Australians moving to the United States

Key differences for Australians moving to the United States

So, you’ve done it. You’ve committed to the move to the USA: for the adventure, for the fun, for the money, for whatever reason. You’ve got your visa issues handled, and now you’re looking into what else you’ll need to adjust before migrating to the States. Here’s a quick guide to some perhaps seemingly minor things you might not be aware of, things that make life in the USA a bit different than life in Oz.

Health

Long story short, it’s expensive. While the USA leads the world in many areas, you’ll find their health care system a bit baffling and pricey compared to Australia. Private insurance is a must and is a benefit included or subsidised by many employers. Even with private insurance, expect to be out of pocket a bit more than you’re used to if you’ve got to visit the old M.D., as there is no public option in the USA.

Renting

While rental prices in Australia are normally quoted by the week, in the US rent is quoted by the month. Depending on what area of the country you’ll be living in, you might find things significantly cheaper (things get cheaper the closer to the middle, generally) or be shocked by the prices… if you’re moving to San Francisco, expect sticker shock. In addition, landlords often ask for the first and last month’s rent as a deposit – or in addition to a deposit.

Retirement

Surveys have shown that many Americans are vastly unprepared for retirement, as retirement contributions are not so standardised as they are in Australia. If you’re bringing your super over, you can look to put it into one of the most common forms of retirement accounts – 401k funds – though some use what are called Individual Retirement Accounts, or IRAs. A good employer will offer matching contributions to your retirement, but again, this is not as common in the USA as it is in Australia. There are some great tax breaks for retirement saving, but be sure to speak to an expert who can help lead you through it all.

Photo: US Flag by jnn1776 licensed under Creative commons 2
Shane Macfarlane
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Shane Macfarlane

CEO & Founder at Expat Tax Services
Shane's an Australian Chartered Accountant and Australian expat tax specialist who's also an expat himself (based in Asia).Shane's passionate about tax and legitimate tax minimisation, particularly as it relates to Australian expats who are often subject to high rates of tax back home in Australia.Beyond tax and accounting, Shane's an entrepreneur, having devised, created and founded a successful accounting startup, Fifo Workpapers (acquired by accounting software giant, Intuit inc. in 2013)

In short Shane's a tax and software techno-geek, who recognised that Australian expats were unable to obtain the specialist advice and quality service, that they needed from their accountants. Accordingly, Shane founded Expat Tax Services to provide Australian expats with access to specialist, quality advice at fair and reasonable prices (no hourly rates, fees quoted upfront with unlimited support included) . . . receive the support and advice you need without having to take second-mortgage to pay your accountant's bill! Speak to Shane & the team today.
Shane Macfarlane
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