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Old 10-16-2013, 09:14 PM
 
7 posts, read 7,422 times
Reputation: 12

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Hi, I hope I'm posting this in the right place. I was hoping for some recommendations for cities I might not be thinking of. When you kind of have the whole country to choose from it's easy to get paralyzed with too many choices.

I'll try to summarize as much as I can. My husband and I have three children aged 10, 7 and 1. We have two cars that are paid for, but one is old and not in very good shape. My husband works in a kind of specialized network security. Now the great thing is that he can do his job from pretty much anywhere with a good internet connection. Half of his department lives in another state already, and we're fairly certain they will allow him to move and telecommute (and if they don't, we won't be doing this or we'll have to go about it from a very different angle). That gives us a lot of choice. He makes about $85,000/yr. At the moment because of the little one I'm not working other than very part time just to make a couple hundred dollars a month. When he gets older I'll be looking for full time employment but to be honest with you I'm not sure in what field. My B.A. is in History. I really don't want to continue in it, not because I don't like the subject, but because I'm pretty sure grad school at this point would be throwing away money.

We live in Orange County CA. I've lived here my whole life. My husband is from this general area as well. I don't need to tell you it's too expensive to live here. Otherwise I do like it here. It's my home. But it makes no economic sense for us to continue to live here. I want a better situation. But I can tell you I have a lot of trepidation about other climates. I've only ever seen it snow, flakes coming down, once in my entire life. I feel like I get cold easily. My husband feels like he gets hot too easily, so I'm sure he'll have fewer problems. Oh, also, I have bug phobias. They are better now that I'm older, but not gone. And speaking of bugs, my husband gets fairly bad reactions from mosquito bites, and bugs seem to really, really like him. But I suppose some repellant might fix that.

What we want:
-It's gotta be cheaper than here. We get to bring his income with, but I don't want to be in the same cramped, living paycheck-to-paycheck situation we're in now. Here I know, unless I could get a job making the same as he does now (highly unlikely) we will never own a home here. I would like to own a home. With a yard. I like to grow veggies.
-OC is very sprawled out. I think I might like to live somewhere where you could walk more places. -Something different from here would be nice.
-Another way I'd like things to be different...OC is quite red (conservative). I don't need to live in a super duper liberal area, but a more mixed area, or towards the left would be nice.
-My husband likes nature, my kids and he are into hiking and camping, I'm trying to get more into it. We have areas around of course, but all the good hiking areas and nice nature is mostly over an hour drive away other than a few pockets. I would like more nature closer.
-My sons are in a very nice gifted program here. No, I didn't push for my snowflakes to be in the program (in researching this I've seen a lot of negative pushback on gifted programs, sorry), it was suggested by their teachers and they got in. I feel that being gifted is a special educational need and is more than just the "smart classes." I would prefer a program where the kids spend most or all of the time grouped together because grouping gifted kids where they work together and have a teacher than can accelerate the curriculum to their pace keeps them engaged.
-This one's more esoteric, but one of my kids is on a boys' compulsory gymnastics team. Most gyms around the country assume your gymnast is a girl and many only offer girls' teams. I can get lists of teams fairly easily, I just need to compare this to suggested towns.
-I don't want to move somewhere really remote on the strength of my husband being able to telecommute and then find that he gets downsized or would like to find another job and then we need to relocate again. I would like to live near an area where there are at least some job prospects for him - and for myself, but I am more flexible.


Mostly I've been looking in the Pacific NW, greater Portland area, Olympia. People have suggested to me as well Eugene, Bellingham, Spokane...

I would be very greatful for suggestions on other places to look. I appreciate you taking the time to read this. If this is posted in the wrong area, I apologize.
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:25 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis
1,704 posts, read 2,764,942 times
Reputation: 2336
Boulder would probably be great, also Missoula, Asheville, upstate NY. A dark horse that comes to mind would be Des Moines.

-One of the most affordable metros in the nation
-Lots of nice walkable neighborhoods around the city
-Quite liberal outside of the westernmost suburbs
-Hiking/camping opportunities near the Des Moines River (this is the one area where Des Moines doesn't fit 100%)
-Des Moines Public Schools has an outstanding accelerated/vocational middle and high school program in Central Campus
-Chow's in West Des Moines is where Shawn Johnson and Gabby Douglas trained for the Olympics and they have a boys' team
-Crossroads of I-35 and I-80, within 4 hours of Minneapolis, Omaha, and Kansas City, just a bit further to St. Louis and Chicago
-One of the top cities for employment in the nation

If the proximity to nature issue is too prohibitive (there is some and it's quite good, but nothing like you'd find in the PNW obviously), you might look at Hastings or Rochester, MN or La Crosse, WI. Omaha would be a great one too.
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Old 10-17-2013, 07:49 AM
 
56,674 posts, read 80,973,859 times
Reputation: 12526
I'd also look into PA areas like Pittsburgh, Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton and Harrisburg.

Maybe parts of Michigan like Lansing-East Lansing or outer suburbs of Detroit closer to Ann Arbor. I would recommend Grand Rapids as well, but it is more on the conservative side.

If you consider Upstate NY, the Albany area gets less snow in comparison, but is more expensive in terms of COL. On the other hand, the major areas west of there get more snow, but a COL around the national average, give or take. Here in the Syracuse area, you can get a decent home for around $100-120,000 and high schools with Boys Gymnastics are: Liverpool, Baldwinsville, East Syracuse-Minoa, Fulton and Central Square. On that salary, you can do just fine in all of those districts, if not very well.

Other areas like Cleveland, Madison, St. Louis and select Southern metros may be worth a look too.
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Old 10-17-2013, 10:26 AM
 
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
2,401 posts, read 3,674,519 times
Reputation: 1434
Quote:
Originally Posted by steel03 View Post
Boulder would probably be great, also Missoula, Asheville, upstate NY. A dark horse that comes to mind would be Des Moines.

-One of the most affordable metros in the nation
-Lots of nice walkable neighborhoods around the city
-Quite liberal outside of the westernmost suburbs
-Hiking/camping opportunities near the Des Moines River (this is the one area where Des Moines doesn't fit 100%)
-Des Moines Public Schools has an outstanding accelerated/vocational middle and high school program in Central Campus
-Chow's in West Des Moines is where Shawn Johnson and Gabby Douglas trained for the Olympics and they have a boys' team
-Crossroads of I-35 and I-80, within 4 hours of Minneapolis, Omaha, and Kansas City, just a bit further to St. Louis and Chicago
-One of the top cities for employment in the nation

If the proximity to nature issue is too prohibitive (there is some and it's quite good, but nothing like you'd find in the PNW obviously), you might look at Hastings or Rochester, MN or La Crosse, WI. Omaha would be a great one too.

Just adding a little support for Des Moines by listing some recent 3rd party accolades:



Rankings & Ratings

#1 "Best Places for Business and Careers" - Forbes, 2013
#2 "Strongest Local Economy" - Policom, 2013
#3 "Top 15 U.S. Cities' Emerging Downtowns" - Forbes, 2013
#1 "Best Midwest Cities for Young Adults" - The Business Journals, 2013
#2 "Best Cities to Start a Business" - The Street, 2013
#6 "Cities Where Startups Are Thriving" - CNN Money, 2012
#6 "Best Cities to Grow Old In" - MSN Money, 2012
#1 "Best Cities for Families" - Kiplinger, 2012
#4 "Best Places for Business and Careers" - Forbes, 2012

Greater Des Moines Partnership | Rankings & Ratings, Research & Statistics
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Old 10-17-2013, 03:59 PM
 
7 posts, read 7,422 times
Reputation: 12
Thanks for the recommendations. I'll add them to my research. I'm expecting the soonest we'd move is August 2014 and it might take longer than that. I want to really make sure we're prepared and I haven't picked the wrong place. I've been reading some threads around here about people complaining about their new place. I really don't want to spend thousands of dollars on a mistake. I wonder if it's going to be complicated by the fact that I actually genuinely like it here. I just can't afford it. I am hoping not for some place better, but someplace different that I can also like.
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Old 10-18-2013, 06:25 AM
 
21,198 posts, read 30,396,116 times
Reputation: 19635
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivy_CA View Post

What we want:
-It's gotta be cheaper than here. We get to bring his income with, but I don't want to be in the same cramped, living paycheck-to-paycheck situation we're in now. Here I know, unless I could get a job making the same as he does now (highly unlikely) we will never own a home here. I would like to own a home. With a yard. I like to grow veggies.
-OC is very sprawled out. I think I might like to live somewhere where you could walk more places. -Something different from here would be nice.
-Another way I'd like things to be different...OC is quite red (conservative). I don't need to live in a super duper liberal area, but a more mixed area, or towards the left would be nice.
-My husband likes nature, my kids and he are into hiking and camping, I'm trying to get more into it. We have areas around of course, but all the good hiking areas and nice nature is mostly over an hour drive away other than a few pockets. I would like more nature closer.
-My sons are in a very nice gifted program here. No, I didn't push for my snowflakes to be in the program (in researching this I've seen a lot of negative pushback on gifted programs, sorry), it was suggested by their teachers and they got in. I feel that being gifted is a special educational need and is more than just the "smart classes." I would prefer a program where the kids spend most or all of the time grouped together because grouping gifted kids where they work together and have a teacher than can accelerate the curriculum to their pace keeps them engaged.
-This one's more esoteric, but one of my kids is on a boys' compulsory gymnastics team. Most gyms around the country assume your gymnast is a girl and many only offer girls' teams. I can get lists of teams fairly easily, I just need to compare this to suggested towns.
-I don't want to move somewhere really remote on the strength of my husband being able to telecommute and then find that he gets downsized or would like to find another job and then we need to relocate again. I would like to live near an area where there are at least some job prospects for him - and for myself, but I am more flexible.
Check out Charlottesville, Virginia which I think would fit your criteria quite well.

Charlottesville : Better Quality of Life

Top 100 Places to Live (#26) - Livability.com 2013
America's Smartest City - Luminosity.com 2013
#1 City to Live in the Country - Yahoo Real Estate/Sperling's Best Places - 2011
TripAdvisor - Top 10 Charming Towns - 2010
Top "Brainiest" Metropolitan Areas - The Atlantic
Healthiest Place to Live - Men's Journal magazine 2010
4th Best Place to Live in the Country - Kiplinger's Magazine 2009
18th Safest Mid-Sized Cities in the Country - Farmers Insurance
Most Walkable City in Virginia - Walk Score - 2011


Live Where You Love: Charlottesville, Virginia - YouTube
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Old 10-18-2013, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Brew City
4,246 posts, read 2,517,507 times
Reputation: 5738
Quote:
Originally Posted by steel03 View Post
Boulder would probably be great, also Missoula, Asheville, upstate NY. A dark horse that comes to mind would be Des Moines.

-One of the most affordable metros in the nation
-Lots of nice walkable neighborhoods around the city
-Quite liberal outside of the westernmost suburbs
-Hiking/camping opportunities near the Des Moines River (this is the one area where Des Moines doesn't fit 100%)
-Des Moines Public Schools has an outstanding accelerated/vocational middle and high school program in Central Campus
-Chow's in West Des Moines is where Shawn Johnson and Gabby Douglas trained for the Olympics and they have a boys' team
-Crossroads of I-35 and I-80, within 4 hours of Minneapolis, Omaha, and Kansas City, just a bit further to St. Louis and Chicago
-One of the top cities for employment in the nation

If the proximity to nature issue is too prohibitive (there is some and it's quite good, but nothing like you'd find in the PNW obviously), you might look at Hastings or Rochester, MN or La Crosse, WI. Omaha would be a great one too.
You can scratch Missoula off your list.

1). It snows. Not a ton, but more than in other parts of the state.
2). I don't know about any gifted programs and schools in general are not great in Montana.
3.) I don't know what kind of jobs would be available if your husband needed to find one local.
4.) Missoula hasn't quite recovered from the economic/housing downturn. There isn't a lot of growth going on there at the moment (I work for the utility and their new construction power requests are WAY down).
5). Missoula is quite small compared to where you are coming from. Pop. 100,000. It's also the biggest thing around so you're not going to add a whole lot to that number.
I was thinking something more along the lines of:

Austin, TX
Charlotte, NC
Charleston, SC
Nashville, TN
Louisville, KY
Cincinnati, OH

Last edited by Vegabern; 10-18-2013 at 10:20 AM..
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