Author Topic: Best State Out West?  (Read 14202 times)

V

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Best State Out West?
« on: June 17, 2014, 09:45:56 AM »
Hello everyone,

My husband and I currently live in Atlanta and we aren't so fond of it.  We have been debating moving out west and are currently considering Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana.  Can you provide some feedback on what life is like and the cost?  We are new to saving, but are doing ok.  We live off of his salary and save mine in its entirety.  It's nerve racking to consider picking up everything and leaving, but I think we both want a change and don't want to end up in the same situation we are in.

Edit: We aren't very religious, but don't necessarily mind people that are.  We just don't want someone else's beliefs shoved down our throats.  We are primarily wanting to be near a major city so that we would be able to find jobs.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2014, 11:16:23 AM by V »

Cassie

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2014, 09:50:11 AM »
We love northern Nevada.  It has 4 mild seasons however, the cost of living is not low.  It is though in the more rural areas.  Also it really is beautiful where we live-mountains, trees, lakes, etc.  Moved here 17 years ago & never regretted it.

NumberCruncher

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2014, 09:55:26 AM »
Are you willing to provide more context? Why those states? Weather? Taxes? Cost of Living? Family?

This depends heavily on what you want out of a place, and you might find you narrow it down to specific towns within those states. :)

Do you need a big tech scene? Do you want a bike friendly area? Do you want lots of parks, trails, etc? Rural? Urban?

ivyhedge

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2014, 10:23:55 AM »
Make sure the area matches your political and life "operational" beliefs: that will vary by area, not necessarily by state.


Examples: eastern Washington and northern Idaho are ideologically similar, though many folks think that the entirety of the former is crunchy. Conversely, western-central Montana is diametrically different from southeastern Montana (wherein many think that Montana is homogeneous)



Anecdotal recommendation: even visiting those vast tracts of land for 2-3 week vacations might not give you a sufficient feeling for whether or not you could live there long term. Much of your time will likely be spent in various areas, soaking in as much of the disparate areas as possible so you don't end up somewhere else you regard as <<meh>>.


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Wolf_Stache

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2014, 11:02:00 AM »
Hello everyone,

My husband and I currently live in Atlanta and we aren't so fond of it.  We have been debating moving out west and are currently considering Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana.  Can you provide some feedback on what life is like and the cost?  We are new to saving, but are doing ok.  We live off of his salary and save mine in its entirety.  It's nerve racking to consider picking up everything and leaving, but I think we both want a change and don't want to end up in the same situation we are in.

Those are all BIG areas geographically, so it would help if you provided some example cities. For example, I grew up in Southern Idaho(Idaho Falls/Arco area)/Northern Utah (Provo). Southern Idaho is actually, in my opinion, very ugly - its very flat and biking is extremely limited/hard to do. Idiologically, most of Southern Idaho is very conservative and mormon. The benefits are Idaho is very cheap to live in except around the Boise area.

Can you give more context about what you are looking at/for?

KayakMom

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2014, 11:08:17 AM »
Wyoming has no state income tax and some of the lowest property taxes. It's like you get a raise just by moving to Wyoming.
Montana has no sales taxes.  One could live in Wyoming near the MT border and go to MT to make all the big purchases. 

eostache

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2014, 11:17:26 AM »
I live in far western Colorado. Grand Junction. I like it here. Good high desert climate, close to Utah where we like to hike and camp. There is a lot of public lands right at the edge of town for hiking and mtn biking. We don't go east to the mtns much but it's not far away.

It's a small city of 50k; 100k total in the Grand Valley. I'm not sure what you'd find for jobs and housing here to suit you.

milesdividendmd

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2014, 11:22:25 AM »
A bit of homerism here...  Best to grab some grains of salt.

But come check out Portland.

I have lived in SF, LA, SD, chicago, new orleans, and Tokyo, and Portland is by far my favorite.

Hiking, biking, mountain 1 hour away, Beach one hour away.  Great food scene, the best microbrews, good local pinot.  And nice, nice people.

The only downsides are income and property taxes (on plus side no sales tax), Not quite enough diversity when compared to bigger cities in west) and rain.  And I happily pay more taxes to live in such a nice city.

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2014, 11:25:04 AM »
I think you need to look at the populations of the major cities in each of these states. This might give you a clue as to what areas you can reasonably expect to get a job.

Rika Non

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2014, 11:43:24 AM »
V:

In the states you listed the only "large" metro area is Denver, both network engineer and accounting should be able to work there pretty easily.  Personally I don't like the Denver metro area.  Everything else is small city to small town living.  Dual careers is not that easy in the Rockies region other than Denver.  You may want to consider the energy sector locations (Casper WY, Rock Springs WY, Grand Junction CO).  The national labs in Idaho are something else to consider, but much harder to hire into.


Cassie

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2014, 11:52:47 AM »
During the winter it drizzles all the time in portland and you get what they call "sun breaks."   Which is really a short period of sun. It is a nice city but must love rain.

August West

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2014, 12:33:50 PM »
I live in the Boise area.  I only moved here to be closer to family - I did not think I would like it - but now I don't see any need to live anywhere else.  It is not as cheap as rural areas in the state but there are jobs here and property values, taxes, electricity, and natural gas are significantly lower than Longmont, CO for example.  Epic mountain bike rides begin and end from downtown Boise.  Mountains are one one side, desert is on the other.  There is a greenbelt next the Boise River (on both sides in some places) that goes right through town, and through the next town, and the next town.  People here are very outdoor oriented.  Idaho as a whole is politically conservative and fairly religious - but the Boise area is more diverse.  I don't pay much attention to politics and religion.

http://boiselocalreviews.com/wp-content/plugins/post-flare/images/boise%20(20).jpg
« Last Edit: June 17, 2014, 12:35:54 PM by August West »

gimp

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2014, 12:46:01 PM »
I've lived in Oregon and CA out west. Oregon is quite nice, especially the portland area. I ended up in CA (at least for now) for work and people, but of course it's expensive as all heck in the bay area (well, really only housing.)

I've driven to and through all the other ones... I can give you my impressions on each, but they're just impressions from often spending a less than a day to cross the state lengthwise or whatever. They mostly all have their own brand of beauty. Most of the land is mostly empty of people living there, or nearly so. I really liked CA, OR, WA... Alaska, Colorado. Most others had parts I liked a lot, and parts that you probably wouldn't make a life in unless it was retirement and enjoying the beauty every day from your porch.

Jack

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2014, 02:50:15 PM »
What part of Atlanta are you in, and what is it you don't like about it? Other than the climate and geography, Alpharetta and Little Five Points (for example) might as well be different planets.

rtrnow

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2014, 03:24:17 PM »
What part of Atlanta are you in, and what is it you don't like about it? Other than the climate and geography, Alpharetta and Little Five Points (for example) might as well be different planets.

I live lear Little Five and bike to work in midtown. I love the progress Atlanta is making on the biking/walking trails front. I really like Atlanta but also plan to explore somewhere else because I grew up here. Like Jack, I'm curious where you live. Most people that I hear not liking the city live in the burbs and not the city. There's a big difference. COL will be hard somewhere else (at least that's what I find in my own searching) because Atlanta is a pretty cheap city.

robotclown

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2014, 09:45:47 PM »
Nevada has no state income tax, so they nickel-and-dime you at every opportunity.  Especially in the Vegas area.

JeffC

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2014, 10:57:48 PM »
I live way out in the northern Atlanta suburbs (only because that's where I work)but I just moved here from Montana.  Montana is a magical place.  The landscape will captivate you.  It isn't so much the mountains as it is the valleys and wide open places.  Barely anything grows there and winter is long so if you don't like winter it might not be the best for you.  It is dry though so the cold temps don't bite as hard as you think they would.  For instance, 0 degrees farenheit is not something that warrants extra bundling up, and certainly doesn't; keep people inside. 

My favorite aspect was that there are very few people, so when you're new in town, people are excited to meet you.  It is very libertarian/self-sufficient so you would easily find some Mustachians who have never heard of this blog. People grow/catch/kill their own food, prefer dinner parties to restaurants, and do a lot of totally free things for fun, like running up mountains or fishing all day or floating down a river.  If you like beer, any little town likely has the ATL metro area beat in terms of quality local brew.  I lived there for two years and knew both of the brewmasters of the two breweries in my town pretty well by the time I left.

Things you will not find there include ethnic food, stores you can buy stuff in other than outdoorsman stores, and traffic. 

Missoula is maybe the coolest city in that it is a college town and also has a nice farmer's market, and is not far from Glacier National Park.  Bozeman is cool in that it is surrounded by insane mountains, is also a college town, and is not far from Yellowstone National Park.  Good restaurants in Bozeman.  Those are the best towns, Helena is right between them, is the capitol, and has a good art scene considering that it is basically a ranching town and doesn't get the tourism the other two get. 

Good luck, and I hope this helps.

arebelspy

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2014, 10:59:33 PM »
My answer: depends on what weather you prefer. If you don't mind rain: Oregon.  Washington if no income tax is important to you.

If you need sun: Arizona.  Nevada if no income tax is important to you.

California is nice but COL is too high.

(I realize there were not among states the OP listed, but for others interested in the question of "Best State Out West, or if OP expands their options.)

Nevada has no state income tax, so they nickel-and-dime you at every opportunity.  Especially in the Vegas area.

...what?  I've lived in Vegas for 7 years, and have no idea what you could be referring to. Examples?  :)

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pdxvandal

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2014, 12:28:37 AM »
I grew up in Boise. Great place to grow up, but I outgrew it. Very conservative for a medium-sized city and is the most remote place in America in terms of its proximity to a major metro area. It's a bit isolating. But you won't find nicer people. And it has the great outdoors nearby.

I've lived in Oregon for 15 years and would never return to Idaho full time. Way more culture, amazing food, interesting and open-minded people, natural beauty and activities (in Portland the last 9 years). People are friendly, but not as friendly as Boise. You can't go wrong in Boise or Portland. Try one and visit the other to see what fits you best. Outsiders seem to warn about the rain but it rains less inch-wise in Portland than Atlanta and New York. But people are active year-round here as opposed to Boise. Winters are indeed gray, but you don't have to scrape ice off your windshield very often. In Boise you would. I try to visit Arizona or Hawaii for a week during Portland winters as the gray can suck come February. But Boise gets nasty inversions in the winter for 1-2 months, which is worse, IMO.

Good luck.


ncornilsen

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #19 on: June 18, 2014, 12:54:34 AM »
I can tell you Portland is just terrible. Inhabited by the worst sort of people. the kind of people who you find outside a holiday inn on a Sunday morning smoking a cigar and drinking.  bandits run amok.  Stay away, there is nothing here.

Or, that's what I want everyone else to think, that way Portland doesn't get over-run :)

robotclown

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2014, 06:31:35 AM »

...what?  I've lived in Vegas for 7 years, and have no idea what you could be referring to. Examples?  :)

Second-highest sales tax in the country (with plans to raise it again), insane car registration fees.  I've only been here for a few months, so there's probably more I haven't noticed yet.

Jack

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #21 on: June 18, 2014, 07:32:40 AM »
Right now we live in Sandy Springs, but we have lived in Smyrna, Cartersville, Marietta, and Mableton.

Well there's your problem! Move inside the Perimeter! I grew up in the suburbs (in Gwinnett, not Cobb) but moved my butt in-town as quick as I could.

If your husband likes Portland, he'd like the area around East Atlanta/Kirkwood/Reynoldstown/Old Fourth Ward too.

By the way: "houses might be cheaper further out" isn't strictly true. They're also cheaper in certain neighborhoods in-town, especially the ones I mentioned (except for Kirkwood). My house was $77/sq. ft. when I bought it, which is comparable to the suburbs. (It's probably closer to $150/sq ft now, though...)
« Last Edit: June 18, 2014, 07:35:48 AM by Jack »

MountainFlower

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2014, 09:41:12 AM »
I live in the mountains outside of Denver.  The real estate market here is very hot right now. 

What about Salt Lake City?  Salt Lake City has cheap real estate and is much closer to the ski areas/mountains than Denver.   Denver weekend mountain traffic is INSANE.  No really, INSANE.    I often sense a fear of Mormons from people on the East Coast.  The Mormon culture is very prominent in Utah, but I guess I don't see what's so bad about it.  It's very family oriented and very Mustachian.  <shrug>    According to Wikipedia, Mormons now make up about 34%41% of Salt Lake City, so most people are not Mormon. 

Wolf_Stache

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #23 on: June 18, 2014, 10:53:00 AM »
I live in the mountains outside of Denver.  The real estate market here is very hot right now. 

What about Salt Lake City?  Salt Lake City has cheap real estate and is much closer to the ski areas/mountains than Denver.   Denver weekend mountain traffic is INSANE.  No really, INSANE.    I often sense a fear of Mormons from people on the East Coast.  The Mormon culture is very prominent in Utah, but I guess I don't see what's so bad about it.  It's very family oriented and very Mustachian.  <shrug>    According to Wikipedia, Mormons now make up about 34%41% of Salt Lake City, so most people are not Mormon.

I agree with MountainFlower. Salt Lake City is nice - much better than Idaho. Lots of outdoor activities, culture, traffic never really gets bad. House prices are pretty reasonable. The only problem I had with the area is that the job market is depressed and salaries are low, on average.

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #24 on: June 18, 2014, 12:04:33 PM »

...what?  I've lived in Vegas for 7 years, and have no idea what you could be referring to. Examples?  :)

Second-highest sales tax in the country (with plans to raise it again), insane car registration fees.  I've only been here for a few months, so there's probably more I haven't noticed yet.

This is incorrect.  There are, if I counted correctly (and if Wikipedia has their numbers right, 18 states with localities that have sales taxes higher than Las Vegas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sales_taxes_in_the_United_States#By_jurisdiction  (Las Vegas is also higher than the rest of the state.)  I also can't see that car registration fees are insane: my Honda will be $74 this year, the pickup I think is about $40.  Of course non-Mustachian vehicles may well cost more.

If there is nickle & diming going on, it's for tourist-type stuff: hotel taxes, entertainment taxes, gambling taxes, and so on, none of which need apply to anyone who lives in the state.  I mean, that's the whole point of the casinos &c, to soak the effing tourists :-)

Back to the original question, though.  This does bring up a major point that the OP's question misses, which is that most western states are far from homogenous.  Nevada's perhaps an extreme: the Las Vegas area might as well be in an entirely different universe from the rest of the state, while the Reno-Tahoe area is much different than say Elko or Ely,  Same applies to other states.  Western Oregon is wet, eastern Oregon is mostly desert.  Sourthern California and the SF Bay Area are major metropolitian area, with quite different cultures, but large areas of the state are quite rural.  The North Coast has rain forests & redwoods: drive a hundred miles or so east and you're in the mountains, another hundred puts you in the desert. etc.

PDX Citizen

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #25 on: June 18, 2014, 12:07:32 PM »
If you are able to relocate to anywhere in the West you can pretty much pick your place depending on your preferences, since there is a lot of diversity in climate and culture.  I would probably just map out what you want across different spectrums: Big City -> Small Town, Wet -> Dry Climate, Cold -> Hot Climate, Liberal -> Conservative, Distance to Mountains, Distance to Ocean, etc. and you'll likely find a place that fits.  But then you would need to of course find job(s) that pay the cost to live in that particular place.

I love Portland, but the cost of buying a home or renting has risen pretty significantly here over the last three-four years.  It's probably on par with (or a bit above) Denver, but still cheaper than Seattle, which has a stronger economy.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2014, 12:09:36 PM by PDX Citizen »

arebelspy

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #26 on: June 18, 2014, 12:09:30 PM »

...what?  I've lived in Vegas for 7 years, and have no idea what you could be referring to. Examples?  :)

Second-highest sales tax in the country (with plans to raise it again), insane car registration fees.  I've only been here for a few months, so there's probably more I haven't noticed yet.

This is incorrect.  There are, if I counted correctly (and if Wikipedia has their numbers right, 18 states with localities that have sales taxes higher than Las Vegas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sales_taxes_in_the_United_States#By_jurisdiction  (Las Vegas is also higher than the rest of the state.)  I also can't see that car registration fees are insane: my Honda will be $74 this year, the pickup I think is about $40.  Of course non-Mustachian vehicles may well cost more.

If there is nickle & diming going on, it's for tourist-type stuff: hotel taxes, entertainment taxes, gambling taxes, and so on, none of which need apply to anyone who lives in the state.  I mean, that's the whole point of the casinos &c, to soak the effing tourists :-)

Agreed.

Further, states are funded via 3 main taxes: Sales, Income, and Property.

If a state doesn't have one of the three at all, naturally the other two are higher.  Washington, for example, has no income tax.  Oregon has no sales tax. The other two taxes in those states are a bit higher than they'd otherwise be due to this.

The advantage is being able to choose a state to optimize based on your personal situation.

If you don't buy a lot of shit (in other words, most Mustachians) a high sales tax and no personal income tax benefits you.

I don't see any example of nickle and diming, personally.  Compare gas costs here to California, for example.  COL is very low here.
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horsepoor

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #27 on: June 18, 2014, 12:21:04 PM »
I live in the Boise area.  I only moved here to be closer to family - I did not think I would like it - but now I don't see any need to live anywhere else.  It is not as cheap as rural areas in the state but there are jobs here and property values, taxes, electricity, and natural gas are significantly lower than Longmont, CO for example.  Epic mountain bike rides begin and end from downtown Boise.  Mountains are one one side, desert is on the other.  There is a greenbelt next the Boise River (on both sides in some places) that goes right through town, and through the next town, and the next town.  People here are very outdoor oriented.  Idaho as a whole is politically conservative and fairly religious - but the Boise area is more diverse.  I don't pay much attention to politics and religion.

http://boiselocalreviews.com/wp-content/plugins/post-flare/images/boise%20(20).jpg

Pretty much all of this.  We live in the less trendy SW Boise, and just outside of city limits, so we get city services, but property taxes are half of inside the city.  You can get a nice house for under $200K unless you must be in the trendier part of town (which, given, is closer to the foothills for hiking and biking).  Skiing is hit or miss at Bogus Basin (17 miles from downtown), but there are many other ski resorts within a few hours.  There is tons and tons of open space for fishing, whitewater, hiking, camping - pretty much whatever outdoor sport you like.  This is a fabulous place for gardening - the growing season is long enough to grow almost anything, and most city lots are generously sized, and soils are pretty good (not too much rock or clay).

My husband grew up in California, and was pretty dubious when we moved here, but he loves it here now and has no desire to leave.  It is a socially conservative state, which bothers some people more than others.  However, Boise is definitely more diverse than the rest of the state, like the previous poster said, so it is easy for almost anyone to find their niche.  One drawback for some is the relative isolation - it's about 6-7 hours to Salt Lake, Reno or Portland, and farther to other major cities.  To get anywhere, you'll generally need to fly to the Salt Lake hub from Boise, especially if you'll be visiting the SE.

With about half a million population in the Treasure Valley area, there should be a fair number of job opportunities.  You might keep an eye on federal employment if you decide to move here, as there are several federal agencies with offices in Boise.  There's also been a lot of new growth in the past year, so while I don't know actual employment stats currently, it seems that there would be job opportunities.

Grid

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #28 on: June 18, 2014, 12:27:43 PM »
Thanks for asking the question V.  I'm personally very interested in either Portland or Seattle for a move next year, and am now leaning more towards Seattle.  It sounds much easier for a Mustachian with a relatively high salary to save more when sales and property taxes are the main worries.  I also discovered this article from USA today that separates the states into 5 tiers based on effective tax burden imposed on residents:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/03/02/state-local-tax-burden/1937757/

Then again, I may not move at all... Indiana's income tax burden is a single tier at 3.4%, and my property taxes cost me a whole $200 a year (at most, we'll see).

Eric

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #29 on: June 18, 2014, 12:38:07 PM »
As someone who is continually trying to decide where to move upon FIRE (can't stay in the SF Bay Area, $$$), I love these types of threads.  I must say, I like what you guys have to say about Boise.  It keeps jumping towards the top of my list.  I'm assuming that the winters there are a lot milder than say, Missoula.  Is that true?

bognish

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #30 on: June 18, 2014, 12:43:32 PM »
I would suggest that Salt Lake City/County is worth a look. Relatively low cost of living. Moderate climate. The job market is good now for accountants and very good in IT. You can't beat access to hiking or skiing compared to any other major city. UT has a reputation for mormons and extreme conservatives, but Salt Lake County is fairly diverse with lots of people moving in for the mountains. I moved here 6 years ago from San Francisco and have not had any issues settling or enjoying my neighbors and coworks as a someone on the liberal side of politics.

pjm-7

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #31 on: June 18, 2014, 12:51:52 PM »
I have lived in both Colorado and Wyoming.  Wyoming has no state or local income tax (plus), however wages are generally lower (minus).  Colorado's income tax is a flat 4.63% with retirement income (pensions, 401k withdrawals) not subject to income tax up to certain limits.  Colorado is better for gardening.  Real estate is getting pricy in both states.  Utah and Montana have higher income tax rates. 

pdxvandal

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #32 on: June 18, 2014, 01:01:06 PM »
Missoula winters are no doubt colder and harsher than Boise's.

Boise got a lot of snow when I grew up there in the 1980s, but the climate is different now. Doesn't snow that often anymore.

Summers are hot and dry -- think Phoenix minus 10-15 degrees. Thank goodness there's a river flowing through the city to cool off ... great pastime there is floating the river on inner tubes and a barley soda.

Public transit is terrible in Boise (they're addressing that at the moment) but it's very bike-friendly.

Boise, Salt Lake City and Denver have more things in common than not.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2014, 01:42:35 PM by pdxvandal »

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #33 on: June 18, 2014, 01:03:01 PM »
My wife and I are interested in moving out west in about 3-4 years.  We are looking at NW Washington area, north of Seattle.  I've been intrigued by Idaho/Utah, but my wife wants to leave near the coast.  Interesting thread.

PDX Citizen

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #34 on: June 18, 2014, 01:15:55 PM »
I've been intrigued by Idaho/Utah, but my wife wants to leave near the coast.

That's sad, hopefully you can convince her otherwise. :)

rtrnow

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #35 on: June 18, 2014, 03:46:31 PM »
Quote
If you like beer, any little town likely has the ATL metro area beat in terms of quality local brew.

I love beer and did enjoy several work trips to Montana, but Atlanta has some damn good beer and is getting better every day. Getting rid of some stupid laws a couple of years ago really helped things take off. Check out Wrecking Bar if you haven't. They're probably my favorite right now, but Five Seasons coffee stout is damn good too.

gimp

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #36 on: June 18, 2014, 04:07:19 PM »
My wife and I are interested in moving out west in about 3-4 years.  We are looking at NW Washington area, north of Seattle.  I've been intrigued by Idaho/Utah, but my wife wants to leave near the coast.  Interesting thread.

PNW is lovely. Especially near Portland OR. You're an hour away from the coast. I loved my time out there. The scrub bush deserts of Idaho/Utah are very different - not bad, but very different. (Not that all of Oregon is near the coast or all of Utah/Idaho is scrub bush desert, of course.)

As near as I can tell from visits and from talking to people who live there, Seattle is quite nice too. Seems rainier and foggier than Portland. Definitely not terribly expensive. Honestly though if I didn't have to work, what I really loved were the areas about 1.5 hours outside of Portland and Seattle - take I-5 between the two, go to the middle third, then drive another half hour east or west - you basically have mountain-river-forests with decent roads and almost no people. Like the path up to Mt St Helens from I-5 for example. Amazing.

MicroSpice

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Re: Best State Out West?
« Reply #37 on: June 18, 2014, 04:30:16 PM »
I noticed that your choices and some of the alternative suggestions skipped over the oft-forgotten state of New Mexico (yes, we really do have "USA" printed on our license plates so law enforcement in other states will know we're part of the republic).

Admittedly, it's got some issues. Schools never rank well, we have a significant poverty and illiteracy rate, and the Albuquerque Police Department is out of control. That said, I think it has a lot of what you're looking for.

If you head to Albuquerque, which is the largest city in the state with a population of 555,000, you shouldn't have issues finding work either in accounting or the tech industry, which is on the rise in NM. Our population is racially and culturally diverse, probably more so than any other state. The FOOD - my God, it's a thing to behold.

COL is low as compared to the rest of the country, we have great skiing in the winter (and sometimes early spring), camping/hiking/fishing/hunting/boating opportunities locally and across the state, and great bike trails to get you around the city. Albuquerque was also recently ranked for one of the most promising up-and-coming microbrew scenes in the country.

Whatever you do, though, don't move to the Westside. It's urban sprawl and dirt. Anywhere else is acceptable.