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Santa Barbara, CA


A Nice City, But . . . - 5/11/2017
It's a beautiful town with stellar ocean views, a laid-back vibe and a climate that can't beat. Small wonder they call this the "American Riviera." So what's not to like? Plenty, if you're constantly worrying how you're going to make next month's rent. As the numbers show, the cost of living is EXTREMELY high anywhere along this coast, and a rental room could cost you close to a grand a month.

Unless you're a movie star, independently wealthy or a trust-fund baby, you're never going to own a home here. And with a limited employment base (tourism is the main industry), you're chances for professional advancement are severely limited.

As a result, this is a city with a sharp divide between the "haves" and "have-nots." If you're a "have," dig the coastal lifestyle and small-townish feel this may be paradise for you. If you're a "have-not," probably not, unless you're low on ambition and don't mind living hand-to-mouth for the rest of your days.

I spent three years here in the late 1980s and left with no regrets. I went back to visit recently and didn't feel a twinge of nostalgia.
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