It’s been a while since I updated ya’ll on our move from California to Austin. It’s hard to believe we’ve been here for a year already! Today I’m going to cover some common questions I get from readers. Hopefully it will help make your decision a little easier.
Living in Austin – One Year Later
It’s actually been a little over a year now, but who’s counting? With 14 months of Austin living under our belt, I can safely say I’m really grateful that we moved here for several reasons:
- Our home is perfect for quarantining. We’ve spent a good portion of the summer, bobbing around in the pool or playing in the garden (my new favorite hobby).
- It’s really easy to socially distance in the burbs. We live in a great neighborhood where people respect each other by keeping a safe distance when walking in the neighborhood. Most of us don’t wear masks when we’re outside, but we’re far enough apart that it’s safe.
- The reduction in the cost of living has enabled us to save a TON more while still maintaining a good quality of life.
- We have the opportunity to influence the voting direction here in Texas. In California, voting blue is a given. Here, we have a chance to create a purple state. I love that.
The top 10 things I’ve learned in our first year of Austin Living:
- People here are genuine and kind.
- Austinites really do covet the weirdness that Austin is known for.
- The restaurant scene is better than any city in California (LA, San Francisco or San Diego). By better I mean, more interesting, more affordable and more creative.
- Not all summer’s are unbearably hot. Our first summer was intolerable. This year, it’s been much better. Although we did have days that hit 100 degrees or more, they were minimal.
- Weekend destinations are way less interesting than in California
- The bugs are next level here.
- Tacos, bourbon and queso are 100% worth the calories
- It’s a lot cheaper to have an LLC here than it is in California ($400 here vs $800 there) and not paying state income tax is well, pretty freaking awesome.
- Housing is affordable, property tax is not so much.
And the most important thing I’ve learned living in Austin for a year…..
10. It’s really hard to meet new people during a pandemic.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve found this to be a hard one to deal with. There are no meet ups, no casual coffee dates or lunches, and no reason to collide with like-minded people. Add to that, we’re all wearing masks these days, so it’s hard to connect with a new person when you can’t see their entire face.
I bring this up as a critical point as most people don’t put enough thought into social connections when making a move to a new city. In fact, studies show 30 to 50% of people who move, often regret doing so.
Let’s face it, moving is hard! It’s also expensive and takes a ton of precious time and energy. On the upside, as my mother always said, you know what it’s like to live where you are, so why not try something new?
Change is good. It challenges you and makes life interesting. I think you just need to be in the right headspace about it.
It also helps not to do it during a pandemic.
Bottom line on the moving to Austin
It was a good move, even though we both miss our friends. Ironically, even my friends are missing each other because nobody is going anywhere or seeing anyone these days. So we have set up a weekly zoom happy hour to reconnect and it’s freaking awesome.
The other great thing is that this move has essentially made us financially independent. Yep, now we work because we want to (and because there is literally nothing else to do these days).
Being financially independent is a great feeling, but it comes with a contingency. That is, if we ever decide to move back to our beloved California, we will have to give up our FI status.
Should you move to Austin?
I get this question now and again and I always say the same thing…. Why not? Life is short and adventure builds character. I’m inclined to add that California will always be there, but given the fire situation, that might not be the case.
It’s interesting that California and New York have been the top two desirable destinations in the US for a long time, but 2020 has flipped that on it’s head. Now everyone seems to be filtering out of these expensive areas for more space, less cost and slower pace of life.
What about you? Are you a California die-hard or will you opt for something different in the next 12 months?