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Old 01-13-2010, 08:22 AM
 
3 posts, read 5,463 times
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Hello all. My family is contemplating a move from NYC to California. Really do need your advice, as have never lived in LA (visited twice). Here's the context below- any thing you guys have to offer in terms of advice, help, insight -- would sooo appreciated.

My wife and I are in our late 20's, with a 1 year old baby boy. My wife currently is a stay-at-home mom, and I work in Finance in NYC. We are looking for a change of pace in lifestyle and weather and cost of living. While we both like NYC, we feel that it may be time to make a move from East coast to West coast.

- better weather year-round
- hopefully better work/life balance and less stress from work. I generally work 50-60 hours a week
- planning to have more children, need more space. real estate and raising a family in nyc is too expensive. we would rather not move to the suburbs of NYC (as I'd have a much longer commute, still cold weather, and still have a stressful job)
- we have family out in LA which helps (cousins, sister, aunts/uncles). It's also closer to Asia than NYC (where we are both from). We usually visit Asia once/twice a year, so the reduction in travel time would be appreciated.
- most importantly, education for our children. nyc schools range from mediocre to excellent, but the excellent schools are either 1) private and $$$ and waiting lists or 2) public but it's a lottery type process, so no guarantee

So my questions are really directed toward:

1, What's it like working in LA? What are the types of industries most people work in? What are the hours generally (obviously depending on industry)? Are people very career-driven, or are they more family-oriented? I'd be willing to take a paycut, since obviously cost of living is less anyway. I currently bank around $120K a year, which is not very much in NYC. We are not lavish spenders.

2. What are some good school/towns to possibly look into around the LA area? Especially for young families, and for children etc. At same time, we also wouldn't be able to afford extremely affluent towns, so something that's a good balance between school and real estate. How much would I need to spend to perhaps get a 3BR condo, in a good school district? Is LA the right city? Should I look into other areas, like Orange County?

Guess that's it, but really any advice you have for a family like us that you can think of would really be great.

Thanks, and yours truly...
-possible future LA resident
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Old 01-13-2010, 08:51 AM
 
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If raising a family in NYC is expensive, you think raising a family in LA costs less? This is LA, not Indianapolis, Indiana.
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:13 AM
 
10,630 posts, read 22,753,005 times
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It's cheaper than NYC, but I think only someone from NYC would move to LA because it's "affordable."

The economy in LA is terrible right now. It can be very, very difficult to take a job, so don't expect the job search to go quickly, although maybe you'll get lucky.

You could find a 3BR condo or maybe a house or townhouse in South Pasadena (one popular location for families, and with a good school district) in the 600k range, with a lot more options if you can go up to the 700ks.

You can live comfortably as a family on $120k a year in Los Angeles, but it won't be (especially if you're trying to buy something, not rent, and want to travel) a life of luxury.

I think your best bet is to find the job first, and then line up the housing. Given how bad the job market is you probably won't be able to be too picky, and wouldn't want to artificially limit the search. You also don't want to decide that Santa Monica, South Pasadena, Burbank, or wherever is your dream location and then get a job that's on the other side of the metro area. Life will be much easier if you live near your work.

Where in LA do your relatives currently live? Are you hoping to live close to them?

We lived in South Pasadena when my son was born, and only moved because of a job transfer. We loved it there; beautiful houses, great school district, on the Gold Line with easy access to downtown LA and to Pasadena, nice library, extremely family-friendly. I like the west San Gabriel Valley in general, but some school districts have a better reputation than others.
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Old 01-13-2010, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles......So. Calif. an Island on the Land
736 posts, read 1,958,784 times
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The public school system in the City of Los Angeles has a lot of "problems" as do many large urban school districts. So many parents who live in LA send their kids to private school (at least if they can afford it).

That said, my sister (who used to be a teacher) sends her kids to LA public schools but these are in the San Fernando Valley and among the best schools in the LA public system. There are a few independent cities in LA County with EXCELLENT public schools that you might consider: South Pasadena and Arcadia (which actually has a LARGE asian population). The downside to Arcadia is it has a less central location to jobs but it is a very nice town for families and schools.

Another area of LA County with EXCELLENT public schools is the Palos Verdes Peninsula (also with a large Asian population). The peninsula is a beautiful coastal area with several independent cities. Very affluent but you could certainly rent their for a decent price. Downside in my opinion is the peninsula is NOT very centrally located (so commutes can be tough). Great air quality, good schools, and very safe.

Since your child is only 1 year old, you could consider many other areas to live in first and get a feel for the area. But hopefully the areas I listed above give you some food for thought.
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Old 01-13-2010, 02:29 PM
 
Location: RSM
5,113 posts, read 17,031,489 times
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Orange County might be a good place to start. There is a strong Asian community in Irvine(if that's what you're looking for), it has the highest rated district in the county(average of all the schools), great family community, and Irvine and nearby Newport Beach have a strong presence of financial firms where your experience can land you a job.

That said, for professionals, LA isn't that much different than NY. You can work long hours, you can be stuck in traffic for hours on end if you have to travel to work, and some areas are pretty hectic(mostly the urban areas). OC is more laid back, especially the coastal communities and somewhat in dedicated family communities like Irvine, Yorba Linda, Mission Viejo, etc, as well as already mentioned Palos Verdes, which is like another world when you consider where it's located.

LA is what you make of it. There are areas for everyone and every kind of company is based here. Health care, biotech, automotive, oil, shipping, IT, engineering, aerospace, education, etc etc etc
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Old 01-13-2010, 02:32 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 26,255,168 times
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With the big crash in real estate values, shouldn't he be in pretty good shape there?
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Old 01-13-2010, 03:43 PM
 
3 posts, read 5,463 times
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You guys are a wealth of knowledge. I truly appreciate it. I'll be sure to look into Irvine and S. Psadena, as those seem to be great prospects to begin my search. Job market probably is faring worse in LA than NYC though? I think that would be the tough part, being able to make the move from an employment perspective when there could be many other qualified professionals in the CA area. Doing interviews could be a hassle from NYC.
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Old 01-13-2010, 03:57 PM
 
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If you decide that southern California is too busy or you start looking for a vacation home look into Mt Shasta, CA. It's a very small town, stunning beauty, spiritual mountain, extremely affordable to live year round or on a vacation basis. I lived in another town in Northern California of about 500,000 and visit Sacramento and LA often enough to know how crazy the traffic and the crowds and the crime are. Living in far northern California is good for the soul and great for families. Check out Shasta Home - Home and Siskiyou County Real Estate And Ranches For Sale
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Old 01-13-2010, 04:17 PM
 
Location: City of Angels
1,288 posts, read 4,579,350 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qwertykid00 View Post
You guys are a wealth of knowledge. I truly appreciate it. I'll be sure to look into Irvine and S. Psadena, as those seem to be great prospects to begin my search. Job market probably is faring worse in LA than NYC though? I think that would be the tough part, being able to make the move from an employment perspective when there could be many other qualified professionals in the CA area. Doing interviews could be a hassle from NYC.
Where do you work? Are you with one of the big banks? Could you transfer to an LA area office?
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Old 01-13-2010, 05:00 PM
 
10,630 posts, read 22,753,005 times
Reputation: 6687
Quote:
Originally Posted by qwertykid00 View Post
You guys are a wealth of knowledge. I truly appreciate it. I'll be sure to look into Irvine and S. Psadena, as those seem to be great prospects to begin my search. Job market probably is faring worse in LA than NYC though? I think that would be the tough part, being able to make the move from an employment perspective when there could be many other qualified professionals in the CA area. Doing interviews could be a hassle from NYC.
If you do look into South Pasadena know that South Pas itself is a smaller place and not itself a major job center; adjacent Pasadena has a fair number of major employers (including in the financial sector), and many people in South Pas also work in downtown LA (South Pas is on the gold line to downtown, which is an added bonus).
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