Advice on relocation or staying put

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srt7
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Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by srt7 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 3:58 pm

I was looking for some advice on relocating to another city. I don't normally ask for advice from strangers on the internet :P but after many years of following BH closely I feel like asking you all for your honest opinions on this topic.

Some background ...

We're a married couple in our very early 40s with 2 kids (one in middle and another in elementary). I work in tech. and from home (w/o travel) and can live anywhere in the USA. Wife will look for employment in digital marketing once we move. Household annual income around $125K for now but should be closer to $200K once wife starts her next job.

We've lived in Austin, Texas for 18+ years and cannot take the heat anymore. We were here primarily for graduate education and then the jobs but now that it isn't an issue (WFH) we're looking to take this opportunity and move to a cooler place. We always knew we'd move so kept visiting various cities over the years and finally narrowed it down to the suburbs of Seattle (around Bothell) and Boston (around Hopkinton or Acton etc.)

We picked these two based on our criteria of
- Big city: better chances of employment
- Cooler weather: No more hot (95F+ for days on end) weather.
- No allergies
- Good public (grade) schools: We're not in to tiger parenting but would like for kids to go to 8 or above rated schools with AP courses etc.
- Good universities close by (wife is big on kids living close to us): Again we're not hyper competitive so aren't moving for Ivy Leagues etc.

Also, we've been living in big houses (3000 sqft) for a decade now (got a great deal back then) but have no issues downsizing to something like 3 bed / 2 bath / 1500 sqft. We grew up that way so we'll be just fine.

Relocation costs the same to either cities and will be out of our pockets. We'll be renting for a year first and then will sell our current house and buy another one in the new city.

Where I need some advice is
1. Are we thinking correctly about moving? Or is this just a wrong move?
2. Are we underestimating the grey skies of Seattle or the cold winters of Boston?
3. Are we plain stupid to fork out $10K - $15K in relocation? It's not a BH thing to do but I suppose it's a small price to pay to try and move to a place that makes us happy.
4. We do have some extended family and friends in both cities but it might take us a long time to build the kind of support structure we have in Austin.
5. Do you think one city is better than the other for us (perhaps we missed something?)

In summary, the two biggest reasons for us to move are the 6 months long summers and round the year allergy seasons. This has caused umpteen episodes of migraines and allergies related health issues. So basically, our current situation in Austin provides us solid financial stability but we're not happy in many other ways including health. But since we'll be moving to a much higher COL area, I am afraid I might end up in a "a bird in hand was worth 2 in the bush" kind of situation.

Looking forward to your opinions and thoughts to guide me in the right direction. Thank you!
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc

fabdog
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by fabdog » Sat Mar 04, 2017 4:09 pm

Having lived in MA (near Acton) as well as NM and AZ so got plenty of heat...

The plus'es...

it rarely gets hot in the summer... we would run the aircon a few days a year, mostly to take the humidity out of the house.
The schools (providing you pick a good district) are excellent.. and there are a lot of good districts

The minuses...

The winters will have you dreaming of those Austin summers...You'll need to get familiar with snow blowing or pay someone to plow your driveway whenever it snows... leave it on once... and you now have an ice rink for a driveway. A lot of places aren't set up for Natural gas so you have fuel oil or electric for heat... and while not a big deal now.. oil back at $3.50/gallon will get expensive in a hurry.

Housing costs are high... and depending on the area, lots of much older houses... but you can find recent construction...

They don't call it Taxachusetts for nothing :D

there are a lot of tech companies and startups in Boston and suburbs... depending where you land and where your wife gets a job it could be great or an ugly commute

Mike

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Pajamas
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by Pajamas » Sat Mar 04, 2017 4:16 pm

srt7 wrote: 2. Are we underestimating the grey skies of Seattle or the cold winters of Boston?
Almost certainly.

Seattle is cool and rainy. During the winter it rains almost every day with only a couple of hours of sunshine on average. That is three months straight. Not much of a summer, either, more like spring weather.

http://www.holiday-weather.com/seattle/averages/

Boston is cold in the winter with four months of highs near or below 40 and lows in the 20s up to freezing.

http://www.holiday-weather.com/boston/averages/

Of course millions of people live in those areas, so it is certainly possible, but either place is real contrast to Austin.

http://www.holiday-weather.com/austin/averages/

emoore
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by emoore » Sat Mar 04, 2017 6:14 pm

Denver

otinkyad
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by otinkyad » Sat Mar 04, 2017 6:18 pm

emoore wrote:Denver
I was trying not to add someplace, but Denver/Boulder is the one that came to my mind as well.

Generally, I think moving does people good. Many others, I would say a majority here, think otherwise. But I also think that changing schools is good for kids and living too near their parents in college is not.

Nobody moves to Boston for the weather. Even summers, while not Texas hot, are more humid. Acton and Hopkinton are more rural even than suburban, and I wonder what the commute would be like for your wife, or how often you would travel into the city to take advantage of being there. The commuter rail is nice, but you're about an hour's ride from North or South Station out there. Boston is one of my favorite places, but I don't think I would live that far out, personally. I spent a summer in Newburyport, working in central Boston, and it was hard and I wouldn't do it again.

Seattle is rainy and sunny, and certainly better weather than Boston or most of the rest of the country. I knew someone that moved from the Bay Area to Seattle specifically for his son's allergy-triggered asthma, which worked out well, but as luck would have it, his own allergies are worse in Seattle. Ymmv.

Austin, Seattle, and Boston all have terrible traffic. A quick search found them ranked 7th to 9th nationwide.

srt7
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by srt7 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:26 pm

fabdog wrote:Having lived in MA (near Acton) as well as NM and AZ so got plenty of heat...

The plus'es...

it rarely gets hot in the summer... we would run the aircon a few days a year, mostly to take the humidity out of the house.
The schools (providing you pick a good district) are excellent.. and there are a lot of good districts

The minuses...

The winters will have you dreaming of those Austin summers...You'll need to get familiar with snow blowing or pay someone to plow your driveway whenever it snows... leave it on once... and you now have an ice rink for a driveway. A lot of places aren't set up for Natural gas so you have fuel oil or electric for heat... and while not a big deal now.. oil back at $3.50/gallon will get expensive in a hurry.

Housing costs are high... and depending on the area, lots of much older houses... but you can find recent construction...

They don't call it Taxachusetts for nothing :D

there are a lot of tech companies and startups in Boston and suburbs... depending where you land and where your wife gets a job it could be great or an ugly commute

Mike
Mike - Thanks for your post. Good to know about the pluses and minuses from someone who's been in the Acton area. Definitely helps! Never heard of Taxachusetts until now :D but will certainly poke deeper and see how it affects me. Also need to look in to the whole lack of natural gas as fuel issue. Thanks for bringing that up. If you happen to know about any other areas that are similar to Acton/Boxborough and Hopkinton areas please let me know.
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc

srt7
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by srt7 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:31 pm

Pajamas wrote:
srt7 wrote: 2. Are we underestimating the grey skies of Seattle or the cold winters of Boston?
Almost certainly.

Seattle is cool and rainy. During the winter it rains almost every day with only a couple of hours of sunshine on average. That is three months straight. Not much of a summer, either, more like spring weather.

http://www.holiday-weather.com/seattle/averages/

Boston is cold in the winter with four months of highs near or below 40 and lows in the 20s up to freezing.

http://www.holiday-weather.com/boston/averages/

Of course millions of people live in those areas, so it is certainly possible, but either place is real contrast to Austin.

http://www.holiday-weather.com/austin/averages/
Absolutely! It's going to be a totally different weather pattern out in either of those cities ... which is why I am being cautious and researching (perhaps even over-thinking it). What we noticed while in Boston last summer was that 85F out there wasn't the same as 85F in Texas. The sun rays are simply more intense in Texas. Also, around 4PM it started to cool off in Boston. Nothin like that in Austin. It's still about 90F at midnight during peak summer. Thanks for the links!
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc

srt7
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by srt7 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:32 pm

emoore wrote:Denver
OK. Why Denver?
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc

srt7
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by srt7 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:40 pm

otinkyad wrote:
emoore wrote:Denver
I was trying not to add someplace, but Denver/Boulder is the one that came to my mind as well.

Generally, I think moving does people good. Many others, I would say a majority here, think otherwise. But I also think that changing schools is good for kids and living too near their parents in college is not.

Nobody moves to Boston for the weather. Even summers, while not Texas hot, are more humid. Acton and Hopkinton are more rural even than suburban, and I wonder what the commute would be like for your wife, or how often you would travel into the city to take advantage of being there. The commuter rail is nice, but you're about an hour's ride from North or South Station out there. Boston is one of my favorite places, but I don't think I would live that far out, personally. I spent a summer in Newburyport, working in central Boston, and it was hard and I wouldn't do it again.

Seattle is rainy and sunny, and certainly better weather than Boston or most of the rest of the country. I knew someone that moved from the Bay Area to Seattle specifically for his son's allergy-triggered asthma, which worked out well, but as luck would have it, his own allergies are worse in Seattle. Ymmv.

Austin, Seattle, and Boston all have terrible traffic. A quick search found them ranked 7th to 9th nationwide.
I appreciate your inputs and I agree with all the bold highlights. The one in bold+italic highlight is the kind of input I've been looking forward to receiving. And I agree that Austin is not a small cow-town anymore. For better or worse it's grown really fast and now plays in the big leagues.
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc

fabdog
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by fabdog » Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:05 pm

Acton/Boxborough and Hopkinton are along the 495 corridor. There are lots of other towns along that route (Hudson/South and Westboro, etc) all are a far way from Boston, especially if your wife has to commute into Boston... that would be a nightmare

You could look into towns along/inside 95, much closer to Boston, and in reach of the T (subway type system) instead of commuter rail. The T comes out essentially to the 95 area on several routes. The difference is that commuter rail from Worcester/Framingham, etc... all go into central Boston, and then you connect to the T to get where you want to go. If closer in, you go park at the T station and commute into town.

The downside... the closer to Boston, the higher the housing costs... Some areas like Newton are very expensive, but others like Lexington, Dedham, Waltham are also HCOL.

We knew folks who lived in Boston, and loved it. They tended not to have kids yet...

We did not have to go into Boston very often and so living out that way worked fine for us... it could be a big adventure to head into Fenway or the Science Museum... but the daily commute... no way we could have done that.

Mike

Colorado13
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by Colorado13 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:08 pm

srt7 wrote:
emoore wrote:Denver
OK. Why Denver?
Why not? :-) We get four seasons of weather - sometimes in a single day. It's currently 66 degrees, and we will have high temps ranging from 42 to 75 next week, depending on the day of the week. We have access to flights to both coasts, a booming tech industry, and good/great schools in the 'burbs. We have relatively low taxes (nothing like what you will experience in MA), several universities nearby (but nothing near the caliber of what you'll have in/near Boston), and our 95 degree days are dry rather than humid, so it will feel cooler than 95 in Tx. There is almost year-round sunshine, which you won't find in MA or WA.

Downsides: hot housing market, low housing inventory, we can receive a lot of snow in March and April (but often very little snow in Nov-Feb), etc. The allergy issue will require that you come and visit first - it's dry here and I run a humidifier in my house much of the year. The dryness will be a big change for you coming from TX. It's not for everyone and our population is growing faster than the infrastructure can handle. So, I'm not necessarily advocating it as a place for you, but since you asked...
Last edited by Colorado13 on Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:09 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (where to live).
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randomguy
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by randomguy » Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:25 pm

srt7 wrote: Relocation costs the same to either cities and will be out of our pockets. We'll be renting for a year first and then will sell our current house and buy another one in the new city.

Where I need some advice is
1. Are we thinking correctly about moving? Or is this just a wrong move?
2. Are we underestimating the grey skies of Seattle or the cold winters of Boston?
3. Are we plain stupid to fork out $10K - $15K in relocation? It's not a BH thing to do but I suppose it's a small price to pay to try and move to a place that makes us happy.
4. We do have some extended family and friends in both cities but it might take us a long time to build the kind of support structure we have in Austin.
5. Do you think one city is better than the other for us (perhaps we missed something?)

In summary, the two biggest reasons for us to move are the 6 months long summers and round the year allergy seasons. This has caused umpteen episodes of migraines and allergies related health issues. So basically, our current situation in Austin provides us solid financial stability but we're not happy in many other ways including health. But since we'll be moving to a much higher COL area, I am afraid I might end up in a "a bird in hand was worth 2 in the bush" kind of situation.

Looking forward to your opinions and thoughts to guide me in the right direction. Thank you!
1) I think you might be surprised at the difficulty of downsizing that far. You would have to think about what the money trade off means. Working another 5-10 years? How to value that future happiness versus todays is hard to say. But staying in a place that makes your miserable doesn't sound like a smart choice to me.

2) 2 is personal. I liked the grey, rainy skies of Seattle winters (summers are nice) a lot more than the grey, snowy winters of the midwest and NE. And both are better than the burning heat of the SE.

3) Trivial amount of money in the big scheme. Just try not to do it very often.

4) Yep. And your kids have to start over

5) Think about your hobbies and figure out which ones are more likely to happen in various locations.

To some extent moving is a crap shoot. Maybe your new neighbor turns out to be your (or your wife/kids) BFF. Or maybe you never meet anyone. Maybe the job is awesome (or horrible). You make your guesses and go with it.

Isabelle77
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by Isabelle77 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:25 pm

I've lived in the PNW (Portland area) now for nearly a decade so I can comment on the weather. I've also lived in Texas and even worse for summers, Tennessee. I get your hatred of the hot days, I felt like I was in hiding half of the year in Nashville.

Things to know about PNW weather. It isn't the rain that gets to most people, it's the darkness. Yes, it rains all the time from November-March but it isn't generally hard rain, however, it is mostly overcast for several months and because we are so far north it gets dark very early in the winter. The other thing I didn't know before living here was that it can be cold and rainy some years all the way until July. Locals joke that the 4th of July is the first day of summer and it can be true, I've spent the 4th watching the fireworks under wool blankets. The summers are beautiful. Really, the most stunning 6-8wks anywhere, it's warm during the day and cool at night, there are hardly any bugs and no real humidity. That's what all the locals will tell you all the time "just wait for the summer!" My husband and I do it now too. :D

Other things that you've probably considered. Seattle is expensive and crowded. It's on the Cascadia fault. The people are not known for being particularly welcoming, although this could be something of a Portland bias, the "Seattle freeze." On the other hand there is a great job market, it is stunningly beautiful, and the summers 8-)

Since Massachusetts is just about the last place I would want to live I probably can't give you great advice as our preferences differ. But I will anyway :) If you're willing to not be right in city central, may I humbly recommend Vancouver, WA, where I live? No state income tax, reasonable cost of living, the PNW weather, excellent public schools, with Portland across the river?

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TxAg
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by TxAg » Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:30 pm

Of the two, I'd pick Seattle.

Thinking outside the box...just a few ideas:

Albuquerque, Little Rock, Kansas City, St. Louis, Denver, Salt Lake City, Nashville

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Watty
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by Watty » Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:58 pm

srt7 wrote:3. Are we plain stupid to fork out $10K - $15K in relocation?
I think you are grossly underestimating the relocation costs if that includes the cost of selling your current house and eventually buying a new one in the new city. There would be the costs of house hunting trips too.

I never saw a total but when I did a cross country job relocation it probably cost my employer over $50K and that was not anything fancy.

If your wife will have a gap in employment during the move that would be a lot of lost income too.
srt7 wrote:- Big city: better chances of employment
That is a bit misleading since in a big city taking a job on the other side of town might not be practical because your commute would be too bad. I am in Atlanta now and before I retired I would have only considered about a quarter of the city to have been within reasonable commute distance. You might want to reconsider some smaller cities especially if they have less expensive housing, Seattle and Boston are both pretty expensive areas.

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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by tylerherman » Sat Mar 04, 2017 9:43 pm

If you want nice weather and work in tech why not consider California? Boston and Seattle are just as expensive and have worse weather.

San Francisco can get a little chilly but never hot. San Diego has the best weather in the country unless you love seasons. Seems like a no-brained to me.

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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by Zott » Sat Mar 04, 2017 11:28 pm

I grew up in a smallish flat and I've never been concerned about large living accommodations, although I can afford it. Nonetheless, my comment is that with the two children, a 1500 square foot house might be a bit...tight....especially as they get older, ie when they're teenagers, everyone, including parents, needs their own space. I've raised my two kids in a 2000 square foot house and it is quite adequate, I would recommend shooting for that rather than 1500 as you indicated. Good luck.

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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by MoonOrb » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:40 am

I'd be hard pressed to recommend Seattle to anyone right now. It's not the same place it was even 7 or 8 years ago. If I wanted to move to the Pacific Northwest and could choose my location, I'd go for Portland. If you don't mind being in a suburb of Portland (and I guess suburbs are okay with you?) then consider Vancouver WA, where the cost of living will be a bit cheaper and you will at least avoid state income tax.

Seattle is crowded and getting more crowded and traffic is abominable. It was never the friendliest city to begin with and feels even less friendly the last several years as it expands. Thinking about picking up sticks and knowing no one and moving to Bothell just makes me plain sad.

If you could live anywhere, what about lower COL areas like Pittsburgh, maybe? Or if you're up for colder weather, how about Madison WI, or the Twin Cities? Suburbs of Philadelphia could be a possibility but I'd worry about the commute for your wife if she needs to work near Center City.

German Expat
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by German Expat » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:48 am

Another vote for Boulder / Denver. We moved to Switzerland (job) from Boulder county and still miss the area. Best parts were the many days of sunshine, nature, skiing and very good schools. Also a booming job market but unfortunately a bit of a problematic housing market now.
Look at Mr Money Mustaches blog (he lives in Longmont) for a bit more of an idea about the general area.

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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by Chan_va » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:19 am

We moved from the east coast to Seattle with 2 young kids recently after having lived in one place for 18 years. Similar to your situation.

Seattle is great. I personally don't mind the weather at all. I prefer the cool and wet winter actually. And once in a while, the clouds will clear in the winter, and you will happen to be driving along, and suddenly come upon a lake with the jagged cascades on one side and the majestic Olympic maintains on the other. The beauty is almost spiritual. And summers are spectacular.

The other reason to move at all is just that all systems need a shake up once in a while. Pushes you out of your comfort zone and rejuvenates you.

srt7
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by srt7 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:58 am

Colorado13 wrote:
srt7 wrote:
emoore wrote:Denver
OK. Why Denver?
Why not? :-) We get four seasons of weather - sometimes in a single day. It's currently 66 degrees, and we will have high temps ranging from 42 to 75 next week, depending on the day of the week. We have access to flights to both coasts, a booming tech industry, and good/great schools in the 'burbs. We have relatively low taxes (nothing like what you will experience in MA), several universities nearby (but nothing near the caliber of what you'll have in/near Boston), and our 95 degree days are dry rather than humid, so it will feel cooler than 95 in Tx. There is almost year-round sunshine, which you won't find in MA or WA.

Downsides: hot housing market, low housing inventory, we can receive a lot of snow in March and April (but often very little snow in Nov-Feb), etc. The allergy issue will require that you come and visit first - it's dry here and I run a humidifier in my house much of the year. The dryness will be a big change for you coming from TX. It's not for everyone and our population is growing faster than the infrastructure can handle. So, I'm not necessarily advocating it as a place for you, but since you asked...
Thanks for your input! Couple years ago when we seriously considered relocating, we started with Denver/Boulder. We visited the area twice in summer. Summers are definitely nicer in Denver than Austin. The views of the frontier are simply breathtaking. However, we felt like it wasn't any bigger than Austin (size and opportunities wise).
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc

srt7
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by srt7 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:09 am

We did not have to go into Boston very often and so living out that way worked fine for us... it could be a big adventure to head into Fenway or the Science Museum... but the daily commute... no way we could have done that.
Good point! Thanks for suggestions on other areas as well.
To some extent moving is a crap shoot. Maybe your new neighbor turns out to be your (or your wife/kids) BFF. Or maybe you never meet anyone. Maybe the job is awesome (or horrible). You make your guesses and go with it.
Agreed, there are no guarantees.
That is a bit misleading since in a big city taking a job on the other side of town might not be practical because your commute would be too bad. I am in Atlanta now and before I retired I would have only considered about a quarter of the city to have been within reasonable commute distance.
Good point. I have never really lived in a tier-1/large city but even in Austin it is starting to get harder to commute to the other end of the city so I imagine it would be near impossible for cross-city commutes in Seattle/Boston areas.
We moved from the east coast to Seattle with 2 young kids recently after having lived in one place for 18 years. Similar to your situation.

Seattle is great. I personally don't mind the weather at all. I prefer the cool and wet winter actually. And once in a while, the clouds will clear in the winter, and you will happen to be driving along, and suddenly come upon a lake with the jagged cascades on one side and the majestic Olympic maintains on the other. The beauty is almost spiritual. And summers are spectacular.

The other reason to move at all is just that all systems need a shake up once in a while. Pushes you out of your comfort zone and rejuvenates you.
Thanks for sharing your experience!
I grew up in a smallish flat and I've never been concerned about large living accommodations, although I can afford it. Nonetheless, my comment is that with the two children, a 1500 square foot house might be a bit...tight....especially as they get older, ie when they're teenagers, everyone, including parents, needs their own space. I've raised my two kids in a 2000 square foot house and it is quite adequate, I would recommend shooting for that rather than 1500 as you indicated. Good luck.
Thanks!
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc

srt7
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by srt7 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:13 am

Isabelle77 wrote:I've lived in the PNW (Portland area) now for nearly a decade so I can comment on the weather. I've also lived in Texas and even worse for summers, Tennessee. I get your hatred of the hot days, I felt like I was in hiding half of the year in Nashville.

Things to know about PNW weather. It isn't the rain that gets to most people, it's the darkness. Yes, it rains all the time from November-March but it isn't generally hard rain, however, it is mostly overcast for several months and because we are so far north it gets dark very early in the winter. The other thing I didn't know before living here was that it can be cold and rainy some years all the way until July. Locals joke that the 4th of July is the first day of summer and it can be true, I've spent the 4th watching the fireworks under wool blankets. The summers are beautiful. Really, the most stunning 6-8wks anywhere, it's warm during the day and cool at night, there are hardly any bugs and no real humidity. That's what all the locals will tell you all the time "just wait for the summer!" My husband and I do it now too. :D

Other things that you've probably considered. Seattle is expensive and crowded. It's on the Cascadia fault. The people are not known for being particularly welcoming, although this could be something of a Portland bias, the "Seattle freeze." On the other hand there is a great job market, it is stunningly beautiful, and the summers 8-)

Since Massachusetts is just about the last place I would want to live I probably can't give you great advice as our preferences differ. But I will anyway :) If you're willing to not be right in city central, may I humbly recommend Vancouver, WA, where I live? No state income tax, reasonable cost of living, the PNW weather, excellent public schools, with Portland across the river?
Good to hear from someone who has experienced both Texas and PNW :)

Honestly, more than the grey skies it's the Cascadia fault that keeps pushing us away from considering Seattle/PNW area. Vancouver (WA) suggestion is a good one. Thanks!
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc

Wakefield1
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by Wakefield1 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:14 am

Greater Harrisburg PA area? (Said to have had local budget bankruptcy but last time I was there didn't see any evidence of that)
Punxsutawney PA? (plenty snow and cold,not too much heat in summer and not as cloudy as Pacific NW)
Southern Valley of Virginia has beautiful farmland with mountains either side but Interstate Rt. 81 can be heard from miles away (the whole area when the weather is right!)

srt7
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by srt7 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:24 am

MoonOrb wrote:I'd be hard pressed to recommend Seattle to anyone right now. It's not the same place it was even 7 or 8 years ago. If I wanted to move to the Pacific Northwest and could choose my location, I'd go for Portland. If you don't mind being in a suburb of Portland (and I guess suburbs are okay with you?) then consider Vancouver WA, where the cost of living will be a bit cheaper and you will at least avoid state income tax.

Seattle is crowded and getting more crowded and traffic is abominable. It was never the friendliest city to begin with and feels even less friendly the last several years as it expands. Thinking about picking up sticks and knowing no one and moving to Bothell just makes me plain sad.

If you could live anywhere, what about lower COL areas like Pittsburgh, maybe? Or if you're up for colder weather, how about Madison WI, or the Twin Cities? Suburbs of Philadelphia could be a possibility but I'd worry about the commute for your wife if she needs to work near Center City.
Looked in to Portland as well. Not many jobs in the area else would've considered Beaverton or perhaps living in Vancouver and working in Portland (per another poster). Philadelphia is high on allergies (http://www.aafa.org/media/Fall-Allergy- ... c-2016.pdf) so we skipped on it.
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc

rainyday1
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by rainyday1 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:30 am

Seattle is the only place in the USA I have lived where I have chronic, year-round allergies. I have lived places where the pollen turns cars yellow in the spring. None of them bothered me like Seattle!

Seattle can have very long winters. If your kids play sports, think about standing outside in wind/rain while watching. It is not fun.

Seattle is stunning in summer. Make sure to live near work!

Edited to add that I have lived in Denver, and it is fantastic! Definitely check it out. Schools are excellent in many parts. Weather and lifestyle are awesome there!

srt7
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by srt7 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:10 am

tylerherman wrote:If you want nice weather and work in tech why not consider California? Boston and Seattle are just as expensive and have worse weather.

San Francisco can get a little chilly but never hot. San Diego has the best weather in the country unless you love seasons. Seems like a no-brained to me.
I agree with everything you've said except for the part in bold and that is wherein lies the problem. It is very expensive and only makes sense for someone who works for a company out there (which I don't). Thanks for your input though!
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc

srt7
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by srt7 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:18 am

Thanks to everyone for your posts! Definitely gave me some clarity on a few issues. I see a lot of people recommending Denver. Maybe I need to rethink my stance on it. Please let me know if public schools in Denver are based on zoning of houses or lottery etc. Also, if anyone can share their knowledge about which schools to pick and which to avoid, that'd be greatly appreciated.
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc

German Expat
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by German Expat » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:43 am

We were in Boulder county (Lafayette) and you had an assigned school but you could also open enroll. Open enrollment can be very competitive and you would not have a high chance to get into certain schools and it might be full with local kids already.

We picked a charter school for our son (no school bus then though) but this was also luck to get in (only open enrollment there because it was not a neighborhood school). The school our son went to was:

http://www.peaktopeak.org/pages/PeaktoPeakCS

Just talked at Christmas to friends in Colorado and it is getting even harder to get into our son's former school. Can't tell you much about Denver.

noco-hawkeye
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by noco-hawkeye » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:49 am

If you work in tech, I think it is not uncommon to find a new job where they would pay for a good amount of relocation fees. You would be obligated to stay in such a job for a year or two, but it would certainly help the financial aspects.

Good luck!

KlangFool
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by KlangFool » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:01 am

OP,

I do not get it. You have a job that you can work from home and anywhere in the USA. And, you wife could probably earn 80K per year. So, why do you want to move to those HCOL areas? In fact, after factoring the cost of living and so on, your 200K of income probably is worth only 125K per year. Your wife's income will disappear and cease to be a factor.

In summary, you could move to a cooler climate and a smaller town with no impact to your cost of living. Avoid Denver, Seattle, Boston and so on.. Your 200K of income is only worth 125K. You and/or your wife will spend more time living in traffic versus living your life. Why bother?

In summary, I think your quality of life and free time will suffer by moving from Austin to those HCOL areas.

KlangFool

snowman
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by snowman » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:21 am

We did similar move years ago, for the very same reasons you are considering yours – we could not take the heat and allergies anymore. We were outdoorsy people used to 4 season weather, and we were hiding inside for 6 months of a year. We all developed allergies and were on medication year-round. Our kids were elementary school age, and we knew that we had a very small window of opportunity to “escape”.

Our financial situation was similar to yours – 2 good incomes in the heat zone, going down to 1 self-employed and uncertain future. On paper, it made no sense! Our friends in the area questioned our sanity. We did it anyway, we were so miserable!

We briefly considered New England area and made a visit there. Colorado was the other choice, and it won hands down. Not that I want to advocate Denver to you – we have so many newcomers that housing and infrastructure cannot keep up. But unless you are dead-set on PNW or NE, CO is the place to be for active, outdoorsy people. There is always something to do outside – biking, hiking, skiing, fishing, rafting, camping, you name it. Sunshine is plentiful, the views are spectacular, quality of life is high, schools are excellent (dependent upon where you buy of course), and taxes relatively low. Add to that low humidity and no bugs, and it’s tough to beat.

For us, the move proved to be the best life choice we ever made. My advice to you is this: don’t be afraid of it, but do your due diligence! I think your estimated cost is on a low side; between real estate commission, freshening up existing house, travel and research costs, moving costs, etc. it will end up higher, so just keep that in mind. Since you work from home, it makes little financial sense to move to some of the most expensive (and congested) cities like Boston or Seattle, unless you want to be close to family.

Finally, one of the upsides of a move is that you can shop schools for your kids. We visited 3 times before moving, and each time my wife visited schools based on research done at home, talked to principals, sat on classes. Quality of schools – elementary through HS – was the most important criterion for us. We did not want to make a mistake there, everything else revolved around that. In the end, it all worked out just fine, and it will for you and your family as well. Good luck!

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greg24
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by greg24 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:28 am

KlangFool wrote:I do not get it. You have a job that you can work from home and anywhere in the USA. And, you wife could probably earn 80K per year. So, why do you want to move to those HCOL areas? In fact, after factoring the cost of living and so on, your 200K of income probably is worth only 125K per year. Your wife's income will disappear and cease to be a factor.

In summary, you could move to a cooler climate and a smaller town with no impact to your cost of living. Avoid Denver, Seattle, Boston and so on.. Your 200K of income is only worth 125K. You and/or your wife will spend more time living in traffic versus living your life. Why bother?
I agree that, given his work from home gig, why move to a HCOL? If you like Boulder, consider Fort Collins. If you like Seattle, consider... I don't know, but a college town in Washington.

MoonOrb
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by MoonOrb » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:44 am

OP has said a primary consideration is a quality school system. These are more likely to be found in suburban areas of large-ish metro areas than smaller LCOL areas. OP and his wife also want nearby higher ed options for their children, so one could imagine that having several nearby choices would be more appealing than moving to a smaller location with few higher ed choices.

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goingup
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by goingup » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:45 am

Why don't you and spouse book a flight to Seattle this month? The weather we're having is about typical Spring 40-50 degrees rainy and gray. If you can hang with this weather for 8 months per year, you're all set.

We moved here 10 years ago from CA and rented a place in Bothell for 3 months before buying. Found the tall trees, green grass, and cool area so refreshing.

Like Texas, there's no state income tax. But homes are expensive. Wages are high. Traffic can be bad, depending on where you're going. I enjoy the vibe of Seattle and the left coast in general. Good public schools, universities, sports teams, outdoor recreation. I do miss the climate and beauty of coastal CA, however, so we may not retire here.

KlangFool
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by KlangFool » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:54 am

MoonOrb wrote:OP has said a primary consideration is a quality school system. These are more likely to be found in suburban areas of large-ish metro areas than smaller LCOL areas. OP and his wife also want nearby higher ed options for their children, so one could imagine that having several nearby choices would be more appealing than moving to a smaller location with few higher ed choices.
MoonOrb,

So, OP could move to a college town instead of a large-ish metro area. For example, places like Charlottesville, VA.

KlangFool

Wellfleet
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by Wellfleet » Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:13 pm

I live in the area you are talking about. What is your estimated house budget? I think someone posted on Bogleheads at one point that the Interstate 495 area in Massachusetts is more of medium-cost than high cost area to live.

I like Massachusetts as much as anyone but I'd give Richmond, VA some consideration. 2 hours to DC colleges, 3 to research triangle schools in NC and excellent state university system.

PM me for further questions.

Afty
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by Afty » Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:39 pm

My wife and I lived in Cambridge/Somerville for 14 years, and moved to CA in our early 30s with a small child.

Re: #2: I love Boston, but don't move there for the weather. The winter is long and gloomy, not to mention extremely cold (are you excited about occasional cold days in May? big piles of gray slush surviving into June?). Shoveling/blowing snow all winter will exhaust you; some winters you will run out of places to put it. The summers are surprisingly hot and humid. There are basically only a couple of months all year with nice weather, in the spring and fall.

Re: #4: We've found it gets harder to make friends as you get older. It probably took us 2 years to build some good friendships after moving to CA.

srt7
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by srt7 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:28 pm

KlangFool wrote:OP,

I do not get it. You have a job that you can work from home and anywhere in the USA. And, you wife could probably earn 80K per year. So, why do you want to move to those HCOL areas? In fact, after factoring the cost of living and so on, your 200K of income probably is worth only 125K per year. Your wife's income will disappear and cease to be a factor.

In summary, you could move to a cooler climate and a smaller town with no impact to your cost of living. Avoid Denver, Seattle, Boston and so on.. Your 200K of income is only worth 125K. You and/or your wife will spend more time living in traffic versus living your life. Why bother?

In summary, I think your quality of life and free time will suffer by moving from Austin to those HCOL areas.

KlangFool
Your question is a valid one, KlangFool. It's not so much an attraction towards HCOL area but more towards areas with plenty of job opportunities as no job is guaranteed to last forever. Granted, living in Seattle/Boston/Denver is no guarantee to secure employment but the chances are better when compared to say a college town like College Station, TX. Just looking at it from different angles and future-proofing in case of a job loss.

I do agree that we're in a sweet spot here in Austin and there will be some suffering during moving and settling (which we're prepared for ...)
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc

srt7
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by srt7 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:30 pm

MoonOrb wrote:OP has said a primary consideration is a quality school system. These are more likely to be found in suburban areas of large-ish metro areas than smaller LCOL areas. OP and his wife also want nearby higher ed options for their children, so one could imagine that having several nearby choices would be more appealing than moving to a smaller location with few higher ed choices.
Yep. We picked both Seattle (UW, WSU etc.) and Boston (way too many to list) for these reasons.
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc

srt7
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by srt7 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:30 pm

Wellfleet wrote:I live in the area you are talking about. What is your estimated house budget? I think someone posted on Bogleheads at one point that the Interstate 495 area in Massachusetts is more of medium-cost than high cost area to live.

I like Massachusetts as much as anyone but I'd give Richmond, VA some consideration. 2 hours to DC colleges, 3 to research triangle schools in NC and excellent state university system.

PM me for further questions.
Thanks for the suggestion. Will look in to Richmond, VA.

Edited to include: Our house budget is around 500K.
Last edited by srt7 on Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc

srt7
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by srt7 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:38 pm

snowman wrote:We did similar move years ago, for the very same reasons you are considering yours – we could not take the heat and allergies anymore. We were outdoorsy people used to 4 season weather, and we were hiding inside for 6 months of a year. We all developed allergies and were on medication year-round. Our kids were elementary school age, and we knew that we had a very small window of opportunity to “escape”.

Our financial situation was similar to yours – 2 good incomes in the heat zone, going down to 1 self-employed and uncertain future. On paper, it made no sense! Our friends in the area questioned our sanity. We did it anyway, we were so miserable!

We briefly considered New England area and made a visit there. Colorado was the other choice, and it won hands down. Not that I want to advocate Denver to you – we have so many newcomers that housing and infrastructure cannot keep up. But unless you are dead-set on PNW or NE, CO is the place to be for active, outdoorsy people. There is always something to do outside – biking, hiking, skiing, fishing, rafting, camping, you name it. Sunshine is plentiful, the views are spectacular, quality of life is high, schools are excellent (dependent upon where you buy of course), and taxes relatively low. Add to that low humidity and no bugs, and it’s tough to beat.

For us, the move proved to be the best life choice we ever made. My advice to you is this: don’t be afraid of it, but do your due diligence! I think your estimated cost is on a low side; between real estate commission, freshening up existing house, travel and research costs, moving costs, etc. it will end up higher, so just keep that in mind. Since you work from home, it makes little financial sense to move to some of the most expensive (and congested) cities like Boston or Seattle, unless you want to be close to family.

Finally, one of the upsides of a move is that you can shop schools for your kids. We visited 3 times before moving, and each time my wife visited schools based on research done at home, talked to principals, sat on classes. Quality of schools – elementary through HS – was the most important criterion for us. We did not want to make a mistake there, everything else revolved around that. In the end, it all worked out just fine, and it will for you and your family as well. Good luck!
BIG Thanks for taking the time to share your experience! Very helpful and encouraging as we share the same challenges of heat and allergies. Denver in particular and CO in general has been recommended by so many here that it's definitely worth rethinking our stance on it. We visited the area twice over the years (most recently in 2014) in May and August. Perhaps we should visit in April (someone here said it snows in March & April) as well when there's snow.
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc

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Elsebet
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by Elsebet » Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:53 pm

MoonOrb wrote:I'd be hard pressed to recommend Seattle to anyone right now. It's not the same place it was even 7 or 8 years ago. If I wanted to move to the Pacific Northwest and could choose my location, I'd go for Portland. If you don't mind being in a suburb of Portland (and I guess suburbs are okay with you?) then consider Vancouver WA, where the cost of living will be a bit cheaper and you will at least avoid state income tax.

Seattle is crowded and getting more crowded and traffic is abominable. It was never the friendliest city to begin with and feels even less friendly the last several years as it expands. Thinking about picking up sticks and knowing no one and moving to Bothell just makes me plain sad.

If you could live anywhere, what about lower COL areas like Pittsburgh, maybe? Or if you're up for colder weather, how about Madison WI, or the Twin Cities? Suburbs of Philadelphia could be a possibility but I'd worry about the commute for your wife if she needs to work near Center City.
Have to agree, moved to the Seattle area in 2013 and can't wait to leave. The summers are way too cool and short, it's too crowded and I feel like the traffic gets worse every day. It's very expensive to live here but the salaries for average people are not much higher. I'm only making about 15k more than I was in Ohio and my house is 2.25 times as expensive as it was back there, and I got an absolute bargain on my fixer-upper.

One thing I need to add, if you want to own a house here it's difficult/expensive to get tradespeople in to do work. I would guess the high cost of living has something to do with it. Back in Ohio if I called people for roof repair estimates they'd be climbing over each other trying to get the work and be on site the next day. Here you can call many companies and they won't even come out for an estimate or have a months-long waiting list. I've been waiting for my well driller for months now. When we wanted to put in hardwood floors into a few rooms back in 2014, we contacted 10 companies, only 2 called back, and only 1 bid on it and it was a $5,000 job. The work ethic is very different here.

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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:02 pm

I live in Hopkinton. Feel free to PM me.

Austin's property tax rate is nearly double Hopkinton, but the average house is much lower cost in Austin, so probably a cheaper yearly bill. Sales tax with county attachment in Austin 8.25% (max) where towns/cities in Mass can add a 3/4% meals tax but otherwise sales tax is 6.25% and 0% on non-restaurant food, medicine and clothing.

The tech center of New England in the 60's was inside of 128. It's now along 495 and 93. I cover tech customers for a living. Simplisafe and Sonos are in Boston (capturing top college students at graduation). Everyone else is 30 miles out. Commutes in towards Boston are horrible. Hopkinton to Waltham is an hour (I did that for 8 years). But Hopkinton to Merrimack, NH (55 miles) is easily less than an hour (I did that for 7 years).

House lots here tend to be bigger than the Bay or Dallas or Phoenix. An acre or 2 is pretty common. Hopkinton will be building a new elementary school but of course with prop 2 1/2, taxes can't rise much without a town vote to fund a specific project.

And as I've talked about in the past, snow is fun. We had almost none this year, though.
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HomerJ
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by HomerJ » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:11 pm

I cannot imagine moving to Boston from Austin. Completely different climate. Almost exact opposites.

Why not just move a little further north instead of all the way?

Plus housing the Mid-west is much much much, very much, cheaper than Boston. Maybe even cheaper than Austin (my understanding is that Austin used to be cheap like the Mid-west, but prices have moved up in the past decade).

Enjoy all four moderate seasons instead of moving from hot most of the time to cold most of the time.

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HomerJ
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by HomerJ » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:12 pm

KlangFool wrote:OP,

I do not get it. You have a job that you can work from home and anywhere in the USA. And, you wife could probably earn 80K per year. So, why do you want to move to those HCOL areas? In fact, after factoring the cost of living and so on, your 200K of income probably is worth only 125K per year. Your wife's income will disappear and cease to be a factor.

In summary, you could move to a cooler climate and a smaller town with no impact to your cost of living. Avoid Denver, Seattle, Boston and so on.. Your 200K of income is only worth 125K. You and/or your wife will spend more time living in traffic versus living your life. Why bother?

In summary, I think your quality of life and free time will suffer by moving from Austin to those HCOL areas.

KlangFool
I agree... Working from home gives the OP great freedom, and if they move to a HCOL area for the wife to find a job, her entire salary will just be sucked up into more expensive housing.

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yukonjack
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by yukonjack » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:28 pm

I've been in the Denver metro area for about 26 years and it has many pluses that have been mentioned in several posts. As far as public schools go DPS (Denver schools) are average at best. They suffer from many of the maladies present in urban schools. As far as the metro schools go Cherry Creek and Boulder schools are considered the best. You can also find good schools in Jefferson county. Your $500k housing budget will go much further in Denver than Seattle or Boston but it will only be slightly above an average dwelling. For the last 5 or so years Denver has been at the top in home price increases and builders cannot keep up with demand.

WildBill
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by WildBill » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:41 pm

Howdy

I lived in Houston and I definitely get it about the summers. Don't blame you for wanting to move.

In the case of Boston you are trading a moderate cost of living and lousy summers (Austin) for very lousy winters and a high cost of living. I spend a lot of time in Cambridge and winters suck and you underestimate the cost of living since you have low housing costs in Austin. Since you have a choice this is not one I would make.

Seattle - High cost of living and going up, esp. housing. Weather is gray and rainy but the area is beautiful and if you are up for outdoor activities in overcast/drizzle, that is OK.

Boulder is a good choice also, maybe better than the other two.

I would add the Research Triangle, since it seems to fit all of your criteria. Decent weather, summers hot and humid but not like Texas, nice mild winters, spring and fall great. Moderate COL, good cultural amenities due to state capital (Raleigh) and all of the universities in the area. Excellent universities - NCSU, Duke, UNC - CH and a bunch of others. Lots of tech jobs due to RTI.

Good luck

W B
"Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way." Virgil, The Aeneid

jodydavis
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Re: Advice on relocation or staying put

Post by jodydavis » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:54 pm

I grew up in Seattle (17 years) and currently live just outside Boston (23 years now). Both are great places to live, with lots of interesting restaurants, culture, access to outdoors, growing economies, etc. Expensive, yes, but assuming you are willing to foot the bill, it then comes down to a matter of preference, as the responses you are getting on this list show.

Weatherwise, which do you dislike more: cold and snow, or rain and overcast skies? If you like winter sports and don't mind snow, then Boston is a good choice. If you prefer milder temperatures and don't mind drizzle and overcast skies, Seattle would be better. Summers in Seattle are definitely nicer (less humid, beautiful), but Boston summers are fine, if a bit more humid.

Natural environment - you can get out into nature pretty quickly from both places, but the environment is very different. Seattle is more ruggedly beautiful, with big mountains, water everywhere. Boston and the surroundings are generally tamer (e.g. Cape Cod, Vermont/NH/Maine, etc.), though still quite lovely.

Culture - haven't seen this mentioned yet, but the culture of the two places is pretty different. Seattle is more laid back (even though it has become less so in recent years). Boston is more stereotypically East Coast - less laid back, more intense, more work-oriented. Something to take into account, as you're moving from Austin.

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