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  1. #26
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    My sister moved to the Bavarian region of Germany on a whim one year ago, and spends her free time in Morocco, Madrid, and Italy; she says she's never coming back to the US.

    Do it, worst case is you move back.

  2. #27
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    My little sister moved to Swabia 24 years ago and never looked back. She's on her second husband and has two kids. I don't see that she will ever come back willingly. She vacations in all kinds of interesting places.
    I see hydraulic turtles.

  3. #28
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    I have an interesting work situation, I work for a professional tennis player and travel all over the world with him. If you don't have serious ties here in the us (kids and parents) then I'd go for it. You can see and experience so many awesome places in the eu and the travel is simple. Jump on a train in first class for a pretty cheap rate and you can be in the mountains or in a beach in no time. Most people speak a little English, but living over there you could pick up different languages pretty easily. Sounds like a once in a lifetime gig so go for it. We all look back one day and say why didn't I take that opportunity! Good luck!

  4. #29
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    I've done this move-across-the-world twice. Once from Summit County to London for my job, and again from London to New Zealand for my wife's work.

    Obviously your specific location, role, and money will play a role, but I think your mental approach can make a big difference in how it turns out for you. The "once-in-a-lifetime stuff and a risk that needs to be taken" is a good view to take.

    A big difference is in how you view it. Will you look at it as an extended but temporary assignment or an actual move with the possibility of settling down? As I said, we've done it twice, and we have many friends and family who have done such moves, and a big difference I've found between those who are unhappy and those who are happy is how they view their move. Immerse yourself in the new culture, accept that you're there for the long haul, and adapt yourselves to the local customs and it'll be a much better experience. But if you're always comparing things to life "back in the US" then it'll be a recipe for failure.

    We have friends who lived in England and constantly complained about everything in Europe and how they missed this and that in the US. To the point they would bring back a whole suitcase full of Cheerios (or something like that) because they didn't like any English breakfast food -- I mean seriously!? We've known people who only hang out with other Americans and go to expat bars/pubs. Seems very insulated.

    On the other hand, people who have embraced the new culture seem much better off, and despite the initial hardship, are having a much better life.

    One specific thing that helps is whether you get paid in US$ or the local currency. A family we knew got paid in US$ in the US bank, so whenever they bought anything, they'd do the US$ - GBP conversion in their heads to decide if it's worth it. That's like being a tourist and will never get you in the state of mind as a local.

    No matter what you do, the first few months will be hard, no question. Trying to figure out the basics will be frustrating and lengthy, and you'll be asking yourself what the hell you're doing.

    And at the end of the day, if it doesn't work out, so what? You'll have lived in a different country/continent, learned about living in a new culture, seen more of the world. That can't be all bad, right? My work in London turned out to be not so good (super long hours, super high stress). But we loved what we did get to experience there. Our first year in NZ was tough, but it's been worth it, and now we're looking to settle here.
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    Go that way, really fast...if something gets in your way, TURN!

  5. #30
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    Don't do it. America is going to be great again soon.

  6. #31
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    Did a year in Germany. Totally awesome experience. Want to go back and work in Europe again. Although I know it has changed a lot since I was there. Have been back multiple times as tourist. Wife goes for work - London, Amsterdam, Germany, and used to do Switz. but not so much anymore. My vote is go. Good learning experience IMO.
    "We don't beat the reaper by living longer, we beat the reaper by living well and living fully." - Randy Pausch

  7. #32
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    Wow, lots of great feedback from people who've actually gone through this. Too many questions throughout to be sure that I get all of them, but here's a little more clarity on the situation.

    The company is committed to moving into Europe, and is trying to figure out the best place to base the Euro HQ. Without knowing where that will be, I won't get to 100% commitment that I'm going, but I also don't want to waste anyone's time if I can't find a situation where I'd be willing to go. At this point, I'm 99% sure this is something I am willing/able to do, but that hinges on it being in a place that I'd like to be. Czech is the best-case scenario for me personally, since it'll give me a chance to be immersed in the language (I speak only rudimentary Czech at this point, and my in-laws speak no English whatsoever, so learning the language would go a long way to being able to communicate with them more effectively). I would still consider other places, but the calculus would be very different, and the objectives would be different as well.

    No matter where they end up putting the HQ, I'd be traveling all over Europe, and potentially (occasionally) to the Middle East, as well. It sounds like I'd be on the road about half of the time. That's another reason to go to CZ, so that while I'm away, Mrs. Awesome would be surrounded by a familiar culture, rather than feeling like I've just plopped her into a (new) foreign country while I'm out and about. She's been managing a restaurant for the last 6 years, so would probably look for something in hospitality. Of course, speaking English, she could probably get a job most places in Europe, but speaking the native language of wherever we live would probably make it easier for her to find something.

    Quote Originally Posted by PNWbrit View Post
    I'd be wary of the motivation thing.

    Are you doing it because it's a work opportunity or a life opportunity?

    Is the former providing an opportunity to have the later?
    As I see it, I guess this is a life opportunity that would be made possible by the right work opportunity. We had talked about looking at a similar move in the past, but realized that the logistics of trying to just take a flying leap into an unknown situation were more complicated than we were willing to put up with. In this case, moving over there with a company that I know, being paid (presumably) on an American salary scale (that's something that remains to be hashed out, but the owner of the company is working on that right now), doing something pretty familiar (my background is mostly with professional services, not so much software sales, but the product is good and has a significant services component) make this a great opportunity.

    It's also easy to view this particular position as as a logical progression in my career, which happens to be taking me to a foreign country, rather than a wild left turn for the sake of forcing a move to Europe. That's probably mostly important if it turns out that I decide to come back to the US after giving this a go, where it will be good that I didn't derail my career. That's similar to the reason that I'm concerned about how much I'm being paid (and, by extension, how much I can save). If I plan to be Europe forever, my retirement savings requirements are far different than if I plan to come back to live in the US. The average Czech salary is something around $15,000 USD annually, so even if I'm making 3-4 times that, it's still not a "lot" by US standards, and far, far less than an equivalent gig would pay here. I think "fair" compensation is probably somewhere in the middle, and getting creative with what expenses are covered could have a big impact. But, even understanding that cost of living is different, particularly when it comes to things like food/drink (where I probably spend a lot of my disposable income), there's no way to beat the math of the retirement account if I'm only able to put away 30%-40% of my current rate of savings.

    Going into this, I think I'd set a timeline like PNWbrit did, and give it 2 years before making a decision beyond that. I feel like I'd be open to staying longer at this point, but I'd need to commit to a minimum stay to keep me from getting skittish.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scotia902 View Post
    don't look at it as the company is doing you a favour
    This is great advice, and will be top of mind as I negotiate. I particularly appreciate the advice on trying to get them to cover some of those other expenses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tippster View Post
    Just FYI - the only day-tripping for skiing from the greater Prague area puts you in some Mid-Atlantic type terrain... Ostrava would be slightly better because it's only 3 hours to Zakopane
    Yeah, the Krkonoše ski areas are pretty tame from what I've seen, but probably better than Ski Liberty! I'd definitely want to get time in the Tatras and the Alps whenever possible. Ostrava is about 20 minutes from the in-laws, so probably closer than I really want to be - I'm thinking several hours away is probably the sweet spot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzz View Post
    A big difference is in how you view it. Will you look at it as an extended but temporary assignment or an actual move with the possibility of settling down? ... if you're always comparing things to life "back in the US" then it'll be a recipe for failure.

    We've known people who only hang out with other Americans and go to expat bars/pubs. Seems very insulated.
    I think I'd be somewhere in between. I'd be looking at it as a long-term temporary thing, but actively attempting to get immersed in the local culture. The idea of hanging out at expat bars (beyond occasional sporting events) seems like a waste of an opportunity. The time I've spent in CZ to date has virtually all been in homes of Mrs. Awesome's relatives, so I'd be going in with at least a decent understanding of the culture (more so than if it'd been a place that I'd only visited via hotel, etc.), but hoping to get a better sense of things than is possible a few weeks at a time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzz View Post
    One specific thing that helps is whether you get paid in US$ or the local currency. A family we knew got paid in US$ in the US bank, so whenever they bought anything, they'd do the US$ - GBP conversion in their heads to decide if it's worth it. That's like being a tourist and will never get you in the state of mind as a local.
    I'm curious about this... I presume that I'd want to be paid in USD (for the FX risks mentioned upthread). Are you suggesting that's not a good approach? or just that it makes it harder to not feel like a tourist?

  8. #33
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    OP curious whereabouts are you in the states?

    and

    Of course, speaking English, she could probably get a job most places in Europe
    Counts for very nearly nothing without also being able to speak the language of the country you're in.
    Quote Originally Posted by Downbound Train View Post
    And there will come a day when our ancestors look back...........

  9. #34
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    I took a hard look at a cool job for Helley at the mothership in Oslo a few years ago. It was an indefinite move, great pay and what seems like a good company. Everything looked good. Then, after doing the actual math with an accountant, I realized I'd be dirt fucking poor given the tax structure of that particular arrangement. When I told them this, they acted surprised as if they hadn't done the math and then tried to sell me on the merits of a cultural experience, which I politely pointed out I could buy via vacation given my current salary.

    Read the fine print.
    "All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring."

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by PNWbrit View Post
    OP curious whereabouts are you in the states?
    Northern Virginia

    Quote Originally Posted by PNWbrit View Post
    Counts for very nearly nothing without also being able to speak the language of the country you're in.
    I wondered about that...

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Reverend Floater View Post
    Then, after doing the actual math with an accountant, I realized I'd be dirt fucking poor given the tax structure of that particular arrangement.
    Did you have to find a special accountant (with specific knowledge of the tax code in Norway) to look that over? Or was it pretty easy for a "standard" accountant to figure it out?

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Reverend Floater View Post
    Read the fine print.
    Interesting, I have two family members that were transferred to Yurp and they got YUGE raises to go there. Sure, the first $70-$80k earned aboard is not taxed in the US, but amounts above that are. That said, if you are already making big bucks, they likely REALLY have to pay you to make the double taxation worth it.
    Talk to a CPA for sure.
    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
    I think you'd have an easier time understanding people if you remembered that 80% of them are fucking morons.
    That is why I like dogs, more than most people.

  13. #38
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    It's significantly easier regarding taxes if you can arrange to be employed by your company's euro corp.
    Quote Originally Posted by Downbound Train View Post
    And there will come a day when our ancestors look back...........

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by liv2ski View Post
    ...if you are already making big bucks, they likely REALLY have to pay you to make the double taxation worth it.
    Talk to a CPA for sure.
    Yeah, definitely get professional tax advice.

    I paid more taxes when I worked abroad, but I wasn't actually double taxed due to a tax treaty. It's just that the local taxes were higher.

    https://www.irs.gov/businesses/inter...reaties-a-to-z

    Quote Originally Posted by PNWbrit View Post
    It's significantly easier regarding taxes if you can arrange to be employed by your company's euro corp.
    ^^^ this is true.

    I'm not an accountant, but my experience was that if you make 100 or less, you don't owe uncle sam anything using form 2555. If/when you earn more, you file form 1116 using the foreign tax paid to offset your US liability, but since Euro taxes are generally higher you could still pay little-to-nothing back home. Plus the foreign tax credit can be carried forward. Again... not an accountant.

  15. #40
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    Generally you aren't going to be double taxed (I don't know if you ever would).

    You pay the country you're in, then Uncle Sam takes the difference, if there is any. Depending on social insurance taxes paid, you might be exempt from SS or Medicare too. Get an expert though.

    I moved to Austria 4 years ago, have a German wife, just had a baby, we're staying for the foreseeable future. I'm young and when I moved, I came with suitcases, and we lived in a tent for two weeks while finding an apartment. We were flexible.

    I like living in Europe overall, my wife likes staying in a German speaking world, and for having kids it's great. I'm a mountain person so I pretty much had to be in the Alps and it's different, but equal to the old home (Jackson, WY). As much as the Brits complain, powder days at St. Anton are super low stress compared to the melee that is JHMR. I've actually gotten angry that euro skiers where leaving so much meat on the bone, then I snapped out of it and feasted.

    I love trains, so I enjoy taking them everywhere, we don't even have a car.

    Good Luck
    Last edited by JRainey; 11-16-2016 at 09:07 PM.

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Awesome View Post
    I'm curious about this... I presume that I'd want to be paid in USD (for the FX risks mentioned upthread). Are you suggesting that's not a good approach? or just that it makes it harder to not feel like a tourist?
    Mostly the latter. It's mainly a mental thing, but sometimes those small things can go a long way in terms of making you feel like a local or not. The more you're thinking in terms of your "old life", the harder it'll be to fully live a new life. However, if you feel that it'll be a finite period of time abroad, that might be okay.
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  17. #42
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    Had a job offer in NZ a few years ago and turned it down for a competing offer stateside for 2x the NZ offer. I still think about it from time to time. I'd have permanent residency by now, but at the expense of advancing my career in the US.

    EU is different since it is a much larger economy than NZ or Australia.

    In some countries there are multiple visa schemes- some schemes tied to the company you are working for and other schemes that are open ended and not tied to a given employer. Always opt for the later if possible. It will give you way more leverage for future salary negotiations since you could go work for another company in the EU without needing to go through the visa process all over again.

    The tax situation can suck in countries that don't have good tax treaties. In NZ I'd be paying taxes to both countries over a certain income level. Negotiate a tax accountant to help you with taxes into your contract.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRainey View Post
    Generally you aren't going to be double taxed (I don't know if you ever would).

    You pay the country you're in, then Uncle Sam takes the difference, if there is any. Depending on social insurance taxes paid, you might be exempt from SS or Medicare too. Get an expert though.
    Also keep in mind that you won't have to pay for Health Ins. That will likely more than make up the difference in Taxes, depending on where you end up. Shit, I'd save nearly $24k/yr.

  19. #44
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    A lot more good info in this thread than what I could ever write (or would want to type out), but the wife was transferred to Amsterdam for work early on in our relationship. I never had any interest in that pancake of a place, but several month-long visits and AMS turned out to be amazing (nevermind that Schipol is one of the best airports in Europe). It sounds like you're somewhat ballparked on where you want to be, but if you haven't been to some of the potential cities, don't turn a blind eye. Also, in terms of whether to "do it" or not, others have posted more pragamatic details about the consequences, but I can tell you that my wife wouldn't trade that experience for anything. It was a tough decision at the beginning to leave friends and family, but it was 110% worth it. She stayed for almost two years, and it ended up feeling like a blink-of-the-eye. Obviously every person is different, but chances are high that you'll look back and think you were nuts for even thinking about not doing it (even if there are possible negatives--ie., monetary, anxiety, career path, etc).
    A fucking show dog with fucking papers

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tippster View Post
    Also keep in mind that you won't have to pay for Health Ins. That will likely more than make up the difference in Taxes, depending on where you end up. Shit, I'd save nearly $24k/yr.
    Was gonna say this but didn't know about Czech.

    Health care is bundled into social insurance, so I can use that to be SS exempt. So really am getting free healthcare out of the deal, with vision and dental. If I make more the calculus might change. Whatever though, shit works so well that I'm happy to pay. Even after ER visits with xrays my copay was like 10 euros. No cost multi-day stays during childbirth.

    Downside: They still rock plaster casts here, WTF. I wonder if I could purchase an upgrade if needed. I was getting those super light, waterproof casts like 20 years ago in US. I guess you gotta cut costs somehow.

  21. #46
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    Almost 2 weeks since I started this... I'm scheduled for another call with the owner on Tuesday. He's still committed to getting something going in Europe "very soon". I think Tuesday will be a make-or-break conversation, so I'm trying to get a good handle on what I need to know for the call, and what my "demands" (ha!) are. It sounds like he may be ready to talk numbers, so I want to be sure that I don't sell myself short.

    It sounds like the arrangement would involve an initial period where I'd be based in the US, but travelling 50% or more, until there's enough business to justify having me there full-time (which would then be followed by me travelling throughout Europe to support BD and delivery efforts).

    Mostly, I'm wondering if it makes more sense to try it on a contract (1099-ish) basis for the early going, with an agreement to sort things out after that.

    There are downsides, of course, but maybe the less-permanent thing (for 6 months or so) makes it easier to go in, get the lay of the land, and negotiate a better deal?

    Anyone tried anything like that?

  22. #47
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    Once you 1099, and are a consultant rather than an employee, you have no assurance that your job is permanent; if it doesn't work out, you might not have a job to return to in the US.

  23. #48
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    i'm pretty glad my job is permanent as an employee

    wooo

  24. #49
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    Europe is about to crumble. This would be a mistake.

  25. #50
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    I have been in Europe for the last 6 years following my wife. I really miss bagels and NYC style pizza. Tax equalization is important, and for us, the company covers international school tuition. As for where you set up shop - all the kids in prague are learning english or german, because they want jobs. while it might be nice for you spouse, it may not be the best for business. We have no plans to go back to the US. Even if you go for 2 years, when you come back, not much will have changed, and in another 2 years, you will be itching to go somewhere else.

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