5 Financial Reasons a Brit Should Move to the U.S.

(PhotoAlto via AP Images)

Money doesn’t quite grow on trees in the U.S. but you may get more bang for your buck with the exchange rate between pounds and dollars. (PhotoAlto via AP Images)

Of the 678,000 British expats living in the United States, many cite work as the reason for their move, and with good reason. Depending on which region of the U.S. you’re relocating to, there are a variety of financial benefits for doing so. Here are five to get you started.

1. A British accent can be beneficial in the American job market
Let’s not beat around the bush on this one; having a British accent is tantamount to having an extra skill-set on your CV (or resume, as Americans call it). Like it or not, your brogue may in fact set you apart as intelligent, trustworthy and authoritative and give employers the green light to not only hire you, but subsequently promote you further down the line. Now this doesn’t give you carte blanche to ignore standard interview etiquette or to contravene company policy, but your accent will certainly not go unnoticed and—as unscrupulous as this may sound—you should use it to your advantage.

2. Better cost of living (outside of major cities)
If you are planning on a move to the likes of New York City or San Francisco, then this part of the list is probably not for you. However, for those of us living in the more inland flyover states, the overall cost of living is typically much lower than back home. To that end, as of January 2014, consumer prices in the U.S. were more than 30 percent lower than those in the U.K., while rent, grocery and restaurant prices were 21.7, 13.78 and 46.55 percent lower respectively. Of course, cost of living varies from city to city, but after using this index, you’ll likely find that most places in the U.S. come off favorably against cities in the U.K.

3. Opportunities for innovators
Whatever you might think of the American dream, the United States has certainly shown itself to be a considerably bankable place for one type of person in particular: the innovator. If you have a list of inventions or a wild and unique idea, there aren’t many better places to make your plans come to fruition than the United States, which Bloomberg recently listed as the 3rd most innovative nation on the planet. Who knows? You could be the next Steve Jobs.

4. Higher income
According to the OECD Better Life Index, the United States is far and away the leading nation in the world for income, with the average household net adjusted disposable income estimated at $38,000. Compare this to the U.K., where it is roughly $27,000. While the very same index found—not so surprisingly—that there is greater social inequality in the U.S., various U.S. careers nonetheless offer higher salaries than their direct U.K. equivalents, though it should be noted that the reverse is true of minimum wage positions.

5. Exchange rate means £100 birthday gift becomes $160 birthday gift
You might think this one sounds frivolous and typical only of this writer’s personal experience, but nothing comes as a nicer birthday surprise, after naively forgetting about the exchange rate, than realizing a £100 gift your parents just wired to you equates to $160 (so long as your parents were generous enough to pay the transfer fee). When you bear in mind number 2 on this list, those extra digits go a pretty long way. Naturally, this simple pleasure does diminish—along with your naivety—over time, but it is nonetheless pleasant while it lasts.

See also:
8 Instances When You Should Play Up Your Britishness in America
7 Ways to Scrimp and Save in the U.S.
8 Reasons to Raise British Children in America

Head Shot - Laurence Brown

Laurence Brown

Laurence Brown is a British freelance writer living in Indianapolis, Indiana. Having graduated from Lancaster University with a degree in English Language and Creative Writing, Laurence runs a blog called Lost In The Pond, which charts the many cultural and linguistic differences between Britain and The United States.
View all posts by Laurence Brown.
  • Lance

    A new award-winning worldwide book/ebook that helps explain living in America is “What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to Understand Crazy American Culture, People, Government,
    Business, Language and More.” It paints a revealing picture of America for anyone who will benefit from a better understanding. Endorsed by ambassadors,
    educators, and editors, it also informs those who want to learn more about the last remaining superpower and how we compare to other nations on many issues.

    Yes, many comparisions are made between Americans and other nations, including Brits and UKers. Good luck wherever you light.

    • gn

      Would you be related to the Lance who authored said book?

  • Mellisco

    For the love of god don’t move here it’s horrible

    • ProudYankee

      What part of “here” do you live in?

  • KingAdrock

    I’m an American and I’m surprised that this article exists.

    However I can vouch for the first reason. A Brit accent does somewhat automatically make a person sound more intelligent to many an American ear, in the same way an American with a southern accent automatically sounds stupid.

    • Matthew Smith

      Yeah, except if you’ve ever spent time in the south, you realize that there are a bunch of VERY intelligent Southerners that have made money exploiting Northerners that have made that mistake….

  • NMRocks

    You don’t mention health care. Part of that salary increase you reference is partially what would have gone to the UK’s NHS to keep you healthy until you die. We in the US pay through the freaking nose for health care, even when it’s subsidized by an employer. And Medicaid does not begin to cover what the NHS covers. Consider staying in the UK. You’ll be healthier. (We serve GMOs here.)

    • frozen01

      I don’t know if my experience is representative or not, but most Brits I’ve met (including my own family) haven’t really been exposed to how the health insurance over here works. I think they assume you just pay your premium, and the rest is just like the NHS, except nicer, and with shorter waits.
      My brother-in-law was seriously considering moving over here to open up a business selling novelty items. My first question was “what do you plan to do for insurance?” He just gave me a really puzzled look and said “Don’t you just buy a policy?” So I explained how much unsubsidized policies cost per month, and how, even when you’re insured, you still have to pay your co-pays, deductible, and co-insurance. As an example, I told him how much a diagnostic test once cost me, with insurance.
      He went white.

      • expatmum

        Don’t forget that as an employer, it’s still the expectation that you offer health insurance coverage as part of your employee benefits. That gets very expensive.

      • Matthew Smith

        depends on your policy, and whether or not (and how good of) one is offered by your employer…I have had BCBS and Aetna over a couple decades and was extremely pleased with the costs….then also compare the amount of taxation relative to income as well, I’ve been told by many Brits that they come out VERY MUCH ahead (and I live in a suburb of a large metropolitan city.

    • gn

      True, but the comparison isn’t all in one direction. For example, my (UK-based) grandmother needed a treatment to stop her eyesight degeneration that wasn’t available on the NHS. In the US, it would have been covered by Medicare.

  • frozen01

    2) While there are areas of the US outside of cities which have a lower cost of living, what one has to realize is that pay differs, as well, and sometimes quite dramatically.
    For example, when I moved from Green Bay, WI, to the suburbs of Chicago, my cost of living doubled… but so did my income. So I’m much better off in the place with the higher cost of living. On the flip side of that, my parents moved from Green Bay to a little town in Tennessee, and despite downsizing their house, they ended up having to find a way to supplement their income because, even though the cost of living is a lot lower there, so is the average wage.
    My point is, just because the cost of living is lower, it doesn’t mean that is the better scenario.

    4) This sort of ties in with #2. It’s a big country which, as you point out, suffers from huge income equality. What this means is that the *average* amount of disposable income pretty much means nothing – if you have 200 million people with $1 of disposable income and 1 person with $2 billion of disposable income, that skews the average by quite a lot.

    I know this article isn’t meant to be really serious or anything, but it’s a bit strange to exclude the urban centers when talking about cost of living but not take the same considerations when it comes to disposable income.

    • banana

      My husband and i moved to South Florida 2009, 3 months in our eldest daughter returned to the UK, aged just 17, hated it, 2 years later after seeing our youngest daughter be totally miserable we let her return also. They now reside with their grandparents. Both girls are adament they do not want to come back, as we miss them so much it is inevitable we will return tho the UK even though we love our life here. We dread returning to the miserable weather, you can be out all year round here. Shame. It is expensive to live in sth Fla too, rents are v high, as are the property taxes if you purchase a home.

  • GonzoG

    Give you another reason–A British accent, if you’re on the market for a love life, will keep your dance card quite full, in towns where there the British ex-pat population is relatively low. NYC, LA, Chicago, large college towns–run counter to this because of a large ex-pat community.

    • ProudYankee

      If this is a financial reason for moving to the US, I think your dance partners should keep their eyes on their wallets…

  • ProudYankee

    I must say I might have been biased toward UK accents in the past, but after reading how many British people – whom I’d considered congenial allies before – trash us nonstop on the web, I definitely look at British people with new eyes now.

    No more free pass for accent with me. I’m certainly going to look a lot further beneath the surface at what they’re really thinking. Derision is a bigger turnoff than the raunchiest American accent I can think of. High-class accents don’t hide low-class behavior.

    But thanks for the articles because I continue to learn.

    • NewMan

      They tend to be domicile in the UK. Those who are visiting/living in America clearly have positive opinions. Can we please have our free pass back?

  • expatmum

    I’m not sure it’s all that much cheaper living over here although I live in a big city and both my husband and I are self-employed so….
    However, I wouldn’t advise anyone to move countries purely for financial reasons (which I know this post isn’t.) Living far away from home, in a different culture, with no family or lifelong friends around can be quite the challenge for some.

  • http://beautifulsynthesis.com Andrea

    I’d also add that the definition of “big city” might not be what you think it is. I live in Omaha: actual city population is 400,000, and the metro area is twice that. We have a symphony, an opera company, several community theaters, plenty of shopping & restaurants – I mean, it’s not Chicago, but it’s not “nowhere”. And the cost of living is ridiculously low.

    Don’t move here just for the money. But if you want to move here, look for the smaller cities. There’s some awesome places you may never have heard of.

    • gn

      And the world’s fourth richest man still lives there!

  • gn

    It depends a lot on your field. I work in Silicon Valley; the cost of living is perhaps comparable to the south east of England, but compensation for engineering jobs is far higher here, and there’s a near-inexhaustible supply of such jobs.

    My wife grew up in Houston, where salaries are considerably less, but the price of housing is insanely low.

  • Jwb52z

    What exactly is a “transfer fee”?

  • Karen Koloamatangi

    wow this article is very out dated. for $1.00 here is only $0.50 there. the exchange rate that they used here is out dated