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Salary, Lifestyle, Apartments, oh my!

Or: How to show you want/need validation

LimpingNinja
post 15.Sep.2018, 01:29 AM
Post #1
Joined: 15.Sep.2018

Hello all,

I've been reading these boards for months, mainly because it is interesting and partially because there is something altogether amusing in some of these replies. I've asked myself a few times if the actual Swedes on here mind the obvious non-Swede trolls!

Regardless of that, I decided to create an account to respond to another thread, but figured that I might as well ask questions while here, now that I exist:

This is your typical "I have been offered a Job in your country" with a not-so-typical "I want to plan this out properly" addendum.

First question out of the way: "Why are you coming here?" - Good question. There is the obvious job offer, but let's face it - that can't be it. There is a curiosity that I have in changing how I view life, I cannot answer if moving to Sweden will impact that and how until after. I'm sure everyone here has opinions; and I've read most of them. I am also not scared by the "anti-social" comments, what I've heard explained tends to fit with my demeanor.

MEAT AND POTATOES:
Job Offer: 725,000 SEK/per annum (there will be bonus, I assume taxed at 58%)
Family: 4
Location: Stockholm
Citizenship: US (husband) EU/US (wife)
Requires office: Office exists, sitting in it is optional

I have a minimum of 6 months before I move, I would prefer to live in the city but that preference is definitely up to suggestion. My children are primary/lower-secondary school aged.

QUESTIONS:
- The salary seems good, but since Sweden seems primarily set-up for two workers and taxes increase for higher earners, what is the realistic expectation for living off of this for a short period?
- I currently make quite a bit of money in my current job, but in the US life is sacrificed for earning and can easily work 16 hour days. Could someone explain to me the 'life in sweden' of typical income households in re: Going out (how often?), Activities costs (monthly), and free-time usage?
- Would public schools be considered problematic for the children?
- People oft-complain about housing; I've looked at blocket.se for the last few weeks, watching house trends and pricing and while the prices can be high, the houses do linger for some time. Is the main concern about "first-hand" vs "second-hand"? In this same vein, if I rent an apartment for 1 year, what should I do to be certain that I am protected?

Well, that was a lot of asks for me to you - I'm sorry for the length of this, but hopefully good advice will be forthcoming; that or insipid trolling ;-)

-LimpingNinja
(I'm still fast)
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skogsbo
post 15.Sep.2018, 06:23 AM
Post #2
Joined: 20.Sep.2011

That salary is double the average so yes you could live on it. You will pay more tax compared to two people earning 350,000kr though, but still have enough wage left. Short term housing, ie just 6 months would be more challenging and costly, but not impossible.
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pepitoAndalucia
post 15.Sep.2018, 10:36 PM
Post #3
Joined: 3.Jun.2018

Housing will be the biggest problem.

First hand = you must queue and usually it takes 5-10 years to get an apartment. Even in small towns.

Second hand = short term accommodation usually 1 year max contract due to strict regulations. Most contracts are short term. 6 months to 1 year.

The thing is right now second hand is for 10000 sek minimum in most places. If you are lucky you will be able to stay for 1 year but it can happen that you can only stay 4 months in one apartment then move to another for 6 months then another for 6 months and so on. Also you must realize that finding a new apartment takes time and you will have to start looking for a new apartment a few months before.

Beware of websites that offer second hand for a monthly fee. There are many scams in sweden.

I don't want to lie to you, that's what the housing situation is in sweden unless you decide to buy which swedes have designed this housing system so there are no queues for buyers, since they want a buyers only market leaving renters aside and queuing or having to deal with a very dark and corrupt black market where people pay to housing companies money under the table to skip the queue.

So I must say the weather will be the least of your problems.
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pepitoAndalucia
post 15.Sep.2018, 10:48 PM
Post #4
Joined: 3.Jun.2018

Eating out in a restaurant is expensive. Two people can cost 1000 sek. Unless you chose fast food. Also the average menu in sweden is quite repetitive.

I am Spanish and I could eat out in Spain for way less money and despite salaries are lower in Spain still it never felt so expensive as in Sweden. Not to mention food quality is better in Spain.

Compared to other EU countries in sweden everything is 30% more expensive. So even though you make twice the average salary, expect higher prices for everything. Even swedes realize life is expensive in sweden!.

Owning a car is minimum 3000 sek a month and that's the minimum.
If you need to commute long distance the price for a monthly ticket is 1000 sek for long distance trip.

Work life is easy in Sweden. Here workload is soft. I doubt most swedes work 7 hours tops, because there is a lot of coffee break culture and swedes in general don't work full throttle. Life is around taking care of kids and swedes only expect you do the minimum to be happy with your work. In sweden you don't need to work super hard or stand out in fact doing that can be a problem since swedes don't like that. Life moves at a slower pace like in a village.
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Svedallas
post 16.Sep.2018, 09:21 PM
Post #5
Joined: 21.Apr.2016

QUOTE (pepitoAndalucia @ 15.Sep.2018, 11:36 PM) *
Housing will be the biggest problem.First hand = you must queue and usually it takes 5-10 years to get an apartment. Even in small towns.Second hand = short term accommodation ... (show full quote)


Do not take advice from this idiot who has been in Sweden for 5 seconds.
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Billy_UK
post 16.Sep.2018, 09:38 PM
Post #6
Joined: 5.Aug.2013

QUOTE (pepitoAndalucia @ 15.Sep.2018, 10:48 PM) *
Eating out in a restaurant is expensive. Two people can cost 1000 sek. Unless you chose fast food. Also the average menu in sweden is quite repetitive.I am Spanish and I could ... (show full quote)


We pay 400kr for car insurance, about 700kr for diesel and 1500kr car tax for the year. So that’s around 1225kr a month. If you want to start including service and MoT costs that’s still only another 200-400kr per month depending on the service and 40kr a month for the MoT. Obviously it varies depending on the car but 3000kr minimum is nonsense.
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wallace1837
post 17.Sep.2018, 04:04 AM
Post #7
Joined: 21.Oct.2012

QUOTE (Billy_UK @ 16.Sep.2018, 10:38 PM) *
We pay 400kr for car insurance, about 700kr for diesel and 1500kr car tax for the year. So that’s around 1225kr a month. If you want to start including service and MoT costs ... (show full quote)

Missing the cost of the car, its financing, and its maintenance. But yes 3000kr a month is higher than what it costed me.
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wallace1837
post 17.Sep.2018, 04:15 AM
Post #8
Joined: 21.Oct.2012

725000 kr a year is low after tax for a family. So this is ~60k a month, that leaves you ~40k a month https://www.ekonomifakta.se/Fakta/Skatter/R...KMG5G2iLHW2Pox3

Imagine another scenario, that is more like Sweden where a couple make each 35k/month. That will leave them 27k each per month. Thus 54k/month. That will be your experience. Your living standard will be lower than an average uneducated Sven by as much as 35%! And we are not talking about high standard here.

On top of that huge (~35%) deficit in income, you will not have a Swedish credit history to qualify for a mortgage, you will not have enough queue point for a rental, you will realise that education is free but worthless (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programme_for_International_Student_Assessment#PISA_2015 also https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2016/...egree-and-win/).

Then you will wonder why your wife can get a job. Answer is here: https://www.thelocal.se/discuss/index.php?s...showtopic=86084

Then you will wonder why didn't move to a civilised country, it will be too late. You will have lost many year of your life...

Just stay out of Sweden, it is really that bad...
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LimpingNinja
post 17.Sep.2018, 05:44 AM
Post #9
Joined: 15.Sep.2018

Hello, thanks everyone! As I said, I've been reading TL for some time now so I will ignore any leading comments or trolling, please feel free to ignore them too.

So I will answer the comments here in a single:

QUOTE (pepitoAndalucia @ 15.Sep.2018, 05:36 PM) *
If you are lucky you will be able to stay for 1 year but it can happen that you can only stay 4 months in one apartment then move to another for 6 months then another for 6 months and so on.


I'm not concerned about 'time looking'; as I've said I have advance time and relocation assistance. The time situation is a bit annoying sounding, I saw quite a few rentals for 12 month, are you saying those are false? I'm not bothered with a 12 month lease, a 6 month (if unfurnished) might be more annoying.

QUOTE (Svedallas @ 16.Sep.2018, 04:21 PM) *
Do not take advice from [ed]pepitoAndalucia[/ed]


Could you correct the failures in his post?

The 'everything is expensive' is one of the questions, I'd like to understand how free time is spent over a month to know how most people handle the equalized lower pay. I am not sure it will kill me, I currently pay almost $4k for rent in the US, $700 on utilities, $900 for vehicle, etc... so I understand changes and adjustments need to occur. I am trying to determine where.

QUOTE (wallace1837 @ 16.Sep.2018, 11:15 PM) *
725000 kr a year is low after tax for a family.


Thanks for the comment, I'm able to do the calculations but that doesn't give insight into the rest of what I asked; at the moment those are just abstracted numbers layered over an economy I don't know, so providing some detail would be excellent if you could.

My bonus will make up an additional good measure, but I would still like to understand how this will affect standard of living and it would be great if by example (how would a family living on the same income fare on an average month). I've seen numerical breakdowns of foodstuffs, and above for cars, but with recreational it is unclear.

QUOTE (wallace1837 @ 16.Sep.2018, 11:15 PM) *
you will realise that education is free but worthless


The second link you posted looks like this:
MATHS: US=40th,UK=27th,SE=25th
SCIENCE: US=25th,UK=15th,SE=28th
READING: US=24th,UK=22th,SE=17th

Based on this and a PISA ranking of 72 countries, this averages to: US=30th, UK=21, SE=23 -- in a percentile ranking this puts UK and SE at roughly 70th percentile (just under and just above) and the US just under the 60th percentile. I'm not sure what your intended point was here.

.o LimpingNinja



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Saywhatwhat
post 17.Sep.2018, 07:26 AM
Post #10
Joined: 15.Feb.2018

With salary, you will be fine. Unless your rent/ mortgage is very very high... Comparable to your US rent of 4k, where are you coming from btw? But rent probably won't be that high.

With relocation help you should also be fine. With the salary offer you had it sounds like you have the upper hand so you can pressure them into helping you find a place in or around your desired area. I would research that so you can suggest areas to your potential employer.

For your children, I forgot how old you said... Public school could be hard because of the language barrier. There are international, English based, schools that will still teach them swedish. They might need private swedish lessons in addition because I don't know how much language they will just pick up. I don't know the personality of your kids so fitting in with an all swedish public school might have some challenges other than language. Language is a part of it but other social barriers or differences could have them as outsiders. And then you or your partner might have difficulty interacting with the school if needed due to language barrier.

I know people say Swedes speak great English but that isn't always the case and for whatever possible reasons there are people who don't want to be bothered to speak English. It isn't always friendly helpful or understanding.

To go back to schools... The ranking thing... You have to take into account the size of the US and the socioeconomic differences of areas that affect the schools. Whereas Sweden is much more homogenous and they still just have avg schools. Universities across America are much higher ranked than universities across Europe. These are just things to consider. Not trying to sway you.

Don't know how true it is but I've also heard that schools will go at the pace of the "slowest" student and there aren't as many opportunities to challenge and nurture more advanced children other than private extracurricular activities.

Sports aren't through schools but private. I don't know if there are things like theater, band, AV, science/ math clubs, debate teams, etc. In swedish schools.


My last thing, since you didn't mention, is about your partner. I don't know if you are the US husband or US/EU wife. If you are the wife, what does your husband plan on doing? If you are the husband, what does your wife plan on doing? One will have a job and enter easily into swedish society, relatively, and the other could face a lot of struggle. That is something very important to consider and a move that benefits just one can really hurt the relationship.


Edit. Work life balance... It depends. I think 5 weeks vacation is standard in Sweden whereas it can take some years to work to that level of benefit in the US. There are also a lot of paid holidays and generous parental leave, which you are past receiving. Other than that I don't see much difference. People don't seem to work as hard or care as much about their job and I don't know if that is necessarily a good thing or a thing about work life balance. There are plenty of people who work long days as well.

This is more of a joke theory but maybe some truth?... The climate is pretty awful for a long time of the year so people are almost forced to stay inside. Maybe that is why Swedes believe they have stronger family lives and better work life balance. Because they are forced to spend so much time indoors with their family.

And then of course summer is summer. Albeit short.

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elliha
post 17.Sep.2018, 01:48 PM
Post #11
Joined: 13.Oct.2014

You will do fine with that salary, and it is not true that you will have the same kind of money as a person with just high school in general. A person working as a cashier would get about 23000 per month just as an example. I as a teacher don't even reach the medium salary at about 33k and my husband and I do fine and his salary is even lower than mine. For periods of time we have lived off just my salary with two (small kids). You will have plenty to live off have a good life.

Working 16 hours a day is something I have never heard of in Sweden, well maybe on an extraordinary busy day once or twice a year perhaps but not likely even then. The norm is about 8 hours a day but some jobs will require more and higher paying jobs may be more likely to require that at least for periods of time but I think it is more likely to be 10 hours or so. Do you have a contract and are hours specified? In that case you should probably be able to get extra payment if you work more than those hours. Some places will get around this though by having flexible hours so you can work less in slower periods and more other periods but get no extra money those days when you work more. You can also have a contract with hours that are not specified and then you get paid the same regardless of how long you work.

If you are staying for a year I would either view this as a year abroad and put them in Swedish schools and make the year about experiencing another culture and life in that country or choose an international school but if you have planning to stay longer I would say pick a Swedish school and get them learning the language fast.

Sports are run mostly by clubs and you will have to contact them one by one to see how the organize things, it will differ. If your children are teens they may have to show that they are good at the sport to join a team but younger kids are more likely to be able to join anyway but this varies a lot depending on which team you want to join and what the aim is for your kids with regards to the future. There are clubs that focus on sport more as a hobby and some that are more focused on it leading to a career in the future. Some clubs will require parents to take part in running the club in various ways while other will have less of this or you can pay to get out of doing things.

Housing will be a challenge but it is not going to be totally impossible. If you know when you will get to Sweden you can start to look for places to live right now.
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pepitoAndalucia
post 18.Sep.2018, 09:01 PM
Post #12
Joined: 3.Jun.2018

QUOTE (Svedallas @ 16.Sep.2018, 10:21 PM) *
Do not take advice from this idiot who has been in Sweden for 5 seconds.


Idiot? you looked yourself in the mirror this morning?!.

QUOTE (wallace1837 @ 17.Sep.2018, 05:04 AM) *
Missing the cost of the car, its financing, and its maintenance. But yes 3000kr a month is higher than what it costed me.


Yes 3000 sek minimum a month.

I have friends who own cars. All of them pay around 3000 sek a month minimum.

Owning a car in sweden is overpriced.
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pepitoAndalucia
post 18.Sep.2018, 09:33 PM
Post #13
Joined: 3.Jun.2018

QUOTE (LimpingNinja @ 17.Sep.2018, 06:44 AM) *
I'm not concerned about 'time looking'; as I've said I have advance time and relocation assistance. The time situation is a bit annoying sounding, I saw quite ... (show full quote)


That is second hand rental. And the problem is you will have to relocate every 6 months / 1 year or so.

Second hand rentals in sweden work that way. I have friends who move every 4 - 6 months.

Unless of course you have the money to buy in which there are no queues.

If you want to stand in the queue, that's 5 years minimum but you can always pay under the table to skip the queue.

The rental market in sweden is meant to be short term and by that means 1 year or less on most cases.

So you can find rentals for 12 months but still that is not the average and also consider you won't be able to stay for more than 12 months in most second hand rentals. It's how rules work in sweden.


Nobody speaks about it because it is a real problem and it will drain time and money.
A lot of people leave sweden for that issue. I know of friends who basically got the job but couldn't find apartment. I am not talking about big cities like New York. Sweden is a very low population and despite it even in small cities finding rental is extremely difficult.

I don't mean to be negative but you should be aware of how bad the situation is regarding housing.
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wallace1837
post 19.Sep.2018, 01:25 AM
Post #14
Joined: 21.Oct.2012

QUOTE (pepitoAndalucia @ 18.Sep.2018, 10:33 PM) *
I don't mean to be negative but you should be aware of how bad the situation is regarding housing.

And education, and discrimination, and visa issues, and denial about all the above.
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Cheeseroller
post 19.Sep.2018, 06:43 AM
Post #15
Location: Germany
Joined: 10.Apr.2007

Probably the biggest issue may be the kids. It is not easy to leave your friends and school, and be immersed in a country where everyone speaks a foreign language all day at school.

The first time we moved, the child was 7, so they simply put him into a pre-school class for a year while he learnt Swedish. The school authority provided a teacher who spoke his native language for several hours a week. After a few difficult months, he settled down.

The second time we moved was when he was 14. This resulted in 2 years of hell, with anxiety attacks and depression both for him and my wife. We tried private schools, counselling, and a child psychologist - nothing worked. At the end he returned to Sweden at 16 years and lived by himself. He soon became well and excelled at school.

We are fortunate to have the resources to pay for a private school, multiple trips back to Sweden and to run two homes. If necessary, as we are both self-employed, we could have returned to Sweden ourselves - whilst others could have few options.

While you won't believe me now, if you stay long term be aware that the Swedish school system will change the character and outlook for your children in a way that it is impossible to control. Until you have lived here for quite a few years you will not fully appreciate how significant that is.
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