Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

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Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby Sal_ » Tue May 24, 2011 1:18 pm

I know this isn't the right area for this post but I'm sad to write it so give me a break please.

I've been asked to move to the US and take over a important work area, I've been told I can be anywhere in the US(home office plus popping down to local sales office when needed, we're everywhere). Though we're feeling very settled in Shanghai it seems like we'd be moving the wrong way! people are coming here right?

Anyway I work in IT and SF would be the destination without question. We're not Americans either but did move from the East coast to Shanghai 4 years ago. I kow I'm not being moved "back" to be fired thats for sure since the company is making other investments towards my future with them.

Now I can take this as a "well done" you survived that now come help pull us out of the doo doo here, or the green eyed monsters having figured they can cut back on my total package by having me a US employee and not expensive expat(though I'm a half pat really, don't have a mission I have a full time local contract with benefits)

So any advice on negotiating a return and what I should be expecting/demanding in a contract? I will have a contract, like I stated earlier I'm not American so "at will" can go suck my balls.

Its not exactly an aweful situation to find oneself in but having to buy and run a car (or 2), schooling, housing is all more expensive in SF than Shanghai (apart from schooling a kindergartn age kid right?) Food will be cheaper (Trader Joes...my friend its been too long) Traffic on the 280 and 101 will be apain I hope to avoid.

I just saw a couple of puppies caged along a roadside for sale or fatteting up to be eaten, I dunno, but I can't take images like that any longer. Is it time to leave?

Anyone in a similar situation or soon coming to the end of their contract here witha view to go back to the US?....
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby Handoogies2.0 » Tue May 24, 2011 1:47 pm

If you are not American then would you not be an expat in America as well? Would you be able to negotiate a package that would make you as comfortable there as you are in China? You sound like you don't want to leave. Is there a emotional attachment to something/someone here? Honestly If I were you I would jump at the chance to move to California. I'd buy a nice convertible for 30% of the price here, and get a medical marijuana license. Cruising down the PCH is not a bad way to spend your time.
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby p1atl10 » Tue May 24, 2011 3:39 pm

First off...if you are a non-US citizen, make sure you understand the tax implications:

Substantial Presence Test

You will be considered a U.S. resident for tax purposes if you meet the substantial presence test for the calendar year. To meet this test, you must be physically present in the United States on at least:

1. 31 days during the current year, and
2. 183 days during the 3-year period that includes the current year and the 2 years immediately before that, counting:
* All the days you were present in the current year, and
* 1/3 of the days you were present in the first year before the current year, and
* 1/6 of the days you were present in the second year before the current year.

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/int ... 52,00.html

Taxable Income

A resident alien's income is generally subject to tax in the same manner as a U.S. citizen. If you are a resident alien, you must report all interest, dividends, wages, or other compensation for services, income from rental property or royalties, and other types of income on your U.S. tax return. You must report these amounts whether from sources within or outside the United States.

Tax Rates
Resident aliens are generally taxed in the same way as U.S. citizens. This means that their worldwide income is subject to U.S. tax and must be reported on their U.S. tax return. Income of resident aliens is subject to the graduated tax rates that apply to U.S. citizens. Resident aliens use the Tax Table and Tax Rate Schedules which apply to U.S. citizens found in the instructions for Forms 1040 (PDF), 1040A (PDF), or 1040EZ (PDF).

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/int ... 93,00.html

Emotional attachments of making the move aside....make sure you are not going to take it "you no where" on your after tax income!

(PS:Lived in Shanghai for 5 years. Outside SF twice. No contest. SF. Especially if you have kidlets)
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby BONNIE » Tue May 24, 2011 3:48 pm

OP, I know you said you have a local contract with benefits. I'd be looking at what these "benefits" are and if your comapny think they can save money here.

If they are currently paying international schools, international medical, housing, transport etc.; they may be looking to save these ever expanding costs.
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby Bryce » Tue May 24, 2011 3:58 pm

OP your post reads like you are thinking out loud.
There are more places in the world than the US and China. Most longterm expats will write about the pros and cons of their previous countries.

Have you thought about another job or location?

If you have a family and children to raise will they be given US citizenship and you?

If you are single and not ready to settle why not try another country.

The US itself is like 50 different countries with states, rather counties, within each of these that are also very different from one to the next. There is such a variety of quality of lifestyle and cost of living situations from one state to the next. Think a little wider on your horizon.

If on the other hand you feel you would rather stay in Shanghai why not see if you can confirm an extension to your contract here or find another company to keep you here.

There are certainly lots of options to consider.
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby willzzz88 » Tue May 24, 2011 4:21 pm

And if you're a European/Australian/NZ or any other mostly Western country that the US has taxation agreements with I believe you can only pay tax once or have it billed to both countries (example: US and EU; US and Canada; US and Australia for example). I know somebody who did this.
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby willzzz88 » Tue May 24, 2011 4:21 pm

And if you're a European/Australian/NZ or any other mostly Western country that the US has taxation agreements with I believe you can only pay tax once or have it billed to both countries (example: US and EU; US and Canada; US and Australia for example). I know somebody who did this.
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby willzzz88 » Tue May 24, 2011 4:23 pm

The US citizenship thing is easy since you can get dual citizenship of USA and other Western countries.

You CANNOT however do this with China and the like due to political factors that we all know here.
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby p1atl10 » Tue May 24, 2011 4:39 pm

willzzz88 wrote:The US citizenship thing is easy since you can get dual citizenship of USA and other Western countries.

You CANNOT however do this with China and the like due to political factors that we all know here.


Easy....if you call USD$1600 dollars in filing fees and a five year bureaucratic process easy...... :shock:

Then, yup!

It is easy
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby willzzz88 » Tue May 24, 2011 4:39 pm

Personally? I'd do the move.

China is good for a few years.

If you have the income to get out of China then do it.

You can always travel. :P

San Francisco is like Sydney and Boston.

Both sexy, urban, yuppie (and yes I am Chinese), and some flair...

Nothing like running the Bay Harbor/Harbour bridge in SF or the Opera House in Sydney...

Life takes you where you want the most *enjoyment*...

As for family? I would bring them up in the traditional Western environment mixed in with a worldly view and diversity.

The Chinese are really going worldwide these days and causing property prices to RISE in the key Western cities!

Sydney suburbs property prices? All the Chinese buying them up and other Asians.
SF? Same.
London? Hmm, maybe preparing school for Cambridge later on in life? No that's probably **** overkill.

The problem with China today is too much damn population.

But with globalization and trade liberalization Asia is becoming it's own cultural identity and with development that can't come fast enough it will catch up with the West soon enough... Now about the Middle East and Africa...

Oh Latin America is hot these days too, I could go Sambaing in Rio de Janeiro. Though you'd need to learn Portuguese to stay in Brasil still...
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby willzzz88 » Tue May 24, 2011 4:40 pm

What!? I thought our LOVELY DHS (Department of Homeland Stupidity as I like to call them!) improved? Bah humbug.

I haven't dealt with them lately so it must be a new thing or personal experience. :P
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby matchstick man » Tue May 24, 2011 5:24 pm

p1atl10 wrote:
willzzz88 wrote:The US citizenship thing is easy s

Easy....if you call USD$1600 dollars in filing fees and a five year bureaucratic process easy...... :shock:

It's actually quite a bit more than that, because your application has no chance of being accepted unless you pay a lawyer to handle the process for you--it has to have no mistakes and it should be delivered right when the office opens on the first day that it is open for applications. My ex paid about $1000 for this, if I recall.
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby minyanville » Tue May 24, 2011 6:07 pm

Handoogies2.0 wrote:If you are not American then would you not be an expat in America as well? Would you be able to negotiate a package that would make you as comfortable there as you are in China? You sound like you don't want to leave. Is there a emotional attachment to something/someone here? Honestly If I were you I would jump at the chance to move to California. I'd buy a nice convertible for 30% of the price here, and get a medical marijuana license. Cruising down the PCH is not a bad way to spend your time.



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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby sambista » Tue May 24, 2011 7:28 pm

butting in to say, um, san francisco is nothing at all like boston. the culture is different, the mindset is way different and the amenities are different. please.

forget that i lived there for more than 10 years - i say go. and hurry!

as for mass transportation, it may seem like mass trans has the bay area covered, but not really. of the nine cities i've lived in, it ranks in the bottom three. part of the problem is that california mindset: as much as californians portray themselves as tree huggers, the fact is that everyone wants to cruise the roads and freeways solo (top down, preferably), blasting their music. there are some carpoolers, but there's a lot of ground to cover in the bay area, where bart, the bus and whatever else would take forever. it's not like nyc, where you don't really need a car. you pretty much need a car in sf. l.a. is worse, where not only does it take two hours to get anywhere by bus, there's a stigma attached to riding mass transit. (at least that's not true in the bay area.)

seattle's a fabulous city - lived there, too - if you can stand the constant drip, drip, drip of rain and eternally gray skies. but that's what makes it so green and sparkly. if you have kids, it's one of the last great places to live in the states. then you've got british columbia a coupla hours' drive away.

go to sf. have your pick on the weekends between sun on the coast or snow in the mountains. ahhhh! there's a reason californians just go to another part of california on vacation!
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby matchstick man » Tue May 24, 2011 7:33 pm

sambista wrote:have your pick on the weekends between sun on the coast or snow in the mountains. ahhhh! there's a reason californians just go to another part of california on vacation!

You should tone it down, I think you might make me go back home.
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby sambista » Tue May 24, 2011 7:38 pm

matchstick man wrote:
sambista wrote:have your pick on the weekends between sun on the coast or snow in the mountains. ahhhh! there's a reason californians just go to another part of california on vacation!

You should tone it down, I think you might make me go back home.


let's see . . . drive up north to calistoga, get a mud bath, check out a few wineries along russian river, or drive south toward carmel . . .

heh-heh. although . . . i swore i'd never live in cali again, for all the taxes that state takes. (i got spoiled living in florida.) maybe the retro gov. brown will do something about that. i could change my mind.
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby antsmarching » Tue May 24, 2011 7:53 pm

All this talk about CA, now I am home sick.
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby Sal_ » Tue May 24, 2011 8:53 pm

I should mention that I moved to Shanghai from the east coast (DC area). I have also lived in SF before about 11 years ago and it was a blast, though I was single then, lived in the lower haight, palo alto and mountain view. I used to catch the bus to Market, another bus on 4th to the Cal train, 90 minutes to the stop past Palo Alto then a 40 minute walk through the HP HQ and SUN to the office before I could afford to rent a "truck" then it was life in the fast lane!

I don't need citizenship in the US, good old intra company work visa and then green card route is fine for me, if I want.

If anyone has good leads for IT positions in Shanghai I'm all ears. I have 10 years in this company and have lived on 3 continents as expat(and half pat). Now they want me back, want me back for gooooood.... though I've notified APAC management too and they want me to stay. Thing is I work for NA not APAC. Argggg.

I'm worried about not being able to save as much as here. Worried that kindergarten is going to cost a fortune. Worried that running a car will drive me mad. Worried that democracy is everywhere in the US, stet that. Worried kid will like talk like and like like like, you know, you know, you know hmm hmm hmm hmmm.

I'm also worried that I will breath clean air, buy cheaper groceries at trader joes, get american sized cocktails at Shanghai prices (read awesome!), driving down the 280 in a 64' mustang open top may mess up my hair, getting lost running in the hills near woodside and get eaten by coyotes on peyote something like that....

Can I live without the pollution, allergies, fake fags(reals one in the castro), spitting/hockling, crazy driving, civilian drivers on cell phones driving at 10 mph coz they can't multitask(right??!) ??

Will I be able to deal with being the stupid one in the room? as opposed to being the smartest, yet getting dumber by the day? hmm YES I think so.

Still undecided? strangely Yes.
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby willzzz88 » Wed May 25, 2011 7:52 am

No need to get into the classic Boston/SF debate or the West/East/Midwest in the US debate... This isn't the forum for it and I know the differences, I was just pointing out the logic and paradise that a developed country offers versus well China (now SE Asia like Indonesia and Malaysia are EVEN BETTER at this point considering they speak English EVERYWHERE in Malaysia and mostly in Indonesia because their former British colonies AND THEY HAVE AMAZING BEACHES, SEMI LOGICAL, PEACE, SECLUSION, FREE INTERNET, AND WELL, it's still damn better than Mainland China!...).

Sal_, what are the 3 continents you've lived in as a expat and where are you from originally if you don't mind sharing?

I work in IT too and these days if you're smart enough a corporate will KEEP YOU for the resources and efficiency and let the employee choose where with a stint of remote work from home (excludes Mainland China lately with the internet bullfeces that takes more effort and crap) and travel to the office 2-3 days a week.

Ah nature, beauty, the ocean and civilization!

Reminds me, I need to **** fly down to New Zealand, then to the south Island of Christchurch, go into the national park/mountain where they filmed the Lord of the Rings, go into a skinny bathing suit for males (Yes i am MALE!) and be alone camping for like a week and just chill with **** nature.

ALONE. IN THE NZ MOUNTAINS WITH LORD OF THE RINGS! AND MAYBE MY FAVORITE BUDDY/FRIEND!

away from the internet/modern society for a few days... camping, nature, well maybe 3g backup...

But I digress...

Sal_, you can easily get SF living costs online. The city council/ordinance in most Western countries have statistical data you can get from the research office and do some in-depth research.

Yes SF is expensive but NOT THAT expensive and a great place to raise a family.

I'm more of an urbanism/nature-lover/computer-geek-intelligent-addict person.

You say your originally from DC, hmm... SF is a bit relaxed than DC but without the politicians. But maybe better gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean that hasn't been unspoiled by Chinese pollution thousands of mi/km away...

And democracy? WTF? Are you local Chinese brain-washed? Just kidding, I don't want to turn this into a political discussion so I will keep out of it...
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby Sal_ » Wed May 25, 2011 11:05 am

Anyone got a 3 bed house/condo to rent in SF for under $3k, hardwood floors, parking, pet friendly, anywhere pertty much apart from TenderLoin?...
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby condesa » Thu May 26, 2011 7:06 am

Your overall expenses will be more expensive than in Shanghai.

Housing for sure (unless you live far from the city center), food will be WAY more expensive (going out too), if you are planning to have a car well is not only the price of buying the car, you need to add insurance, car maintenance & gas, etc. In addition in SF parking is a bitch and it is REALLY expensive to pay for public parking to leave your car, in downtown Los Angeles parking is like 12 dollars a day (a cheap one, because in the twin towers where I used to work it was 38 dollars a day), I think SF is worst. For cell phones is not like Shanghai where you load a few bucks in your phone, in the US you need to have a contract with a settled amount (that is way more than in Shanghai) sooo, add cable cost, electric bill it will be WAY more, and all the other bills.
Health Insurance in the US is REALLY expensive so you better get full coverage for your entire family in your package if not it will eat your salary. Income taxes in California should also be more than Shanghai. Overall you will need to earn MORE than you make in Shanghai to live in the same way (unless you are willing to move to a shitty place where is cheaper to live but places like L.A., SF. NY, Miami, etc will be pricey if you want to live well. Very likely your standard of life will go down :?
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby tylerdurden » Thu May 26, 2011 10:00 am

Funny isn't it.

I split my time Shanghai 75%, Sydney 25%. Back and forth every couple of months. No matter what time of year it is, Sydney's weather is always better. Cleaner air (of course), blue skies, beaches, shopping, restaurants, good service, smiling faces, logical thought processes, rule of law, no corruption, no chaos, no TIC, no staring, no being looked on as a damn foreigner by everybody. It's quiet.

Without question, I far prefer living in Shanghai. It's more exciting. It's more challenging. It feels real, it feels central, it feels important. Not like Sydney which is a little backwater of make-believe westerndom stuck out ten thousand miles from anywhere. You go to Australia, you disappear. Nobody cares about Australia except for Australians. Australians live in this make-believe land, this cultural vacuum. Does anyone in the world care who the Australian Prime Minister is? Or who won the Grand Final? Or what CBA shares are worth today? Nope. Unless you're an Aussie, living in your little Aussie bubble.

Shanghai just feels more real.
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby Shinbone » Thu May 26, 2011 10:55 am

I'd rather be rich in the US than rich in China.
I'd rather be poor in the US than rich in China.

You can call it provincialism if you like. However I call it experience.

That said I will be sure to always have something to complain about. And always the challenge of making the most of every day, cause once it's gone that's it.

China's development is no foregone conclusion. Not by a long shot. I don't see how it can be when half the issues of modern societies are verboten. At most I expect a Disneyesque pseudo-reality, but seriously, don't look behind the curtain.

I have no idea where to live when I go home, probably I'll go back to my home city and then just look around from there. For some reason I don't like moving to new places sight unseen.
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby Sal_ » Thu May 26, 2011 11:25 am

All good fair comments. I'm trying to grapple with when to back and live in the real world, Shanghai is surely Disney, nowhere in the real world would you get away with some of the things you do here.

Question is when do you pull out of China? on top or if you’ve got no choice. I'm in the middle there somewhere I think, I've still got a chance to stay some top management types are going to duke it out for me (blow my own trumpet). I feel like we're not quite done with China and at the same time relief that there's an out if we should want it! I should also point out that a move back means I get to take over something pretty big, as well as keep my team in China I'll take on some EU'ers and of course Americanos but also the boat load of US bullcr*p that comes with the territory.

Work life balance will be worse over there I'm sure 24/7 crackberry culture, 10 day vacations etc...(though they can F right off if I have to take any local characteristics in my contract) we might not get past the fact that I'll insist on actually having a "contract"
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby matchstick man » Thu May 26, 2011 12:33 pm

in the US you need to have a contract with a settled amount

That's actually not true. I think they're called "pay as you go" plans.

But having lived in CA, I agree with everything else condesa said. I'm annoyed at the Shanghai prices of milk and meat and certain imported goods I like, but that's nothing compared to an extra $500 per month for rent. Housing is expensive relative to salary in Shanghai, but it's still objectively cheaper than an apartment in any of the big Bay Area cities. If you want to commute, I would look at Marin--it's a beautiful forested area and is probably a lot cheaper than SF.

Work life balance will be worse over there I'm sure 24/7 crackberry culture, 10 day vacations etc...

It's not as bad as it seems. It depends on the company, and you have a lot of control over this. If you make yourself available 24/7, your company will come to expect that from you. As for the vacations, that is a problem. You'll probably have a hard time actually going on vacation if there's work that needs to be done. But I'm sure you'll be able to figure that one out somehow.
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby willzzz88 » Thu May 26, 2011 1:19 pm

The US has EU style pay as you go plans now with naked SIM's ala T-Mobile/AT&T.

As for other things... dunno...

I would LOVE to live in Europe one of these days for a few years, considering I've never been there, it's just so SEXY with the culture and everything...

As for the vacation, you can negotiate it... And relax on the crack-berry, it's not too bad.

Hint: PICK a LIBERAL company that VALUES you as a PERSON!
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby antsmarching » Thu May 26, 2011 1:51 pm

If I had kids, I would think about what kind of environment I would want my kid to grow up in.
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby sambista » Thu May 26, 2011 2:06 pm

one way to attack this dilemma is to throw convention completely out. i mean, use a whole different yardstick. forget about the job, if it's true that you'd have a decent one either here or there, throw out the consideration of finances (i know, but indulge me), throw out all that right-brain stuff. then think about the more intangible things that make life worth living. like, what do i wanna see when i wake up every morning and look out the window? what do i wanna do with my spare time? how do i wanna spend free time with my family? on the weekends? what kind of people do i wanna be surrounded by? what kind of environment? what will it be like moving and grooving through the city - will it be drudgery or a pleasure? and when i've got nothing better to do, will i be wishing i were somewhere else or be pretty much content with where i am?

in other words, tap your feelings, your gut. everything else can be adjusted one way or another. and y'know, we may get hit by the rapture any day now, so maybe the plan should be for the now and not later.

just sayin'.
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby bleepingbleeper » Thu May 26, 2011 2:50 pm

^ that is the criteria i am using, too
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Re: Moving back to US!? talk me out of it....

Postby jeffinflorida » Sat May 28, 2011 8:47 pm

Marakanis wrote:
Anything in particular you're worried about having or not having?


I'd go home in a heartbeat BUT I will miss the 22 yr old Yangzhou Princess living in my room 24/7. No free Chinese poon in Florida for me...
Who would have thought that a girl who is a hooker would be a hooker... In China of all places?!?
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