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Old 12-21-2011, 11:19 PM
 
37 posts, read 29,635 times
Reputation: 27
Here are my two cents for what its worth...
I have lived in St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Columbia, SC and every one of them has WAY worse humidity! There isn't any humidity here - so much so that my skin is having a very hard time adjusting to the dryness.

As far as the traffic, St. Louis and Pittsburgh are MUCH smaller cities, yet the traffic is worse there or the same. Traffic is not bad here! You know what I did when I couldn't deal with taking the 5 any more? I researched other routes and found two that I got me where I needed to be more quickly.

With my current position, I was able to negotiate my salary so that it is equal to what I was paid in Pittburgh from a COL perspective. However, the only higher cost of living I've seen so far is Rent. It's a pretty bad increase, but besides that nothing is more expensive -except for gas by a few cents.

As far as the people here, they are definitely not nearly as friendly as those in the other three states I've lived in. I stay away from Natives - there is a stereotype for a reason and so far I have agreed with other posters about them being superficial. I just hang out with other non-natives. There are plenty here!

Like another poster said, it's more expensive because it's better! The only cities I would consider moving to after living here are Charlotte and Charleston...maybe Phoenix. Can't think of any warmer cities that are better...(Having no winters is a huge plus for me)
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Old 12-22-2011, 08:40 AM
 
Location: San Diego
16,723 posts, read 12,368,973 times
Reputation: 5738
I don't have any skin in this game since I bought in 98 for 150k and at one point it was valued at 780k.

Anyway, I can't imagine not having the tax breaks I do now. I may sell some day if I retire but for the time being it doesn't matter to me if it adjusts up or down. I'll keep refi-ing with the ridiculously low rates and invest that cash elsewhere. The biggest thing for us is that living next to renters sucks! We have some renters in our area but it seems if they have to shell out a lot more for rent it usually attracts more responsible renters. I got so tired of the apt and condo scene. I also can't stand an hoa as both of those scenarios are polar opposites as far as environments to live in. Total chaos vs totally sterile.
Our area stabilized a couple of years ago and the houses are slowly creeping up in price again (for the most part).
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Old 12-22-2011, 08:54 PM
 
Location: Ocean Beach, San Diego
1,470 posts, read 1,511,745 times
Reputation: 536
^I've said it before, and I say it again. I actually generally prefer live simple urban condo living, but not so much owning. So many issues. Houses on the other hand have been better investments for us....and no worries about crazy HOA's and renters, BUT I just cannot get into the yard and maintenance,the fact that the feel is more suburban, and this will sounds weird- but when we travel, I worry myself sick about break ins (even with a security system). I just would not want our sweet pets being harmed. Crazy, I know.
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:27 PM
 
13,335 posts, read 10,595,056 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earlyretirement View Post
I just saw this post after I posted as we were typing at the same time. Yes, that is EXACTLY correct and goes along with what I posted above. IF you are taking the savings difference and socking it away for retirement that is what makes the difference. The BIG important thing is discipline which most people don't have over the long run. Most people just have to buy that latest electronic gizmo, buy that new car, take that vacation, or eat out in fancy places. Like you acknowledged, you are the odd person that will actually save..
I know we all think we are the exception...but I believe I am one of the relative few who actually gets it. I drive a 15 year old car because it still runs ok. I'm 41 and have never owned a new car. it helps a lot that I can currently walk to work (although that could change). I don't have cable. I don't really have any gadgets except for an ordinary cell phone (no i-phone) and a flat screen TV that is paid for. I don't have any pets that would inevitalbly force me into living in a place that charges higher rent/deposits. I eat out 1 or 2 times a week at moderately priced restaurants (better than fast food but not super fancy).

I have spent on vacations, though. I've taken 4 trips to South America and one to Europe. The European trip was heavily subsidized by my boyfriend at the time. The South America trips were actually pretty reasonable in price (with the exception of the one I took in 2009...the dollar had dropped in value by then). I live frugally, but I really don't see how I'm living an ascetic lifestyle.

Now unemployment/underemployment I understand. Student loans I can understand (to a point)....but for people who are working full time....I just don't get how people can live payday to payday and/or be going further in debt. It just doesn't compute for me. I think people just get so used to that "behind the 8 ball"/ "crisis mode" feeling that they wouldn't know what to do with themselves if they had money ahead of them. Feeling financially secure is actually outside many people's comfort zones (and they aren't even aware of it).

Quote:
Originally Posted by earlyretirement View Post
Also, something really important is not just to bank the savings but also do it in a way that isn't too aggressive..
Yes, this is where I blew it. I think most people should invest in balanced mutual funds that invest ~60% in stocks and ~40% in bonds & cash. The better balanced funds have matched or beaten the returns of the overall stock market with less volatility. I learned all this the hard way. I also bought bank stocks between 2007 and 2009 an lost my shirt (11K). I learned I am not the type of person who should own individual stocks. Despite my mistakes I have more saved than most people my age. I'm currently 75% stocks and 25% bonds in my 401k in 5 different funds. It rebalances automatically every quarter. (Auto-rebalance is a great 401K plan feature!). I'm 100% in stock funds in my IRAs....so maybe I need to get a little more conservative with those.

Quote:
Originally Posted by earlyretirement View Post
But like you mentioned, if you're disciplined so you will have that money when you retire to pay for a place, then it can make sense. Personally I'd still rather have a paid off owned property when I retire but definitely I know that it's not always possible. I also TOTALLY agree with you that people make too much of a deal out of the mortgage deduction.
It would be nice if I could afford to do both, but I can't. Since I have a lifestyle preference for renting anyway, I figure I'll just have to save aggressively and then I'll be able to adjust my withdrawals if the rent goes up. I'm shooting for an initial withdrawal rate of 3% from my retirement portfolio. Also, I'd be open to retiring somehwere else less expensive where my money would go further.

I think people who are homeowners typically overstate the gains in the value of their homes as well as the tax benefits. Sure, they give you a tax break, but it's only over and above what you'd get with the standard deduction anyway. Not a great deal for someone earning the median family income of, say, 50K a year. And people talk as if they're getting a 100% tax rebate or something. People also don't take into consideration the maintenance costs of a home when the talk about the gains. Not to mention higher utility costs. Over the last 6 years, the highest my combined electric/gas bill has been for the 2 studio apartments I've lived in is $35.
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:58 PM
 
Location: Sandy Eggo - Kensington
3,532 posts, read 6,377,217 times
Reputation: 1527
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigfoot62 View Post
Sorry to be the messenger, sorry to win this argument with the truth. Just get it figured out for yourself....I would follow the list provided by the Emergency Management System.

Why do you think people in S. Calif are superficial? Because they are in denial; so you have to walk about in a hypnotic trance to ignore reality.
Let me guess, you're still waiting for the Y2K bug to shut down all the computers spread chaos throughout the world? In case you have limited internet access from the compound you built in the middle of the Nevada desert, please know that it's 2011 and San Diego is still standing.
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:32 AM
 
Location: San Diego, CA
1,666 posts, read 1,152,891 times
Reputation: 743
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurbanite View Post
Let me guess, you're still waiting for the Y2K bug to shut down all the computers spread chaos throughout the world? In case you have limited internet access from the compound you built in the middle of the Nevada desert, please know that it's 2011 and San Diego is still standing.
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Oklahoma City area
66 posts, read 158,834 times
Reputation: 30
Question Too Much?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fran66 View Post
Southern CA, and that well includes San Diego, has become more and more humid as the years have gone by. And there is no real change of seasons -- most of the time it's just good weather -- day after day -- year after year. But too much of a good thing is too much.
I don't doubt what you say, but I'm just curious - as someone who lives where running from tornadoes every Spring is a given - how in the world do you have too much GOOD weather?!
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:31 PM
 
Location: Santaluz - San Diego, CA
4,299 posts, read 3,595,651 times
Reputation: 1721
Quote:
Originally Posted by IrisMGOK View Post
I don't doubt what you say, but I'm just curious - as someone who lives where running from tornadoes every Spring is a given - how in the world do you have too much GOOD weather?!
LOL. I totally agree with this. I don't think there is any such thing as "too much good weather". We absolutely love living here! The weather is incredible but then again so is the city with it's proximity to the ocean and beautiful beaches.

When we want a change of seasons, we hop on a plane (or in our car) and go to the mountains for some skiing. I'll gladly take the trade off of amazing weather most of the year.
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Old 12-30-2011, 09:46 AM
 
Location: SoCal
4,063 posts, read 3,393,988 times
Reputation: 2507
Quote:
Originally Posted by IrisMGOK View Post
I don't doubt what you say, but I'm just curious - as someone who lives where running from tornadoes every Spring is a given - how in the world do you have too much GOOD weather?!
My DH is a native of England. Before he moved here, I use to email him to convey my joy that we had *Rain* He thought I was nutz.

Now that he's been here 15 years, he mentioned that he understands why I was so happy to see *Rain*
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Old 12-31-2011, 12:01 PM
 
13 posts, read 11,638 times
Reputation: 10
I think the vast majority of the 'cost of living' issue has to do with the cost of housing. Groceries I heard are actually cheaper in ca, and gas is average to a bit higher. If you can live close to where you work, and are able to get a great deal on a house which isnt unheard of, that can make living there a lot better.
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