Americans moving to London

Hi all - has anyone here ever moved from The US to London for a job transfer? I have the possibility of doing so, and was curious what people's experience was like.

What were the pros and cons?
What was your favorite part about moving, what did you miss the most or hate?
How is living in London different than living in a city like NY?
How annoying was it to deal with the actual move?
Where did you end up moving?
How did you deal with taxes as a US citizen living in the UK?

Anything else that you think would be relevant would be great to discuss!

Comments (24)

2y 
CRE, what's your opinion? Comment below:
ProjectGTFO:
How did you deal with taxes as a US citizen living in the UK?

This can be a big one. The US is one of only two countries on the planet that engages in citizen-based, or double, taxation. There are routes to combat this, through foreign tax credits and foreign earned income exclusions, but I'm far from a tax expert, let alone a foreign tax expert.

Commercial Real Estate Developer

  • 1
2y 
mtnmmnn, what's your opinion? Comment below:

That is generally correct. However, keep in mind that even though there's a tax treaty between the countries that in theory should ensure you aren't doubled taxed, in practice there are some circumstances where there are issues, particularly with the AMT on dividend and cap gain which stupidly only applies when you are married. For example, an american citizen residing in the UK realizing a capital gain in the US as a single filer would pay taxes for the gain on their UK taxes, but since the rate on cap gain is higher in the UK (28% vs. 15%), there would be not US taxes. However, a married filler would have to deal with the AMT which would take the overall rate in the mid thirties.

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
Most Helpful
2y 
CompBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:
ProjectGTFO:
Hi all - has anyone here ever moved from The US to London for a job transfer? I have the possibility of doing so, and was curious what people's experience was like.
Mine wasn't a job transfer .. it was an entirely new job. That said, I have friends who have transferred from NYC to London within investment banking and consulting.
ProjectGTFO:
What were the pros and cons? What was your favorite part about moving, what did you miss the most or hate? How is living in London different than living in a city like NY?
If you enjoy being in a multi cultural environment, you're going to love London. The percentage of people from all over the world is staggering. If you want to play a pickup football (soccer game), expect to have 5-10 different countries represented for 15 people. You cannot walk down the street without hearing Italian, French, Arabic, Mandarin, Romanian, and a whole host of other languages. Most everyone has a fascinating story to tell about how they ended up in London and nearly everyone I've encountered has spent considerable amount of time living in various cities throughout Europe. I know that many people consider NYC to be diverse, but London is on a whole different level.

In terms of things to hate, there are a bunch of inconveniences but nothing that I would say I hate. Food doesn't have preservatives, so anticipate going to the grocery story every few days if you don't eat out often. You won't recognise the majority of the brands. You have to re-train yourself to deal with vehicles on the other side of the road and go through the whole drivers license process again. Oh, and it rains ... often. You've been warned.

ProjectGTFO:
How annoying was it to deal with the actual move? Where did you end up moving?
I found the move extremely easy. That said, I have moved many times in my life and don't have a lot of miscellaneous "things" that needed to be packed and transferred. Rather than use a moving company, I just packed things up in a large number of suitcases and paid the extra baggage fees, which was more than the cost of the flight itself. This was made easier by the fact that I didn't move any of my furniture, kitchen things, etc. I donated half my wardrobe and purged nearly everything else. Many flats in London come fully furnished and I highly recommend you go this approach, it will simplify your life, although it comes with a price.

In terms of "where" ... people live all over London. Due to the cost of living and desired lifestyle, many people commute into London from 1+ hours away. This is pretty common. If you want to live in Zone 1 be prepared to spend a fair amount on rent. Many buildings are old and lack things such as air conditioning, so don't expect to see many luxury highrises like you might in many US cities.

Finally, you're going to encounter all sorts of annoying "setup" expenses and frustrations. A local telephone is one of them: - Want a phone subscription? Too bad, you have no established credit score in the UK and need to start with a pay-as-you-go plan. - Want to chat with your friends in the US? Expect them to have no ability to call an international phone number and you don't have a phone subscription so you're limited on data calls! - Looking to transfer money between bank accounts? Sorry, your US bank doesn't know what a sort code is and you have to pay fees for each international wire. - Expecting an important piece of mail such as tax forms? You may need to have all your mail forwarded to your parents' house and ask them to open and scan it to you. - Brought your US devices with you to the UK? Prepare to buy all new cables so that your Sonos speaker can be plugged into the UK electric outlets. - Want to buy something in the App store? Sorry, you have a US app store account, need to switch it over to the UK app store. Then you try watching local sports on your Apple TV but your Apple TV thinks it is still in the US so you can watch ESPN but Sky Sports won't download....

Anyways, these are silly little inconveniences, but prepare to encounter a LOT of them. If you aren't super laid back, you will get frustrated. So take a deep breath and enjoy the fact that you're building character!

ProjectGTFO:
How did you deal with taxes as a US citizen living in the UK?
You'll very likely want to file as a non-domiciled resident to minimize taxes. Either way, be prepared to take a hit. Tax rates are unfavourable compared to the US. Additionally, while tax treaties are in place, there is leakage as it pertains to carried interest earned in the US while you're living in the UK. Basically -- if you still have carry and it pays out after you've moved, you cannot bring the money into the UK without paying combined US + UK taxes of about 82%. Assume you won't have access to this money...

Many Americans set up offshore bank accounts (or so I was told by an American friend). If you end up traveling, you won't pay taxes on the days that you are outside the UK, so many people track precisely which days they are traveling for tax return purposes. I recommend Barclays International for an account. You can set this up even if you live in the US. Note: this is not illegal. I know a lot of people hear "offshore bank account" and think of bad things, but these accounts are totally legitimate. Here is a link. https://international.barclays.com/

ProjectGTFO:
Anything else that you think would be relevant would be great to discuss!
Expect a paycut if you aren't treated as an expat. Everyone I've spoken with in London is getting paid substantially less than they would in the states. IB / PE doesn't matter. If you want to live here, this is something you just need to accept.

CompBanker’s Career Guidance Services: https://www.rossettiadvisors.com/

  • 12
2y 
ProjectGTFO, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Super helpful and appreciate all the details here. I had a few follow ups:

CompBanker:
Food doesn't have preservatives, so anticipate going to the grocery story every few days if you don't eat out often.
Sounds like a pro to me.
CompBanker:
This was made easier by the fact that I didn't move any of my furniture, kitchen things, etc.
How hard is it if you do move things like that? Do you get a storage container?
CompBanker:
- Want a phone subscription? Too bad, you have no established credit score in the UK and need to start with a pay-as-you-go plan. - Want to chat with your friends in the US? Expect them to have no ability to call an international phone number and you don't have a phone subscription so you're limited on data calls!

Doesn't WhatsApp solve this issue?

CompBanker:
You'll very likely want to file as a non-domiciled resident to minimize taxes. Either way, be prepared to take a hit. Tax rates are unfavourable compared to the US. Additionally, while tax treaties are in place, there is leakage as it pertains to carried interest earned in the US while you're living in the UK. Basically -- if you still have carry and it pays out after you've moved, you cannot bring the money into the UK without paying combined US + UK taxes of about 82%. Assume you won't have access to this money...
Holy shit. If people make a longer term move what do they do with the carry they receive? Kind of ridiculous that you might generate a lot of money in carry but not have access to it until you move back to the US (or can only use the cash to make investments out of a US account).
CompBanker:
Everyone I've spoken with in London is getting paid substantially less than they would in the states. IB / PE doesn't matter. If you want to live here, this is something you just need to accept.

I've seen this to be the case, but after speaking to some recruiters they said the pay would be the same as an expat. So overall it sounds like making a move to London is a bad idea because comp goes down, taxes go up, and you're more restricted in what you can do with your $, and it's not like London is significantly cheaper than NY. Sounds like a bad financial decision, but more of a personal decision.

2y 
Pug, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Just curious- why are salaries so much lower? I'm in tech and the salaries are nearly half compared to the Bay Area. I expected a little drop but not half. It sounds like the COL is roughly the same too.. just wondering how this works out for quality of life in the UK

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” - Nassim Taleb
2y 
Placeholder1234, what's your opinion? Comment below:

CompBanker  Curious to hear what brought about your move to London.  What was the thought process/rationale behind the move? I recall you being pretty established / having worked in PE in the US for a while and being pretty senior, so curious what made you want to switch geographies.  Do you see yourself there long term or was it a more temporary move in nature?   

2y 
CompBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Phat

Would you minf sharing the age at which you moved?

Mid-30s.

CompBanker’s Career Guidance Services: https://www.rossettiadvisors.com/

  • 1
Funniest
2y 
MMPM, what's your opinion? Comment below:

These types are easy to spot when they come back to NYC. They derive a silly sense of superiority because they now wear pink socks and read the FT. The more redneck their background, the more affected the Eurotrashiness to try and make up for their rural upbringing.

  • 2
  • 2
2y 
Incoming cfa level 1 charterholder, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Shoreditch is the East Village of NYC, except that it's really clean and the cocktails match the quality of expensive cocktail bars and are much cheaper.

Array
2y 
A333A, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Wandsworth is a big place and yes certain areas are very nice-check out Wandsworth Common.

It is more family though in these areas

2y 
GoldenCinderblock, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Praesentium voluptatem a dolor. Accusantium et id omnis magnam. Asperiores illum necessitatibus alias aperiam totam. Qui qui aut unde quia eius qui sit harum.

Quos nostrum culpa omnis quod explicabo. Fugiat est pariatur ut cupiditate mollitia quo enim. Vero magni veniam corrupti sint iure ut delectus. Cupiditate et error omnis id sequi dolores. Voluptatem et aperiam cumque cupiditate eius deserunt aut.

Qui aut doloremque ut molestiae. Corrupti quis consequatur aliquam amet aperiam quisquam suscipit. Officiis quia repudiandae vel reprehenderit. Dolores velit sit voluptas est quasi et et. Rem iste corrupti in assumenda placeat vel vel.

Sint beatae culpa corporis. Accusamus in voluptates ea non est asperiores. Facilis debitis laboriosam officia qui. Quia voluptas eum dicta incidunt voluptatum. Natus eligendi suscipit libero nihil veritatis. Voluptates eaque in voluptas itaque.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
Start Discussion

Career Advancement Opportunities

February 2023 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres (+ +) 99.5%
  • Jefferies & Company (▽01) 99.1%
  • Lincoln International (▽01) 98.6%
  • Financial Technology Partners (▽01) 98.1%
  • William Blair (▲08) 97.7%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

February 2023 Investment Banking

  • Canaccord Genuity (▲04) 99.5%
  • William Blair (▲04) 99.0%
  • Lincoln International (▲09) 98.6%
  • Jefferies & Company (▲06) 98.1%
  • Financial Technology Partners (▲09) 97.6%

Professional Growth Opportunities

February 2023 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres (▲15) 99.5%
  • Financial Technology Partners (▲09) 99.1%
  • Lincoln International (= =) 98.6%
  • Jefferies & Company (▽03) 98.1%
  • William Blair (▲01) 97.7%

Total Avg Compensation

February 2023 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (6) $592
  • Vice President (24) $418
  • Associates (137) $262
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (9) $194
  • 2nd Year Analyst (80) $172
  • 1st Year Analyst (258) $171
  • Intern/Summer Associate (42) $166
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (185) $91