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Old 10-03-2010, 06:05 PM
39 posts, read 75,375 times
Reputation: 22


Hi! My family consists of myself, my husband (in our late 30's), 2 older teen sons and a baby daughter. We currently live in a beach town in So Cal and are fed up with struggling paycheck to paycheck because of high taxes and the inability to ever be able to buy a home. We have ok jobs right now but my husband is in construction and it is looking bleaker every day. Even with the governor race soon coming to an end, most of us here don't see much hope for things improving in Ca. We live near a city with a high population of illegal immigrants and working in the county govt I see how many are getting
more aid and college tuition and everything you could imagine. It's very disheartening. We work so hard and live in a tiny
house and have to put my sons community college
tuition on a credit card that I can't envision being
able to pay off.

I have researched alot online and really like what I
am hearing about Wisconsin. My husband has never lived anywhere but here so he is very reluctant right now but when his hours start getting reduced he will probably be more open. We are thinking this may be about 2.5 years away but wanted to start further research now. I refuse to move without a job but have a strong background in a couple of fields that might not be too difficult to

find work in. We have never been to
Wisconsin. Does anyone have any ideas about specific areas or concerns? I understand state taxes and such are not outbid control like in Ca. We need an area with jobs and construction, good schools, families, affordable houses, etc. Any help you can provide is much appreciated.
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Old 10-04-2010, 12:00 AM
Location: Chicago
38,704 posts, read 93,613,143 times
Reputation: 29746
I hope you're ready for a change of pace in every conceivable facet of your lives and just those aspects you're despairing about now. Wisconsin is a very insular state compared to California. That's good if you're tired of swarms of illegal immigrants, but not so good if you have an inclination to march to your own drumbeat. This topic is debated here time and again, but the general consensus social circles tend to be "closely held" and difficult for newcomers to break into. I guess that can be a good thing if you're an introvert who prefers that folks mind their own business.

If you want anything approximating a true urban setting, you have the following choices: Milwaukee. The second-largest metro area in the state is Madison which slides in at about half a million. The rest of the state is basically farmland (southern half) or semi-forest land (northern half) with the occasional small city or second-tier college town interspersed throughout.

Weather: summers are mild though the occasional heat wave will bring 90s and crapsuck humidity. They're also frustratingly short. Winters are long and often brutal. Particularly the northern part of the state, average overnight lows in January are below zero. Some days never get above zero, but people are used to it, prepared for it, and it doesn't really slow anyone down.

Affordability: Milwaukee and Madison are the most expensive real estate markets in the state, though not necessarily in that order. Nonetheless, both will undoubtedly look downright manageable by California standards. Rural and small-town real estate is pretty cheap -- you can easily find habitable 3-bedroom houses for well under 100K unless you want lakefront property. In that case be prepared to pay double or triple what the same house would cost just half a mile away.

Job market: Wisconsin's economy relies pretty heavily on manufacturing which has taken a hit in recent years. I doubt there's a flurry of construction activity going on right now. But Wisconsin's real estate market doesn't go through the kind of boom-and-bust cycles that many Sun Belt cities have experienced in recent decades. When times are good, there are a lot of construction and contracting opportunities in the tourist areas up north as people build weekend homes on or near the numerous lakes and entrepreneurs build motels and taverns and restaurants and bait shops and the like to accommodate the weekenders. Additionally, we can expect Milwaukee and Madison's metro areas in particular to resume creeping outward once stable economic growth resumes.

I don't know enough about your expectations to give a wholehearted endorsement of moving to Wisconsin. If you're truly ready for a massive change of pace in your life from top to bottom, Wisconsin seems like just the place to do it. If you're hoping to find all of the good things about California in Wisconsin while leaving behind all the bad parts, I'm sorry to say Wisconsin will probably fall short and you'd be better off sticking to the coast or interior West (Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, etc.).

Last edited by Drover; 10-04-2010 at 12:12 AM..
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Old 10-04-2010, 04:02 AM
Location: Upper Midwest
1,878 posts, read 3,996,089 times
Reputation: 1903
Nisini, I invite you to visit the Montana forum & absorb their overall attitude toward newcomers, particularly Californians and liberals. Personally, I don't recommend it.
I think there are far better options. I am speaking as someone who has many years of experience in Montana.
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Old 10-04-2010, 09:38 AM
364 posts, read 701,013 times
Reputation: 343
I hope you realize that tuition at Wisconsin community colleges is $106 per credit compared with only $26 per credit in California. Also, what county to you work for in California? It is my understanding that goverment workers in California are well paid and receive terrific benefits. I don't say these things to be snarky but rather to point out that the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence.

Last edited by bay2bay; 10-04-2010 at 10:16 AM..
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Old 10-04-2010, 11:27 AM
39 posts, read 75,375 times
Reputation: 22
Great input, just the info I am looking for. Drover, I've been hearing about the weather which is something that doesn't bother us. We are tired of not having any seasons at all. Minnesconsinite, that is a worry I do have going anywhere, a lot of people do hate people from Ca. But liberals, we are not otherwise Oregon might be looking good to us. . Bay2bay, I didn't realize that about college tuition there. Good to know. Yes, I do make ok money but when you make $90000 as a couple with kids and you're barely squeaking by and getting behind ( trust me, money management is not the issue) it makes life very difficult. I recently left a good paying job as well with a company that has offices in fond du lac and Milwaukee and based on my experience it shouldn't be too hard to start again there. Of course we are looking at a couple years away and not going anywhere without a job. Thank you again guys and I will keep checking for more input and keep doing research.
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Old 10-04-2010, 01:50 PM
6 posts, read 8,587 times
Reputation: 10
i would recommend the Madison area because it seems to be the only part of the state where the employment situation is good. but, you really got to go where your work is. Fond Du Lac is nice and it's relatively close to Milwaukee, about 1 hour 10 minutes. people in the Fox Valley region (Oshkosh, Neenah, Menasha, Appleton) tend to be less provincial than they are to the rural areas. Green Bay and maybe Stevens Point are pretty decent, too.
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Old 10-04-2010, 02:20 PM
3 posts, read 12,859 times
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I moved to Wisconsin with my husband almost 2 years ago. We lived in California before that. What Drover wrote ("the general consensus social circles tend to be "closely held" and difficult for newcomers to break into") is true. We have no friends here even after almost 2 years.
Regarding the weather, we too thought it would be ok, we could deal with the winter and stuff. But the weather here is really, really hard. I found out that rentals here are not as high as in CA, but on the other hand heating bills are very high for obvious reasons. Moving from CA to WI is a huuuuge change.
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:13 AM
48 posts, read 101,556 times
Reputation: 90
I lived in WI awhile and really agree with the previous post. It is very different there compared to other areas I've lived and insular. It has it's good and bad points as does anyplace else, so please don't start getting upset Wisconsinites! I would really recommend visiting before you make the move and definately visit in the winter so you have an honest understanding of what you are moving into. Summers are quite pretty and mild but winters are truly freezing.
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:43 AM
Location: Wisconsin
570 posts, read 1,621,048 times
Reputation: 401
My family and I are moving back to the country in central Wisconsin soon from Phoenix after the military and can't wait! It definately is a big change for us, but for the better. I love the 4 seasons in central Wisconsin, and the daily stressors (traffic, crime, crowds, sirens, etc) from the city disappear.

Last edited by notmuch69; 10-05-2010 at 12:37 PM..
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Old 10-05-2010, 12:06 PM
Location: Mokena, Illinois
947 posts, read 2,215,198 times
Reputation: 634
Winters ARE rough up north, and I can't imagine the shock it would be for someone used to living life above freezing in the winter months. The biggest change has to be getting used to spending more time indoors. The payoff is the beauty in snow-covered landscapes and a quiet stillness that is hard to describe.
I don't know much about the insular attitudes of most Wisonsinites (is that correct terminology?) except what my own experiences have been. My husband and I are not moving for a few years, but bought property in Northwest Wi. a year ago. Since then, we have been up there about a dozen times. We met neighbors on both sides of us, who are also in the midst of having cabins built. But, both neighbors are from Wisconsin, and they have been so friendly it was a real relief. They have opened their arms to us, from using their water and bathroom facilities to watching things for us when we are away. They insisted on exchanging phone numbers and email addresses in case of emergency. The neighbor across the road, who is a permanent resident, is ever helpful and watches everything for us. When we go into town to the local pub or stay at the small hotel when we are not camping on the property, the locals are very friendly and helpful and the hotel owner even gives us a price break.
Again, this is just one little corner of Wisconsin, and maybe their curiosity comes into play, but so far, we are more and more certain we have made the right choice in planning our eventual move there. However, we are not looking at social networking or planning careers there. That is why we are waiting until the timing is right for us.
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