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Six Signs It Is Time To Move Out Of California

moving states checklist

California, the golden state, has amazing coastlines, vibrant culture, and, oh my, the food! But there comes a time when the California magic dissipates, and the math no longer adds up.


The cost of everything is at the ultimate high right now, and the money can go further elsewhere.


If you are considering whether to leave California, here are six signs it is time for a change:


1. High cost of living


One of the main reasons people consider moving out of California is the high cost of living. From high housing prices to everyday expenses, California consistently ranks as one of the most expensive states in the United States. If you find a high percentage of your income is being swallowed by rent or mortgage, it is time to move out.


Rent in San Francisco for a one-bedroom and one-bath can be a mortgage payment for a three-bedroom, three-bath, and a large backyard. The rule of thumb is to spend only 30% of your monthly income on housing.


2. Housing market challenges


The California housing market is so competitive. Median houses in main San Francisco are well above the national average. If it seems impossible to own your dream home or pay a lot in rent, relocating to a state with a more favorable housing market could be the best decision for you.


Start researching what your dream home can look like outside of California, and you will be blown away. You do not need a million dollars to own a decent home elsewhere. It all comes down to what is important to you right now.


3. State taxes


California is known for its high taxes! Including income tax, property tax, and sales tax. If you feel this is weighing heavy on your finances, consider moving to states with lower taxes. States that do not have income state tax are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.


Moving to one of these states and having a remote job in California automatically raises your salary. Meaning you will no longer pay state income tax in California. Of course, this assumes your salary does not change based on location.


If you are unsure how much income tax you are paying, I suggest you look at your next pay stub and see what and how much is being deducted from your paycheck. You will be surprised! It is a lot of money.


4. Quality of life and personal well-being


The fast-paced lifestyle and high demands of living in California can affect your mental and physical health. If you are experiencing burnout, stress, or dissatisfaction with your overall quality of life, it might be time to move to a place that offers a slower pace and a healthier work-life harmony.


Think relaxation, less stress, and a calming environment. You can unlearn behaviors you had to adapt to fit into the “normal 9-5 schedule”. You can decide to live a life you want to create versus defaulting to “what you should do.” This is your sign to press reset on your life and put your happiness and well-being first.


5. Seeking a different lifestyle


Sometimes, the decision is solely based on wanting a different lifestyle. And that is okay! You can live in a different country every two months or choose a quiet life in the Pacific Northwest. Follow your intuition because we do not see enough people chasing new beginnings and instead live a life of regret. The beauty of being in control is that you can make these choices.


Your lifestyle can change, and it does not have to be permanent. If you do not like your new location, you can always return.


6. Strengthen your financial health


Ultimately, all the above reasons lead you to strengthen your financial health. Assuming the location where you move has a lower cost of living, you have more disposable cash to give direction to. Moving can help you save, pay off debt faster, and increase your investment contribution.


You can meet your personal goals of expanding your family or owning a home. The options seem slim in California, whereas you have different growth opportunities in other states.


Make sure you are setting your financial goals so that you give your money direction accordingly.


How it looked like for me:


I moved from San Francisco to Washington State. I was renting a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment with no yard for $3,200. I have three dogs, and I know I needed a backyard for them and a bigger home, but the rent for a two-bedroom apartment with a backyard was nearly $5,000.


My husband and I decided to move to Washington State, and we bought a home with a mortgage of $3,500. We would not have been able to afford this home in San Francisco. We both had remote jobs when we moved, and our salary did not change due to location. We both had a huge salary increase because we were not paying income tax in California. We are talking about nearly $2,000 extra each month combined.


We love our new home state! We enjoy paddle boarding in the summers, and the lake is ten minutes from our house. A day at the lake in the Bay Area is an all-day adventure because the lakes are about a 2-hour minimum drive each way.


If I had to decide to move, I would do it all over again! My life has slowed down significantly, and I am filled with joy daily. I do not miss the fast-paced lifestyle in San Francisco!


When we work together:


  • I help you think about your dream life and set action steps to get you there
  • I help you create a plan for your money so that you stay on track for your move
  • I help you enjoy your life now while you work on your financial goals and plan for your future


If this resonates with you, I invite you to work with me! It would be an honor to be part of your move from California to your dream life. Book a sales call.


I cannot wait to meet you!

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Orlenda Cortez

Welcome to my corner on the internet! I’m obsessed with using money as a tool because it led me to pay off $30K in consumer debt in a year and a half, helped me save $20K in nine months to have my dream wedding in Costa Rica and is helping me build the life I never saw my family experience. Now I want to help others do the same!

Orlenda Cortez
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