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Old 05-12-2015, 11:11 AM
 
11 posts, read 6,023 times
Reputation: 10

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About Me
I'm a single male in my late 20s. I'll be making ~$200,000 annually once I move there. I have lived in Canada most of my life (originally from Toronto; currently residing close to Vancouver). I have only ever crossed to border to pick up items I shipped to cross border mailbox from online shopping; i.e. I have have never been more than a few miles from the Canada-US border; i.e. I have never been to California. My employer will be sponsoring me (work visa). I plan on applying for permanent residency down the road and eventually citizenship in the future. I don't care much about night life (I don't drink, smoke, etc). Money wise, I'm growing more and more frugal everyday, and would like to save as much as I can for the first 3 years while I'm here.

Onto the questions...

Location
Considering I'm not too much into the nightlife and partying/clubbing, what is a good location ~2 hours from downtown LA (rush hour commute)? For the first 6 months, I plan on renting a basement in a somewhat quite area of LA. Low crime rate, low unemployment, amenities close by would be my main concerns. I will have my own transportation. I'm willing to pay around $1700 for a 1 bedroom suite (prefer closer to $1200-1400). Also, are there any shady clauses I should lookout for in a rental agreement?

Transportation
From what I've read online so far, the public in LA is not the best, and it is worthwhile to own a car or a motorbike. I already hold a car and motorcycle license in BC and have to look into the process of getting one in California. But, input on the difficulty of the tests would be appreciated. In BC, the liability insurance is government run. I know I have a lot more options in the US, but suggestions on companies and tips on how to get the best rate would be appreciated.

Phone Plans
Cricket Wireless seems to be favoured. They use the AT&T network and seem to have good coverage, along with free calling/texting to Canada with certain plans. Overall, they also seem to be cheaper than Canadian plans for the same features. I have most of this down but any other tips on this topic you can think of would be very much appreciated.

Health Insurance
For the first 3 months, I'll be purchasing a travel insurance policy from a Canadian company. Any suggestions/recommendations/tips for how to handle this would be good.

Bank Account
Best rated bank according to some website seems to be Wells Fargo due to the number of their locations. So, that I what I'll be joining. If there is ANY reason I shouldn't bank with them, please advise.

Internet Service
I'm hoping the place I'm renting with chip in with free internet via Wifi as well. In case they don't, is there any company I should absolutely avoid for internet?

Misc
If there is anything else I should do when I get there to make myself as stable as possible, please let me know. Basically, my goal is to put things in place as needed so I can concentrate on my work. I'm moving there one month before my employment officially starts and during that time I would like to take care of as many things as I can so I'm not running around wasting time later on. Set it and forget it.
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Old 05-12-2015, 11:33 AM
 
1,714 posts, read 3,148,605 times
Reputation: 1137
Do you enjoy Vancouver/Richmond's ubiquitous Chinese presence, or do you want to take a break from that? The LA region has a few heavily Chinese populated areas... quite similar to Richmond, actually.

$1200-$1700 for a 1 bedroom is a pretty OK budget. I think you can rent much closer to LA than "~2 hours from downtown LA."

Lots of buses and trains in LA County. If you live close enough to work, public transit + walk/bike can be a realistic, viable option.
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:14 PM
 
Location: TOVCCA
8,452 posts, read 11,498,473 times
Reputation: 12311
There are almost no houses with basements. Earthquake country.
Driving tests are easy, just read the manual. A car would be safer than a motorcycle for someone who does not know LA driving habits and freeways.
Have a hot weather wardrobe.
If you want to save money, Craigslist for roommate situation.
Utilities may or may not be included in rent. In many cases, a refrigerator does not come with an apartment rental.
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Old 05-12-2015, 01:12 PM
 
Location: Buena Park, Orange County, California
1,426 posts, read 1,891,759 times
Reputation: 1495
When it comes to transportation, phone plans, internet service and even health insurance...the best options won't be clear until you know of an actual location/city/neighborhood. "2 hours from DTLA" can be just about anywhere. In some areas you might be stuck with a certain internet provider. Some cell phone companies excel in certain neighborhoods that others don't. You don't want a health insurance plan that won't give you the best options locally.

Websites like Opensignal.com help you compare coverage.

As for your bank, Wells Fargo has been in the news recently, and not for good reason: LA Lawsuit Alleges Wells Fargo Engaged In Fraudulent Conduct : NPR

I highly prefer credit unions, and don't ever see myself returning to a regular bank.
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Old 05-12-2015, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Buena Park, Orange County, California
1,426 posts, read 1,891,759 times
Reputation: 1495
Quote:
Originally Posted by genjy View Post
Do you enjoy Vancouver/Richmond's ubiquitous Chinese presence, or do you want to take a break from that? The LA region has a few heavily Chinese populated areas... quite similar to Richmond, actually.

$1200-$1700 for a 1 bedroom is a pretty OK budget. I think you can rent much closer to LA than "~2 hours from downtown LA."

Lots of buses and trains in LA County. If you live close enough to work, public transit + walk/bike can be a realistic, viable option.
I agree. You have a lot more options near LA than you think, including within the South bay, San Gabriel Valley, Gateway cities and even North OC.
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Old 05-12-2015, 02:22 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
30 posts, read 22,889 times
Reputation: 26
It's difficult to give you suggestions on where to live without knowing where you will be working. A miserable commute will ruin your overall quality of life, no matter how nice an area you end up living.

I don't know anyone who uses Cricket Wireless, but my husband and I, along with my immediate family, all use Metro PCS for mobile service, for less than $40 per person per month, taxes included. The coverage is decent, too.
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Old 05-12-2015, 03:05 PM
 
Location: South Bay
7,117 posts, read 19,096,676 times
Reputation: 3366
for internet, you're probably stuck with time warner. nobody seems to like them, but unless you're willing/able to go with DSL, you'll probably have no other choice.

regarding health insurance, hopefully your employer will cover it for you. at your salary this should be non-negotiable from your perspective. if you're a contractor or self employed, you can get a broker or go through the online exchange (covered california).
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Old 05-12-2015, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Seattle-WA-USA
678 posts, read 666,618 times
Reputation: 498
dont do it
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Old 05-12-2015, 04:11 PM
 
Location: West Hollywood, CA
1,367 posts, read 1,762,520 times
Reputation: 1818
- makes 200k
- wants to pay 1200 for a place

not computing op.

what do u do for a living?
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Old 05-12-2015, 04:31 PM
 
11 posts, read 6,023 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by YoungTraveler2011 View Post
- makes 200k
- wants to pay 1200 for a place

not computing op.

what do u do for a living?
Without going into too much detail: the banking/finance sector. I'll be travelling all over the world, but when I'm in SoCal, I would like my commute to be 2 hours max to downtown. But, a lot of you are right, it's hard to get an idea of the place from here, esp the part about there not being a "city centre" per say.

I would like to live frugally for 3-5 years while I save up to build my own home on a decent sized lot in the nicest place in SoCal. Until then, I'm going to live without much excess. I plan on having a family within 4-5 years so when that happens, I want to be some what financially independent and I don't mind putting up with a little bit of discomfort in order to have less financial stress later on.
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