Author Topic: Moving to Southwest Missouri?  (Read 6458 times)

wtjbatman

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Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« on: February 01, 2015, 10:24:06 AM »
Hopefully I'll get a few responses, I know I've seen more than one or two mustachians from Missouri.

I've mentioned this before in other threads, but my fiance and I are looking to move south where it's warmer. We've investigated everywhere from Durham NC where one of my best friends lives, to Nashville TN, to Austin TX, and different parts of Missouri. Originally she was looking at St. Louis, but now we've started looking at southwest Missouri. My fiance is originally from Missouri, and lived in Springfield (and around that area) until she was a young adult and moved up here to Minnesota. Obviously she knows a lot about the area, but I kind of want some different perspectives. What does the average mustachian think? I've fallen in love with the low COL (even lower than where I live, and it's cheap here!) and the idea of a mild winter. It's snowed about 6 inches so far between last night and this morning, and we'd like to move far enough south to avoid that.

Not overly concerned about work/job prospects, as if we move there I would actually be either transferring and maintaining my current pay or I would be getting a promotion. And my fiance has kept up her license in the state of Missouri for what she used to do. I'm looking more at overall COL (can we REALLY buy a new and gorgeous house for as cheap as they appear on Zillow?), fun/frugal things to do, socializing with honest people, taxes, what weather is like year round, etc. A snapshot of life down there.

Want/Don't Want:
I'm looking for a good place to start/raise a family. Good schools. Some outdoorsy type things to do. Nice local parks, semi-local state parks. Nice local restaurants and shops. Things that a young family would enjoy/need. And I don't mind a short commute (<20 mins) to have a gorgeous house and a nice place for the future wife and kids. Things I'm not a fan of are heavy urban areas (concrete jungle style), rush hour stop and go traffic, and trashy/high crime areas.

Any responses are appreciated!

Edited to add some of the things I'm looking for/looking to avoid.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2015, 11:22:22 AM by wtjbatman »

peppermint

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2015, 11:02:10 AM »
I lived in STL for 6 years and really liked it - but as a young, liberal, big city person, I think I'd be pretty miserable in SW Missouri personally. I think I could be okay with Kansas City - I've been there several times and was really pleasantly surprised by it.

It depends what you're into, besides weather and COL. What are you looking for?

wtjbatman

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2015, 11:20:06 AM »
It depends what you're into, besides weather and COL. What are you looking for?

There are things besides weather and the cost to live? Just kidding.

I'm looking for a good place to start/raise a family. Good schools. Some outdoorsy type things to do. Nice local parks, semi-local state parks. Nice local restaurants and shops. Things that a young family would enjoy/need. And I don't mind a short commute (<20 mins) to have a gorgeous house and a nice place for the future wife and kids. Things I'm not a fan of are heavy urban areas (concrete jungle style), rush hour stop and go traffic, and trashy/high crime areas.

I literally just read one article that said Springfield MO is a great "up and coming" city for families, and another article that said it was one of the 10 worst cities in America to raise a family in. Awesome, really helps there, hah.

but as a young, liberal, big city person...

We're young, conservative, and not fans of the big city (both lived in big urban areas before, both glad to have moved out of them after a few years).
« Last Edit: February 01, 2015, 11:24:58 AM by wtjbatman »

peppermint

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2015, 11:48:00 AM »
I literally just read one article that said Springfield MO is a great "up and coming" city for families, and another article that said it was one of the 10 worst cities in America to raise a family in. Awesome, really helps there, hah.

I'd take a look at the data that each of those top-10 articles is drawing on to make their judgments.

Missouri weather can run to extremes. Not Minnesota winter extreme but it can get pretty cold, and then very hot and humid in the summers and there's threat of tornadoes pretty regularly. I'm from Ontario and after Missouri, I moved to North Carolina, and I think both Ontario weather and NC weather are preferable to MO. MO is like the worst of both worlds. ;) But if you want a warmer winter than MN with less snow, it will definitely give you that.

Springfield is relatively close to the Ozarks and to Mark Twain National Forest, which are beautiful and will provide outdoor opportunities.

wtjbatman

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2015, 12:10:03 PM »
Great, thanks peppermint. BTW you are my favorite gum flavor after wintergreen. Ironic, I know, considering my ever growing dislike of winter...

abhe8

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2015, 08:14:11 PM »
You might check out Columbia. Same great low col, but more to do with the college town. Tons of great parks, biking and trails, local food, little indie movie theater. Springfield seems more of the suburban sprawl without the big city. But it's only a couple of hours away. Also love to go over to kc or stl for day trips or a weekend. Weather is ok. We have four true seasons, but can get a good bit of snow. Don't live any where in mo without a basement and a weather radio. Tornadoes are for real.

DecD

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2015, 08:17:51 PM »
You might check out Columbia. Same great low col, but more to do with the college town. Tons of great parks, biking and trails, local food, little indie movie theater. Springfield seems more of the suburban sprawl without the big city. But it's only a couple of hours away. Also love to go over to kc or stl for day trips or a weekend. Weather is ok. We have four true seasons, but can get a good bit of snow. Don't live any where in mo without a basement and a weather radio. Tornadoes are for real.

Doesn't Melalvai live in Columbia?  Maybe she'll pop in here....

RL12

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2015, 08:07:50 AM »
I actually live right outside of Springfield and have lived here my whole life. On your question about the housing prices, yes those prices on Zillow are real. Me and my wife just bought our first home and we found a very nice home in the area we wanted for right around 150k. Traffic isn't bad except for 5 o'clock traffic and that's only really on the south side of town because A LOT of people live in the suburbs of Nixa and Ozark and commute into town. There is good and bad with Springfield just like any other city. We definitely get all four seasons... sometimes all in the same day. Snow isn't too bad, last year we got quite a bit but even that didn't come close to what you guys get up north.

Any other questions I will try to answer and be as helpful as possible. I even know Columbia pretty well, my wife went to school at Mizzou so that became my home away from home on a lot of weekends when we were dating.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2015, 08:31:48 AM »
Missouri weather can run to extremes. Not Minnesota winter extreme but it can get pretty cold, and then very hot and humid in the summers and there's threat of tornadoes pretty regularly. I'm from Ontario and after Missouri, I moved to North Carolina, and I think both Ontario weather and NC weather are preferable to MO. MO is like the worst of both worlds. ;) But if you want a warmer winter than MN with less snow, it will definitely give you that.

Springfield is relatively close to the Ozarks and to Mark Twain National Forest, which are beautiful and will provide outdoor opportunities.

+1, I live in NE Oklahoma so I think the weather is pretty similar. I lived in Minnesota for 21 years and Pennsylvania for 2 years and I actually prefer that weather, but it IS nice to not have to shovel your driveway/brush your car off other than maybe 1-2 times a year, so it sounds like it may be what you are looking for :)

We drove through/stopped for lunch in Springfield on our way moving out here in 2012 and it seemed kinda yuck, but that is obviously based on almost nothing :) If you are conservative you will probably like this part of the country better than we do. SE Missouri does seem to have better outdoor opportunities/public lands than OK, which I am jealous of (have heard Mark Twain is awesome). I've gone floating on the Elk River but that's about it (but it was lovely).

midweststache

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2015, 08:46:30 AM »
Springfield has a burgeoning liberal arts scene, but it's also the Assemblies of God International Headquarters (also very large Catholic and Baptist communities). It's incredibly conservative, if that influences your decision at all.

I lived in Springfield in my teenage years on the south side; I remember it being very white, upper-middle class and, in retrospect, it's very car-focused living (it would be difficult to be a one-car family there). A lot of keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality on the south side of the city. If you're willing to be up on the north side of the city, you'll get a little more diversity, ethnically and economically, but not much. The downtown scene was up and coming when I was last there, but that also meant things were getting more expensive (restaurants, events, etc.).

As far as schools, you can't go wrong, but I do know that Central High School has a really good IB program if you can get your kids into that, and Kickapoo and Glendale districts do very well and offer students a lot of room to grow and pursue interests. I know a lot of teachers in the area, and it sounds like the Springfield Public School system is pretty supportive of teachers still being teachers (aka pushing back a bit against Common Core).

If you're not concerned with being in Springfield proper, I second the Nixa and Ozark suggestions. I knew people from both areas who were really happy with growing up there (I don't know that they knew too much about COL, as they were college students...)

tmterrill

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2015, 09:07:59 AM »
South side of Springfield sounds like what you looking for. I would recommend living on the north side of town if you did not have kids as it is cheaper and easy commute south for things to do but the north side schools are not good (Hillcrest, Central). Yes Central has their IB program but if you saw the rest of the school I don't think you would want your kids around it.

RL12

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2015, 09:38:17 AM »
Everything that has been said in here is pretty accurate. Springfield is definitely conservative but this has never been an issue in my experience. I don't affiliate with any one party, and have both conservative and liberal leanings, and other than lively debates no one has ever held any of my views against me. Most people around here are extremely friendly and will go out of their way to help you. Great place to raise a family, this is one of the main reasons me and my wife decided to stay here instead of relocate.

Left

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2015, 09:39:08 AM »
I used to live in Springfield, well Nixa/Willard/Bolivar as well.

Maybe look at the area where the Willard schools border Springfield (somewhere around maple street?, near willard elementary/south). I like the school district but still inside Springfield. Or just move to Willard and take the 20 minute drive into town if you need it? Bolivar is too much farm land for me.

I did the IB program in highschool, I reccommend it, I think there is another school down there besides Central now? But I prefer Willard's district for elementary/middle school. If you want IB for highschool, just move to that district later on if they don't have it by then.

edit: just looked it up, willard south's rating is poor? Did it change after 20 years? maybe willard isn't so good now
« Last Edit: February 03, 2015, 09:43:29 AM by eyem »

Stlbroke

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2015, 10:17:30 AM »
And you could get a Side gig pretty easy at a puppy mill or meth lab

Just kidding, it's a nice place

iris lily

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2015, 10:20:52 AM »
I really, really dislike Springfield, MO. It is one big strip mall. There is an old downtown that's kind of ok.

DH and I are from Northern Iowa and most years, we consider St. Louis (where we live) to be "the tropics." We've had an easy winter this year, so far. Last year was h*ll (too much ice. We never have lots of snow.)

I love St. Louis but if you don't like urban, you won't like some of the greatest things about this city. Also, being urban, it is very liberal. DH and I just roll our eyes about most city political things. We serve as "token conservative friends" for our city friends. I wouldn't urge anyone moving to St. Louis to live in a 'burb. I probalgby wouldn't raise children in the city although many of our friends have done that, and more power to them!

Minnesota is gorgeous but there is no way I would ever live up there due to the weather.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2015, 10:26:19 AM by iris lily »

Left

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2015, 11:22:25 AM »
hm, what about more south than springfield, the hot springs near the Arkansas border has some nice small towns. Or how about just Arkansas?

Eureka Springs, Arkansas hits most of my own "items" that I want to retire to, the biggest thing against me moving there is the ticks, and other flesh eating insects

wtjbatman

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2015, 11:40:21 AM »
I think the fiance has friends in the Springfield/Branson/Joplin area. Arkansas might be a little far south? Not sure.

Her brother lives in St Louis (well one of the burbs) and has a McMansion there and is raising a couple kids. I'm not a hater, but we won't be moving there. If we move to Missouri, definitely looking more SW.

I like the info about good schools and easy commutes. And of course the low costs. She had mentioned southern Springfield was nicer from what she could remember, so that's good you guys have confirmed that.

jamaicaspanish

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2015, 11:42:14 AM »
We lived in a small town, midway between Springfield and Joplin for six years, in the cultural hub of the universe (or the buckle of the Bible Belt, take your pick).
Everyone's responses so far jive with our experiences, too.

A few points that haven't come up yet:
Our small town was incredibly homogeneous.  Until the poultry processing plants and their immigrant plucking population moved in, there was literally no one of color in the entire 2000 kid school population.  Wait, there was a kid from India who had been adopted by a white family, so there was 1.  That school population is currently 20% hispanic and 80% white.

FWIW, here's the info on Springfield:  http://springfieldmo.areaconnect.com/statistics.htm

The KKK is very active in that part of the state, and I have heard (actually heard myself--not second-hand info) local law enforcement and education officials brag about the lack of the "darker residents" in their area.  Heavy sigh.

Also, conservative values cut deep in some of those small towns.  When the Super Wal-Mart was being built, the local Baptist and Methodist and . . . congregations sent around a petition asking for "No Liquor Sales--because this is a good Christian town."  And at that time, Wal-Mart honored the request--so no cut-rate alcohol in that store.

We loved the seeming safety and security of that Lake Wobegone life.  And the schools were average + for our kids.  But we desperately missed diversity of race and religion and opinion (and authentic foreign restaurants) that a larger population usually offers.


Cheddar Stacker

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2015, 12:55:31 PM »
I think the fiance has friends in the Springfield/Branson/Joplin area. Arkansas might be a little far south? Not sure.

Her brother lives in St Louis (well one of the burbs) and has a McMansion there and is raising a couple kids. I'm not a hater, but we won't be moving there. If we move to Missouri, definitely looking more SW.

I like the info about good schools and easy commutes. And of course the low costs. She had mentioned southern Springfield was nicer from what she could remember, so that's good you guys have confirmed that.

Branson is only about 10-15 miles from the Arkansas border. Not too far really if you wanted to setup shop in Arkansas and just visit the Branson/Springfield areas on the weekends.

You asked about taxes and I haven't seen anything on that mentioned yet. Income tax is pretty much a flat 6% on taxable income, which sort of mirrors federal taxable income. There are a few differences. You would be taxed 6% on Dividend income which likely wouldn't make you very happy. Real estate taxes and sales taxes are pretty reasonable, but it varies by location.

wtjbatman

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2015, 02:19:59 PM »
Branson is only about 10-15 miles from the Arkansas border. Not too far really if you wanted to setup shop in Arkansas and just visit the Branson/Springfield areas on the weekends.

You asked about taxes and I haven't seen anything on that mentioned yet. Income tax is pretty much a flat 6% on taxable income, which sort of mirrors federal taxable income. There are a few differences. You would be taxed 6% on Dividend income which likely wouldn't make you very happy. Real estate taxes and sales taxes are pretty reasonable, but it varies by location.

Good stuff, thanks CS!

iris lily

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2015, 07:22:16 PM »
hm, what about more south than springfield, the hot springs near the Arkansas border has some nice small towns. Or how about just Arkansas?

Eureka Springs, Arkansas hits most of my own "items" that I want to retire to, the biggest thing against me moving there is the ticks, and other flesh eating insects
funny you should say that. I love E Springs!

The area is full of outdoor possibilities. It has historic architecture. It is charming.

It is touristy so that could be a downside, but it guarantees that your teenagers are employed in the summer!
« Last Edit: February 03, 2015, 07:27:51 PM by iris lily »

TheFrugalShrink

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2015, 07:41:11 PM »
Another Springfieldian chiming in here!  I second what RL12 had to say.  It is beautiful here with tons of natural areas to explore.  The weather can have extreme fluctuations but you learn to deal with it.  People are indeed conservative but I see that you are as well.  The cost of living is quite low, which is a big part of why I stay here.  You CAN buy beautiful houses (and/ or land) for cheap.  Money-wise, this is an excellent place to live or retire. 

wtjbatman

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #22 on: May 12, 2015, 05:44:19 PM »
I just wanted to post an update. We are moving to SW Missouri! Ozark, to be exact. Because we aren't sure how long we will be here (1 year? Rest of our lives? Who knows!), we are just renting a nice 2 bedroom apartment in Ozark. At least it looks nice based on the pictures I've seen. We weren't able to get down there and look before we had to pull the trigger on picking a place. We'll be moving the beginning of June.

I'll be transferring to a job in Branson and the wife will be transferring to Springfield, so living in Ozark seems like the perfect compromise. We just spent all day getting things together to donate/recycle/toss. I'm excited for the change!

mizzourah2006

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Re: Moving to Southwest Missouri?
« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2015, 07:10:08 PM »
I just wanted to post an update. We are moving to SW Missouri! Ozark, to be exact. Because we aren't sure how long we will be here (1 year? Rest of our lives? Who knows!), we are just renting a nice 2 bedroom apartment in Ozark. At least it looks nice based on the pictures I've seen. We weren't able to get down there and look before we had to pull the trigger on picking a place. We'll be moving the beginning of June.

I'll be transferring to a job in Branson and the wife will be transferring to Springfield, so living in Ozark seems like the perfect compromise. We just spent all day getting things together to donate/recycle/toss. I'm excited for the change!

Congrats! I'm not far away in NWA.