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Thread summary:

California: housing, job market, diversity, cost of living, taxes.

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Old 08-29-2006, 06:44 PM
 
Location: Red Sox Nation
668 posts, read 2,460,899 times
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Hi Al. My husband & I left OC almost 7 years ago to Mass (Boston area). I am homesick. We have 2 kids and want to back where it feels like home, and raise the kids where we grew up. Reading the posts here though scares me. So many people want out of CA. Would we be making a mistake to go back to OC? Just to put it in perspective, we paid $700k (ouch!) for our house here in MA, but it is in an outstanding neighborhood. Top ranked schools, no crime to speak of, clean air & water, not much traffic, educated population etc... We have a 2800 sq ft house, full basement, with a big big yard that backs up to the woods. That being said...I still want to go home. Has CA changed that much in 7 years.? We aren't wealthy people. My husband makes a decent living but that may not be enough back in CA. I stay at home. Please, I need advice. Hubby and I are trying to decide what to do, either settle here for the long run, or go back before the kids start school. Any opinions would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 08-29-2006, 07:23 PM
 
Location: Stockton, Ca
313 posts, read 759,548 times
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If you are really questioning it, can you go back to check it out? Do some housing and job comparisons and see from there if it is even something you want to consider. Can the schools in OC even compare if you are near top rated ones right now? I know here in Central Ca things have drastically changed in the last 7 years. We are getting out of here and I really don't plan to come back other than for visits. If my Mom and Sis move out of here as well, we won't be back very often at all. Good luck with your decision!
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Old 08-29-2006, 08:26 PM
Status: "13 years on C-D" (set 24 days ago)
 
Location: Shallow alcove hidden from the telescreen
2,856 posts, read 9,934,972 times
Reputation: 1548
Default It's up to you

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2KidsforMe View Post
Would we be making a mistake to go back to OC? Has CA changed that much in 7 years?
It really depends on you. What do you like? I had a friend who moved from CA to Boston only to hightail it straight back after three years. Now, four-five years later, he still tells me over and over how glad he is to be back in CA. And, more importantly, how glad he is to be away from Boston. One of the best decisions he's ever made, he says, was moving back to CA.

Many parts of CA have changed in seven years, some more than others. Has it changed for better or worse? That depends on the area, but it also depends on individual attitude and taste. In many parts of CA things are changing very quickly. The population is growing and is more diverse. Old things get torn down, replaced by new things (sometimes over night, it seems). I feel like a real old-timer when I reminisce about the "old" mall or a field that "used to be" only a few years ago. The changes can make your head spin, and everyday I hear complaints about the changes. At the same time, a lot of the changes are really good ones. When I see old, rundown parts of town being replaced by beautiful, planned, mixed-use, efficient developments, I'm glad. When I see transportation improvements that make sense, I'm glad. When I see neglected landscapes revitalized and preserved as native nature areas, I'm glad. In many ways, change for me can’t come fast enough.

So if it means anything at all, your attitude might be the key factor in how it goes for you if you move back. CA is dynamic, changing all the time, but hasn't it always been so? Should we expect the future in CA to be any different?

Last edited by Winston Smith; 08-29-2006 at 08:53 PM.. Reason: fix typo
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Old 08-29-2006, 08:50 PM
 
9,715 posts, read 13,322,153 times
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I lived in Florida and Las Vegas before I moved to LA. (Only 8 months in Las Vegas because I really hated it.) I thought LA was *interesting* when I first moved here and I complained about the usual things... I had never lived in an area where the population wasn't predominantly white and middle class.

But now I've lived here 20 years and I really love it. Yeah, it keeps changing but like cre8 said, a lot of the changes are good ones. I've actually grown to love the ethnic diversity here.

I think the cost of living between Boston and here is probably comparable. You might not be able to get such a big house is a place near the beach for that kind of money but you should be able to afford something decent in OC.
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Old 08-29-2006, 08:58 PM
RCL
 
123 posts, read 636,167 times
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A lot has changed in 7 years. And, while it's true that the old is being torn down to make room for the new, it just doesn't seem to happen fast enough. So you have new development going for 600K and up, right in the middle of ghetto. Not exactly my preference.

Could you find the same quality of life you have in MA? I don't know.
What do you specifically like and dislike about MA vs. what are you hoping/looking to recapture by going back to CA? If you are thinking of going back then I wouldn't do it without spending at least a few weeks in the area where you want to return to and see and experience for yourself what differences there may be since you last remembered it. OC has changed but it's still relatively nice in most areas, just much more expensive.
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Old 08-30-2006, 07:32 AM
 
1,398 posts, read 6,125,970 times
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I am not wealthy either, and have over 50 years residency in Los Angeles. I am counting the seconds until we can leave here, so much has changed for the worse. But I am not you.

My advice would be to make a list of pros and cons, with the most pragmatic factors first, emotional factors last, and then discuss everything with your family, since it must be a mutual decision based upon the most realistic assessments, not your homesickness.

Start with economic factors. MA is notorious for high taxes. But as you stated, for those taxes you have "our house here in MA, but it is in an outstanding neighborhood. Top ranked schools, no crime to speak of, clean air & water, not much traffic, educated population etc..." You might be able to find something with better schools and none of the other factors you stated here, but much smaller than where you are now. I ditto RCL- $600K gives you a small condo in a better area or a house in a questionable area nowadays. You would not have much of a yard for the kids either way.

As for emotional factors, it sounds as if you should visit here way more often, firstly to satisfy same, and secondly to assess the reality of current conditions in OC and LA. Try to be ultra-objective about whether or not what you see around you, for what you can afford, would really parallel for your children what you yourself grew up with. Relocation is too economically and physically dramatic a situation to only factor in nostalgia.
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Old 08-30-2006, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Red Sox Nation
668 posts, read 2,460,899 times
Reputation: 444
Default Thanks

Thanks everyone for your replies. I think you are right cre8. Attitude is everything! Massachusetts does have alot to offer as far as quality of life, but if it doesn't feel like "home" then it's hard to feel grounded. Boston is a tough city for a Cali girl. The winters are brutal, the people can be a bit icy, the general lack of development outside the city (although most natives here wouldn't have it any other way). Cost of living is pretty similar to OC I think. The schools are great here, and of course it is beautiful and very safe. A great point was made about change. Things just don't change too much here in MA, sometimes to a fault. It's like the people have a real fear of growth and development. They want to keep the status quo. It's good that the towns retain their old New England feel, but it also explains why I have to drive 20-25 minutes to the nearest grocery store. Anyway, I miss the progressive feel of CA, the diversity, the Mexican food, the Beach, Disneyland, the weather and of course my family and friends. I guess the best couse of action is to visit our family for a week or two and get back into the pace of life. See if it is still for us. Thanks again!
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Old 08-30-2006, 07:47 AM
 
Location: Red Sox Nation
668 posts, read 2,460,899 times
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Goog point fastfilm. Nostalgia is probably driving some of our desire to go back to CA. Often when you leave a place you remember the good, and forget why you left in the first place. If so many of my friends and folks on this forum are concerned with the direction CA is going, then it's cause for pause. The kids have to come first. We'll give it more thought and research, and of couse another visit or two. Thanks for the reality check !
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:28 PM
RCL
 
123 posts, read 636,167 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2KidsforMe View Post
Goog point fastfilm. Nostalgia is probably driving some of our desire to go back to CA. Often when you leave a place you remember the good, and forget why you left in the first place. If so many of my friends and folks on this forum are concerned with the direction CA is going, then it's cause for pause. The kids have to come first. We'll give it more thought and research, and of couse another visit or two. Thanks for the reality check !
Many of my friends and family with children have left CA for the desire to give their kids a better life (as well as generally improve their own life such as having more time to enjoy their family).

The things that you want your kids to be exposed to such as open-mindedness, the natural beauty of CA, etc...my friends and I would all be in agreement here that you can give your kids those experiences on vacation.

If weather is a chief motivating factor for you, you might consider Texas. I have friends who moved there from CA and love it. The economy is good there and there are some areas with excellent schools that are very safe. You could get a killer house for about 300K and have a more laid-back lifestyle. Texans aren't exactly like Californians, but they are outwardly warmer, more sincere, and a bit more progressive thinking. They have museums, zoos and botanical gardens, opera houses, symphonies, and live theater. They also have amusement parks and the lines are not 3 miles long for one ride.

There are also areas in TX with a lot of natural beauty as well. You don't have mountains but you do have hill country which covers quite a bit of territory. TX also has nice beaches on the gulf that are accessible within a few hours drive. There are also beautiful lakes in Texas. One that comes to mind is Possum Kingdom Lake, you can find it by searching on google.

It's not going to be like the CA of days gone by that we all know/love/miss, but it's a very livable alternative and the weather sure won't be any worse than where you are now.

TX also is more diverse in terms of population. And it's centrally located so you can get to either coast or the midwest in just a short flight or 1-3 days drive.

Great Mexican food there too, both authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex, plus in any major city you can get good Chinese, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Indian, and Vietnamese...not to mention the best steak houses in the world are in Texas!
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Old 08-30-2006, 09:47 PM
 
37 posts, read 362,452 times
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2kids- Just for some perspective: We are both SoCal natives, but left in '73. We lived in several places in 2 other states, but had a chance to trasfer back in '98. Although they were out of HS, both kids came with us. They are since married and on their own now. We have lots of family here, and I must say I am impressed with most of their kids' education and values. We are in Ventura County, which I personally prefer over OC.

But....we really do want to go someplace else again one of these days. There are a lot of nice things about SoCal, but there is a real downside too. We happen to be in an area of relatively low crime, but it is growing here too. Our kids do not even consider that they could ever buy a home here, even with 2 good incomes. One of them has moved across country already, I am sure the other will one of these days too. They really dislike the super materialism that is just part of life here. We hope to find a more rural, heartland-type of place with enough charm, attraction, and decent weather that the kids/grandkids will want to visit (or maybe follow us to?).

I know I would miss some of the things here, but I miss something about every place we have lived (and some of those places are pretty bad). For those who can afford it and want this kind of lifestyle, there are some perks here. As for me I've been here, been elsewhere, been back, and am looking forward to elsewhere again.
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