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A few square questions about teaching overseas with my family

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by rmstone, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. I say square in that, I would rather not have the reply 'just go for it!' as, I don't feel I can do that now I have my two children!
    My husband and I (both teachers with overseas experience) have had our fill here in the UK; we just want less hoop-jumping and more teaching for us and, more of a relaxed upbringing/ education system for our children (nearly 5 and 2 years old).
    However, I have the fear! What have other families done with their UK home when going overseas? Has renting been a successful/safe way to keep your UK property for when you decide what to do next? What about your pension and any savings you have? Maybe a little OTT as it feels like years off but, I am worried that we will not have pensions/savings in place for when we return here to the UK or, want to help pay for things like our children's Uni fees etc.
    I guess I am after a few ideas or words of wisdom to help me feel as though a) I am not being financially bonkers about getting off this treadmill or, b) that my time has passed and I ought to grow up now I have children of my own. Help?!
  2. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    I know many teaching couples who endlessly analyse the pros and cons of teaching abroad and generally they never leave the UK. I have found that you need a bit of pioneering spirit to take a chance and live a different life. There are risks. I have never regretted moving abroad and I will never teach in the UK ever again. But if you are the worrying type, turn up the central heating, put on your comfy slippers and look out on the idyllic view of pensioners breaking hips on icy pavements which councils cant afford to clear.
  3. Sorry, my bad; I obviously did not make myself very clear. [​IMG]
    I'd simply like to know if/how other families have had success/failures with renting/keeping safe their home, pension,savings etc? How have ex-pat teachers faired with things like university back in the UK for their children?

  4. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    OK, square answers.

    Houses can be rented out. You can go to your local council and they will guarantee to pay you a rent even if they dont have anyone in the house. Some estate agents also provide this service but they are scum of the earth. I know several people who are happy with this arrangement and pay off massive wodges of their mortgages with their tax-free incomes. I also know of at least one case where a family refused to move out of a rented property and stayed in that property for 4 months, rent free, after their contract was up. They also wrecked the house. The estate agent involved was sued, court cases are happening as I type.

    Your state pension can be guaranteed if you call up your local inland revenue office and get a form to maintain your national insurance contributions. I think if you have 25 years of contributions you then qualify for the state pension when you retire. It also entitles you to the NHS. Everybody I know abroad does this.

    What do you want to know about saviings? If you teach abroad you will have savings. I do.

    University is a tricky one as it seems that the rules are not hard and fast. A lot of people I know send their children back to the UK to do 6th form. This is then evidence that they have lived in the UK and thus the students are not treated as foreign students by the universities. I know several parents who have done this and it has worked for them.

    I have to also add the financial stuff is only part of the equation. Financially you will be better off, unless you choose a **** school. For me the biggest plus is for my children. They are growing up in a crime-free, drug-free sunny world. They attend an excellent school where the culture is such that bad behaviour is not permitted by the students. My children mix with students from all over the world from a huge range of backgrounds, cultures, languages and attitudes. They also dont have to watch their father scrimping every penny to keep his bottom lip above water every month.
  5. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    sorry, i use chrome, so no paragraphs.
  6. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    You will generally get less hoop jumping and beurocracy, but there are still expectations regards the basics - planning, assessment, meetings etc. It depends which school you are at. Some schools do have a lot of beurocracy.
    In addition, any good school will probably expect a good deal of hard work from you, possibly as much as UK. This in itself can cause a lot of stress.
    It is possible in many cases to adopt a 'beer in the hand, feet in the sand' approach to life overseas.
    I have rented my house with varying degrees of success - ie it rented for approximately 50% of the time I have been overseas (9 years). The renters have been fine (luckily) but the rental agency has been dire.
    I have now gone with renting out 2 rooms through www.spareroom.co.uk which means I can also stay there in holidays. This working out very well at present.
    Pension - pay your NI contributions. I believe it is 30 years you have to contribute and it is only about £12 per month. Teachers pension, you can no longer pay contributions from overseas. I would suggest you are disciplined and plan for this in some other way (maybe save up to buy a small apartment to rent out on your return). It is possible that you only plan to stay overseas a few years but find that this ends up being 10 years or more.
    Regards 'go for it', whether you like it or not, this does have to form part of your approach. You will never be 100% certain, and in the end have to take a breath and jump into the water.
    Good luck.
  7. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    We sold our UK house to avoid the hassle. I'm still not sure if this was a right move. We bought our present house in Spain for cash and renovated it using a legacy.
    Yes you MUST keep up the NI payments. The last time I corresponded with them it was 30 years for full benefits but don't take anything we amateurs say on trust. Check it out.
    I know people who don't pay NI even though the contributions are peanuts. Some of them post on here and will rush in to tell you it's not worth bothering about. Bad advice, so please ignore it.
    And the 'independent financial advisors' will be queuing up to grab them. Be very careful. Anybody, including your bank, who tries to sell you a savings plan is NOT independent and their interest is not in helping you but in 'earning' a fat commission.
    It's not so much that. There appears to be a UK Government policy of keeping potential applicants in the dark. Quite a lot has been posted on this subject and it's well worth a forum search. The key concept is that the child would have fulfilled the UK residence requirement if it had not been for the parent's temporary employment abroad. You prove this by showing your fixed term contracts/ employment visas.
    I've worked in two 'overseas' schools which did remotely coincide with that description. I've also survived in a (highly prestigious) drug-ridden hell-hole of a school which was as bad or worse than anything in a UK inner city. Caveat emptor.
    I don't regret our 20+ years 'abroad' which, though not idyllic, have been richly fulfilling in many ways. My sons both have better UK degrees than mine and careers which are developing quite interestingly. Both are bilingual and both married 'foreigners' and while they currently live in the UK we are aware that they could shoot off at a geographical tangent at any moment.
  8. Thanks all.
    I sold my house the last time I went overseas so, I doubt I would do that again and, I paid NI contributions whilst away too so, I know how useful they can be having received MP based on those contributions.
    I think it is the 'university for my children' thing that concerns me as, I know a few ex-pats who have been unpleasantly surprised by having their children considered 'foreign' when it comes to English university fees.
    We've given ourselves about a year to consider our options so, your posts have been food for thought!
  9. there is much excellent and accurate advice here: you can pay and get less.
    good advice i was given: when you go abroad and rent your house, don't think of it as your home anymore - it's just a house you own. do you have family or friends who are builders/ artisans? it can help a lot with looking after property for you.
  10. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    Totally agree with this (though I have been lucky with mine). You have to change your mindset regards how you 'feel' about your home.
    I think the main parts of renting your house (finding tennants, collecting money, even dealing with maintenance) can be done from overseas. The big problems are when renters don't pay or cause damage etc You can get landlords insurance for this kind of thing but I don't know if this is applicable unless your house is managed by somebody/an estate agent.
    Regards university and the 3 year rule, it isn's as clear as it might sound. I have even heard that 2 - 3 years in 6th form don't count as it has to be 3 years 'normal residency and education doesnt count as this.
    Check on the 'returning to the UK' board of www.britishexpats.com as there are a number of recent threads on this with very informative and accurate replies.
  11. Thanks for that website stopwatch!
  12. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    If you can't find the threads, let me know and I will seek them out....... [​IMG]
  13. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    The alternative to UK universities is US. While their fees are very high, it is quite possible to obtain scholarships.
  14. We have been away from home for 6 years now. International life is the best education we could ever have given our children.
    Just feel the fear and jump anyway!
  15. Syria1

    Syria1 New commenter

    We are coming up to 6 years away from the UK - both our children were born overseas. Our house in the UK has been rented out fully since we left - we pay a 10% contribution to a reputable estate agent to manage tenants and property - they do a good job. We have a lifestyle (we have been in two very different schools) which is very comfortable and travel widely across the globe. This is something we would not be able to have done had we stayed. I miss a traditional English pub, but have the weekly Guardian delivered here. Not all roses and jollies - you need to work as hard if not harder, and your marriage or relationship needs to be very solid. We make our NI contributions. I'm not too concerned about universities - in 13 years time all kinds of things will have changed regarding university/funding etc. Do your research, but it is certainly possible. Travel with flexibility and a can-do attitude and don't compare "abroad" with "at home". I like the weather [​IMG]
  16. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    "Overseas" is a rather general term. Perhaps the OP could be a little more specific. The Isle of Wight? New Zealand? Outer Mongolia?
  17. There are many many great schools out there who will provide you with housing, flights home and subsidised places for your kids in very very good schools. Research where you´d like to go and the schools. Having lived in the Middle East for 8 years I can recommend it with a family, quiet life, sports opportunities for much of the year, some fab schools and great salaries for travelling. Others love the far east and China has a wealth of opportunities at the moment. Kids add to the worry but you may find, like many others on this forum, that the quality of life you can offer them abroad is well worth the hassle of the initial settling in period. We are currently in Spain, having spent 8 years in the Middle East and three back home in Blighty before getting tired of the cold and the bad bad bad bad news and constant teacher bashing in the press!!! We rented our house after our first move and haven´t lived there since....you do have to change your perspective and see it as a house not a home.


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