One of my friends asked me this question today
Why Life in USA is so complex? Why can’t they make things easy?
If you have to understand the above question, you have to know my friend’s background
- He just came to the USA on L1B Visa. (less than one month)
- Long Term project (should be staying in the USA for one year)
- Currently working in a city where there is no public transportation
- Indian Grocery Store is 1-hour drive (happens when not living in metro)
Life is Complex in the USA
Anyone new to the USA is going to ask the same question – Things are not easy here!
After landing in the USA, it will be not long before you realize that life is a bit complex, and things don’t always go according to your plan.
Everything seems to be interconnected, and that creates the Chicken-Egg problem.
When an IT services company is sending you to work at a customer site, they will provide accommodation for a couple of weeks. By then you should find your place to stay and find ways to get around the town.
Quality of life in the USA is much better compared to India, but the first few months are not easy. For some, the first year may not go easy.
Now, I have written over 200 words without saying any word about why life is complicated and things your mom never told you about being in the USA.
Settling Down in the USA
After initial temporary accommodation, when my friend started to settle down, he started facing problems (that’s what he says), but what in reality he’s taking life head-on and learning to live the new life in the new world.
The following list applies not only to my friend, but you will have the same issues too.
- First and foremost, you need a place to stay.
- Paying $700 in rent is expensive for someone who just came to the USA.
- To save money on a rental, find a roommate.
- If not, find someone who has a room for rent.
- Since you will not have any credit history, you will have to pay a higher security deposit.
- The apartment has to be located close to the office; if not, you need a car.
- Next, you need to open a bank account.
- First few months are always going to look expensive (100 Money-Saving Tips)
- You don’t need SSN (Social Security Number) to open a bank account.
- To get to the bank and daily commute, you need a car.
- To drive a car, you need a driving license.
- To get Driving License, you would need SSN (unless you prove yo are not eligible for SSN).
- It can take 3 to 4 weeks to get SSN.
- Someone has to drive you to SSN office (or you pay for the cab)
- Someone has to drive you to the Driving License Office to pass the written test.
- If you how to drive a car, then it makes things a lot easy to get the driving license
- You can to rent a car in your name (if you have an international driving license) and get insurance.
- Someone with a driving license has to drive you to take a driving test.
- After you pass the road test, you will get the driving license. (no, you cannot bribe to get pass the test)
- You need help from others to buy a used car (My First Car Buying Experience)
- It’s always not possible to buy a used car in a couple of days.
- Again, you need help from someone who can advise about buying a used car.
- After several test drives, you will buy a used car.
- Now, you have an apartment and a car to drive.
- You need to have auto insurance to register the car.
- Since you don’t have a driving history, insurance rates will be high (like $1200 for 6 months)
- After getting insurance, you can register your car.
- Next, you will need a cell phone. (I say shine new iPhone!)
- You can get Pre-Paid plan these days (really cheap)
- You could get a cell phone family plan with a group of friends/family
- Now you have a cell phone, a car, a place to stay.
- Next comes the credit card and building a credit history.
- You would need Gas, Electricity, Internet and Water connection
- You just have to call the right companies, and they create a new account in your name
Did you see so many things are depends on SSN. What if it takes a few months to get your SSN? Can you imagine how long it would delay other process?
If your passport doesn’t have a Surname, things will get tough quick.
Your first problem will start at the SSN office, and you will have a cascading effect.
Things are interconnected here n the USA.
Starting with your SSN.
Cars and Auto Insurance Rates
- Car Insurance rates depends on your driving history.
- If you are new to the USA, you don’t have any driving history.
- So, expect to pay higher insurance costs.
- Drive Carefully!
- If you have a fault driving ticket (speeding or accident), then your car insurance rates will increase.
- Expect to pay 20 to 50% high insurance rates for the next 3 to 5 years if any accidents.
Credit History, Credit Cards and Payments
There is a complex link between credit cards, credit history and credit score.
- You need a credit card to build your credit history.
- You need a decent credit history to get a credit card. (Get this Card without Credit History)
- If you consistently pay bills late, then the credit score will go down the drain.
- Less credit score = high interest rates for any loans.
- You might now get an apartment with bad credit history.
- If you want to rent an apartment in your name, then for electricity, water, gas connections need a high security deposit.
So, don’t mess up with your credit cards and pay your bills on time.
Don’t buy things you can’t afford. Period.
Back to the Story
Now, you can realize why my friend asked me the question – Why life in the USA have to be so complex?
While you are at school, you would have enough time to get things done.
There will be a lot of friends to share their experience and help you. But, in my friends case, he’s working in city that doesn’t have public transportation, couldn’t find any Indian friends nearby to help him.
He’s getting things done by going to places in the cab and looks like his manager at work is giving him a ride to his apartment after work.
He’s very desperate to buy his car, but he never drove a car in India. So, he has to now spend money going to driving school to learn how to drive in America.
Life comes as a package.
When you pack your bags to come to the USA, your mom will advise you about staying safe, taking care of your health, but they will not be aware of such complexities of life in the USA. Hopefully, you have learned something new from this blog post.
Do You have a story?
Everyone reading this post will have one such story. Can you share your experience. You an send your story using the contact form.
Did you face such problems with respect to SSN, Car license, Auto insurance, apartment rental, …etc. and how you managed to solve those problem.