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The Simple Dollar

Income tax quandary: I make $320,000. Can I cut my taxes?

Income tax weighs on the mind of this high-earner. For a solution to a high income tax, see question No. 3 in the reader mailbag.

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My husband has been on work trips to the USA a few times now; visiting San Diego, San Francisco and Austin. Since his last trip, he has decided we should move to the US, so he can take the next step in his career. While I would love the opportunity to move overseas, I am not sure this is a great idea. My husband likes to be challenged at work and becomes bored if there is not enough to keep him mentally stimulated.

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We have no debt other than our mortgage. We owe $195K (all figures in AUD, and at the moment is almost on par with USD) and the house is worth about $290K – $300K. We would have to sell our house in order to afford the cost of immigrating. We also have $27K in a savings account, which is our emergency fund. I am the one who does the accounts, my husband is a spender in a BIG way. He was in debt when we got together (more than $10K) and he has also since then racked up his credit card to $3K, which I had to use most of our savings at the time to pay off. He likes his disposable income and does not really want to give it up…

He is currently on a good wage, approx $100K per annum plus 9% superannuation. If we were to move, the equivalent wage would be $70K – $90K USD, possibly up to $115K if we chose a major capital city (which we do not want to do). I am currently a SAHM, and I was not planning on going back to full time work until our little girl was in Primary (Elementary) School. I do have Business/Accounting qualifications which would help me I also think that we would nit be able to afford to buy the land we want and be able to
find a job if we did move.

We had planned on staying in our current house for another 3-5 years so we could continue to save and eventually have enough to buy a small acreage where we could have our own orchard, veggie patch, chickens etc and be more self sufficient.

My reservations on moving are that we would only be moving because we don’t like the current town we live in (there is not a lot to do here for teenagers and they are often destructive; smashing windows, burning the play equipment – all in all not a place we want our own children to grow up) and because my husband is bored at work (this is his third job in the 10 years we have been together, and this is his second position within his current company). I do not think moving half way around the world for these reasons are good ones. I also don’t think the amount of money we could get together is enough when moving so far away. I think a move like this would wipe out our dream of finally buying land and working it.

Am I being too negative? My husband believes it will all work out, but I am not comfortable with just going blindly forward not knowing as much as I can. We would only know one couple (if we moved to the same town as them), otherwise we would be completely on our own. We would not have a company helping us to move, we would have to pay for it all ourselves.

We have just found out that we have been accepted for the second round of the Green Card Lottery. This is $440 per person ($1760 for the four of us) to continue with the application. I don’t think we should take it any further, but my husband says we should spend the money to see if we can at least get in. It seems like a lot of money to spend when I don’t think I even want us to go.

So, do you think financially, we have enough to make such a major move? Should we spend the money on the green card application (knowing that if we do get it, it is only valid for us to enter the US in the year 2012, otherwise we have to re-apply)?
- Ellen

Financially, I think you’re reasonably ready to make the move. It’s not the finances of the move that worry me at all.

What worries me are statements like “He likes his disposable income and does not really want to give it up…” and “My husband likes to be challenged at work and becomes bored if there is not enough to keep him mentally stimulated.” Those two things are a mix that would make me nervous about making radical life moves. A person who becomes bored when the environment isn’t right at work doesn’t mix well with a person who “must” have disposable income. That’s a recipe for disaster down the road.