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  #1  
Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 10:05 AM
CaliNative CaliNative is offline
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Thinking of Leaving California--where should I move?

Tired of paying $2500 a month rent in coastal San Diego. The climate and beaches are nice, but the living costs and traffic are not. Crime is bad, the homeless problem is getting worse, and aggravations mount. But is it any better anywhere else? Limiting my search to the U.S. for the moment, but I know some consider New Zealand a paradise. So, I am also open to international ideas (I hear good things about Chile, Argentina and Uruguay).

My search criteria:

1. Affordable living cost---rents less than $1000 for a nice one br apt. or under $250,000 for a decent house. Reasonable taxes and govt. services.

2. Climate not intolerably cold in winter or insufferably hot, humid and bug ridden in summer. Moderate 4 seasons OK. I think I could get used to a cold winter as long as it doesn't get much below 0 degrees F. Long hot humid summers more difficult, and bugs that bite are a negative. That rules out much of the south and Maine during the early summer black fly season.

3. Decent cultural attractions, nice parks, museums, libraries etc. Major sports teams a plus but not essential. Smaller cities (under 500,000) OK as long as there is a good university nearby, and a fair concentration of intelligent people.

4. Tolerable traffic & commutes, decent economy, fair air & water quality, no EPA superfund cleanup sites nearby.

5. Crime and homelessness not rampant; opioid and drug use not out of control.

6. No bias or dislike against ex-Californians ( I guess that rules out Oregon & Washington).

7. Minimal risk from hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, fires, droughts, floods etc.

Any suggestions, U.S. primarily but also foreign?

Are there any affordable paradises left, U.S. or foreign?

Last edited by CaliNative; Dec 24, 2017 at 10:38 AM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 12:06 PM
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Cape Town, South Africa or coastal (preferably, so cost is less) Portugal or Spain.
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  #3  
Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 12:33 PM
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California really needs to deal with its excessive taxes and other quality of life problems.

State tax is what, 13%?
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Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 1:13 PM
ThePhun1 ThePhun1 is offline
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If you're looking to save money but have all the big city amenities, move somewhere in the Texas triangle. Houston, DFW, Austin or San Antonio and especially the first two will do the job.
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  #5  
Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 1:28 PM
ThePhun1 ThePhun1 is offline
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Or you could go to Jacksonville. Best skyline in the US...and North America bar none.
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  #6  
Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 3:19 PM
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If you're looking to save money but have all the big city amenities, move somewhere in the Texas triangle. Houston, DFW, Austin or San Antonio and especially the first two will do the job.
houston blows like three or four of the search criteria out of the water right off the bat.
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Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 3:22 PM
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Nashville.

Texas, Florida, Arizona is probably too hot for you. Northeast and Midwest is probably too cold for you. You may not like seasons. If so, Nashville may not work for you either. So maybe somewhere outside of US. Or maybe stay in California and move to somewhere like Sacramento.
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  #8  
Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 3:22 PM
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yes, new zealand of course, if you don't mind sort of cutting yourself off from the states since you are wanting to keep things cheap. flights can be rather expensive compared to other long haul destinations. also, if i were used to california, but wanted to stay budget-conscious, i would be scanning the inter-mountain west. denver is becoming rather pricey at this point, i might look at idaho or new mexico.

for some californians, especially if they aren't really familiar with it, southern culture/politics is a no-go, so if you go that route just make sure that's a non-issue. the larger the city, that becomes less of an issue, but then awful traffic/quality of life comes into play depending on what you do for a living.

re: nashville, i'm not sure you can even get a nice 1 BR under 1k in a good location these days.
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Last edited by Centropolis; Dec 24, 2017 at 3:42 PM.
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  #9  
Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 3:54 PM
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oooh, the remake my life thread. i do these all the time in my head too. so based on your criteria, you'd like to avoid bad weather, criminals and natural catastrophe but also have an affordable and mentally stimulating city. if i were rolling the dice, id base my choice on the affordable housing and weather quotient first, and then learn to work around the other less desirable traits. for me, id probably choose atlanta if i were to leave portland. its nearing megasize metropolis status, has good weather, and its in a burgeoning region. plus its close to florida for sunny fun in winter and not too far from the east coast either. my plan b's plan b, so my plan c! would probably be cincinatti. its cheap, straddles the south and midwest, and seems like its on the up and up. plus the weather is nearly sub tropical so there is that. dunno, good luck in your search. also, don't worry about anti california bias in the NW. thats mostly a bunch of bollocks. i know lots of people from california who come up here. just change your plates on your car quickly and the air wont be let our of your tires.
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Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 4:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Eightball View Post
Cape Town, South Africa or coastal (preferably, so cost is less) Portugal or Spain.
Cape Town can be great, but fails OP's criteria on a number of points. Crime, of course, being the main one. While the City Bowl and Atlantic coast areas are reasonably safe by South African standards the crime rate is still many times that of a place like San Diego. It's a risk I'd be willing to take but if someone is specifically concerned about crime it's not an attractive prospect. Everyone I know who has lived there has experienced some form of crime (whether direct or indirect), and stuff like monthly fees to a private security firm, electric fences, burglar bars and panic buttons attached to lanyards of are a fact of life. Things as simple as walking to a corner store by yourself at night are questionable - you'll probably be fine but the chances are higher than you'd like. Similarly the visible homeless poor population is very much in your face, even in nicer areas. Just a couple weeks ago a bunch of Metrorail train cars were torched in a mini riot in the central railway station as a response to terrible service / cancelled trains (in turn as a result of rampant cable theft of railway equipment).

With all the foreign investment in property it's not as cheap as it used to be, either, both in housing prices and the food/drink prices in nicer establishments. If you're retiring or getting paid in Euro/USD this is still not much of an issue but if you're relying on a local job paid in Rand it's not a cheap city. Wages are still quite a bit below what one would get paid in Gauteng Province for an identical job.

The recent wildfires also came very close to damaging large parts of the city, so it may not be safe on that front either!


Portugal seems like an interesting suggestion - haven't heard anything but good stuff about the country and it seems very affordable.
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  #11  
Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 5:00 PM
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Obviously, the weather thing is the hardest part. It crosses off basically all of the country. I'd tell you Raleigh might be nice, but you probably wouldn't like the summer. Or Madison, but you certainly wouldn't like the winter.

You basically want a Mediterranean climate. That's the West Coast and Hawaii. Oregon and Washington are cancelled out because of an "anti-California bias" (why would you care? How would this discrimination affect you?), and Hawaii certainly isn't cheap. So now we're left with California, but where is cheap that's also near lots of cultural/sporting amenities? The entire Redwood area is crossed off because of the latter.

Maybe somewhere around Santa Cruz? Close-ish to the Bay Area, just stay to the north part of Monterey Bay because the southern part is gonna be too expensive. I had a studio there for over 1k and that was a decade ago.

You're probably either going to have to concede on one of your criteria or go international. If you still want to stay in the US, my votes are for the first places I mentioned: Madison or Raleigh, in that order.
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Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 5:12 PM
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Carlsbad or Encinitas?
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Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 5:16 PM
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I suggest a smaller college town in an unfashionable location. You'll be comfortable with the liberal politics, they usually have a good if relatively limited range of amenities, better than average cultural facilities, not completely rubbish job prospects and cheaper real estate when compared to thriving big cities. Madison is a good suggestion from cannedairspray, as would be Ann Arbor or even Athens, Georgia.
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  #14  
Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 5:17 PM
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Originally Posted by dc_denizen View Post
California really needs to deal with its excessive taxes and other quality of life problems.

State tax is what, 13%?
The marginal rate, on people with INCOMES (not net worth) in the millions, is just under 13%. In fact, I pay something like 3% on my middle class retirement income in spite of the considerably higher marginal rate on my last dollar.

Don't feel sorry for Californians on this basis. I own homes in California and supposedly low tax Arizona and spend about half my time in each. I could claim to be a resident of either state and have "run the numbers". I'd pay less in Arizona but not enough less to cancel out some other reasons for continuing to claim my SF home as my "primary residence".
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Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 5:19 PM
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"Affordable Mediterranean climate with all the urban amenities and no crime" doesn't really exist anywhere in the world, so I agree with cannedairspray you will have to concede on some criteria.

You sound very confident that you could take your job with you anywhere...? Or else you're retired?
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  #16  
Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 5:24 PM
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Actually I think the only way to meet all the criteria -- given that the OP seems to be fine working from anywhere, I assume an internet connection suffices for him to earn a living -- would be to be split between two places. Supercheap modest home in a midsize Upstate NY city to spend summers, and tiny cheap coastal Florida condo to spend winters.

If you owned any California real estate you would end up able to pay cash for both these properties AND still have a bundle left...
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  #17  
Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 5:26 PM
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Originally Posted by cannedairspray View Post
Obviously, the weather thing is the hardest part. It crosses off basically all of the country. I'd tell you Raleigh might be nice, but you probably wouldn't like the summer. Or Madison, but you certainly wouldn't like the winter.

You basically want a Mediterranean climate. That's the West Coast and Hawaii. Oregon and Washington are cancelled out because of an "anti-California bias" (why would you care? How would this discrimination affect you?), and Hawaii certainly isn't cheap. So now we're left with California, but where is cheap that's also near lots of cultural/sporting amenities? The entire Redwood area is crossed off because of the latter.

Maybe somewhere around Santa Cruz? Close-ish to the Bay Area, just stay to the north part of Monterey Bay because the southern part is gonna be too expensive. I had a studio there for over 1k and that was a decade ago.

You're probably either going to have to concede on one of your criteria or go international. If you still want to stay in the US, my votes are for the first places I mentioned: Madison or Raleigh, in that order.
The southern Appalachians is probably as close to "good weather" as he'll come outside CA. The summers are mild due to altitude and the winters, in NC and southward, aren't too harsh. Asheville, Birmingham, Chattanooga . . . . I spent 4 years in Durham, next door to Raleigh, and if weather's the criterion I vote an unequivocal thumbs down. Nothing's like a central Carolina ice storm and the summers are typically hot/humid.

Frankly, the "hate Californians" thing in the northwest is probably over-rated but the rainy winters are another issue. Even in Northern CA that problem can be bad enough to send me packing to Tucson (when the jet stream dives south and brings SF Seattle's weather).

San Diego, near the ocean--like La Jolla--unquestionably has the best weather in the continental US and I'd rate it over Hawaii too (Hawaii's too humid and a bit too hot for my taste). I haven't looked into it, but for low taxes and cheaper living, maybe look a bit farther south in Mexico (not all the way to Cabo but across the border).
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  #18  
Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 5:34 PM
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Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
"Affordable Mediterranean climate with all the urban amenities and no crime" doesn't really exist anywhere in the world, so I agree with cannedairspray you will have to concede on some criteria.

You sound very confident that you could take your job with you anywhere...? Or else you're retired?
I say check this one out:


http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/b...bs-sur/434627/

How Chattanooga became the 'Best Town Ever'
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  #19  
Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 5:51 PM
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Carlsbad or Encinitas?
Still in SD metro so not any cheaper. Likely more.
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  #20  
Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 8:19 PM
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charleston, sc has become somewhat fashionable, lately. hot summers, though. good food, at least was cheap, coastal, mild winters.
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