Which state should I move to, Portland, OR, Salt Lake City, UT, Seattle, WA, Austin TX, or Denver, CO?

Aug 26, 2018 88 Comments

Here’s a background about me:

I’m Chinese American. I have a few years in Software Engineering and looking to transition to sales engineering and/or product management roles. I grew up and raised in NYC basically my entire life and I’m looking to relocate for a better quality of life while I can earn more and save more (reason I don’t want to stay in NYC and neither want to go to SF due to cost of living)
A couple of things I choose these location is one of the followings:

* Great weather all year long and amazing national parks around the local area. (I love hiking)
* Tech Job Opportunities (I’m looking to grow my career into the sales engineering and product management path)
* Opportunity to make higher income while saving more money and taxes.
* Opportunity to house hack (not looking to pay high house mortgages that SF and NYC currently has)
* Looking to build a real estate empire

Questions:

* Do anyone have gone through a similar situation and would love to share?
* How would you rank those states to live and work towards the FIRE (Financial independence and Retired Early) path from 1 - 5 (most prefer and least prefer)?
* Any thoughts you can comment on this post?

265 VOTES SELECT ONLY ONE ANSWER
VOTE VIEW RESULT

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TOP 88 Comments
  • Qualtrics / Ops
    qualtricdo

    Qualtrics Ops

    BIO
    Came from non tech to tech.
    qualtricdomore
    Based on what you are saying I think SLC is the choice. You have great access to mountains (most of silicon slopes is right on the mountains, and moan/Zion is a short drive).

    Here's the biggest win though - property is still cheap in utah and the rental market is insane. Very easy to CoC positive with minimal risk. Utah is full of Mormons who have 5 kids each. They all want to stay here. 10 years ago there weren't enough jobs, now there are. Byu and other local universities cause rent prices to fly up. Right now you can buy a house where you can rent out the basement for $1k/mo and the top level for $1300k/mo and it will only cost you 250k. The property market will drop at some point, but because of the aforementioned points, UT is insulated. Plus there is little room left for development in the salt lake valley.

    You will have abetter ability to jump from tech company to tech company in other markets, but Utah has great access to hiking (silicon slopes is in the mountains, Denver is a 1hr drive to mountains) and great (low risk) real estate options. The downsides to SLC are limited tech job hopping and poor air quality
    Aug 26, 2018 14
    • Overstock.com / Eng XDlT03
      +1 but I don’t really agree that you can’t jump around between software engineering roles. Plenty of roles from SLC to 40 miles south in Provo. And jumping around is very feasible and a lot of people do it. Just depends on the tech stack and company culture you want to work in.

      Also, property in SLC is going to cost you the most. It’s creeping up on or about the same as Portland.
      Aug 27, 2018
    • Procore / Eng Hello20014
      I was raised in Austin. Miss it a lot. Would love to move back.
      Aug 28, 2018
  • Denver or Boulder. Forget Austin — too crowded, too edgy, too... something. The Boulder area will give you Google, Uber, Amazon, Microsoft, Salesforce, Workday, SendGrid, Carbon Black, Splunk and so forth.

    Weather isn’t a cakewalk, we have winter, but it’s not like fucking NY. The snow will melt the next day. Also, 300 days of sun. You’ll get an amazing skiing experience, crazy hikes during the winter and several fourteeners.

    I’ll never leave Colorado.
    Aug 26, 2018 1
    • Capital One / Other Krshfi
      I didn’t know that boulder has so many tech companies. Are these Tech/corporate offices? Or only for sales, customer care, etc?
      Aug 26, 2018
  • Overstock.com / Eng XDlT03
    SLC.

    Outdoor (ski, bike, hike, camp) access is better than any of the cities you listed and contrary to popular belief, it’s very Liberal (if you care about that stuff). Also the tech scene is very good, and a tech salary gets you a very big house in the suburbs.
    Aug 27, 2018 9
    • Microsoft TurntAF
      You. Who the fuck says Utah is liberal? It’s one of the most conservative, Republican, religious places in the nation. Clearly you’ve never lived there. Check the data next time https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election_in_Utah,_2016
      Aug 28, 2018
    • Overstock.com / Eng XDlT03
      @TurntAF I am talking about SLC as in Salt Lake City, you dweeb. Not the entire state. Read my comment next time. And currently I do live there 🤙🏻
      Aug 28, 2018
  • Intel !GPTW
    Phoenix Az

    Lower COL Than anywhere listed and higher QOL.
    Aug 26, 2018 2
    • Capital One / Other Krshfi
      Weather not so great
      Aug 26, 2018
    • American Express / Eng Heylo
      Except for summer, AZ weather is prefect especially if one wants to hike.
      Aug 26, 2018
  • Amazon / Eng
    eisenhower

    Amazon Eng

    PRE
    Google
    eisenhowermore
    There's only one place in America with great weather all year long: North California. It also has got great job opportunities, as do every other city in your list (Seattle, Austin, Denver, and a bit less in Portland and Denver). However, while income is high in NoCal, taxes and COL are also really high. BUT! Saving 30% of your income in California is worth more than saving 30% of your income in any other place. WA has no state income taxes, and that's a huge bonus, especially because it also doesn't have capital gains tax. Apart from that, WA is good for house hacking, since there's no rent control. Housing is expensive, though. It's going through a correction right now, but I don't know if it will be significant
    Aug 26, 2018 3
    • Amazon / Eng
      eisenhower

      Amazon Eng

      PRE
      Google
      eisenhowermore
      I'm foreigner, living in Seattle WA.
      Aug 26, 2018
    • Qualtrics / Ops
      qualtricdo

      Qualtrics Ops

      BIO
      Came from non tech to tech.
      qualtricdomore
      No state income tax or capital gains is a huge deal!
      Aug 26, 2018
  • IBM / Eng HGKE00
    Please, no one move to Austin. We're full. We've been full for at least a decade.
    Aug 27, 2018 2
    • Chase / Eng Hustler🔥
      lol if you think austin is crowded, come to nyc and know what crowded really truly is
      Aug 27, 2018
    • IBM / Eng HGKE00
      NYC has a proper bus and subway system. Austin has neither. Everyone new buys a house outside of the city and drives in.
      Aug 27, 2018
  • T-Mobile g3lws9
    Great weather all year round is subjective. Want hot hot weather? Texas has hot hot weather. Weather that is hot is torture to me, as bad as rain or freezing. What is your ideal weather?

    I love 4 seasons, mild Summers, and a winter where I can see some snow but temperatures stay above 35 most the time. Best hiking weather 35 to 50 degrees. What do you like?
    Aug 26, 2018 2
    • Chase / Eng Hustler🔥
      I like spring, fall, summer, don’t like winter but also don’t hate it too much.

      where do you live?
      Aug 26, 2018
    • T-Mobile g3lws9
      East side suburbs, Seattle. Most beautiful place I have been to. It is totally worth your time and money to take 3 or 4 day trips to each city and see what it is like....
      Aug 26, 2018
  • Capital One / Other Krshfi
    Austin has all the things in your list.
    - Almost every big Tech company has a presence there
    - the weather is great for 9/12 months(except summer and even that is bearable if you ask me)
    - Real estate market is good. Very affordable to buy a house in TX
    - Low COL. No state income tax
    - Happening city life with a large young demographic (because of UT Austin)

    The one thing lacking in Austin is the mountains. Although there is still lot of activity in the city like kayaking, hiking, etc.
    Aug 26, 2018 4
    • Capital One / Other Krshfi
      You work in MS Austin?
      Aug 26, 2018
    • Microsoft / Eng
      5’6

      Microsoft Eng

      PRE
      Amazon
      5’6more
      Yeah I work for MS remotely from here
      Aug 26, 2018
  • Capital One / Other Bdhfjuy
    Folks who voted for Denver. Which companies are there in that area?

    I would love to live in Colorado but I feel there are not that many opportunities (especially for engineering/Analyst) roles.
    Aug 27, 2018 3
    • New CiOI38
      Slack is moving a large organization to Denver; Auth0 is as well. Boulder has extensions of some valley companies (eg: FB, Google, Amazon, Github, etc). Those companies tend to host operational (data center) or sales engineering roles here from what I've seen.
      Sep 20, 2018
    • Capital One / Other Dfjsbsj
      Yeah I did see some job postings at Google, Boulder office.
      Sep 20, 2018
  • Microsoft / Eng Harmar
    Not Seattle, we have enough people already.
    Aug 27, 2018 0

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