Best US City for work income vs lifestyle?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 30, 2010 9:43 PM GMT
    Due to a shortage of IT skills, I have the opportunity to go to the US next year to do some contracting work for maybe 1-2 years.

    My choices of cities is pretty good, but what I'm looking for is the city with the better work vs life choice. That is, I don't want to be earning a great salary in New York when the rent will still leave me with very little money to enjoy myself on weekends or week nights.

    I've considered: Boston, MA, San Francisco, CA, Washington, DC, New York, NY and maybe Chicago.

    Can anyone give me some insight on which would be the better city? I;m not looking for $$$ just a good balance.

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    Oct 30, 2010 9:58 PM GMT
    Have you looked into the South Florida areas? (Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, anywhere in between)

    Lots to do, and the cost of living is comparable to the other places you mentioned.
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    Oct 30, 2010 10:14 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidHave you looked into the South Florida areas? (Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, anywhere in between)

    Lots to do, and the cost of living is comparable to the other places you mentioned.


    Not as yet no. But if recommended then I'll look into it. I haven't actually travelled there yet so that would make it an adventure.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 30, 2010 11:38 PM GMT
    Income vs. lifestyle = AUSTIN
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    Oct 30, 2010 11:43 PM GMT
    Phoenix Az?
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    Oct 30, 2010 11:44 PM GMT
    I live in Miami Beach and wouldn't consider living anywhere else. However, I agree that the place to live if you want affordability along with coolness and things to do, Austin would be your place. In the meantime, I suffer the high prices because Miami Beach is soooo much better than any other place in the U.S. FOR ME!
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    Oct 30, 2010 11:51 PM GMT
    Actually, In 2004, Charlottesville, Virginia, was ranked the best place to live in the United States in the book Cities Ranked and Rated by Bert Sperling and Peter Sander. Sperling and Sander ranked the cities based on cost of living, climate, and quality of life.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlottesville,_Virginia

    Otherwise, Northern Virginia, considered part of Washington DC metro area, is the "Silicon Valley" of the East.
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    Oct 30, 2010 11:54 PM GMT
    Cut and Shoot, Texas; population 1,271 Hee Haw!!

    http://www.texasescapes.com/AllThingsHistorical/Cut-and-Shoot-Texas-AM305.htm
  • danisnotstr8

    Posts: 2579

    Oct 31, 2010 12:00 AM GMT
    These people aren't answering your question.

    For the cities you named, Chicago wins by a long shot. And in my opinion it's a better city. You'll have nearly the same night-life opportunities and it costs less than half of what it costs to live in NYC. And the salaries are amongst the highest in the country.
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    Oct 31, 2010 12:12 AM GMT
    sydney_cider saidDue to a shortage of IT skills, I have the opportunity to go to the US next year to do some contracting work for maybe 1-2 years.

    My choices of cities is pretty good, but what I'm looking for is the city with the better work vs life choice. That is, I don't want to be earning a great salary in New York when the rent will still leave me with very little money to enjoy myself on weekends or week nights.

    I've considered: Boston, MA, San Francisco, CA, Washington, DC, New York, NY and maybe Chicago.

    Can anyone give me some insight on which would be the better city? I;m not looking for $$$ just a good balance.



    San Fransisco has a higher cost of living than NY, just an FYI.
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    Oct 31, 2010 12:13 AM GMT
    sydney_cider saidDue to a shortage of IT skills, I have the opportunity to go to the US next year to do some contracting work for maybe 1-2 years.

    My choices of cities is pretty good, but what I'm looking for is the city with the better work vs life choice. That is, I don't want to be earning a great salary in New York when the rent will still leave me with very little money to enjoy myself on weekends or week nights.

    I've considered: Boston, MA, San Francisco, CA, Washington, DC, New York, NY and maybe Chicago.

    Can anyone give me some insight on which would be the better city? I;m not looking for $$$ just a good balance.



    southern cities like atlanta, dallas, houston, new orleans, charlotte and miami will make a good salary go a lot further... if those are possibilities.

  • Oct 31, 2010 12:59 AM GMT
    sydney_cider saidDue to a shortage of IT skills, I have the opportunity to go to the US next year to do some contracting work for maybe 1-2 years.

    My choices of cities is pretty good, but what I'm looking for is the city with the better work vs life choice. That is, I don't want to be earning a great salary in New York when the rent will still leave me with very little money to enjoy myself on weekends or week nights.

    I've considered: Boston, MA, San Francisco, CA, Washington, DC, New York, NY and maybe Chicago.

    Can anyone give me some insight on which would be the better city? I;m not looking for $$$ just a good balance.



    Have you checked out the Cost of Living Calculator?

    http://cgi.money.cnn.com/tools/costofliving/costofliving.html

    Any of the city that you have listed is wonderful. I am biased toward Washington DC. But the link above will allow you to compare the cost of living relative to each US city. Good luck!
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    Oct 31, 2010 1:18 AM GMT
    danisnotstr8 saidThese people aren't answering your question. *

    For the cities you named, Chicago wins by a long shot. And in my opinion it's a better city. You'll have nearly the same night-life opportunities and it costs less than half of what it costs to live in NYC. And the salaries are amongst the highest in the country.

    oh and the winters! ... Those wonderful Chicago winters! Gotta love those winters with the storms coming off the Great Lakes.

    * The OP didn't restrict answers to those cities he listed. He just said he considered them.
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    Oct 31, 2010 1:23 AM GMT
    majoranimalsloverz said
    sydney_cider saidDue to a shortage of IT skills, I have the opportunity to go to the US next year to do some contracting work for maybe 1-2 years.

    My choices of cities is pretty good, but what I'm looking for is the city with the better work vs life choice. That is, I don't want to be earning a great salary in New York when the rent will still leave me with very little money to enjoy myself on weekends or week nights.

    I've considered: Boston, MA, San Francisco, CA, Washington, DC, New York, NY and maybe Chicago.

    Can anyone give me some insight on which would be the better city? I;m not looking for $$$ just a good balance.



    Have you checked out the Cost of Living Calculator?

    http://cgi.money.cnn.com/tools/costofliving/costofliving.html

    Any of the city that you have listed is wonderful. I am biased toward Washington DC. But the link above will allow you to compare the cost of living relative to each US city. Good luck!

    DC has a lot of free amenities like the museums because of the federal gov't. THE BIG DRAWBACK to the DC area is the traffic. Second worst in the US. Live near where you work cuz commuting very far, especially via the highways, is hell on earth. (altho there is the most amazing amount of new road constructing going on now.)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 31, 2010 1:39 AM GMT
    Why would you go anywhere else other than San Francisco Bay Area if you're going to work in IT? It is home to the companies that are advancing the world in technology: Facebook, McAfee, Google, eBay, Yahoo, Apple, Nvidia, Cisco, Hewitt Packard, Oracle, Intel, Adobe and the list goes on.

    These companies also pay really well and the experience is priceless. Get Apple or Google on your resume and you're gold in the IT field. This is undeniable.

    They aren't exactly located in SF but a good amount of these companies offer shuttle services which picks you up from SF and takes you to work. Just about everyone I know who work for a tech company in the bay area live in SF but commute to the south bay area. You probably won't even need a car.

    The down side is that it could be pricey. However, if you're only here for a couple of years max your objective is probably not to save tons of money but to spend it and enjoy living. The tech companies also pay pretty well. I believe my friend who finished his undergrad and went to Google got a starting pay of $75k as some kinda engineer. If you have experience you'll probably get a higher pay.

    Also, where else would you feel more comfortable being gay than in SF? It is a freakin gay city. The weather is not the best tho but at least its easier to put on more clothes to keep warm than hide in an ACed room if its too hot. You can only take off soo many articles of clothing to keep cool.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 31, 2010 1:52 AM GMT
    All of those cities you listed (Boston, SF, DC, NYC, Chicago) all have very similar costs of living. Yes, SF and NYC are at the top of the list...but they're all close.

    For real savings on COL, you need to go beyond the beaten path. The suggest of Austin was a great one. Denver might be another good option. As well, Atlanta, some cities in Florida, Portland, and Minneapolis.

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    Oct 31, 2010 1:56 AM GMT
    I love Austin, as well....Someone could bomb the rest of Texas, for all I care...as long as we could preserve the bastion of relative sanity that is Austin, Texas.

    That said, I'm a BIG fan of my adopted home, Minneapolis. If this Arkansawyer can adapt to the winters here on the tundra (moved here in '79), ANYONE can.

    Swedish farmboys in great sweaters.

    I'm just sayin'.icon_wink.gif
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    Oct 31, 2010 10:03 AM GMT
    Cool thanks guys. Austin was listed as a good opportunity for work. I'm targeting mostly the Finance/Payments industry where I have the most experience and feel most comfortable.

    If I were to aim for organisations such as Apple, Google and Oracle, they are just going to throw me back to Australia anyway.

    I'll look into Austin as well and it is pretty much in the middle of the country making it easy to get to either the East or West coast where most of my friends are.

    As Caslon said I was only recommended the originally quoted places mainly cause I have a friend who wants me to go to Boston, another recommends SFO, etc.

    What could I expect from Phoenix?
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Oct 31, 2010 10:08 AM GMT
    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2010/


    ^ This list isn't subjectively opinionated either.
  • turtleneckjoc...

    Posts: 4685

    Oct 31, 2010 10:44 AM GMT
    You should consider throwing Seattle into your list. The Pacific Northwest is also a haven for those with IT skills, the cost of living is high, but not to the extent of New York City or San Francisco. The area has many great restaurants, a fun night life and the climate is perfect, not too hot in the summer and not bitter cold in the winter.

    The majectic beauty of the Seattle area is not to be missed either. Consider this area in your search.
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    Oct 31, 2010 11:40 AM GMT
    I would agree with others that DC and Chicago are great choices...and I'd recommend adding the exploration of Philly b/c the cost of living is lower than the ones mentioned, but there's a LOT to do, a decent sized gay population and housing costs are so very much lower, giving you more $$ for other things
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    Oct 31, 2010 11:47 AM GMT
    Seattle WA and Portland OR seemed pretty chilled when I visited them. I would happily live in either (especially Portland, as OR has no purchase tax).
  • darryaz

    Posts: 186

    Oct 31, 2010 1:05 PM GMT
    N8tiveNuYawhka saidPhoenix Az?


    I lived there for 9 years and LOVED it!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 31, 2010 1:10 PM GMT
    None of the cities you mentioned have the balance you're lkn for. icon_eek.gif
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    Oct 31, 2010 9:25 PM GMT
    San Francisco. I've done some casual researching and there are affordable places to live just outside the city. If you want to stay in the IT industry, it's a great place to be for networking with other people, and being exposed to new technology. As far as culture goes, there's plenty of it.

    DC has been on several of those "top great cities to live in". But those lists leave out other factors like median income. So it's not a bad place to live, if you have a well paying cushy job with the government. But for the rest of us working stiffs, probably not.

    I hear Austin is pretty hip right now. Lots of people from LA fled to Austin in recent years. Lower cost of living, culture, tolerable weather. I would consider it myself. But I prefer a place closer to the ocean. Also, I don't think they have much on IT sector.