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Miami people?

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Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 48
Location: Sydney
Hoppie, congratulations on the new job. I genuinely hope you and your family enjoy the new lifestyle and country.

The two things that I really noticed about Florida - 'gators everywhere, and the low, low land level; barely a couple of feet above sea level - Oh wait, you're already used to that second part :D :D :D

I hope you have already negotiated medical and dental insurance from your employer. It's a must!

Peter.
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Excalibur Beechcraft driver.

"Cry havoc! And let slip the dogs of war."
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 309
Location: Winchester, UK
Jeroen,

Many, many congratulations on what appears to be a job tailor made to your interests.

I hope that you find the time and enthusiasm to remain one of the main players on this forum. If not, you will be greatly missed.

My and Jan's best wishes to you and the family.

Richard
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Cheers, Richard
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 497
From one Dutch Jeroen to another Dutch Jeroen; welcome to the States!

Congratulations with the new job. Sounds right up your street!

Jeroen
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 944
Today I was thinking more about my admittedly limited perceptions of the contrasts between a European lifestyle and the aspects of European culture that I somewhat understand. As I tried to put myself in Hoppie's "shoes" and empathetically come to terms with his adventure as he moves to a specific and somewhat unusual part of the USA, it certainly is enough to cause one to realize how many similarities and differences exist in these two locations. So many things are very different and yet so many things are fundamentally the same or at least similar.

While I only have my own superficial impressions from many business/vacation trips to Europe and discussions with US and European friends and co-workers, I am very excited for Hoppie and family by the sheer adventure and novelty of this move. A separate layer is of course his job, which seems almost tailor-made for Hoppie's interests and background, as best I can tell with my inevitably modest amount of information and understanding.

Some of the effort will be what I personally label as logistical issues, as have already been mentioned, including health insurance, income tax status, housing arrangements, school system optimization for Hoppies daughter, establishing a new social life, etc, etc, etc.

Other things would be just taking maximum advantage of the adventure of living and vacationing in the USA, with its huge geography and extremely wide range of places to visit and enjoy. With inexpensive air travel and connections in the airline industry, it should be quite practical to enjoy much vacation and perhaps business trip-supported travel to many interesting places and cities in the US.

I was thinking today about how simple differences such as not having much of an inter or intra-city train service in most of the US really changes how one gets around and thinks about everyday life. As is well-known, we depend almost exclusively on the personal car and (historically) inexpensive gas plus many interstate expressways to travel. Even if one flies to a destination, one must rent a car to get around efficiently, but this is very easily done and routine and fairly inexpensive.

The very large-scale geography of the US is often deceptive, even for natives. For example, it is about 650 miles from MIami to Atlanta, over 1000 miles from Miami to Washington DC, about 1300 miles from Miami to New York City, and about 2700 miles from Miami to Los Angeles. The standard Mercator map projection distorts the subjective perception of these distances, of course, making Florida appear much smaller north-to-south than it actually is.

Perhaps the lack of a rational, efficient social services infrastructure in the US is the biggest single category of things one must adjust to. Not much useful health insurance is available other than employer-provided health insurance through mostly unregulated and very profit-oriented private insurance companies, combined with a very profit-oriented health care and hospital system. Public education is also problematic with public schools being poor outside of well-off suburbs. College and grad schools work best for the upper 10% of society, with most state-sponsored institutions being what might be called "diploma factories" with limited emphasis on quality. Selective colleges and universities are quite different experiences, assuming one's children are admitted, but the cost is now about 50,000 US dollars per year, for all expenses. Fortunately, the best private colleges give need-based scholarships based on parents' income and savings. In many cases, it's actually cheaper to go to Harvard or MIT than a moderate quality state school since aid at state schools is not very available except through student loans.

The inequality of the US society in terms of income and wealth is quite striking in comparison with much of Europe, as best I can tell from my own casual study. This is something the US hasn't come to terms with in terms of its overall quality of life and living standards. If one can become part of the higher income segment of the US society, one can of course enjoy quite a nice standard of living.

Just a few thoughts.
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I am personally very optimistic and also wish for Hoppie and his family the very best in their adventure! I'm convinced it will be very enjoyable, professionally rewarding, and very interesting!!
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Best wishes,

Phil Bunch
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 497
We've been living in Kansas City, USA, for just over two years now. And we'll be staying here for a few more years. We came from the Netherlands, but my wife is British/Barbados and we've lived for a number of years in the UK as well.

We are enjoying our US life to the max. Some of the things Phil pointed out are very much in evidence and have surprised us as well.

On a slightly more lighter note, read our US experience on our website:

http://web.me.com/jeroen_dorrestein/Site/Adjusting_to_the_US.html
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 414
Location: Mumbai, India
You write with wonderful humour, Jeroen. Enjoyed that !
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2449
Location: KTMB
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 12
Location: KEMT (ppl asel)
If you ever come into So Cal, hit me up for a ride in a C152!
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 772
Location: Sydney, Australia
Hey Hoppie - it's 'checks' not 'cheques'. :D
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Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2449
Location: KTMB
I didn't mean the plastified one!


-JH
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 772
Location: Sydney, Australia
I know, but the Yanks spell the paper one 'checks'. Right up there with Mom, aluminum and nucular.

;)
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Member
Registered: Jun 2011
Posts: 307
Location: TX
you forgot this one John G... Nite
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 958
Location: Chicago
How is money transferred in Europe these days? Let's say I buy a widget from Hoppie. Do we use PayPal? Certainly I don't mail him cash?
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Will /Chicago /USA
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 5140
Will Cronenwett wrote
How is money transferred in Europe these days?


Wire transfer directly from bank to bank. Very simple. No third party.
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 958
Location: Chicago
But how do I tell my bank to send money to your bank? Is it online? What if I don't have a computer?
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Will /Chicago /USA
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 5140
You fill a small form (online or on paper at the bank) with the account data. Within Germany this method has been used for many decades, perhaps even for centuries(?) International transfers were less comfortable, but a couple of years ago they simplified it for the EU as well. Now there's actually no difference anymore between national and European wire transfers.

"Wire transfer" is the English term. In German this is literally just "transfer". It has nothing to do with wires or cables. It's simply a direct transfer from bank to bank without a third party in between.


|-|
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 958
Location: Chicago
I feel like I'm hijacking this thread (apologies to Hoppie), but how is a wire transfer different than a check? If I write you a check, you take it to your bank, and "cash" it, meaning that my bank transfers the money to your bank. I guess the difference is that I hand the wire transfer form to you, instead of to your bank, and you could take it to my bank (for cash) or to your bank (for a transfer to your account). Right?

Also, can you pay for groceries with one of these transfers?
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Will /Chicago /USA
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 497
In the Netherlands, UK and most European countries you can do just about all bank transactions on line. In the Netherlands all you need to know is the other persons name, bank number and place of residence. (and even without the place of residence it'll work)

For international transfers you need another number, so called IBAN. These days all these numbers are printed on your statements or you can get them through look up tables when you're online.

You don't need a computer to receive money coming into your account sent by someone else, but you do need a computer, obviously, to sent on line to someone else. Most Dutch banks have computers set up for customers, so you can just walk in.

Very different and much simpler and convenient then what I have here in the US. Credit cards are much more widely accepted in the US then in some European countries. Even for small purchases, say a cup of coffee.

Hadn't owned a cheque book for many, many years in the Netherlands. Now most of my bills get paid by check/cheque. I have a monthly standing order for paying the rent. What happens is, mybank prints out a cheque with the correct adressee, amount and sents it off to my landlady.

Jeroen
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 5140
Will,

no mail, no walk, no drive. Just words.

You tell your bank to transfer 5 bucks to Hoppie's bank. That's all.

Do you receive a Kontoauszug from time to time?

How do you call it? "Account statement"?

On your monthly or weekly "account statement" there will be a -5 buck for Hoppie, and on Hoppie's monthly or weekly "account statement" there will be a +5 from Will.

No coins, no notes. Just prints from the printer. Like any print from a credit card firm. Or PDF online.
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 958
Location: Chicago
But what if I go to Wertkauf or Aldi or my local Biergarten? How do I transfer funds to the shopkeeper or the waiter?
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Will /Chicago /USA
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 497
Not 100% sure on Germany, but in the Netherlands you would have what is known as a bank pass. Looks like a credit card, but it's issued trough your own bank. Works like a debit card. Slide it through the machine, punch in the pin, confirm the amount and the money goes straight from your account to Aldi or your local Biergarten.

Jeroen
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 5140
At the Biergarten probably not, but at Aldi you can use what Jeroen just said, it looks like a credit card. In Germany we use an English name for it: bankcard.

Not all pubs have bankcard readers yet. I don't mind, in shops and pubs I always pay cash. I see no advantage in using plastic cards and typing a PIN into a keyboard while I have the money that I want to spend in my pocket anyway.

I use wire transfer only when the money has to travel more than 3 meters.
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2449
Location: KTMB
In the Netherlands, a big campaign was held to move as much cash (notes, coins) transactions to digital as possible. This included, explicitly, biergarten and farmer's market. Portable wireless machines are carried by the waiters and you put in your card, punch in the secret code, and say YES to the amount showed on the display.

The cost of handling cash money by now exceeds the cost of an online instant transaction, so this is why there is so much commercial pressure to go digital.

Since swipe cards have turned out to be extremely easy to copy and abuse, it is all moving towards chip card very rapidly now. Most machines are both swipe and chip, with the swipe slot now being blocked off.

Using your phone and some near field system will inevitably replace all of this in a few years. "Mobile transactions" are taking off big, and most banks have an app in addition to their www bank system.

Even the people that bring you the mail carry chip card readers with online instant verification. You can as easily pay for the delivery of a laundry machine on your doorstep as for a new car at the dealer, groceries in the supermarket, coffee at Starbucks, etc. And yes I bet you can pay for grass, weed & other interesting substances this way as well :mrgreen:


Jeroen
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 944
Chip cards and using cell phones to make purchases just haven't caught on much here in the US. Not sure why, but that's the general reality.

I almost never use cash, preferring to use my credit card so I can keep track of expenses and keep my finances under some semblance of control.
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With interest rates being artificially forced low by the US central bank (aka the Federal Reserve), retail banks are starting to charge customers to accept money for deposit into a checking or savings account. So far, this is only one big bank (JP Morgan, I think) and only for some commercial customers. The whole banking scene is badly messed up by the 2008 financial crisis. Individuals should be able to save money in a secured bank of some sort and earn some sort of fixed interest at least approximating the inflation rate. As it is, the last time I looked, my checking account interest rate was about 0.1 percent per year. Fixed savings accounts were about 1% or so per year, at least as far as routinely available accounts go.

I continue to have the uneasy feeling that we've not fundamentally solved or repaired the financial crisis of 2008 but have only pushed it "under the rug". The major banks are currently being trashed in the stock markets, consistent with this ad-hoc theory.

Unfortunately (?), the governments don't have the ability to perform another large-scale bailout of these financial institutions. Yet they continue to fail to have enough stable assets to support their huge "financial engineering" system, set up like a house of cards in recent years. When do we get to the part of this story where the world's governments effectively reform the financial system? I fear that no one knows how to do it, and it's clear in the US that the politicians are more or less owned through the campaign contributions of the banks and others. No obvious way out...
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Best wishes,

Phil Bunch
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2449
Location: KTMB
The number of law and economics students just went up about 25% over here. We need more lawyers and economists, clearly.

As long as "the industry" pays more for law & economics than for basically anything else, nothing will change.


Jeroen

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