My fiancee' and I are residents of Washington. There are multiple reasons as to why we're looking to relocate; however, the cost of living is at the top of the list.
The average home in this state is just under $400,000; gas prices are among top 3 in the nation, and rent is significantly higher than the majority of the US. In addition to that, we're not a huge fan of the politics of the state, and would rather live in a moderate-conservative area.
Here's who we are and what we're looking for:
My fiancee' is a Federal government worker. I am experienced in district level management. We're looking for a place where cost of living is lower, overall. We'd also prefer small town community vibes, but still within 35-40 minute commute to a major city (my fiancee' works for a government office, which will be located in a major city)
We prefer a place with land that we can purchase for under $250,000. We love the outdoors, and enjoy things such as hiking, camping, etc. I'd also love an area that's hunting and fishing friendly, as well as gun friendly and respective of religious rights.
The top four states we're looking at are:
Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina.
Texas and Tennessee don't have state income tax. South Carolina has the highest income tax. Sales tax is probably the highest in TN, where as property taxes seem to be the highest in TX; however, TX has the lowest gas prices and abundance of jobs.
What are your thoughts? Notes on those commenting on salary: My fiancee' is a government employee. Her salary would remain the same. The line of work I'm in also pays the same; however, it's the availability OF the work that is a factor.
In terms of taxes, it's a factor. States with income tax are going to deduct more from your paycheck -- leading to less money up front. It comes down to if you want more "now" or "later". In response to the follow up comments:
Her annual salary would drop by $1,500 in TN; the cost of rent is 1/3 for the same type of home as we have here; houses are nearly half the price to purchase. That salary decrease is marginal in comparison to the remaining factors. Additionally, I have already interviewed for positions that have offered the same salary as I'm at; mostly looking to hear opinions from people who have visited/lived in these states. Additionally, the government goes by grade systems. Locality pay is merely an additional bonus given in accordance with the cost of living. The locality pay would drop a mere $1,500. Again, not a concern. I am with public storage; their salary is the same across the board for their DMs. However, it's a matter of finding an available opening.
Texas is great. Cities like Austin and Dallas still have a large liberal population. Houston is much more conservative. Cost of living is low. I have a 3,000 square foot house on a huge corner lot with lots of upgrades and we paid about $320k for it brand new. We have no state income tax and sales tax is 7 to 8% depending on the county. Our property taxes are a bit high.
Toll roads are becoming more popular, but most roadways are free. We have pretty much every climate from beach, to prairie, to mountain.
Lots of small towns near urban areas. I live about thirty minutes from downtown Houston. There are lots of rural lots near my home. The areas around Austin and Dallas are similar. Lots of small town charm close to the city.
I RECOMMEND ALABAMA AND FLORIDA BuT ALL THE SOUTH IS GORGEOUS..
Tax is kind of silly thing to look at. Sure, FL & TN, don't have state income tax = so they make it up in property tax just like WA.
When you move to a less expensive area, you have to be mindful of the salary changes. I know payroll specialists in Seattle that are earning $70K but the same position at the same company is paying $38K in the NC.
Do you have the $250K saved for the property? Because your income still may not support buying in the area that you move to.
Additional information in response to the comment:
Federal government wages differ by region just like private employers. Even specialized scientists make different wages based on region:
- Lawrence Livermore National Lab (NorCal) has higher wages than Los Alamos National Lab (rural NM)
Your job FOR SURE isn't going to pay the same:
- Do you think Nordstrom managers make the same in Seattle as they do in Nashville?
- Or that Marriott managers make the same in Seattle as they do in Charlotte?
- Or that Taco Bell district managers make the same in Seattle as they do in Winston Salem?
- Or that Enterprise district managers make the same in Seattle as they do in San Antonio?
NO... they don't.
I love North Carolina and think of moving there.
Lower cost of living means lower wages ...
I'd stay ..
Stay put. Why move and go against the state you came from?
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