Relocation from Ohio to Florida
May 11, 2016 2:06 PM   Subscribe

My husband and i found a company to relocate to Florida. We make together 100k here and we would make roughly 80k there if we are not adding bonuses, overtime. We like the Florida lifestyle and that is the reason for relocation We will be in fort Myers and we were in Columbus Do you think is worth it? There is chance for salary growth after the first year We do not have kids Just us and 2 cats We would get an apartment and we have two car payments and student loans What do you think?
posted by barexamfreak to Work & Money (16 answers total)
Worth it in what sense?
posted by zutalors! at 2:27 PM on May 11, 2016

Google for a cost of living comparison calculator and put in your current and future city to get an idea of any potential lifestyle changes.
posted by erst at 2:29 PM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm going to assume the cost of living in Ft Meyers is higher than Columbus -- at a quick glance, the rent seems to be double. But that doesn't mean it isn't worth it if there's a good chance you'll be happier.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:41 PM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

This site suggests that Fort Myers is 16% more expensive than Columbus. That means that making $80,000 in Fort Myers is like making $69,000 in Columbus. That's a pretty significant hit in quality of life, but maybe the Florida lifestyle makes that hit worth it for you?
posted by Rock Steady at 2:44 PM on May 11, 2016

Ft. Myers (where I am from) is not a great place to live. Too many people & terrible traffic plus crime is getting out of control. Already mentioned was the cost of living. You will not be happy. Don't do it. There are places in FLA that aren't ruined yet.
posted by patnok at 3:21 PM on May 11, 2016 [5 favorites]

Columbus is seeing/has seen a huge amount of growth in the last five years or so--downtown/the Short North is hopping, there are all sorts of new restaurants and bars, the highways are getting fixed up (the 670/71 merger downtown is sooo much better now, and the 270/23/315/71 mess up north is getting similarly detangled), public transportation and infrastructure for bikes is improving, the art museum looks fantastic now, and I'm sure the main library will be gorgeous when it reopens in June, the parks and river ways are getting fixed up, the suburbs are really working on improving their downtowns, etc., etc.

We do not have beaches. We also have winter. But I'm sure that, e.g., our traffic/sprawl situation is *nothing* compared to Ft. Meyers.

One thing in the pro-moving column, maybe: if you own your house here, it's very much a sellers market right now (I saw a line of people waiting to get into an open house in Old North Columbus the other day).
posted by damayanti at 3:47 PM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

All other factors aside (and I agree, they are important factors to consider), the time to move is when you don't have kids or many other obligations. Try it out, see if you like it.

Bear in mind, the time when people move back to where they are from is when they have kids. It is so so tough to raise kids without family or friends to help. So if you're going to move be really clear on why you're moving. Adventure? Check. Learning new, marketable skills? Check. Just to get a change of perspective? Check. But have an exit strategy in your back pocket just in case.
posted by vignettist at 4:21 PM on May 11, 2016

I beseech you, please listen to patnok. I, too, am from Ft Myers, and he knows of what he speaks. I had a long screed for you, but I'll leave it at this: Please weigh your options carefully, and also examine carefully what you imagine the Florida lifestyle to be, vs what the reality is, vs the reality that you can afford (like don't buy a boat when you have student loans!) I agree that there are other places worth looking at that might reasonably provide what you want. Good luck-
posted by JulesER at 4:30 PM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ft Myers? No. It's kinda rednecky, old and boring. I lived in South Florida for over a decade and...nah.

Besides it'll be under water due to rising seas.

Go, visit, you'll see what we mean.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:56 PM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ft. Meyers isn't horrible, but it's not a "young" city by any means. It's predominantly retirees and the people who live there because they're in some sort of service profession that deals with retirees. I don't think it really has the "Florida lifestyle" that is promoted by tourism.

On the other hand, we don't have state income tax so that's something to keep in mind when you're figuring cost of living. The cost of insurance (auto/homeowners/renters) is higher than in Ohio, though. Rent on or close to the water will be significantly higher than similar properties in Columbus.
posted by hollygoheavy at 5:22 PM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

By Florida lifestyle do you mean sweltering heat, aggravating traffic and driving 30-45 minutes to get anywhere? I'm not sure what it is that you're looking for that would describe it as "worth it", but according to upthread with the cost of living, it doesn't seem financially advantageous.
posted by lunastellasol at 8:17 PM on May 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

It might help if you could be a bit more specific about the Florida "lifestyle." Do you mean wanting to live within 30 minutes of a beach? Warm weather year round?

I don't know Ft. Myers well, but I do think you'd do well to heed patnok's advice. There are probably places in Florida that will be a better bet costwise and life style wise. If you're willing to not be right on the beach and deal with somewhat cooler winters (but nothing like Ohio, of course), you might want to look in North Florida, specifically somewhere like Tallahassee or Gainesville.

These are both college towns, and I don't know as much about Gainesville, but in Tallahassee you can definitely live in parts of the town that are pretty much untouched by college students. You can still rent or buy a home for very reasonably prices (I know someone who rents a ~1100 sq foot 2 bedroom home in a nice neighborhood for $800/month; there are even cheaper places out there, too.) You can get to most places in town within 5-15 minutes. Maybe 20 minutes if you need to go all the way across town. Rush hour traffic is basically not a thing, even on the highways. You're still less than an hour's drive away from a beach, and there are plenty of nice parks and rivers and stuff within a reasonable drive. Over the last decade or so it's definitely improved on the food/culture front too (now there's a Whole Foods and Trader Joe's and some nice cafes and restaurants and clubs/nightlife by the university).

I know that's not exactly answering your question, but my main point is that if you want to live in Florida, you can almost certainly find a better option than Ft Myers, especially as far as cost of living and traffic, etc are concerned.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:40 PM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

I moved to Florida (St. Pete) about a decade ago from a much colder climate. I loved being able to spend more time outdoors and picking fresh fruit from my neighbors' and my trees. I loved learning about a new (to me) environment. Amazing state parks, county parks, beaches, mangroves, forests, Plenty of places for hiking and kayaking. Yeah, if you're into getting a boat, get a kayak. That, to me, is the Florida lifestyle. And I met interesting people and made good friends.

I think you'll find good people anywhere you go. I think that once you're in Florida it will be easier to find other parts of Florida that might be more appealing.

PS, I moved from St. Pete to Savannah a few years ago for a job and Savannah might be a place for you to check out: reasonable cost of living, lots of culture, lots of young people.
posted by mareli at 6:08 AM on May 12, 2016

Gainesville proper is completely a college town, but the areas around it are rural small towns. It's about an hour an a half drive to the beach. North Florida is very different from south Florida in climate, landscape and culture; the west coast of central/south Florida is COMPLETELY different from the east coast of central/south Florida.

I live in Jacksonville, which has pretty low housing costs compared to any other large city in Florida but terrible as far as traffic. Our taxes are fairly low, but electricity and gasoline are expensive. I live on the river but I'm only about 25 minutes from Jax Beach by car (and there are prettier beaches north and south of here). I don't know what type of work you do, but we have a lot of IT companies, 2 universities and several large hospitals that are major employers in town. We also have 2 navy bases. The population skews towards young/middle aged here rather than retirees.
posted by hollygoheavy at 7:37 AM on May 12, 2016

I see that you & your husband just visited Ft. Lauderdale & Key West in March. If you're using that visit as the basis for defining "Florida lifestyle", I'll nth everyone else pointing out that different areas of Florida can be very different culturally and socially and economically. Loving Ft. Lauderdale (and especially Key West, which is definitely its own unique thing) is not much of a sign that you will love Ft. Myers. You need to actually visit Ft. Myers before you make a decision.

(Source: spent 10 years in SE Fla, still have friends & family there.)
posted by soundguy99 at 8:57 AM on May 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

I grew up in Ft. Myers. I found it boring to the utmost degree as a teenager. I no longer live there, and agree that the area is very quiet compared to the Eastern side of South Florida. There's a lot of seasonal residents, a good deal of service industry people, and if you work in health care, there's a ton of jobs in that field to care for said elderly seasonal residents.

That said, it was hit pretty hard by the recession, and hasn't really bounced back in the way that my current area (Tallahassee) has. The closer to Naples you go, the "nicer" it is, but that's because all the wealthy retirees live that way. The northern parts and the more inland areas are less well-off because frankly, they're less desirable (safer in a hurricane, but less pretty). There's also lots of Hispanic growth in the area, and some of previously-mentioned wealthy retirees are not thrilled with the change in diversity.

Anyway, the SWFL area is kind of one long line, with multiple smaller cities along a 90-mile area, along the coast. So yes, there's a Trader Joe's, but it's in Naples. The mall you like is probably in Estero, near the university. If I were going to live in the area again, I'd try to be near the airport and the more southern areas of the city, closer to Estero, depending on where the job was. It's a lot closer to shopping and activities than being in some of the more outlying areas, but also because it's about 45 minutes (60 in rush hour) to get to a lot of places because of that north-south way of commuting, which is brutal. But it's more expensive.

Also: What are you paying in state income taxes in Ohio? Florida has none, so this is something to keep in mind. Feel free to memail me if you've got questions.
posted by PearlRose at 9:02 AM on May 12, 2016

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