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Old 08-31-2015, 07:41 AM
 
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We are looking to fulfill our dream of raising our kids in Colorado(better schools, activities, overall quality of life). My husband will be leaving his job as a firefighter and fly fishing guide and looking to land just about any job available to start with. We have $40,000 in savings to get us through renting for a little while until he finds a permanent position. We do not want to be in Denver...would prefer smaller mountain towns with good schools and family activities. I guess we need suggestions on best areas to find a job for him and rent for us (2 small children and 2 small dogs). Would like rent to stay under $2000 per month. Any suggestions are appreciated!!
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Old 08-31-2015, 08:03 AM
 
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You'll want to elaborate on your husband's job preferences, and know that pay could be less than where you are from. You might want to also point out where you would be coming from. The comparison/contrast of old/new locations is very important.

I used to believe that Colorado always meant better schools, quality of life, etc. over anywhere else, but years later don't hold on to that belief. That's impression that comes across from afar, and certainly is true over rougher/poorer areas of the country, but one needs to really look deeper (peel the paint and look underneath). It's very expensive - in my opinion - to live here. My family burned through several $10,000s within the first year or so, trying to get established. It seems that costs continue to rise faster than what I'd consider normal (previous to CO). Job avaiability seems very poor in the smaller towns, but that's from the perspective of coming from a large town.

With lots of discussion here, and more details though, matters should get clearer for you. Best of luck!
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Old 08-31-2015, 08:39 AM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,191,290 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACHL2012 View Post
We are looking to fulfill our dream of raising our kids in Colorado(better schools, activities, overall quality of life).(snip)...would prefer smaller mountain towns with good schools and family activities. I guess we need suggestions on best areas to find a job for him and rent for us (2 small children and 2 small dogs). Would like rent to stay under $2000 per month. Any suggestions are appreciated!!
Please Please Please ... do yourself a favor and read through the many threads of Colorado dreaming folks like yourself here on C-D, and try to get a glimpse of reality.

Your husband's job skills are duplicated by a hundred thousand folks already here, and many more trying to move here. The competition for the limited job openings is fierce. And, as mentioned above, the pay rates may be substantially less than what you are accustomed to in other areas of the USA. A large portion of the "compensation" in Colorado has historically been the "privilege to live in Colorado"; ie, the access to recreation, the natural beauty, and similar aspects have long been considered a part of one's compensation rather than dollars in hand.

You've already presented two giant obstacles to your vision of Colorado:

1) "smaller mountain towns with good schools" is an oxymoron. School districts are primarily locally funded via property taxes. Most small towns don't have the tax base to provide "good schools".

And as a glaring example, two towns I'm fairly familiar with that have gigantic tax bases compared to most of Colorado's rural communities ... Aspen and Vail ... both have schools which don't rise to the level of "good".

Case in point: my property manager in Vail sent his daughters to a private school in town rather than the public schools there because the public schools are so bad. As did my neighbors in East Vail who were affluent enough to do so for their children. Similarly, a couple of my friends (partially) paid for their ski lifestyle in Aspen with jobs as teachers (they had to work 2nd and 3rd jobs as tipped waitstaff and ski instructors) in the HS there; neither sent their children through the public schools knowing well the quality of education there.

2) Rentals with 2 dogs? Yes, having dogs is part of the "mountain culture". But wanting to rent to dog owners is another matter.

As a landlord in the mountain areas, I've been bitten so many times when I relented on my "no pet" policy that even with an extra $1,000/month and $2,000 added to the security deposit ... I lost money at the end of a year to a pet owner. I've had window coverings (blinds and draperies) destroyed by clawing at them, cabinetry destroyed, "well trained, absolutely housebroken" dogs destroy carpet and underlayment, and even medium sized dogs claw their way through a solid oak front door to where there was daylight (and cold winds) blasting through the door. I've had mature landscaping, large trees killed by girdling them with a leash secured around the trunk to keep the dog outside rather than kenneled. I've had 4x4 supporting posts for a deck sawed through by wrapping a leash around the post to keep the dog outside. Seems like all the dog owners I've rented to are too stupid to figure out how to use a "doggie anchor" in the yard, or have a clue that their wonderful, even tempered, calm, beautiful companion pet that is perfectly housebroken is a detriment to the property they live in. (and yes, I own 5 dogs ... two full time outside 100+ lb LGD's for my sheep flock, and 3 indoor/outdoor companion Welsh Corgi's that work for their kibble as herd dogs. Love 'em all, but I know the damage they can and will do and accept that responsibility and cost as part of my housing/ranch ownership. And no, my "perfectly housebroken" Corgi's don't get through a year without "accidents", which is why my house has all hardwood floors sealed with epoxy and urethane. That's what I had to do in my rental houses ... tear out the carpeting and now I've only got hard flooring in them. You want a soft rug underfoot? no problem, buy and supply your own rugs throughout the house. At $5,000 per average carpet replacement I encountered, I lost a lot of money on pet owning tenants for a couple rental cycles. My experience isn't any different than most landlords in the region.)

3) I sense from your post that you're not very familiar with the realities of costs of living or jobs in Colorado. I'd suggest that you come visit here with a view towards moving here rather than relying upon the disneyized version of what you think awaits and presents here.

Last edited by sunsprit; 08-31-2015 at 08:56 AM..
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Old 08-31-2015, 10:41 AM
 
1,822 posts, read 1,390,065 times
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Lots of great information above. I don't normally read through longer posts, but this time it is worth it.

There is a sort of dreamlike trance that seems to take over with a lot of moves to CO (and I did notice the word "dream" in sentence one). My family was guilty of that as well, so I'm speaking from experience. Before getting too carried away, there needs to be solid research and solid planning, including: specific jobs with specific pay and some kind of idea of competition for those few jobs (even better: get a job before moving), understanding all the bills and costs of living, factoring in income tax removed from pay periods, understanding rent/mortgage costs and even finding a home, and any major differences between where you are now and where you might be.
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Old 08-31-2015, 10:50 AM
 
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Thanks for pointing out the points I need to clarify, we will be coming from Central Arkansas...schools, weather and quality of life can only go up from here I can assure you. we visited Breck in February 3 years ago and in July this year and as far as the basics we were able to observe, housing costs are the most drastic difference in expenses. Groceries were pretty much the same, gas a little higher but not outrageously so, and entertainment is far more abundant and available year-round. We are tired of the miserable heat and humidity, nasty bugs and mosquitoes, the list goes on. I am interested to hear more about the schools because my research is limited to what's available online, but the "ratings" available surpass anything we have around here. As for his job, we know my husband will start out making much less than what could be offered here, but it's a sacrifice we have decided to make to have a chance at a more enjoyable life. He is willing to start out with just about anything and work his way up. The rental situation may be an issue but we don't want to buy when we haven't spent considerable time in a place to decide to put down permanent roots. I don't think our wishes are any more "disneyized" than anyone trying to create a life somewhere new, but please provide input because that's why I started the thread.
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Old 08-31-2015, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
4,873 posts, read 9,618,037 times
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I love the Buena Vista/Salida area. Great place to raise kids and I've heard good things about the schools. HOWEVER, jobs may be hard to find -- small towns mean fewer jobs. A lot of the economy here depends on the tourist trade, which just about disappears in the winter. Obviously small towns like Breck have a lot of business in the winter, but good luck finding a decent rental in your price range,

There have been plenty of discussions here about not only the BV/Salida area but other smaller mountain towns. Finding jobs will be the hardest thing for you.
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Old 08-31-2015, 01:11 PM
 
1,822 posts, read 1,390,065 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACHL2012 View Post
As for his job, we know my husband will start out making much less than what could be offered here, but it's a sacrifice we have decided to make... He is willing to start out with just about anything and work his way up.
Trying not to sound negative, but I'd use caution in assuming that working oneself up is guaranteed or even likely. I was banking on that myself, but have seen a discouraging atmosphere as to promotion. The key traits (working hard, good attendance, learning about one's company, fully immersing themselves in the company, and trying to fit in with the culture) seem less likely to pull one forward here, again based on personal observance. This will probably irk others, but it seems like more superficial traits like looking and sounding like a true native (speech and word usage are key) and having family/roots in CO are what make more of a difference. I've noticed this in several jobs, and am seeing a pattern. It all goes on on a very subtle, almost subliminal level, that most probably don't even notice. Coming from a different area/environment though, it became/becomes very noticeable after awhile.

Last edited by Sunderpig2; 08-31-2015 at 01:26 PM..
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Old 08-31-2015, 01:24 PM
 
4 posts, read 8,842 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunderpig2 View Post
Lots of great information above. I don't normally read through longer posts, but this time it is worth it.

There is a sort of dreamlike trance that seems to take over with a lot of moves to CO (and I did notice the word "dream" in sentence one). My family was guilty of that as well, so I'm speaking from experience. Before getting too carried away, there needs to be solid research and solid planning, including: specific jobs with specific pay and some kind of idea of competition for those few jobs (even better: get a job before moving), understanding all the bills and costs of living, factoring in income tax removed from pay periods, understanding rent/mortgage costs and even finding a home, and any major differences between where you are now and where you might be.

Thanks, Sunderpig2. If you feel comfortable, I would be very grateful for any specifics you have to provide regarding actual costs you have experienced so I can be better prepared. What towns do you have experience living in? The big unknown is obviously my husband's job, but even with low-balling an estimate of what we can hope he would make doing "grunt" work if necessary, I can still plan out what our future there will look like based on current savings and my small income (I work via email so my income is stable no matter where we live). We won't have daycare expenses, but I would like to know available info on extra-curricular activities for my 3 year old daughter if you have any input, and anything you can think of that I might be overlooking. We have found a couple of possible rentals via craigslist so we know CAN find housing within our budget, and my husband is putting resumes out and making contacts to try and land a job before we arrive. But, we have a cozy savings to get us by for a while until he gets something.
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Old 08-31-2015, 02:34 PM
 
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I only have experience with the Fort Collins-Loveland area. Those aren't exactly "smaller mountain towns", so I'm not sure how closely your town/area preferences would compare. Narrowing your interested area in CO would help with the discussion. A lot of the discussion ends up around what town/area you are interested in, and what types of jobs your husband might do. Even if open to many types of work, specifics would help. An optometrist likely wouldn't do welding, etc. So narrowing the scope and experience would be good.

Also, "good schools" can mean a lot of different things, so you might want to elaborate there. Some might consider that to mean high marks / high ratings (which doesn't necessary translate to a good experience, as my family has found out), or a good atmosphere with a positive/nurturing experience, or it could mean lots of possibilities for learning / options, etc. One person's "good school" might be another's poor choice. Even where I live, the "good schools" tend to be the one's that overload kids with a fast-paced approach, lots of heavy books and laptops to lug around, and basically prep for the rat race. If kids don't enjoy school, it seems like a bad way to go about learning and growing. Lesser-rated schools where we've lived before were actually much better in the end. There's almost more to the story than meets the eye...

The Internet is a great starting point for information. Actual visiting is another important component. The third would be reading between the lines and trying to uncover the hidden potential issues that the other two don't reveal. It's hard when that learning comes at a big price (loss of savings, etc.)

Last edited by Sunderpig2; 08-31-2015 at 02:50 PM..
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Old 08-31-2015, 03:07 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
3,049 posts, read 2,077,790 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunderpig2 View Post
This will probably irk others, but it seems like more superficial traits like looking and sounding like a true native (speech and word usage are key) and having family/roots in CO are what make more of a difference. I've noticed this in several jobs, and am seeing a pattern. It all goes on on a very subtle, almost subliminal level, that most probably don't even notice. Coming from a different area/environment though, it became/becomes very noticeable after awhile.
I've actually experienced the exact opposite in Colorado Springs where I've got the impression from some employers that being a local was a negative. But, these were also very large national or international corporations. I've never lived or worked in Fort Collins, so I have no first hand experience with the northern part of the state. I'd think ski towns and their surrounding areas would be a bit different since most ski resort employees tend to be from somewhere else.

Rents in Breckinridge proper will tend to be higher than elsewhere in Summit county. You might find better values in Frisco, Dillon, or Silverthorne. However, because of the concentration of resorts and activities in Summit county, his experience as a firefighter may help in finding a job, but it will still be an uphill battle. Looking at Summit Co website, they do show a paramedic; Summit County, CO - Official Website . Resorts may need some dual duty positions with that background, but you'll have to dig to find those.

Another possible option may be up around Garfield County and the Glenwood Springs area and up into the Aspen valley area. Again, housing will be expensive and will only go up the higher to Aspen you go, but there may be greater chances of work in Garfield County. Garfield County, Colorado
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