Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

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coupleofcents
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Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by coupleofcents » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:11 pm

Background:
-married couple both 34 years old, children 2-1/2yr and 3 months
- wife stay at home, we plan to home school
- I work in privately owned large corp company
- salary 100-120K depending on bonus with additional 20-35K per year added to retirement plan by employer

1. We moved from North Orange County 4 years ago to Atlanta to seek lower COL and kick start FIRE goals. I stayed with the same company when moving to Atlanta. We both like many aspects of Atlanta and the affordability (bought a family home for 268K), but now with 2 kids wife wants to move back to Orange County to be close to family again where most of her immediate family lives. I could potentially transfer back to the same company in SoCal but when I left they said you can only transfer once. I am not open to spending over half million dollars for a family home in socal so we would become renters for the long term.

2. 2nd option is Vancouver, WA, where wife's extended family lives and younger sister. I would need to find a new job. Vancouver is more affordable so we could buy a house in the future there. My parents would also move to Vancouver, WA in 2-3 years when they retire if we move there. However, they are not open to SoCal because it is not affordable for them. They currently work overseas.

3rd option: stay in ATL but wife is 95% sure she does not want to stay in GA long term. She is open to staying a few more years.

Question:

What decision would you make and why?
Last edited by coupleofcents on Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Teague
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by Teague » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:35 pm

3 is out - your wife does not want to stay there.

2- not enough info - how important is it that your parents live near you?

1- Wife wants to move there. Happy wife and all that. You will need to inquire if you can transfer again, if for no other reason than to tell your wife that you really tried.
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ohai
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by ohai » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:40 pm

I'd move to Orange County and just make more money somehow.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:46 pm

I think you and your wife need to deal with reality.

She doesn't want to stay in ATL, but you can't afford the same lifestyle in CA. Is she willing to go to work full time to be in CA? Or is she ok with the thought that you'll never own a home again?

How about this? Trips to CA for visits. Trips to you by her relatives for visits.
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Watty
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by Watty » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:53 pm

coupleofcents wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:11 pm
3rd option: stay in ATL but wife is 95% sure she does not want to stay in GA long term.
I moved to Atlanta from Portland Or when I was in my late 40's during a company merger when I took a corporate relocation package. In retrospect it was a good choice even though there were some pros and cons.

I had a kid in middle school and the general plan was that we would stay in Atlanta until I retired then move somewhere else. We even had a map where we crossed off states where were would not move to.

It turned out that my son went to college here and got married and we now have two grandkids and they all live about ten minutes from us. That pretty much took the idea of moving off the table since there is no way that we would want to live far from them. A silver lining is that Georgia has great tax laws for retirees.

If you don't move soon you may run into the same situation since there is a good chance that your kids will end up settling down near where they go to middle and high school.
coupleofcents wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:11 pm
2. 2nd option is Vancouver, WA,.....
Have you ever lived in the Pacific Northwest? In a lot of ways it is fantastic but the winters are long and gray and some people who move there find that the winters are too much for them and a small percentage of people have a very real problem with depression because of the lack of sunlight.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-con ... c-20364651

Portland Oregon is far enough north that it gets about an hour less sunlight on the shortest day of the year than San Francisco. In the winter it is often overcast so that there is virtually no twilight so that when the sun sets at 4:30 pm it is dark. If you work typical business hours there will be a couple of weeks in the winter when you will drive to and from work in the dark. In the summer you have the opposite and you will get additional hours of light and it may not get dark until after 10:00 PM which gives you lots of time to go out and do outdoor activities in the evening after work. A downside is that can make getting a grade school kid to go to sleep long before sunset difficult.

The rain is not as bad as you might think since it is mainly just a mist and I have even gone out intentionally hiking on a misty day which can be neat if you are dressed for it. It is the overcast that can be a problem.

There have been a number of threads about the Pacific Northwest you can look up but it is not uncommon for people to move there then leave after a few years because they cannot take the winters.

I don't want to paint too bleak a picture since there are also a lot of really nice days and the summers and early fall are usually wonderful.

If you move there you might rent for a year or two before you buy a house just to make sure that you will not want to move after a few years.

Your parents could also have a hard time adjusting to the Northwest.

It is hard to look at that far but home prices have gone up a lot in the Northwest and when your kids are grown they may have a hard time being able to afford to buy a house in Vancouver Wa. My son 30 now and he and all of his friends have had not problem with being able to afford to buy nice homes here in Atlanta. We have some friends that have a kid that was very dyslic and barely graduated from high school. At one point he was working in a chain muffler shop which is a good honest job but even with his income he was able to afford to buy a small older home in a marginal but not terrible area.

You might want to consider other places too, some college towns have a lot going for them especially if they are near a large city.

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tyrion
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by tyrion » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:06 pm

Having lived in the Pacific Northwest and SoCal (San Diego), I would pick Vancouver. It's kind of the middle ground for you. Near some family, on the west coast, presumably affordable.

But I would have an honest talk with your wife first. How much is she willing to give up to go back to Orange County, in terms of lifestyle? I remember having 2 little kids and it was tough. I'm sure she would love the help and companionship nearby family provides. But the kids won't be this age forever.

RollTide31457
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by RollTide31457 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:36 pm

Georgia. Very easy decision. Much higher quality life there.

quantAndHold
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by quantAndHold » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:38 pm

Have you ever lived in the PNW? Like, through an entire winter? It’s different. Some people are okay with it, some aren’t.

MathIsMyWayr
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by MathIsMyWayr » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:44 pm

Familiar with SoCal, NoCal, Northeast, and Pacific NW. People adapt wherever they go. If financial matters are resolved, family matters trump over most of the other factors.

rj342
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by rj342 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:46 pm

I would second the motion of staying put in ATL and visiting more -- since ATL is a major hub flights to LAX and maybe even John Wayne in OC are nonstop.

Related to winter darkness in the NW. Just came back from vacation 2wks in Alaska. Very large number of workers we encountered only up there in summers for the tourist season. Most said the winter darkness was a bigger problem than the cold (granted not as bad as OR/WA).

desiderium
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by desiderium » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:55 pm

Vancouver

Not particularly exciting, but Portland a fun city and is easily accessible. Vancouver is not far from mountains and beaches. Unbearable traffic is mostly confined to the Portland side and river bridges.

Washington has no income tax and Oregon no sales tax. No better location for tax arbitrage than Vancouver.

Oregon has defunded schools for years, while Washington has pumped billions into satisfying its constitutional responsibility (and Supreme Court mandate) to fully fund K-12 education.

Topic Author
coupleofcents
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by coupleofcents » Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:03 pm

Great responses so far. Obviously we've thought a lot about this. I thought I might get varied responses but this all helps.

@Teague: it is important to live near my parents but more important for my wife to be near her family I think.
@Jack FFR1846: we have been visiting 2x per year for to her family and they come out 1 time/year but that's still not enough I think for her
@Tyrion and others: Haven't lived in PNW but very aware of weather situation and have visited many times but never lived through a winter. This is the biggest negative for Vancouver. Vancouver does seem like the perfect middle ground and her immediate family would visit even more since she has loads of other relatives there too.

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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by DesertDiva » Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:05 pm

I like visiting the PNW in the summer... it's great if/when the sun is shining. Winter can be dismal. One advantage to living in Washington State is that there is no personal state income tax, which may or may not be a factor in your decision.

You already know about traffic and weather conditions in CA and GA. Your decision should be based on your priorities.

What is important to you? Cost of living? Culture? Outdoor activities? Proximity to airports? Weather? How often would your wife (realistically) want to spend time with relatives? Will they still be there if you move to Orange County or are they considering a move elsewhere (this does happen)?

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coupleofcents
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by coupleofcents » Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:07 pm

Watty wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:53 pm
coupleofcents wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:11 pm
3rd option: stay in ATL but wife is 95% sure she does not want to stay in GA long term.
I moved to Atlanta from Portland Or when I was in my late 40's during a company merger when I took a corporate relocation package. In retrospect it was a good choice even though there were some pros and cons.

I had a kid in middle school and the general plan was that we would stay in Atlanta until I retired then move somewhere else. We even had a map where we crossed off states where were would not move to.

It turned out that my son went to college here and got married and we now have two grandkids and they all live about ten minutes from us. That pretty much took the idea of moving off the table since there is no way that we would want to live far from them. A silver lining is that Georgia has great tax laws for retirees.

If you don't move soon you may run into the same situation since there is a good chance that your kids will end up settling down near where they go to middle and high school.
coupleofcents wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:11 pm
2. 2nd option is Vancouver, WA,.....
Have you ever lived in the Pacific Northwest? In a lot of ways it is fantastic but the winters are long and gray and some people who move there find that the winters are too much for them and a small percentage of people have a very real problem with depression because of the lack of sunlight.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-con ... c-20364651

Portland Oregon is far enough north that it gets about an hour less sunlight on the shortest day of the year than San Francisco. In the winter it is often overcast so that there is virtually no twilight so that when the sun sets at 4:30 pm it is dark. If you work typical business hours there will be a couple of weeks in the winter when you will drive to and from work in the dark. In the summer you have the opposite and you will get additional hours of light and it may not get dark until after 10:00 PM which gives you lots of time to go out and do outdoor activities in the evening after work. A downside is that can make getting a grade school kid to go to sleep long before sunset difficult.

The rain is not as bad as you might think since it is mainly just a mist and I have even gone out intentionally hiking on a misty day which can be neat if you are dressed for it. It is the overcast that can be a problem.

There have been a number of threads about the Pacific Northwest you can look up but it is not uncommon for people to move there then leave after a few years because they cannot take the winters.

I don't want to paint too bleak a picture since there are also a lot of really nice days and the summers and early fall are usually wonderful.

If you move there you might rent for a year or two before you buy a house just to make sure that you will not want to move after a few years.

Your parents could also have a hard time adjusting to the Northwest.

It is hard to look at that far but home prices have gone up a lot in the Northwest and when your kids are grown they may have a hard time being able to afford to buy a house in Vancouver Wa. My son 30 now and he and all of his friends have had not problem with being able to afford to buy nice homes here in Atlanta. We have some friends that have a kid that was very dyslic and barely graduated from high school. At one point he was working in a chain muffler shop which is a good honest job but even with his income he was able to afford to buy a small older home in a marginal but not terrible area.

You might want to consider other places too, some college towns have a lot going for them especially if they are near a large city.
Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I knew you would chime in because you are a local GA resident and always comment on Atlanta stuff. Hadn't thought about when the kids actually grow up. I am a long term strategic think but my wife makes a good point that the living happens now and she feels there is a lot of value to be near family. If Vancouver didn't have the weather issue, I think it would be an easy choice as it's a good compromise. And I really don't want to move there and then in a few years have to move again.

Atlanta on paper makes a lot of sense and we have a good lifestyle here but my wife's heart is not in it. Honestly this has been such a difficult thing to think about since I'm more strategic and she is more heart-felt... If we move back to Socal then I will probably keep my house and rent it out.

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wander
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by wander » Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:47 pm

You have already got a family of your own. Since you are the only source of income, whatever decision you make, your family should be on top. This is a financial forum so I would pick the option that best provides financial mean which is to stay in GA. Closer to family is nice, but if you lose your job or you cannot make enough money to live in Orange County, not much family can do for you as they also have to take care of themselves.

decapod10
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by decapod10 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:52 pm

wander wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:47 pm
You have already got a family of your own. Since you are the only source of income, whatever decision you make, your family should be on top. This is a financial forum so I would pick the option that best provides financial mean which is to stay in GA. Closer to family is nice, but if you lose your job or you cannot make enough money to live in Orange County, not much family can do for you as they also have to take care of themselves.
Well, one major perk to having family nearby is help with childcare (if they are willing of course). That can be worth a lot financially in certain cases.

huzen
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by huzen » Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:27 pm

Vancouver seems like a good solution for your money and family considerations.

The weather is lovely, just don't buy a house that has tall trees shading it (and dumping debris on your roof) and plan a vacation to Hawaii or the southwest in Jan/Feb.

I wouldn't recommend living in Vancouver and working in Portland due to traffic during rush hours.

Vancouver is a great place to homeschool! Let me know if you want more info on laws, groups, resources, etc.

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Watty
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by Watty » Tue Jun 18, 2019 4:22 pm

coupleofcents wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:07 pm
If Vancouver didn't have the weather issue, I think it would be an easy choice as it's a good compromise.
The PNW has a reputation for bad weather in part because when Lewis and Clark first went to the Pacific Northwest the spend the winter on the Oregon coast. It was especially miserable and it was an El Nino year which makes it much wetter than normal. The Oregon coast has a much different climate than the Portland/Vancouver area and I have seen days when it was 60 degrees on the coast but just ten miles inland it was 90 degrees, that is not an exaggeration. Anyway their first reports gave the Pacific Northwest a worse reputation than it deserves and it has never really shaken that off. If they had spend that winter in the Portland area in an average year they would have reported a much milder climate.

Some winters will be long and gray and El Nino years will be worse than average and you can even have a couple of El Nino years in a row so I don't want to paint an excessively rosy picture since even in a good year there will be long gray spells.

Big Dog
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by Big Dog » Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:01 pm

left The OC four years ago? Good luck finding comparable housing to what you had. Not gonna happen unless you have a lot of cash stashed in the bank that you want to use for a downpayment. Check out current housing prices in your old stomping grounds on something like zillion or redfin or other online RE search engine. Renting long term is not a good solution, as housing prices will only continue to increase. (One of the benefits of a highly regulated state -- new housing stock continues to be limited, so prices rise.)

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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by stoptothink » Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:19 pm

Big Dog wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:01 pm
left The OC four years ago? Good luck finding comparable housing to what you had. Not gonna happen unless you have a lot of cash stashed in the bank that you want to use for a downpayment. Check out current housing prices in your old stomping grounds on something like zillion or redfin or other online RE search engine. Renting long term is not a good solution, as housing prices will only continue to increase. (One of the benefits of a highly regulated state -- new housing stock continues to be limited, so prices rise.)
Unless this transfer comes with a significant compensation increase, it will require significant lifestyle changes. I don't know much about Vancouver, WA, but N. Orange County?...maybe you should sit down with the wife and run the numbers.

TheMadEph
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by TheMadEph » Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:32 pm

I vote with the majority for Vancouver, WA. Great tax arbitrage, PNW winters are dark it is true, but Hawaii is "close" (or at least easy).
Plus, much better location for mitigating climate change effects than Georgia or California. Now the earthquake on the other hand.....
If you/spouse have family there, I would highly recommend it compared to your other options.
Your parents should move over to Tri-Cities/Walla Walla, and then in the winter you can drive east to the sun and enjoy some good wine as a break from the sometimes dreary Vancouver/Portland weather.

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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:12 pm

I have lived in Atlanta and for me I am with your wife in that happiness is Atlanta, Georgia in the rear view mirror. Unfortunately while going to school in Atlanta I married a girl who loves Atlanta. So she has suffered in Florida with me for the last 40 years! So I have the opposite problem you do, the wife loves Atlanta!

I finally bought her a dream house in Florida and that has helped with the happiness in Florida issue.

WardnerMan
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by WardnerMan » Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:07 pm

Happy wife, happy life.

Moved from Seattle area to just east of Vancouver one year ago. Last year the weather was very good compared to all my years in the Seattle area. Retired, but helping wife develop a business. 22 minutes to Portland airport via 205. Have view of Mt Hood and Columbia River. Many sites to see in the Columbia Gorge.

Try to avoid living near noisy freeways.

Tri-Cities in Washington has gruesome overcasts in the winter; hot in summer.

IMO
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by IMO » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:26 am

If you regularly read this forum, apparently financially renting long term is better than buying per many posters. So I guess that shouldn't be a detriment to moving back to Orange County. Should also allow you to look for something with a short commute to avoid the traffic to some extent.

Living away from family has many significant drawbacks, so I can understand the desire to make a move that puts one closer to family. Especially important as the parents age.

You don't have a job in Vancouver, WA but you have the ability to transfer back to Orange County and keep your job. Why not take that route for a couple years and move back to Orange County?. In the meantime, keep the radar going for jobs in Vancouver. If something ideal comes up in Vancouver, then you can make that move. If you get rid of excessive stuff on the 1st move, the 2nd move should be less stressful. That would also allow time to be near family while kids are still young (once they get to early/mid teens typically the kids don't care so much as about visiting grandparents/cousins, etc). Besides, even if you kept same job and wanted to transfer in the future somewhere else, I'm sure that is in reality negotiable (vs saying your quitting -- presuming they want to keep you).

As far as quality of living, that is very personal. What are the important things you and the family like to do for recreation/interests? I grew up in SoCal and lived in Orange County. Asides from the Orange County traffic (and smog but it's much better) the recreation activities that my family likes would be best suited for there, next would be Vancouver and very very last would be Atlanta. However, many people seem to speak very highly of Atlanta, but having been there many times, it just never worked for me. Be careful about the Pacific Northwest weather having lived in sunny SoCal. Some are okay with it, but again what's your personal take (or the parents potentially moving there in future). For me I'd probably end up with SAD (and we know someone now in WA dealing with this). If I moved up to the Pacific Northwest, I'd be looking at something like Bend, OR for the weather/activities (would that be a plausible compromise for family/work possibility??).

srt7
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by srt7 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:58 am

OP,

You don't mention what YOU want. I suppose that should be a higher priority considering you are the sole breadwinner. If you are unhappy where you live or work then you cannot give your best and earn to your full potential. And that is of no help to your family. Money isn't everything but it is a BIG thing to run a house. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. In those lines also think about worst case scenarios like job loss (how easy it is to find another job in your occupation for the same compensation, how many months can you get by with your savings etc.)

My suggestion would be to forget a third city (Vancouver in your case). Either stay put in ATL and fly often to visit family in Orange County or move there with a full (and I really mean thorough) understanding of what it entails (no home ownership, VHCOL so lesser savings etc.).

I am with you about making this your final voluntary move for a long time.

Good luck!
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc

Valuethinker
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:15 am

I think the job and job opportunities are really important.

Atlanta and OC win on this basis?

Yes, life is for living, but most of us can't choose where we live. We live where the jobs are.

truenorth418
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by truenorth418 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:25 am

What is this obsession with "living near family"?

1) you have your own family now - wife, 2 kids. Everyone else is now just "extended family"
2) Atlanta has a major international airport - you can fly anywhere to visit your extended family or whoever you want, on your own timetable
3) How about your extended family comes out and visits you once in a while?

Come to think of it, if you meant that much to your extended family, they would be investigating ways to spend more time with you in Atlanta... or maybe even relocating to Atlanta to be close to you. Has any of your extended family considered that?

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coupleofcents
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by coupleofcents » Wed Jun 19, 2019 11:44 am

Big Dog wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:01 pm
left The OC four years ago? Good luck finding comparable housing to what you had. Not gonna happen unless you have a lot of cash stashed in the bank that you want to use for a downpayment. Check out current housing prices in your old stomping grounds on something like zillion or redfin or other online RE search engine. Renting long term is not a good solution, as housing prices will only continue to increase. (One of the benefits of a highly regulated state -- new housing stock continues to be limited, so prices rise.)
Yeah, I know. I already told my wife we won't be buying a house again in Socal unless we have another 2008 crash type crash. We were lucky to buy a shortsale townhome in 2012 in Socal and sell in 2015 with nearly a 200% gain.

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coupleofcents
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by coupleofcents » Wed Jun 19, 2019 11:46 am

truenorth418 wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:25 am
What is this obsession with "living near family"?

1) you have your own family now - wife, 2 kids. Everyone else is now just "extended family"
2) Atlanta has a major international airport - you can fly anywhere to visit your extended family or whoever you want, on your own timetable
3) How about your extended family comes out and visits you once in a while?

Come to think of it, if you meant that much to your extended family, they would be investigating ways to spend more time with you in Atlanta... or maybe even relocating to Atlanta to be close to you. Has any of your extended family considered that?
Haha! We do visit and family visits but my wife's family are a tight knit ethnic community and very close. 3 times a year is not the same as getting together every weekend. We also have nieces and nephews who love our kids.

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coupleofcents
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by coupleofcents » Wed Jun 19, 2019 11:48 am

srt7 wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:58 am
OP,

You don't mention what YOU want. I suppose that should be a higher priority considering you are the sole breadwinner. If you are unhappy where you live or work then you cannot give your best and earn to your full potential. And that is of no help to your family. Money isn't everything but it is a BIG thing to run a house. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. In those lines also think about worst case scenarios like job loss (how easy it is to find another job in your occupation for the same compensation, how many months can you get by with your savings etc.)

My suggestion would be to forget a third city (Vancouver in your case). Either stay put in ATL and fly often to visit family in Orange County or move there with a full (and I really mean thorough) understanding of what it entails (no home ownership, VHCOL so lesser savings etc.).

I am with you about making this your final voluntary move for a long time.

Good luck!

Good points. I'd prefer to stay in ATL or Vancouver probably. My wife has made sacrifices already earlier on by moving over seas for a few years since I wanted to try something different.

We have a very healthy emergency fund of at least 6 months, with option to stretch up to 2 years if we had to take money from a fund we have for our next home down payment.

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coupleofcents
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by coupleofcents » Wed Jun 19, 2019 11:51 am

IMO wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:26 am
If you regularly read this forum, apparently financially renting long term is better than buying per many posters. So I guess that shouldn't be a detriment to moving back to Orange County. Should also allow you to look for something with a short commute to avoid the traffic to some extent.

Living away from family has many significant drawbacks, so I can understand the desire to make a move that puts one closer to family. Especially important as the parents age.

You don't have a job in Vancouver, WA but you have the ability to transfer back to Orange County and keep your job. Why not take that route for a couple years and move back to Orange County?. In the meantime, keep the radar going for jobs in Vancouver. If something ideal comes up in Vancouver, then you can make that move. If you get rid of excessive stuff on the 1st move, the 2nd move should be less stressful. That would also allow time to be near family while kids are still young (once they get to early/mid teens typically the kids don't care so much as about visiting grandparents/cousins, etc). Besides, even if you kept same job and wanted to transfer in the future somewhere else, I'm sure that is in reality negotiable (vs saying your quitting -- presuming they want to keep you).

As far as quality of living, that is very personal. What are the important things you and the family like to do for recreation/interests? I grew up in SoCal and lived in Orange County. Asides from the Orange County traffic (and smog but it's much better) the recreation activities that my family likes would be best suited for there, next would be Vancouver and very very last would be Atlanta. However, many people seem to speak very highly of Atlanta, but having been there many times, it just never worked for me. Be careful about the Pacific Northwest weather having lived in sunny SoCal. Some are okay with it, but again what's your personal take (or the parents potentially moving there in future). For me I'd probably end up with SAD (and we know someone now in WA dealing with this). If I moved up to the Pacific Northwest, I'd be looking at something like Bend, OR for the weather/activities (would that be a plausible compromise for family/work possibility??).
Thanks for your input. I have a feeling if we moved back to Orange County we would be there until the kids are grown up and out of the house. Change is difficult for my wife. I'm pretty adaptable so I feel confident I could make Vancouver work if we need to. I've made Atlanta work for me, but with the key aspect of being on different coasts from my wife's family being the limiting factor.

megabad
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by megabad » Wed Jun 19, 2019 11:55 am

coupleofcents wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:11 pm
What decision would you make and why?
Wherever my family would be better off. Living in Atlanta sounds like the most expensive option once you add in the divorce costs ( :D ) so that is out for me. Otherwise, I would just see what kind of pay increase I could get by moving to Orange County vs Vancouver. If you are in tech, I would be in CA as the pay is way out of whack there vs. just about anywhere else. Anything else, I think it just depends on the available job offers. I suppose Orange County would be the lowest risk since you have a job, as long as your family is willing to make some sacrifices vs living the Atlanta area. I guess my decision would depend primarily on:

1) Spouse preference
2) Do I like current job?
3) Money

psteinx
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by psteinx » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:25 pm

coupleofcents wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:07 pm
I am a long term strategic think but my wife makes a good point that the living happens now and she feels there is a lot of value to be near family.
I like the idea that "the living happens now".

Your kids are quite young - 2.5 years and 3 months. The family tug is probably stronger for your wife (and her parents) now than it was a few years ago. The ability of the grandparents to help out, and just to emotionally bond, should not be underestimated.

Both Atlanta and Orange County seem like reasonably appealing places to me, ignoring O.C. COL. You'll have to do the math on economic sacrifices of O.C. versus Atlanta. I would encourage both you and your wife to pencil and paper out how your life would change with an O.C. move - economic sacrifices, relationship and lifestyle changes, and so on.

I don't really see the appeal of Vancouver, WA, as it seems like the family connections there are somewhat more tenuous, and you don't have personal history there (I think). It might be helpful to respondents here if you were a little clearer, generally. Do your parents live in/near OC? Her parents? How many siblings do you have and where do they live? Do you still have friends in OC (or would old friendships likely bounce back easily)? Etc.

Not sure I'd want to go from being a homeowner to being a renter. Would be worth considering other sacrifices, if you nonetheless chose to move to OC. (Longer commute, smaller house/condo, wife works, etc.).

Consider the school situation too. Your oldest is only 2.5, so perhaps this has not been at the forefront of your thinking yet, but it may be, soon-ish...

EDIT - And of course, if a move would endanger your job security, consider how strong your skills are in the marketplace and whether you could relatively easily find a new job at better/worse/similar levels of compensation, satisfaction, etc.
Last edited by psteinx on Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mbres60
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by mbres60 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:41 pm

We moved 8=9 hour drive away from family. Our kids did not have the same kind of relationship with grandparents that those who live near them do. Seeing them a few times a year is not the same thing as seeing them every couple of weeks or having the grandparents watch the kids or just take them out to do things. Right now we live a mile from one child who has a small child. We see them often. Other child is 5 1/2 hour drive away. It is no where near the same thing.

Therefore, I say if you can afford to live in SoCal... do it.

Isabelle77
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by Isabelle77 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:05 pm

Officially moved from just east of Vancouver yesterday. We were there for a decade and loved it.

Here’s the stickler though, my husband needed to find a new job and could not in the Portland area. And living in Vancouver you don’t really want to work in Portland because of the income tax and the horrific bridge traffic. High paying jobs are difficult to find depending on your field.

So we’re back on the east coast but if you do it, Vancouver is great. Camas is even better. :wink:

TallBoy29er
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by TallBoy29er » Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:12 pm

RollTide31457 wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:36 pm
Georgia. Very easy decision. Much higher quality life there.
Opposite thought here. Atlanta has become gridlocked and stifling. Vancouver WA sounds terrific.

Different strokes.

miles monroe
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by miles monroe » Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:16 pm

lol, i know what clark howard would say if you asked him about moving to the left coast and renting out your atlanta house...

good luck with your decision.

crystalbank
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by crystalbank » Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:40 pm

I lived in both SoCal in the past, moved to Vancouver WA (saved a lot of money) and then decided to move back to SoCal again. End of the day, living closer to family and friends beats everything especially if you can afford the high costs of SoCal.

Vancouver WA is not bad, especially bordering Portland OR. Lots of outdoor activities to do but the winters are brutal especially if you're used to SoCal.

quantAndHold
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by quantAndHold » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:15 pm

Vancouver is not a bad place, if you can handle the winters, but the job market there is not nearly as large or diverse as either Orange County or Atlanta.

There are places in Southern California that are within “Sunday visit” range of Orange County, that are much less expensive than Orange County. What about someplace in Riverside or San Bernardino counties?

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G12
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by G12 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:55 pm

TallBoy29er wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:12 pm
RollTide31457 wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:36 pm
Georgia. Very easy decision. Much higher quality life there.
Opposite thought here. Atlanta has become gridlocked and stifling. Vancouver WA sounds terrific.

Different strokes.
Yeah, my wife and I have lived in ATL since 1989 and we are bolting in April or May, 2020. No viable medium to longer term plan to improve traffic, high percentage of bad or crazy drivers, no law enforcement on the roads, etc. I am about 10 miles NW of downtown ATL and loved our small city until high density development and a multitude of new traffic lights have been added on ATL RD which has significantly altered primary traffic commutes. OP has kids, ATL is one of the worst allergy centers in the US, just ask people that move here that have never had allergies and 3 - 5 years later that changes. Ongoing legal water wars with FL and AL, etc. Housing is reasonable, but many public schools are not so hot, either. I love Portland as a multi-time visitor, but wouldn't live there due to taxes and congestion, and have been to OC numerous times and unless I had probably $7M+ NW or very high paying secure job I would pass. Vancouver would be be my choice, but no idea about schools and others have said 6-figure salaries may be hard to come by. Love the Columbia river area, Astoria east to the CR gorge area, have summited Mt St Helens, many outdoor recreational opps. OP has a challenging situation, default would be to stay put, but if relatives are willing to move to WA it could be a much tougher decision.

engin33r
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by engin33r » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:52 pm

I moved my family from San Jose, CA to a suburb north of Atlanta. Been here 3 years so far, no regrets. Beats the heck out of Silicon Valley in every category except weather. Very nice neighborhoods, good schools where I am, lots of tech jobs, extremely affordable. By the way, there's traffic everywhere. Atlanta is bad but not as bad as Silicon Valley or LA. I'm pretty sure traffic around every major metro is abysmal, especially when we're looking back at how things used to be 20+ years ago.

BigChubbyCakes
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by BigChubbyCakes » Thu Jun 20, 2019 12:56 am

quantAndHold wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:15 pm
Vancouver is not a bad place, if you can handle the winters, but the job market there is not nearly as large or diverse as either Orange County or Atlanta.

There are places in Southern California that are within “Sunday visit” range of Orange County, that are much less expensive than Orange County. What about someplace in Riverside or San Bernardino counties?
Riverside or San Bernardino County would be awful assuming that OP's job is on the west side. I lived in Anaheim Hills and just seeing those miserable commuters on the 91E already takes years off MY life.

leftcoaster
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by leftcoaster » Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:40 am

One advantage to being close to family is that vacations can be fun trips and not an exercise in filial obligations.

Less of an issue if relations live in a fun place though.

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coupleofcents
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by coupleofcents » Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:43 am

psteinx wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:25 pm
coupleofcents wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:07 pm
I am a long term strategic think but my wife makes a good point that the living happens now and she feels there is a lot of value to be near family.
I like the idea that "the living happens now".

Your kids are quite young - 2.5 years and 3 months. The family tug is probably stronger for your wife (and her parents) now than it was a few years ago. The ability of the grandparents to help out, and just to emotionally bond, should not be underestimated.

Both Atlanta and Orange County seem like reasonably appealing places to me, ignoring O.C. COL. You'll have to do the math on economic sacrifices of O.C. versus Atlanta. I would encourage both you and your wife to pencil and paper out how your life would change with an O.C. move - economic sacrifices, relationship and lifestyle changes, and so on.

I don't really see the appeal of Vancouver, WA, as it seems like the family connections there are somewhat more tenuous, and you don't have personal history there (I think). It might be helpful to respondents here if you were a little clearer, generally. Do your parents live in/near OC? Her parents? How many siblings do you have and where do they live? Do you still have friends in OC (or would old friendships likely bounce back easily)? Etc.

Not sure I'd want to go from being a homeowner to being a renter. Would be worth considering other sacrifices, if you nonetheless chose to move to OC. (Longer commute, smaller house/condo, wife works, etc.).

Consider the school situation too. Your oldest is only 2.5, so perhaps this has not been at the forefront of your thinking yet, but it may be, soon-ish...

EDIT - And of course, if a move would endanger your job security, consider how strong your skills are in the marketplace and whether you could relatively easily find a new job at better/worse/similar levels of compensation, satisfaction, etc.
Thanks for your thoughtful response. Lot's of details here for each location and I didn't want to write a super long post that would discourage people from reading. You're right Vancouver is the unknown. Extended family and my wife's younger sister are there, while OC has my wif'es parents and older sister and their kids who are great cousins to my kids, so the OC family is a much stronger pull.

We started to map out on paper budgeting. Moving back to OC will definitely be a step down financially with renting much more expensive than our mortgage in ATL, and corresponding savings will plummet too. I'm also afraid of having to take a pay cut and move to CA if I can't transfer back to the same company in California since I'm overpaid for what I do now compared to other companies pay for similar positions.

Topic Author
coupleofcents
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by coupleofcents » Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:45 am

G12 wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:55 pm
TallBoy29er wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:12 pm
RollTide31457 wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:36 pm
Georgia. Very easy decision. Much higher quality life there.
Opposite thought here. Atlanta has become gridlocked and stifling. Vancouver WA sounds terrific.

Different strokes.
Yeah, my wife and I have lived in ATL since 1989 and we are bolting in April or May, 2020. No viable medium to longer term plan to improve traffic, high percentage of bad or crazy drivers, no law enforcement on the roads, etc. I am about 10 miles NW of downtown ATL and loved our small city until high density development and a multitude of new traffic lights have been added on ATL RD which has significantly altered primary traffic commutes. OP has kids, ATL is one of the worst allergy centers in the US, just ask people that move here that have never had allergies and 3 - 5 years later that changes. Ongoing legal water wars with FL and AL, etc. Housing is reasonable, but many public schools are not so hot, either. I love Portland as a multi-time visitor, but wouldn't live there due to taxes and congestion, and have been to OC numerous times and unless I had probably $7M+ NW or very high paying secure job I would pass. Vancouver would be be my choice, but no idea about schools and others have said 6-figure salaries may be hard to come by. Love the Columbia river area, Astoria east to the CR gorge area, have summited Mt St Helens, many outdoor recreational opps. OP has a challenging situation, default would be to stay put, but if relatives are willing to move to WA it could be a much tougher decision.
I think your response was helpful since I think the job is a big consideration for the Vancouver idea. I really don't' want to commute into Portland but I know many people do because the job market is better. I get the feeling any move will be a step backwards financially at first, and then I would have to work my way up again.

quantAndHold
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by quantAndHold » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:50 am

BigChubbyCakes wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 12:56 am
quantAndHold wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:15 pm
Vancouver is not a bad place, if you can handle the winters, but the job market there is not nearly as large or diverse as either Orange County or Atlanta.

There are places in Southern California that are within “Sunday visit” range of Orange County, that are much less expensive than Orange County. What about someplace in Riverside or San Bernardino counties?
Riverside or San Bernardino County would be awful assuming that OP's job is on the west side. I lived in Anaheim Hills and just seeing those miserable commuters on the 91E already takes years off MY life.
I wouldn’t like it either, but if the alternative is moving to Vancouver, WA and having to find a new job anyway, OP is probably better off moving to somewhere that has a larger job market and a built in job, with the idea that he’s going to find a new job closer to home once he gets there. Then doing a job search somewhere that has a larger and more diverse job market.

Anyway, the job that OP finds in Vancouver is probably going to be in Portland, which has its own commute horrors.

Personally, I would just suck it up and find a condo in Orange County.

marco49
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by marco49 » Thu Jun 20, 2019 11:39 am

Having lived in Vancouver for the past 38 years and the PNW within 40 miles of here for 11 years longer than that, I confess to being biased. So, consider that. There are 2 points I'd like to make to the OP.

1. The commute from Vancouver to Portland is enough to sour you on living here. If you decide to move to this area, I suggest that you find a job first. If that job is in Portland, I'm thinking that you would be better off living on the Oregon side of the river, considering that your bridge commuting time would be much better spent hanging with your young kids. With the tax arbitrage angle, Vancouver is retirement heaven; you can always move later.

2. Vancouver's reputation for gray winters was well deserved perhaps 10+ years ago, but that seems to me to be changing. I'm suspecting that the global climate change dynamic is responsible for that. I'm a vegetable gardener. This year, I successfully planted peas on January 10th or so, at the beginning of what was previously considered a rare 10-day sun break. Ten years ago, I would plant peas in late February and 50% of the time they would fail to germinate, rotting in the wet cold soil. Also, for the past few years, I've had ripe tomatoes in July. I can remember some seasons 10-15 years ago when tomatoes never ripened at all. So, don't be too much scared away by talk about the climate here. It's getting more hospitable.

Good luck!

stoptothink
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by stoptothink » Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:31 pm

BigChubbyCakes wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 12:56 am
quantAndHold wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:15 pm
Vancouver is not a bad place, if you can handle the winters, but the job market there is not nearly as large or diverse as either Orange County or Atlanta.

There are places in Southern California that are within “Sunday visit” range of Orange County, that are much less expensive than Orange County. What about someplace in Riverside or San Bernardino counties?
Riverside or San Bernardino County would be awful assuming that OP's job is on the west side. I lived in Anaheim Hills and just seeing those miserable commuters on the 91E already takes years off MY life.
For a time, I lived in Chino Hills and was commuting to Orange for work. I think the distance was like 23 miles, but it would take anywhere from an 60-120 mins on a normal day. On Friday afternoon, I could easily expect a 3hr drive home. This was nearly 15 years ago, I can only imagine what it is like now.

DVMResident
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by DVMResident » Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:45 pm

I would find a well paying job first in those cities. When you have a real choice, your real priorities tend to crystallize.

Both OC and Vancouver are going to be more expensive than Atlanta. IMO you need to figure out COL/housing and, to do that, you need a higher salary to maintain the same standard of living (unless the wife is willing to downsize to apartment living or be willing to take a job...I’m guessing both are unlikely). This could easily be a year long job hunting process.

jrbdmb
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Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

Post by jrbdmb » Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:49 pm

wander wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:47 pm
You have already got a family of your own. Since you are the only source of income, whatever decision you make, your family should be on top. This is a financial forum so I would pick the option that best provides financial mean which is to stay in GA. Closer to family is nice, but if you lose your job or you cannot make enough money to live in Orange County, not much family can do for you as they also have to take care of themselves.
Deciding to stay in Georgia when your wife has made it clear she wants to move closer to family may eventually result in other financial issues that I'd rather not discuss. :(

IMHO, your family needs to decide which alternatives are acceptable, and *then* bring finances in the picture to help make a final decision.

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