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Planning Our Re-entry
April 11, 2007 8:05 AM   Subscribe

How do you start a new life with nothing except money in the bank?

My fiance and I will be moving from Bermuda to the U.S. sometime next year after we are married. She is from Trinidad, and is a ACC chartered accountant with a MBA. I am from Michigan and do a hodge-podge of I.T. ( Lotus Notes, web development, lightweight project management / business analyst, I.T. management ). Due to our parents / family being in Trinidad and Michigan, and the fact that we like mild weather, we think the best place to live is somewhere in the middle ( Raleigh / Miami / Knoxville / Fayetteville / Houston ). We would like to buy a house, we would like to start a family, we would like promising careers, etc. etc.

So, how do we approach this? We want to make smart decisions. Do we pick a place to live and then finds jobs, or do we look for jobs and let those jobs determine where we live? Remember, we are in Bermuda, so skipping out of work for a few hours for an interview is not a possibility. Our finances are in order so we could, although we don't want to, live without any income for 6 months. Because we would be coming back to Bermuda with essentially our bank accounts, we will need to find careers, a place to live, cars, friends, furniture, a dog, etc. etc.

So.....how would you go about finding a great place to live and a great career simultaneously. What comes first and how would you go about it. Is the internet ( Monster / Hotjobs ) really a good tool for finding jobs these days? Most of our business contacts are Bermuda based which somewhat limits are ability to 'network'. Are the Forbes Best Places guides an accurate representation of a cities culture / dynamic? Where can we get real testimonials about what it is like to live somewhere? Should we just throw some darts at a map?
posted by jasondigitized to Work & Money (12 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
being able to live off your savings for 6 months means you don't have that much stashed away. I say look for a job first, a good job, for either of you. then move. then the other, jobless half of the couple looks for a job in the new city.

good luck and do not quit before you have a new job.
posted by matteo at 8:13 AM on April 11, 2007


(also, consider Las Vegas, too)
posted by matteo at 8:13 AM on April 11, 2007


Houston is not the middle. Even coming from Missouri, my cousin found Houston to be wayyy too hot in the summer.
posted by notsnot at 8:48 AM on April 11, 2007


I think for a couple just starting out, having savings to live off of for 6 months is pretty good.

Otherwise, I think Matteo has good advice. If you do quit your job first, be sure you relocate somewhere with available jobs. I am not familiar with anywhere you're thinking of moving though.
posted by milarepa at 8:53 AM on April 11, 2007


It all really depends on what your criteria are for "great places to live," which I can't really glean from your post. Or maybe you aren't 100% certain of what those are, and so you have to nail those down in your own minds first.

Is it a place where suburban flight hasn't eradicated the downtown culture? Is it a place where the public school system is really great? Is it a place with lots of natural resources and outdoor activities, or cultural richness? Is it a place where the housing market is manageable, and you won't be house-poor the minute you purchase? Is it a place where racial and political diversity are not just tolerated but embraced? A place with a good mix of age groups? (Lots of American cities are "graying," as the young people grow up and move away, combined with population decline.)

To get a true feel for a city's culture, I would peruse its alternative weekly paper(s). These tend to have far more music/arts/theatre listings, and the features are more likely to be about culture and local happenings than just business. Read the op-eds and letters to the editor -- what are people complimenting or complaining about?

I think there has to be a bit of both -- instead of "place, then job" or "job, then place", you might need to narrow it down to a short list of cities that meet all or most of your cultural and lifestyle demands, plus with promising job markets. Then, start casting a wide resume net in those cities, and see what pops first.

I think Monster.com sucks. I find CareerBuilder slightly better. I've never tried HotJobs. The nice thing about your lead time is that you could identify companies in your short-list cities for whom you might like to work, and then reach out to them even if they don't apparently have something open for you at the moment. Send a resume and a good letter to their recruiting dept, say that you are considering a cold move to their city in [Month, Year], and that you would like them to keep you in mind for future openings. Do this with dozens of companies; you have nothing to lose. If you have a good pitch package and a good skill set, something will come to fruition.

Be sure to consider your "Best Cities" lists of most educated -- there's a reason that you spot so much crossover between these and "Best Places to Live." A more educated populace is more prosperous, and will be home to more white-collar companies looking for people with MBAs and IT skills.

I'd also look at the city group blogs for any place I was vetting. Find the city's local blog registry, and then check out those links.

It sounds like a really exciting opportunity. Best of luck, whatever you decide.

Also, FWIW I think throwing darts at a map sounds like a fun way to go, even if cinematic and impractical. "Look, honey, we're moving to... Waynesville, Missouri!"

And, second that there is very little climate in Texas that can be considered "mild" year-round. The rest of the year is nice but it's all just unbearably hot in the summer. Austin is the happy medium, IMO. I've oft described the heat and humidity of Houston as comparable to "living under Satan's ball sack" (poached from some stand-up comedian a while back).

posted by pineapple at 9:06 AM on April 11, 2007


I can attest that not only is Houston quite hot (regularly up to 100 degrees), but it is also ultra-humid, right in the swampish New Orleans range. Some folks can get used to it; others cannot. However, it is a growing city with a dynamic and mixed population and large IT, finance, and energy sectors.

Try to get a U.S. bank account first, though.
posted by Midnight Creeper at 9:09 AM on April 11, 2007


Atlanta might be a good choice -- I think you'd both find lots of employment opportunities, and there is a giant airport that makes it pretty easy to get wherever else you have to go.

What if you took a few weeks, rented a car, and just road-tripped to a few of the cities on your list?
posted by spilon at 9:21 AM on April 11, 2007


Miami may not have snow but nobody who has lived there thru Jul & Aug would call it 'mild.' I'd advise you to be careful in your search there - Florida is a very tourism driven economy and strongly subject to the vagaries of domestic and international finances - when tourism falls off so do Miami fortunes.

You'll find a lot of the jobs there for you will revolve around tourism as well. Travel agencies, cruise lines (one of the bigger IT employers in town), etc. To a smaller extent the service industry. Ryder used to make their home there, unsure what their corporate presence is since the years of split/sell/reacquire have now passed. Burger King is still there, I believe. Blockbuster fled Ft Laud for Texas and their star is on the wane anyway. Office Depot is in Boca, I think, and reputedly a good place to work.

You might have more luck in Orlando. They have a burgeoning modeling & simulation industry there, as well as The Mouse.
posted by phearlez at 11:00 AM on April 11, 2007


First you need to decide which of you will be making more money. Once you determine that you can find that one a Job that pays well. You will both live in a business suites type hotel for the first week of the new job while the unemployed one looks for a house, or apartment.
Don't be afraid to rent or lease for the first year to get your bearings. You don't want to get locked into the mortgage of a house and find out that the job/city you selected sucks.

Once you find a place to live the secondary spouse can begin looking for a job as well.
posted by Megafly at 11:33 AM on April 11, 2007


My husband and I moved from the UK to Ireland basically on a whim. I came over for, I think, two nights/three days and found a rental about two weeks before; I flew back to the UK and we came over with the moving trusk together.

I picked our location, again, on a whim. Neither of us had ever been here before.

I would suggest making a list of what is important to you in terms of location and starting there. For us it was stuff like Europe, English speaking, urban, near an airport, no smaller than X number of people, a university town, lively arts scene, live music. For us that meant a list of maybe half a dozen places.

We read up on them, looked at the general job market, job opportunities, and rental prices online. Then we picked and... moved.

For sure I would suggest renting until you are sure you are happy in your new location. We are, so it centainly can work!
posted by DarlingBri at 3:22 PM on April 11, 2007


If you mean Fayetteville, NC, let me know. Housing costs are comparatively low here, and although the job market could be better there are some people who do commute to Raleigh, if it came to that. AIT (the computer company) is based here, btw.

Also my hubby is sales manager for a real estate company so if you need solid details about the real estate market we can help you out with that with no strings attatched.

Since Fort Bragg is located here there are also opportunities for civil service jobs, if that interests you.
posted by konolia at 5:29 PM on April 11, 2007


Most of our business contacts are Bermuda based which somewhat limits are ability to 'network'.
You should both start building a network on LinkedIn. Your business contacts may all be in Bermuda, but your contact's contacts could be anywhere in the world.
posted by Joleta at 9:55 PM on April 11, 2007


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