A Westward Journey: Escaping California’s Challenges for the Oasis of Las Vegas
As told to Business Insider by Gus Lira, Managing Partner at a private jet charter company.
I was born in the City of Angels, Los Angeles, and it was the draw of California’s beauty that brought me back after spending some years exploring Texas, Florida, and Mexico. The allure of the weather, topography, and the iconic California coast initially led me to Hermosa Beach. Later, I settled in the more open and serene Malibu, where I spent 17 years.
In the beginning, life in California was great, despite the higher cost of living compared to other places I had lived. However, over the last five years, the challenges have mounted. Rising real estate prices, volatile markets, increased crime, and a visible homelessness issue have made it increasingly difficult to justify the high costs of living in the state. The culmination of strict tax laws, escalating fees for businesses, and a general rise in the cost of living made staying in California financially unbearable for me.
The decision to leave was not unique; many friends and acquaintances echoed similar sentiments. Whether it was Miami, Dallas, Houston, or even states like Idaho and Wyoming, the common thread was the desire for a more favorable financial environment. California’s exorbitant taxes became a tipping point for many, including myself, leading to the decision to seek greener pastures.
I found that escape in Las Vegas, a place I had only associated with the glittering lights of the Strip. Encouraged by friends who had already made the move, I explored the Summerlin area in September and was pleasantly surprised. Contrary to my preconceived notions of the desert, Summerlin was lush and green, with palm trees, mountains, and the stunning Red Rock Canyon creating a picturesque backdrop. The decision to move became clearer when I realized the affordability of real estate, safety in a guard-gated community, and the overall tranquility of life in Las Vegas.
My new home, a beautiful residence on a golf course, set me back $1.9 million—considerably less than what a comparable property in Malibu would have cost. The move offered not only financial relief but also a more serene and secure environment. The absence of state income tax, inheritance tax, and lower property taxes in Nevada added to the appeal.
Reflecting on my departure from Malibu, where I once enjoyed an unobstructed ocean view, I now find solace in my mature palm tree-filled backyard and a mountainous backdrop. The ease of life, absence of traffic and crime, and the overall affordability have made the transition worthwhile.
Returning to California is now reserved for vacations and short stays during Las Vegas’s hot summers. While I still hold a deep affection for my birthplace and the scenic beauty of Malibu, the challenges of overcrowding, traffic, and escalating costs have made living there a distant memory.
In my 50s now, I no longer yearn for the hustle and bustle of Hollywood dreams. The move to Las Vegas has brought about a newfound contentment, where life is simpler and more enjoyable. While the love for California remains, the difficulties of daily life have made the decision to relocate a wise and fulfilling one.
The State to State Moving Experts
LET’S GET MOVING