Relocation to Lake Tahoe CA

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Jar944

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My experience was working in northern Virginia and living about 45 miles west so I could afford a nice house with a decent plot of land. My daily commute in the beginning was about an hour each way, but it was worth it. Now the commute would be almost two hours each way because of the urban sprawl and increased traffic on the major highways.

Haymarket, Warrenton or more south?

The commute isn't bad if you leave at 0415.
 

Inspector

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A Scotsman I worked with here in Canada discovered that if he paid into his British pension he could have it along with the Canada Pension he paid into. He then back paid as much as allowed to top it up. So look into paying into the pension while away so the even if you never go home again you'll still get one.

Pete
 

MikeK

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Haymarket, Warrenton or more south?

The commute isn't bad if you leave at 0415.

I lived in Casanova, just outside Warrenton. When I bought the house, I worked at Vint Hill Farms Station and enjoyed a short commute. When the installation closed, my office moved to our headquarters on Ft. Belvoir. I usually took the scenic route through Nokesville and the firing ranges at Quanitco before getting on Route 1 or I-95 near Dumfries.
 

MikeK

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Doubt that's an issue in the USA but once you get a green card the US will want to tax your worldwide income.

I recommend checking with a tax advisor for any tax treaty issues. The US and UK have a treaty, as do the US and Germany. Germany uses all worldwide income to determine the progressive tax rate, but does not tax federal government salary or retirement pay. Because I am a legal resident of Germany, the US does not tax my social security benefits because this is taxed in the country of residence.
 

I’ve got wood worm!

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I love the US and I love California but a country where my kids have to do active shooter drills at school is a no from me as a place to live (plus the healthcare, lack of employment rights and the political polarization of the country)

However sounds like it would be great for you. Most people enjoy stability and sameness whereas it sounds like you and your wife are the adventurous type :)
Yeah the drills sound messed up! My wife is freaking out about the forest fire risk at the moment. I don’t need to mention this to her 😂
 

OCtoolguy

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I live in Southern California. I love the U.S.A. and it is better than anyplace on the planet as far as I know. It must be because our southern border is a constant flow of immigrants (all illegal) 365 days a year. With all that said, I'd advise you to give it a try but I wouldn't advise California as the state to come to. But I see that your wife has a connection here so that is a given for a while. But definitely come here and give it a try. I think, all-in-all you'll be happy that you did. After reading all the posts here on this U.K. forum and many others from other countries, it appears that we have it better than anywhere else. One area in particular is the availability of whatever product you might be needing with no VAT or tariff or import fees to speak of. I don't care what it might be, if I want it, in most cases, I can have it within 2 days. It is true that this country is the "land of the free". Come on over!
 

Eric R

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Hi - I live in California and grew up in the Central Valley of CA not too far from Tahoe. I'm also an immigration attorney. The one thing no one here has mentioned is the increasing frequency of serious forrest fires in the Sierra Nevada. These fires spew so much smoke that the effects are felt widely in the state. I live in the SF Bay Area, and a couple of years ago, the air was yellow from the Paradise fire smoke for a good portion of my summer. We are also experiencing a drought that can have a big impact on how much water you have available, especially outside of the big metropolitan areas. Health care here can be an issue, but in California, the state offers a way to participate in group health insurance so that you're not buying as an individual. I know many people who don't make lots of money that have used this system for healthcare for the whole family. Also, most employers will offer some kind of health benefits. As for woodworking, I can't comment on the professional trades, whether cabinetry, furniture, or construction. But the West coast of the US doesn't have the tradition of fine woodworking that you find in the Mid-West, and especially the East Coast, especially if you're into hand tool work. There certainly are great woodworkers out here, both professional, and hobbyists, and most places have local organizations that are a great resource. Some types of visas provide work authorization for spouse/dependent visas, some don't. The construction industry uses lots of workers that don't have employment authorization with the commensurate reduction of pay.

I put most of my negative comments first, but I love living here. I have lived in another country, which was great, but California is one of the most open places I've ever been. So many people here are transplants from elsewhere that you don't run into the closed circle you often find in places where everyone's a local. It's also a remarkably diverse place, both in terms of cultures and geography. One interesting if not well-known cultural group is the Portuguese tradition of holding festivals up and down the state with no-kill bull fighting and other traditional bull-centered events. I've been to a few and they're a hoot.

The lowest point and the highest point in the contiguous States are about 100 miles apart here. Death Valley and Mt. Whitney. One of my neighbors often boasts that he goes surfing and snow skiing in the same weekend. He's not lying. The Sierra Nevada is a truly special mountain range. I've gone backpacking in many countries and mountain climbing in Peru. What sets the Sierra Nevada apart is the relatively temperate conditions you find at altitudes of over 4,200 meters.

I think once you have your visa situation sorted, the rest will work out and you'll enjoy yourself.
 

rwillett

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Just out of interest, how many other countries have you visited?

Sean

Sean

My thoughts exactly. I’ve lived and worked in the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Singapore and the USA (Washington DC). I’ve visited probably another 30 countries backpacking around. Never been to Australia, New Zealand, China or Russia. Suspect I never will visit Russia now.

Every country has its advantages, I love Bolivia as it’s wonderful country. Everyone thinks their country is the best as they know it well. I know that if I had the choice of another country it wouldn’t be the UK or the USA as they are demonstrably not the land of the free, but somewhere like Italy which is chaotic, slightly mad, infuriating but wonderful weather, glorious food, rich history and just fantastic to live in.

Kids and schools and elderly relatives force me to stay in the UK but there are so many places that are far , far better than the UK and the USA.

Just my 2p worth.

Rob
 

stuart little

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Hey all. I need your advice.
We’re thinking of relocating from Scotland to the Lake Tahoe, California area soon and would really appreciate any advice or experience you might have, such as the lifestyle, work life balance of the U.S, the woodwork industry in general etc.
We’ve moved around the world and worked in many countries, but this will be the first time since having kids (5 year old twins 😬) so it has a lot more gravitas this time and scares us more 😂
I’m at the start of this exploration really, but the wife has booked a last minute trip to California for a week, leaving in a few days so that should give us a good start to see whether we’ll like it or not.

A brief bit of history to help perhaps. I’ve been working with wood all of my life but only professionally for 5 years now, have my own business but have been Sub-contracting to a high end cabinet maker/furniture maker for the last 18 months. We’ve spent time in CA and my wife is a consultant for a company in L.A. So we have ‘an in’ on regards to visas and work hopefully.

We are close friends with the mayoress of Truckee, just up from LakeTahoe also, so she’s been advocating for us to move there!

Any advice or experience would be greatly appreciated!
Here's some 'useless' info:-
Trukee - home of UP's Rotary snow ploughs for clearing Donner Pass!
 

I’ve got wood worm!

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Hi - I live in California and grew up in the Central Valley of CA not too far from Tahoe. I'm also an immigration attorney. The one thing no one here has mentioned is the increasing frequency of serious forrest fires in the Sierra Nevada. These fires spew so much smoke that the effects are felt widely in the state. I live in the SF Bay Area, and a couple of years ago, the air was yellow from the Paradise fire smoke for a good portion of my summer. We are also experiencing a drought that can have a big impact on how much water you have available, especially outside of the big metropolitan areas. Health care here can be an issue, but in California, the state offers a way to participate in group health insurance so that you're not buying as an individual. I know many people who don't make lots of money that have used this system for healthcare for the whole family. Also, most employers will offer some kind of health benefits. As for woodworking, I can't comment on the professional trades, whether cabinetry, furniture, or construction. But the West coast of the US doesn't have the tradition of fine woodworking that you find in the Mid-West, and especially the East Coast, especially if you're into hand tool work. There certainly are great woodworkers out here, both professional, and hobbyists, and most places have local organizations that are a great resource. Some types of visas provide work authorization for spouse/dependent visas, some don't. The construction industry uses lots of workers that don't have employment authorization with the commensurate reduction of pay.

I put most of my negative comments first, but I love living here. I have lived in another country, which was great, but California is one of the most open places I've ever been. So many people here are transplants from elsewhere that you don't run into the closed circle you often find in places where everyone's a local. It's also a remarkably diverse place, both in terms of cultures and geography. One interesting if not well-known cultural group is the Portuguese tradition of holding festivals up and down the state with no-kill bull fighting and other traditional bull-centered events. I've been to a few and they're a hoot.

The lowest point and the highest point in the contiguous States are about 100 miles apart here. Death Valley and Mt. Whitney. One of my neighbors often boasts that he goes surfing and snow skiing in the same weekend. He's not lying. The Sierra Nevada is a truly special mountain range. I've gone backpacking in many countries and mountain climbing in Peru. What sets the Sierra Nevada apart is the relatively temperate conditions you find at altitudes of over 4,200 meters.

I think once you have your visa situation sorted, the rest will work out and you'll enjoy yourself.
Thanks so much. Some really valuable insights here.
Yes I posted about my wife’s worries re the forest fires above. It sounds like they just came off the back of a huge one. And it seems to only be getting worse with climate change.

Along with the Visa issues (my wife is the main bread winner, consulting for a firm in LA and it doesn’t currently look like I will be able to work legally), and the forest fires, we’ve changed our to Whistler in Canada. Similar adventure, lifestyle, beautiful terrain though apparently still a risk of forest fires, lesser so though I hope.
We have a meeting with an immigration rep for Canada tomorrow evening so hopefully we’ll get some good news. 🤞
I still need to look into whether or not I will be able to work also in California though our initial short research is unfavourable. It doesn’t make sense to me why they would allow people into the country indefinitely without being able to work. 🤷‍♂️
Many thanks again.
 

OCtoolguy

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Thanks so much. Some really valuable insights here.
Yes I posted about my wife’s worries re the forest fires above. It sounds like they just came off the back of a huge one. And it seems to only be getting worse with climate change.

Along with the Visa issues (my wife is the main bread winner, consulting for a firm in LA and it doesn’t currently look like I will be able to work legally), and the forest fires, we’ve changed our to Whistler in Canada. Similar adventure, lifestyle, beautiful terrain though apparently still a risk of forest fires, lesser so though I hope.
We have a meeting with an immigration rep for Canada tomorrow evening so hopefully we’ll get some good news. 🤞
I still need to look into whether or not I will be able to work also in California though our initial short research is unfavourable. It doesn’t make sense to me why they would allow people into the country indefinitely without being able to work. 🤷‍♂️
Many thanks again.
To answer your question, it makes no sense to us either but with the current administration, nothing makes sense. It's far easier to just pay their way than to allow them to work and possible put a citizen out of a job. The playing field definitely needs leveling. And unions are not the answer.
 

Inspector

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Whistler gets over 2.6 meters of precipitation a year. Lake Tahoe gets about a fifth as much. Hard to burn a soggy forest but it can in really hot summers. Whistler accommodation is the hard part. Expensive and there are very low vacancy rates. Beautiful place with year round activities.

Pete
 
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Having lived in USA, (California, Michigan) I'm not sure the issue of health insurance is being given enough weight. Coming as we do from societies where free or nearly free health care is a given, I was shocked - even as a fighting fit young man - at how worried EVERYONE is about their health insurance. There is a nagging and pervading fear of falling ill and not being covered.

People sticking to rubbish jobs for years because of the health benefits, only to get fired from their job due to illness and then losing the benefits anyway. Elderly people remortgaging or selling their house to raise funds for their adult childrens medical bills. Parents anxiously waiting to hear if their crappy insurance covers their kids medical condition, and the answer is always, ALWAYS, no. Horrendous. Absolutely horrendous.

The second issue is the at-will system of employment. I know (knew, I guess) people who got injured at work and were promptly fired. People who needed time off because of a sick kid and were promptly fired. women who rebuffed their bosses and were promptly fired. Not willing to work 60 hours every week? Fired! Here's this undocumented immigrant who will do your job for a third of the money, tax free... fired!

I swore I'd never work in the States again and despite offers, I never have. One time an employer did try to impose US working conditions on me (and other IT staff) and they were told in no uncertain terms to get stuffed. HR backed us up, and that manager was sent packing back to the States to abuse workers there all he wanted.
 

g1_lo

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Scotland to Cali couldn't be two contrasting locations. But being there when I was younger it was a nice place. Hope you get to come to a informed decision and wish you goof fortune with either choice.
 

Spectric

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Having lived in USA, (California, Michigan) I'm not sure the issue of health insurance is being given enough weight. Coming as we do from societies where free or nearly free health care is a given, I was shocked - even as a fighting fit young man - at how worried EVERYONE is about their health insurance. There is a nagging and pervading fear of falling ill and not being covered.
If they were that worried then why so much obesity? In the UK in some areas it is the thin person who stands out but with free health care so many just don't care and it is so easy to lose weight with a bit of digital manipulation on social media platforms that they can fool themselves and others who have not met them.
 
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