How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

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lvrpl
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How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by lvrpl » Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:51 pm

I'm looking at a new job that would be in Connecticut and would require us to relocate from Dallas. We've had several people tell us we're crazy given the high-tax (both state income and property) situation in CT and the fiscal issues they're having at both the state level and city (Hartford) level. Then there are also recent companies that have moved out of the state (GE to Boston, Aetna recently announced a move to NYC).

With all of this taken into account, would we be crazy to move to a state like Connecticut? What are the actual risks we're taking, and how large are they? The ones I can think of: state taxes go up to try and alleviate budget shortfalls, the value of a home we buy could go down and if we move in 5 years we lose money (tied to the general economic climate)....what else?

For what it's worth, the risk that the company I'd be going to moving out of CT is extremely low for the next several years. Also assume that this new job is one I'm very excited about (it is, and would be a good career move for me).

A bit about us: family of four (2- and 5-year-old kids), wife stays at home with the kids, the new job compensation covers the cost of living increase (largely driven by taxes and housing in my estimation), we'd hope to buy a house (we'd be selling ours in Dallas) and the corporate relocation package pays all closing costs/realtor fees/title fees on both ends.

So what do you think? Where are we taking outsize risks? Are we crazy to consider this from a personal finance perspective?

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by aqan » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:09 pm

I live in southern CT and funnily enough didn’t consider CT to be high tax state. Compared to neighboring NY, CT is lower in income and RE taxes. Although I must warn you that cost of living is quite high, coming from Dallas TX you will feel it every time you buy something.
E.g. 10 year ago I paid $2250/month for day care. My buddy who lived in Dallas told me he paid $700. Similar story with rents, kids classes etc.
Not sure which part of CT you’re planning to move to but the lower Fairfield county is very expensive. A half decent house will cost you $750k. Keep that in mind while making your decision.
Happy to get you specific info if you want.

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by F150HD » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:46 pm

IMO not everything is about 'taxes' and saving money. If you are happier in CT and like the area a lot and feel your kids would thrive there (they appear almost school age if not already), then move there.

JMO

(this assumes employment and compensation isn't an issue, which, from the original post, is not)

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by AntsOnTheMarch » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:25 pm

According to this recent evaluation, CT is rated better than 13 other states—including NY, CA, MA, NJ. Would you also rule out these states for the same reason?

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by mega317 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:40 pm

I think the drawbacks you list are easily planned for. Most importantly, don't buy so much house that you can't handle a tax increase, a small decline in value in the short-term, or a temporary job loss.

It is a risk that you lose your job and can't find another one, and have to move maybe at a time home values are down, but that's a risk for most people in most jobs in most parts of the country, isn't it?

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by 523HRR » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:47 pm

We moved to southwest CT from overseas in 1999 when our son was 1. Raising our son here was a pleasure. Now that he is in college, we are making plans to move to Florida. Great place to raise kids; retirement...not so much.

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by afan » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:08 pm

It is a very different place to live. That should probably be a larger consideration. It is possible they might raise taxes, but there is a limit by how much. Almost impossible to predict. A major CT-only economic downturn that would crater the value of your house, while the rest of the country was unscathed seems unrealistic.

If you really find the income does not match the cost increases, then you could go to a different job, either at higher pay in CT, if you could find it, or move to a lower cost of living place.

But you are going warm weather to cold weather. Red state to blue. South to New England. Where would you rather live? Where would you want to raise kids? I love CT but could never live in TX. You seem more flexible, but you should consider whether the change in location is a plus, a minus, or neutral in your opinion.
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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by Nate79 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:13 pm

Cost of living including taxes should definately be considered when making a move.

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by sunny_socal » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:16 pm

I'm in a very shaky place - California! I would NEVER recommend for people to move out here. Likewise I would never move to any other West Coast state or East Coast state. Great places to visit however.

Here's why:
- High taxes. Gas is $3/gallon out here! It will rise more in the future while the rest of the country enjoys normal prices.
- Very High Cost Of Living. A Million won't get you much in the Bay Area :annoyed
- Hostile to business (red tape, taxes)
- Very lax approach to enforcing federal laws (has job market impact for locals)
- Many intrusive local rules (can't get proper gas cans, difficult to buy real gas, real paint stripper, everything has a "Cancer" warning, home protection is very challenging)

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by mako171 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:43 pm

I moved to Fairfield County from Houston in 2015 for a job opp. Everything more expensive here, but the pay differential was substantial. Taxes are less than Westchester County. We can use public schools. Everyone is busting their butt to provide for their families. Nice people (yes really!) Lots of amenities. LI Sound is close by and great for boating. NYC 55 min away by train. Worked for us...but man is housing expensive!

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:11 pm

You said Hartford, so you're not talking Greenwich here. I'll guess either west of Hartford or northwest having covered the state many years. Towns between Hartford and Waterbury can be pretty nice and not overly expensive (compared to southwest Connecticut). Do your own search on house prices and taxes for towns you might consider.
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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by ssquared87 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:39 pm

I spent quite a bit of time out in Hartford working with a client.

Make sure you like the place. The countryside in CT is scenic, but Hartford is an extremely small city. Go one block in the wrong direction and you need to worry about being shot or mugged. Aside from that, dining options are fairly limited. West Hartford has some good options, but they get played out fast. Simsbury has some good places too and appears to be a nice place to live

Also, most of the jobs there are in the insurance industry. You'll see people jumping from one insurance company to the next, and a lot of people know each other. There's not much innovation and tremendous amounts of incompetence and bureaucracy since there's not much new blood.

Finally, the culture of the Hartford area is different from many of the east coast states. There's much more passive aggressive behavior, probably because many of the people who work in insurance are more risk averse. Definitely friendly people out there, but people tend to be more fragile than you'd find in NY, NJ, or even a place like TX which I suppose you'd be more familiar with.

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by mako171 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:01 pm

I think the OP was pointing out that fiscal issues extend to the city level in places like Hartford, not that he was moving to Hartford. But I could be mistaken.

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by Wakefield1 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:09 pm

I guess the Litchfield/New Preston area is very expensive because of sort of being a vacation home spot for wealthy Wall Street executives and bankers? (Lake Waramaug,Litchfield Hills are quite scenic)

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by bottlecap » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:19 pm

I grew up in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Hartford is part of the reason I moved down south. I don't mind visiting, but it's a bit depressing.

Coincidentally, one of my best friends just moved from CT (south of Hartford) to Dallas. I haven't spoken to him about the difference since he moved, but he complained that Connecticut was high-cost, low growth, and dying well before the opportunity in Texas arose. And he is from the low, low tax state of ... Massachusetts.

Are you crazy? No. You'll get killed on taxes and living expenses, but if you don't like it you can always move away.

But if you like Dallas, Hartford is probably the opposite of it, with nothing going on. And if you like Texas, Connecticut is definitely the opposite of it.

Good luck,

JT

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by JBTX » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:27 pm

Hard to say. Is it a big advancement opportunity for you? Do you like Dallas?

My guess is cost of living and taxes will eat up most or all of your incremental earnings there. It really gets down to what is a best for your family, and what is best for your career.

One thing that is nice about dallas/ft worth area is it just seems like companies are constantly migrating here, so there is a lot of opportunity. And COL is definitely very modest vs most other major urban areas.

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by rgs92 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:54 pm

CT,NJ,IL, the NYC suburbs... they are all in bad fiscal shape (pension problems and all that). But if you have a good income and can afford the property taxes, it's fine. They are all very nice places to live. They have a great quality of life, are nice and safe, and they are full of some of the wealthiest people on the planet.

If the job is good, go for it and don't think twice. The migration to cheaper states is mainly from people without good incomes from jobs or other sources. If you have the income, I don't see a problem.

Try to have at least a $150K annual income to be comfortable; otherwise you may feel pinched for pennies.

For a family of 4 with an OK house (probably about $700K with 25% down say and $14,000 in taxes; that's about $3900/month with insurance),
I actually would say an annual income of $175K is best.

So if that's your ballpark income, all should be well. Good luck.

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by lvrpl » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:34 pm

Thanks for all the thoughts so far.

A few things in response to a some comments and questions so far:
-We'd be going to the Hartford area - the job is in one of the western suburbs.
-We don't actually like Texas all that much. It's fine, but we've liked other places much more.
-We've lived in Boston and the New York area, so we've got a sense of the differences between Texas and the northeast.
-We know the cost of living is higher. We'd be looking at houses in $550k-$700k range and this could get us a great home in the nicer towns in the Hartford area.
-I realize that there are states that are worse off than CT fiscally. However, CT is still not great, and Hartford was just on the verge of bankruptcy a few weeks ago. And coupling this with some big companies moving out of CT in recent years add up to a potentially shaky fiscal and economic environment. Not guaranteed that things will go south, but certainly more risky from that standpoint than a place like Dallas (where companies are moving in droves).
-We certainly could afford a tax increase on the compensation package. I'm just thinking from the standpoint of not wanting to pay more so that I can save more and retire earlier someday.

It seems like the biggest swing that could hit us would be if we bought a $600k house now and then the state economic and/or fiscal situation deteriorates over the next few years and we find ourselves with an asset worth $500k or even $400k. Obviously no one knows the future but it's helpful to hear a few opinions on the area that this could/would be a low likelihood event.

In any case, thanks for the thoughts and advice so far. For what it's worth, on a personal level, I think our family would really like CT much more than Dallas (again, nothing wrong with Dallas, just not quite what we prefer).

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by bottlecap » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:44 pm

rgs92 wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:54 pm
If the job is good, go for it and don't think twice. The migration to cheaper states is mainly from people without good incomes from jobs or other sources. If you have the income, I don't see a problem.
This makes no sense. And turns out to uniformly not the case.

Funny thing is, there is a lot of income moving into Texas and a lot moving out of CT. Hartford County was in the top twenty largest income outflows in the nation in 2015. Six of the top 8 counties in the country with the most positive income migration were in Texas.

JT

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by Watty » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:23 am

One thing to keep in mind is that if you move somewhere there is a good chance that your kids will end up settling down there which could be difficult for them with the expensive housing.

I moved cross country to Atlanta in a corporate merger when my son was in middle school. The plan was that we would then move somewhere else when I retired. Fifteen years later I am now retired and still in Atlanta because my son is grown and married and has a kid and they live about ten minutes away from us. Since he has settled down here us moving away from him and our grandkid is not going to happen so it looks like we will be staying in Atlanta. One nice thing though is that the housing in Atlanta is still reasonable so my son was easily able to afford to buy a home here.

It is a bit scary but with a five year old you are only about 13 years from when that kid will start college. You might also take a look at the Connecticut state colleges to see if they are affordable and as good as the Texas state colleges.

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by SGM » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:41 am

I have property near the Sound in CT although I am not a resident. We have noted that it is much easier and cheaper to get repair work on our CT properties than in another high cost of living area where we reside. We did have a New York relative come in and do some painting for us and the New York prices were considerably higher than the CT prices.

I have lived in Texas and like both states. When our children were young we found lots of activities for them in CT. West Hartford is a lot safer than Hartford. A lot of wealthy people have moved out of CT due to increased taxes. The governor was recently trying to keep the legislature from raising taxes on the wealthy to stem the outflow.

Real estate taxes have been an issue for some of our neighbors in CT.

I moved from Texas to a high cost state for a job opportunity and it worked out well for us. Luckily we bought into a rising real estate market, I am not optimistic that our CT properties will rise in value.

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:55 am

Ok, so you're talking areas I'm familiar with. I worked in a ski shop in West Hartford (and Weathersfield) in college and covered all the UTC companies in the Farmington area for work. I grew up in Westfield. It's not out of the question to go over the border into Massachusetts for housing. You're pretty much just south of the "notch" on the Mass southern border and house prices and taxes take a pretty dramatic drop going north to Mass. Don't think of Western Mass as Boston big expense, big dollar costs. It's much less expensive. There are beautiful towns on both sides of the border. Bloomfield, Simsbury, Granby, Southwick, [Granville (if you want to live where the cows outnumber people by 10 to 1)].

While there is tech in Connecticut and western Mass, it's much, much smaller than that in eastern Mass. The good news there, I guess is that if you decided to leave a CT job for one in eastern Mass, it's not a huge move distance wise.
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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:39 am

lvrpl wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:34 pm
Thanks for all the thoughts so far.

A few things in response to a some comments and questions so far:
-We'd be going to the Hartford area - the job is in one of the western suburbs.
-We don't actually like Texas all that much. It's fine, but we've liked other places much more.
-We've lived in Boston and the New York area, so we've got a sense of the differences between Texas and the northeast.
-We know the cost of living is higher. We'd be looking at houses in $550k-$700k range and this could get us a great home in the nicer towns in the Hartford area.
-I realize that there are states that are worse off than CT fiscally. However, CT is still not great, and Hartford was just on the verge of bankruptcy a few weeks ago. And coupling this with some big companies moving out of CT in recent years add up to a potentially shaky fiscal and economic environment. Not guaranteed that things will go south, but certainly more risky from that standpoint than a place like Dallas (where companies are moving in droves).
-We certainly could afford a tax increase on the compensation package. I'm just thinking from the standpoint of not wanting to pay more so that I can save more and retire earlier someday.
I think there's a fair case to say don't live in Hartford. A post industrial town, from what I've read here and other places it has real problems. You want to live outside that municipality.

The insurance industry has been hit by consolidation. Low asset returns will also hurt it. There is a lot of back office and clerical work that either may get automated, or outsourced to somewhere cheaper. I don't expect those trends (in all of Financial Services, in fact) to stop-- if anything they might accelerate. Look at how much more money per employee Vanguard can manage with its indexed offerings than a typical active management firm. All these trends will probably continue to hurt Hartford.

Career you have to process on your own. I agree it's a risk that the job may move, again.
It seems like the biggest swing that could hit us would be if we bought a $600k house now and then the state economic and/or fiscal situation deteriorates over the next few years and we find ourselves with an asset worth $500k or even $400k. Obviously no one knows the future but it's helpful to hear a few opinions on the area that this could/would be a low likelihood event.

In any case, thanks for the thoughts and advice so far. For what it's worth, on a personal level, I think our family would really like CT much more than Dallas (again, nothing wrong with Dallas, just not quite what we prefer).
I think that's important. COL etc. matter, but so does being somewhere you are happy. Some smaller town outside of Hartford?
Last edited by Valuethinker on Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:43 am

Watty wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:23 am
One thing to keep in mind is that if you move somewhere there is a good chance that your kids will end up settling down there which could be difficult for them with the expensive housing.

I moved cross country to Atlanta in a corporate merger when my son was in middle school. The plan was that we would then move somewhere else when I retired. Fifteen years later I am now retired and still in Atlanta because my son is grown and married and has a kid and they live about ten minutes away from us. Since he has settled down here us moving away from him and our grandkid is not going to happen so it looks like we will be staying in Atlanta. One nice thing though is that the housing in Atlanta is still reasonable so my son was easily able to afford to buy a home here.
I am told though that with the traffic in greater Atlanta, it really matters where you live? You really have to live within a reasonable driving distance of work (say 45 minutes) and in that area, that's not that far?
It is a bit scary but with a five year old you are only about 13 years from when that kid will start college. You might also take a look at the Connecticut state colleges to see if they are affordable and as good as the Texas state colleges.
A significant consideration. In that UT at Austin is one of the best, and one of the best funded, state universities in America-- because UT has its own endowment from oil money, it's in a lot better shape than many (fine) state universities like Illinois and Wisconsin? But, then, getting into UT at Austin must be anything but guaranteed?

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:49 am

ssquared87 wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:39 pm
I spent quite a bit of time out in Hartford working with a client.

Make sure you like the place. The countryside in CT is scenic, but Hartford is an extremely small city. Go one block in the wrong direction and you need to worry about being shot or mugged. Aside from that, dining options are fairly limited. West Hartford has some good options, but they get played out fast. Simsbury has some good places too and appears to be a nice place to live

Also, most of the jobs there are in the insurance industry. You'll see people jumping from one insurance company to the next, and a lot of people know each other. There's not much innovation and tremendous amounts of incompetence and bureaucracy since there's not much new blood.
And so, like any "sunset industry" it will in time get slashed-- mergers & cost cutting. I saw that happen in the Information Technology industry (working for big insurance companies among other things) so many times. Companies cannot easily change their cultures to become more innovative and efficient, so instead they initiate mergers, or are the targets of takeovers. That may compound the problems, but it also opens up opportunities for more aggressive cost cuts ;-).
Finally, the culture of the Hartford area is different from many of the east coast states. There's much more passive aggressive behavior, probably because many of the people who work in insurance are more risk averse. Definitely friendly people out there, but people tend to be more fragile than you'd find in NY, NJ, or even a place like TX which I suppose you'd be more familiar with.
I do not live in North America, although I have, but I was not quite sure what you meant?

Suffice it to say to an outsider that, among Americans, those in the greater NY area have the reputation for being the most pushy, aggressive and assertive. Which does not mean I don't like NY & New England (the latter has a culture much more like parts of the UK, albeit still distinctly American) and in fact I liked the people in NYC (I think 9-11 changed the city in a lot of ways, both good and bad; but definitely made people more human) quite a lot -- but then I live in London ;-). Which itself defines passive-aggressive in many ways ;-).

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by lvrpl » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:40 am

More great input, thanks.

A few more responses:

-I agree that living in Hartford has it's own challenges. We'd most likely be looking at cities on the west side of Hartford (in the Farmington Valley - Avon, Simsbury, Farmington most likely). So we definitely won't be in the municipality. More just susceptible to any regional challenges that come up to the fiscal or economic situation as it either improves or deteriorates. And it's a fair point that the state seems to be in fair (albeit not great) fiscal shape, and while Hartford has serious fiscal issues, we wouldn't be in Hartford proper. I guess this is where I'm thinking that if the region struggled and home prices took a significant hit (call it greater than $50k on a $600k house), I'd have some risk if I have another future relocation that coincides.

-I don't work in the insurance industry. Any future challenges in that industry would likely affect Hartford in general, and that could affect us (for example, home values), but my job isn't directly tied to that industry.

-The comp is acceptable to me. The base salary increase would effectively cover the major cost of living increases relative to where I live now (taxes and housing). The other components of my comp (bonus and equity awards) would be a pretty good step up from where I am now. So overall, it's definitely not a bad move from a financial perspective.

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by nisiprius » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:15 am

Offhand I'm surprised that people would specifically tag Connecticut as being a problem. I'm not really familiar with it (mostly drive through it) but I can't think of anything so awful about the state of Connecticut as a whole that would lead you to cross a job off the list if the job otherwise looked good. I live in the New England area and have never heard anybody say off the cuff "oh, no, not Connecticut; Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, fine, but no, no, not Connecticut."
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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:49 am

nisiprius wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:15 am
Offhand I'm surprised that people would specifically tag Connecticut as being a problem. I'm not really familiar with it (mostly drive through it) but I can't think of anything so awful about the state of Connecticut as a whole that would lead you to cross a job off the list if the job otherwise looked good. I live in the New England area and have never heard anybody say off the cuff "oh, no, not Connecticut; Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, fine, but no, no, not Connecticut."
Rhode Island is very small and I believe it has quite specific fiscal issues (which are serious) ?

However that's just one very particular instance. Rather like moving to Delaware say, or Baltimore (as a city with a similar population?).

States, it's really Illinois that sticks out like a sore thumb as a train-wreck-in-the-making. At least from cursory reading of the financial stats, and the situation (powerful public sector trade unions meet increasing taxpayer resistance to paying for pensions).

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:51 am

lvrpl wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:40 am
More great input, thanks.

A few more responses:

-I agree that living in Hartford has it's own challenges. We'd most likely be looking at cities on the west side of Hartford (in the Farmington Valley - Avon, Simsbury, Farmington most likely). So we definitely won't be in the municipality. More just susceptible to any regional challenges that come up to the fiscal or economic situation as it either improves or deteriorates. And it's a fair point that the state seems to be in fair (albeit not great) fiscal shape, and while Hartford has serious fiscal issues, we wouldn't be in Hartford proper. I guess this is where I'm thinking that if the region struggled and home prices took a significant hit (call it greater than $50k on a $600k house), I'd have some risk if I have another future relocation that coincides.

-I don't work in the insurance industry. Any future challenges in that industry would likely affect Hartford in general, and that could affect us (for example, home values), but my job isn't directly tied to that industry.

-The comp is acceptable to me. The base salary increase would effectively cover the major cost of living increases relative to where I live now (taxes and housing). The other components of my comp (bonus and equity awards) would be a pretty good step up from where I am now. So overall, it's definitely not a bad move from a financial perspective.
It's really important that you are happy with where you and your family lives. It's a big part of what you will give them, as a legacy.

If housing prices fall, you will get hit. You will have to take a view (and this is part of the information gathering) of how bad you think the State of Connecticut fiscal problems are. From what I have read, that's a really serious problem with Illinois-- push and shove have come. Connecticut? Can't say I have ever read anything about it.

I am guessing that it is not feasible to commute to NYC from this area? If things really went south in Hartford?

If we have another financial crisis then everything in the greater NYC area is in trouble. But, then, probably, so is a lot else.

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by AntsOnTheMarch » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:02 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:15 am
Offhand I'm surprised that people would specifically tag Connecticut as being a problem. I'm not really familiar with it (mostly drive through it) but I can't think of anything so awful about the state of Connecticut as a whole that would lead you to cross a job off the list if the job otherwise looked good. I live in the New England area and have never heard anybody say off the cuff "oh, no, not Connecticut; Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, fine, but no, no, not Connecticut."
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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by bsteiner » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:07 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:43 am
...
A significant consideration. In that UT at Austin is one of the best, and one of the best funded, state universities in America-- because UT has its own endowment from oil money, it's in a lot better shape than many (fine) state universities like Illinois and Wisconsin? But, then, getting into UT at Austin must be anything but guaranteed?
There are lots of good private colleges in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, probably more than in many other parts of the country.

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by iceport » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:27 pm

lvrpl wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:40 am
-I agree that living in Hartford has it's own challenges. We'd most likely be looking at cities on the west side of Hartford (in the Farmington Valley - Avon, Simsbury, Farmington most likely). So we definitely won't be in the municipality. More just susceptible to any regional challenges that come up to the fiscal or economic situation as it either improves or deteriorates. And it's a fair point that the state seems to be in fair (albeit not great) fiscal shape, and while Hartford has serious fiscal issues, we wouldn't be in Hartford proper. I guess this is where I'm thinking that if the region struggled and home prices took a significant hit (call it greater than $50k on a $600k house), I'd have some risk if I have another future relocation that coincides.
If it's primarily property value risk that you're worried about, there is good news and bad news...

I live in the specific market area you noted, and property values took their hits starting in 2007, like the rest of the country. However, unlike almost every other location, property values have yet to rebound significantly.

Take a look at the FHFA Hous Price Calculator, selecting the options for "MSA/MSAD" and then "Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT". You can select a purchase date >15 years ago and the latest valuation quarter available, in the price range of your interest, and it will graph out the re-sale prices over that period. How does that compare with other areas, including your current home location?

https://www.fhfa.gov/DataTools/Tools/Pa ... lator.aspx

So the good news is that house prices are still depressed here from the Great Recession. The bad news is that the state's fiscal health is often called into question. My personal perception is that, to a significant degree, the dim view so many hold is a self-fulfilling prophesy. But whether it's a self inflicted injury or not, if enough people are prompted to leave, there is certainly room for real estate values to fall further.
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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by iceport » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:39 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:15 am
Offhand I'm surprised that people would specifically tag Connecticut as being a problem. I'm not really familiar with it (mostly drive through it) but I can't think of anything so awful about the state of Connecticut as a whole that would lead you to cross a job off the list if the job otherwise looked good. I live in the New England area and have never heard anybody say off the cuff "oh, no, not Connecticut; Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, fine, but no, no, not Connecticut."
This is an astute observation. However, as a 32 year CT resident, it does neglect a certain pervasive political perspective that seems more interested in making a political statement — voting with your feet, if you will — than objective analysis. Though it's a blue state, there is a large and adamant contingent of extreme fiscal hawks that feels it's strongest and best statement of opposition is to leave. And this does have the potential to exacerbate the state's very real — but not insurmountable — fiscal challenges.
Last edited by iceport on Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:45 pm

bsteiner wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:07 pm
Valuethinker wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:43 am
...
A significant consideration. In that UT at Austin is one of the best, and one of the best funded, state universities in America-- because UT has its own endowment from oil money, it's in a lot better shape than many (fine) state universities like Illinois and Wisconsin? But, then, getting into UT at Austin must be anything but guaranteed?
There are lots of good private colleges in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, probably more than in many other parts of the country.
There's even one in New Haven ;-). Routinely dismissed as being an inferior "safety school" by graduates of the ones in Princeton NJ, Cambridge MA and Stanford CA ;-).

I was thinking of the cost issue. Although private colleges are famous, I suspect the majority of Americans actually attend public colleges and universities? So then the quality of the state U becomes important. There is a fierce running debate whether private colleges outside the top 20 (or 50), say, are even worth it (complicating that calculation, as I understand it, very few students of private colleges would actually pay "full rate", the majority receive some form of financial aid?). With the fall in the number of 18 year olds, I understand that many private colleges in the USA are facing the tough choices to close or merge.

To use another example, though, knowing the quality of UC Berkeley doesn't help you much as a parent, because it must be one of the most competitive public universities in America to get into? Your child is going to have to be one of the 5% or the 2% most gifted academically? That was kind of my thought, also, with UT Austin (without having looked in up).
Last edited by Valuethinker on Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by iceport » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:48 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:51 am

If housing prices fall, you will get hit. You will have to take a view (and this is part of the information gathering) of how bad you think the State of Connecticut fiscal problems are. From what I have read, that's a really serious problem with Illinois-- push and shove have come. Connecticut? Can't say I have ever read anything about it.
As rgs92 noted correctly, CT joins NJ and IL as states with real fiscal challenges. It just doesn't get the same level of national attention, probably due to it's size. That doesn't mean the challenges are insurmountable in any of these states.
Valuethinker wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:51 am
I am guessing that it is not feasible to commute to NYC from this area? If things really went south in Hartford?
No, that's not really an option from here. I've seen it done in a very rare instance, but it just can't lead to a good quality of life.
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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by Watty » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:11 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:43 am
I am told though that with the traffic in greater Atlanta, it really matters where you live? You really have to live within a reasonable driving distance of work (say 45 minutes) and in that area, that's not that far?
The traffic in Atlanta is really bad and the travel time also varies a lot with when you start your commute. It is not uncommon for people to go to work very early to try to beat the worst of the traffic.

Compared to a lot of cities a lot of jobs in Atlanta are out in the suburbs so a lot of the commuting is often going from one suburb to another suburb which complicates the commute patterns. This also means that if you change jobs it is likely that the next employer will be in a different suburb which can make a radical difference in your commute.

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by ralph124cf » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:46 pm

The salary bump from this move MAY have an effect on the pay at any subsequent jobs that you may or may not get. Do you expect this to be your final company?

Ralph

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by samsoes » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:16 pm

I am in the opposite situation as the OP. There will be a different latitude in my retirement. Texas is high in the list of places to move.

Being a lifelong CT resident, I cannot fathom why someone would want to move here. VHCOL, massive state and municipal fiscal problems (which are exacerbated by the flight of companies and wealthy residents out of the state), high taxes (CT is routinely listed as one of the worse states to retire), and a state government which regularly raises taxes to compensate for the shortfall in revenue, which in turn drives out more business and wealthy individual taxpayers. This is a vicious cycle which will not end well.

I am in the tech field. In the past 10 years, I been unemployed twice cumulatively for a year, and grossly underemployed for 2.5 years. CT used to have an abundance of tech jobs. No more! They are few and far between. I now am gainfilly employed and work in Westchester County NY for MultiNational Megacorp. Any Megacorp job had its stresses, but adding 3 hours in a car every day to the stress is soul-draining. This is all thanks to the CT economy being in an accelerating death-spiral.

Oh - did I mention the weather? Winters are bloody awful.
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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by lvrpl » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:19 pm

ralph124cf wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:46 pm
The salary bump from this move MAY have an effect on the pay at any subsequent jobs that you may or may not get. Do you expect this to be your final company?

Ralph
Interesting - how are you thinking of that? That a bump going to a HCOL area would help later? Or hurt?

Odds that this is my final company are low - not necessarily because there's anything wrong with this job (it's a fantastic job for me), but more so because I'm in my mid-30s and with my career, the odds of me being anywhere for more than 10 years I think are low. Just the nature of management/executive jobs in the corporate world these days, in my opinion. But there's no explicit reason why it couldn't be my final company if everything goes well and continues to go well for the long haul, I suppose.

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by nisiprius » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:51 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:45 pm
here are lots of good private colleges in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, probably more than in many other parts of the country.
There's even one in New Haven ;-)
...

I was thinking of the cost issue. Although private colleges are famous, I suspect the majority of Americans actually attend public colleges and universities? So then the quality of the state U becomes important....To use another example, though, knowing the quality of UC Berkeley doesn't help you much as a parent, because it must be one of the most competitive public universities in America to get into? Your child is going to have to be one of the 5% or the 2% most gifted academically? That was kind of my thought, also, with UT Austin (without having looked in up).
I think most state schools give a strong preference to in-state applicants. It's not quite a simple as "anyone with a high-school diploma" and of course every school is different, but it's not hard to get into Good State U if you live in the state. Staying in (not flunking out) is harder, though.

The University of Connecticut (UConn, pronounced like "Yukon," hence the team name "Huskies," is a well-known "good school." It's ranked #56 by you-know-who, which means, let me see... Yale #3 is the obvious comparison... scrolling down and picking out public universities...
UC Berkeley #21,
UCLA #21,
UVA #25,
University of Michigan, #28, <--- sorry, overlooked the first time I posted
UNC #30,
Georgia Tech #34,
UCSB #40,
UC Irvine #42,
UCSD #42,
University of Florida #42,
UC Davis #46,
University of Wisconsin #46,
Penn State #52,
U of Illinois #54,
U of Georgia #54,
Purdue #56,
UConn #56,
University of Texas Austin #56
,

University of Washington #56.

So it's tied with Austin. And if we count all the University of California campuses as "one," then there are only eleven public universities ranked higher than UConn. And it's in a big clump with other "good" state universities.

Three of the eighteen "little Ivies" (old, elite small liberal arts colleges) are in Connecticut: Connecticut College, Trinity, Wesleyan. (Not to be confused with the many other Trinities and Wesleyans...)
Last edited by nisiprius on Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by mega317 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:35 pm

You skipped #28 University of Michigan! I hadn't seen the 2018 rankings and you made me nervous for a second.

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by nisiprius » Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:15 pm

mega317 wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:35 pm
You skipped #28 University of Michigan! I hadn't seen the 2018 rankings and you made me nervous for a second.
So sorry, I was confused... I thought the University of Michigan was private... somehow. Thinking of Pennsylvania, I guess. I'll add it.
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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by samsoes » Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:20 pm

BREAKING NEWS

Another company is leaving CT - Konica Minolta. An estimated 500 more jobs will leave the state. Secondary businesses will likely suffer or close.

Here's another factoid about CT:

Of our last three former governors, none of them still live in the state (2 voluntarily left, the other is in Federal prison). Our most recent former Governor, Jodi Rell, said as she announced plans to move out of the state: "Its in a downward spiral." http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/For ... 462897.php

Edit: typo
Last edited by samsoes on Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by fareastwarriors » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:00 pm

samsoes wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:16 pm
I am in the opposite situation as the OP. There will be a different latitude in my retirement. Texas is high in the list of places to move.

Being a lifelong CT resident, I cannot fathom why someone would want to move here. VHCOL, massive state and municipal fiscal problems (which are exacerbated by the flight of companies and wealthy residents out of the state), high taxes (CT is routinely listed as one of the worse states to retire), and a state government which regularly raises taxes to compensate for the shortfall in revenue, which in turn drives out more business and wealthy individual taxpayers. This is a vicious cycle which will not end well.

I am in the tech field. In the past 10 years, I been unemployed twice cumulatively for a year, and grossly underemployed for 2.5 years. CT used to have an abundance of tech jobs. No more! They are few and far between. I now am gainfilly employed and work in Westchester County NY for MultiNational Megacorp. Any Megacorp job had its stresses, but adding 3 hours in a car every day to the stress is soul-draining. This is all thanks to the CT economy being in an accelerating death-spiral.

Oh - did I mention the weather? Winters are bloody awful.
That commute is terrible. Why don't you move?

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:25 am

I grew up and currently live in northern New England. Nearly 20 years ago, I co-oped for a company with multiple manufacturing facilities around Connecticut. I regularly commuted along the I-91 corridor. Connecticut is a state with an identity crisis. The “rat tail” of southwest CT feels like an extension of Westchester. “East of the River” is like a no-man’s land. Mystic feels more like Westerly, RI than like neighboring Groton. New Haven and Bridgeport are gritty, post industrial towns. There is no place you can go and point to as a typical Connecticut town. On the weekends, there was never anything to do in the Hartford area. I was always going to New York or Boston for sports and/or culture. I drive through CT on a fairly regular basis, and not much seems to have changed in the last 20 years.

A few years ago I did a six week tour in Grapevine/Irving TX for work. I found that the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex had a stunning array of cultural and entertainment activities every weekend. The traffic in DFW was much easier to deal with than CT. The drivers in TX were much better than I am accustomed to in the northeast. (My goodness the driving is abysmal in CT! Worse than MA and rivaling NJ!) Air travel from DAL and DFW is light-years better than Hartford in terms of service, value, and convenience. You pretty much have to haul your sorry posterior to NYC, BOS, or PVD if you want decent air travel options.

If you wish to return to the northeast, hold out for Boston or New York. Cost of living is in the ballpark and you get so much more for it.

If you take the job in CT, I advise that you rent, and use the position as a steppingstone out of that place.
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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by AntsOnTheMarch » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:22 am

motorcyclesarecool wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:25 am
I grew up and currently live in northern New England. Nearly 20 years ago, I co-oped for a company with multiple manufacturing facilities around Connecticut. I regularly commuted along the I-91 corridor. Connecticut is a state with an identity crisis. The “rat tail” of southwest CT feels like an extension of Westchester. “East of the River” is like a no-man’s land. Mystic feels more like Westerly, RI than like neighboring Groton. New Haven and Bridgeport are gritty, post industrial towns. There is no place you can go and point to as a typical Connecticut town. On the weekends, there was never anything to do in the Hartford area. I was always going to New York or Boston for sports and/or culture. I drive through CT on a fairly regular basis, and not much seems to have changed in the last 20 years.

A few years ago I did a six week tour in Grapevine/Irving TX for work. I found that the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex had a stunning array of cultural and entertainment activities every weekend. The traffic in DFW was much easier to deal with than CT. The drivers in TX were much better than I am accustomed to in the northeast. (My goodness the driving is abysmal in CT! Worse than MA and rivaling NJ!) Air travel from DAL and DFW is light-years better than Hartford in terms of service, value, and convenience. You pretty much have to haul your sorry posterior to NYC, BOS, or PVD if you want decent air travel options.

If you wish to return to the northeast, hold out for Boston or New York. Cost of living is in the ballpark and you get so much more for it.

If you take the job in CT, I advise that you rent, and use the position as a steppingstone out of that place.
I don’t agree with your assessment. Sounds to me that you’ve experienced CT as a drive thorough state and it has tainted your view.

You’re comparing New Haven to Bridgeport? When is the last time you visited New Haven?* Traffic is bad in CT? Yeah, maybe I-95 and I-91 at certain times but pretty good most of the time. Worse than NJ!? Come on, man! :D

Comparing Hartford to Dallas seems odd. Dallas has 10x the population of Hartford. Why not compare the culture of Dallas to Boston or NYC instead? Same for airports.

You’re right about one thing: CT is a small state with small cities. Most have not done well in the post-industrial era and that is now becoming a problem as younger generations are choosing cities over suburbs. That’s why it’s losing a lot of businesses right now. All the big moves have cited wanting to be in a city like Boston to attract talent.

That said, I agree that the Hartford area has little appeal for me. The best deals in CT for lifestyle for the buck IMO, are on the eastern Shoreline (just east of New Haven). You have easy access to NYC by Metro North and Boston by car or Amtrak. You’re not far from airports in NYC, Newark, and Boston. Smaller airports in CT and Rhode Island fill in some slots well.

* New Haven, BTW, is a wonderful small city for anyone wanting a city lifestyle. But no, at 130k population, it can’t compete with NYC or Boston.

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:31 am

nisiprius wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:51 pm
Valuethinker wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:45 pm
here are lots of good private colleges in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, probably more than in many other parts of the country.
There's even one in New Haven ;-)
...

I was thinking of the cost issue. Although private colleges are famous, I suspect the majority of Americans actually attend public colleges and universities? So then the quality of the state U becomes important....To use another example, though, knowing the quality of UC Berkeley doesn't help you much as a parent, because it must be one of the most competitive public universities in America to get into? Your child is going to have to be one of the 5% or the 2% most gifted academically? That was kind of my thought, also, with UT Austin (without having looked in up).
I think most state schools give a strong preference to in-state applicants. It's not quite a simple as "anyone with a high-school diploma" and of course every school is different, but it's not hard to get into Good State U if you live in the state. Staying in (not flunking out) is harder, though.

The University of Connecticut (UConn, pronounced like "Yukon," hence the team name "Huskies," is a well-known "good school." It's ranked #56 by you-know-who, which means, let me see... Yale #3 is the obvious comparison... scrolling down and picking out public universities...
UC Berkeley #21,
UCLA #21,
UVA #25,
University of Michigan, #28, <--- sorry, overlooked the first time I posted
UNC #30,
Georgia Tech #34,
UCSB #40,
UC Irvine #42,
UCSD #42,
University of Florida #42,
UC Davis #46,
University of Wisconsin #46,
Penn State #52,
U of Illinois #54,
U of Georgia #54,
Purdue #56,
UConn #56,
University of Texas Austin #56
,

University of Washington #56.

So it's tied with Austin. And if we count all the University of California campuses as "one," then there are only eleven public universities ranked higher than UConn. And it's in a big clump with other "good" state universities.

Three of the eighteen "little Ivies" (old, elite small liberal arts colleges) are in Connecticut: Connecticut College, Trinity, Wesleyan. (Not to be confused with the many other Trinities and Wesleyans...)
I don't think you can count UC campuses as "one". Very different universities.

Amazed at UTA ranking because my perception is its way up there. Top 10 or 15 public universities. I have encountered grads from its business programme, and have been impressed.

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:32 am

lvrpl wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:19 pm
ralph124cf wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:46 pm
The salary bump from this move MAY have an effect on the pay at any subsequent jobs that you may or may not get. Do you expect this to be your final company?

Ralph
Interesting - how are you thinking of that? That a bump going to a HCOL area would help later? Or hurt?

Odds that this is my final company are low - not necessarily because there's anything wrong with this job (it's a fantastic job for me), but more so because I'm in my mid-30s and with my career, the odds of me being anywhere for more than 10 years I think are low. Just the nature of management/executive jobs in the corporate world these days, in my opinion. But there's no explicit reason why it couldn't be my final company if everything goes well and continues to go well for the long haul, I suppose.
The pay promotion in your 30s is important, because future jobs will base themselves off that pay.

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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:43 am

Don't forget Bradley Field, located between Hartford and Springfield. Where it doesn't have a lot of direct flights, it can be the cheapest way to fly. I'm an hour and a half from Boston, Manchester, Providence and Bradley so always compare the 4. Boston is by far the easiest to get back to when there are problems but Bradley is free from traffic delays (on the streets and on the runways) and a breeze to go through from curb to gate. From West Hartford/Farmington, this is a very quick trip to get to.
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Re: How unwise is it to move to a high-tax fiscally-shaky state? (Connecticut)

Post by samsoes » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:09 am

fareastwarriors wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:00 pm
samsoes wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:16 pm
I am in the opposite situation as the OP. There will be a different latitude in my retirement. Texas is high in the list of places to move.

Being a lifelong CT resident, I cannot fathom why someone would want to move here. VHCOL, massive state and municipal fiscal problems (which are exacerbated by the flight of companies and wealthy residents out of the state), high taxes (CT is routinely listed as one of the worse states to retire), and a state government which regularly raises taxes to compensate for the shortfall in revenue, which in turn drives out more business and wealthy individual taxpayers. This is a vicious cycle which will not end well.

I am in the tech field. In the past 10 years, I been unemployed twice cumulatively for a year, and grossly underemployed for 2.5 years. CT used to have an abundance of tech jobs. No more! They are few and far between. I now am gainfilly employed and work in Westchester County NY for MultiNational Megacorp. Any Megacorp job had its stresses, but adding 3 hours in a car every day to the stress is soul-draining. This is all thanks to the CT economy being in an accelerating death-spiral.

Oh - did I mention the weather? Winters are bloody awful.
That commute is terrible. Why don't you move?
I'm a short-timer for sure. I'm very likely at the FIRE point already, but am procrastinating with regard to pulling the ripcord.

The next time I move will be to a different latitude if the northeast winters don't kill me first.
"Happiness Is Not My Companion" - Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren. (Avatar is the statue of Gen. Warren at Little Round Top @ Gettysburg National Military Park.)

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