My parents were both born on islands, surrounded by the ocean.  My mother born in Japan and father born in Hawaii.  My brother and I were born and raised on the island of Oahu.  Our Hawaiian childhood experience was idyllic, and I am so grateful.

My parents continued to raise us in Hawaii and provided every opportunity to find success, even if it meant putting their needs behind ours.

My father’s first job was canning pineapples for the Dole company.  These were the days when agriculture was Hawaii’s leading economic sector, not beaches and tourism.  He went on to study at the University of Hawaii, and was named the Outstanding Senior in Finance upon graduation.  His career took him through the banking and wealth management sectors, I followed in his footsteps years later.

My mother is the daughter of a United States Army veteran.  She was born in Kyoto, Japan and immigrated to Hawaii at the age of 5.  My grandfather served his country, even though it meant he was treated poorly as a Japanese American post World War II.  He was a man of few words, but I know my grandfather appreciated sacrifice and hard work.  As my mother grew in her career as an elementary school teacher and principal, she impressed upon us the value of education.  Eventually, the opportunity to attend college in Los Angeles, California is what motivated my brother and I to leave our island home, in pursuit of opportunity on the mainland.

Our childhood home was a place full of family and friends.  I wanted to stay.  However, at 18 years old, I needed to pursue personal growth, and it was clear that I needed to move out of the state of Hawaii.

Almost 25 years later, migration has become a hot topic in my new home state of California.  In a survey of 1500 California residents, Edelman Intelligence found that 53% are considering moving out of state, due to the high cost of living.  62% of those surveyed believe that the best days of living in California are behind, not ahead.  For those who may believe the sample size is not large enough, data from the US Census confirms this trend.  Net migrations of native Californians totaled 156,000 in 2018.

Ultimately the reasons Californians are choosing to leave are:

  1. Housing Costs and Affordability
  2. Slow income growth to match rising costs, such as healthcare and taxes
  3. Social issues such as homelessness, security, and crime.

We are witnessing our own clientele’s situations support the migration statistics.  A few families are deciding to leave California.  States such as Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Tennessee, and Idaho have attracted those we serve.  Many of them were born in California, raised their families, and finished their careers in this state.  However, with the changing economy and society, they have chosen to leave, and they are not looking back.

It will be interesting to see what the next decade holds for the ‘Golden State’.  For now, it seems like the luster that was once so attractive, has certainly lost its brilliance.


  1. Chief reason, housing costs & availability:
  2. Recent Figures on Net Migration:
  3. 53% of Californians want to leave the state: