The Next Move: Dublin or London?

London or Dublin

The Next Move: Dublin or London?

Hello everyone! Welcome back to The Green Swan. Today is an “ask the reader” day. I need your help and consideration, expert knowledge, and previous experiences to weigh in on a potential decision of ours. To move or not to move…to Europe…specifically either Dublin or London. Let me explain, then let the debate began.

The Job and Logistics

Dublin or London
Dublin looks nice…

As some of you may know, I am a banker for a large international bank. Like many banks, we have offices throughout Europe. The job itself would be similar, but slightly different from my job today. The similarities consist primarily in terms of my true day to day responsibilities. I would have a book of clients that I would be responsible for in terms of monitoring and approving commercial loans. The size of clients and types of loans I would make would be similar as would the normal bank approval process, etc.

The differences would be that today I have a healthcare industry focus, and the potential job would be more general / broad industry coverage. There are also significant differences in terms of how the debt markets work and operate in the US compared to Europe, so I would have to get up to speed on that quickly. But I don’t expect that to be an issue.

Any potential move would be staying within my bank and would represent a lateral job transfer. While there may be a moderate pay raise, that is TBD and there would be a number of other TBDs in terms of cost of living adjustments, relocation benefits, etc. But for this process, I would prefer to put the money questions aside. I don’t want this decision to be made based on an assumed 10% +/- change in my take home discretionary income (in real purchasing power). As many of you know, I’m about 5 years from FI, and maybe up to 10 from pulling the plug, so a potential change in income would be important but probably wouldn’t move the needle much on these dates.

Regarding timing, that too is TBD. I’ve had discussions (aka initial interviews) with a few hiring managers in Europe and there will be opportunities for me. My background and experience is very transferable to the roles they are seeking to fill (currently or in the near term). While transferring me overseas would be difficult and costly for the business unit, the benefit I offer is my experience and being internal so I could hit the ground running immediately for them. I would expect something to come up for me in the 6 months, perhaps sooner or perhaps up to a year. The location would either be in Dublin or London (because at this point I can only speak English) and it may ultimately be my choice between the two cities.

Regarding my wife, she works for an international hospitality company. We would plan on her finding employment in a similar role. And similar to our situation today, our two year old will be enrolled in daycare. As you know from my post Moving to Move Up, both my wife and I have been lucky and fortunate to move across the country twice with our current employers…and if all things work out again maybe now we jump the pond…

Regarding Visa’s and the logistics of the employment transfer, this will all be taken care of. There is a process in place and my Company has experience navigating it with previous transfers. The costs are significant, but they would not come out of my pocket.

Regarding learning additional languages, the answer is yes. I have limited ability to speak Spanish and for all intents and purposes would need to brush up on a foreign language or two. I took Spanish in high school, but that is mostly gone today. I would serve companies across the EU. I think the primary language I would need to learn is German, but there may be others as well. Or, if the business unit was nice and took it easy on me, maybe they’ll only hire me to manage English speaking clients…

History of Moves

Dublin or London
London looks nice too…

A move like this would be big, but we’ve been there before. Both my wife and I grew up in the Midwest, went to college close to home, but then shortly after college we began moving around. As I outlined in my Moving to Move Up post, our first major move was out to San Francisco and then we moved to Charlotte where we currently reside. We’ve been here for about five years.

We could never have made such big moves without each other to rely on. Living far from home (both our parents and most siblings still live in the Midwest) without a known support structure is tough, but together we’ve done well. We would consider a move to Europe in a similar vein, tough, but we can do it together. Family is important to us, and while we will live far from our parents and siblings, we would plan on traveling home once or twice a year and technology makes it feel not so far too. We are frequent users of Skype with family and I think that has made a big difference for everyone.

Pros and Cons

So with some of the background and history explained, let’s get into the pros and cons! This is particularly where I’m looking for readers’ thoughts. For instance, experience of living near or around Dublin and London (yes, I’m looking at you Mr. and Mrs. Pie, Francesca at From Pennies to Pounds, Amber Tree Leaves, and I know there are others), or experience being an expat or traveling abroad (Stefan at The Millennial Budget or Money Nomad), an expert in analyzing big decision (Vicki at Make Smarter Decisions) or anyone else with an opinion, please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts! We’d love to hear your thoughts.

So, I’ve laid out an initial list of pros and cons below. There are still a number of TBDs, like I mentioned before. The primary decision would be whether we would want to move overseas at all:

Dublin or London

And the secondary decision would be choosing between Dublin or London:

Dublin or London

Just to be clear, one of the major reasons we’d consider this move is because we both enjoy traveling and this would be a good opportunity to go all around Europe for relatively cheap while still getting paid full salaries and contributing to our retirement accounts (and hopefully not delaying our FIRE timeline). The alternative to this opportunity would be continuing as, status quo, and wait until retirement 10 years from now or so to begin traveling more (although kids would be getting into elementary and middle school, etc.).

I would consider any move to be a minimum 2 to 3 year trip, perhaps longer, but not necessarily permanent. Granted, the way this election is going…j/k. In 2 to 3 years’ time, we will be just another 2 to 3 years away from reaching FI. The thought would be then returning to the US to work a few more years and use the time back in the US to start planning our retirement (location, timing, etc). That would ultimately be our final leg before retirement. This lateral job transfer to Europe would in essence be the first stage of our descent and coasting into retirement life.

I look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts and feedback!

Thanks for taking a look!

The Green Swan

Work Harder, Work Smarter, Retire Earlier and Find Your Beach

 

Dublin Pic Source: Adforce (dot) com

London Pic Source: Time Out London

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59 Comments on "The Next Move: Dublin or London?"

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Jon @ Be Net Worthy
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Can I give you the short answer? If the company is offering, than take it. I don’t have much of an opinion on which city. Having been in business fo over 20+ years, I can tell you a few things. Companies only offer to move their high-potential employees overseas because it is so expensive. Having that on you resume is fantastic. Even if you are going to “retire” in a few years, you still want a strong resume until the end. With a little one, now is the time to get an oversears experience. When they get older, it becomes more difficult. Finally, what a great opportunity to have your company subsidize your global travel? If you do take the opportunity, I suspect that you’ll… Read more »
TheMoneyMine
Guest
To add to Jon’s comment above, there’s no doubt that moving to Europe with your company is an opportunity you should take. The personal and professional experience is a huge plus. And either destination is a great location, you can’t go wrong. From an experience stand-point, I would also say London to have the advantage over Dublin if only for : the proximity to the rest of Europe for week-end trips and the sheer size of opportunities for your wife in the hospitality business. Also, obviously London is the financial center of Europe so it might just be better for your resume to be there. The only downside I can see with London is the potential that Brexit takes your bank’s office out of London… Read more »
Designing A Frugal Life
Guest

Doooooooo it! That sounds like an amazing life opportunity regardless of which city you choose. Without having been to either city, I would likely choose London. Hoping to have an opportunity to do something similar and work overseas at some point in my career. Good luck in your decision making!!

FinanceSuperhero
Guest
Like other commenters, my initial reaction is that you have little to lose and plenty to gain in taking advantage of this possible opportunity. I think you would be wise, as you suggested, to remove the financial considerations from your evaluation and decide based upon the host of other factors which you outlined. The nice thing about decisions like this is that there really isn’t a “wrong” decision. I sense that you have a desire to experience a new adventure before hitting FI and living the “retirement” life, so going for it may be the right move. On the surface, I would prefer London because of the increased opportunities for Lucy. But if she could secure a position in Dublin, that levels the field. At… Read more »
earlyretirementnow
Guest
As many have pointed out, the experience of working abroad and building your resume is priceless. Since your FIRE date is 5-10 years in the future, you will benefit greatly from the work experience abroad. London would look better on the resume as much as I like Ireland. Also, London might be taking a bit of a hit after the Brexit, so it might be getting more affordable (it got very affordable just through the GBPUSD FX rate, but maybe even in GBP as well). This might be the one small window of opportunity to do this. Will they pay you in USD or in GBP (London) / EUR (Dublin)? That’s a bit of a wildcard if you accumulate savings in a foreign currency and… Read more »
Harmony@CreatingMyKaleidoscope
Guest

I don’t have any experience with either of these cities, but it seems like you’re being offered an amazing opportunity – one that will enrich your life with new experience. I tend to have a pretty strong aversion to change, but understand that you can usually do much better than the status quo if you’re willing to take a chance on something different.

Stefan - The Millennial Budget
Guest
When you told me last night I would enjoy this post you sure were right! Congrats on this phenomenal opportunity. To go off some of the earlier comments I think this is an opportunity that you should not pass up on. Having international experience in invaluable to yourself and your company. It can open many doors in the future for you. If your company is going to pay for the move I say go for it! Most of the time they will even pay for your travel expenses to return home so you may or may not have to incur those cost. If I had to choose a city it would be London. This is the New York of Europe and will help bolster your… Read more »
Ty @ Get Rich Quickish
Guest
I lived in England for several years, several years ago. My kids are too old for me to consider moving them overseas right now, but if they were younger I’d snap up the opportunity faster than you can say “cheerio, guv’nah” (which absolutely nobody would say). I’d go for the experience of “seeing the world” since you’ve already said it’s a lateral career move and you’re not considering the financial impact yet. I’d also choose London in a heartbeat. It’s a financial hub of the world for starters (your industry), but it’s also a crown jewel city on our planet. It’s easy to get in and out of. Access to the continent from London by train is so simple, and your just a short drive… Read more »
Steph
Guest
Hi! I might be a bit biased in that I’m from Ireland, but I’ve lived in both cities and in Australia. In short, the madness of London was too much for me! Monday to Friday 7-7 commuting, the tube, nobody smiling, I was just part of the cattle herd! However, weekends you could literally do anything! There was so much to see and do and never a dull moment! The cost of living was crazy though. Having just moved from Perth, Australia we were paying more for a dingy flat that was falling apart, although in a nice abs safe area, than we had been for a 3 bed house with a pool in Perth, also in a lovely central area! Dublin, though busy is… Read more »
Kate
Guest

Could you work your way into an agreement where you work 2 years in one city and then 2 years in the other? Maybe start in Dublin, then go to London?

I’ve never been to London but I went to Ireland 2 years ago. I was shocked at how small Dublin is but loved how friendly and welcoming everyone was. London would probably be better career-wise but I think Dublin would be a more enjoyable place to live. And they have craic!

Either way, it’s a great opportunity. Looking forward to hearing how it all shakes out 🙂

Mr. PIE
Guest
Hello GS, Interesting and exciting stuff. I think it all comes down to experience desire. London will bring lots of that, certainly on the out of work front. London living is not for the faint hearted. It would be unlikely that you would live in the “city” due to astronomical housing costs. Think SF, NY, Tokyo. It would have to be an area that would realistically be a 45min to 1 hr commute each way (maybe even longer) on either the Tube or the train. Mrs. PIE brother commutes from a town north of London to the city by train. Need to factor in travel time and costs. Just to benchmark some housing costs for you, he just bought a new home in that town… Read more »
amber tree
Guest
A life change like that is a great experience, not only for you, also for the kid. For me, that would be the major reason to take the challenge. Yes, it might delay your FIRE plan. The opposite might be true as well: you will be travelling to a lot of parts of Europe, seeing places and doing things you otherwise plan to do 10 years down the road. To me, that sounds like a win! You get to do these things now! I also think travel across Europe should be simpler with a younger kid than with a kid that is 12+. Some cities can be done on a long weekend trip out of London or Dublin. Brussels and Paris are about 2 hours… Read more »
Stockbeard
Guest
Having lived/worked in France, Japan, and the US, and having lots of colleagues in London, here’s my take on it: – If the company pays for it, take the offer. It is good for your career, no matter how you look at it. I would move that “con” in your list to a “pro”. International experience is great on any resume, and I’m sure it’s especially true in your field. – Don’t worry too much about your kid not being old enough to remember it. If the baby was old enough, then you would be worried about how it would impact his/her school schedule. There’s always a reason to worry about your kids no matter what you do, to a point that to me it’s… Read more »
Kelsey @ Tealmama
Guest

All I can add is go with your gut, it sounds like it has served you right in the past. 🙂 Dublin and London both sound like amazing opportunities. Best of luck making the best choice for you and your family!

Emily @ JohnJaneDoe
Guest

Go! Absolutely. What an amazing opportunity!
I think London would probably have more opportunities (for travel, for advancement, and for spending lotsa money), and I have always wanted to visit. But I think if realistically we were talking about LIVING somewhere, Dublin would be more appealing, just because it’s not as huge. (Raleigh’s too big for me sometimes though)

Vicki@Make Smarter Decisions
Guest

Wow – what an awesome opportunity! I’m actually coaching a few people on relocation decisions right now (not to Europe) but from California to areas in the west that are not so expensive! Such interesting dilemmas! Sorry but I am totally not a go with your gut person for such a big life decision. Pros and cons lists are tough too. You might consider making a list of objectives or goals and ranking them in terms of importance – then you could compare the “stay or go” initial question to those. Just a thought 🙂 Exciting times! And Go Curry Cracker just wrote about taking his little one to many countries and traveling. You might want to check that post out!

Maggie @ Northern Expenditure
Guest

THIS IS ABSOLUTELY MY DREAM! I would vote London because it is closer and easier access to so many more cool places in the UK and mainland Europe, but I’m sure it’s way more expensive!

Dividends Down Under
Guest
Hey JW, I think it would be a similar question if you asked yourself, would you prefer to live in Charlotte or New York. If the idea of living in New York puts off because of its size, busyness, etc then maybe London wouldn’t be the right thing. But for all other reasons, I would say London is a better for you. London doesn’t have to be central London, depending where your work is, you could live in places where it’s actually not that far / or not that busy / or not that expensive / or a bit greener. There is a lot of negatives to a huge city, but there’s also a ton of positives – it just depends what you are looking… Read more »
Ms. Montana
Guest

We lived overseas for 4 years and LOVED it! I absoultly vote: go. It’s not only so afforable to travel, but really easy. We would go to Paris for the day, or to see the tulips over a weekend. I would never fly to Europe for a 4 day weekend, but we did it all the time when we lived there. Plus we had fun experiances traveling with family and friends who visited, that we might not have been able to have otherwise.

Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor
Guest

I’ve only visited Dublin and London, but I’d vote for Dublin. It’s soooo much more affordable and manageable. London is amazing but I think it’d be overwhelming to live there. And as you said, you’re just a short plane ride from a visit.

Ray Ray
Guest

Wow GS! I really hope this works out for you!
I haven’t been to either… However, just going off what friends say I feel that London has more to offer career wise. Not sure what the banking industry is like there though!
Good luck! I hope you get it 😀

Laurie @thefrugalfarmer
Guest
This is exciting stuff!!! I think differently than most people (this can be bad or good ;-)) so I’ll share my two cents and hope it gives you some thinking points. 1. I would base my decision of whether or not to move on a worst case scenario. i.e. if the world goes to hell are we okay with not being able to drive home to be with our families ( I truly think chaos is coming, but I’m a bit of a conspiracy theorist). 2. If you choose to move, I’d for sure pick Dublin, but I’ve got a heart for Ireland. 🙂 It looks so beautiful to me!!! And it’s much smaller but still very big city, which is nice, IMHO. 🙂 Honestly,… Read more »
Finance Solver
Guest
I think it’s a great opportunity and I think you should take it because 1) The opportunity might not ever happen again and there MIGHT be regrets 2) My dad moved his family (us) for his job from S. Korea to the US when I was 9 years old and I’m forever grateful that he did. I have a significant differentiator as a result because not everyone can say they have multi-cultural perspectives It can be seen as a risky move because if the economy suddenly decides to tank the day after you move, you might lose your job and getting a new job in a completely different country is hard. I have no idea how my dad said yes to moving abroad but I… Read more »
Mustard Seed Money
Guest

First off congrats on even having the opportunity to work overseas in one of those cities. I would love the opportunity some day to work abroad.

One of the things I didn’t see addressed in the article but I may have overlooked is have you visited either one of the locations with your wife. Would it be possible to do a “pre-house hunting” trip visiting both locations over a week to get a feel for the environment before you accept a job?

Personally I enjoy London and their surroundings more than Dublin. However, as you know each person is different and Dublin may be better suited for the lifestyle that you are looking to live.

FI Champion
Guest
Sounds like some great opportunities ahead! I have had the privilege of living in London for 4-5 months and travelling to Dublin for a week. Although my Dublin experience is limited, I at least had some time in both locations. I would choose London for a variety of reasons: – Travel opportunities: A city with 5 airports and multiple train stations! You can get to anywhere in Europe very easily using London as your base. Plus they have the Eurostar that goes direct to France and Belgium. It opens up even more travel possibilities. – Culture: Not to knock Dublin, by any means, but London is a city full of culture in every corner. You have a thriving arts scene, multiple multiple neighborhoods/cities that all… Read more »
Ten Factorial Rocks
Guest
JW, Not sure if my comment is too late but for what it’s worth, I hope my experience in both London and Dublin, along with other European and Asian cities help. Experience – That’s what you get from being a multi year expat. That and £2 will get you a ride on the London tube! Or something like that….. Both are good cities but London is far better from a global and culturally diverse perspective. London is the epicenter of world finance, a good rival to New York this side of Atlantic. I would say London’s sheer diversity and ethnic melting pot makes it a great choice for any American (unless your views on diversity only means people in North Carolina can mix only with… Read more »
Erith
Guest
I suspect I am way too late with this, but I only picked up this loop tonight. If you have any choice, don’t get paid in GBP. The exchange rates are at a 30 year low, as far as saving GBP and transferring back to USD when your job finishes. I think it will be years before they recover. TFR & Earlyretirementnow make a very valid point. It’s a great choice to have, but I would go for London, given the easy access to Europe & public transport is good. By the way, Tube to Heathrow on Piccadilly line as mentioned above, shouldn’t cost more than £7.70/ $10 (Max day oyster fare), so not major consideration… Dublin may be slightly cheaper, but I suspect it… Read more »
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