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Everything posted by Marisawright

  1. Concord would be a lovely idea as it gets you into the inner west (which I think has a livelier vibe) while still an easy commute to North Ryde. I lived in Five Dock and worked there, and it was a painless drive.
  2. Marisawright

    Still Struggling with Perth after 12 years

    People in Australia are very partisan about their city - ask a Sydneysider about any other city and he'll bag it, and vice versa. Sydney is green, there's lots happening, vast numbers of cafes and restaurants and scope for day trips (Blue Mountains, beaches up and down the coast, Hunter Valley wineries). Public transport is comprehensive and fairly reliable, even late at night (though crowded during the day). There are three big universities. The snag is cost of housing: to get the best vibe and avoid the heat, you MUST be close to the city - no further west than Burwood - and that's expensive. Although Parramatta has a big restaurant precinct, the outer suburbs are more like Perth - the nice areas are too family-oriented and the rest are full of bogans! Sydney is a pretty brash city - Melbourne has more culture. It's famous for its laneway cafes and restaurants. Melbourne also has excellent public transport, and because Victoria is such a small densely populated state (by Aussie standards) there are plenty of places to visit (gold fields, Daylesford spa, Great Ocean Road, penguin parade etc). Housing is generally cheaper in Melbourne than Sydney. I'm not familiar with the suburbs but again, if you want to get the best vibe you can't be too far out - Melbourne is sprawling. Brisbane is just a big country town, similar in feel to Perth (but hotter and stickier). I like Adelaide but it is a quiet, refined city - I don't think it would be lively enough for you. Plus there aren't many day trip options. The snag is that because of the distance, it's going to cost you almost as much to move to another state, as to move back to the UK. So you really need to do your research before moving. You should certainly go and visit Melbourne and Sydney for a few days each. I know it's not cheap flying from Perth but this is a big change you're proposing and you can't afford to get it wrong!
  3. Marisawright

    Surely this can't be right?

    I've heard of this before. One of my friends forgot a box and her Mum thought she'd be kind and send it on. The contents were all clothing, not worth that much - the fees were about what you've quoted. She told Customs she wouldn't accept the box, they treated it as abandoned and she didn't have to pay anything. But why not just ask them the question?
  4. Marisawright

    Removals Advice

    Not really. Everyone seems to be recommending Movecube. If you have a really big move, i.e. you need a shipping container, then I can't help - maybe someone else can suggest.
  5. Marisawright

    Update 10 months after returning to the Uk

    So what you're saying is, your experience in Australia made you realize your discontent in the UK was based on unrealistic expectations. So in a way it still applies, because you know that now, and therefore your original reason for leaving no longer exists. That's what I'm trying to say - that you've got to sit down and work out why you left, and make sure that's not going to be a problem again when you get back.
  6. Marisawright

    Never had a driving licence, can i get one?

    This may not be relevant, but when I went from Africa back to the UK, I got myself an international driving licence. The African licence was still probationary but there was no provision to show that on the international licence. When I presented the international licence in the UK, they gave me a full licence no questions asked. May not be so slack now but you never know...
  7. Marisawright

    Young Pommys In Dilemma!!!

    I agree with everyone who says you should stick it out. I know four years seems like a long time at your age, but think of it as an investment in your future. You don't know what's going to happen in ten years, twenty years, thirty - perhaps the British economy will collapse, and you'll be glad you've got somewhere else to go. It will also give your children more options. Also, don't judge the whole of Australia by Perth. I know lots of people who think it's the best place in the country, but I know others who think it's far too quiet and parochial. It really depends on your personality. My niece, who came to Sydney on a working visa, adored Sydney - but when she got the chance to come back and work in Perth with her employer, she hated it! Why not leave it in the lap of the Gods? If the sponsorship comes off, make up your mind to make the most of your stay - get travelling, see the Barrier Reef and the dolphins at Monkey Mia, camel ride the Outback etc etc. The time will go faster than you think. You can always go home later if you decide it's all too much. Your partner won't be able to start his own business because he'll have to work for his sponsoring employer, so it can't be "final".
  8. Marisawright

    Renting in the UK

    I'm a Scot originally but most of my family are in the south now - Devon, London, Kent. So I'm thinking Bristol, where I lived at one time. No doubt it's changed an awful lot in 30 years and I know there are rough areas - but I'm a real city girl, so I don't want to go to a small place, and I don't want to pay London prices either. I may be living in cloud cuckoo land, but so far, rents in Bristol look awfully cheap. I should say, I live in inner city Sydney, so I'm paying $500 a week for a shoebox...
  9. Marisawright

    Renting in the UK

    I'm thinking of moving back to the UK - not because I hate Australia, but because I've no family left in Oz now, and neither does my husband (who's European). I'm 60, he's 62 this year. What I'm wondering is, how long are leases on flats in England? I was searching on the net and noticed a 12 month lease referred to as "short term". Are leases in England longer now, like they are in Europe? If so, how long is typical? And is furnished or unfurnished more normal? The thing is, we're wrestling with the tax and pension difficulties. The sensible thing would be to wait until we're ready to claim the pension, so we can go with full entitlements - but we don't want to wait that long. So we may go for two or three years, then come back and wait out our qualification period for the pension before going back again. So we wouldn't want to sign up for a 5 year lease!
  10. Marisawright

    Renting in the UK

    Thanks. Sounds like nothing has changed with lease terms, that's what it was like when I was last renting in the UK (30 years ago!). However at that time, I remember most places were let furnished - usually not very well!
  11. Marisawright

    Advice on the southern suburbs of Greater London anyone?

    One thing no one has said - I find the idea of buying any property sight unseen absolutely terrifying. Is there a reason why you feel it's necessary? Would it be so terribly inconvenient to rent somewhere first, rather than risk being stuck with a house you hate when you finally get there?
  12. Marisawright

    weighing it up- any regrets from those who've returned?

    Very wise words. When you move to a new country, you immediately see your old life through rose-coloured glasses and forget all the stuff that made you so keen to leave! As I said on another thread - if you think you want to go back, sit down and make an effort to remember why you left. I say this as someone who's contemplating moving back to the UK, at least for a few years. There are good reasons for doing so but I am anxious that some of the reasons I left will still be there!
  13. Marisawright

    Update 10 months after returning to the Uk

    Usually people who emigrate are discontented with life in their home country for some reason. Then when they get to they new country and encounter a few difficulties, (which they will), they think back to the Old Country with rose-coloured glasses, and conveniently forget all the sh!t that drove them to leave. I've known quite a few Brits who came to Australia, didn't settle and looked forward to going home - only to come back again. Once they got back to the UK, they remembered what had driven them to leave in the first place. So it's vitally important for anyone contemplating a return, to sit down and analyse why they left, and why they expect it to be any better if they go back. Of course, if someone was perfectly happy in the UK and only came to Australia because they thought it was Britain with sun and money, then they're bound to be disappointed in Australia and going back is the right thing to do.
  14. I wouldn't agree. Say if the offer is accepted, you'll give him $1,000 cash to take the property off the market, but not before. if he wants the sale he'll agree.
  15. Marisawright

    Where to live in Sydney with a family of 4 boys?

    It really depends how much money they've got. A house big enough for four boys would cost over a million dollars in inner Sydney, even as far out as Strathfield. Don't get me wrong, I love the inner city too, but it is very expensive for a family.
  16. No, that's only if you move back to the UK (or some other country) and want to claim the pension there. If you're still in Australia, the residency qualification is only ten years.
  17. Marisawright

    Moving Costs

    The only sure thing is that moving countries will cost you much more than you think. It cost us about $20,000 - in 1985!!! It's the little things that will take you by surprise. For instance, you need to allow some money to buy essentials for the transition period. Remember, your shipping container will take a lot longer to make the journey than you will. If the shipping container leaves when you do, you'll have several weeks without furniture, pots, pans, cutlery, linen, etc etc. Australian property is rented unfurnished, so you'll have to buy all the basics to get you through that period (unless you're willing to pay for a serviced apartment for that whole time). Alternatively, you can send the shipping container on early. In that case, you may be able to "camp" in your home with the aid of old furniture, the second-best cutlery, or stuff loaned by friends. The snag with that option is that the shipping container may just get there early, and you'll find yourself hit with storage charges.
  18. There are two kinds of pension in Australia. One is paid by the government and the only qualification for that is residency - no contributions required, ever, and it doesn't matter whether you work or not. The other is superannuation, which is a personal thing. You choose a superannuation fund and open an account with them, then if you're working, your employer has to pay a % of your income into it every month. You can also choose to put money into it if you wish. It's compulsory to have a superannuation fund if you're working - it's a way for the government to force you to save for retirement!
  19. Marisawright

    Where to live in Sydney with a family of 4 boys?

    Definitely not. Get used to living in that area and when you're ready to buy a house, you'll find you can't afford one! Parramatta is the demographic centre of Sydney and there's a lot going on, so it's not a bad place to start looking. The Hills District is a nicer area than Liverpool, and there's plenty of young families there.
  20. Marisawright

    Near retiring age

    Take a look around Europe - most countries are increasing the retirement age and making it more difficult to get a pension. Australia could do much worse than it's proposing. Look at the UK - your pension is based on years worked, which is why my sister is stuck in an unhappy marriage: she married early and didn't work most of her life, so she can't get a decent pension on her own.
  21. Marisawright

    Update 10 months after returning to the Uk

    The bottom line is this: if you leave your home country, there must have been a reason. It's not something you do on a whim, after all. So there's no point in going back, unless that reason no longer applies.
  22. Marisawright

    weighing it up- any regrets from those who've returned?

    If there's any doubt at all, I strongly recommend you stick it out until you all qualify for citizenship. That way, if you want to come back, you can. Whereas if you leave and lose your permanent residency, you'll NEVER be able to live in Australia again. You're so close now! You don't have to give up your British citizenship to be an Aussie, so it's a win-win.
  23. Marisawright

    Planning to move back to the UK in 2014 - what are our options?

    If you're a British citizen and can meet the financial requirement, you can apply for her to come with you on a spouse visa. Residency doesn't matter - it's enough that you're intending to relocate back permanently. That will get her entry for two years, after which she can apply for permanence. There is a minimum length of relationship but I can't recall what it is.
  24. Marisawright

    how to return to UK??

    We're in the same situation. From what we've been able to find out, the tax implications can be really nasty - I'll be interested if anyone is able to give better news. First, you'll lose your tax free threshold in Australia! That means ALL your income from Australian sources will be taxed. Also, you won't get the 50% discount rate on capital gains - you'll have to pay tax on 100% of the amount. That alone is going to be painful if you have a reasonable portfolio. You won't be taxed again on that income by the UK - but if you have a pension from your superannuation, they'll tax that. I'm assuming you just have a straightforward share portfolio, not a self-managed super fund. If you do have a SMSF, it will be taxed at 47% if you're a non-resident. You can get around that by taking your super as a lump sum and moving it all to the UK, or possibly transferring it to a UK pension fund (haven't looked into how that's done). Also of course, you could sell up your share portfolio and start a new one in the UK. I can understand why you're reluctant to do that (capital gains etc).
  25. Marisawright

    Near retiring age

    There is no formal agreement - all that means is that there's no special agreement re tax, social security etc. It doesn't prevent the pension being paid. The big change is that the qualifying age is going up from 25 years to 35 years. If you've lived in Australia for less than 35 years you can only get a pro-rated pension.