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Old 06-25-2012, 07:55 AM
 
2 posts, read 5,869 times
Reputation: 10

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Here's our situation: My husband is self-employed (Realtor, Builder, Contractor); I currently stay at home (but am university educated); we have a 6 year old daughter and we live in Port Moody (very nice, quiet neighbourhood) where have a lovely home and are walking distance to school.
The dilemma: My husband was on a very long waiting list (16 years) to receive a Green Card and was finally approved a short while ago. Time is running out to make a decision and the only place where he would have any sort job connections is the Greater Los Angeles area.
We know that there are pros and cons to both staying here and going there but we seem to keep reaching a stalemate.
My husband is more on the Pro-L.A. side citing reasons like the weather, lifestyle, ability to make more money, etc.
I am more on the Con-L.A. side worrying about spending a large amount of our money on various things that we don't have to consider over here (Health Insurance, Earthquake Insurance, Mello Roos Taxes, H.O.A fees, etc.), spending much of our free time stuck in traffic (if we both end up working outside the immediate area of where we live), finding a job for me, the general cost of living (although Vancouver isn't exactly a bargain), and schools for our daughter.
My husband seems to think that in the long run the move will be beneficial but I'm really wondering what we are gambling away in order to take that chance. For us to raise enough capitol to even make the move we would have to sell off everything we own here to start over down there.
Our life here is nice, predictable, stable but the weather is awful and seems to be getting worse by the year.
Is there anyone out there who has lived in both cities with young children and can offer any insight at all?
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Old 06-25-2012, 12:46 PM
 
Location: L.A./O.C.
574 posts, read 1,208,610 times
Reputation: 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleepless_in_PortMoody View Post
Here's our situation: My husband is self-employed (Realtor, Builder, Contractor); I currently stay at home (but am university educated); we have a 6 year old daughter and we live in Port Moody (very nice, quiet neighbourhood) where have a lovely home and are walking distance to school.
The dilemma: My husband was on a very long waiting list (16 years) to receive a Green Card and was finally approved a short while ago. Time is running out to make a decision and the only place where he would have any sort job connections is the Greater Los Angeles area.
We know that there are pros and cons to both staying here and going there but we seem to keep reaching a stalemate.
My husband is more on the Pro-L.A. side citing reasons like the weather, lifestyle, ability to make more money, etc.
I am more on the Con-L.A. side worrying about spending a large amount of our money on various things that we don't have to consider over here (Health Insurance, Earthquake Insurance, Mello Roos Taxes, H.O.A fees, etc.), spending much of our free time stuck in traffic (if we both end up working outside the immediate area of where we live), finding a job for me, the general cost of living (although Vancouver isn't exactly a bargain), and schools for our daughter.
My husband seems to think that in the long run the move will be beneficial but I'm really wondering what we are gambling away in order to take that chance. For us to raise enough capitol to even make the move we would have to sell off everything we own here to start over down there.
Our life here is nice, predictable, stable but the weather is awful and seems to be getting worse by the year.
Is there anyone out there who has lived in both cities with young children and can offer any insight at all?
i have not lived in vancouver, but am in LA so i could say it is very expensive to live down here, as well as other major US cities but not as expensive like LA or NYC, there are good school districts and there are bad school districts like every othe US city.weather is great, very hot though, average is 80 degrees you will have to adapt to this weather, but it really depends where you live in LA if you live on the coast the average will be around 75 and if you live in inland LA the averages will be between 85 - 95 degrees like the inland empire or valleys, also warm at night 65 - 70 degrees, as for the traffic , you can avoid it LA's metro system is advancing very well and the metrolink system connects the greater los angeles area with over 500 miles of track, as you may know LA will be totally diffrent but i could say you will enjoy living here.
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:15 PM
 
4,100 posts, read 7,815,007 times
Reputation: 4784
Have you been to Los Angeles? The weather might be "better," but you might not have considered the air quality. For some people it doesn't matter that much, but if you haven't been in it, you don't know. (And Vancouver's weather isn't getting worse year by year. There are normal variations that are just bothering you more than they used to. Next year might be the best yet.)

Does your husband have that higher-paying job lined up? There isn't much work now for Realtors (especially one trying to start in a new area). Many builders and contractors are out of work. Jobs are hard to find, even for the educated. Plan a budget based on what you think your husband can earn, because your chances of quickly finding a job are not great. How much will you have for housing? Find out where you can live for that amount, and whether or not it will be in a quiet neighborhood with good schools (although it sounds like you are planning on private school). And if you decide to come, make sure your husband's job is pretty certain.

Not everyone buys earthquake insurance. It's smart but not required. Don't you have earthquake insurance in Vancouver?

What about the lifestyle appeals to your husband? Real life isn't like the movies or TV. Again, have you visited?

Are you patriotic? Do you want to be part of a different country? Do you want your child to grow up American (United Statesian), or do you want her to remain Canadian?

I see more "cons" than "pros." Your husband's life has changed a lot in 16 years (marriage? fatherhood?), and perhaps his dreams of that time need to set aside.
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Old 06-25-2012, 08:02 PM
 
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
14,238 posts, read 16,086,294 times
Reputation: 13698
Vancouver is consistently ranked as one of the world's best cities in which to live.

World's most livable cities - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Visit both and the decision will be very easy.
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Old 06-25-2012, 08:19 PM
 
Location: Declezville, CA
16,615 posts, read 34,668,005 times
Reputation: 16957
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleepless_in_PortMoody View Post
Earthquake Insurance
Do a search on earthquake insurance los angeles as part of your research. Vancouver's no virgin to earthquakes, being well withing the Pacific Ring of Fire... what do you do there for eq ins?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleepless_in_PortMoody View Post
Mello Roos Taxes, H.O.A fees
Both easily avoidable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleepless_in_PortMoody View Post
spending much of our free time stuck in traffic (if we both end up working outside the immediate area of where we live)
Remember the first rule of keeping your sanity in Southern California: Live as close to work as possible.
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Old 06-25-2012, 08:55 PM
 
164 posts, read 550,576 times
Reputation: 368
I happened to have lived in both.

Cost of living difference (factoring in also difference in income potential) is about a wash.

Vancouver has much much higher housing costs. LA is a huge bargain compared to Vancouver, which is just ridiculous. Count on it being about half of Vancouver, whether to buy or rent.

Education: much higher in LA, assuming you're going to the private school route. $10-20K per child per year. There's decent public school districts, but the property prices in those districts are at a premium (so either way you'll pay).

Healthcare: higher in LA, as employers are trying to shift more of the cost to employees; with a family this can be much higher and more complicated than life in BC

Traffic: worse in LA overall, although Vancouver sucks too (if you depend on the bridges or commute to Surrey).

Groceries/dining: just about everything from produce to meat to dry goods is cheaper in LA

Insurance: about a wash; you'll pay roughly the same rate for auto, homeowners'/renters', etc.

Income/career opportunities: LA hands down. LA doesn't just have entertainment; there's just a much bigger economy, whether you are an accountant, corporate professional, engineer, etc. Vancouver is an economy dominated by real estate speculation (money from China and Europe driving up property prices). Take away real estate and there isn't much else (mining and forestry?).

If you are looking purely at financial costs, it is about a wash: housing and basic necessities are cheaper in LA, but are eaten up by more expensive education and healthcare costs.

Crime: LA has reached historic lows not seen since the 1950s. It's still a big city with big city problems, but it's much safer than it was in the 1990s. Vancouver on the other hand has seen crime go up. I wouldn't say Vancouver is as dangerous as LA, but there's not as huge a difference as one may believe.

Weather: easy. LA hands down.

People: hard to compare. LA is a diverse city with a heavy Latino influence and population. Vancouver is a less diverse city with a heavy Asian/Chinese population. Not better or worse, just different.

Final verdict: I think Vancouver is a less stressful place to raise a family than LA assuming you have a steady job or relatively employable profession. LA has better weather and more to do -- but is better suited to singles/couples with no children in my opinion. I just think it's more stressful to raise a family here in LA because of the education system and health care, and while there is more career opportunities, it is more of a boom-and-bust mentality here where people do take more risks in business (more money more problems sort of mentality).
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Old 06-25-2012, 10:20 PM
 
Location: The Big Apple and Shytown and Miami and Dallas and Milwalkie and St Paul-Mineopolis n DCMV n WestBay
1,289 posts, read 1,618,027 times
Reputation: 1513
It seems like a good opportunity to try someplace different. Depending on your budget,you might probably rent for a few years which gives you the freedom to live in various safe areas and good school districts. I think the initial move will be the most stressful. good luck .
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Old 06-26-2012, 12:39 PM
 
2 posts, read 5,869 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks for all of your responses! They are well thought out and informative.
Earthquake insurance here isn't separate from the regular homeowners' insurance it's just an add-on (Act of God).
As for the weather improving...I can only hope so. I'm still wearing a jacket!
I think that my biggest fear is that we won't make comparable money down in L.A. (at least initially) and that we will have no established credit rating with the banks so we may have difficulty borrowing. If I am right about this, we may end up spending the bulk of our savings on housing and day to day expenses which is something that we wouldn't have to consider if we just stayed put.
I'd love to have an adventure, but I just keep thinking about our daughter's future and private school wouldn't be doable on our budget
We have until September to make a final decision or surrender our Green Cards...
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Old 06-27-2012, 03:32 PM
 
1,031 posts, read 1,100,837 times
Reputation: 579
LA is way cheaper, FYI.
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:43 PM
 
14 posts, read 37,924 times
Reputation: 15
Tough decision. Overall, I think that Canada is a better place if you are a low to middle income earner. The benefit of having health insurance is tremendous as insuring a family here can run into the 1500-2000 range if it is not covered by your employer. The vancouver area is also still attracting all sorts of foreign investment and so real estate is still viable as a job for the next couple years at least.

Also, if you are going to be buying a home on a budget, most of LA is bungalow/ranch from the mid 20th century which can seem like a huge step down if you are coming from a newer area.

On the plus side, the freeway signs are huge compared to Canada (though the condition of the actual roads happen to be the opposite of Canada), everyday stuff is much cheaper (everything from stuff at Target to appliances), gas is 30% cheaper (though you will spend at least 30% more gas going places or waiting in traffic), the california coast is great, and you can potentially see a ton of interesting stuff in LA. When your child grows up, they can go to college in the US (if you think that's a good thing).

I like the US, but that's just me. Maybe you should think of LA as a starting point, as you could always end up moving back to the Northwest.
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