Three Questions You Will Need to Ask Yourself Before Moving to LA

Picture courtesy of Eleaf Flickr

Picture courtesy of Eleaf Flickr

Moving to Los Angeles can be a tough decision for us all.  Before you decide one way or the other, ask yourself these questions.

Am I able to deal with rejection?

Nothing really ever works the first time you attempt it. You probably won’t book your first audition or land a great job after the first interview. The ability to keep going when things are not looking so great, will definitely increase the chances of you overcoming the roadblocks of which you will encounter here.

Quick Story: In 2007, I moved to LA and was able to land a gig with 20th Century Fox. It was a temp job and the pay wasn’t great, but it paid the bills and kept me in LA. My girlfriend at the time had also moved to LA two months later. She arrived in LA with around $300 and no job, but we figured it wouldn’t take that long to find one. Needless to say, it was not as easy as we had expected. It wasn’t until after three months and over ten interviews that she was finally able to land a job. Trying times like her’s can make even the most confident and strong-willed person become discouraged. What I admired about her was that through it all, she never gave up. She went to every interview with the same open mind and enthusiasm and was eventually able to find the right fit. Now, I’m happy to say that four years later, she is now working at her dream job in Beverly Hills. Hopefully, I will be able to persuade her to share her story with us soon.

Why do I truly want to live here?

It’s always best to come to LA with a clear and concise purpose. Literally, almost as soon as you arrive in Los Angeles, one of the first questions you will be asked is “What do you do?”  Now ask yourself, can I confidently explain in two to three short sentences why I truly want to be here? You want to enter LA with a clear mission. If not,  you will end up being just another nameless face in a sea of millions.

Do I have enough money to survive in LA?

In a perfect world, you should come to LA with at least $10,000. That will give you enough time to find a job, have a social life, and have enough for a deposit on an apartment without having to panic. I’m not dumb though, I know most of you won’t have $10,000 saved up.

I didn’t…

Looking back, I wish I would have saved more, but I had to learn the hard way. I came with $3,000 and a dream of being a successful entrepreneur. Obviously,  things did not take off as quickly as I had envisioned. I struggled to pay rent and have a social life my first six months in LA. Which in turn, really stifled progress and development towards making important connections and acclimating myself to the LA environment.

My best advice for you is to save up as much as possible before you get here. Do whatever it takes. Hell, get two jobs if you have too. The more money you have saved before you arrive, the less stress you will have to deal with in the first few months of you living in LA. It’s that simple.


Justin Resarieo is a creative entrepreneur and graduate of The University of Alabama. He has lived in LA for 6 years and enjoys the weather, creativity, and opportunity the city offers.


  • Reply September 12, 2011


    I would have to agree completley with all of this ESPECIALLY the last part – my boyfriend and I came to LA a little over 2 months ago with about $7,000 in savings. This seems like a lot as we’re from MN, but out here that’s nothing. Rent is double, your Whole Foods bill will be double, clothes – I haven’t even looked yet.

    One thing you don’t keep in mind is that when you’re moving to a place in LA – and you don’t want to live in a COMPLETE shit hole – the people that you’re going to be renting from are going to look at how much money you have in the bank aside from just your credit score. They don’t care about what paychecks are “coming next week” or what job you just got offered. That’s simply just a safety net ensuring them you’ll be able to pay in the months to come. Having enough for a security deposit and first month’s rent will run you about (safely) $4,000 – all depending where you want to live and what your standards are. Down on the west side – this number is spot one (infact you could even add a little to that). Up in the Valley, Echo Park, Silver Lake, Downtown LA, Mt. Washington, North Hollywood are all a little cheaper.

    Mid City is by far the cheapest for your money.

    Live and learn! Good luck all you future LAers!

  • […] graduated college with a degree in pretend and a minor in making up stories and moved to Los Angeles where I basically didn’t know anyone. I found my roommate on a website and figured that it […]

  • Reply March 6, 2013


    Did you have a car before you moved to L.A.? I hear that it is impossible to move there without a car because of the public transportation but, I live in Florida right now and our public transportation is a joke and still able to get people around enough to get to work and stuff with some walking. Nothing I couldn’t do in L.A. if I move there, I think. What do you suggest regarding a car, given that I am willing to wait for buses/trains and willing to walk.

    • Justin
      Reply March 6, 2013


      Hey Aichque,

      I did have a car when I first moved here but I lost my car my 3rd year in LA (couldn’t afford it anymore :-/). I was without a car for about 15 months. It’s possible to survive in LA without a car but it will be a hassle to get around the city. Traveling across LA like going from the Westside to The Valley is a complete pain. I suggest living closely to where you work to cut down on bus transfers and save you tremendous of time spent on the bus. On average the bus takes about 45min to an hour longer than a car would. If you need more help, I go into surviving without a car in LA in more depth in The LA Survival Guide.

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