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Old 07-13-2010, 10:42 AM
 
3 posts, read 15,353 times
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I'm thinking of moving from the North East to GA. Based on the little research I have done, real estate taxes are much lower in GA, schools are excellent in certain towns and the overall cost of living is significantly lower. And I'm wondering...is this too good to be true? Am I missing something? Does it all have to do with lower salaries in the South? Thanks!
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Old 07-13-2010, 12:42 PM
 
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Having moved from NJ to the northern suburbs of Atlanta 3 years ago, I can offer the following cost comparisons:


- Housing is significantly less expensive. We bought a brand new, 2,400 sf house on 1/3 of an acre with 9' ceilings, granite countertops, stainless appliances, etc., in a town with outstanding schools for less than we sold a 50 y/o 1,000 sf cape cod in a mediocre NJ town for.
- Property taxes on that house are less than half what we were paying for the house in NJ, and we were in a town that wasn't as outrageous as some other towns.
- Car insurance, food, clothes, and daily necessities are essentially the same as in NJ. You will, however, pay sales tax (6-7%, depending on the county) on clothes, and the state portion of sales tax (2%) on most food, which you don't in most northern states. Overall, that will amount to anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand a year, depending on how much you spend.
- You'll pay ad valorem tax on your cars, which is based on the value of the car. This is paid every year when you re-register the vehicle (in addition to the typical registration fee), and as an example, we pay around $500/year combined for our two cars, which include a 2009 Town and Country minivan and a 2008 pickup.
- Gas is usually a few cents higher here than when I compare it to prices in NJ, but nothing really drastic.
- Salary differences depend greatly on the industry you're in. My salary here is essentially identical to what I was making in NJ, but some other industries see larger swings. Most of the professional-type positions typically see smaller variations than blue-collar positions.

So, no, I wouldn't say it's "too good to be true". We're in a far better position here than we were in NJ- we have a better home, a great neighborhood, better schools, a less hectic pace of life, and more money in our pockets at the end of the day. Of course, that's because we researched the area we ended up buying in to ensure that we could get what we wanted, and we also made sure that I could find work at the right salary. Your mileage may vary.
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:59 PM
 
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Thanks for your detailed and very helpful explanation. Since it seems you fully researched the area, do you mind sharing what suburb you ended up moving to? Thanks again.
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Old 07-14-2010, 04:29 AM
 
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We live in Holly Springs, which is a small town in Cherokee County, located between Canton and Woodstock.
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Old 07-16-2010, 10:58 AM
 
Location: Mableton, GA USA (NW Atlanta suburb, 4 miles OTP)
11,319 posts, read 23,176,646 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roserblanes View Post
I'm thinking of moving from the North East to GA. Based on the little research I have done, real estate taxes are much lower in GA, schools are excellent in certain towns and the overall cost of living is significantly lower. And I'm wondering...is this too good to be true? Am I missing something? Does it all have to do with lower salaries in the South? Thanks!
Lower salaries, lower unemployment benefits (New Jersey – $560, Georgia – $320), and other things may help to contribute to the lower cost of living here. Not that Georgia (or the Atlanta metro) is some sort of uncivilized hellhole ... I think it's a nice area for the most part, but there are some differences that surprised be coming from the upper midwest (Twin Cities), mainly the relative lack of safety nets for consumers and for folks in financial difficulties. Many Georgians would rather see their neighbors starve than live in a "nanny state"...
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Old 07-17-2010, 07:41 AM
 
Location: Marietta, GA
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Originally Posted by rcsteiner View Post
Many Georgians would rather see their neighbors starve than live in a "nanny state"...
Oh come on...no one wants to see anyone starve. Having lived in the northeast most of my life, the attitude here is much more "teach a man to fish" rather than "give a man a fish." That may bother some people, but it also make the kinds of endemic abuses seen in other places less prevalent in Georgia. People should take primary responsibility for their own future and well being, and not rely on the government. Unemployment insurance and Social Security should be supplements to a larger personal finance plan, not sole incomes. If people fail to plan, that's not the taxpayers' fault. If people fail to get an education (in a state where you can go to college for free), then that's not our fault either.

Unemployment benefits in GA are not huge. You cannot live off unemployment the way you can in other states. In my opinion, in most times, that's a good thing. In an extreme time of unemployment, like the recession we just experienced, it can be harder on people, but is that such a bad thing? If people know they must plan better, and they know they must perform at their jobs and enhance their skills because the government will not take care of them, is that such a bad thing?

Unions here don't have a stranglehold on the government here in the way they do in other places like the northeast. That reduces waste and cuts through red tape in many cases, which reduces cost of living.
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:39 PM
 
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Teach a man to fish around here and he'll wind up on unemployment because he's fishing all day!
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Old 04-14-2011, 09:00 PM
 
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I am a middle aged Accountant that moved from the North East (NE) to the North East suburbs of Atlanta 4 years ago. I received a 23% pay increase and bought a new 3,200 sq foot 5 bedroom 4 bath 3 sided brick home for a little more than my old half a double house sold for in the NE. My taxes and utilities are also lower. My wife now is a stay at home mom with a community pool across the street and loves it!! The cost/quality of life is much better here. Consumer protection is not as prevalent as it is in NE states, but family life is much more of a factor down here. I work with most people in my office that are from the NE and Mid West. I have not heard of 1 person that wants to move back to the NE. Maybe one day I will, but I seriously doubt it.
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Old 04-14-2011, 09:08 PM
 
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I live on the IL/WI borderline. (only 2 miles from WI) I've been researching Missouri quite heavily. Best I can tell..... Missouri wins by a landslide!!! My current home is up for sale, and once it's sold... I'm heading for Missouri!!! (I also included Iowa in my research) If I'm wrong, then somebody correct me.
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Old 04-14-2011, 09:25 PM
 
7,848 posts, read 18,770,163 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by springazure View Post
I live on the IL/WI borderline. (only 2 miles from WI) I've been researching Missouri quite heavily. Best I can tell..... Missouri wins by a landslide!!! My current home is up for sale, and once it's sold... I'm heading for Missouri!!! (I also included Iowa in my research) If I'm wrong, then somebody correct me.
Wrong about what? What exactly did you research/what were your criteria?
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