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Top 10 Most Affordable Cities in Southern California

Top 10 Most Affordable Cities in Southern California

California Dreamin’ wasn’t #89 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time for nothing. Aside from its popularity as a song and being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the song epitomizes the desire and longing that so many have felt to be in California — not just during the winter months or for Tinseltown, but for those California Girls.

With 38.8 million people living in California, and 22.68 million of them in Southern California alone, just knowing that the state has over 12% of the US population makes one wonder what the big draw is.

California Sound and the Beach Boys aside, Southern California is actually a great place for raising a family, has nearly-perfect weather year round, and well, you’ll be living the California Dream. Below, we’ve listed the top Southern California cities to live in.

Irvine

As #1 on the NerdWallet’s list for best cities for young families in Southern California, and in the top 100 on Livability’s list of best places to live, Irvine is at the top of our list for a reason. Set just a little inland, Irvine has consistently ranked as one of the best places to live. Its livability score on AreaVibes is 86, and it received A’s all across the board (aside from cost of living). With 10 higher education campuses and continually generous support for public schools, Irvine is one of the best places for families. Irvine has a medium income rate of $92,663 and only a 7.64 unemployment percentage, far less than the nation’s average.

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    Fullerton

    Fullerton is a quaint, picturesque city set in Orange County. With one of the top Public Schools and a rating of 8 out of 10 for Capistrano Unified School District, Fullerton has been ranked as an “Exceptionally Livable” city. With a lower median housing value than most Orange County cities, nine different parks within one mile of each other, and at least a dozen libraries and book shops, Fullerton offers families a wonderful living experience. With better scores for education, weather, employment, and even better housing, Fullerton ranks higher than Provo, UT — which ranked higher than it on Top 100 Best Places to Live.

    fullerton

      Costa Mesa

      With the Orange County Fair, Pacific Amphitheatre, and South Coast Plaza all close by, Costa Mesa is another top city in Southern California to live in. Also considered “exceptionally livable,” Costa Mesa has high graduation rates and an extremely stable housing market. Between Huntington Beach and Newport, Costa Mesa is a short drive to the beach and surpasses the supposed #1 place to live in the US, Madison, WI, with a higher median household income and a lower crime rate — Costa Mesa should really be #1 on that list.

      sealbeach

        Seal Beach

        With a Greatschools rating of 10 on NerdWallet, Seal Beach, California is not just one of the best, but one of the cheaper choices for families in Southern California. With top company Boeing calling Seal Beach home, it has one of the lowest housing values in California. At $286,400, Seal Beach also competes with another top US city to live in — Arlington, Virginia. As #3 on the Top 100 Best Places to Live, Arlington’s median housing value rockets to $577,300. Seal Beach also has a higher high school graduation rate than Arlington, at 93%. Seal Beach boasts a tight-knit community — when the pier needed major rebuilding, the community came together to save the pier and raised $2.3 million.

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          Rancho Santa Margarita

          As #2 on NerdWallet’s top Southern California cities, Rancho Santa Margarita definitely is on our list! With a small-town feel, Rancho Santa Margarita has a high-quality education background with a 94% graduation rate. With an exceptionally high median household income of $102,975, Rancho Santa Margarita’s small and local businesses have played a huge role in the city’s growth since 1999. (According to NerdWallet, there was a 31.22% income increase from 1999 to 2012!)

          cypress

            Cypress

            The quaint suburb town of Cypress, California is a great place for new families. With great neighborhoods and a Greatshools rating of 9 from NerdWallet, Cypress ranks high on the AreaVibes livability scale. Cypress battles the #2 best place to live, Rochester, MN, with a lower crime rate and higher median household income. Oh, and don’t forget the better weather! Cypress ranks an A+ on local.niche.com

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            placentia

              Placentia

              With a 46% lower crime rate than anywhere else in California, Placentia is a great and safe place to raise a family. Placentia also has a higher average household income ($75,693) than even San Diego ($63,990). It also has a high graduation rate, like most other California cities, and was named the “second-best place to live” in California according to The Orange County Register. Among this, Placentia also has a low unemployment rate, sits next to some beautiful lakes, and has great weather!

              Citrus_groves,_Golden_Ave.,_Placentia,_June_1961

                Murrieta

                Nestled between Temecula and Corona, Murrieta, California is a booming town in Riverside County. With a 133.7% population increase from the years 2000 to 2010, Murrieta definitely ranks on our top 10 cities. With an extremely low average housing value, at $286,600, Murrieta competes with our other top cities to live in. It also ranks 48% lower in crime rate compared to other California cities, and even Boulder, CO — which hits #4 for livability. Murrieta also has a much lower cost of living than Boulder and a higher household income, at $75,485.

                anaheim

                  Anaheim

                  Home of the Anaheim Angels and Disneyland, Anaheim California is the epitome of California Dreamin’. With a lower housing value than most other Orange County cities, at $415,900, Anaheim’s beautiful summer temperatures and great sightseeing make it a fun and adventurous place to live.

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                    Westminster

                    As another top city with a lower housing value ($462,100) than most California cities, Westminster has a wonderfully stable housing market. It’s even ranked as “extremely livable!” It has a great high income per capita and tons of great local amenities. With its close proximity to the LA metropolitan area and Little Saigon, Westminster offers great fun for families. It also scores an A+ on local.niche.com, and even though you may run into some notorious LA traffic, you can be sure to find great a personal injury attorney close by.

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                      Featured photo credit: Cypress at Lover’s Point Park, Monterey Bay/Ed Suominen via flic.kr

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                      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                      Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                      your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                        Why You Need a Vision

                        Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                        How to Create Your Life Vision

                        Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                        What Do You Want?

                        The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                        It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                        Some tips to guide you:

                        • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                        • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                        • Give yourself permission to dream.
                        • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                        • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                        Some questions to start your exploration:

                        • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                        • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                        • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                        • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                        • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                        • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                        • What qualities would you like to develop?
                        • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                        • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                        • What would you most like to accomplish?
                        • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                        It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                        What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                        Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                        A few prompts to get you started:

                        • What will you have accomplished already?
                        • How will you feel about yourself?
                        • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                        • What does your ideal day look like?
                        • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                        • What would you be doing?
                        • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                        • How are you dressed?
                        • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                        • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                        • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                        It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                        Plan Backwards

                        It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                        • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                        • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                        • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                        • What important actions would you have had to take?
                        • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                        • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                        • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                        • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                        • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                        Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                        It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                        Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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