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Everything posted by Marisawright

  1. Marisawright

    Just cant settle in Oz and wanting to return.

    I know what you mean - we've been debating about whether to move to Melbourne or go to the UK. In the back of my mind, one thing influencing my decision is that when telling people, I can present a UK move as an exciting adventure, whereas if I say I'm moving to Melbourne, I'll get a recital of Sydneysider prejudices. I have to keep reminding myself how totally irrelevant that is! However, if I was truly miserable somewhere, there is no way I would let pride or embarrassment get in the way of moving - that's called "cutting off your nose to spite your face". I can understand people letting it hold them back for a while, but anyone who sticks something out for years, purely due to pride, has only themselves to blame.
  2. How do we know there aren't still drownings? Nothing is being reported.
  3. Marisawright

    Evidence of contact before marriage (Any help)

    Unfortunately, the authorities are very suspicious of arranged marriages because there are people who agree to marriage just to get residency in Australia - then once they are established, they divorce. You will need to prove that this marriage was arranged because of your culture, not because your spouse is using you to get into the country. So as others have said, evidence of your family's contact with your partner's family would help.
  4. Marisawright

    Voluntary NI contributions

    By that do you mean, you see your retirement as being in Australia not the UK? If that's the case, then I can understand what you mean - both Australia and the UK have made collecting the pension overseas significantly harder in recent years, and who knows if they'll do it again? For me it still makes sense, because the contributions aren't a huge amount of money. It's a gamble, if you like - if the gamble pays off then I should get back a lot more than I paid in.
  5. Marisawright

    Voluntary NI contributions

    You'll notice that every time they change the legislation, it's not retrospective so depending on your age, it may still be worth paying them.
  6. Marisawright

    The movie fluffers and how they do it

    Yes OK, just pointing out that word has another meaning in the movies, and one which has been around for a long time!
  7. Marisawright

    For those thinking of moving back to the UK

    That's fine for you, because I assume you've got the financial backing to afford it. However, you'll notice that many Brits on this forum are moving to Australia with a wife and children. It will likely cost them around $50,000 to move and get set up in Australia, which may be most of their savings. If they decide they want to move home after a few years, that's another $50,000 they've lost. When you have children, that's a massive hole you've just created in your ability to give them a good future. So I think people are very sensible to try to analyse migration logically instead of just following their 'dream' - which is probably rose-coloured.
  8. Marisawright

    Hard to get a good haircut in Australia?

    Another vote for lack of good quality hairdressing here. I've given up and go to Just Cuts, because if I'm lucky I'll score a European or British backpacker as a stylist.
  9. Marisawright

    Looking for some reassurance

    I hope he wears a loud bell!
  10. Marisawright

    London set for hottest day of the year today

    Was that in the UK? If so, you weren't being exposed to "extreme" UV - it only gets up to about 8 or 9 in England, even in full sun at the height of summer. Most of the people getting skin cancer in the UK are people who go to the Mediterranean and sunbake madly, because the UV can be "extreme" there at times. Most of Australia also gets extreme exposure during summer, and that's why the message is rammed home so hard here, because that level is very dangerous. Exposure in childhood often doesn't result in skin cancer until later in adulthood.
  11. Marisawright

    Looking for some reassurance

    What a tough situation. Regulations in Australia are tough for a reason - most of our wildlife is nocturnal and cats can decimate an area's wildlife if they're out at night. But it does make it tough on a cat which isn't used to being cooped up. I don't have enough experience to offer advice, hope others with more experience can help.
  12. Marisawright

    Melbourne - One year in

    I'd say reading through this thread carefully should give you lots of clues. Different parts of Australia suit different people - for instance, Paul is obviously blissfully happy in Perth, because his life revolves around family life and the beach, and he doesn't feel the need (or have the time/money) to travel - whereas other posters, who like to go away for weekends, find it much too isolated. Geraldine loves the Sunshine Coast whereas anothe poster said she was bored to tears in Maroochydore. You need to work out whose lifestyle you'd like to emulate!
  13. For me, Dubai would be much too early for a stopover - you've still got the bulk of your flight to go. I'd definitely go for an Asian stopover. I thought Changi had quite a lot to see, but then I wasn't travelling with kids.
  14. Marisawright


    I feel for you. As someone who has lived in several different parts of Scotland, England, Africa and Australia, I don't think I will ever feel I belong anywhere either. It's the curse of the expat, I'm afraid! It's sad that you're so fed up, you can't enjoy the time you've got left in Oz before you return. I hope things improve for you.
  15. Marisawright

    We are thinking of moving to Newcastle, what's it like?

    I have never lived there but I have spent time there for work. It's fashionable for Sydneysiders to roll their eyes when they talk about Newcastle and Wollongong, and dismiss them as suburban and working class. However I think Newcastle is quite a nice city, big enough to have most facilities but small enough to be friendly and easy to get around. There are a few "cafe society" suburbs for the young trendy set. In Newcastle you'll be able to afford a home near the great beaches, unlike most of the bigger cities. I have friends in Newcastle who wouldn't live anywhere else. There is a rough element in Newcastle and they had a lot of trouble with drunken hoons a few years ago. I probably wouldn't go into the town centre on a Saturday night but other than that, you'd be unlikely to encounter the hoon element if you live in a nice suburb - which you're more likely to afford in Newcastle than any of the big cities.
  16. Marisawright

    The movie fluffers and how they do it

    A thread about fluffers??:huh: Ok I've picked myself up off the floor. Maybe you should have called them something other than a "fluffer"... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluffer
  17. Marisawright

    New Pension rules

    Not really, if you stay in Oz then you need only 10 years' residency to qualify. You won't be able to claim it until you're 70, but that's not really any different to now, for most people. The Aussie pension is means-tested and we expect we'll have too many assets to qualify until our mid-70's - and I wouldn't say we're hugely well-off.
  18. Marisawright

    Thinking out loud

    We need to get the investment property sold first, so that will be the big decider. It's a Defence Housing Authority property which means it may take a while to sell - it has been a brilliant investment for me, but apparently a lot of people are put off by the high management fees Defence charges, so they can stick on the market for a while.
  19. Marisawright

    Thinking out loud

    I'm posting this for myself more than anything, just to get my head in order. Any comments welcome though! We've almost decided to go back to the UK. Tax on investments was the biggest obstacle but, thanks to someone on these forums, I realise I'd always planned to sell my investment property one day - so it makes very little difference whether I sell now or later. Selling now will avoid the biggest tax penalty. Tax on other Aussie investments (bank) would be only 10%, I can live with that. The downside is that we'll have to wait until the property is sold, as I can't risk being classed as a non-resident for Capital Gains Tax. The second concern was pensions. Under current rules we won't be able to claim our Aussie government pensions at all - but barring accidents, we'll have too many assets to claim the pension till we're in our 70's anyway, so we've decided to cross that bridge when we come to it. A lot can change in regulations in that time. We would also be taxed on any pension we got from our superannuation, but we won't have to decide what to do with that for a few years yet. On the plus side, I'll be able to use some of my Australian work record to qualify for the full UK pension, which I'll get from the day I'm old enough. The last concern was cost of moving. What if we move, and hate it? Relocating a household can drain one's savings, as everyone here knows. We've decided to deal with that by having a "soft launch". We already have a storage unit which will fit most of our belongings, so we'll pack it to the gunwhales and travel as if we're going on a year's sabbatical. That should be easier in the UK than in Australia, as it's far more common for flats to be leased furnished. If, after a year or two, we decide we want to move permanently, then we'll come back to Oz - we'll probably want to make a visit anyway. We can then arrange to move our belongings over (and dispose of what we don't want). On the other hand, if we've had enough by then, we can come back and we haven't burned our boats. It all sounds very logical. Why, then, am I so reluctant to get on with it?
  20. Marisawright

    New Pension rules

    Well, superannuation is a private pension - it's just that the Australian government insists you have it. It's up to you to manage it effectively. If you don't see yourself working till retirement age, then it may be worth pumping more into super now while you're earning. Also, make sure it's with the right company and that you've chosen the best option (e.g. balanced, growth or whatever the super company offers). Personally I trust the industry funds more than the retail funds (I can't see how someone trying to make a profit can have my best interests at heart) but that's just me. How many years did you make NI contributions in the UK? Say that's x, then you'll get x/35ths of the UK pension when you retire. Are you planning to stay in Australia for the rest of your lives? If so, then you'll only need 10 years' residency to claim the full Australian pension - and you'll be able to claim your UK pension as well, though it will be frozen at the same amount forever, unless you go back to the UK. If you think you may return to the UK in your old age, then it's worth topping up the UK pension. You can buy extra years cheaply while you're working - they're called Class 2 contributions (if you leave it till you've retired you have to pay Class 3, which are dearer). You can set up Class 2 contributions to be paid automatically every year.
  21. Marisawright

    New Pension rules

    I wouldn't be waiting to do it, either. If you buy the missing years while you're still working, you can pay Class 2 contributions which are much, much cheaper. Plus the longer you delay paying, the more the rates go up. I thought of paying extra years a few years ago and got a quote, then did nothing about it. I then decided to do it this year, and it's cost more.
  22. Marisawright

    ACT best place to live

    45 minutes in Sydney would be a short commute! You're right, Canberra is the second most expensive city for house prices, but that's misleading (we've been looking at property there). In the centre of town and the posh areas, it's cheaper than Sydney but not by much. However, you can live in the outer ring of suburbs and be in the centre of town in half an hour. Fancy a country property with acreage? You can have one and still commute less than 45 minutes. We could buy a house in the outer burbs of Canberra for the price of an apartment in the outer burbs of Sydney, with a fraction of the commuting time.
  23. Marisawright

    Valid reasons to MBTTUK?

    My husband has said this many times, but then you have to ask yourself - can you guarantee British politics will be any more bearable? I think you need more than one reason to make such a big move. There are so many implications, especially if you've been in Oz for several years - not to mention things like tax and pensions if you're older. We have two main reasons. One is the sun - my husband's father died of melanoma and my husband had a large basal cell carcinoma removed last year. He now has a phobia about UV exposure and won't step outside the house when the UV index is extreme (which is the entire summer), even with sunscreen. If we move back to the UK, the UV index never gets to extreme so we'd be able to live a more normal life. The other is travel - my husband is Aussie and I've been here 30 years, and we've run out of places to visit. Moving to the UK would open up the whole of Europe and now we're retired, we'd have the time to enjoy it.
  24. Marisawright

    Tasmania or the UK??

    I guess the point I'm making is that perhaps what the OP needs is to move to a small town somewhere in Europe or the UK, they don't necessarily have to move halfway around the world.
  25. Marisawright

    Running your own small business

    I would say, if the bank is saying you don't have enough capital then they're probably right. Remember, the bald facts are that small businesses often fail - and no matter how careful you are, there's a chance yours might not work out either. Do you really want to saddle yourself with all that debt on such a risky venture? Be very careful buying an established business. It is all too easy for the seller to "cook the books" so you think it's doing better than it is. My friend bought a business last year, and she has since discovered she paid more than the stock was really worth - and a lot of the stock is just stuff that never sells. Plus, although the seller claimed the business had "lots of potential", his real reason for selling was because he anticipated a rise in competition from overseas, which has now eventuated and is badly affecting her sales. I'm not saying no one should ever buy an established business - it's a great way to get a flying start - but you do have to be sure to get professional advice and research it very carefully. And don't invest what you can't afford to lose. Is there a home business you could start with, to test the waters (like Verystormy's idea of selling jams). You can sell at markets and online - it doesn't cost much to get a website put together (my standard fee to design an online shop is $500). http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/03/infographic-failed-small-businesses.html