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Advice - Moving to USA

Scottsdale AZ

globaltracker
post 27.Sep.2012, 09:28 AM
Post #1
Joined: 1.Feb.2011

Hi,

I have received a job offer from a company based in USA. They are willing to get me a H1-B visa too.
They are based in Scottsdale Arizona.
I guess there are a lot of American expatriates reading the discussions in The Local and hopefully be able to provide me with some advice on the below question.

At the moment I am a permanent resident in Sweden and in few months time will be eligible for Swedish Citizenship.
I have a permanent job in Sweden and have a salary around monthly SEK 50K. I work in the field of IT.
The company offering me the job will be paying me an annual salary between 85K and 90K USD.

Is Scottsdale a nice place compared to Stockholm ?
Will I be able to live a better life in USA than what I do in Sweden with the salary I am getting here when compared with the salary offered in the new job.

Appreciate your advice.
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byke
post 27.Sep.2012, 09:52 AM
Post #2
Location: Europe
Joined: 28.Oct.2008

QUOTE
Will I be able to live a better life in USA than what I do in Sweden with the salary I am getting here when compared with the salary offered in the new job.

I just wanted to clear up this statement.
You are speaking purely from a monetary point of view?

As otherwise you get a influx of responses from people who try to base it on social values or other horror stories such as mass murder and obesity and many other generalizations used to defend the old blue with a yellow streak.
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PDX
post 27.Sep.2012, 10:21 AM
Post #3
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 2.Aug.2011

The job offer is most likely way on the low side - why would they want to hire you on H1-B otherwise?

In any case, even if you managed to negotiate a substantially higher pay, you have to decide how much the Swedish job security is worth to you... what will you do in Scottsdale if they fire you two weeks after you arrive?

~~~PDX~~~
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texaslass
post 27.Sep.2012, 10:25 AM
Post #4
Joined: 3.Dec.2008

Monetarily, you will be making about the same salary in AZ as here in Sweden. However, your FEDERAL tax rates will be lower. AZ also has a state income tax, so you will need to account for that, but that state tax is deducted from your federal tax (to a certain level depending on your tax bracket, etc.). You will have expenses deducted from your paycheck like medical insurance, dental insurance, pension, however you typically have a choice in how much you want to spend on insurance (you are offered a choice of plans). Some of these expenses are tax deductible, depending on how you structure it and the level of expense in relation to your level of income. If you have children, you will need to pay for childcare, which can be expensive, but is tax deductible. So, in the end, your disposable income may be just a bit higher in AZ. The cost of living will be much, much less. And you will probably live in a house that is quite large compared to homes in Sweden- we call them McMansions.

As far as quality of life: Phoenix (Scottsdale) is one of the most egregious examples of urban sprawl in the US. It is like LA and the Inland Empire in California, in that regard. However, owning a car or two or three, is fairly inexpensive in the US compared to many countries. So, the financial burden of dealing with traffic should not be a problem. However, it will eat into your free time.

AZ is also sunny and hot. The summers are regularly in the 40s, but the winter is heaven. I believe that there is a monsoon there, or perhaps I am thinking of Albuquerque. If there is a monsoon in the summer, then that will help alleviate the heat. There are national parks nearby for family outings, but in the summer you will spend most time indoors. So, the summer can be long and restless.

Economically, the border states are doing well (except CA) compared to the northern half of the US. I believe this is due to cheap labor costs (illegal immigrants), lack of unionization (corporations not saddled with unsustainable benefit costs) and tax laws that favor entrepreneurship.

A hot issue in AZ is immigration. I would say that AZ is a leading state with regard to anti-immigration laws. I grew up along the border of Mexico, and being the minority (I am white) was a non-issue for me- speaking Spanish, watching Sabado Gigante and eating empanadas for breakfast was normative. However, the Latino majority in the US is very threatening to many people. So, I wonder if this tension is noticeable in Arizona, and how it will play out in the future. I do not know if this tension would affect you at all in your daily life, but something to think about.
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globaltracker
post 27.Sep.2012, 10:37 AM
Post #5
Joined: 1.Feb.2011

Thanks Byke for pointing that out.

Well my main intention is to gather many facts as possible before I take a decision on to move out of Sweden or not.
Both pros and cons.

What I also failed to mention was that I have two kids both very young. I have been moving around the world ( due to my work assignments) and I knew that I may leave Sweden someday and hence sent my children to International schools. That was just to be ready for the future. At the same time none of us speak good Swedish. My wife does not work ( or with lack of Swedish she cannot find work).

When I say 'better life' what I meant was a comparison of value for money for what I am offered in USA as compared to the life I am enjoying in Sweden. I have been able to live a reasonably a good life here.

So sum up I don't mind any type of advice be it all the negativity things or the praises. The more information i have from actual people I can relate them to the statistical data that I get from internet ( cost of living comparisons published in internet tells me that it costs much less for goods and services in AZ)
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hackie
post 27.Sep.2012, 10:42 AM
Post #6
Location: Västra Götaland
Joined: 10.Apr.2011

QUOTE (globaltracker @ 27.Sep.2012, 08:28 AM) *
Hi,I have received a job offer from a company based in USA. They are willing to get me a H1-B visa too....At the moment I am a permanent resident in Sweden and in few months t ... (show full quote)

You will only waste your hard efforts within a blink of an eye. Why not wait till you get your citizenship before you move? I have met many Americans dying to stay in Sweden. The grass always looks greener at the other side of the fence.
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PDX
post 27.Sep.2012, 10:44 AM
Post #7
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 2.Aug.2011

Just a quick fact about the visa in case you do not know it already: your wife will most likely be issued a H-4 dependent visa that does not allow for any sort of employment whatsoever. So, living on a single income while paying health insurance for the whole family as well as a house may not be so attractive after all..

~~~PDX~~~
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texaslass
post 27.Sep.2012, 10:49 AM
Post #8
Joined: 3.Dec.2008

Living on one salary is totally doable in Arizona, even with medical insurance and housing costs. He would get tax deductions for all dependents: wife and children. I think only 1/2 of American women work and the other half are SAHMs, so not a huge financial burden for a single earner.
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Bender B Rodriquez
post 27.Sep.2012, 10:57 AM
Post #9
Joined: 25.Mar.2006

I don't know about the living costs in AZ, but $90k/y in the US sounds kind of low for a job that would bring SEK50k/m here. Bear in mind that you cost your employer around SEK70k/m, including pension contributions and social security. You should compare that sum to how much you would cost your US employer, since what you don't get in your pocket is as important. What is the employer's contribution towards pension, health insurance, etc.
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globaltracker
post 27.Sep.2012, 11:12 AM
Post #10
Joined: 1.Feb.2011

Thanks guys for the fast responses...

@hackie - Yes this is my main concern... I am trying to drag the recruitment process so that I can submit my Citizenship.

@PDX - Thanks for the point about visa's. I thought it was only H1B that will allow me to work in US. Is there any other visa type ?

@texaslass - Thanks a lot for the detailed information much appreciated.

As I mentioned I have not agreed for the job or not discussed the package in detail... All your inputs will make me well equipped for better negotiations and to make a final call.
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byke
post 27.Sep.2012, 11:21 AM
Post #11
Location: Europe
Joined: 28.Oct.2008

From this perspective of family - I wont compare Sweden to the US as I will only be embroiled in a debate over social values. But would outline the following as important areas to help you decide, in terms of family happiness.

Weather.
I dont think anyone could argue the benefits of sunlight.
Apart from those with strange medical disorders.

Food.
Value and quality are incredibly important to a growing family.
Compare these as you will.

Housing.
Again very important - judge as you will.

Education.
Paramount for any family with kids - judge as you will.

Healthcare.
Both in terms of quality and cost - judge as you will.

Communications.
Being able to talk and socialize is also a very important part of life for many people. - judge as you will.

Again, I cant compare the 2 as I will only get flamed.
But will say that while monetary value is important to achieve the above, one must question the idea of a low wage when comparing it to Sweden.

As if 100USD can buy you X amount of things in the US compared to X amount of things in Sweden - then comparing salaries seems obsolete as they achieve different things in different countries. What you need to focus on is not so much the similarities, but more so what it will give you.
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Shibumi
post 27.Sep.2012, 04:45 PM
Post #12
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 30.Sep.2010

If you care at all about politics and/or civil rights, you might be interested to know that Scottsdale Arizona is in Maricopa county, arguably one of the most repressive and conservative places in the USA today. Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County, is notorious for his willingness to stomp on civil/human rights of citizens, immigrants and illegals alike in his quest to stoke his reputation as self-proclaimed "America's Toughest Sheriff" (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maricopa_Coun..._controversies). At the state level, Arizona is blessed with a complete nutter: Governor Jan Brewer. She is a tea-party favorite and is notorious for signing the SB1070 "Papers Please!" legislation, for fabricating a statement that there were "headless bodies" littering the Arizona desert, for disrespectfully wagging her finger (literally) at President Obama (see pic below) and for a mildly amusing interview meltdown that has become a youtube meme.

Going up the political food chain, your potential new home of Scottsdale is represented in the US Senate by Jon Kyl, ranked among the most conservative US Senators. He is notorious for fabricating the statistic that 90% of Planned Parenthood's (US's leading sexual and reproductive health care provider) activity is performing abortions when the actual number is 3%. When called on this, his office responded that what he said was "not intended to be a factual statement" which turned into a hilarious twitter meme that is still going strong (see #notintendedtobeafactualstatement on Twitter).

This all makes the senior senator from Arizona, Republican co-nominee with Sarah Palin in the 2008 presidential elections, John McCain, shine in comparison.

The more you know...
 
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cogito
post 27.Sep.2012, 05:00 PM
Post #13
Joined: 30.Dec.2009

QUOTE (Shibumi @ 27.Sep.2012, 03:45 PM) *
..for disrespectfully wagging her finger (literally) at President Obama (see pic below)..

Gasp! Thou shalt not wag thy finger at the lord thy god...
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Investor612
post 28.Sep.2012, 07:28 AM
Post #14
Joined: 29.Jul.2009

Shibumi might be horrified Maricopa county has a sheriff who actually enforces the law, but Scottsdale is an upscale suburb and a very pleasant place to live. If you're going to be paid 90k you'll live very well there.

Summers are very hot, best to do whatever you like to do outdoors in the morning. By 1pm you're going to want to be inside except for brief periods until sunset. Winters are delightful, highs of 20-24 are typical. Not many rainy days.

Phoenix is a major metropolitan area with all the cultural things that go with that. It has major professional sports franchises as well as a major university. There's a lot of variety in Arizona as the climate varies by altitude. Winter ski resorts are within a half days drive. Many people also go to the mountains to escape the heat in the summer as well.
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olga118
post 28.Sep.2012, 09:45 AM
Post #15
Joined: 27.Jan.2012

The salary you mention is not low, it is a good starting salary. You should definitely find out what they are offering for benefits, especially how much they contribute to your health insurance, what kind of coverage you get and how much your deductible is. That is the most important and could be negotiable. Prices in the USA for housing, food and other goods are considerably lower than Sweden and Americans tend to have much more disposable income than Swedes. As far as all the political responses they are kind of irrelevant because you are unlikely to be involved in the politics anyway.
Socially Americans tend to be far more outgoing than Swedes and you should not have any problem integrating into society nor should you children have any problem making friends...they will be like little celebrities at first. School is free for grades 1 through 12th grade and usually kindergarten as well.
College is horrifically expensive and while there are scholarships available for academic or sport excellence you certainly can't count on them.
Good luck in whatever decision you make.
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