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Old 05-20-2017, 10:31 AM
 
11 posts, read 11,238 times
Reputation: 44

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Hi,
Hope this is in right place. I would love some input from Iowans or former Iowans regarding the best fit for my criteria listed below. Thank you.

1. I am 53, recently divorced after 25 years of marriage.
2. Lived in Ventura, CA for 31 years.
3. Grew up in Missoula, MT
3. After divorce went back to Missoula briefly and worked at University. Too isolated from any big cities and frankly not that friendly.
4. Moved to NC for cheaper real estate, but southern culture not for me.
4. 3 adult children, only one with me my daugther. She is 21 almost. Great student, needs people her age. She studied in France a year and is finishing up undergrad online and will be going to grad school in two years.
6. I have a masters degree in public administration and worked 20 years as a paralegal.
7. Eventually want to buy ($100,000-$150,000). Selling condo now and will be renting awhile to determine area.
8. Need fairly stable job market for an older woman--would prefer an educated population.
9. Would really love a friendly neighborly area. Doesn't everybody?
10. I would like wherever we land this time to be fun and dynamic for her as well, but first and foremost AFFORDABLE, CLEAN and SAFE.


Would love some ideas about great Iowa towns that would fit the bill. Sure appreciate your time. Thanks.
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Old 05-20-2017, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
5,105 posts, read 6,645,492 times
Reputation: 9679
I would line up your job first and then worry about where to live. Realistically, you're looking at either Des Moines (more paralegal jobs since it's the capital) or Iowa City (Home of Iowa State University). Once you get that narrowed down, then there are a lot of suburbs and small towns nearby.

If you want the college vibe and all that goes with it, try for Iowa City. If you can get a job in Ames, that's a much smaller college town (Iowa State), about 45 minutes north of the Des Moines Metro (when the weather is good), but from your description, I'd suggest focusing on Iowa City or Des Moines.

A good selling point: if you can hack our windy winters, there's tons more sun than Missoula, or so a friend tells me. However, he noticed that the wind seems to blow constantly. I don't really notice anymore, unless there are 50 mph blasts.

If you're interested in becoming a court reporter, DMACC (Des Moines Area Community Colleges) has the program at their Newton Campus, about 35 minutes from Des Moines (but live in Des Moines!) although there's a lot of hype about it nation-wide, I can speak to a coming shortage in the area as many local ones are retiring. The salary is not huge, but since you're already a paralegal, that might be a sideline for you to explore.

Iowa City is about an hour and change from Des Moines. Pick one or the other. Long range commutes can get really dicey in the winter, and both I-35 and I-80 are occasionally shut down.

I've been in Des Moines almost 4 years. I'm in my late 50s and really like it here. There's a ton of affordable stuff to do on weekends, ranging from bike rides on trails to craft shows (etc) at the state fair and around town. I'm getting too old for all the college craziness, so I'd rather live here than Iowa City.
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Old 05-20-2017, 10:25 PM
 
111 posts, read 75,407 times
Reputation: 162
Plenty of areas with in 30 minutes of Des Moines in your price range. I like the areas west of the metro. YMMV
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Old 05-21-2017, 09:45 AM
 
11 posts, read 11,238 times
Reputation: 44
Thank you both for your responses. Good advice. My daughter and I are looking forward to exploring Iowa's towns and cities to find a good fit for us both, although I have a hunch Des Moines may be the place. I've never lived in such a big city though (big to me since even Ventura, CA is only 100k). Should be a fun adventure.
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Old 05-21-2017, 01:40 PM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
5,105 posts, read 6,645,492 times
Reputation: 9679
Des Moines is a little "big city." There aren't huge commuting nightmares or other large-scale problems. Downtown doesn't shut down at 5 pm, and there's a lot of new construction. If you do move here and find it shrinks too much on you, Twin Cities, Chicago, and Omaha are close enough for a day trip, but I've found that I can find almost everything I need around the metro, barring exotic computer parts. Your daughter will probably like Iowa City better, just because of the youth factor.

Let us know how you fare, and we can give more specific advice once you get a better idea of what you want.
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Old 05-21-2017, 04:45 PM
 
11 posts, read 11,238 times
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That is good to know. I am thinking an apartment in downtown Des Moines around courthouse area such as in the Equitable Bldg or similiar area might work well since there are generally some law firms around courthouse areas in most cities. Then I could walk to work or bus.

Does this seem reasonable with jobs fairly plentiful in that area of Des Moines?

I am hoping my daughter can find some interests as well in terms of social opportunities, part-time work and volunteer while she wraps up her last year of undergrad (online) and before she leaves for grad school. She'll need to rely on public transportation, too.

Is it safe for a young woman alone on bus system? (California's is terrible!)

Do you think this seems a fairly interesting option for my daughter? As I said, she will be 21 soon and needs access to younger entertainment options. Meemur, do you think Iowa City might be significantly better for her or is there a pretty good youthful energy in Des Moines as well. Thank you.
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Old 05-22-2017, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Sun City West, AZ
560 posts, read 546,564 times
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I'm not Meemur, but will give my 2 cents anyway... When I lived in Iowa (Cedar Rapdis area), I was always impressed with the amount of young people out and about in Des Moines when I would go there. The downtown area has lots of entertainment options for people of all ages, but especially for the college age crowd. I think your daughter would be perfectly happy there. Drake University is close to downtown and Iowa State is just up the road in Ames.

Iowa City is mostly a bar town. U of I has consistently ranked near the top for party schools. So if she's into that, maybe. I feel like Des Moines has a broader spectrum of entertainment offerings than just bars. Makes sense as it is like 4 times the size of IC. Also, my own personal impression is that as a whole, Des Moines is a much friendlier town. IC people always seemed a little snobbish / elitist.

Regarding safety for your daughter (on the bus and in general), obviously, something can happen anywhere, but I think I would actually feel safer in Des Moines than IC.

Just one man's opinion!
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Old 05-22-2017, 02:43 PM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
5,105 posts, read 6,645,492 times
Reputation: 9679
Thanks, Dewey.

I can't speak about buses because I drive everywhere, but I do know that with the new apartments and Hy-Vee (grocery) downtown, you could, in theory, live there without a car. Also, in the next few years, there will be more to do downtown as various projects are finished, like the swimming pool at the "Y."

If your daughter were 23 or 24, she might like the downtown area better. It is an older crowd. I'm not saying she'll hate it, but it seems like the 19 - 22 y.o.s I know want to live in Iowa City or one of the college towns (Ames or Cedar Falls). I don't know her, I'm just going by what the young folks I know tell me. She'll have to check it out for herself. That's true, there's Drake and Mercy College (for nurses and medical people), but it's very low key, which I really appreciate.

As for safety, anything can happen anywhere, but there isn't anywhere in Des Moines that I wouldn't go during the day. I'm from Columbus, OH, and there were areas that I didn't go into, period.

At night . . . different story for me. There are places I wouldn't go alone, but then I'm not the burly badazz I was in my 20s when I didn't think anything of staring down punks. If you use common sense and take some precautions, both of you should be fine.

The law firm addresses are listed in the Martindale-Hubbell index. I would write directly to the hiring atty at firms that interest you and write something like, "I'll be in town August 1 -10th. Could we set up an interview or informational interview?" You might send a letter rather than an email, but include your email and phone number. My sense is that hard-working, no nonsense paralegals will find work, even if it's part-time to start with, but you may need to network with your personal connections. If your current boss has any classmates or other contacts out here, start with them, first.

And if that's not working out, also look at Omaha, which is larger, and about 90 minutes away. It seems like there were several firms out here recently trying to recruit first-year law students from Drake Law school for internships because they were swamped. Drake's law school is pretty good, I'm told.
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Old 05-22-2017, 07:42 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
4,272 posts, read 5,082,123 times
Reputation: 5040
Quote:
Originally Posted by DMZHAKI View Post
Hi,
Hope this is in right place. I would love some input from Iowans or former Iowans regarding the best fit for my criteria listed below. Thank you.

1. I am 53, recently divorced after 25 years of marriage.
2. Lived in Ventura, CA for 31 years.
3. Grew up in Missoula, MT
3. After divorce went back to Missoula briefly and worked at University. Too isolated from any big cities and frankly not that friendly.
4. Moved to NC for cheaper real estate, but southern culture not for me.
4. 3 adult children, only one with me my daugther. She is 21 almost. Great student, needs people her age. She studied in France a year and is finishing up undergrad online and will be going to grad school in two years.
6. I have a masters degree in public administration and worked 20 years as a paralegal.
7. Eventually want to buy ($100,000-$150,000). Selling condo now and will be renting awhile to determine area.
8. Need fairly stable job market for an older woman--would prefer an educated population.
9. Would really love a friendly neighborly area. Doesn't everybody?
10. I would like wherever we land this time to be fun and dynamic for her as well, but first and foremost AFFORDABLE, CLEAN and SAFE.


Would love some ideas about great Iowa towns that would fit the bill. Sure appreciate your time. Thanks.
Des Moines, Iowa City, Ames, Cedar Falls, decently sized metro areas with large universities. Focus on eastern Iowa. The one question I would raise is your budget. You might need to stretch it depending on what your looking for.
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Old 05-22-2017, 08:25 PM
 
27 posts, read 28,231 times
Reputation: 23
Des Moines/Ames, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Cedar Falls are your likely target areas. That's where the three main universities are located.

What do you want to do career-wise? Given your experience, I think Des Moines will have the most job opportunities for you - by far. I'm a non-practicing attorney who lives in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area. The population is educated, but there aren't many legal jobs here. Lots of education/health care, a few financial firms in CR, but not much else. Des Moines is the state capital plus its's the largest legal market in the state.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DMZHAKI View Post
Hi,
Hope this is in right place. I would love some input from Iowans or former Iowans regarding the best fit for my criteria listed below. Thank you.

1. I am 53, recently divorced after 25 years of marriage.
2. Lived in Ventura, CA for 31 years.
3. Grew up in Missoula, MT
3. After divorce went back to Missoula briefly and worked at University. Too isolated from any big cities and frankly not that friendly.
4. Moved to NC for cheaper real estate, but southern culture not for me.
4. 3 adult children, only one with me my daugther. She is 21 almost. Great student, needs people her age. She studied in France a year and is finishing up undergrad online and will be going to grad school in two years.
6. I have a masters degree in public administration and worked 20 years as a paralegal.
7. Eventually want to buy ($100,000-$150,000). Selling condo now and will be renting awhile to determine area.
8. Need fairly stable job market for an older woman--would prefer an educated population.
9. Would really love a friendly neighborly area. Doesn't everybody?
10. I would like wherever we land this time to be fun and dynamic for her as well, but first and foremost AFFORDABLE, CLEAN and SAFE.


Would love some ideas about great Iowa towns that would fit the bill. Sure appreciate your time. Thanks.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
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