You can’t deny that California is one of the most exciting places to live. You get to enjoy world-class cities, a wealth of job opportunities, and great weather (in most places). Of course, each of those bullet points has an equal-and-opposite counterpoint; the densely populated cities can be overwhelming, there’s a lot of competition for work, and the mild climate makes for a unique culture that could be off-putting for newcomers.
No matter! Whether you’re moving to California for school or for your career, know that any woman can survive and thrive in the Golden State. Here’s how.
One of the best things about California is that it’s home to one of the world’s largest economies; the state’s gross domestic product is higher than many developed countries. That’s great news for you because it means there’s a lot of amazing career opportunities you can pursue. Nearly every industry is present in California, so you can take your pick.
Unfortunately, the big economy also means there’s fierce competition for jobs. Be sure to spruce up your resume, and use online job boards to apply for work. Also be sure that you refine your LinkedIn profile: add as many of your old colleagues to your network as you can, get some professional headshots done, and update all your work experience. If you want to put yourself above the competition, it helps to have a LinkedIn profile that reflects positively on your professional image and experience.
Don’t have a college degree? You might consider enrolling in a California Community College. California has a great community college system that offers affordable associate degrees and provides you the opportunity to transfer to one of the state’s many prestigious universities. Most CC’s offer flexible class times so you’ll be able to schedule your classes around work.
Tip: Why work for someone else? With a terrific market at your fingertips, California is the perfect place to launch an enterprise of your own.
The most difficult thing about living in California is the cost of living: the mild climate tax is real. Do some research on the California state tax rate to find out how much you can expect to pay.
Most people can afford to pay for groceries, rent, and all those other living costs. What’s tough about living in California, though, is saving money. You’ll lose so much of your money to housing costs and taxes that you won’t have a lot leftover for savings contributions.
Get in the habit of making smaller contributions that don’t won’t take too much money away from your checking account—just be sure to make these consistently. You should also open an IRA or CD (depending on what you’re saving for) so you won’t be able to touch any of the money you put away for long-term savings.
Housing is extremely expensive in California—especially in cities like San Francisco—and you might find it difficult to make a large down payment on even a modest-sized home. Consider taking advantage of an FHA loan, which requires only a small down payment. Just try and get your debt paid down in advance, because an FHA loan has a higher interest rate that’s more taxing on your income.
Lots of Californians have roommates because it makes rent significantly cheaper. Thankfully, a number of apps and platforms allow you to find compatible roommates online.
California is a great state for dating because there are just so many people to choose from—unless you’re living in one of the agricultural communities. But if you’re in a big city or a suburb, you basically have a massive buffet of potential baes. There’s even a dating scene for introverted women.
Online dating is popular, so now might be the time to re-activate your Tinder profile.
Living costs can be intimidating in Cali, but don’t let them keep you from having fun! There are so many exciting things to do, from sports, to nightlife, to entertainment. There’s also a wide variety of climates in California, especially in SoCal—in some places you can hit the surf and the slopes in the same day. And since the weather is great all year, you’ll be able to do all these exciting things nonstop from summer to summer.
That’s all there is to it! Hope your Golden State years are your best years!