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Moving from Toronto to Denver?

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  • Jan 14th, 2021 12:51 pm
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[OP]
Jr. Member
Oct 26, 2014
114 posts
72 upvotes
Bradford, ON

Moving from Toronto to Denver?

Hi All,
I wasn't really sure where exactly to post this thread but since it's related to work/career, trying my luck here. My wife and I (along with 2 small kids) are leaning towards trying a new place to live and eyeing Denver, CO as the top candidate. The reasons behind it is (not in any particular priority): company I work for has an office there, lots of outdoor activities, slightly better real estate prices, lower taxes, very good schools, higher income (I'm in IT) milder climate, which seem to equate to a good place to live and raise a family. We don't really have any family here in TO since we are immigrants from Europe, but do have some friends/social life. My wife is a US citizen so already applied for immigration for myself. There are some drawbacks to Denver or US in general namely health insurance (although US has arguably better healthcare overall, lots of other unknowns). We have never visited, but hoping to once pandemic situation allows. I know it's a long shot but has anyone considered/done such move and discovered things in the process and willing to share?
37 replies
Deal Fanatic
Oct 7, 2010
9842 posts
1768 upvotes
Looks like worth a try. Health care is not better here, just free but not really free. Wouldnt be surprise if the health care system will go bust here soon.

All the other requirements like pay and opportunities is better. Then it's a no brainer to go.
Deal Fanatic
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Dec 10, 2004
6552 posts
2240 upvotes
Vancouver
Know a few that moved down south. Not necessary to Denver, but many cities across the States. Most like(d) it. Not everyone stayed. A few returned for stability. You just need to calculate if a salary there after taxes and benefits is worth the switch. A number who stayed cited the better pay and job availability. Those who didn't stay were not citizens so their position there wasn't stable.
I would move if I was in your shoes. It's a good city unlike some others. If your company offers health insurance or if you can pay those and still be in plus then I really don't see many reasons not to move.
Have you been there? I found it to be very dry. Some people also have more headaches due to the altitude. Traffic is not worse then any other large cities( as in bad). Way more homeless than Toronto, but that's for most big cities in USA.
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Deal Addict
Dec 10, 2007
2185 posts
115 upvotes
If you plan to move anywhere (with a family no less), I'd always advice visiting first at least to get an idea if you'd actually like (or not dislike) the place..
[OP]
Jr. Member
Oct 26, 2014
114 posts
72 upvotes
Bradford, ON
dazz wrote: Know a few that moved down south. Not necessary to Denver, but many cities across the States. Most like(d) it. Not everyone stayed. A few returned for stability. You just need to calculate if a salary there after taxes and benefits is worth the switch. A number who stayed cited the better pay and job availability. Those who didn't stay were not citizens so their position there wasn't stable.
I would move if I was in your shoes. It's a good city unlike some others. If your company offers health insurance or if you can pay those and still be in plus then I really don't see many reasons not to move.
Have you been there? I found it to be very dry. Some people also have more headaches due to the altitude. Traffic is not worse then any other large cities( as in bad). Way more homeless than Toronto, but that's for most big cities in USA.
Have never visited, although the thought of living nearby mountains has always intrigued me. I've visited a few major landmarks in Western Canada and absolutely loved it, however Vancouver real estate prices are as or maybe higher than GTA; while Calgary's climate is not exactly what I'm after. Having lived in the Canadian praries (Winnipeg) I am well familiar with how it could be.
Denver's climate offers about 8-9 C degrees average temp higher, mountains, lots of sun besides other advantages. One drawback that I learned recently is air quality. The region experiences 'inversions' just like some areas in Utah.
Has anyone heard about the air quality issues and are there any areas that are better/worse? It seems to be a combination of the oil wells/fracking and mountainous landscape trapping emissions for extended periods of time, especially in winter.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Oct 26, 2014
114 posts
72 upvotes
Bradford, ON
Sepiraph wrote: If you plan to move anywhere (with a family no less), I'd always advice visiting first at least to get an idea if you'd actually like (or not dislike) the place..
Would not do it otherwise, waiting for the green light for USA/CAN border status as will probably make a road trip out of it. I did make it all the way from Des Moines, Iowa to Toronto in one day a few years back, so I imagine in 2 days should make it there :)
Member
Sep 28, 2006
356 posts
280 upvotes
Toronto
Go for it and don't even look back. Most likely you won't even look back. There is mobility in the states, and you will earn 2x what you would earn here having heard from a lot of people. Don't let the healthcare stop you, I'm sure the insurance provided by your employer will cover your needs. I don't know how they work so double check on that. I'm not sure about Denver itself, but I know the other states you can live quite comfortably on one income.

To give you a comparison, I get rejected for applications applying in Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchwan because I'm out of province, but I've gotten hits from the US, legitimately interested in my qualifications. I get questioned for being from another province in my own country. For someone in IT like you, the sky is the limit. You will need two incomes to enjoy a middle class lifestyle in most parts of Canada. You will have a lot more disposable income.

Getting back to healthcare, that's pretty much the only pro of being here. Something goes wrong with you, and you don't have to worry.
Deal Addict
Dec 10, 2007
2185 posts
115 upvotes
Yes you can easily earn 2x in the US if you are in IT but you can also do that for US companies remotely when still in Canada (or really anywhere). And if you incorporate then tax rate isn't that bad since you can pay yourself dividend. I am in IT myself and I haven't worked for a Canadian company for over 5 years and very unlikely will unless Canadian salary reaches some parity with US.

The biggest issue in US is social and personally I wouldn't want to raise kids there; I worked in US for over 3 years.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Oct 26, 2014
114 posts
72 upvotes
Bradford, ON
Thorkell wrote: Go for it and don't even look back. Most likely you won't even look back. There is mobility in the states, and you will earn 2x what you would earn here having heard from a lot of people. Don't let the healthcare stop you, I'm sure the insurance provided by your employer will cover your needs. I don't know how they work so double check on that. I'm not sure about Denver itself, but I know the other states you can live quite comfortably on one income.

To give you a comparison, I get rejected for applications applying in Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchwan because I'm out of province, but I've gotten hits from the US, legitimately interested in my qualifications. I get questioned for being from another province in my own country. For someone in IT like you, the sky is the limit. You will need two incomes to enjoy a middle class lifestyle in most parts of Canada. You will have a lot more disposable income.

Getting back to healthcare, that's pretty much the only pro of being here. Something goes wrong with you, and you don't have to worry.
Excellent points thank you. Yeah US healthcare topic has been discussed extensively here on this forum and other places to; it's not exactly as it's portrayed in the media. First off the working class mostly have insurance from the employer, with some share that they pay as well, The non-working class have medicare and other benefits. In terms of the same COVID, most of places in states have had rapid testing available for anyone that wanted it for most of this time, in addition the vaccine, should anyone choose to take it, is expected to arrive to general population by March (and is free). As per Canada it looks more like mid to late Summer for us Canadians with great free healthcare. Overall there are very good aspects of the healthcare system that is not really convenient to report on.
The 2 other things that hold me back are social life and a lack of RFD in Colorado, I've become quite attached to this virtual place and there's no other like it lol
[OP]
Jr. Member
Oct 26, 2014
114 posts
72 upvotes
Bradford, ON
Sepiraph wrote: Yes you can easily earn 2x in the US if you are in IT but you can also do that for US companies remotely when still in Canada (or really anywhere). And if you incorporate then tax rate isn't that bad since you can pay yourself dividend. I am in IT myself and I haven't worked for a Canadian company for over 5 years and very unlikely will unless Canadian salary reaches some parity with US.

The biggest issue in US is social and personally I wouldn't want to raise kids there; I worked in US for over 3 years.
Do you mind me asking where about in US you worked? It could vary not only by state but county too I imagine with lots of other factors to consider, COL, taxation, people friendliness etc. For example I have some family in NY and would not live there or raise kids. Torontonians are angels compared to new yorkers. I am getting it's quite a different story as you travel to the west.
Deal Addict
Dec 10, 2007
2185 posts
115 upvotes
neluabaclia wrote: Do you mind me asking where about in US you worked? It could vary not only by state but county too I imagine with lots of other factors to consider, COL, taxation, people friendliness etc. For example I have some family in NY and would not live there or raise kids. Torontonians are angels compared to new yorkers. I am getting it's quite a different story as you travel to the west.
I worked in NYC. :) You are definitely right that each state (really city in US and Canada) can and do feel very different. And from my experiences with dealing with people from the West (both US and Canada), I do think that people from West coast does seem more friendly in general.
Deal Fanatic
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Dec 10, 2004
6552 posts
2240 upvotes
Vancouver
Sepiraph wrote: The biggest issue in US is social and personally I wouldn't want to raise kids there; I worked in US for over 3 years.
Not sure what you mean, but it may be similar to what I experienced when I've traveled and lived in different cities for 2-5 weeks at a time. At times I found the mentality to be quite different. I've seen how negative people are towards immigrants or those who have accents or of a different race. I've seen them being nice to me yet not towards those described prior. I've seen more segregation between different language groups. Toronto and Vancover are one of the least racist cities I've ever seen, period. It's not the same anywhere in the World and including USA. In here, lots of mixed-race marriages, Lots of people have friends from all walks of life and racial backgrounds. In the States it's way more segregated and people tend to live and hang out with "their own people". Being accepted while not being a part is harder( not saying impossible, but harder as you are more often than not being first seen as an outsider and need to prove yourself). Way more politically motivated groups and friendships. Here I have friends who are Liberals and love Trump and I dislike both and we are still friends. It's way harder to have such friendships there as there's more segregation between political parties that spills into connections you make. I've seen people making remarks and statements towards me to try to see who I support just so they can either like me or ignore me. Way more racism against black people or visible minorities than in Canada. It may be subtle,but it's there. Also, harder to find good schools. It seems more schools in Canada are good, with good standards of education. Been told many times it's not the same( don't have any experience myself). Seems like a number of families I know were struggling in finding schools near their neighborhood as those had poor ratings and other issues.
What Denver has that some other cities don't is an inflow of folks from all over the country and other countries too, due to the IT. That makes the city a bit better than a number of others since it brings all kinds of people together.
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Deal Addict
Jul 12, 2008
3118 posts
977 upvotes
GTA
I have family in the US as well as family that has moved from Canada to the US mainly to New York, Boston and the New England area.

It has its pros and cons but if you have a good job and good social network, the US has plenty good places to be. It can be tough politically at times but they went to blue states so there was some balance. Your wife having the US citizenship helps as well, I would keep any ties to Canada though for as long as necessary just in case things change with your job or something else.
Deal Addict
Aug 31, 2017
4278 posts
2176 upvotes
I echo the comments that say visit first. I keep hearing 2* the salary compared to Canada, can someone put real numbers to this? What exactly in IT are you doing? A lot of people say IT, but never really specify what they do other than they're 'niche' and 'well compensated.' I definitely do agree that Canadian companies tend to underpay unless you work for a multi-national; however, the wealth gap in the US is massive, and I wouldn't trade our social policies for it.
Deal Fanatic
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Dec 10, 2004
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MyNameWasTaken wrote: I echo the comments that say visit first. I keep hearing 2* the salary compared to Canada, can someone put real numbers to this? What exactly in IT are you doing? A lot of people say IT, but never really specify what they do other than they're 'niche' and 'well compensated.' I definitely do agree that Canadian companies tend to underpay unless you work for a multi-national; however, the wealth gap in the US is massive, and I wouldn't trade our social policies for it.
A friend of mine was a game programmer here and moved to SF. Was getting 70K cad here and got $120K usd in SF. His job is located outside of the hub so when he sold his townhouse in Toornto, he bought a semi there for about the same price and not much commute time. Seems very happy
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Member
Sep 28, 2006
356 posts
280 upvotes
Toronto
I guess the choices really down to:

a) Suburban US City : 100k medical debt due to an emergency (if not covered), but 150k mortgage balance with an easy payment

b) Toronto: No medical debt due to free healthcare, but a 500k mortgage

You would lose your shelter in both scenarios if you got no money coming in, but easy to round up 800 bucks vs the average 2000-2500 here, isn't it?
Member
Jan 12, 2011
244 posts
158 upvotes
Toronto
Thorkell wrote: 100k medical debt due to an emergency (if not covered)
Jesus. Over 90% of americans are covered. It would be a dumb idea not to spend a few thousand a year on health insurance if the company doesn't already cover it (which it most likely will).
Sr. Member
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Jan 21, 2017
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Lifestyle wise. I loved my time in Denver or CO as a whole. Friendly people, lots of outdoor activities and real estate is just starting to boom due to tech workers (vs say Austin). Overall it’s fantastic. I wouldn’t mind making a move there if I could
Deal Addict
May 16, 2005
2877 posts
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I've worked in a lot of different US cities, and Denver would be one of the few that I could see myself moving/living in. I believe they are consistently in the top 5 cities with the most sunny days of the year. A lot of times, you can golf and ski on the same day.
The city itself has a lot of diversity, good restaurant/food scene, and sports teams in all the major professional leagues. Great outdoor activities, you are not far from Pikes Peak, and other mountain ranges.
The only thing it may lack might be its not close to the large body of water like the west coast or south.
Deal Addict
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Aug 9, 2010
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Waterloo
I visited Denver for the first time in December 2019 and had an awesome time - it’s a great place with friendly people, lots of outdoor activities, etc.

The States is a great place if you’ve got money (and if you don’t, you’re boned for life); as other posters have mentioned there’s tons of opportunity out there.

Personally speaking I’d never want to live in the States as I value the stability and perception of being Canadian, and the last 4 years have been a dumpster fire over there, to put it lightly.

Another thing I think is worth noting is that people in the States tend to be more... extreme about everything. The air there in my opinion is super politically charged, negative, and unfortunately racially motivated.

I’ve made a ton of trips to Massachusetts , New York, Florida, Connecticut and a few other States for work over the last few years (before Covid) and another poster described the feeling where people are less accepting and really want to make sure you’re on their team, and are downright hostile if you aren’t. This could be political, sports, religious, even racial. I’ve definitely had a handful of awful experiences as a brown man in the States (particularly NY and Connecticut) where I’ve felt incredibly unsafe just for being me and minding my own business.

Of course YMMV depending on where you go and who you are, just figured it’s worth putting out there.

Best of luck to you and your family - hope you all stay safe.

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