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Old 05-18-2020, 07:55 PM
 
17 posts, read 7,213 times
Reputation: 25

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Hi everyone! I hope you're all doing well. I am hoping to receive some advice on a potential move I am considering this summer!

I am a mid-20's single dude who just graduated college with a degree in IT, currently living in Traverse City Michigan. I decided late last year that I wanted to move somewhere else this year, and while I am looking at Ann Arbor MI at the moment (family), I am very intrigued in Des Moines. It seems to check all of the right boxes, and I cannot shake the feeling that I should really look into a possible move there.

The main things I am after is a lower cost of living than here in MI, but with more jobs. I looked around at apartments online and I cannot believe how affordable Des Moines/West Des Moines is. I found a really nice 1br apartment in West Des Moines for almost half the cost of something similar in Ann Arbor or even here in Traverse City. I would be able to afford that a lot more comfortably than trying to overextend myself in Ann Arbor just to be in an area that is safe, or ending up in a shady apartment. The only thing holding me back from just packing up and heading out right now (besides the virus) is that I have family both here in Michigan (Traverse City and Ann Arbor) that I am super close with. I know nobody in Iowa.

I don't know what to do. I guess my question is, in your opinion, is the lower cost of living worth the move to Des Moines (or any other places in Iowa) away from family? How are jobs in the IT field out that way? Is pay usually pretty decent compared to living expenses? Is Des Moines safe? Are there places to go hiking and camping? Are there any other cities in Iowa that might fit the bill?

Thank you for any insight!
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Old 05-18-2020, 08:36 PM
 
Location: Moving?!
609 posts, read 198,442 times
Reputation: 999
Yes, Iowa really is affordable (especially housing) and there are good economic opportunities depending on your skillset. For IT, I would consider Cedar Rapids in addition to Des Moines. Also the Iowa City area, but rents are quite a bit higher there (it's possible to commute from Cedar Rapids although not especially pleasant).

Hiking and camping anywhere in Iowa are far less scenic and wild than northern Michigan. There are some decent state parks, but they are all pretty small. Des Moines has two large reservoirs nearby which are suitable for boating; however, the water is dirty and the shoreline not very usable. The comparison to Ann Arbor isn't as unfavorable, but Traverse City is beautiful and there's nothing like it in Iowa.

Ledges State Park is the best in central Iowa. Take a look at the pictures and trail maps and see what you think.

https://www.iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go.../ParkID/610148

I think there's value in experiencing new places, but no substitute for family time. My advice would be to apply for jobs in both places. If you land a great career opportunity in Iowa, you can move and build your savings while trying something new. If you find a good job in Michigan, that's great too.
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Old 05-18-2020, 09:10 PM
 
17 posts, read 7,213 times
Reputation: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by riffle View Post
Yes, Iowa really is affordable (especially housing) and there are good economic opportunities depending on your skillset. For IT, I would consider Cedar Rapids in addition to Des Moines. Also the Iowa City area, but rents are quite a bit higher there (it's possible to commute from Cedar Rapids although not especially pleasant).

Hiking and camping anywhere in Iowa are far less scenic and wild than northern Michigan. There are some decent state parks, but they are all pretty small. Des Moines has two large reservoirs nearby which are suitable for boating; however, the water is dirty and the shoreline not very usable. The comparison to Ann Arbor isn't as unfavorable, but Traverse City is beautiful and there's nothing like it in Iowa.

Ledges State Park is the best in central Iowa. Take a look at the pictures and trail maps and see what you think.

https://www.iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go.../ParkID/610148

I think there's value in experiencing new places, but no substitute for family time. My advice would be to apply for jobs in both places. If you land a great career opportunity in Iowa, you can move and build your savings while trying something new. If you find a good job in Michigan, that's great too.

Thank you for your detailed response, you make some great points. Cedar Rapids seems like a nice place as well, I will add that to my list. I would enjoy living somewhere that I would have a better chance at scoring a decent IT job while being able to afford a nice apartment on my own. That is something that will take years to achieve in Ann Arbor, where the average rent for a decent 1br apartment is >$1000/mo plus utilities. It is just so expensive there for someone just starting out. I have no idea how I could ever get ahead.

I had a feeling the hiking/camping opportunities would not be the same, I have definitely been spoiled where I live now lol. I've only been to Iowa once, but I thought it was very pretty with the rolling hills and endless fields. That is something we do not have here in MI. I do like that Des Moines is not far from other major cities that are a long ways away from me.

You're right though. Family is everything, living far away would be tough. I just don't want to pass up on the opportunity for a better life (financially) for me. I will follow your advice and just apply for jobs in both places and see what happens
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Old 05-19-2020, 07:33 AM
 
Location: Moving?!
609 posts, read 198,442 times
Reputation: 999
The agricultural landscape in Iowa is very pretty! Especially in autumn when the crops change colors. It's just rather uniform and not very usable for hiking or camping. Bicycling is popular in Iowa.

Good luck!
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Old 05-26-2020, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Sun City West, AZ
572 posts, read 570,612 times
Reputation: 1013
As a young single guy, I think you would be happier in Des Moines, rather than Cedar Rapids. CR is more of a family town, while DM is more geared toward young singles (great night life, restaurants, etc.). DM is much bigger too, so more job opportunities. There's not much for uphill hiking, but lots of great trails in and around DM. Also lots of lakes nearby.

Not sure about DM, but when I lived in CR (single also), I found it really hard to make friends. Iowa (at least that part) was very family oriented, so when you come in from the outside, it's hard to get into a group. Most people hang with their families. I think DM would be much better since there are a lot more singles there.

Don't be afraid to break out of your comfort zone. I moved 700 miles from my family when I moved to Iowa and didn't know a soul there. Slowly, over time, I made lots of great friends and fit in. I was older, so not as many singles my age. But I lived there 18 years, so mustn't have been too bad! LOL. If you can get a great job, especially in DM, I say go for it!
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Old 05-26-2020, 07:56 PM
 
17 posts, read 7,213 times
Reputation: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey59 View Post
As a young single guy, I think you would be happier in Des Moines, rather than Cedar Rapids. CR is more of a family town, while DM is more geared toward young singles (great night life, restaurants, etc.). DM is much bigger too, so more job opportunities. There's not much for uphill hiking, but lots of great trails in and around DM. Also lots of lakes nearby.

Not sure about DM, but when I lived in CR (single also), I found it really hard to make friends. Iowa (at least that part) was very family oriented, so when you come in from the outside, it's hard to get into a group. Most people hang with their families. I think DM would be much better since there are a lot more singles there.

Don't be afraid to break out of your comfort zone. I moved 700 miles from my family when I moved to Iowa and didn't know a soul there. Slowly, over time, I made lots of great friends and fit in. I was older, so not as many singles my age. But I lived there 18 years, so mustn't have been too bad! LOL. If you can get a great job, especially in DM, I say go for it!
You gave me a lot to consider! After some careful research, I would certainly look more towards Des Moines for the jobs, the cost of living, and to be around people that might be in similar situations to me. I talked with my family about how I was considering Iowa as a candidate for me to move to, and while most of them understood and even encouraged it, some of them got downright offended that I would think about moving "out in the middle of nowhere" instead of in SE Michigan, even after explaining the (normally) great job market and the cost of living compared to here lol. They have me feeling a little guilty about it, although I know I 100% shouldn't be.

I definitely have a lot to think about. I do enjoy Michigan and I like being around family, but I feel like if I didn't at least try something new then I will always have that regret. You are absolutely correct in saying that it is important to leave my comfort zone if it means more opportunities. I feel like I would enjoy the Des Moines area, and being so close to different cities out that way as well. It is honestly mind blowing to me how many cities are within 3-4 hours of DM!

I think what I will do is apply for jobs in/around DM as well as here in Michigan and prepare myself to jump on any offers (if there are any offers, dang covid). I am ready to make a move, wherever that may be.

I appreciate your advice!
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