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Topic # 240625 17-Sep-2018 17:35
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I thought I'd compare my experiences from working in the US versus NZ.

It's highly subjective, and I'm sure many will argue every point.

It also may be moot,as it's getting harder and harder for NZ to get work visas in the US.

In summary, big city salaries and house prices are similar, however cost of living is about 30% cheaper in the US.

Insurance / health care is completely different. As you get older, insurance takes bigger chunks of your US wages, and you can go bankrupt from a catastrophic illness or accident. If you have any pre-existing condition you WILL rejected for mainstream insurance, and need expensive insurance, that is capped.

Typically, the capped US insurance policies stop paying at NZ $380,000. I know this sounds like a lot, but here's a true story. An acquaintance had a car accident and suffered a severe head injury. His medical bill in the first 6 months was NZ 2 million dollars. In the next year it was an additional 2 million dollars. So in 18 months, it was NZ four million dollars.

Most Americans die broke, or almost broke, due to medical bills.

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New Zealand
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This one's pretty easy.

As mentioned I have a pre-existing medical condition, and over 50 years old. In NZ "Who cares? Not relevant."

Auckland: NZ $100 K -$110 K/year
After taxes, health insurance, cost of living adjustment (30% more expensive in NZ than US):
NZ $50 K - $54 K
NZ high quality house would cost at least one million (basic US houses = NZ high quality)

Chance of working from home / telecommuting: very rare

typical salaried work hours 37.5 to 42 hours week. Family life come first, work second.

vacation days guaranteed

sick time guaranteed

salaried overtime: either time-in-lieu, or paid.

punctuality: pretty loose in NZ

Getting fired: really hard in NZ

Getting sued in courts: really hard in NZ, and almost never bankrupts you.

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United States
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This one's a lot harder, because the size and variation

Big city salary NZ $106 K - $ 128 K
After taxes and insurance (varies even from city to city): $79 K - $95

House prices at least one million NZD (about $700 K US)

Chance of working from home / telecommuting: unusual, but more common than NZ

typical salaried work hours 42 to 45 hours week, though varies wildly. 60 hours not unusual for senior positions. Don't expect any recognition of working overtime; work life comes first, before family.

vacation days not guaranteed, typically 2 weeks

sick time not guaranteed, often subtracted from vacation days

salaried overtime: usually unpaid / expected. Time-in-lieu unusual, or paid is almost unheard of for salaried workers.

punctuality: very tight in US. Being late is unusually unacceptable. If you have to work till midnight, to meet a deadline, so be it.

Getting fired: compared to NZ, it's easy in the US. And it can be quick: literally less than an hour.

Getting sued in courts: the more you make, the more it's likely. perhaps 1 in 3 chance in senior positions. It bankrupts about 1 in 50. It will at least cost NZ $7,500 to defend yourself in court. If you're a high-paid professional directly dealing with the public, you will be sued sometime in your career.


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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 2092109 17-Sep-2018 18:03
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House prices at least one million NZD (about $700 K US)

 

 

That is a huge generalisation about a very diverse housing market

 

 

Agreed that living in the signature cities on the west and east coasts will set you back plenty, But I know plenty of people living in large cities in either the midwest or south with extremely modest house prices.....

 

 


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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 2092111 17-Sep-2018 18:12
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Thank you for the above comparison. I'm glad I chose to move to NZ even with the current housing crisis.


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  Reply # 2092120 17-Sep-2018 18:42
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NZ: Work to Live

 

USA: Live to work




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  Reply # 2092249 18-Sep-2018 07:39
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wellygary: House prices at least one million NZD (about $700 K US)

That is a huge generalisation about a very diverse housing market

Agreed that living in the signature cities on the west and east coasts will set you back plenty, But I know plenty of people living in large cities in either the midwest or south with extremely modest house prices.....



I did house hunting in four US big cities, New York, Boston, Seattle and Atlanta, which are completely different housing densities and styles, but comparable pricing.

Cheap houses tend to be in bad crime areas, and upscale neighborhoods in large, but not big cities, are expensive.

Overall the US standard house has vastly better quality than the NZ standard house, even ones built in the last 10 years.

How many NZ homes have central heating and cooling, and double large garages? Not many.

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  Reply # 2092286 18-Sep-2018 08:42
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kingdragonfly: 
How many NZ homes have central heating and cooling, and double large garages? Not many.

 

 

have you seen US on the map? NZ has no land! haha

 

Apart from jokes, I think we're missing the point. NZ salary cap for IT is about 120-150k with a very little exeption, wheres at US it's pretty much uncapped. there're more chances to earn very high dollar even at the mid-level position and not only in California.

 

After one of the trips to US (june 2017) we decided to check house prices in North Carolina. Oh boi, you could get huge house for under 1kk NZD :( 3-4 bdrm for  $300-500k NZD pretty much new build. all in decent areas, or new sub-devs. 

 

America is huge, they have no problem to re-locate if needed/required/want, move to the city you can afford to live. 





helping others at evgenyk.nz


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  Reply # 2092300 18-Sep-2018 09:11
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Mind me asking how much would be health insurance for average young healthy person and lets say middle aged person with some preexisting condition in US?




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  Reply # 2092338 18-Sep-2018 09:39
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Pre-existing conditions ranges from $3,000/year to $20,000, capped at $385,000

You can actually get a health insurance quote pretty easy.

For New Zealanders the odd thing you'll find is your "zip code," where you live, will determine your insurance costs.

I suggest using a worst case zip code to get the most expensive quote:

Biloxi Mississippi is horrible, so you'll see the maximum you'd ever need to pay. Zip code is 39530

Everything changes if you have an existing condition, expect to be rejected. But if you're healthy all good. After all insurers and bankers want low-risk, and f*** anyone who actually needs it.

This is largest health insurers I believe

https://www.uhc.com/

Click on link "Individual & Family Plans"

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  Reply # 2092355 18-Sep-2018 10:03
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What about NZ vs Australia?


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  Reply # 2092361 18-Sep-2018 10:09
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Don't the employers pay insurance for you and your family? Or at least heavily subsidized?


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  Reply # 2092413 18-Sep-2018 11:12
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starcub:

 

Don't the employers pay insurance for you and your family? Or at least heavily subsidized?

 

 

Many do, but it's the 'deductibles' and co-payments that get you. In NZ we call it the Excess - but the US Health Insurance System has been turned into an artform... have a look here US_Health_Insurance. This article is a little old now, and coverage has been changed dramatically by the Trump administration. 

 

Basically, don't get sick.

 

 





________

 

Antonios K

 

 

 

Click to see full size




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  Reply # 2092419 18-Sep-2018 11:27
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starcub:

Don't the employers pay insurance for you and your family? Or at least heavily subsidized?



I interviewed with one of the largest health insurance providers, not saying who.

They gave a US $500/year subsidy. However a cheap plan for a healthy 50 year old person was $750. You had to pay the first $4,000 for a hospital stay, before they paid a penny.

Better plans were in the US $1,000 to $1,400 range, which were then subsidized.

A benefit was your insurance cost was pre-tax deducted, which meant a lower tax bill.

Insurance and taxes are always compex in the US



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  Reply # 2092424 18-Sep-2018 11:38
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antoniosk: US_Health_Insurance.


I was shocked by this article, and I thought I knew the US health system!




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  Reply # 2092688 18-Sep-2018 17:14
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The US ain't so great for workers with less marketable skills; they are skilled, but just the "wrong" kind of skills

"Why These Disneyland Employees Can't Afford Rent"


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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 2092879 18-Sep-2018 21:28
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I hear horror stories from my mates in the USA about insurance declining care. It's like that scene in Family Guy where Joes insurance company can restore his legs for $100k or give him a $20 wheelchair...

 

Basically ff you cannot afford a decent lawyer your health insurance is worthless.


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  Reply # 2093856 20-Sep-2018 14:35
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There is a scene in Sicko which compares someone in the US and someone in Canada.

 

Both chopped off their fingers in an accident.

 

One of them now has less than 10 fingers.

 

One of them lived in a country with Publicly funded healthcare.

 

 

 

 


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