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Thread: 39 and heading back to school at UAF or UAA, any thoughts

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    Default 39 and heading back to school at UAF or UAA, any thoughts

    Wife, kids (babies) and I are moving back to Alaska after 20 years in the military in November (actually we'll probably get there 5-10 days prior to the Spring start of the Spring 2014 school year).

    Wife is a school teacher, but is staying home with the babies, we are trying to live on the cheap.

    What is a cheaper place to live Anchorage or Fairbanks.

    I have only lived in Sikta, Barrow and Adak. We are moving from Australia.

    Don't need a fancy adress, or million dollar views. I think we can buy cheaper than we can rent, but we'll figure that out for sure when we get there.

    Other than the fact that the weather is easier in town that it is in Fairbanks, what other positive aspect does Anchorage have over Fairbanks?

    We'll have access to the bases either place, so that will help with expenses.

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Cheaper to live, ANC or FBX?

    It depends. In FBX you can live in a dry cabin and burn wood and save money for food and transportation funds. That is harder to do with small kids, but there are many families up there in dry cabins.

    In ANC you will be looking at a normal home. Not a lot of buy and build options these days. Due to the market the homes for sale are over valued. Limited building land, quick sale market, etc keeps the prices high. Rental prices are higher as well.

    School
    What is your plan? If engineering you will want to head to UAF for a large part of your course work. If medical then UAA is best, you will have a few class options up north though. Other degrees are up in the air for which school to go to.

    ANC is a huge urban center. FBX is a smaller urban center supporting federal and state government agencies.

    30 years ago I also lived on Adak. Nothing like that place back in the cold war days.

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    My wife isn't a primadonna but a dry cabin won't cut it. $200,000 seems to be a nice minimum in Fairbanks and we could probably do $350,000 but why when we aren't taking in anything beyond retirement, disability, and the new post 9/11 gi bill living stipend, which in Fairbanks is $2000 per month. We'd get that stipedend 9 months out of the year.

    Retirement income is going to be about $4800 per month without the VA's post 9/11 stipend.

    Wife wants me to teach school, I have thought about doing the nurse practitioner thing, and also thought about petrolium engineering.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Alaska_Seth

    We'll have access to the bases either place, so that will help with expenses.[/QUOTE]

    It is the studied opinion of the POinC of laundry, morale and Check book, that there really isn't much in the way of savings between the military commissary (on Elmendorf) and the local stores such as Walmart, Freddies, 3 bears, etc. However, I will say that we live about 50 road miles from the Elmendorf/Ft Richardson Commissary, and $4 gas has to be taken into consideration. But then you'd have to take the same thing into consideration in Fairbanks where I imagine the gas is already over the $4 mark as we speak so distance from the commissary/hospital/etc should be given some thought.
    John USN Ret (NavComSta Adak, 1965-67)

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    Having lived in both the Anchorage and Fairbanks areas I could go on for many pages about the pro's and con's of both. To make it short, I'd just say I prefer Fairbanks now because I just feel the Anchorage area is getting too crowded. You can get on a road out of Fairbanks and find solitude with a very short drive. What I miss most about Southcentral is access to big mountains, mossy rain forests and the ocean.

    It's my impression that you can get a much nicer house in your price range here than in Anchorage. Just remember that if you get a nice big house that you have to heat it. I recommend getting a place in the hills as it's usually warmer at the higher elevations in the winter. Let me know if you need any help at this end....Louis
    Louis Knapp

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska_Seth View Post
    My wife isn't a primadonna but a dry cabin won't cut it. $200,000 seems to be a nice minimum in Fairbanks and we could probably do $350,000 but why when we aren't taking in anything beyond retirement, disability, and the new post 9/11 gi bill living stipend, which in Fairbanks is $2000 per month. We'd get that stipedend 9 months out of the year.

    Retirement income is going to be about $4800 per month without the VA's post 9/11 stipend.

    Wife wants me to teach school, I have thought about doing the nurse practitioner thing, and also thought about petrolium engineering.
    Teaching career would be kinda shaky in the Anc area. Anc is currently undergoing annual budget dispute - Shortfall - some layoffs.
    they seem to go through this every year with layoffs and program cuts.

    Medical field probably has the best shot career wise. Although no one really knows what this Obamacare is going to do.

    Petroleum eng.. has great potential, but politics could short circuit that. But then, it would be a short move to Nor Dakota..!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska_Seth View Post
    My wife isn't a primadonna but a dry cabin won't cut it. $200,000 seems to be a nice minimum in Fairbanks and we could probably do $350,000 but why when we aren't taking in anything beyond retirement, disability, and the new post 9/11 gi bill living stipend, which in Fairbanks is $2000 per month. We'd get that stipedend 9 months out of the year.
    It's not hard to find nice places for well under $200,000 out in the Two Rivers area, up at Haystack, etc. It means a lot more driving but it also means you're closer to recreation.
    Mushing Tech: squeezing the romance out of dog mushing one post at a time

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Indeed houses are less expensive in the Fairbanks area, but heating costs are substantially higher. I live in Eagle River (just north of Anchorage) and because we can heat with natural gas, I pay about $100/month for heating if averaged out across the entire year. I have heard of folks in Fairbanks paying $500-1,000/month, though I don't know what the norm is. Of course you could supplement electric or fuel oil heating with a wood stove, but don't underestimate the work and difficulty involved with getting adequate wood supplies.

    I'm a teacher in the Anchorage district, and while we do indeed have some budgetary concerns right now, there are always teaching positions available. If you teach science, math, or special education you will never be without a job. History and English positions can be harder to come by, but there are always retirements. That said, you say that your wife wants you to teach...what do you want to do? Teaching is an awesome profession and there is much to be said for having June and July off in Alaska, but if you don't love the job, well... The UAA nursing school is very highly rated, and I'm fairly sure you could do petroleum engineering in Anchorage as well - though as noted, UAF is generally considered to have a stronger science program.

    The primary reason that I personally would never choose Fairbanks is because I love mountains and the ocean, two things that Fairbanks is lacking. Folks talk about the proximity to solitude around Fairbanks, but that can be found around Anchorage - you just need to know where to look. I can walk out my back door and within 5 minutes be into the mountains and within 30 minutes be beyond the scope of where I'll likely see anybody all day long. Fairbanks has its advantages - it's almost certainly a better locale for moose hunting and it is warmer in the summer - but I'll take proximity to mountains, salmon fishing, ocean adventures, milder winter temperatures, and the like. The cost difference really is minimal when energy costs are figured in.

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    If I teach it will be special education, your right much more job oppertunities. We'll be looking for something small town if we do teach, King Salmon, Nome, Adak, Glenallen, Tok, Cantwell, SE....etc.

    I hadn't thought about Eagle River, thanks I'll do some more math. I guess I never knew you could use the natural gas option there.

    Yep, oil industry is on a knifes edge everyday.

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    Thanks for answering the post, I had forgot that I had asked the same questions (almost) a year or two ago.

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    Member ak_cowboy's Avatar
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    I would pick Fairbanks. Make sure that you have a wood stove to offset the heating costs.
    Anchorage is just to busy and obnoxious for me

    sent from my igloo

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_cowboy View Post
    I would pick Fairbanks. Make sure that you have a wood stove to offset the heating costs.
    Anchorage is just to busy and obnoxious for me

    sent from my igloo
    +1... And the summers in Fairbanks are AMAZING!!! Although a little too hot for me at times.... Yes... Hot!!
    I am serious... and don't call me Shirley.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM2K7sV-K74

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_cowboy View Post
    Anchorage is just to busy and obnoxious for me
    While I wouldn't want to live in Anchorage proper, the Anchorage area is only busy and obnoxious for those who don't make the effort to find solitude. All of these pictures were taken within 15 miles of downtown Anchorage:
































    And try finding this within an hour or two of Fairbanks:











    Sure is a terrible place to be an outdoorsman! (Yes...of course...there are more people and it would suck if you stay in the city. That said, opportunities abound regardless of where you settle down!)

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    You can do all the same from fbx... and if he's going to school uaf has a real campus.


    I graduated from there, so I'm a little biased lol

    sent from my igloo

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    Shrimp, salmon, octopus...... sounds great. Octopus in garlic, olive oil and lemon, just scared a little on the stove. What a feed.

    I told her it was up to her, I'll apply to both we'll get up there and she can figure it out in November. Not exactly fair to Fairbanks to move up there at that time. But it's how life works.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_cowboy View Post
    You can do all the same from fbx...
    True enough (though not without some serious driving), but folks that suggest Anchorage is nothing more than crowds of people have no idea. I've got one heck of a backyard here in the Chugach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_cowboy View Post
    You can do all the same from fbx... and if he's going to school uaf has a real campus.


    I graduated from there, so I'm a little biased lol




    sent from my igloo
    X2 Fairbanks
    Biased UAF Grad.
    Like Anchorage also.
    Why not visit both before you decide.

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    but folks that suggest Anchorage is nothing more than crowds of people have no idea. I've got one heck of a backyard here in the Chugach.
    Brian if you keep this up you will ruin it for the rest of us that suffer greatly here in this horrible crowded town with its rampant and skyrocketing crime.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taliho View Post
    X2 Fairbanks
    Biased UAF Grad.
    Like Anchorage also.
    Why not visit both before you decide.
    The problem is we are in Australia and aren't going to come up until November. I don't want to burn vacation days I'll need to get out of here early to scout.

    I'll just register for both schools and we'll come up and scout. Fairbanks won't get a fair shake in November though.

    I am guessing Anchorage is a cheaper place to buy a 2nd hand car? We don't own cars in America, and the two we own here in Australia will be sold before we leave (not to mention right hand drive).

    Oh well it's all in the fun.

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska_Seth View Post
    Fairbanks won't get a fair shake in November though. it won't get a fair shake in July either when it suckers you in with all the sunshine and heat

    I am guessing Anchorage is a cheaper place to buy a 2nd hand car?
    Anchorage would provide more options for a cheaper car. Both places could allow you to buy something that should be recycled rather than driven.

    For a lark see if you can find one of those Toyota Hi-Lux quad cab diesels and see if they will PCS ship it for you. The EPA will let them in the US, but Toyota refuses to import and sell them. There are speciality shops in TX that import a container load of front clips every year and then mount them up in older third generation pickups. If you bring in your own Hi-Lux you might find some crazy guy to pay top dollar for that rig up here.

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