About

In 2012, my husband and I moved from Vancouver, BC, Canada to Silicon Valley (California, U.S.A.).

Vancouver treated us well in the 8 years that we called it home. Having both built our careers in the tech industry, joining the centre of the tech world was a goal we had been working towards. When the opportunity came, we were eager to call sunny Silicon Valley home.

Although we frequently travelled to the U.S. for business and pleasure prior to our move, we didn’t realize just how many little details needed to be completed back in Canada and in the United States to fully settle and transition into life in California. I wanted to share the things we’ve learnt about Canada and the U.S. from its similarities and differences in shopping, food, culture, health system, taxes and to cross-border moving, to help others interested in moving to Canada or the U.S., or help those who have already settled find a community to relate with and share their experiences too.

The thought of moving to a new place is exciting and thrilling – so many new adventures to look forward to. Before all the fun stuff is a lot of work. Hope you’ll find the information on this blog entertaining in exploring the similarities and uniqueness of these neighbouring countries, or to be a useful reference in starting your own research on your Canada-U.S. cross-border transition and making your new home “HOME” soon.  

All the best!

— — —
sil·i·con val·ley
“nickname for the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California in the United States. It is home to many of the world’s largest high tech corporations, as well as thousands of tech startup companies.” (Source: Wikipedia)

loon·ie
Canadian one-dollar coin, introduced in 1987

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4 responses to “About

  1. Hi,

    We’ve recently moved from Canada (AB) to Silicon Valley. I found your blog while searching Google for which bank to choose in CA. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any information on your blog about that. (You do have a ton of info in other areas I’m very interested in!) Do you have any preference? Are you planning to write an article about it? If not, would we be able to chat off-blog about it?

    Thanks,
    Helen.

    • Hi Helen,

      Welcome to California! Welcome to Silicon Valley Loonies!
      So happy to hear that you found my articles informative. Thanks so much for following and the feedback 🙂

      I will look into writing an article about banking institutions. Thank you for this idea!

      In the interim, some suggestions came to mind that might help you:
      — I don’t have a particular preference in banking institutions. I recommend inquiring if your Canadian bank has locations or affiliations in the States (e.g. HSBC, TD, ING) and see if they can provide assistance in making your banking transfer needs between Canada and the U.S. easier.
      — Otherwise, another good source may be through your corporate relocation consultant. Some corporate relocation assistance packages include information on financial institutions and introductory offers to relocation employees of company XYZ.
      — Furthermore, when comparing banking institutions, I recommend looking at banking package details (e.g. checking, savings, trading commissions, etc.) plus whether or not a credit card can be approved based on your past Canadian credit history and/or current U.S. employment details. Being approved for a U.S. credit card will help you build credit in the States- a factor that’s considered when applying for a loan of any type, applying for apartment rentals and even signing up for cellular plans, etc. (Note: With very little U.S. credit history, you may be required to provide more security deposit when signing an apartment lease or getting a cellular plan.) On this note, your first U.S. credit card may have a very low limit. If you’re accustomed to paying for your purchases by card, like I was in Canada, it may be a lifestyle adjustment to have to pay in cash and by debit instead.
      — It may also be beneficial to meet with a banking officer to discuss your situation, that is, your relocation, past Canadian credit history and financial plans (e.g. looking to purchase home in N years, etc.) and inquire whether their financial institution has special considerations for relocation individuals.

      This area is complex, something that I’m still learning more about and is dependent on a case-by-case basis, so I encourage you to do your own detailed research on U.S. credit and U.S. loans, and include these areas in your search for the most suitable financial institution to meet your banking needs.

      Hope this helps your search. Good luck!

      • Thank you so much for your reply. We do have a Canadian/US bank here, but were looking for something reliable US-only for daily transactions and various money-order type of things, as our bank doesn’t have physical locations here.

        I was really hoping you had some suggestions on which bank to choose here. I will definitely look forward to more of you articles and the banking in particular.

        Thanks,
        Helen.

      • Hi Helen,

        I haven’t had experience using money order services in Canada or the U.S., so I wouldn’t know what to look for in a U.S. bank or how they differ in processes compared to Canadian banks. As for the usual checking and savings accounts, the service features you find across banks are relatively standard. A couple obvious differences:
        — Having to manually fill out deposit/withdrawal forms when making a deposit/withdrawal at the tellers. This is no longer needed at Canadian banks, e.g. TD Bank, HSBC.
        — Additionally, in Canada, postdated cheques should not be cashed before the date that is written on it [1]. However, the opposite is true in the States, where a postdated check can be cashed before the date [2].

        You’ll commonly find brick-and-mortar locations for these large banking institutions: Wells Fargo, (JPMorgan) Chase Bank, U.S. Bank, Bank of America and Citi Bank. There are many credit unions as well, like KeyPoint. HSBC has a limited number of locations, but they offer a service package with free ATM withdrawals from any ATM. In other words, your account is first charged the ATM transaction fee from the external ATM banking machine, but is later credited for the fee by HSBC.

        Sorry, I’m not able to provide much information or help here. Would love to hear how your search goes to help others with questions like yours. Thanks!

        [1] http://www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/Eng/forConsumers/topics/paymentOptions/Pages/Postdate-ChquesPo.aspx
        [2] http://www.quickenloans.com/blog/postdate-checks

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