East Coast Living – Is It Really That Bad?

West Coast Mountains, Lake TahoeAny rational person would agree that living on the West Coast is better than living on the East Coast.  Anybody who tells you otherwise probably has never experienced West Coast living long enough to understand the difference.  I’m rational, and I’ve lived on both sides for many years and I don’t believe there’s really much of a debate. Who doesn’t want to live in more moderate temperatures where the sun is always shining? Unless you like super cold winters and uncomfortably muggy summers, the East Coast isn’t for you.

When your family and friends are on the East Coast, it’s hard to leave I understand. We’re afraid of change. I know I am. But, this is not a post to bash the East Coast. This is a post to understand what truly makes the East Coast and other uncomfortable climate zones special.

A friend of mine is thinking about relocating from San Francisco to New York City or Washington DC for a little bit of adventure. I think she’s a little nuts leaving our California sunshine behind and I’m trying to understand why, and maybe even why not.


1) Richer history. Since the Europeans first invaded the East Coast of America, there is a much richer heritage as evidenced by more developed infrastructure and building architecture. Museums are more prevalent, and attractions are more interesting.

2) Closer to Europe. It’s easy to get a direct flight to Europe that’s also cheaper and quicker. Who doesn’t love to visit the bright lights of Paris, and the bustle of London every once in a while?

3) Time Zone Dominance. American TV and major broadcasts still revolves around eastern standard time. The stock market market opening at 9:30am, the French Open finals at 9am, and World Cup matches at 7am are all examples of major events serving the eastern time zone.

4) Food. Certain foods such as hot pastrami sandwiches, pizza, and cheese-steaks always seem tastier on the east coast for some reason. Perhaps there’s no real difference, other than the fact that when you eat a hot pastrami sandwich at Katz’s deli in NYC, it’s just more authentic given the history.

5) Less Earthquakes. Earthquake danger is overrated in California given the infrequency of large shakes. That said, the danger still exists.  I’d much rather have a big earthquake every 30 years than tornadoes and hurricanes every year. Sorry, I lied! Stand strong Virginia and East Coasters, stop making fun of us Californians!

6) There’s Only Upside. Imagine if you were born and raised in Kauai. What a drag to leave! Once you live on the east coast, anywhere else you go will be so much better!


1) The weather is horrible. Too hot and muggy during the summer, too cold and dreary during the winter. If there’s going to be snow, at least have some snowboardable mountains. Only the Fall is beautiful.

2) Damaging storms. Without fail, there always seems to be a blizzard or a violent hurricane every year which wreaks havoc on property and financial well-being.

3) Terrible for allergies. Anybody who is highly sensitive to any allergen should consider leaving the East Coast. I suffered from tremendous allergies while living in the East Coast for 10 years, and as soon as I moved to San Francisco, my allergy attacks all but went away. Perhaps there’s something in the trees or the pollution.


I really am trying to see the positives of living on the East Coast with my six examples. However, I have to admit I’m struggling to find more reasons. The weather is atrocious for half the year, and it would take quite a premium to leave California. Won’t you help share some of your reasons as to why the East Coast is so wonderful?

Follow up: West Coast Living – Yes It Really Is That Much Better!


Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”


Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship. Sam focuses on helping readers build more income in real estate, investing, entrepreneurship, and alternative investments in order to achieve financial independence sooner, rather than later.

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  1. Alyssa says

    The gap between cost of living and income is a lot larger in CA than it is in other parts of the country. I’ve been in San Diego for 12 years, and I’m chomping at the bit to leave.

    • Vaughn says

      Don’t even talk to me about the cost of living! Pay on the east coast doesn’t even reach $10 a hour,
      Inside of Seattle, WA the pay is $15 minimum wage. And a lower cost of living in the rest of Washington than Virginia and Washington’s minimum wage is $10!
      Literally the cost of living over there is ridiculous, you can’t find a 2 bedroom apt in Virginia for less than $2000 a month and that’s equally ridiculous

  2. Jimmy M. says

    No mention of the terrifying fact that California does not have the water supply to sustain the population growth. And never has. People are blaming the drought, but the past century has been wetter than the past many thousands of years there. It’s a desert! And you are a water based life form. The problem is population growth in an area that can’t sustain it.

    Now I agree the weather is great, even in winter. I love San Diego. However, I’ve heard of problems with dry skin, dry eye, etc from low humidity. Especially from people who live inland. A little rain is very healthy for humans.

    You mentioned earthquakes, but what about wildfires? On the East Coast, no one can accidentally set the whole county on fire so bad you can see it from space. Plants grow green there.

    Lastly, Southern California is among the highest cost of living in the country. No prob if you’re bringing in the dough, but it’s worth a mention.

    • kely says

      But yet they ( people from california who degrades anything not in their state) keep saying how much better it is with its perfect ( sunny no rain drought producing ) weather is.

  3. Suzey says

    I’m sorry but I can’t help but laugh reading this article and the posts. I grew up in England and have lived in So Cal (20yrs) Colorado (8yrs), Vancouver WA and throughout Europe. You could never, ever pay me to move back to So Cal.

    There are things far more important than weather in life. I found the people to be the shallowness, most superficial I’ve ever encountered. How irritating to see how much people judge you by your clothing, your car, your income… Living in 3 different houses, the neighbors kept to themselves. Very little sense of community and genuineness. I didn’t realize how much I’d adapted to that cold mentality until my mother visited from England. After going to a popular and upscale mall, her comment was “Suzey, what is wrong with all the employees here? They smile at you but it seems so forced and not warm or genuine, like they couldn’t care less whether I bought something or not from their store? It was a culture shock to her how plastic the people were in general.

    Traffic? You haven’t experienced hell until you’ve had to do the daily traffic on the 101/405. Heat? Unbearable in the summer. Valleys regularly around 95-100° stifling heat for a good 3 months. In fact, this past March when I visited family it was 92… ugh. I couldn’t wait to leave. It has only one season. Over 4 years car was broken into multiple times (Calabasas and Westlake Village – very nice areas! ). I wouldn’t leave my doors unlocked ever in my home, yet in Castle Rock, CO and Vancouver, WA (and other places I’ve lived) I leave my doors unlocked all the time.

    Colorado was like a different planet in comparison – genuine warmth and caring neighbors. Ditto for Vancouver, WA. Chapel Hill, NC has some of the nicest and friendliest people I’ve ever encountered and friends absolutely love it there. I much prefer the weather there too. The tech center in Raleigh there is booming – hubby landed a tech job for $160k easily. We are really enjoying exploring life there.

    I consider friendly, caring people that are genuine, a safe place to live with very low crime where locking your doors is not an absolute necessity, not scorching summer temps where it rains do rarely the landscape is arid and brown, and a sense of community, really important and a rarity in Southern California.

    But that’s just me!

      • Suzey says

        Yes totally – my apologies. I was more replying to the plethora of California comments ☺ Although I’d forgotten to mention the serious and continual drought issue there too.

      • kely says

        Hows that drought of yours comming along with all that “beautiful sunny perfect “weather you all have. Hummm im seeing wayyy too many bad driving cars here with california tags. Transplants leaving for a better life in the midatlantic states no doubt. Lawn is green because of the “rain” we recived. No inground lawn sprinklers needed here.

    • Robin says

      Wow, I’m so glad I’m not the only one that seems to think that way. I couldn’t agree with you more. The best thing about california is the weather and that’s it….Traffic all the time, smog, stuck up people who think they are better than everyone. High rent, to many people and not unuff space, not even for any wild animals to live, because they keep building and building so more people can live here. Some people don’t even speak English and hard to trust anyone out here..I’m moving out of here within the next year,was thinking NC. I’m not to sure, I have family in NH but thought NC might be milder winters on me. I’m a single mom and just looking for the best place to live where we are happy, safe and don’t have to be rich and famous.. lol.

  4. Lucas says

    I’ve lived in NJ for 20 years, I’m tired of it. freezing temperature in the winter, too much snow (each year seems to be worse) humid summer, it’s always raining (I think we have just as much rain as in Seattle) High property tax (about 2%) Allergy makes me very uncomfortable. Further away from Asia, fewer population of Asian thus more expensive authentic Chinese/Taiwanese food. I know earthquake sux, but I grew up in Taiwan, Taiwan is earthquake zone and we all live in high rise building! above post mention dry skin, I have dry skin in the winter b/c of heat. Not much outdoor activities in the winter (except skiing which i don’t do much) Sam, I agreed with your post 100%

  5. Austin says

    I think its funny how everyone confines the east coast to New York and DC. How about Virginia, The Carolinas and Georgia. The best city to live in on the east coast in my opinion is Charleston. Great heritage, great food, wonderful weather and nice mix of southern culture with city lifestyle. How about the many great cities in Florida, Georgia or VA? All of which are very reasonable places to live price wise and trump the Northeast or west coast in my opinion.

    • kely says

      I agree Austin but I have experienced the geographical and demographic ignorance of people born and raised in California. Ex: on a visit back to Washington DC a native californian upon seeing the US Capital building stated” is this your state capital building?” another one visiting stated ” you all have a lot of trees how can you see anything” and prior to visiting here argured with me that. ” you all have rain in the summer? You are wierd. Its no suppose to rain in the summer” ..Thats to name a few of a native californian sayings….enjoy your drought ca

  6. jay says

    I say great for the negative comments about California….Keep more people out of my beautiful, sunny state

    • kely says

      The drought is doing that. Keep your no water dried up overated state. And as for the negitive comments look at the arrogant name of the article ” East Coast living..is it really that Bad? ” or ” West Coast living…its that much better” Hey dummy the 2 articles are based on primarily california bashing all other states. What did you expect?

  7. Paul Leo says

    Grew up in NJ, lived in NYC for next 20 years, then in San Diego from 2001 to 2009, now back in Jersey. Of COURSE San Diego is wonderful, cool and sunny in summer, warm and sunny in winter. What’s not to like? But – I missed the seasons. Esp fall and winter. I LOVE autumn, when the leaves change colors and the nights get crispy, and the first frosts come. And I love winter, I love snow and ice and cold, COLD mornings down around zero. The world in January and the world in July are so, SO different where you have seasons. And you have to suffer through suffocatingly hot, humid summers to appreciate those first cool September air masses, that rush down from the north and cleanse everything, just as you have to suffer through 50″ of snow, and daytime highs of 10 degrees to really APPRECIATE the first 70 degree day in March or April. So, for me, I definitely prefer the East Coast. But I can’t knock the West. (Except for never being able to find broccoli rabe in the supermarkets regularly in California!)

  8. says

    In general I have to agree, the West Coast is great, especially for weather , access to the outdoors, and beautiful scenery. Once you are there it is hard to leave

    Having lived both, I can give you some positives for the East Coast, since you asked:

    1) The classic four well defined seasons. I can’t stand the humidity in the summer, and not everybody loves the winter, but I can’t deny how great it is to see the seasons change over time with such contrasts between them.

    2) “Culture” whatever that may mean. It’s a hard word to define, but if you like theater and such, the history and “old money” on the East Coast means there is more of it. Of course, if you want to see a bunch of weird one-man/woman shows, San Francisco and Berkeley are the places to be :)

    3) More urban. Unfortunately a lot of West Coast towns developed around the automobile. Sprawl and car centric lifestyles are a bit too common because of that (not that there isn’t a lot of that on the East Coast too.. but slightly less).

    4) You can swim in the water. The beaches on the west coast are nice.. but it’s wet suit weather all year round.

    Don’t get me wrong, the west coast is great. It was hard for me to think of a fifth reason ;)

  9. Julieann says

    Born and raised in southern California and I’m a surfer girl. My husband and I both have Masters degrees. I’m in Healthcare and he is in a niche consulting career. We make over 250k a year combined and have imnaculate credit and cannot afford to buy a house in California because our cost of living is so high.

    We now have a child which makes the dream of ever buying a house impossible now.

    If you already own, or have rich parents to buy you a home it may work for you but given that the average cost of a 1400 Sq foot home in any decent (not good just decent) neighborhood starts at 500k (no joke) we can’t afford it.

    Health insurance, gas prices, utility prices, car insurance all break the bank here.

    Bottom line….sure we have sunshine but you will most likely never get to enjoy it because you will be too exhausted from being wirked to the bone to keep a roof over your head and food in your mouth.

    • says

      May I ask why a $500-$750k house isn’t affordable on a $250k salary? With today’s rates, people can easily afford 3x their gross salary.

      Is it the 20% down payment you find most difficult?

    • kely says

      Wow…..sounds like the DMV. ( District of Coulumbia, Maryland, Virginia)as far as incomes and cost of homes here. Wayyyyy to many transplants here. A lot from Texas and California tags here. Tooo many ,go back lol


  1. […] I have been everywhere, and it is clear to me that San Francisco is one of the cheapest cities in the world based on its wealth creating potential. So many of my friends who live in New York City or around the country like to say that the median rent and home price in San Francisco are our country’s highest. It’s simply not true. Rent and property prices in Manhattan are the highest AND they only get to enjoy the outside for six months a year! Related: East Coast Living: Is It Really That Horrendous? […]

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