I'm outta here! Right?
April 10, 2008 6:28 PM   Subscribe

I want to move from Texas to California. I need advice on whether or not this can/should be done within a year. Tons of questions! Help me be realistic!

I'm back for more advice!
I've been thinking seriously about moving to California. I think about it nearly everyday and have been wanting to go for a long time. The end of last year I started planning cause I seriously want to go. My plan changed a few times but this is what it is right now:

-My plan is to continue working full time right now.
-I wont be able to get my Physical Therapy hours in that I know of due to all the working I'm hoping to do but I can take my pre-reqs for my masters while I'm here. This will also put my student loans on hold. (SL is 11,000 approx)
-I'll be moving to Houston in order to get a higher paying job. I'm not sure exactly when I'll be moving. Hopefully early this year.
-I will be able to pay off my credit card in a year depending on the job situation so I wont leave with that debt hopefully. (ccd is 1500)
-I'm planning to get an account with ING to put money into to earn interest till I'm ready to use it.
-I'm going to register my car out there in Houston and get 3500 dollars to help me get a Prius with their program in hopes that I wont have to alter a car once I get to CA for the emissions standards. I have to read more on this though. The program also helps to get a non hybrid car though I don't know which is smarter in the long run. I have to be registered for a year before I can get the car.
-I have a friend there who has suggested we move in together to save money. I've known this friend online for almost a year or a little more. She's also friends with some other friends one of whom I've met and hung around with while in CA. My fear is that I will get there and the plan will fall through and I'll be stuck out cause I'm not from there. She is.
-We are looking at the San Fernado Valley area or around there somewhere which I'm told is expensive.

This plan starts as soon as I get it a little more set in stone and I'm hoping to take my first step to get out there physically in May of next year. July at the very latest. I want to be out there at least a year since that will help me to be able to register for school if I choose to stay and take any more pre-reqs and get my masters there if I still want to.

What I need to know is:
-is my plan any good? Should I just stay here and get my degree instead?
-Is there anything that I'm leaving out that I should thoroughly consider?
-Should I move in with this friend or just depend on myself and live close?
-How hard is it to find a job in a different state? I don't know of any basic jobs that would transfer. I have worked with children for over ten years and just Tuesday decided to watch children in my home full time, I put an ad up and have gotten several responses. How hard would that be out there? I have a degree in Dance and can open a studio for children and teach but that would be a last resort as I don't like to teach.
-I'm also hoping to start some certifications namely a Doula cert. Would people be willing to let me work with them even though I'm not from there?
-If your 22 year old wanted to move from Houston to California what would you tell them? I'd like to know anything at all.

Thank you!
posted by grablife365 to Grab Bag (14 answers total)
Response by poster: Oh, I'm also planning on moving myself there. So I shouldn't have to worry much about renting or getting a mover.
posted by grablife365 at 6:38 PM on April 10, 2008

I'm sorry this does not sound realistic. You are moving to CA with no job, no plan, and what plan you do have has conditions. I would recommend that if it's cheaper and more likely to happen that you stay in TX until you finish a teaching credential in art education, which you will need if the the CA laws on home-schooling are not upheld in the supreme court (they would ban home-based education unless the teacher was state certified); and get a cert as a Doula, or simply go study midwifery. It's going to save you a lot of heartbreak. CA is nice, but's it's also very expensive depending on where you want to be. I know many people who have come out here with a big dream and unrealistic goals and found themselves very depressed, essentially homeless, and unable to get their dreams together to do anything.

Come to CA because you unconditionally want to make it.
posted by parmanparman at 6:44 PM on April 10, 2008

Can you link to your previous question? You have a lot of details but it's rather thin on context ... and perhaps this is just a writing style you have, but reading this post you sound all over the place. I have this image of you showing up in California with a suitcase and a plan but no idea how to implement it.

Obviously, you could pack up tonight and drive out to California tomorrow. But it will be a lot easier finding a good job and making money with a professional license or some sort of degree that you plan on using (dancing doesn't count because you say you hate to teach.) So, without being supplied more info, I'd say you should wait. If you really were able to move out there and make it work, I don't think you'd need to be writing this question first.
posted by Happydaz at 6:54 PM on April 10, 2008

Response by poster: http://ask.metafilter.com/80698/What-do-I-do-now-that-Ive-graduated
Thats the previous question.

I'm not hoping to teach in home. Its childcare like infants kind of thing. Its overly done here so I wondering about it out there.

I'm planning on moving in over a year after I move to Houston and work and get some things settled. As far as a pro license and that type of thing, that is a good idea. I'll look that.
posted by grablife365 at 7:02 PM on April 10, 2008

I moved from Houston to Riverside, California a year and a half ago for graduate school. My school pays fro me to be here so I can't answer the job part of your question. Pretty much anywhere out here is much more expensive than living in Houston, but I think for the most part jobs pay more (Min wage for example is certainly higher here than the national min Houston has). Here in Riverside living in a one bedroom apartment seems to cost at minimum around 850/month for something that would cost 550ish/month in Houston. On top of that Riverside is supposedly cheap for California so your results may vary. Living with another person would certainly be cheaper, but it's up to you whether you trust your online friend or not.

Car registration is expensive here and you are of course supposed to re-register your car when you move, but I know people who have out of state plates and have lived here for years with no consequence so take that how you will. A recent Prius should have no trouble passing inspections here even though they are certainly more stringent here than in Texas (I mean come on, it's a Prius).

The trip from Houston to LA is two 12 hour days minimum and might be better done in three days if driving by yourself. El Paso and Las Cruzes are both around the midpoint and have cheapish motels.

I miss Houston, but the weather here is much nicer and the mountains and palm trees are very pretty.

The question is a bit broad and I don't know if any of my answer was helpful for any part of it. Good luck.
posted by DanielDManiel at 7:06 PM on April 10, 2008

I think you need to:

• talk to your friend in California about how firm her offer to move in is, especially given that you are considering running a child care business out of your shared living quarters. You need to talk to her about that idea upfront. If she is also in her early 20s, I'd imagine sharing a place with a bunch of ankle-biters underfoot during the day would be a sub-optimal roommate situation.

• research the California requirements (licensing, liability insurance) for home based day care. I know a lot of people here do it unlicensed and under the table. Not too many of them make much more than minimum wage, compared to those who go through proper licensing and bonding. Also, like any other small business owner, you need to pay attention to the business end. Many don't and fail.

• imagine a real day for you: San Fernando Valley is commuter-ville, you can expect your child care hours lasting into the early evening while parents battle L.A. traffic home. If you are on childcare duty until 6 or 7 pm, will you have enough time to get to class? When will you have time to study? Eat? Socialize? Block out the hours on a sheet of paper and see exactly how this all breaks down.

• select your school for your masters based upon the best school you can get into for your field of study, not based upon the school which happens to be nearby. Then, move there. If the school happens to be in CA, check the residency requirements. California's UC/State university system imposes a hefty tuition on out-of-state students. I believe you have to live here a full year before the schools consider you a CA resident.
posted by jamaro at 7:34 PM on April 10, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the response, jamaro. The childcare idea is just something floating in my head right now and may not even happen but you have valid points on it that I'm going to write down.
I'm heading out there and staying a year so that I can meet those residence requirements if necessary. Then I'll either come back home or stay there depending on how I'm feeling about it.
posted by grablife365 at 7:41 PM on April 10, 2008

yeah the valley is expensive. it's also hotter than hell, and smoggy-er than anyplace i've ever been. seriously it's disgusting. also it's far away form pretty much everything, people in LA don't like to leave their neighborhoods so be prepared to do alot of driving if you want to hang out with anyone in the rest of LA. alot of freeway driving which involves alot of standing still. ugh. i would not suggest living in the valley to anyone.

what would i tell my 22 year old about moving from houston to la? i would probibly tell him/her "fuck that! houston is way cooler than LA." 'cause really it is. i love houston.
posted by swbarrett at 7:47 PM on April 10, 2008

oh i forgot to mention: the closer you get to the shore, the better the air quality and temperatures get.
posted by swbarrett at 7:49 PM on April 10, 2008

I'm a 20 year old who recently moved from Houston (Kingwood) to the Monterey Peninsula. The biggest shock you'll get is that the property values here are absurd. I had a friend's house appraised in a kind of slummy part of the neighborhood here in California and it ran for about $700,000. It's about 30 years old, gaudy, 3BR/2BA, and could probably be sold for around $80,000 in Kingwood. So I would never want to buy a house here. Renting is still pretty steep. If you're not adverse to shady neighborhoods, small apartments aren't that outrageous. I lived in an apartment in Kingwood for my last year in high school (1BR/1BA) which was about $700. Looking at apartments in Berkeley for school, it looks like it's at least $300-500 more to get something of similar size of quality. And while the closer you get to the shore, the better the air quality and temperatures get ... keep in mind that the cost of a place to rent also does.

I always thought that California was going to be some sort of promised land (what with the weather, landscape, a real ocean, etc.) but it really just makes me want to move right back to Texas. It seems impractical and too costly to live here when it really doesn't have that much to offer.

That being said, the only reason I am in this place is because of the schools. I threw away my invitation to UT Austin to go to Cal or UCLA instead, because they are superior in terms of quality. And as soon as I get my degrees, I'm pretty sure I'm moving straight back to Texas because I'll be throwing so much money away just on rent where I could be having an even bigger place in Houston and be saving money at the same time. Honestly, I'm not so sure that the childcare market in California is any less saturated than it is in Houston.

It sounds like you're kind of strapped for cash as is, so I don't really see moving to a more expensive place (in nearly every respect - gas is at least $.50/gal more here than in Texas, so factor that in, as well) as an economically wise decision. If you're moving to Houston for a higher paying job, why not just stay?

Here's a link for UC School's definition of "residency."
posted by okaasan at 8:22 PM on April 10, 2008

disclaimer: I have never lived in California.

However, I have moved a lot. I finished university in 2005 and since then have lived and worked in four different cities. Incidentally, it's also been four different countries. It's really really not as hard as you might think. Especially if you decide that it's okay if you're a little less comfortable than you might be if you lived in your home town the rest of your life.

My immediate thought is that you are seriously over-thinking this. Yes, it's good to have a plan. But I know a lot of people who "have plans" and work towards those for a long time until everything is perfect which of course never happens and then they never do it. If this is something you really want to do, something you've been thinking about for a long time, do it sooner rather than later.

Take a few days, I'd say up to two weeks, to really seriously research what it would be like to live in California. Look at monster.com and craigslist and ask.metafilter and local newspapers classifieds sections. Research job availability, salaries, apartments, nightlife, church scene, whatever it is that is important to you in a potential community. Also, talk to anyone you can who has lived out there recently. What did they like? Not like? Remember of course that California is a big state and definitely not homogeneous. Do some places call to you more than others? When you're looking at craigslist for apartment listings, definitely look at the "rooms for rent" section. Every city I have lived in, I have shared an apartment with people, but I've never known them before hand. Sometimes we became great friends, other times no. But that's part of the fun of being young and in a new big city. I bet that after two weeks of research you will have a really good idea of whether or not you really want to go there and, if so, exactly where you want to go.

About jobs. If you are 22 and with a college degree, I'm guessing you just graduated recently. There are lots of jobs out there for recent graduates with not much of a resume. They might not be glamorous. In fact, they might be kind of tedious. I have been a waitress, a short order cook, a data entry clerk, a temp, and a secretary. All of these gave me a salary over the minimum wage. None of them were awesome. All of them had their good points, though. Also, all of them allowed me to live in awesome cities and support myself and have a good time.

Next, car. Do you really need one? I realize that if you want to live in LA, it will be infinitely easier with a car. But do you really want to live in LA? What about San Francisco? I'm not saying you definitely won't need a car. I'm just saying don't assume you definitely will.

Houston. I don't understand why you are moving to Houston. Unless this is a super easy move to a place where you don't need to find an apartment and already have tons of friends, I'd say skip this step and put all your energy into moving to California. That's where you really want to be. Why the delay and the intermediate step?

Money. I agree that moving with debt is a bad idea. I also like the ING accounts. However, 1500 is really not that much of a debt. Also, you need an emergency fund when you move. I usually move with $2000, but maybe you'll need more since everyone is saying California is really expensive? I didn't need more than a $1000 of it in London, but it's always good to have cushion. So to be safe (and since you seem extra cautious), let's say $3000. That can easily get you started. So that's $4,500 total. Make a budget. Look at your total income. Can you increase it? Get a part time job as a waitress on the weekends? Look at your expenses. Since you're not mentioning children and you're 22, I bet your fixed expenses are pretty low and that most of it is discretionary. To make it even more discretionary, can you move in with your folks or other friends that will charge you very low rent for three or four months? I'm almost positive that it won't take you more than six months to get that amount of money together.

Ok, so that's a lot of words up there. What I really want to say is, if this is really your dream (and I'd put in the extra research just to make sure it is), why wait over a year to do it? It's completely possible to do it in the next six months, probably even sooner. Then you can start accruing your residency, looking into grad programs, finding doula training centers, whatever it is you actually want to do with your life. Instead of putting your life off for over a year.

It is possible. Do everything you can to make it happen, and then do it now.
posted by mosessis at 9:12 PM on April 10, 2008

A final note. If you do all this research and decide that no where in California is actually the place for you, don't necessarily give up on the idea of moving. Do you want to explore a little bit before settling down in Texas by default? You should! Research other places. Big city / small town? What kind of weather?* There are lots of cool places in the US. Seattle? Portland? New York City? Chicago? Miami? All of these are possibilities.

*What Color is my Parachute has a pretty good chapter on relocating. It takes you through the thought process of deciding on your ideal location. Check it out from your local library and give it a glance.

and, of course, if you ever want to chat, email's in the profile
posted by mosessis at 9:18 PM on April 10, 2008

If your ultimate goal is to complete a doctorate in Physical Therapy, I would suggest you stay in Houston, which has one of the best medical centers in the States. If your ultimate goal is to run a childcare center in your home, be a yoga instructor, get into interior design, work in a hotel, make jewelry, or design clothes, then it is probably less important to be in Houston.

I would suggest you think about the kind of lifestyle you would like to have when you are thirty-five, fifty-five, and seventy-five years old. Where you live depends a lot on the type of career you have. Your career provides you with income. There is a big difference in how your life will be if you run a childcare center in your home in California or be a physical therapist in Houston.
posted by Houstonian at 9:00 AM on April 11, 2008

Some not entirely polite advice from a friend, who moved from Texas to California to be a physical therapist:
my advise is: they sound a little anal. I dont think i asked any of those questions. I said i want to go - and i went. of course i was about 5 years older and done with school. but seriously, the valley - why bother?
posted by billtron at 10:08 AM on April 11, 2008

« Older Where should I go for the daily news?   |   Night Running? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.