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Old 11-02-2012, 02:09 PM
 
3 posts, read 18,418 times
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I'm considering taking a job in Missoula and relocating my family from the Denver area (Aurora, CO to be exact.) My husband and I are tired of the city, we are both from NE and crave the great outdoors. We have 4 kids and want to raise them away from the crime, smog, etc that comes with this area.

However... the salary offered is about 30% less than what I'm making here. I assume that when my husband finds work the pay will be lower for him as well. I can't find any consistent data on the internet about the cost of living in Missoula vs. Denver. Some websites say it's 40% lower, while some (City Data included) say it's 5% higher. I can't very well make 30% less but have a cost of living that's 5% higher.

Anyone have any experience with comparing the two cities? I've looked at real estate and it doesn't seem like there's too big of a difference. We have kids so cost of childcare and groceries are HUGE for us. Any suggestions would be great! Thanks so much!!
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Old 11-02-2012, 02:36 PM
 
3,658 posts, read 3,754,023 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mejwkenn View Post
I'm considering taking a job in Missoula and relocating my family from the Denver area (Aurora, CO to be exact.) My husband and I are tired of the city, we are both from NE and crave the great outdoors. We have 4 kids and want to raise them away from the crime, smog, etc that comes with this area.

However... the salary offered is about 30% less than what I'm making here. I assume that when my husband finds work the pay will be lower for him as well. I can't find any consistent data on the internet about the cost of living in Missoula vs. Denver. Some websites say it's 40% lower, while some (City Data included) say it's 5% higher. I can't very well make 30% less but have a cost of living that's 5% higher.

Anyone have any experience with comparing the two cities? I've looked at real estate and it doesn't seem like there's too big of a difference. We have kids so cost of childcare and groceries are HUGE for us. Any suggestions would be great! Thanks so much!!
Found your question while forum surfing!

Here's a couple of cost of living calculators...

The first one has Missoula listed while the second has Billings. Something to play around with in a general sense. I'm sure the locals will be assisting you soon. Good luck!

Cost of Living Calculator: Compare prices in two cities - CNNMoney

Cost of Living Wizard | Salary.com
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Old 11-03-2012, 01:11 PM
 
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Not specific to Missoula, but our Denver friends summer in Montana and note the higher cost of groceries & vehicles here.
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:18 PM
 
3 posts, read 18,418 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Podo944 View Post
Found your question while forum surfing!

Here's a couple of cost of living calculators...

The first one has Missoula listed while the second has Billings. Something to play around with in a general sense. I'm sure the locals will be assisting you soon. Good luck!

Cost of Living Calculator: Compare prices in two cities - CNNMoney

Cost of Living Wizard | Salary.com
Thanks - these are two of the ones I have checked. The first shows the two as fairly comparable, while the second shows a 40% difference. They should be pulling from the same or similar sets of data, shouldn't they?? Well thanks for the help - I will keep researching!
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:19 PM
 
3 posts, read 18,418 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by historyfan View Post
Not specific to Missoula, but our Denver friends summer in Montana and note the higher cost of groceries & vehicles here.
Yeah, I expect that groceries would be a bit higher. Not too thrilled about that :/
Thanks!
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:26 AM
 
5,402 posts, read 5,349,095 times
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To me a 30% drop seems too much difference to live comfortably. You may find another employer will pay more than your current offer or you may be able to negotiate better deal...or at very least be on career track for advancement.

Missoula just costs more on every chart I looked at. has always seemed accurate and up to date.
Housing in Missoula can vary greatly in price. Schools are all excellent. Pace of life is slow. It is very kid friendly and outdoorsy. Be aware that utilities are higher in Montana.

You should check on your husband's job prospects. Some jobs in Montana pay better or same as their counterparts in other states and some pay less. I know people have been surprised at differences, so do not assume he would be paid less. Good luck.

Last edited by Yac; 11-17-2020 at 01:28 AM..
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:37 AM
 
Location: C-U metro
1,368 posts, read 2,964,075 times
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I would believe the 5% COL increase. Missoula has a colder climate, fewer sunny days with more inversions than Aurora. Also, you are further away from grocery distribution centers which are located in Spokane.

While the crime statistics appear lower for Missoula than other towns, you should be aware that the DA for Missoula City and DA for Missoula County are being investigated by US DOJ for corruption and non-enforcement of violent crimes, namely rape. This has been a long standing issue in Missoula and my female friends who attended UM never felt safe on campus at night and this was in the mid-90's. UM is looking at a "Penn State" penalty for not reporting rapes. The head coach and AD will likely be looking at charges if the former starting QB is convicted next year. Thus, I believe the crime statistics are off. It's not as bad as Aurora but the crime rate should be more in line with Billings.

Also, consider that Missoula's economy is in the toilet and if you lose this job, you will likely be moving out of Missoula. Aurora/Denver/Boulder has a vibrant and larger economy that gives you the option for looking at other jobs or other companies. Missoula is very tied to the University, tourism and health care sectors for jobs. Manufacturing has largely been wiped out except for the breweries and services are non-industrial, lower paid positions like cooks or waitresses.

My personal recommendation is to never, ever take a huge pay cut like the one you are considering. To me, living in a "pretty" place is worth a 10% discount, maximum and only if the COL is the same or slightly lower. People often get wrapped up in salary being equivalent to how much respect your employer gives you. I have coworkers who are envious of people working in the DFW and Houston areas that make more money but we live in Tulsa, which has a better climate in my opinion. Thus, if you have coworkers or friends living in other areas, you may feel slighted even though you chose to live in the "pretty" place.

As others have said, you can't eat the scenery.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:29 AM
 
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It seems that Missoula real estate should therefore be materially cheaper than Denver real estate. Is that in fact true? If not, how do people support those prices with lower salaries?
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:38 AM
 
Location: C-U metro
1,368 posts, read 2,964,075 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagobear View Post
It seems that Missoula real estate should therefore be materially cheaper than Denver real estate. Is that in fact true? If not, how do people support those prices with lower salaries?
Real estate is more expensive for a couple of reasons. Missoula is expensive for the same reason that resort property in Colorado and Utah are, it is pretty and people from out of state will "pay up" for a vacation or retirement home there. They have a large college population that makes investment real estate profitable. There is also a shortage of developable land as it is an old lake bed surrounded by mountains. They can't develop the sides of the bowl as well as the bottom of the bowl.

Missoula locals can't support those prices and neither can most locals in resort towns in Colorado and Utah. That is why many long time locals move out when they lose their jobs there. The local economy is much more like Bozeman now than it ever has been, basically supported by out of state interests and university spending. Missoula's economy used to be pretty decent but the death of the timber and paper industries in the town improved air quality (it was pretty bad) at the cost of removing the few remaining well paid jobs from the town.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:34 AM
 
Location: schweiz
5 posts, read 8,433 times
Reputation: 11
Missoula may a few higher
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