Best Guide For Moving to Los Angeles: Part 1 – How Much Should I Save?

moving to los angeles
indianguide

In client representation there’s this idea of “expectation management.”

When dealing with a client, besides negotiating deals, navigating their career, and offering feedback, a huge part of the job is managing their expectations. A good manager understands this is how you keep a client motivated and working. It’s how you help them find long-term success in a business that will spit in your face. Then kick your dog, too.

There’s a direct correlation between how well you manage expectations and your understanding of the industry as a whole. A manager who’s worked in the business for 20 years sees the field differently from someone who’s been a producer for 5 minutes.

They make connections others don’t see, like that director worked with that actor 12 years ago on that Oscar-nominated picture — and they absolutely can’t stand each other. They trust their instincts. They’re attuned to a rhythm others don’t feel.

Allow me to manage your expectations in moving to Los Angeles, through this guide. My goal is to create the definitive source of information for moving to Los Angeles — on the interwebs or in bookstores, whether it’s free or paid. I say this because I’ve read them all. I know what’s out there. I think we deserve better.

However, this is just a guide. It’s the hand on your shoulder and voice in your ear before an audition saying, “this is what you should expect from the casting director. This is what they’re looking for, this is how you should dress.” However, no one’s walking into the room with you. For that, you’re on your own.

disneyguide

There is no post titled “12 Easy Steps on How to Move to Los Angeles.” If that’s what you’re looking for, honestly, let me save you some time: stop reading. Go read BuzzFeed. See what’s currently trending on the topic. That shit ain’t here.

I bring it up because I’ve received half-legible, unintelligent emails from people who are unhappy with their lives and think a move to Los Angeles will fix things. They say things like:

  • “I just need a little bit of help.”
  • “Can you point me in the right direction?”
  • “Hopefully I meet someone that’ll push me along.”

I’ve answered those questions in this guide on moving to Los Angeles. It’s the bit of help I can provide, it’s the only compass I have, and my gentle prod (or swift kick in the ass). So let’s start.

How Much Should I Save?

I love this question, because both the people asking and answering the question pussyfoot around it. People asking it are looking for that little morsel of information, because they think “ugh, if I just knew how much to save, I could hit that number and then I could finally move to Los Angeles.”

They think it’s the question of money that’s holding them back.

More than likely, it’s something more abstract, like fear or rejection or fear of failure, but that is much harder to admit aloud. Easier to blame it on money, credit card debt, and loans, which are concrete and tangible.

On the flip side, people who answer that question offer general, qualitative advice like:

  • “Depends on where you live.”
  • “How much do you think you’ll need?”

Which is not necessarily untrue. But it’s just not all that helpful.

Plus, their advice is never based on any sort of quantitative metric. That way, no one is ever held accountable for the advice they give. “Hey,” they can say, “that’s just based on my experience!”

bat slapped

The Short Answer

The minimum I (personally, as in “me, myself, and I”) would want: $3,000

The minimum for someone who has traveled, and is use to living out of their comfort zone: $5,000

The minimum if you see yourself as conservative or risk-averse: $10,000

Some people have done it with much less.

The Long Answer

You may not want to take my word for it. I don’t blame you — I like to see how a person reached their numbers too, because I always believe I can leverage less to do more.

Plus, there are tons of factors: where you live, roommates, etc. to take into consideration. Below, I’ve provided some quantitative metrics to calculate how much you should save:

Cost to Move
Here are my actual costs to move from New York to Los Angeles: $375.

road trip numbers

I’ll cover the drive out to Los Angeles in more detail in a later post.

Cost = $375

Renting an Apartment
Here’s a quick breakdown of those numbers again:

  • Studio / One-Bedroom: $900 – $1,100
  • Two-Bedroom: $1,200 – $1,500

Ideally you can find a roommate and split rent and initial start-up costs — more on those numbers later. For now, let’s use the ballpark figure of $1,000 for rent / month. To secure an apartment, besides good credit, you’ll need first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and a security deposit.

That’s $3,000, and all you’ve got to show for it is an unfurnished, empty egg-shell white box of an apartment, without the essentials of furniture, food, and high-speed internet.

moved

Cost = $3,000

Cash Reserve = Cost of living x Months you’ll be unemployed

Calculate your cost of living. I’ve included a basic template so you can see what costs you should be thinking about. This is a close approximation to typical fixed costs a young pup in the entertainment industry might entertain — but notice while I included numbers for “groceries” and even a 15% cushion, it doesn’t include “savings” or what I like to call “my good time fund.”

Remember, these are rough fixed costs. Yes, you may be able to pare some of the costs down and eliminate some categories altogether, but a lot of these are here to stay.

cash reserve

Monthly Cost of Living = $1,500

“Months you’ll be unemployed” has a whole bunch of other names, like “buffer zone” or “emergency cache” but I prefer the former. There’s a connotation to the word “unemployed” that puts a foot in your ass and reminds you the clock’s ticking.

As with all these other numbers, there are a ton of impressive-sounding figures to consider like unemployment rates, number of open jobs and national GDP.

None of that shit matters. They distract you from the figure that actually applies to you:

1. How many jobs have you held in the past, and

2. What’s the longest period you’ve gone unemployed?

History is a good indication of future performance, so what does your history say about you? If you’ve never held a part-time job in your life and have zero skills — you’re going to have a harder time finding work (because why would anyone hire you? What can you do for them?)

If you’ve bounced from job to job and have a handful of skills to offer (tending bar, waitressing, typing, computer maintenance) you’ll find a place to put those to use.

For now, we’ll use a multiple of 3 months to calculate your cash reserve

Cash Reserve = $1,500 x 3 = $4,500

Add these costs up and we arrive at $7,875, which we’ll call $8,000 to give us a nice round number, or right around the middle of my “safe estimate” and “conservative estimate” as I mentioned above.

Always Look For Your Edge

Wait a minute: if I’m calculating $8,000 as the amount required to move to Los Angeles, how can I say that $3,000 is enough to get started?

I’m saying I’m comfortable at making this move with less than half of what I’d recommend others to save. What did I have working for me in my situation (that may work to your advantage as well?)

  1. I moved to Los Angeles with a friend, so I knew at the start I could already cut the opening renting costs (as well as utilities) in half. Don’t have a buddy who plans on moving out with you? Neither did I, at first. It took an extra year of waiting to get the timing right, because we both knew in the long run, it was crucial to start off with a roommate. In fact, for the first two years, I lived with two friends, so I was paying less than a third of what I estimated above.
  2. I knew how to cut Costs of Living down to almost true fixed costs. In the past, I’ve lived with just the absolute minimum overhead (rent, utilities, groceries). It wasn’t just something I thought I could do. I already did it. Once you’ve lived out of a backpack and budgeted yourself $5 for food a day, and slept on someone’s couch for weeks at a time, it gives you the confidence to say, “I could do this again if I had to.”
  3. By Hollywood standards, I had no idea if I was immediately employable. I knew absolutely zero about the industry: what’s the difference between an agency and a management company?; between management and development?; what’s development season?; what are the fall pick-ups? I mean, I was less than clueless. What I did know was I worked four jobs in college and have been waiting tables for the last 10 years. Based on this decade worth of qualitative knowledge, I knew I could land in any city and I’d find a way to make an income. Thus, my unemployment multiple could be as little as 1.5.
  4. If I really became strapped for cash, I had two lines of credit. If you’ve read any of my material, you know this isn’t ideal and I would almost never recommend buying anything on credit you can’t pay off immediately. However, if it’s a choice between eating and some costs of living debt, you should probably eat.

It’s important to strike a balance between what you calculate and your own gut feeling for what you’ll need. You should always be looking for that “edge” you have on other people who might be doing the same thing. Those are mine, above.

No blog post, book, or guru can tell you where your comfort zone is.

The point of the exercise was to eliminate arbitrary number doubt. The problem with saving up to an arbitrary number some guy told you on the internet, is even if you reach that number, you won’t have the confidence to pull the trigger.

Subconsciously, your mind will tell you: “this is not a good plan” and you’ll fail to execute. The way you hack this is by seeing how and why you reached your number, as we did above.

In Part 2 of The Best Guide For Moving to Los Angeles, we’ll cover ideas of Minimization.

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Photo Credits: mlhradioTom BrickerAnnelopeRev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos

58 comments… add one

  • Syntia

    First of all, I’d like to say this is an excellent work of writing and I’m surprised no one has bothered to comment as of yet. Second, I seem to have to the opposite problem you believe most people will have. I just want to go, I have a place to stay with a friend I’ve never seen it so sure I might be uncomfortable but I don’t care. I need to go. So my problem is the urge to buy a ticket and go there with like $200 because I just can’t stand living here (Orlando) anymore. I’m not sure what my question is, and if I was I’m not sure you would have an answer, I suppose I just felt the need to express this exasperation. It’s 4am and I can’t sleep because I can’t stand being in this city anymore. So.. any suggestions? :]

    • Chris Ming

      Hi Syntia, first, thanks for the kind words 🙂

      I think the easy answer would be to say, “Yes! Go! You won’t know what happens until you try!” but honestly, that’d be pretty awful advice.

      If something’s inside of you is procrastinating, keeping you from pulling the trigger, take a moment and listen to what it’s saying. Why is it preventing you from buying that plane ticket? Is it because:

      – you’re not sure how long your savings will last?
      – you’re not sure you’d be able to find work right away?
      – you’re worried the friend will screw you or the place you stay will be awful?

      Take the time to identify the problems. Then work on solving them, one at a time.

      I believe you when you say you just want to get out of your current city. But I also believe very strongly in 1. listening to your gut, and 2. reading between the lines of what it’s saying. Usually it’s just screaming “shit this is gonna be scary!”

      The best advice I can give, based on what you’re saying:

      1. Sleep 🙂
      2. Block out an hour or two from your schedule.
      3. Listen to what your gut is telling you. Are there specific problems that you’ll face the moment you leave?
      4. Today, find one solution to each of those problems, and get started solving it. This might just be a phone call, or emailing one person for advice. But it’s a start.

    • Paris

      Definitely planning on moving to LA and your words really helped! Now I just need a roommate lol

  • Lisa

    Wow, thank you for writing this up. I have been thinking of moving to LA for some time now, but I didn’t even know how to calculate this move. Reading about it from someone else who has realistically done this, is really an eye opener. I know what to save up for now. So thanks for this. Hopefully in a year, I can do this. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    • Chris Ming

      You’re welcome! Where are you moving from? Best of luck!

  • NYC Gal

    This is exactly what i needed to read. I’m hoping to be ready to move to LA by next fall from nyc and this definitely helped bring perspective to my comfort level of savings.

    • Chris Ming

      So glad it helped 🙂 Keep me posted on how the move goes!

  • Ashley

    This definitely brought comfort reading someone else’s knowledge on the topic. I’m moving to Cali soon and unexpectedly to finally follow my dreams that I let fear and money get in the way of. I love hearing and reading peoples stories and advice about the great move to the city of angels

    • Chris Ming

      Glad you hear you’re making the move out here Ashley! Congrats! Pls keep me posted on how it goes.

  • I love this guide, but what I’m wondering is: What about two adults doing this with a 5 year old kidlet in tow? I mean, my guy and I will both have finished school by Spring of 2017– he’ll have an associate’s in computer programming (for video games) and I’ll have a BFA in Interdisciplinary Arts (Digital Art/Animation)–and we’re desperately trying to weigh the cost/benefit of jumping ship (from Milwaukee) to Los Angeles with our kid. Most of the articles we’ve found seem tipped toward singles.

    Also we live with my gramma right now, which we hate but I’m thinking that if we’re trying to move to LA maybe we should stick it out and get our credit together?

    Got any advice?

    • Chris Ming

      Hi Noa,

      Great question. I’m not a parent yet so I can’t speak to that. However, I’m putting together a tool that will help with figuring out how much you need to save in order to make the move, so keep an eye out for that next week 🙂

  • Aurora

    Hi Chris! Thanks for writing this article… My guts been telling me for years to move to L.A. and this year I finally have the balls to do so. I used to wonder about how much to save until I read this article and asked questions… I’ll be leaving with about $6,000 to $10,000 and hopefully with a job lined up. I’m coming from Dallas and the longer I stay here the more agitated I get with this place. I’m not saying that L.A. will make everything in my life much better because that would be the wrong reason. I just want to start over in life. Even with a plan of $10,000 I’m still looking for ways to leave on less so I can get the hell out of here much sooner… Thank you for all of your advice! I hope to be in L.A around the summer time… I know exactly where I wanna live…thinking about this move is fucking scary but if you can do it and so many others before us did then why the hell not! Thanks for the tips!

    • Chris Ming

      Hi Aurora,

      That’s a pretty good amount of savings. Please keep me posted on how it goes and let me know when you land in LA!

  • European guy

    Hi Chris, great writing and advice! I’m 20 years old and I live in Sweden. I’ve lived in Sweden my whole life, but I’ve always wanted to live in L.A. I’m a musician and really want to go and try to be successful with my music, but I also want to live in L.A. and just make a living, make friends and have a great life. I’m really excited to go there and meet new people and explore and live the life I’ve always wanted to live.

    I want to go there and start a new life, therefore I will probably go there on my own and work myself to the top. I’m working right now on saving my money, and so far I’ve got at least $3000, and a lot more from earlier savings. I’m also working, so I’m making more money. Do you have any personal advice for me? I’m sure there’s a lot of advice you can give me, and I’m sure there’s a lot more things I could tell you about my situation, but just as a start! 🙂 thank you!

    • Chris Ming

      Hi, I’ve gotten a few questions/emails from people looking to move from another country. I DON’T feel I’m an expert on this topic (since I never did it) however, my fiance is an immigration attorney so one of these days, we’re gonna have to sit down and bang out a post address ing this 🙂

      My general advice is this:

      Get whatever experience you can in your industry as cheaply and inexpensively as possible first — really research and explore if that’s what you want to pursue — then dive deep into it. Do it wherever you can where you’ll be less vulnerable (emotionally & financially) to start.

      Getting to LA when you need a visa, getting lawyers, etc. is a big bet, and I try to encourage people to DERISK as much as possible.

      I 100% believe that you should pursue this if you’re passionate about it, but minimize the downside by not leaving yourself exposed (financially or otherwise) until you’re sure.

      Does that make sense?

  • Lauren

    I’ve always known I would end up in LA so after college I decided to move to NYC first. That was a tough move. I came with about $4k and couldn’t get a full time job for almost a year. I planned on staying here for 3 or 4 years but it took me so long to get on my feet that I couldn’t afford to move. It’s been 6 years now and I’m planning on an LA move in the fall. I’ve saved $12k but I know I’ll need to purchase a car/insurance to get there. My goal is to buy a decent car here and drive to LA. Hoping to save up enough money by Sept/Oct.

    • Chris Ming

      Awesome Lauren — $12 feels like a pretty solid number to get started. You could fly to LA just to get started, use public transport to start with (yes, it’s awful but people manage) and keep the money banked so you have more cushion your first year.

      You say you “always knew you’d end up in LA.” I’m curious: What makes you say that?

  • Lauren

    Hi Chris. Since high school I’ve worked in TV in some capacity. It’s all I’ve wanted to do. In college that’s what I studied while I hosted two public access shows.
    I moved to NYC thinking I had a good resume but I quickly figured out that not only was it a bad idea to move during a recession but it takes much more than a few good things on a resume to get a job in this town. It took me a long time to be comfortable here and I’m saving up as much as I can because I don’t want to be that poor again when I move.
    I have much more of a west coast personality and I just want to get back to that. New York was so out of my comfort zone and I wanted to experience was that was like. That being said, I feel like I’ve pretty much accomplished what I came here for. I’ve gotten my feet wet as an adult in this industry and I think if I stay longer I know I’ll probably get a promotion/raise but I’ll feel kind of stuck here. I’m ready for change. I’m hoping to get a job before I head out to LA but I’m not counting on it.

    • Chris Ming

      I can definitely relate to “taking a long time to feel comfortable.” That’s definitely how I felt with LA — in my case it took me 2 1/2 years. Sounds like you’ve got a great foundation now, please keep me posted on how everything goes.

  • Nicole

    First off, I’d just like to say how truly helpful this article was! I’m from NYC but I’ve been dying to move to L.A. (just haven’t take the plunge yet). I’m a graphic designer here in NYC and I’m confident I can find a job over there (I’ve been getting interviews already!), I’m just worried on how long it’ll take and how much savings I’d need.

    I’ve saved up $5,000 so far but I’m worried maybe I should save twice that amount. However, I can’t stand being in NYC any longer so I’m getting impatient!

    I do have 2 friends in L.A. but they have tiny apartments so I’m not sure I’ll be able to stay with either of them. So, I’m worried I’d basically get off the plane and end up homeless if I can’t find an apartment right away. Any advice?

    • Chris Ming

      Hi Nicole, good luck! That’s awesome that you’re already lining up interviews.

      I wrote a post about finding your first apartment. It’s here: http://fightingbroke.com/best-guide-for-moving-to-los-angeles-part-5-finding-your-first-apartment/

      If that doesn’t help you, let me know what other specific questions you have.

      Regarding saving enough money, I created a calculator that’ll tell you exactly how much to save. Shoot me an email at chrisming [at] fightingbroke [dot] [com] and I’ll send you a link to it.

      Thx for letting me know this was helpful. Pls keep me posted on how it goes!

  • Amanda

    Chris,
    I am curious to your advice on moving for the right reasons. I saw your previous post to a question about reasons to keep you from moving. I know I am nervous about savings so I will just have to bite the bullet and save but I also wonder why I am so driven to Cali. I wonder if I am want to move for the right reasons. I am interested in Music and working in the music industry but so are a lot of people. Ive heard much about the lifestyle of a Californian and I feel like it would fit me. I guess my question is how do you know LA is the move for you?

    • Chris Ming

      Hi Amanda, that’s a great question — and could create a discussion that’d be wayyyy too long for the comments. I’ll try to summarize in two points:

      – First, I truly believe in derisking as much as possible before you make the move. For example, you’re interested in music: Have you exhausted the resources available where you are to get as much as a head start as possible (while saving money)? Do you have a track record for success — however you define success. Success could be landing paying clients who you teach to sing/play guitar or drums, it could be booking gigs, it could be someone you really respect telling you, “you can really sing and you should take a shot at it in LA.”

      Derisk as much as possible. LA and California are amazing — but there’s nothing magical about it. You’ll meet wonderful, talented people. You’ll also encounter really stiff competition in many pursuits.

      – Second, have you ever heard of the Regret Minimization Framework. Jeff Bezos of Amazon is famous for coining it, and it’s a great tool to decide “should I do this?” Here’s a link where he explains it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwG_qR6XmDQ

      I hope this was helpful. If you have other specific question, you can always send me an email too. Would you let me know how it goes in a few months, regardless of what you decide? I’d really appreciate it.

  • Jasmine

    OMG thanks for writing this I am actually moving to LA, I really want to go Next month because I want to spend some of the summer there I have about 6000 dollars and luckily I am taking over someone’s lease so I have calculated being able to make it for at least 3 months until I find a job which I don’t think will take long since I have two degrees and have been getting call backs now. Thanks for the advice

    • Chris Ming

      Awesome! Sounds like you’re in a good spot 🙂 Very excited for you!

  • Nick

    😉

  • J. Ronald Jenkins

    I’ve been so desperate to move that I’ve applied to an LA-area community college as a convenient way to get access to cash I know I need to live in LA. I’ve had problems saving the necessary money.

    Is this a smart idea?

    • Chris Ming

      Pretty smart I’d say.

  • Loni

    Great post and thanks! I’m looking to move to LA in the next few months and will have a little over 10k saved. I’m extremely apprehensive as I have a friend who is also relocating , but I really think it’ll ruin our friendship. I’m really not great with roommates and need my own space, but I wanna keep my rent under $900. I’ll even settled for a match box as long as it’s comfy and it’s mine.

  • Marina

    wow. I’m not sure how old this writing is. but I just wanted to say – thank you! this is the most helpful posting I have ever seen on the internet so far. also the most encouraging one. I am moving to LA in 2 months from Germany, Europe. so there are some additional issues to consider, but reading this has already been exceptionally helpful!

    • Chris Ming

      So glad you found it helpful! Pls keep me posted on your move, Marina!

  • Jacobo Aparicio

    Hi Chris,

    First of all, congratulations for the blog, it is outstanding and very helpful.

    I am graduating this December from my New York college, Iona, where I’ve been studying Film and TV. I am an international student, so my question would be: how common is it to find international workers in Hollywood (specially in creative positions such as writers, producers and their assistants)? How hard might it be to get a working VISA in a job related with TV?

    Thank you very much for your attention and help, and please, keep up this fantastic source of information!

    Jacobo

    • Chris Ming

      Hey Jacobo, thx so much for the compliment, much appreciated. I’ve seen international people “make it” in those positions, but it’s rare. I also know a few people who had to leave when their visa expired. I wish I could tell you more about the process, but unfortunately, that’s not my area of expertise. Sorry I couldn’t shed more light on this.

  • Chennel

    Thank you this really helped a lot. I’m only 18 I graduate High school in three months and I’m trying to save to move to LA by the end of this year from Minnesota. I work 34 hours a week on $9/hr plus helping paying my father’s bills. In really need help to organize stuff. Is there any way you could help.?

    • Chris Ming

      Hi Chennel, I love the hustle. Keep it up. Everything I think that will help, I share on this blog. How can I help?

  • Ben

    Hi Chris-
    To start off, this really helped a lot. It’s been my dream to move out to LA for years now but there’s been so many pros and cons that have been presented to me, so I have a few questions. If you move out there right after high school with a decent amount of money saved, will your life be a living hell filled with poverty and unending labor just to retain enough money to be out there? And if you move out there this early in life will it financially screw you over for years to come? It’s my dream to live out there and the recent vacation to LA just fuled my desire even more. But realistically, especially at this point in my life, should I keep it as a vacation spot instead of a place to live? Anything you can tell me would be greatly appreciated!

  • Gabriella

    This is the most helpful post on moving to LA that I’ve read thus far. You are totally right about the fear of failure, but there are little resources that will tell you how much cold hard cash you need to get to LA. Fuck Florida! I’m moving out to Cali

    • Chris Ming

      Thx Gabriella. Glad you found it useful. Did you download the moving to LA calculator yet? Should help you figure out much money you’ll need to make the move. LMK if you need the link.

  • Kristin Bailey

    This is a great read! I’m glad it wasn’t one of those typical buzzfeed articles. Not that they aren’t good. I just came to LA to visit and I’ve never felt such a strong pull to a city. I plan on moving in the next couple of years (when the contract on my current job expires) and in the meantime, make myself more marketable to different jobs. Thanks for writing this!

    • Chris Ming

      Hi Kristin, awesome glad you liked it (and I used to say crap about BF too… but they got some amazing stuff these days). Please keep me posted on your move!

  • Raquel

    Hi thank you for writing this article! I’ve never been to California, its always been this tune that hummed threw my eternal compass. So I finally decided to get out of the dominant waiting mode and go! I got accepted into school in Beverly Hills,( Whilshire Blvd) and my move date is August 31st. I’ve been trolling websites for apartments and I’ve seen a few, but I have no idea if their in a safe neighborhood or if their close to school. I am on a budget and will be supporting myself at 19, so I guess I’m just asking for a little help. Should I wait to get there and find a place, is there something or some sites I can look at now to secure I have a place upon arrival? Is there inexpensive hotels I can bum it out till I find a place? My plan is to lease a car out there cause I heard its less expensive. I believe and trust in the beauty of uncertainty, but some form of guidance for what I should do when I step off that plane alone would be a big help!

    • Chris Ming

      Hi Raquel, congrats on getting into the school. I’d check out westside rentals, padmapper and Craigslist to start.

      Always make sure you see the neighborhood and apt before you rent. Instead of a cheap hotel, rent out an airbnb for a week at a time and use that time t aggressively apt hunt. Pls keep me posted on how I goes!

  • Chee Vang

    What a great read!

  • Liz

    Hi Chris I’m planning on moving out to LA with my boyfriend in 2 months, He moved there first and now wants me to come, we will be spliting rent so around 950$ each plus bills and 340 car payment thinking of taking 2500 to cover at least 1-2 months, I’m planning to find work before or first month, I’ve always wanted to move there and I’m 26 and ready for a new adventure and I feel lost because I still don’t know what I wanna do in life and I think this will help me grow and find myself do you have any advice?

  • Declan

    I’ve always wanted to visit the states and recently I just woke up and really wanted to live in LA, just out of the blue. I live in Yorkshire, Northern England so it’s a bit of a trek across the pond and I would be moving far from friends and family, yet I feel very compelled to make such a leap. I have recently finished college and am struggling to find a place of work locally, despite my excellent grades, however in my spare time, I’m an amateur photographer. But I agree with its the fear of failure or rejection that mostly holds me back. And with my prospects in my homeland not that good despite good qualifications it doesn’t give me much hope in a very competitive city. I’ve done a lot of research about life in LA and plan to do a lot more and this article has helped me further in understanding what I would be in for. I’m currently 19 and if all was to go to plan I’d be over their by 21/22 so I’m able to do more things, like drink, because I like a beer at the pub and I’ve read there are a few English bars around. Any who this is was a brilliant read, definitely helps me towards the California dream so to speak.

  • madison

    I read this an am so amazed. after just turning 18 and soon t graduate high school my dream is t move t LA. coming from a small town of Wilmington, Delaware I worked on my schools tv production and broadcasting station I fell in love with being on camera. my family often jokes me and my brother were meant t live a big city life. this time give or take next year I will be moving all the way across the country to california and this article helped me so much with budgeting and what to expect. as of right now I only have two grand saved but I still have a lot of time to add to it. thankyou for this info!

  • Terry

    Thank you for this information. I’ve saved 3 times now and still haven’t moved because of the fear of failure I suppose. I’ve started saving again and I have around $4k so far. Unfortunately, I have already planned a vacation I can’t cancel to Cali in the spring so some of my savings will be spent on that. However, I’m trying to get to around $8k before leaving with a plan to do so around August of 2017. I have a degree in Architectural Engineering and am currently enrolled in a Civil Engineering program so I figure I’ll find something out there. I’m going because I just know that Virginia is not where I want to spend my life.

  • Hi!
    Would you say that trying to get into a particular industry needs more or less money? I am looking to move to LA at the end of summer because I really want to see if I can get into the entertainment/acting industry. However, I know finding an agent is one thing and booking gigs is another. So even if I would find a waitressing or other temporary job I couldn’t work a lot of hours because of auditions taking time so much time or coming up at unexpected times. What are your recommendations in this case? I think I should save up more to make up for the time or dats I would have to take off for auditions & classes?
    Thanks & great post!

  • Joey

    Good afternoon, Chris!

    I have $20k saved up but I also have a car payment of $270/month to take care of – I still owe $15,000 on the car. What are my odds considering I have debts?

  • Glad to find a guide that really makes sense.

    I agree, most times I ask this question (which is going on two years of me continuously questioning this before I make my move…) I’m really just harboring the craziness of how I feel about moving so far from home for the first time. But career trumps this right? Anyways seems like I’ve calculated about 3,400 for my move (becuase I can relocate with my company.)

    I might have lowered my over-all goal to make it more “attainable” so I couldn’t say saving that amount was impossible. Crossing fingers!

  • Taylor Koutroumbis

    If you are thinking of moving to LA, you should join our facebook group! Its a great place to meet other transplants, learn about the different neighborhoods, and catch awesome upcoming and ongoing events! https://www.facebook.com/groups/MovingToLosAngeles/

  • Dustin Claridy

    Wow! I thoroughly enjoyed this article. I’ve been wanting to move to Los Angeles for YEARS now but never did because I was my grandmother’s (more like my Mom) caregiver. She passed away two weeks ago and as bad as it hurts that she’s no longer with me, I’m ready to jump ship and get out of Ohio! I really needed to read this. Thank you so much!

  • Thelma

    Thanks a million! I’ve visited so many other websites offering advice on moving to LA. None of them come close to your explanation. Your breakdown gives me an almost tangible example I can plan from. I’m taking your advice. Again, thank you!!!!!!

  • A.J.

    Very vivid and informative article! I plan on moving to L.A. next year to live with a relative, so my question is would 25k-40k buy enough time to find a job, if I’m not able to transfer my current one?

  • Ven

    Hi,
    I just love reading everyone’s comments, I had been wanting to move to LA for years…. I sold my home, left with $1,000 and just went for it, set up job interviews before I arrived. I would not suggest that though…Have at least 3 months rent. Cost of living more expensive, but worth what you are trying to accomplish. I love LA, hope this helps someone.

  • Tina Maeda

    Dear Sir or Madam:

    I am looking for a help to relocate to L.A. Change my driver’s license and find an apartment (or rent a room). I will pay for such a help.

    Thank you.

  • A. T.

    you might want to update the rental prices – it’s pretty hard to find a place for 1,000 these days even in the not so hot areas….

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