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Pickles

How To Pick A State..?

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I feel like a kid in a candy store that can't make up my mind which candy I want to buy. There's such a huge range of places and I'm curious how everyone ended up where they did. How does one make a short list when there is so much on offer?

 

In a nutshell, we are outdoorsy people. We are not afraid of the snow (please don't give me a speech on how cold it is etc, I've lived in that type of climate before and it does not bother us). Love snowboarding and rock climbing and river rafting. Need a decent school for our son who will start school when we move over. (He will be 4 end of this year).

 

I know everyone's situation is different but am genuinely curious how everyone decides on how to make a short list. I'm feeling so lost?

 

Hope you can advise a little!

 

Thanks.

Edited by Pickles

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Sounds like Colorado would be good for you! Lovely state.

 

Some people are fixated on low tax states. Others go for lifestyle or job issues - outdoors like you, lots of culture, or tech or financial centers etc. Bear in mind politics in certain places could have an impact. I can't imagine a very conservative type enjoying the Bay Area much, or a very liberal person enjoying parts of the Bible Belt, as broad stereotypical examples. Make a list of what is important to you,both in terms of what you want and what you don't want. See what sounds good. Go on city-data and ask questions on the city forums.

Edited by SJ27
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Pickles, we ended up in the Pacific Northwest, not by choice, but because my wife found a sponsor [H1-B] in Portland, Oregon, and I think Oregon or Washington State might be to your liking.

 

These two states are divided by the Cascades, a mountain range housing the (in)famous Mt St Helen, a semi-active volcano. Other famous peaks include Mt Hood, Mt Jefferson and Mt Rainier. These peaks provide plenty of opportunities for the climber, skier and snowboarder. The two states also have plenty of rivers for the water enthusiast, but there is a drawback.

 

It rains quite a lot.

 

Admittedly, the current El Nino weather pattern is messing up the issue quite a bit, and we have warmer weather conditions than usual, but that will change back again in future. The landscape west of the Cascades is green, but on the eastern side the area is drier and morphs into what is known as the "high desert". It is not as dry as Nevada or Arizona, but more like the Karoo.

 

Seattle (WA) is a large city boasting all the amenities you could want, sits right on the ocean and is home to Boeing and Microsoft. Portland (OR) is smaller but equally "equipped" with all you would need and it's motto is: "Keep Portland weird". Enough said. It is also home to Nike and Intel.

 

Seattle is about two hour's drive from the Canadian border and this opens up more travelling opportunities. Portland is a three hour drive (south) from Seattle and a mere two and a half hours away from Los Angeles by plane.

 

 

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Pacific Northwest is absolutely beautiful, but as janneman says... The rain. Our neighbors lived in Seattle for 4 years and just couldn't handle the rain so they moved!!!

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SJ27, I often say that we only have two seasons in Portland - a very long winter and a short summer. :)

 

This is not completely true, but it can get miserable when it rains for days on end. On the other hand however, we have plenty of water.

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SJ27, I often say that we only have two seasons in Portland - a very long winter and a short summer. :)

 

This is not completely true, but it can get miserable when it rains for days on end. On the other hand however, we have plenty of water.

Opposite of us, warm weather and NO water!!!! It's a status symbol to have a brown front lawn at the moment....

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Sounds like Colorado would be good for you! Lovely state.

 

Some people are fixated on low tax states. Others go for lifestyle or job issues - outdoors like you, lots of culture, or tech or financial centers etc. Bear in mind politics in certain places could have an impact. I can't imagine a very conservative type enjoying the Bay Area much, or a very liberal person enjoying parts of the Bible Belt, as broad stereotypical examples. Make a list of what is important to you,both in terms of what you want and what you don't want. See what sounds good. Go on city-data and ask questions on the city forums.

Yep I agree about people fixating on tax break states. Such as Texas. Now, I'm certainly far from even being 1/100000th of an expert on the matter but my logic tells me surely the tax man won't lose out and where tax is lower in one area you'll end up evening out in other areas of tax, making it all much of a muchness. Then again, my logic may be taking a vacation so I could be totally wrong there?

 

Definitely can't handle heat. 12 yrs in London and we are pansies when it goes over 26. So no deserts for us! Lol. I'll take the 10 feet of snow rather.

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The pacific north west does indeed look lovely but if I lived in another London type weather system again I think i'd slit my own throat. Love rain but not that fine pissy stuff that just doesn't stop for days on end.

 

Has anyone lived up in the north east? Massachusetts, Maine etc?

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Yep I agree about people fixating on tax break states. Such as Texas. Now, I'm certainly far from even being 1/100000th of an expert on the matter but my logic tells me surely the tax man won't lose out and where tax is lower in one area you'll end up evening out in other areas of tax, making it all much of a muchness. Then again, my logic may be taking a vacation so I could be totally wrong there?

Definitely can't handle heat. 12 yrs in London and we are pansies when it goes over 26. So no deserts for us! Lol. I'll take the 10 feet of snow rather.

Actually, I think the tax issues are maybe looked at a bit differently. For example, our local property tax is pretty high - but we can claim about half of it back from the IRS on our federal tax returns! Often what you need to do to look at it properly is to figure out things like what you will be earning (low tax states often, not always, have lower incomes); what you will get back in return (via education, policing and other services etc. I don't want to generalize because it is different everywhere but low tax states are often that way because they need to attract residents - which means they may not have everything people may want. I mean, we looked at all of this and w decided that for our situation we would rather pay more local tax because where we wanted to live offered us so much more of what we wanted lifestyle and education wise than some low tax states. But for other families with different priorities, their calculations might work exactly in favor of a low tax state. And even within a state, things may be vastly different, like school districts for example. So it really sometimes boils right down to local level and not just state level top.

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SJ I'm cracking up at the status symbol. LOL

The pacific north west does indeed look lovely but if I lived in another London type weather system again I think i'd slit my own throat. Love rain but not that fine pissy stuff that just doesn't stop for days on end.

Has anyone lived up in the north east? Massachusetts, Maine etc?

Superkruz is up there. I wanted to move to Boston, my husband nixed it on weather. They had a dreadful winter this year. Summers can be awesome. Fall spectacular n

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How did you come to learn the tax system Sj? I still don't know how tax is done over ere in the UK. I'm guessing I'll be coughing up for someone to handle my taxes each year.

 

Let me just say. I. Am. Dreaddddding doing tax related stuff. Admin and I hate each other. :P

 

Boston does look stunning. I'm betting a fortune though, what with being so close to NYC. But yeah that area top right of the map draws me. Colorado too, and Wyoming and Montana. Not sure what the rain levels are like in the latter two. Ugh. Did I say how much I've come to despise the pissy rain..? ;)

 

The north east does draw me due to good schools, beauty, snowboarding, close® to NYC, and closer to the coast without worrying about a hurricane tearing through.

 

My experience with the Carolinas wasn't great. Nice for a weekend getaway but found it too run down? Perhaps just the parts we were at but I did see a fair bit of what was supposed to be a decent area.

 

Lived in FL and never again. Whilst I really loved the beaches (to view, not to visit - not keen on the stickiness of sand and sea) and all the theme parks (on resident discount) and NASA down the road and St Augustines etc, it was simply waaaaay too hot. Honestly, I should've been used to it given I went from joburg summer straight to spring there but I couldn't hack it. So I sure and heck couldn't hack it now, 12 yrs later from living in mild UK. Today it was 26 definitely and I suffered. Trying to fall asleep at the moment and we have the fan on. All of us are sticky and hot. So yeah, definitely couldn't cope with 35+ anymore. Last year in Italy it was 38 every day and I was in a groot strop the whole holiday as I just couldn't keep cool. ;)

 

Would be great to hear from superkruz!

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Pickles, I am not based in Boston or Mass, but I go to Mass on Sundays to attend Church and go to Boston on regular basis. It's a good place. Mass is also having what I consider the best Universities. It will satisfy your liking of snow as well. The drawback, as SJ indicated, they will get you on tax. That is why Mass got the nickname Taxchussetts. Moreover, the cost of living in Mass high, you may need to prepare yourself for that also. If you are anxious about tax, you may try NH, which is laid back, but have good schools. Main, is a tourist hot spot. They have nice beaches and it's quitter. During summer, oooh, this place is beautiful. May I add one small thing, Maine has a Canadish feel as well. You will see some places with two flags; one US and one Canada. From what you posted earlier; it seems places like Minnesota will do for you. Have you considered it?

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Minnesota whoooooo there's cold and there's cold, lol. Not sure that is quite what Pickles had in mind.

 

My basic rule of thumb is that cost of living is directly proportional to how desirable a place is to live in :D Of course there are some exceptions and I think Colorado is one.

 

Re Montana and Wyoming - would you be able to find decent work? I know two people who lived in Montana, one all his life till he left school, one for a few years. Seems it has its charm but it's a place you expect your kids to leave when they grow up.

 

Personally I think we have the best of all worlds in the Bay Area. Depending on whether you like cooler or hotter climates you can choose which part to live in (there can be a 20 deg difference between the city and coastal areas vs parts of the east bay on the same day!) Excellent universities obviously, a tech and to a lesser extent financial center, beaches for summer, skiing for winter, all the advantages of a big city including some amaaaaazing science museums yet with proximity to so much outdoorsy stuff. The downside is the cost of living - high property prices and taxes - and potentially a hellish commute if you don't live in the right spot for where you work.

 

We seriously considered Colorado and really loved it. Ultimately we preferred the cosmopolitanism of the Bay Area, but I can't deny occasionally looking at real estate ads and thinking how much more bang for your buck you get in CO!! It's decent jobs-wise too, at least in the fields we were looking at.

Edited by SJ27

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SJ, I agree with you on Minnesota....it has terrible long cold winters and snows big time. It has the Mall of America, which is an attraction that he may want to Consider. Their Spring turns the place into a picturesque beautiful garden........

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