. New York is bursting with energy and activity. A friend of mine was visiting a few months ago and stopped in the middle of the street to take in the energy of all the people hustling about. You can always find something to do in New York. London, on the other hand, was much more sedate. A former colleague once referred to London as "the city that always sleeps," and there's something to that. When I worked late, it was often difficult to find a restaurant that was still open when I got out. Most shopping had to be done on Saturdays, because stores close too early during the week and may be closed on Sundays. Customer service in London was generally far below US standards (when my father visited, he almost punched an employee at a drug store who wasn't being helpful). On the other hand, museums in London are free, which is pretty nice.

As an American in London, there were a lot of differences I found difficult. Refrigerators are generally tiny, like the kind of refrigerator I had in my college dorm room (some supermarkets sell full-sized refrigerators in a section called "American refrigerators"). Most apartments don't have air conditioning, even though it can get pretty hot in the summer. Plenty of bathrooms have separate taps for the hot and cold water. Apartment bathrooms are often fully carpeted.

Oh, and the food in New York is orders of magnitude better than the food in London.

I'm glad I lived in London for a few years. I'm also glad to be living in New York now.
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Re: London vs. New York

Postby Swampy » Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:31 am

It isn't always about money. I have lived outside of the US for a while and absolutely loved it. This is the golden opportunity of a lifetime.

Having spent a time in each city, I would vote for London. Living in a foreign location is a mind expanding experience. It opens you up to a whole new way of looking at life. I spent several years outside the US in my 20's. Now that I'm retired, guess what? I plan to do it again.

London is a short hop from many continental destinations. Think about it, you can spend a weekend in Paris, Rome, Zurich, and any one of a hundred other destinations, with an entirely different perspective of the world. Ryanair is a great way to hop longer distances, I recommend them wholeheartedly (as long as you travel light). Conversely, there are a hundred destinations just a few hours drive outside of London.

You're young, do you want to spend a lifetime of regret and wondering what 'coulda, shoulda, woulda' been? If you spend too much time debating this, you will talk yourself out of going. That would be a tragedy.

Go - and don't look back. I did, I wouldn't have changed a thing. My life has been fuller and richer for having done so.
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Re: London vs. New York

Postby Dave76 » Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:59 am

I lived in England for nine years. London is a nice place to visit, but, like New York, you'd be crazy to want to live there.
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Re: London vs. New York

Postby Valuethinker » Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:16 pm

AQ wrote:Hi, anyone has experiences living in both places? I refer to both metros, not necessarily Manhanttan when talking about New York, e.g.

Got potential opportunities in both places and tried to decide in next month or so. Currently I'm in CA and a US citizen.

Things to consider:

1) Tax: in NY, the top fed rate is 39.6%. Add state and city tax rates and it could easily go north of 45%. Was told the top rate in London in April is 45%, but not sure what types of things it includes. Also in the states we have to pay SS, Medicare, etc.


45% income over £150k. 40% from £42k to £150k (+1.5% National Insurance, from memory, you pay 13.8% NI but the rest of it caps out in the low 40s).

BTW getting a visa has become much harder, you will need your employer to sponsor you (and they are under huge pressure to prove that a European cannot do the job you are applying for).

2) health insurance: Believe it's universal coverage in UK and I consider this is a plus.


If you work for a company you will probably have private at c. £100 pcm for a family of 4. The NHS can take a *long* time looking at things which are not urgent/ lethal. Americans are not used to waiting so long.

I would say if you have a preexisting or long term condition, then it is probably better to be in the NHS-- the care may not always be great, but it is free.

My own experience of the NHS is that acute care, eg post an accident, is great, ordinary chronic care is very much a lottery.

3) weather: I like mild weather in CA. In NY winter could be harsh and summer is humid. London seems a bit more moderate both ways? though I heard it's foggy all year around?


The fog was sulphur dioxide smoke from coal. I would say we get fog maybe 6-7 days a year now. It rains pretty steadily from November to May *but* not always-- less rain than Vancouver say. However we are a lot further north (look on a map) and the winter nights are *long*. It is damp, and things are not well insulated, you will be cold compared to N America.

Weather has gone all haywire you get summers without sun and winters without rain. we've swung from the worst drought ever recorded to one of the wettest 6 month periods ever recorded. Temperatures are pretty consistently between 5 degrees C and 25 C, but nothing is really air conditioned, especially not the Tube, you get *sticky* in summer.

4) living expenses: it seems everything is so more expensive in London than NY. So even if tax rates are comparable, it's still more costly in London? Even more so if trying to buy a house? Anyone has a rule of thumbs that pay in London should be a certain percentage higher or lower in NY? (assuming annual income is a high six figure).


There are various indices out there. The rule of thumb is what costs $1 in USA costs £1 in UK-- remember there is 20% VAT on everything (gasoline is 2-3x as expensive).

Housing? It just depends. Middle class people tend to live outside London and commute by rail, and spend £2000-5000 pa on a season's train ticket.

I would say housing prices are pretty comparable to NYC (ie an apartment for $3k a month in NYC would cost £2k pcm in London). Note rents are quoted per week- and there really is a shortage of rentals right now-- landlords can write their own tickets, demanding big deposits, people renting sight unseen etc.

The biggest bugbear is the unreliability of public transport: Tube is overloaded so are most of the commuter rails, and they *go wrong*. You have to have an English sense of humour about delays due to 'wrong kind of leaves' on the line, etc. At least one day in every 2 weeks you will be delayed by 30 minutes to an hour in your commute on most lines.

Driving, and parking, are expensive and annoying enough that you will do them at weekends, if at all. There is a £10 charge to drive into Central London, 7am-7pm M-F: the fines ratchet up with every hour past midnight you have not paid. The parking wardens are New York rotweiler-ish (they get paid a bonus based on tickets).

I make a point of (a relatively short journey) giving myself 90 minutes to go a distance that all being well, takes c. 40 in the mornings.

Street crime (pickpocketing, nicking phones out of your hand etc.) is high. Violent crime is low. The office drinking culture is something most North Americans would find a bit excessive, and ditto the degree to which High Streets are full of blotto young people Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights-- to the point of being unpleasant and or frightening. Like the whole City is on a college frat weekend.

My questions focus on financial matters given this is a financial forum. But feel free to chime in with other aspects. For example, from my few trips to London, people there seem more friendly, and the city seems safer than NY. Both cities offer a lot of cultural events, etc.


There's more old world civility than New York but it's not really an English city any more-- people from all the world. French in South Ken, Russians in Knightsbridge, Spanish everywhere etc. There's certainly none of that 'East End spirit' you see in old movies. Those people have migrated out to Essex (our New Jersey).

Working hours are more reasonable than NYC but the professions work damned hard. But at 6 or 6.30pm, people go home, and they do not expect to be bothered on their weekends. The place shuts down in August (schools don't break until the last week of July, I think, and so everyone with kids goes on holiday at the same time, along with the rest of Europe).

5 or 6 weeks holiday a year is the norm, American companies trying to impose 3 weeks get an uprising from their British staff.

The distances people commute, and the delays they encounter, mean outside the investment banking world office life starts relatively late ( 9am). Canary Wharf (ie the big banks) it's 7am- -and commuting to the Wharf is basically a pain (the Jubilee Line is flakey, and at capacity).

Live here for the charm, the history, the quick access to Europe and the world. Don't live here for the money, unless you are really in the £200k+ bracket you won't save much. The day to day hassles from traffic and transport are high, and everything costs money.

If you are a young person seeking opportunity and growth, now, I would go to Singapore or Hong Kong or Shanghai, not New York or London. Our day was in the 90s, this is the 21st Century.
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Re: London vs. New York

Postby wastenot » Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:01 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
There's more old world civility than New York but it's not really an English city any more-- people from all the world.


I always enjoy VT's contributions and I would like to chime in with a few comments on the two cities. I live in NY and have visited London several times and always enjoyed it.

New York is a city of extremes. What is nice about it is very nice, and what is bad about it is very bad. While New Yorkers in general are friendly, you don't want to meet some of the "not so nice" New Yorkers. Londoners, in my experience, are very friendly and helpful, even if a few of them tend to overindulge in every Englishman's God-given right to lecture Yanks on the manifold failings of the U.S.

And in terms of foreign origins, the diversity of people in NY resembles London these days, and I think this feature adds zest to life. I used to volunteer as a teacher of English to immigrants, and it was great fun.

The distances people commute, and the delays they encounter, mean outside the investment banking world office life starts relatively late ( 9am)...

Living in Manhattan is very expensive, and newcomers somehow feel obliged to live there for the "glamour." They can have it. I, like most New Yorkers, am happy to live more quietly and less expensively in the outer boroughs, Connecticut or New Jersey (the latter, by the way, has some very nice places to live.) And thanks to mass transit, rather long distances can be travelled fairly quickly.

And I think the speed and efficiency of the NYC mass transit system is underappreciated. I was able to retire early thanks to riding the subway and buses, which eliminate the need for a car (essential in what New Yorkers call " the real America.") NY mass transit enables passengers to travel hundreds of miles, 24/7, at a reasonable cost ($104 per month, with a discount for senior citizens.) Given the heavy use of the system, breakdowns are generally infrequent, and I think complaints of overcrowding are exaggerated (except on a few subway lines, such as the 4-5-6 lines, which is being addressed via a new line under construction.)

Live here for the charm, the history, the quick access to Europe and the world. Don't live here for the money, unless you are really in the £200k+ bracket you won't save much.

New Yorkers of a Bogleheadish frame of mind are able to live in NY at a remarkably low cost, in my opinion. Of course, this involves making economies in transport, food, and entertainment which many people reject. And high salaries, though desireable, are not essential, as I found out living here on a moderate salary. In my final years of work, I was able to save about 40% of my gross income and still enjoy live in the Big Apple.

If you are a young person seeking opportunity and growth, now, I would go to Singapore or Hong Kong or Shanghai, not New York or London. Our day was in the 90s, this is the 21st Century.


I think this opinion is not accurate for New York. With ambition and a certain level of skill, education or training, or a unionized job, it is still possible for young people, newcomers or not, to have an enjoyable and rewarding life here. As evidence, just consider the large numbers of young people flocking here from all over the U.S. and the world. Some will not find happiness or success, but many will build prosperous and relatively happy lives, as I have fortunately been able to do. In the 1940s E.B. White wrote a fine essay on this subject, and it still hold true. As that capitalist slogan states: "Let those who say it can't be done get out of the way of those who are doing it."
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Re: [Living in] London vs. New York

Postby AQ » Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:26 pm

Thanks a lot for all the comments providing a fairly good picture of the pro and con for both cities collectively. Really appreciate it...

Not a young lad anymore. If you look up my old posts, I'm actually considerin early retirement with some chronical health problems.. That is why I value the NHS in UK as a plus since it takes away some uncertainty on my budget. One fancy dream I always have is to find jobs across the world living different experiences when money is no longer a major concern.. However, my health situation (just say some conditions lead to chornically low energy levels, etc but nothing life threatening yet) make me hesitant to walk out of my comfort zone here in California with mild weather, familiar work environment, etc, to take these opportunities.

Guess for London the easy access to European continent is very attrative, but the depressing overcast/early dark time in winters seems a bit minus. I asked quite a few money questions, because money is easier to quantify and so helps me in this difficult decision :happy

Thanks again and guess I'll continue to struggle a little bit longer to do these trade-off analysis.
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Re: London vs. New York

Postby Fallible » Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:44 pm

wastenot wrote:...
I think this opinion is not accurate for New York. With ambition and a certain level of skill, education or training, or a unionized job, it is still possible for young people, newcomers or not, to have an enjoyable and rewarding life here. As evidence, just consider the large numbers of young people flocking here from all over the U.S. and the world. Some will not find happiness or success, but many will build prosperous and relatively happy lives, as I have fortunately been able to do. In the 1940s E.B. White wrote a fine essay on this subject, and it still hold true. As that capitalist slogan states: "Let those who say it can't be done get out of the way of those who are doing it."


Glad to see the E.B. White reference as his description of New York was right on and I think remains true, according to my relatives and friends who lived there and to those who still do. I lived there for much of the '60s (Manhattan and upstate) and to this day, consider it more home than any other place I've lived.
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Re: [Living in] London vs. New York

Postby four7s » Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:22 pm

My vote goes to London.
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Re: London vs. New York

Postby Dave76 » Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:54 pm

wastenot wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:
There's more old world civility than New York but it's not really an English city any more-- people from all the world.


I always enjoy VT's contributions and I would like to chime in with a few comments on the two cities. I live in NY and have visited London several times and always enjoyed it.

New York is a city of extremes. What is nice about it is very nice, and what is bad about it is very bad. While New Yorkers in general are friendly, you don't want to meet some of the "not so nice" New Yorkers. Londoners, in my experience, are very friendly and helpful, even if a few of them tend to overindulge in every Englishman's God-given right to lecture Yanks on the manifold failings of the U.S.

And in terms of foreign origins, the diversity of people in NY resembles London these days, and I think this feature adds zest to life. I used to volunteer as a teacher of English to immigrants, and it was great fun.

The distances people commute, and the delays they encounter, mean outside the investment banking world office life starts relatively late ( 9am)...

Living in Manhattan is very expensive, and newcomers somehow feel obliged to live there for the "glamour." They can have it. I, like most New Yorkers, am happy to live more quietly and less expensively in the outer boroughs, Connecticut or New Jersey (the latter, by the way, has some very nice places to live.) And thanks to mass transit, rather long distances can be travelled fairly quickly.

And I think the speed and efficiency of the NYC mass transit system is underappreciated. I was able to retire early thanks to riding the subway and buses, which eliminate the need for a car (essential in what New Yorkers call " the real America.") NY mass transit enables passengers to travel hundreds of miles, 24/7, at a reasonable cost ($104 per month, with a discount for senior citizens.) Given the heavy use of the system, breakdowns are generally infrequent, and I think complaints of overcrowding are exaggerated (except on a few subway lines, such as the 4-5-6 lines, which is being addressed via a new line under construction.)

Live here for the charm, the history, the quick access to Europe and the world. Don't live here for the money, unless you are really in the £200k+ bracket you won't save much.

New Yorkers of a Bogleheadish frame of mind are able to live in NY at a remarkably low cost, in my opinion. Of course, this involves making economies in transport, food, and entertainment which many people reject. And high salaries, though desireable, are not essential, as I found out living here on a moderate salary. In my final years of work, I was able to save about 40% of my gross income and still enjoy live in the Big Apple.

If you are a young person seeking opportunity and growth, now, I would go to Singapore or Hong Kong or Shanghai, not New York or London. Our day was in the 90s, this is the 21st Century.


I think this opinion is not accurate for New York. With ambition and a certain level of skill, education or training, or a unionized job, it is still possible for young people, newcomers or not, to have an enjoyable and rewarding life here.


It's harder than it used to be. Rent-controlled apartments are hard to come by. A subway ride is $2.25; compare that to $.10 in the 1960s. $.10 in the '60s is what, $.60 today? Many places that were once affordable have become gentrified. And forget the surrounding counties. The property taxes have gone through the roof. If you don't mind a 20-25 minute commute to Grand Central, you could buy a spacious condo or coop in lower Westchester. And the toll hikes! I don't even think I'll be able to drive across the GWB much longer. I may have to walk it.

Sure, many people who want to make it in New York can make it. However, there are two questions to answer:

1. Is it worth the cost?

2. How will the cost of living impact my quality of life?

My family and I sought refuge in the Hudson Valley, where many low-cost bedroom communities sprouted up. Things have changed since then. Property tax levies in the Hudson Valley are catching up to Long Island.

Larry Swedroe left decades ago and moved to Mo. to build his fortune. And we know he's a smart man.
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Re: [Living in] London vs. New York

Postby halfnine » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:27 pm

AQ wrote:One fancy dream I always have is to find jobs across the world living different experiences when money is no longer a major concern.. However, my health situation (just say some conditions lead to chornically low energy levels, etc but nothing life threatening yet) make me hesitant to walk out of my comfort zone here in California with mild weather, familiar work environment, etc, to take these opportunities.


We've lived in the UK. It's nice that the NHS is free and paperwork friendly but if either of us had acquired a chronic illness we would have just left. I can only reiterated what VT has said on this....

My own experience of the NHS is that acute care, eg post an accident, is great, ordinary chronic care is very much a lottery.


Private insurance with a company might be a bit of a lottery as well. It really depends on what they provide and what your condition is. For instance the private insurance we were offered mainly only took care of medical issues regarding cancer or heart disease and so we just opted out of it realizing that we would be more likely to move closer to friends/family under those circumstances as well.
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Re: [Living in] London vs. New York

Postby halfnine » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:28 pm

As far as income I agree with what has been indicated by a few others. Your UK salary in GBP should be whatever your USA salary is in USD. That is as far as covering costs year to year. Unfortunately there really aren't all that many middle class and above professions that pay that premium, but then yours might. That said, you should also keep in mind that if you are a saver and IF you return to back to the States then you will definitely benefit from a currency standpoint (save 50K USD in the USA or 50K GBP in the UK...well then the 50K GBP is actually more like 80K USD).
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Re: London vs. New York

Postby halfnine » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:39 pm

Valuethinker wrote:BTW getting a visa has become much harder, you will need your employer to sponsor you (and they are under huge pressure to prove that a European cannot do the job you are applying for).


Getting a visa is a lot harder these days but it still does depend on your income. I don't remember the exact numbers but once you are in the £150K range or so it isn't any harder than it was previously.

Valuethinker wrote:There's more old world civility than New York but it's not really an English city any more-- people from all the world. French in South Ken, Russians in Knightsbridge, Spanish everywhere etc. There's certainly none of that 'East End spirit' you see in old movies.


+1

London is a increasingly multinational, multicultural, multilingual city these days. The more you fit or are willing to fit that description the more you are likely to enjoy it.

Valuethinker wrote:Live here for the charm, the history, the quick access to Europe and the world. Don't live here for the money, unless you are really in the £200k+ bracket you won't save much. The day to day hassles from traffic and transport are high, and everything costs money.


+1

Valuethinker wrote:If you are a young person seeking opportunity and growth, now, I would go to Singapore or Hong Kong or Shanghai, not New York or London. Our day was in the 90s, this is the 21st Century.


I'd personally take London or NY over Hong Kong. And Singapore isn't as easy to get a job in as it was even a few years ago.
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Re: [Living in] London vs. New York

Postby Valuethinker » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:55 pm

Something to highlight.

My comment about Singapore, Hong Kong or Shanghai is about where the opportunity is. High GDP growth, fast change, new opportunities.

In London, and I would guess New York, you have everybody who got on the ladder in the 80s and 90s, who will be sitting there. The economy is going nowhere, the big employers are cutting back, financial services in the tank.. there is just not the growth in prospect that there was in 90s and early 00s. I see these kids in their 20s, they are lucky if they have a permanent job, and it's going nowhere.

And yet you still have sky high housing prices. So you get to buy your place from the people cashing in and cashing out.

We are not likely to be out of this mess for years yet.

This is irrespective of which city is nicest to live in: there I think you could take your pick if you had London or New York- -either is a fantastic city.

I merely wished to be quite honest about what the downsides are of living in London.
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Re: [Living in] London vs. New York

Postby Valuethinker » Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:50 am

AQ wrote:Thanks a lot for all the comments providing a fairly good picture of the pro and con for both cities collectively. Really appreciate it...

Not a young lad anymore. If you look up my old posts, I'm actually considerin early retirement with some chronical health problems.. That is why I value the NHS in UK as a plus since it takes away some uncertainty on my budget. One fancy dream I always have is to find jobs across the world living different experiences when money is no longer a major concern.. However, my health situation (just say some conditions lead to chornically low energy levels, etc but nothing life threatening yet) make me hesitant to walk out of my comfort zone here in California with mild weather, familiar work environment, etc, to take these opportunities.

Guess for London the easy access to European continent is very attrative, but the depressing overcast/early dark time in winters seems a bit minus. I asked quite a few money questions, because money is easier to quantify and so helps me in this difficult decision :happy

Thanks again and guess I'll continue to struggle a little bit longer to do these trade-off analysis.


OK the climate of London will impact your health problems. It is not foggy, but it is often damp-- this year especially.

Australia would be more like it (but sky high housing costs, and getting anywhere else is expensive/ a hassle).

Taking on a move of cities, let alone countries, when you have health issues is really stretching things too far. Try a house swap for a season though, and see how you like London. Summer is misleading (this year we had the Olympics and we had a lot of rain). January to March is probably your best season to really figure out if you can stand London.

I am not kidding, the cost of everything will blow your mind (again with the caveat that the 20% VAT is included) *except* maybe housing, where we probably are pretty close to SF and NYC.

Some people have good care with the NHS some do not. It's a bit of a lottery. Relatives live in Dorset (ie 120 miles west) with multiple issues, they have had good health care. Acute care I think the NHS is pretty good (again does a bit depend on hospital).

Really if you want state healthcare then you would be better off in Canada (but Vancouver looks to me like the mother of all housing price bubbles, and Toronto is not far behind). Kelowna is small but it does have very mild, dry winters. Taxes are higher, even, probably, than California.
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Re: [Living in] London vs. New York

Postby Valuethinker » Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:28 am

FedGuy wrote:I've lived in both places and think that NYerinLondon has generally offered excellent advice.

I think a lot of it really comes down to personal preference. The thing I liked most about London was how easy it was to travel throughout Europe. I took weekend trips to places like Paris, Amsterdam, and Brussels, went to Italy several times, put together longer and more complicated vacations through Scandinavia and Central/Eastern Europe, etc. It was great.


On a day-to-day basis, the two cities feel like polar opposites. New York is bursting with energy and activity. A friend of mine was visiting a few months ago and stopped in the middle of the street to take in the energy of all the people hustling about. You can always find something to do in New York. London, on the other hand, was much more sedate. A former colleague once referred to London as "the city that always sleeps," and there's something to that. When I worked late, it was often difficult to find a restaurant that was still open when I got out. Most shopping had to be done on Saturdays, because stores close too early during the week and may be closed on Sundays.


You must have lived here a while ago?

London is a 24 hour city. Most stores are open until 7pm (8-9pm on Thursday). Sunday opening is the norm. London nightlife goes on *all* night. Restaurants serve up to 10-10.30, anyways (Ie close 11-12). Drives Spanish visitors nuts ;-).

As to energy. Well Manhattan is denser. But the buzz in Leicester Square or Soho or Picaddilly Circus is very Manhattanish. And Canary Wharf hums just like Wall Street investment banks.

Lazy Sunday mornings seem just as lazy in both cities. Brunch is booked solid. People go running in the parks.

Customer service in London was generally far below US standards (when my father visited, he almost punched an employee at a drug store who wasn't being helpful). On the other hand, museums in London are free, which is pretty nice.


The false American 'hi can I help you' has indeed infiltrated here, too. Of course here it's more obvious people don't mean it ;-). I've had some shockingly bad service in NYC (and, in fact, some of the rudest service I have ever encountered). Yes, the service culture here is less-- but in London the person serving you is inevitably some young Pole (or Spanish) and the service is usually pretty good. It won't necessarily give you the 'have a nice day' with the same feeling.

As an American in London, there were a lot of differences I found difficult. Refrigerators are generally tiny, like the kind of refrigerator I had in my college dorm room (some supermarkets sell full-sized refrigerators in a section called "American refrigerators"). Most apartments don't have air conditioning, even though it can get pretty hot in the summer. Plenty of bathrooms have separate taps for the hot and cold water. Apartment bathrooms are often fully carpeted.


American renters are notoriously complaining ;-). If you aim at that market, you aim for a premium rent, but more hassle.

So yes the fridges are small (below the counter). You can get big fridges, and 'American fridge' really means double door/ ice maker in the door etc. But Europe, generally, we don't do *big* in the way North America does. Look at all the SUVs on NYC streets. I mean in *New York*? Not exactly South Dakota, is it? In London, SUVs are usually the product of the Chelsea Tractor crowd (as in 'Mummy and Daddy have a place down a gravel track in Norfolk where we take Adam and Jocasta at every schools break'). Or the Russian oligarchs ;-).

No we don't do air conditioning ;-). I've never seen residential AC in London. The hot summers are a recent phenomenon, largely, and more annoyingly theaters and public places tend not to have AC or at least not effective AC. The Tube system is too old (tunnels too small-- nowhere to put the heat) to install AC.

Separate taps is an English peculiarity. It is changing, but slowly ;-).

Carpets on bathroom floors is a rental thing.

What I do notice is that the apartments of my friends in NYC are a lot smaller than the apartments in London (which have tended to be either in Victorian houses, converted into flats, or mansion blocks). That's probably the Manhattan effect-- cannot speak to the other Boroughs.


Oh, and the food in New York is orders of magnitude better than the food in London.


I don't think that is true any longer. Tourist traps are bad in both cities. English food has become the best in Europe.

I'm glad I lived in London for a few years. I'm also glad to be living in New York now.
[/quote]

I'd probably enjoy NY but for the wrong reasons, because it is so utterly unlike anywhere else in North America (Montreal maybe, Toronto Chicago on a good day with a fair wind).
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Re: London vs. New York

Postby Valuethinker » Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:36 am

killjoy2012 wrote:
Health insurance: my understanding is that the vast majority of "middle class" and higher people in the UK buy their own private medical insurance to augment the national healthcare system.


Actually not. Private health insurance is the rarity, although more common in London. but 90%+ of all medical treatment in the UK is done on the NHS. If you have something serious, the private system dumps you back onto the NHS (as I have found). Also for anything emergency.

The NHS is clinically good, but not predictable how long you will wait, especially to see a specialist *unless* they think you are at risk of dying in which case they move pretty quickly.

(it's Germany and France where private health insurance is more common).

Weather - London is milder in the summer and winter compared to NYC, but it's also more overcast/dark.


We don't have the oppressive heat (well, usually only for a few days at most). We also don't do the bitter cold (cold here is below 32F ;-)). The last 3 years have had snow, the previous 15 did not. There is some speculation the jetstream has moved south (meaning wetter summers and colder winters). The overall pattern seems to be longer droughts and bigger deluges when they do come.

We are a *lot* further north, and you notice it. At a guess, the day is at least an hour shorter around 22nd December. And therefore an hour longer in June.

The valid comparison in our weather is probably Seattle or Vancouver, but I think we are quite a bit dryer than they are.
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Re: [Living in] London vs. New York

Postby Valuethinker » Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:53 am

Just on London, and stereotypes.

The heavens opened about April, and we have had the wettest summer (but mercifully free for the Olympics) in over 60 years.

*BUT*

before that we had had the dryest 18 months in over 50 years, and they were (quite seriously) talking about water rationing due to the drought.


South East England gets less rain than Portugal, apparently.

The weather is just not as predictable as it was. Mostly temperate, but the swings seem to have gotten bigger.
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Re: [Living in] London vs. New York

Postby 22twain » Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:44 am

Valuethinker wrote:Look at all the SUVs on NYC streets. I mean in *New York*? Not exactly South Dakota, is it?


I bet in South Dakota you'd find more pickup trucks. Especially the huge "dually" trucks with double tires on the rear, in wheel-wells that bulge out on the sides. Where I live in the South (not Dakota), there are enough of those that the automatic car wash that I use has a sign warning "No Dually Trucks." They don't fit the guide rails for the wheels.
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Re: [Living in] London vs. New York

Postby livesoft » Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:47 am

Valuethinker wrote:Look at all the SUVs on NYC streets.
One needs an SUV to drive away from hurricanes on flooded streets. Public transportation won't work for that.

Also, I noticed there are plenty of SUVs in Oxford, Cambridge, and Wilmslow.
It's all about short-term opportunistic rebalancing due to a short-term change in one's asset allocation, uh, I mean opportunistic rebalancing, uh I mean rebalancing, uh I mean market timing.
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