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Old 12-09-2007, 10:44 AM
 
Location: ID
2,063 posts, read 4,128,077 times
Reputation: 1439
Every case is an individual case. The engines are fine if you are an average family moving into an average-cost area with average salary etc., but once you deviate off the middle of the bell curve the numbers start getting irrelevant.
The salary comparison site is a joke, it was totally off the scale for me. I moved from a fairly poor southern state to wealthy, educated, tekkie s. NH and the salaries there were running 8-10 grand lower.
And some of the highly educated folks in NH didn't know the difference between an LCSW and an LICSW in their own frikkin state. I was told the SW license in NH was an LCSW when in fact it's LICSW. This from practitioners who've been in the business for 15+ years.

I would strongly advise against taking the averages as the Word of God, they are median figures and home or land prices and tax burdens change township to township or county to county. What you will earn is what someone will pay you. I'd look at state-job pay rates for your job to get an idea of how bad or good it might be.

When we were in PA I didn't do enough research and should have gotten a NJ SW license, pay scale is far higher across the river than in PA.

As a family friend once told me, YOU ARE THE EXPERT. Your own research will tell you far more than rolling-average sites, they are OK for a general picture but in my opinion and experience only you can come up with real numbers for your case.

Don't mean to rant here, but numbers can do whatever anyone wants them to do.

Last edited by Dwatted Wabbit; 12-09-2007 at 11:46 AM..
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Old 12-09-2007, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Branford
575 posts, read 282,048 times
Reputation: 168
Default facts about Vermont cost of living

I am a 25 year old male who moved up here 2 years ago from CT to be with my girlfriend of many years who is from VT and just graduated from UVM. I find it to be very cheap to live here. I rent in Burlington and absolutely love it here. I'll admit I dont know much about home ownership and living in the more rural areas and mostly know about living expenses in Chittenden County. Electricity in Burlington is very cheap. I pay about half of what I did in CT. Electricity in Burlington is generated from a wood chip fired power plant and is owned by the city. I have Burlington Telecom a city owned fiber optic network of tv, internet and phone service and all three are available for $99 a month. My car insurance is 60% less than CT. Heating costs in Burlington are very cheap with natural gas from VT gas. I pay half of what I did in CT and its much colder here. Renting in Burlington can be expensive because of the college students but affordable apartments can be found. I am an automotive technician and make good money here as there seems to be a lack of trained technicians here. I can say that most people who complain about it being expensive here are working very low end jobs such as cashiers, waitresses, etc. Every area has its pros and cons but I find Burlington to be a very affordable. Like I said i dont know much about the cost of living outside of Burlington but thought I would share my experience here.
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Old 12-09-2007, 12:55 PM
 
Location: Rutland, VT
1,822 posts, read 3,137,556 times
Reputation: 719
Default Affordable living -- if you like the life

We are homeowners in Rutland and find it quite affordable. We work mainly from home so there are no commuting expenses. We walk almost everywhere we go.

When we do have driving to do, we do have a very efficient, rockin' 2006 Honda Civic that runs great up here (winter = snow tires = smooth sailing). For example, today we'll head into NY state down Route 87 to pick up a dog who would have been killed in a Midwest shelter, but instead is heading for a rescue in Vermont. We get 42 mpg and we're helping save a life. Seems like a good use of resources to me.

The biggest expenses are property and taxes. But they are not unaffordable. Living here is so generally affordable that we can handle the taxes and lower pay. And we're very happy to pay for local/organic food because what's more important than food! Plus local food tastes sooo much better than world-traveling, mass-produced fruits & vegetables.

We don't have cable or satellite TV, so no monthly expense there (we don't want any channels, but we do get Netflix). Our biggest recreational expense is that we like to go out to eat. Most good Vermont restaurants here seem reasonably priced to me, compared with restaurants in the Boston area and SFla when we visit family.

We're also not interested in "escaping" to other places. There's nowhere we'd rather be than Vermont. Okay, we get away once in a while and might like to visit British Columbia sometime, but traveling is not our thing. We prefer to live & work & play in the same place. We're territorial, like our cats. Vermont suits us.
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Old 12-09-2007, 07:49 PM
 
Location: Colchester, Vt
1,781 posts, read 2,509,381 times
Reputation: 829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian26 View Post
I am a 25 year old male who moved up here 2 years ago from CT to be with my girlfriend of many years who is from VT and just graduated from UVM. I find it to be very cheap to live here. I rent in Burlington and absolutely love it here. I'll admit I dont know much about home ownership and living in the more rural areas and mostly know about living expenses in Chittenden County. Electricity in Burlington is very cheap. I pay about half of what I did in CT. Electricity in Burlington is generated from a wood chip fired power plant and is owned by the city. I have Burlington Telecom a city owned fiber optic network of tv, internet and phone service and all three are available for $99 a month. My car insurance is 60% less than CT. Heating costs in Burlington are very cheap with natural gas from VT gas. I pay half of what I did in CT and its much colder here. Renting in Burlington can be expensive because of the college students but affordable apartments can be found. I am an automotive technician and make good money here as there seems to be a lack of trained technicians here. I can say that most people who complain about it being expensive here are working very low end jobs such as cashiers, waitresses, etc. Every area has its pros and cons but I find Burlington to be a very affordable. Like I said i dont know much about the cost of living outside of Burlington but thought I would share my experience here.
I moved here from CT as well. In my case, I am making about 15,000 less per year. Many of the expenses are cheaper in Vermont(than CT), but the income for many is much less than in other states. My brother in Fairfield County pays less for cable, phone and internet than I pay for cable alone. My sister is a secretary and makes close to 60,000 a year. You will never see that kind of income for the same job in Vermont. I think the point is that costs may be higher in other states, but their incomes compensate where as thats not always the case in Vermont. I agree with the statement that the cost of living is based on individual cases. In my case I can afford to live in Vermont. Could I do better in another state? Yes I could, but as of now Vermont is where I like living.
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Old 12-10-2007, 07:03 AM
Status: "meh" (set 1 day ago)
 
1,233 posts, read 1,177,666 times
Reputation: 773
The OP's article is a classic example of how statistics can be interpreted to mean many different things.

I'm lucky to be doing OK in VT but my salary is significantly lower then my peers in other areas. At some point, that has to change.
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Old 12-10-2007, 07:30 AM
 
Location: hinesburg, vt
1,574 posts, read 3,196,976 times
Reputation: 369
The Wall Street Journal has a piece today which discusses the business climate and costs and Vermont does not favor well. Statistics aside and relating from strictly personal experience the cost of living here in comparison to wages is high and out of whack. Sure, for those who live a bare bones lifestyle the effect may be minimal, but for a great many the expenses and layers of taxes eats up a substantial amount of what would be otherwise disposable income or money which could be going toward a retirement plan or health savings accounbt to provide for your future . The cost of health care in terms of insurance is very high. A former Vermonter who has posted here before and now lives in Virginia operating what appears to be a very successful and profitable business discussed this before showing premiums to be twice here. I did my own research and found that the same would apply to my situation once I retire and am forced to purchase insurance. Even with employer provided coverage my premiums and co pays are higher here than from my previous employer in another state and this is for a medical plan which provides lower overall benefits. The reality for folks is to make a list of what expenses they deem necessary to support their desired lifestyle and then do the research and compare costs. A good example of this would be with energy costs. With heating oil now at 3.25 a gallon when it was only 1.70 three years ago gives you few options. Conservation and wearing extra clothing only goes so far. It might require a tradeoff such as downsizing your home, but this a personal choice. The same with electricity. By asking someone what they pay per month is not providing a good comparison. You have to determine the kwh YOU use in a month and then get the rate for power from the supplier and I might add not just the base rate such as .12 per kwh when in fact with all the surcharges it actually comes out at .18 per kwh. Therefore, surveys, polls, opinions, etc are meaningless. Do your own research and be informed because it's your money and in the end you have have to pay the bills.
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Old 12-10-2007, 01:36 PM
 
Location: Vermont
1,450 posts, read 2,519,352 times
Reputation: 694
My wife and I are making (each) 15k less than we were making in the Chicago area. Housing is about the same. Heat is more-air conditioning is less- because we don't have one.
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Old 12-10-2007, 04:36 PM
 
Location: Burlington VT
1,405 posts, read 3,225,485 times
Reputation: 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian26 View Post
I am a 25 year old male who moved up here 2 years ago from CT to be with my girlfriend of many years who is from VT and just graduated from UVM. I find it to be very cheap to live here. I rent in Burlington and absolutely love it here. I'll admit I dont know much about home ownership and living in the more rural areas and mostly know about living expenses in Chittenden County. Electricity in Burlington is very cheap. I pay about half of what I did in CT. Electricity in Burlington is generated from a wood chip fired power plant and is owned by the city. I have Burlington Telecom a city owned fiber optic network of tv, internet and phone service and all three are available for $99 a month. My car insurance is 60% less than CT. Heating costs in Burlington are very cheap with natural gas from VT gas. I pay half of what I did in CT and its much colder here. Renting in Burlington can be expensive because of the college students but affordable apartments can be found. I am an automotive technician and make good money here as there seems to be a lack of trained technicians here. I can say that most people who complain about it being expensive here are working very low end jobs such as cashiers, waitresses, etc. Every area has its pros and cons but I find Burlington to be a very affordable. Like I said i dont know much about the cost of living outside of Burlington but thought I would share my experience here.
Thanks for sharing your experience Brian26. I'm sure your observations will be helpful to people.

David Beckett
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Old 12-11-2007, 04:34 PM
 
Location: Davenport, California
24 posts, read 69,737 times
Reputation: 13
Thanks, everyone who has posted on this thread so far. This is a really productive discussion. I haven't heard from anyone from the West Coast yet, where I am. I live in the Santa Cruz, CA area, one of the least affordable places in the country. I'm from VT, but have been away about 20 years, moving back next spring with husband and teenage daughter in tow. We are moving for a number of reasons--not least of which is to be near my family--but our main issue is the cost of housing here. The AVERAGE price of a single-family house in Santa Cruz County is somewhere in the neighborhood of $800,000. Even the cheapest fixer-upper we could find here would be an untenable financial burden for us. The modest (but lovely) duplex we are buying in Brattleboro for $250,000 would easily cost $900,000 here. Most other costs are similar between here and there, with a few notable exceptions. Even if I make half my current salary in Vermont--which I am expecting--by my reckoning, we will still come out ahead.

I guess what I am trying to say is that everything is relative. Coming from a place where real estate=science fiction, and spending 50% (or more) of your income on housing is the norm, Vermont is looking pretty good.
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Old 12-11-2007, 09:49 PM
 
12 posts, read 36,424 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherylcatmom View Post
We are homeowners in Rutland and find it quite affordable. We work mainly from home so there are no commuting expenses. We walk almost everywhere we go.

When we do have driving to do, we do have a very efficient, rockin' 2006 Honda Civic that runs great up here (winter = snow tires = smooth sailing). For example, today we'll head into NY state down Route 87 to pick up a dog who would have been killed in a Midwest shelter, but instead is heading for a rescue in Vermont. We get 42 mpg and we're helping save a life. Seems like a good use of resources to me.

The biggest expenses are property and taxes. But they are not unaffordable. Living here is so generally affordable that we can handle the taxes and lower pay. And we're very happy to pay for local/organic food because what's more important than food! Plus local food tastes sooo much better than world-traveling, mass-produced fruits & vegetables.

We don't have cable or satellite TV, so no monthly expense there (we don't want any channels, but we do get Netflix). Our biggest recreational expense is that we like to go out to eat. Most good Vermont restaurants here seem reasonably priced to me, compared with restaurants in the Boston area and SFla when we visit family.

We're also not interested in "escaping" to other places. There's nowhere we'd rather be than Vermont. Okay, we get away once in a while and might like to visit British Columbia sometime, but traveling is not our thing. We prefer to live & work & play in the same place. We're territorial, like our cats. Vermont suits us.
I am happy that everything working out for you but I think that majority of the people who complain about COL want to be able to save some money travel outside VT or for that matter outside of the country and still to be able to live in VT own house and cable . Personally I am afraid of income tax , that could be last straw for a lot of the people , not everybody owns a house but everybody gets a paycheck . If Income tax becomes reality god help us all
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