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Living Las Vegas

travel Las Vegas
Phil Chu
Phil Chu
Making software since the 80s

It’s been about a year since I moved from California to Las Vegas, and I like it. I actually thought I might not like it, but felt compelled to make the move to save money (no state income tax, rent is lower by a thousand easily…), because I was getting fed up with California LLC issues, and I’d been telling people for years the smart move was to cash out your California property and live like a king in Vegas (I’m a firm believer that you should do what you say you’re going to do, unless you’re Trump).

I don’t quite live like a king, but I live comfortably in the North Green Valley area of Henderson, directly east of Las Vegas proper. You can get a nice apartment for under $1000, or a decent condo for under $100k, or a townhome under $200k, or a house under $300k. I’m within walking distance of a supermarket, luxury theatre, Trader Joe’s, coffee, donuts, ice cream and a public library, so I drive as little as I did when I lived in downtown San Diego. The only reason I need to drive is to visit my virtual office to pick up mail. Which is when I get my dim sum fix. There are about ten dim sum places here, which doesn’t surpass the Bay Area or LA, but is far superior to what’s around San Diego. Good ramen selection, too. This is a great food town.

And it’s easier to set up a virtual office here. I don’t even know if it’s possible in California, but here for $35/month, I have a physical business address where they display my business license and receive my mail. That’s a better deal than a rented mailbox, and if business gets good, I can upgrade to a real office.

You’d think that California would be the leader in convenient online management of state corporate registrations, but it’s just awful. Just about the only thing you can do online is pay (and I think I have an overpayment of $70 I have no idea how to get back). Nevada lets you do everything online in one place – register an LLC, register the business license, pay, change information…and they actually send you reminders about any annual reregistrations or payments. Unlike California, where they just took money out of my bank account if something was late.

Even the DMV here is better. Again, everything is available online, and they send registration reminders over a month before they’re due. I used to have warm fuzzy feelings about the California DMV, but in the past couple of years they mingled two different addresses in my registration and sent it to an invalid address that at best would be an empty lot next to a Jack in the Box, and when I changed addresses later, they updated my license but not my registration and I got socked for a late fee. Also, you don’t have to wait like a loser in the DMV office here – they page you.

Service can be spotty (there are lapses in execution that make me think this will never be the next Silicon Valley), but it’s usually friendly, so it’s not like Boston or New York where you have to listen to someone complain about other customers before you can get your matter attended to. I’ve only dealt with one surly apartment manager here, and I suspect she’s from New York. It’s not like it’s Hawaii time here, but the pace is slower, and it took me a while to temper my impatience and mellow. Californians put a lot of effort into looking relaxed, but they’re full of inner anxiety.

But actually, it seems like most people I meet here moved recently from California because it’s cheaper, as I did. And everyone I met here says they love it except for the summers. Same here. It’s freakin’ hot, unless you moved here from Arizona. In August, I feel like my eyeballs are boiling, so I stay inside and wait until 2AM to go grocery shopping (there’s a lot of 24-hour stuff in this town). And then it’s still too hot. To compound that, electricity here is expensive (you’d think the whole state could be solar powered). So at least in the summer, I miss California.