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Why wouldn't this cost of living hack work for California?

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myoglobin has 11 years experience as a ASN, BSN and specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro.

2,967 Visitors; 274 Posts

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Right now we live in Florida (put aside that I'm in school to be a PMHNP and that my wife currently works from home as one). If we went back to "bedside" why couldn't we live in Vacaville and commute to San Francisco (we each have about 10 years ICU experience) or live in Carson City Nevada and commute to Sacramento (or at least I could my wife could keep her current home based PMHNP, telemedicine job).  In this way we could benefit from the high California pay (currently I make $45,00 no benefits working nights in the ICU) while minimizing the higher cost of living.  Actually, I think living in Nevada and commuting to Sacramento might be the better bet even with relatively less pay in Sacramento than San. Fran.  Currently, although I only live 32 miles from work in Orlando it takes me about an hour going one direction, but two hours with traffic going home.  

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klone has 13 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership.

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You realize that the commute from Carson City to Sacramento is like 3 hours (one way), right?

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myoglobin has 11 years experience as a ASN, BSN and specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro.

2,967 Visitors; 274 Posts

That would be a bit of a challenge. Thus, I would probably plan for three 12's in a row and stay either in a cheap motel or get a small camper with A/C (think micro mini pulled with SUV) and stay in a campground. The San Fran. Vacaville option might still apply, of course there is the 8% or so California income tax to consider. 

Edited by myoglobin

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not.done.yet has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

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I have a girlfriend that lives in Nevada who had to commute to Sacramento for grad school. She ran into problems when it was the snowy season. Just something to be aware of. Sometimes the mountain passes are not passable.

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verene specializes in mental health, hospice.

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Make that a 3 hour drive in good traffic / good weather. Driving from Carson City to Sacramento involves going over the Sierra's - either over I-80 via Donner Summit or US-50 via Echo Summit, both passes are subject to foul weather in winter and may close due to heavy snow, avalanche danger, and high winds.

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myoglobin has 11 years experience as a ASN, BSN and specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro.

2,967 Visitors; 274 Posts

Is there a "better commute" from anywhere where it is reasonable to live in Nevada to anywhere where it is reasonable to work in California?

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myoglobin has 11 years experience as a ASN, BSN and specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro.

2,967 Visitors; 274 Posts

Ok, now I've got it we could live in the border town of Primm Nevada, and I could commute to Victorville California which is around two hours each way. Plus I don't think snow would be a problem.  Plus, from the picture it looks like there is a nice casino in town (waterpark as well?) and some quaint mountains in the background.  Probably, could do some gold prospecting on my off time.

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klone has 13 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership.

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A 2-hour commute (1 way). What's so magical about Nevada?

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Hi myoglobin. 

Reno to Sacramento would be a more feasible option than Carson City would. Reno is only a two hour commute to SAC. 

Forget about Primm. It is a tiny podunk town on the border that people are leaving and it is losing population. I am not positive on this, but I believe if you live in a different state, but still work in CA, you are subject to paying their state income taxes, which are the highest in the nation. Based off that, it sounds like a wash.

Have you considered Las Vegas, NV? I am a resident and we do not have state income tax in our state. The wages in LV are quite high and are not far behind wages in the SAC area. Our wages here are comparable to So. Cal. It would not make sense to commute to the Victorville/Hesperia region. Las Vegas wages exceed what they offer there. If you are working per diem in Las Vegas hospitals, your hourly wage is equal to the wages in the Sac area.          ( >$55/hr). This is what I currently do and I'm happy to give you more information in a PM.  

If you are determined to work in CA, with the accompanying taxes and headache of a regular commute, then I suggest your original idea of working in the Bay Area, and then finding a coworker who would let you crash on their couch for a few nights or you could pay them to use an extra room in their place. That way you could pocket quite a bit more of your net income. 

Also please keep in mind that the CA BON has the slowest licensure endorsement processing times in the nation, and it can often exceed three months to obtain a license. Good luck!

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verene specializes in mental health, hospice.

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19 minutes ago, klone said:

A 2-hour commute (1 way). What's so magical about Nevada?

This.... you need to factor in the cost of the commute, wear-and-tear on your vehicles, loss of personal time, maintenance costs, costs of staying in a hotel, etc.  Also consider factors like sales tax, income tax, etc which may end up being paid twice if you are working across state lines - some times it works out really well, but sometimes you can get screwed by taxes doing this.

If you are trying to factor high pay against lower cost of living it may make a lot more sense to simply live a state where the pay is a little lower, and the COL reasonable for overall better quality of life.  Maybe consider Oregon as a middle ground?  COL outside of the major metro areas is very reasonable, and pay for RNs (and PMHNPS!) is high (though not bay-area high).

Or consider working in Los Vegas, and commuting from an outlying town? Pay is good and COL isn't bad if you aren't right in Vegas.

Unless is there a really compelling reason for California specifically? Or a reason you need to live in Nevada? (e.g. family).

Edited by verene

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herring_RN specializes in Critical care, tele, Medical-Surgical.

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I know a nurse who works three 12 hour night shifts in a row every week. She lives in Henderson, Nevada, a suburb of Los Vegas.

She rents a room in a fellow day shift nurse's house to sleep for two days and somehow drives home after her third night shift. Sometimes she takes a flight instead. 

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DisneyNurseGal has 8 years experience as a BSN, RN.

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No one lives in Primm.  There is no housing, grocery stores, or services.  Everyone commutes from Vegas.  What you are going to save in Income tax you will waste in time and gas.  Not to mention Primm to Victorville can be a 4 hour drive during holiday times with people going to and from Vegas.

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