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Old 06-04-2012, 07:47 PM   #81
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The Shasta area is GORGEOUS. You will not be disappointed. If you go in the summer, be sure to drive up to Ashland Oregon for the Shakespeare festival. You will love it.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:26 PM   #82
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Not in California but I would worry about taxes increasing given the economic situation.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:31 PM   #83
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To the Californians: I keep hearing about the economic problems the state is having and am quite aware of the extent of the problem as reported by the media.

My question is this...if I'm retired, sending my kid to a private school, and not on any gov't programs (that I can think of anyway), how would this problem actually impact me and my family? I get obvious stuff like roads are fixed less often and hear the public schools are laying off teachers (which wouldn't have anything to do with us). Otherwise, why would any retiree without kids in public schools really care about it? I'm not trying to sound naive, I'm saying I've lived in a state with no budget/services and a state with a huge budget/tons of services and there was literally almost no difference to us in either place because of our odd lifestyle.
Good questions. You have a point to a large degree. If you are living purely off savings then much less effect. Here where I live the sales tax is ~8.75%, which is pretty high. Property taxes are reasonable relative to assessed value, but probably similar to other states in total $$ for similar housing, when you compare our housing at higher values than other states. The state parks funding continues to be cut. There is more and more aid to more and more freeloaders while the affluent move away. Some of it is just annoying rather than a practical problem - but I'm sure other states have their share of annoyances. The traffic here where we live is not that bad, but it IS bad in the direct LA/OC areas.

If you have investment income, you may still pay state income taxes. I believe (but don't quote me on this) that the LT cap gains are taxed as ordinary income by the state.

If your private school kid eventually goes to college, the previously excellent state schools are getting more expensive all the time while class availability is declining, necessitating 5-6 years for a degree at many state schools.

But the crime is low and the weather is really nice.
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Old 06-07-2012, 12:45 PM   #84
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I'm a San Diego native who moved at age 28 to WA state, then moved at age 31 to PA, then to GA, then back to PA, and 10 years ago came back to San Diego. So I've lived the Northwest life, the eastcoast big city life (Philly), the southern life, etc.

There's a very good Montessori school in my 'hood. But it only goes up through grade 6.

San Diego Unified has a program available for super bright kids (the top of the gifted kids) called Seminar - I found this program to be exceptional for my sons. But your child needs to test well on the "Raven" test to qualify. If you think your daughter might qualify I'd be happy to give you more details. AFAIK the seminar program is unique to San Diego Unified School District. Most districts have a GATE (gifted) program - this is for the smartest of the GATE kids.

I'm not sure there's a way to avoid the bullying issue in the public middle and high schools here. We've been looking at our options. (My boys are 9 and 11.)

Having lived elsewhere - if housing costs are not an issue, San Diego is a GREAT place to live. Unfortunately, most folks are priced out of housing.
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Old 06-08-2012, 10:47 PM   #85
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I think you have a difficult decision. It is obvious that southern California meets much of your criteria. However, I would have two problems with it.

1. Fiscal considerations in California that seem really unique to California and would not make me want to live in that state. It just seems very risky.

2. House prices. Want you want to spend on a house won't buy all that much in California compared to other places. A few years ago when we bought our house before our current house we bought it from a couple who had moved to Texas (where we were) from California. The Texas house was almost 4500 SF, had a guest house and two garages and over 2 acres. The house they had left in California was about 1/3 the size, with a postage stamp lot at almost twice the price. The seller was upset the entire time we were under contract because they were moving back to California and she wasn't happy at what she could find. Now, I realize many people do make the trade off and are willing to live in a much smaller, older house at a much higher price. But, the point is that it is a trade off.
+1

Why move from one state where you're taxed to death to another where you'll be taxed to death AND is going bankrupt? Just my two cents.

I hear from multiple sources that Oregon is lovely. I have a friend who lived there much of his life. There is a sheltered valley in the state an the weather is very moderate there. Varied landscapes and things to do. If you are looking for like-minded people, I read from another article posted that Oregon (and New Hampshire) have the highest numbers of atheists/agnostics/unaffiliated folks in the country.
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:09 PM   #86
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Oregon tax rates are just as bad. We checked it out. It is not a retirement friendly state. But it is a gorgeous state.
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Old 07-28-2012, 02:59 PM   #87
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ZDG

How was your trip to Northern Cal? Did you like any of the areas?
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Old 07-28-2012, 03:03 PM   #88
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ZDG

How was your trip to Northern Cal? Did you like any of the areas?
LOVED it. We put an offer on a house in Santa Rosa and move out there in 3 weeks.

Can't wait! Big thanks to everyone on this thread.
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Old 07-28-2012, 03:40 PM   #89
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Santa Rosa is a good choice. Glad you found a place that fits you.
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Old 07-29-2012, 07:53 AM   #90
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ZDG- I've been following this thread with much interest. I too have been california dreaming for sometime now, but my circumstances are different. I live in Mclean, Va and my kids are in a fantastic school district, so I don't want to make any move until they are in college. That time will come in 4 short years when my youngest will head off to college. I am FI already but continue to keep my dental practice running because I love what I do. I am a conservative christian but not sure if that would make much of a difference in where I choose to live. My biggest obstacle to moving west will be leaving my aging parents behind here in the DC area- that might trump everything.

So what was it about Santa Rosa that made it the "place"?
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:15 AM   #91
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LOVED it. We put an offer on a house in Santa Rosa and move out there in 3 weeks.

Can't wait! Big thanks to everyone on this thread.
That was quick. Good luck on the move and new home.
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:47 AM   #92
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ZDG- I've been following this thread with much interest. I too have been california dreaming for sometime now, but my circumstances are different. I live in Mclean, Va and my kids are in a fantastic school district, so I don't want to make any move until they are in college. That time will come in 4 short years when my youngest will head off to college. I am FI already but continue to keep my dental practice running because I love what I do. I am a conservative christian but not sure if that would make much of a difference in where I choose to live. My biggest obstacle to moving west will be leaving my aging parents behind here in the DC area- that might trump everything.

So what was it about Santa Rosa that made it the "place"?
Well, it's funny you should ask. I wouldn't tell anyone that I think Santa Rosa is really the "perfect place" or anything, as we sort of circled in to it.

I really wanted to move to Sonoma itself (the city, not just the county). We spent what was supposed to be 4 days, which turned into 8 days, which turned into 11 days in the Wine Country. Here's how our thought process worked:

When we first arrived, we got a hotel in Petaluma, mostly out of financial reasons (we had a free room at the Sheraton there) and the fact that all the towns/cities of the Wine Country are a short drive away. Petaluma seemed cool enough, but isn't really what most people are thinking when they think Wine Country visually. The first thing we became aware of instantly was the weather. It was absolutely gorgeous, with the exception of the constant wind right on the marina in Petaluma (which turned out to be a localized problem; thankfully). It was cool and humid enough in the mornings and absolutely perfect in the afternoons, with highs in the mid 80s but no humidity whatsoever so that if you were in the shade, the constant cool breeze keeps it perfectly pleasant from about 10am until 6pm.

The second town we checked out was Santa Rosa, which is the largest "city" in Sonoma County. It definitely had the most city feel of all the towns, but don't let that fool you. There's only about 170,000 people there and it definitely feels like a very, very small city; but in a good way. The terrain is completely different than the rest of the towns we visited in that there are pine/fir trees and it feels more like a mountain resort town than the hills upon hills of vines you were expecting to see. Not that there aren't a ton of vineyard lined hills, but in the middle of the city, you won't see them.

Then we checked out Napa (city). While downtown Napa seems very cool, it wasn't at all what we were expecting. There's a lot more in terms of high-end food, but also an obscene amount of tourists. Not that we weren't expecting that part of it, I just didn't quite expect it to basically be Wine Disneyland. Napa really wasn't for us, but I can see why it is for a lot of people.

Finally, we went to Sonoma (city). I loved it. We walked the Plaza multiple times, ate at a number of the restaurants right around there, and spent a lot of time just relaxing with some wine. It was just fantastic. Every afternoon we spent in Sonoma, I felt like I could spend the rest of my life there. We looked at houses within walking distance from the Plaza and found the bang-for-buck to be a little underwhelming. We found some nice houses, sure, but in about the same price range as what we'd see in Manhattan. Ultimately, we realized the school situation in Sonoma was going to keep us from moving there (there's no progressive high school of any kind in Sonoma).

So, after all that, we ended up choosing Santa Rosa because we found a stunning house on the side of a hill with a view of what looks like Italy and that has fantastic schools. I definitely preferred the lifestyle in Sonoma and probably would have liked the scenery of Healdsburg (which we spent no appreciable time in) more, but Santa Rosa had the best mix of what we wanted and is of course within driving range of all those other places for weekend jaunts.
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Old 07-29-2012, 07:33 PM   #93
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I would agree with all of your points! Santa Rosa is a great choice. Sonoma and Healdsburg are expensive - dot.coms buy property there - they run up the prices.

You make me homesick!
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