Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

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surfer949
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Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by surfer949 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:28 pm

Hello,
has anyone made the decision to move to another state/location for financial reasons? Wife and I decided to move from S. Cali to Houston, TX two years ago. The wife opened a restaurant and I placed a great job here (I’m 44, wife is 31 we have a baby). So far so good, we bought a nice home (reasonably priced), business is doing well and financially we're a bit stronger now. Not that we were struggling in Cali but we felt that Houston would provide us with the opportunities to reach our long term financial goals. Which is to build financial equity, have a comfortable life and return to S. Cali in about 10 years.

However, there are a few things that I am struggling with. Adjusting to living in a new place is harder than I tought (since I lived in Cali for over 30 years) and the other is not having a clear road map to get back to Cali.
So far, part of my plan is to first be well established here in Houston. That alone, I believe will take 5 years. During this time we will increase our net worth by saving and hopefully the business will flourish.

I want to get more detailed with my plan but I’m not sure how to do that. I hope some of you can share your experience and success story to give me some inspiration and motivation. I don’t want to get complacent and too comfortable living here in Houston. I want to add that there is nothing wrong with Houston and I appreciate all that it has given me.

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simplesimon
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by simplesimon » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:32 pm

Do you think the reasons you left Cali will improve in 10 years? Unless you're able to get a significant pay bump going back (or are currently being paid much higher on a cost of living adjusted basis) or Cali experiences much smaller increases in home prices compared to Houston when you sell, it will be difficult to go back.

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JDCarpenter
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by JDCarpenter » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:36 pm

We arguably did. The driving "cost" to moving from Illinois to Tennessee was DW's malpractice premium, although before committing to the move, we became aware of many other cost savings.

We knew when we moved that there was no going back--DW was halfway through her career and would not move again and face the tail and practice ramp up. You still seem to have attachments to SoCal: "However, there are a few things that I am struggling with. Adjusting to living in a new place is harder than I thought (since I lived in Cali for over 30 years) and the other is not having a clear road map to get back to Cali."

I'm guessing that may be at the heart of your struggle. Is your spouse feeling the same way? Once the baby hits school age, you will get more integrated into the community, it will likely help to cement you (ours were teens when we moved, so immediate contacts/community). If you can slot california into the "once lived there, maybe we'll visit sometime" category, things will probably become smoother.
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jebmke
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by jebmke » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:40 pm

I once sat down and made a list of important criteria for choosing/liking a place (I have moved over 20 times). Cost and taxes didn't make the top 5 criteria - don't remember where they landed though.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

rgs92
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by rgs92 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:41 pm

You say that it's hard for you thinking that this is in the back of your mind (or front of your mind):
"not having a clear road map to get back to Cali."

Migrating to a cheaper area can make financial sense but it's probably a one-way trip for good. If you can accept this, it's fine.
Otherwise, not.

btenny
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by btenny » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:52 pm

I grew up in Arizona and went to college there. After college I stayed in Arizona and turned down Cali jobs several times over the years. I could never make the $$ and housing costs work. It is just crazy expensive to own a home in Cali and the taxes are also crazy high. So I always just stayed in Phoenix. I like AZ and the low COLA. It is a great place to live. By staying in AZ I was able to retire early. I am sure it would have been a lot more difficult to retire early from a Cali base.

Good Luck.

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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by stoptothink » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:00 pm

I'm a California native, spent my first 24yrs there. Never thought I would leave. I did, for a job, and haven't looked back the past 11yrs. Been in Utah, Arizona, Houston (interestingly), and now back to Utah (likely permanently). We loved Texas, if extended family wasn't so far away we'd probably still be there. Out of all the places I've lived, California ranks lowest and COL is a very small factor in that.

Cruise
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by Cruise » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:17 pm

We were thinking of moving to California, but did the math on what our increased tax liability would be: $20K+ extra per year makes it a nonstarter for us.

fareastwarriors
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by fareastwarriors » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:21 pm

I grew up in California, went to college in New York, and then went back to California. Don't plan to leave.

I think you should stay in Houston. It's a great city. It does take some time to feel "at home" but I think Houston (and Texas) has many good things going on to make it a great place to raise a family.

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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by hicabob » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:35 pm

Cruise wrote:We were thinking of moving to California, but did the math on what our increased tax liability would be: $20K+ extra per year makes it a nonstarter for us.



Assuming you now live in a no-income tax state that would be about $275k/year income to get $20k/year CA tax. It's a lot of tax but people live well in CA on that income.

Carefreeap
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by Carefreeap » Wed Jan 25, 2017 2:07 pm

We've moved from California twice but it wasn't due to the cost of living. We moved for my husband's job opportunities.

We both grew up in Southern California and I had no recollection of living anywhere but San Diego (born in Napa but moved when I was 18 months old). First moved to the Washington DC area in 1987 and lived there for three years. Really didn't like it but appreciated the opportunity to see a different part of the country. Cautiously took another relocation opportunity to the SF Bay Area. I wrote "cautiously" because I was skeptical that we could afford to move to the Bay Area where our housing cost nearly doubled with only a 20% bump in pay for my husband. Things worked out for us and despite me having a job loss and going part time for a year or so we were even able to buy the "move-up" house.

Fast forward to 2002 and the company my husband worked for was sold and he was told his job would be either in AZ or FL. Although we were doubtful about moving, and we were blessed that my job paid well enough that we didn't have to move, we actually fell in love with AZ and relocated there for six years. My one condition was that we keep the Bay Area house because I knew that once we sold it would be a one-way ticket out of CA. We then moved again, this time out of the country for three years. My husband retired from the company after the overseas post at age 53. We moved back to our Bay Area house and have been living there ever since. Because we had the house situation squared away, the VHCOLA situation doesn't bother us in retirement. Before moving back we did an analysis of our five properties and ironically, the SF Bay Area house is the cheapest to run.

Since you've already sold your CA house, my one piece of advice is to carefully evaluate buying/taking over aging relatives' properties in CA if and when they become available. We did this when we each lost a parent. We could inherit their Prop 13 basis and in the case of my mother's home were able to take over the existing loan without having to qualify for it.

Hope things work out for you.

Cruise
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by Cruise » Wed Jan 25, 2017 2:11 pm

hicabob wrote:
Assuming you now live in a no-income tax state that would be about $275k/year income to get $20k/year CA tax. It's a lot of tax but people live well in CA on that income.


It is one thing to continue to live in a place where you are taxed like hell. It is another thing to willingly and knowingly move to a Tax Hell. :happy

letsgobobby
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by letsgobobby » Wed Jan 25, 2017 2:16 pm

surfer949 wrote:Hello,
has anyone made the decision to move to another state/location for financial reasons? Wife and I decided to move from S. Cali to Houston, TX two years ago. The wife opened a restaurant and I placed a great job here (I’m 44, wife is 31 we have a baby). So far so good, we bought a nice home (reasonably priced), business is doing well and financially we're a bit stronger now. Not that we were struggling in Cali but we felt that Houston would provide us with the opportunities to reach our long term financial goals. Which is to build financial equity, have a comfortable life and return to S. Cali in about 10 years.

However, there are a few things that I am struggling with. Adjusting to living in a new place is harder than I tought (since I lived in Cali for over 30 years) and the other is not having a clear road map to get back to Cali.
So far, part of my plan is to first be well established here in Houston. That alone, I believe will take 5 years. During this time we will increase our net worth by saving and hopefully the business will flourish.

I want to get more detailed with my plan but I’m not sure how to do that. I hope some of you can share your experience and success story to give me some inspiration and motivation. I don’t want to get complacent and too comfortable living here in Houston. I want to add that there is nothing wrong with Houston and I appreciate all that it has given me.

We left SoCal in 2003 for all the usual reasons: crowds, traffic, cost of living, high taxes, crime, public schools, and it felt like a hard place to raise a family. We are very happy in the PNW. However, we never planned to move back to SoCal. I wouldn't want to. If I wanted to get back there, I wouldn't have left in the first place.

I really - sorry to say - hated Houston. Lived there four years. I couldn't wait to get out of there. It was such a cultural shock (I'm from a Big Ten university town and went to school in the Bay Area) and the weather was intolerable.

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Meg77
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by Meg77 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 3:03 pm

You don't have to have a road map back; you can create that later (it's not so complicated: find new job, sell house/buy house, load up moving trucks and drive to new house).

The problem you're going to run into is with your child/children. Most people wait until their kids are out of the house to move to their dream/retirement location. Otherwise you'll have to uproot a middle schooler or teenager and move him or her away from all friends and her only known home to a culture that is sure to be very different. That can be expensive emotionally and even behaviorally, not to mention the added financial costs of moving back with a larger family than you had when you left.

If you're not comfortable staying in Texas for 18-20 years, I'd go ahead and move back before your child is old enough to grow his or her own roots there.

PS - Houston and Southern California aren't your only two options of course.
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Isabelle77
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by Isabelle77 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:10 pm

We moved from NYC to Nashville and then out to the PNW. Nashville was a little too different for me and the PNW is kind of a nice medium for our family, not super cheap but not the NE or California.

You may want to try to find a "medium" situation. Although if your wife has started a business in Houston and it's thriving, you may just want to learn to adjust, maybe look for a different neighborhood that better fits your sensibilities.

I live in a neighborhood here in the PNW (outside of Portland) full of California refugees, seriously nearly every house on my block. I've met more than a hundred California transplants over the last 10yrs and while people occasionally leave here for Texas, Colorado, or the Southeast, I've never heard of anyone moving back to California.

BW1985
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by BW1985 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:26 pm

We left NE (metro NYC) for the midwest due to the cost of living and traffic. That area is too HCOL and congested for me. New England is beautiful though.

If Houston isn't for you try something else, there are many more options.
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surfstar
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by surfstar » Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:07 pm

Unfortunately it would be too hard for us to leave.
Not job/financial related, though.

The beaches/surfing, world class diving, world class mountains/climbing - all within ~6hr drive.
If you don't take advantage of CA's amenities, I can see why it isn't worth paying the premium to live here, though.

We talk about moving to Vegas in retirement, though, as a 'homebase' for travel; lower taxes, easy airport access, and still not too far away from the SIerra Nevada (also climbing in UT and Red Rock nearby). We would be extending our weekend trips to longer ones, though, to make up for lack of access to surfing/diving locally.

I had to make a hard decision for this Friday: whether to stay home and surf, or go snowboarding with friends. :mrgreen:
Last edited by surfstar on Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

chuckb84
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by chuckb84 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:20 pm

Yes, from Washington, DC to New Mexico. It's cheaper, although if you want a nice house in Santa Fe you'll pay 80% of DC costs. Albuquerque is cheaper and other parts of the state are a LOT cheaper. I think there are lots of interesting choices in small towns out west that have good amenities and are reasonably affordable.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:27 pm

Extreme HCOL to very LCOL to retire.
Last edited by Sandtrap on Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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goodenyou
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by goodenyou » Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:39 pm

I moved to Texas 20+ years ago from Chicago. Grew up in New York (Western). I moved for geographic arbitrage. It has worked out very well. I am light years ahead of my colleagues, and I have the ability to retire very well at 50. My plan was to race to financial independence. Now, I plan to move to a much higher cost of living area, but I have grown accustomed to LCOL with a ton of paid services that have increase my quality of life by giving me tons of time. Since our need for help has decreased now that the kids are older, we are looking to move. The houses we have looked at in new areas are 3x what we paid for our house that is paid off. It's painful, but I would like the change and I can afford it because I moved to another state for a lower cost of living (and opportunity).
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by toto238 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:01 pm

I moved to AZ due to working for a company where they paid the exact same starting salary to employees regardless of COL in their geographic area. So someone in Arizona gets paid the exact same as someone working in the Northeast near NYC or Boston or Philly. Arizona had a much lower cost of living. Has worked out quite well for me.

grayparrot
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by grayparrot » Wed Jan 25, 2017 8:40 pm

I'm currently considering moving my official residency to either Nevada or Washington for a couple years, while I sell off a large low basis position. The move could be enough to offset most of my housing costs for the period. [OT comment removed by admin LadyGeek]

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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by WarChest » Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:17 pm

This is a great thread! I live on west side of Los Angeles and housing is totally ridiculous. It's the entire driving force of "cost of living" and personal finance here. Young professionals mortgaging themselves to buy a crummy little house for over $1mm. I've been lucky, but I wonder about so many others. I keep thinking 90% of the people in LA would be so much better off not having to live in LA...

I wonder (dream?) about selling off my nearly paid off house and moving to another area. But something keeps me tethered here, hard to explain. Is it really just the weather? I don't know!

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Sandtrap
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:24 pm

WarChest wrote:This is a great thread! I live on west side of Los Angeles and housing is totally ridiculous. It's the entire driving force of "cost of living" and personal finance here. Young professionals mortgaging themselves to buy a crummy little house for over $1mm. I've been lucky, but I wonder about so many others. I keep thinking 90% of the people in LA would be so much better off not having to live in LA...

I wonder (dream?) about selling off my nearly paid off house and moving to another area. But something keeps me tethered here, hard to explain. Is it really just the weather? I don't know!
+1 HCOL to LCOL
Last edited by Sandtrap on Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

CodeMaster
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by CodeMaster » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:06 am

Live in a cheaper state and overall income will be less too so you may not actually save more. Hopefully your business flourishes then that might move things.

Otherwise, an alternative option and way I started it off stratergy wise was I lived in CA but I lived in a super cheap studio. My first place was a garage for $150 a month, [OT comment removed by admin LadyGeek]

I would earn good SF income and save a ton... given SF is expensive city, genereally salaries are higher too for the same job anywhere else. But this only works if you can tough it out and if your wife can too. It might be too hard with a wife, who often needs / prefers more comfort.

I did it when I was young and nobody with me so it was easy...

Anyways, just a thought, IMO you have to tough it out and "suffer" for a while but if you do that strategy you can even stay in CA while you do it. Like an investment, it tends to payoff in the end! Best of luck! :sharebeer

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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by AlohaJoe » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:19 am

surfer949 wrote:I don’t want to get complacent and too comfortable living here in Houston.


This is your biggest problem.

Where ever you are, you should learn to enjoy living there. If you spend your life pining away from some place else, you'll spend your life being miserable instead of being happy. I can't imagine why someone would choose that.

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Watty
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by Watty » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:40 am

It was years ago but I left the Bay Area to move to Portland Oregon which was inexpensive then, but not so much now. That worked out great for me.

Over the years I took a job relocation to Atlanta which was even less expensive when I was in my late 40's. We figured that we would move somewhere else when I retired. Since then my son grew up and is married, bought a house, and has a kid here. Since he has settle down here we will likely stay here.

If your kids are raised in Texas than that will likely feel that is your home so they may have little reason to want to live in California if you move back there some day.

Even if they wanted to live in California they would face the same problem that caused you to leave California if things don't change by then. They will have a had time affording to live there and to buy a house some day. In contrast my son was easily able to afford a starter house here in Atlanta when he was in his 20's and most of friends also bought houses at about the same time.

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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by Slacker » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:05 am

Our path took us from DC -> Denver -> Phoenix. Each step reduced our cost of living.

Personally, I can't stand the intense heat. 6 months of misery, but we have family here and save money. I have zero fears of becoming complacent, just have to wait for early April when we start seeing temps in the low 100s and I renew my savings vigor and resolve to make sure our stay is temporary. (there are many great things about Phoenix which make up for the heat)

We plan to move back to Denver after our networth hits specific goals and our renters have paid off our solar panels (and a fraction of the mortgage). Perhaps in 5 years, the rents in Phoenix may be closer to our mortgage and it won't feel like our expenses are increasing by going back to Denver. [an important part of our plan to get back to Denver is that we still own property there purchased in the middle of the big run-up in prices].

However, we also think about trying out other states as well (Nevada's lack of income tax and low property taxes is very tempting for upper middle class income earners...). California would be my wife's dream state to live in (near the coasts where it is unreasonably expensive).

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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by harikaried » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:49 am

We left the California Bay Area 4 years ago. Just looking at our old Schedule A for state income taxes, property taxes, and mortgage interest (no principal); we went from paying almost $3000/mo to now less than $100/mo in Reno. We don't plan on moving back, although we did choose Reno as it's close enough to visit family relatively easily.

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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by jumppilot » Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:43 am

My wife and I moved from a HCOL area to Houston back in 2012. Our money went further and we bought a large, new construction house in a good neighborhood for $240,000.

We thought we hit the jackpot.

After a couple years we started to see the downside of Houston. It's super hot in the summer and it takes about 45 minutes to get anywhere. It's a giant concrete jungle.

We recently moved out of state and are a lot happier. I'm not against Texas at all - some of the friendliest people are down there and we agree with the politics. But our experience with Houston proved that we will never go back.

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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by blevine » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:36 am

Another vote for HCOL area.

I grew up in a very HCOL area, went OOS for college, thinking I would not come back. Well I did go back and it was partly economic, partly family.

Over the years, most of family moved to LCOL area but I stayed put. I found my higher income more than offset the few items that were HC. Many items cost about the same nationally, cars, often college education for kids, lots of smaller items. Yes housing cost more, but my house appreciated more. Overall I am quite sure I am better off financially for the decision.

Unless you are sure you can make same or better income in the LCOL area, not a good enough reason to move there.

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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by Gropes & Ray » Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:14 am

I moved from Pittsburgh to the Southwest for a career change. I don't recall loving Pittsburgh while I was there but now it feels like this Mecca I can never get back to. But part of that is the career change too. In Pittsburgh I was a relatively successful lawyer until the day I wasn't. Now I'm just a guy who works for someone else.

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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by random_walker_77 » Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:55 am

We moved for both work/life balance and for financial reasons. It was an immediate gain on the financial front due to comparable salary, but substantially less taxes. Housing costs dropped precipitously (moved from silicon valley to central texas). And as our careers advanced, we ended up with substantially more income but very modest expenses, making extremely early retirement a very real option. It's been great.

That said, we never intended to go back. I can't imagine moving away from a HCOL with the intent to move back. As you put down roots w/ kids in school, and with an established business, it seems hard to imagine that you could easily leave. Why a 10 year timeframe? With an established business and kids in school, it's going to be that much harder to move. In your mind, was this strictly a financial move?

A LCOL certainly allows you to save and accumulate but, 1) you've only got your one life to live -- don't be miserable and 2) saving enough to retire in the LCOL is different from saving enough to retire "back" to a HCOL area, living the lifestyle to which you've become accustomed. Moving after 10+ years will mean uprooting yourself from your entire life -- friends and social ties in your LCOL area.

You might find more interesting anecdotes from this long thread from a few years back:
viewtopic.php?t=126036

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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by runner3081 » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:35 pm

We went from Seattle to the Phoenix area for two main reasons. Cost of living and weather.

Been down here for 4+ years now and have no regrets. We were able to buy a house twice the size of our house for 75K less down here, in a great area. The pay in healthcare is essentially the same and many other things are cheaper down here. Even with income tax, we are still ahead quite a bit and have been able to cut our fixed costs down considerably.

Sure, the summers can be rough, but they are manageable. I don't think we would ever go back to Western Washington. There just isn't anything left for us, other than family.

Some added perks we didn't think about before moving - Less than 6 hours to the Cali beaches and 4 hours to Vegas.

Though we would love to retire somewhere near a beach, that may not work well with plans for early retirement. A more realistic option is to eventually downsize our house here and then have a summer condo up in eastern Washington, Idaho or Montana to escape the heat.
Last edited by runner3081 on Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

EvelynM
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by EvelynM » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:54 pm

I grew up in Dallas, ended up living on the coast in the Bay Area of CA for many years. I loved it, but it became terribly expensive, so at age 54, I moved to Reno, NV to live near my youngest child. Stayed there for 3 years, saved a lot of money, but when my child was transferred out of Reno for work, I moved back to CA because I missed the fresh/organic food, the farmers' markets, progressive/liberal vibe, the better weather (for me). I've been back now 5 years and am grateful every single day to be in the environment that suits me the best and brings out the best in me. I did not move back to the Bay Area; moved inland to Davis, which is much less expensive and less hectic. Plus now I can ride my bike every day - no hills!

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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by Isabelle77 » Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:18 pm

One argument for staying in a HCOL area has always been that incomes are higher. In our experience, beginning your career in a HCOL city helps set the bar. My husband and I both received raises leaving NYC for Nashville and while I SAH now my husband received another large increase in salary when we moved to the PNW. He's in marketing so it isn't some specialized field.

I realize this is just our personal experience but we never personally found a great disparity in incomes between different cities.

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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by goodenyou » Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:03 pm

The disparity in taxes between states for a high income earner can be as powerful as the lower cost of living. Additionally, the temptation to spend more in a HCOL area to create the lifestyle that is afforded in a LCOL can be anathema to wealth building (ie belonging to a fancy country club or buying an expensive house). I would not spend the kind of money needed to "create" the lifestyle I have in a LCOL in a HCOL area because I would be not be able to save at the same rate.
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alamander
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by alamander » Thu Jan 26, 2017 5:29 pm

Well this is a very interesting thread. We live in HCOL (and how) NY. BUT retirement is around the corner (say 1-3 years), and we are planning on moving to Houston (Clear Lake area) because 2 of the children plus one grandkid (so far) have moved there. We'd like to be in walking distance. I get the horribly humid summers, but I've lived in India during monsoon season and thought it was kind of neat, actually. Not so sure about DW in that regard, but there is air-conditioning. Anyway, good luck to you. I see you are getting conflicting advice, but that helps one think through a situation, and the decision must be your own.

MrDrinkingWater
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by MrDrinkingWater » Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:16 pm

It is good to think about HCOL vs LCOL, but you need to also think about what makes for a high quality life vs a low quality life. That is something that you might be only able to decide in your heart, and not on your spreadsheet.

If you are able to consistently save 15% or more of your income year after year for many years, I'll bet your spreadsheet will show that you could move back to California anytime. You might not have a 3500 square foot house, but you might have a decent livable home in coastal California.

An earlier comment struck me as important, too: How would a move affect your children's well-being? That is something to think about.

Good luck while you consider what your plans are going to be.

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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by alisa4804 » Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:28 pm

As someone else posted above, it works best if you plan to enjoy living where you are. We moved our family multiple times, and of course missed our previous "normal," friends, neighborhoods and activities. We learned to seek out the special things the new place has to offer, and to not drag our outdoor toys from one state to another - we took our square-end Grumman canoe from Alaska to southern Idaho on our own nickel; that style canoe wasn't needed there!

It may be obvious to your new coworkers, neighbors and friends that you "plan" to return to California. If so, people can be hesitant to welcome you into their groups and invest in friendships, if you're only there "temporarily." They love where they live! You could be putting off this vibe without realizing it. So I hope you can start enjoying Houston and what it has to offer, and maybe you already are, but it didn't come thru in your message as I read it. Good luck to you and your family!

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burt
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by burt » Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:42 pm

Spent the first 50 years in small mid-west towns/cities. Spent the last 10 years in Houston for work.
Retired last year and moved back to a small college town in the upper mid-west.

Some general observations about living in a HCOL (big city) area:
- Life is good if you are really loaded and can afford to make the problems go away. Traffic (commute), crime, bad schools.
- Life is good if you can afford great restaurants, high end shops, cultural events, concerts and sporting events without a long commute, long lines, parking, etc.
- If you grew up in a HCOL city, you are used to the problems. Kind of like the young North Korean who defected and mentioned that he only knew hunger.
- If you are not wealthy and live in a HCOL city…. It just sucks.

burt

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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by Atilla » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:07 pm

burt wrote:Spent the first 50 years in small mid-west towns/cities. Spent the last 10 years in Houston for work.
Retired last year and moved back to a small college town in the upper mid-west.

Some general observations about living in a HCOL (big city) area:
- Life is good if you are really loaded and can afford to make the problems go away. Traffic (commute), crime, bad schools.
- Life is good if you can afford great restaurants, high end shops, cultural events, concerts and sporting events without a long commute, long lines, parking, etc.
- If you grew up in a HCOL city, you are used to the problems. Kind of like the young North Korean who defected and mentioned that he only knew hunger.
- If you are not wealthy and live in a HCOL city…. It just sucks.

burt


You got that right. I LOVE downtown Chicago, but I'd need $10 Mil in assets to do it right living there. So we live northwest a couple hours in the hood where everything is "relatively" cheep expect for housing. Paid-for house bought 10 years ago covers that problem, but it would be hard to move to a better neighborhood around here without shelling out big bucks.
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by duckcalldan » Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:44 pm

EvelynM wrote:I grew up in Dallas, ended up living on the coast in the Bay Area of CA for many years. I loved it, but it became terribly expensive, so at age 54, I moved to Reno, NV to live near my youngest child. Stayed there for 3 years, saved a lot of money, but when my child was transferred out of Reno for work, I moved back to CA because I missed the fresh/organic food, the farmers' markets, progressive/liberal vibe, the better weather (for me). I've been back now 5 years and am grateful every single day to be in the environment that suits me the best and brings out the best in me. I did not move back to the Bay Area; moved inland to Davis, which is much less expensive and less hectic. Plus now I can ride my bike every day - no hills!

Davis is on our list. Grew up in Santa Rosa (still one of my favorite parts of the west coast) but living in Virginia for the past 11 years. We'll be empty nesters next year and, unless youngest DD needs in-state tuition, we will most certainly move back West. Puget Sound, Clark County WA (OR taxes too high), Sonoma County, Davis, East Sac, SLO and maybe an older San Diego neighborhood would work out nicely. Our requirements: sense of community, close to a major airport and a teaching hospital, bikeable and walkable downtowns, progressive feel.

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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by randomguy » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:36 pm

rgs92 wrote:You say that it's hard for you thinking that this is in the back of your mind (or front of your mind):
"not having a clear road map to get back to Cali."

Migrating to a cheaper area can make financial sense but it's probably a one-way trip for good. If you can accept this, it's fine.
Otherwise, not.


It is very situational dependent. To some extent making less money (i.e. your income paid off a 300k house and not a 700k one) makes it hard to move but things like the tax situation can change during your life. TX has high property tax rates. For someone with no taxable income (say 70k of SS +60k from a ROTH), the taxes in a state like CA aren't very high. Especially if you move back into the house you have been renting out for the last 20 years and have that low prop 13 tax basis:). Or how much the HCOL affects you can change. HCOL tend to be dominated by housing costs (not taxes) and when you retire your housing needs might drop (i.e. 4bedroom when you have kids, 2 bedrooms when you retire. You might end up with less house but not a noticeable difference in cost).

But obviously the question is if you want to live in CA, why live elsewhere?

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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by white_water » Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:24 pm

Yes. Moved from a HCOL to a LCOL state in retirement. Tax AND climate were considerations. It was a good choice ws/o regrets.

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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by sesq » Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:46 pm

I have moved a lot for jobs. Just recently came to Houston, so far so good but the test will come in the summer. I found I liked the mid-sized metro best, except the job opportunities. I have been in Dallas, Portland Maine, DC, Boston, Harrisburg PA, now Houston.

I am hoping to stay put here to get my youngest through high school (10 years). If Houston doesn't take I think I will need to decide within a few years before my eldest starts high school.

I feel like I wound up with a lot more house here because I could afford it and trying to find a place for everything where there are no basements here. This concerns me when I drop out of the rat race and have to pay the property taxes without a salary. I am heavily tilted towards roth investing so the now state income taxes may not be crucial.

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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by Rodc » Sat Jan 28, 2017 9:39 am

OP: the subject of your post seems to have little to do with your actual post.

You want a plan but do not really provided a goal or goals, or time line desired for achieving the goal(s). If you had explicit goals like "get to where we had enough money to retire in cali as soon as possible" you could break that down into pieces (SMART goals) and start making concrete plans.

Why would you strive to stay moderately unhappy or not fully comfortable living where you are now? Why not try to love, find joy, find comfort where you are? If you end up loving it more than cali you win! If you still love cali more at least you had the best possible time where you are now.
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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by scubadiver » Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:14 am

My own story....

We (DW and two kids) currently live in northern VA just outside DC. Moved here for career opportunity about 7 years ago when oldest kid was 1. The work is good, but cost of living is very high and general quality of life is low. We have no personal ties to the area - the only thing that brought us here was my career. We are strongly considering a move to a LCOL area that will put us closer to family and yet enjoy some of the benefits of living in / near a navigable small to moderate size city.

The challenge is trying to replace my current salary. I will have to re-vector my career to find work back home and I'm currently pursuing some training to make myself more employable outside DC. DW is stay at home mom, so it's on me to support the family, at least for now. We're saving a lot and hope to make the jump in the next 18-24 months. Kids are still young, but once our oldest gets into double digits, the move starts to get painful.

So, I guess this will be a move from HCOL to LCOL but being closer to family and slower pace of life, rather than cost of living, is the source of our motivation.

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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by Phil DeMuth » Sat Jan 28, 2017 12:09 pm

What makes it impossible to move back to SoCal is housing prices, which have the potential to leave you in the dust. If you ever want to get back here (and why would you, really?) the only way back in would be to buy a home during the next bust (if there is one) and rent it out until you return (while doing what you can to steer clear of the Franchise Tax Board, who will be eager to re-classify you as a resident even while you live in TX). If the Case-Shiller housing indexes ever start being publicly traded, you could also buy a proxy that way.

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Re: Anyone moved to another state for lower cost of living?

Post by pokebowl » Sat Jan 28, 2017 12:39 pm

I've spent most of my working career in high cost of living areas, comes with the territory. I've bounced around California, Maryland, New York, Hawaii, etc. One theme with these jumps is the real-estate market in each location is asinine to the point of being very unappealing for a home buyer. Once my retirement savings rate hits a good medium where I will be able to reduce my salary willingly I will take great pleasure moving to a low cost of living state. If nothing else, to find a home which is both nice and affordable and not over a million dollars. 8-)

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