This is far from a done deal, particularly because I know so little (ok, nothing at all...) about living in the US. I think I'd love it, but I'm worried this could be a monumental mistake... Please let me know if the following sounds reasonable:
This would be a job transfer for DH, for a minimum of 2 years, but max 4 years. His current salary would stay the same (around $95,000 CA), and after taxes (he'd still be taxed here in Canada) we expect we'd have a take-home income of about $60,000US. Our living expenses would be covered, although only for the first year. I'm a SAHM right now, with plans to go back to work in 2 years, although I don't think I'd legally be allowed to work in the US. I'm ok with that.
Right now, we have a smallish house with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, plus a nice rec room and family room. Large backyard, AWESOME neighbourhood, safe, walkable, GREAT school for DS1.
Oh, and 2 kiddos: 5 and 2.
Could a family of four live off that income and still live in a good neighbourhood? We'd be renting, probably a small apartment or condo (2 BDR is all we need). We also don't want a long commute (his office would literally be in front of the White House).
Schools are definitely going to be an issue, I know. DS1 is in a French school. I'd be willing to homeschool so that he keeps French as his main language (it's ours as well).
I think it could be exciting, but I worry that my expectations are unrealistic, and we'd be trading a pretty sweet life for a stressful and potentially disastrous adventure.
DH is super psyched at the chance to work in the US again. He's worked in Chicago and Boston before, loved it. I'm not sure he's given much thought to family life though. He's not very career-focused, but this does sound like a great opportunity for him. We're in the same field, and I'd jump at it if it were offered to me, but my mama instinct is putting family and quality of life first.
So we're crazy to even be thinking about doing this, right?
I think you could definitely live on that salary in the US. I don't know what your lifestyle is now in CA but I can guarantee that in DC you wouldn't live a lavish lifestyle on $60,000 but you could certainly make do just fine. Moving anywhere is scary, I can't imagine planning a move out of the country.....but you only live once so I say go for it! I mean, it is only 2-4 years which in the scheme of things is a relatively short time. So if you do absolutely hate it, there is an end in sight.
You probably want to really look into the cost of living in DC. It's ridiculously high! I don't think our family of 4 could live in DC off $60K (and we're pretty frugal!). We also have a lot of student loan debt that takes a big chunk of take home income. If you don't have any dept you could probably do it, but you may be downsizing on your house/neighborhood. Just FYI. I hope it works out for you!
I agree with the previous poster. You would have to live VERY frugally on 60k if you wanted to live in DC proper. That could be totally fine for your family, but just something to think about. :)
Mama, birth worker, and dreamer extraordinaire.
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$60K before taxes and after taxes is a pretty different number though.
My initial reaction was no way, but after taxes, especially with housing being paid for the first year, it might be doable.
Wife to a wonderful DH, Mom to 3 amazing girls and one special boy, IBCLC, supporter of moms.
60K for a family of four would be very tight, yes, but whether or not it's doable depends on what you have to stretch it to cover. I think you need to do some sample budgets to figure out whether you could live on it or not.
What does "living expenses" include? Rent? Utilities? Food? Transportation (metro or car)?
What about health insurance? Does the salary package include it and if so is there a monthly cost? Is there a cost for doctor's visits or other deductable? What about dental or vision?
For the second year, if you have to cover rent with that 60K, you might be hard pressed to find a close-in neighborhood with a decent commute.
So we chickened out.... It was just too stressful, primarily because of finances. We're pretty frugal, so we're able to live well and comfortably here (read nice neighbourhood, decent house with land, good food, but no fancy stuff like going out or tech gadgets or new cars...). It seems like we'd struggle to find housing in DC, plus I also almost cried when I found out about health care. We'd have to pay crazy money for insurance. I will never, ever, ever take our free health care for granted (not that I do, but you know what I mean...). Both DSs have some health issues that could potentially require medical follow-ups, so that had to be taken into consideration.
Thanks for your advice. Maybe I'll visit DC as a tourist instead