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Old 05-12-2014, 12:52 PM
 
2,681 posts, read 4,040,561 times
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Hello!

We are a lesbian couple with a new born baby living in Florida but looking to move back up North as we are both from the NYC area. NJ/NY/CT/MA are too expensive for us. After living in Florida for 4 years, I don't think I can pay those rents again. Main reason for the move really is the weather (it is way too hot here) and the second reason would be family. We'll be close enough to relatives without being right next door. Plus my parents are looking to retire in VT.

I've been to ME many times and love everything about it. I've moved around so many times in my life that I could make it home anywhere (except maybe the bible belt). We're looking to move somewhere where we can do things outdoors with our daughter, that has a small city feel and where the rent isn't $10/sq foot.

I am in accounting/finance. I work as a Financial Analyst. I did a quick search and there are a good amount of jobs I can apply for in or around Portland. My soon to be wife is currently stay at home, but does marketing/design work. I'm just wondering about the job market - what are the general thoughts and trends? Also, do people commute to Boston at all? Would it be crazy maybe twice a week? Obviously not 5 days a week, but if you got a work from home deal...
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Old 05-13-2014, 06:36 AM
 
Location: Maine
18,679 posts, read 22,429,008 times
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Maine's economy continues to struggle. It always has. But it sounds like your fields are both good places to find work in the Portland area.

Commuting to Boston a couple of times a week would not be impossible, but I can't think it would be fun. It's a good 3 hour drive to downtown Boston --- much longer in the winter.

Also, keep in mind that although Portland is indeed a small city, the farther south you go, the last small things are. It is basically solid civilization from Portland to Boston. City-to-small-town-to-small-town-to-city all connected one after the other.

There are still larger communities in Maine much closer to the outdoors. Brunswick is as far north as Amtrak goes. From Brunswick, you can take the train all the way into Boston and points beyond. Keep in mind too that the farther you get from Portland, the more affordable the housing.

You should definitely come for a visit before you take the plunge. Make a list of maybes and visit every one, but also go beyond your list. When we moved, we had a list of places to visit, a list of places to avoid, and gave ourselves time to look around. It turned out that several places on our list of places to visit turned out to be not so nice. Some of our places to avoid we ended up visiting anyway and really liking. And we ended up moving to a place that originally hadn't even made either list.

Definitely secure a job before you come though. Back to the original point: Maine's economy continues to struggle. It's definitely improving, but even in good times, Maine has never had a booming economy.
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:48 AM
 
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Thanks Mark for your response! We will definitely visit. This move is at least 3 years out so we have some time. We plan to take a summer vacation next year and check out the area.

Like I said, I can make a home anywhere. And right now Florida is getting to me almost 100% because of the weather. My main concern is finding a job with a decent salary. If the economy is really poor and always has been that way, I'm not sure that it would be the right move for us. This is why I had brought up Boston. I know we can't afford Boston, but I would consider a two day a week type deal if I could get it and commute in.

I just really love Maine. We are also going to look at Denver. The coast cities are nice, but way too pricey - that's how I got to thinking about Portland. I would also love DC, but if anything is expensive then DC surely is. Not really sure what our options are at this point. I want to be able to live on one income like we can here in Florida. I am not sure that I can get that much of a salary increase to be able to live on one income in the Northeast.
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Old 05-13-2014, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Maine
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If you're wanting a small city, you may not like Denver. Denver is very much a big city. I wouldn't even really call Fort Collins a small city anymore. But Fort Collins is right on the edge of Wyoming, and you can't get more outoorsy than that.
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Old 05-13-2014, 11:37 AM
 
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When I said small, I meant not as large as NYC or LA. My brother lives in Denver and it seems small enough for us. We are heading out there next year for a visit.
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Old 05-13-2014, 02:11 PM
 
Location: Maine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katestar View Post
When I said small, I meant not as large as NYC or LA.
So as long as it's smaller than two of the largest cities in the country?

You'll be fine in Denver then. How long has it been since you've been to Maine? I ask, because if you think Denver is small, you're going to think Portland is TINY. Like minuscule.
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Old 05-14-2014, 06:25 AM
 
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Well I'm from the tri-state area so when I compare things, I compare them to NYC I guess small is relative. I should say that I don't want a huge metropolis like NYC, LA, Chicago, but anything outside of that is fine. I love Montreal, which isn't really all that small either. The reason I would like to stay away from the metropolis is because of cost really. Like I mentioned, my two top priorities are decent weather (I don't mind the cold) and cost of living. Everything else is much lower in priority. Portland is the only city I have found that we would be able to afford on the East Coast (I am looking DC and North). I'm sure we could afford Boston or NJ, but I don't want to live paycheck to paycheck and pay all those taxes! With our income here in Florida we have a lot of flexibility which is hard to give up.

Obviously we will go and look around to get a feel for the area. My other top concern is the job market, which I guess fits in with cost of living. It makes me nervous that there are not that many employers in and around Portland.

And on top of that, no matter what I think I have to sell it to my wife lol. Her main concern is not being in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do.
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Old 05-14-2014, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Maine
18,679 posts, read 22,429,008 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katestar View Post
The reason I would like to stay away from the metropolis is because of cost really. Like I mentioned, my two top priorities are decent weather (I don't mind the cold) and cost of living. Everything else is much lower in priority.
You shouldn't discount the upper Midwest. Had we not moved to Maine, we were looking long and hard at Minnesota and Wisconsin.


Quote:
Originally Posted by katestar View Post
My other top concern is the job market, which I guess fits in with cost of living. It makes me nervous that there are not that many employers in and around Portland.
That's definitely a valid concern. Maine's economy struggles even in the best of times. A friend of mine puts it best: "Maine is a great place to live, but it's a hard place to make a living." The only industries that I see consistently hiring in the area are health care and banks -- and the banks have notoriously low wages for most employees so that they can funnel all the profits up to their CEOs.

There are definitely jobs to be found, but there are usually two dozen applicants for every open position.

I have found JobsInME.com to be the place most small- to medium-sized companies post local job openings.


Quote:
Originally Posted by katestar View Post
And on top of that, no matter what I think I have to sell it to my wife lol. Her main concern is not being in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do.
That won't be a concern unless you end up north of Bangor. But there are always things to do, even up in the County. You just have to get creative and entertain yourself sometimes. But if you want access to night life, restaurants, museums, etc., staying close to Portland is your best bet. If you get too stir crazy, the train ride into Boston is actually really nice, and Boston has fantastic public transportation. If you don't mind walking a few blocks, there's really nowhere in Boston you can't get to by rail or bus.

And Montreal isn't all THAT far from Maine. I've met people who vacation up there frequently.
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Old 05-14-2014, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Portland, ME
234 posts, read 301,812 times
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Salaries in Portland, Maine are generally not commensurate with the cost of living. There was a study done a couple years back which compared incomes to cost of living which found Maine the 2nd hardest state to earn a living in after Hawaii. This doesn't mean you can't get a decent paying job and find affordable housing, but a lot of people struggle up here and being "from away" won't work in your favor. People with the ability to telecommute to jobs in higher paying areas and those who can successfully run their own businesses are the ones with the best chance to get ahead. With that said... Portland, Maine is a great place if you can afford to enjoy it.
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