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Old 11-12-2011, 04:01 AM
 
39 posts, read 107,085 times
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Default Best Place in the USA to live on a middle class income?

All things considered, whats your opinion as to the best place to live in the USA on an average middle class income?

For the purpose of the thread, we'll consider an average lower to middle class income to be between 24k and 40k, which is the income range I am interested in.

Also, I realize that any place can be great with a lot of money, and any place can be hell with no money. So I want you to consider the "best place" that you don't need to buy your way into happiness with a lot of income, but can live a nice life with a middle class income. I prefer the rent to be low in order to save and have money for more important things. I do not want to spend 50% of my income on rent.

My interests and values fall more in line with someone who lives a cosmopolitan lifestyle, rather than your average frat boy type sports fanatic. Therefore, a decent sports culture and beer bar scene is unimportant to me.

Culture shock wouldn't be a problem, as long as I didn't move to a heavily religious community. Those people annoy me to no end... That's why I would be wary to move anywhere in the Bible belt. Fortunately, most places suck there anyway. Big surprise...

Anyway, I don't want you guys to try to find a place for me, but to tell me what your best place in the USA is, and why... That's much more interesting to me...also, its too hard to find a place for me, a guy that you've never met...

Characteristics of the Place to Consider:
1. Year Round Weather
2. Culture/Things to do/Nightlife (whatever is important to you for entertainment)
3. Average Quality of the People (nice, snotty, fake, good personalities, loyal, etc..)
4. Culturally and racially diverse
5. Price of Housing (rent)
6. Overall quality of life
7. Scenery/Beauty of Area
8. Car friendly
9. Vibrant; city doesn't sleep at 11pm
10. Nearby cities for weekend trips.

So, whats your best place on a middle class income? No place is going to be perfect, and no place is going to hit all of the best characteristics listed above. But whats the best for you, considering whats important to you?
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Old 11-12-2011, 06:28 AM
 
12,156 posts, read 11,847,410 times
Reputation: 8530
Quote:
Originally Posted by der titan View Post
All things considered, whats your opinion as to the best place to live in the USA on an average middle class income?

For the purpose of the thread, we'll consider an average lower to middle class income to be between 24k and 40k, which is the income range I am interested in.

Also, I realize that any place can be great with a lot of money, and any place can be hell with no money. So I want you to consider the "best place" that you don't need to buy your way into happiness with a lot of income, but can live a nice life with a middle class income. I prefer the rent to be low in order to save and have money for more important things. I do not want to spend 50% of my income on rent.

My interests and values fall more in line with someone who lives a cosmopolitan lifestyle, rather than your average frat boy type sports fanatic. Therefore, a decent sports culture and beer bar scene is unimportant to me.

Culture shock wouldn't be a problem, as long as I didn't move to a heavily religious community. Those people annoy me to no end... That's why I would be wary to move anywhere in the Bible belt. Fortunately, most places suck there anyway. Big surprise...

Anyway, I don't want you guys to try to find a place for me, but to tell me what your best place in the USA is, and why... That's much more interesting to me...also, its too hard to find a place for me, a guy that you've never met...

Characteristics of the Place to Consider:
1. Year Round Weather
2. Culture/Things to do/Nightlife (whatever is important to you for entertainment)
3. Average Quality of the People (nice, snotty, fake, good personalities, loyal, etc..)
4. Culturally and racially diverse
5. Price of Housing (rent)
6. Overall quality of life
7. Scenery/Beauty of Area
8. Car friendly
9. Vibrant; city doesn't sleep at 11pm
10. Nearby cities for weekend trips.

So, whats your best place on a middle class income? No place is going to be perfect, and no place is going to hit all of the best characteristics listed above. But whats the best for you, considering whats important to you?
I would say Cleveland.

One bedroom rentals in the nice areas of town (Lakewood for example) average around $500 per month. The city has quite a bit going on and doesn't empty out at night. It's diverse racially and culturally. Cleveland residents are as down to earth as it gets in the US in my opinion. In terms of scenery it's not mountains or coastal (discounting Lake Erie) but it does have a lot of greenspace/trees. The city is pretty car-friendly and a bargain considering it does have a very good mass transit system (including light rail), which is typical usually to much more expensive cities. Weather will be a minus as it does get cold and snowy, but Summers and Falls are great. It's location in the Midwest is an attribute as you can get to other cities within a few hours for weekend trips. Toronto is 4 hours away and Chicago is around 5 hours.
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Old 11-12-2011, 08:13 AM
 
Location: North America
137 posts, read 235,049 times
Reputation: 101
Montreal if you want to consider living in Canada.
It has everything you need.
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Old 11-12-2011, 08:26 AM
 
30,795 posts, read 35,834,492 times
Reputation: 6143
Pretty much any "Rust Belt" city/area, to be honest. Buffalo might be a great choice. Nightlife until 4AM, 2 hours from Toronto, Niagara Falls is right there, the Finger Lakes are an hour or so away, below average COL, has minimal traffic, an underrated arts scene, skiing is within an hour, you 2 great lakes in the area and more. You may like Kenmore, Lockport, parts of South Buffalo, North Buffalo, parts of Cheektowaga, Depew, the Tonawandas(cities of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda) and maybe even parts of Lackawanna. MapsKrieg - Buffalo, NY - Apartments, Rooms, Sublets, and Real Estate for Sale

Rochester NY apartments, Buffalo apartments, Syracuse apartments, Albany NY apartments listings from The Renters Guide

Upstate New York Real Estate
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Old 11-12-2011, 02:29 PM
 
208 posts, read 211,921 times
Reputation: 73
Hi der titan,

I was about to post a similar thread but your criteria are so similar to mine that I believe I'll wait and see what kind of info this yields. I've gotta say that I've spent years looking for such a place and I doubt that it exists, though, as you say, it does exist in varying degrees, depending on the wants/needs of each individual.

I feel like I'm sort of at a disadvantage in providing you with suggestions, as I have not traveled extensively and visiting is the best way to really get to know a place. So anyway, based strictly on my book and internet research, here are a few places I thought would fit your criteria, in no particular order:

* Atlanta - you didn't say anything about traffic

* Portland - some say, people are not always friendly, climate is a bit cool for me

* New Orleans - overall quality of life might suffer in lower income range, climate is very hot and humid

* Pittsburgh - maybe not car-friendly, climate is colder than ideal for me

* Phoenix - climate is that of extremes and I have some serious personal issues with Phoenix but it wouldn't be fair not to mention it as fitting most of your criteria to some extent.

* Houston - depends on your taste in scenery, traffic is bad and climate is very hot and humid.

* Charlotte - culturally/racially diverse for North Carolina, don't know when the sidewalks roll up

* Durham - culturally/racially diverse for North Carolina, don't know when the sidewalks roll up or the extent of available culture/nightlife

* Tampa-St.Pete - not racially diverse, and other than for outdoor recreational opportunities, not sure about overall quality of life for those in stated income range.


Honorable Mention:

* Philadelphia - Price of housing is remarkably low but overall cost of living is high, weather is colder than ideal for me though I believe it may be somewhat mild for its region, may not be car-friendly

* Nashville - except for climate, don't know about the people, may not be racially diverse

* Savannah - you didn't say anything about crime or seasonal flooding, may or may not be racially diverse, don't know when the sidewalks roll up.

* Charleston - overall quality of life might suffer in lower income range, price of housing may be a bit high, may not be racially diverse, don't know when they roll up the sidewalks.

* Buffalo - Too cold/harsh in winter for me, I'll take Ckhthankgod's word for the nightlife and vibrancy but some others say, "not so much".

* Norfolk - Price of housing is a bit high for me, not sure about availability of more than generic culture/nightlife or when the sidewalks roll up.

* Miami - No affordable housing, my kind of scenery but may not be yours, traffic is bad, overall quality of life not good for those in stated income range.

Thanks for posting this thread! I learn something every time I do an exercise like this.
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Old 11-12-2011, 03:26 PM
 
39 posts, read 107,085 times
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Thanks for your post, Ib Trippin'. Yes I have also asked myself if the place I am looking for actually exists Good thing I am willing to make sacrifices when it comes to finding a city that suits my needs.

Just interested to know, what exactly of Phoenix bothers you? I've developed some interest in that place as well. From your list, Atlanta, Tampa, and Houston look the most interesting to me (I have also researched those cities )

Miami is definitely one of my top picks but the cost of rent and car insurance is too high ...
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Old 11-12-2011, 04:01 PM
 
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Maybe cities like Somerville or Chelsea are affordable, and close to Downtown Boston, as well as niether of them had Murders last year. Once your accepted as part of the community you will be part of it for life.
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Old 11-12-2011, 05:54 PM
 
208 posts, read 211,921 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by der titan View Post
Thanks for your post, Ib Trippin'. Yes I have also asked myself if the place I am looking for actually exists Good thing I am willing to make sacrifices when it comes to finding a city that suits my needs.

Just interested to know, what exactly of Phoenix bothers you? I've developed some interest in that place as well. From your list, Atlanta, Tampa, and Houston look the most interesting to me (I have also researched those cities )

Miami is definitely one of my top picks but the cost of rent and car insurance is too high ...
Yes, I think it is absolutely critical to be somewhat flexible with your criteria, because inevitably,....um...stuff happens. Of course, there are some subjects where you can't or shouldn't compromise.

Regarding my Phoenix-phobia, to begin with, the extreme heat in the summer and very cold nights in the winter are uncomfortable. Though I would think and we've all heard that Arizona would be good for someone with allergies and respiratory problems, that's not the case for me and I have dry skin problems that are worsened by the very dry air. Usually, I'm not put off by things like animals and insects, (I really don't like alligators but am still a huge fan of Florida), but Arizona has scorpions and cockroaches the size of a Buick. You might be laughing now but if you meet one of their cockroaches in your hotel room, you're gonna need a lot more than bug spray, a rolled up newspaper and a shoe to get rid of it or even get its attention!

In my mid-twenties, I traveled to Arizona to investigate the possibility of moving there for my allergies, had an Indiana Jones-type experience escaping a blizzard in Flagstaff and got into an altercation with an extremely rude waitstaff at a hotel restaurant in Phoenix, all resulting in a shortened visit. Though I haven't traveled as much as most people, I have visited quite a few cities on business. For some odd reason, I've traveled on business to Phoenix a strangely disproportionate number of times. I've always gone there with an open mind and found the people to be generally friendly but again, for some odd reason, bad things kept happening to me on these visits; an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction in the hotel pool, the unsettling discovery that my company had booked me sharing a room with a wanted felon at their convention, a fellow convention attendee loudly and openly invoking a vicious slur toward me that didn't flatter my name and address in a business meeting for no apparent reason, the death of my favorite uncle and the company's subsequent refusal to let me leave the convention to be with his family and attend the funeral, even though they were only 100 miles from the hotel and one convention that turned out to be a boot camp-type training session with a tyrannical trainer and draconian teaching methods. Finally, there was one visit where I was injured in an accident on an airport shuttle van. The accident was clearly the fault of the shuttle driver. The injuries I sustained resulted in an emergency room visit, the purchase of medications and subsequent doctor visits, treatments and more medications, upon my return home. The shuttle owner met with the passengers, who were injured and promised to pay for our medical expenses. Soon after I returned home, he stopped receiving or returning my calls, hospital bills doctor bills and others began arriving and he did not pay them or respond to my calls and letters. I contacted some of the other injured passengers and we began investigating, only to find out the shuttle company had not maintained many of its licensing requirements, including carrying insurance, for several years! My employer, who'd booked the shuttle and on whose behalf I was traveling, neatly side-stepped the whole thing. I called the Phoenix Police Department to request a copy of the police report of the accident, so that I could pursue legal remedies and was rudely and flatly refused. I was stuck with all the bills myself at a time when I was also unemployed due to a falling out with the employer over the accident and other things that had occurred at that convention. Last I checked, that shuttle company is still doing business, years later.

Later on, I received a substantial inheritance when my favorite aunt died but circumstances were such that I could not travel to Arizona immediately to secure the estate and meanwhile, it was looted by another jealous relative.

As is my tendency, I often pondered, "What are the odds that all this negative stuff could have happened to me within that relatively small geographical area and involving event durations of three days to two weeks?"

On another thread on this forum regarding "Best Cities to Live Without a Car", I alluded briefly to having been advised by an astrologer to avoid the Denver area. The truth is, I am the astrologer or to be more accurate I am an amateur astrologer who has recently taken up the study of relocation astrology, the premise of which is that there are places in the world which are good or bad for you, based on the placements and alignments of the planets in that place at the time of your birth. I know, I know! Cue the Twilight Zone theme music! I've gotta be a flake, right? Nope, I'm a huge skeptic about most things and only stayed with astrology because I've found over the years that it actually works. Early on, in my study of relocation astrology, I noticed that both the Phoenix and Denver, (where I'd also had some very bad and unusual experiences), areas were indicated as being very bad for me. I won't go to those areas now, even on a bet and have even refused to attend company gatherings that met in or even involved connecting flights in those places!

Yeah, Atlanta, Tampa and Houston all look really good to me. There are always downsides but I think that for the criteria we've agreed upon, these are excellent choices! Sad that Miami is so expensive! I've read some articles within the last year to the effect that the powers-that-be in Florida are trying to make it like California, financially unattainable for the majority of people. Let's hope more reasonable folks will prevail.

Last edited by I. B. Trippin; 11-12-2011 at 06:04 PM..
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Old 11-13-2011, 05:19 AM
 
39 posts, read 107,085 times
Reputation: 27
What a story!
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:33 AM
 
208 posts, read 211,921 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by der titan View Post
What a story!
Yeah, totally bizarre!
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