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Sold the house in so cal 7 years back... Took the wheelbarrow full,of money and retired to a similar sized 1/3 cost house in new England... Put in a new furnace .. And settled in to enjoy life.. No wake up alarm but the sunrise... And an easy 2 hour drive to NYC or Boston if I feel the urge to mock the rats and their race...

ubermichaelthomas said:   bilbo6360 said:   I'm moving to Costa rica in Jan. I'm getting out of this country before it hits rock bottom....see ya and enjoy your once great country...Choi...bought a beautiful 5 be 4 bath on the ocean for 187 k.....would be 700 k in caliporno ...I wish you all good luck, and hope you don't really sick in the coming years...and MERRY CHRISTMAS.Don't forget to continue paying US taxes for the next TWENTY YEARS on any earned and investment income you make while in Costa Rica. It used to be 10 years but the US federal government went just a tad bit overboard on spending during the last 4 years so they recently bumped your tax obligation to 20 years after renouncing US citizenship. And since the US controls the world and all banks of the world fear the US government, they will be happy to garnish your accounts on behalf of the US government if you fail to pay. Enjoy Costa Rica!"...US federal government went just a tad bit overboard on spending during the last 4 years..."

Overboard on spending the last 4 years????

More like the the 10 years between 2001 and 2011

Derffie said:   Sold the house in so cal 7 years back... Took the wheelbarrow full,of money and retired to a similar sized 1/3 cost house in new England... Put in a new furnace .. And settled in to enjoy life.. No wake up alarm but the sunrise... And an easy 2 hour drive to NYC or Boston if I feel the urge to mock the rats and their race...

Where in CT do you live?

My favorite thing about living in a low COL area is not needing a high income which would correspondingly come with a higher tax rate. With no debt, a modest house and a low COL area and 2 kids and a bit of charity writeoff, We can live comfortably in an almost $0 Fed tax bracket. (and we still get plenty of culture, including a world class american art museum just down the street

JTausTX said:   ubermichaelthomas said:   SUCKISSTAPLES said:   Ypu can fund a nice house for $100k in Any of the cities from Palmdale to Sacramento

http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/Proposed_Route_Planner.aspx

And if this thing is actually built your home value will triple


And in the mean time while you wait for the vaporrail train to be built, you only have to give California 13% of your income to include HSA earnings because California doesn't recognize HSAs as tax shelters.


So live in Texas. You can buy a nice house in an Austin suburb for $100k and a nice one for $150k in Dallas/Fort Worth suburbs (don't know about Houston). Then there are a ton of smaller cities that are close to major cities and have pretty good quality of life - Amarillo, Bryan/College Station, Corpus Christi, maybe Abilene. No state income tax.

I think Austin would be the best bet of all these, though... right in the middle, and it's a great city with a lot of diversity and growing tech sector and a good economy overall, in addition to not being particularly expensive.


The property taxes east of Dallas are terrible. Real sticker shock when I moved down here from the midwest.

my engineering company is split into several departments, and some of my direct counterparts are in los angeles whereas I am in a large city in the deep south. they make about 10-20% more for the same job, but they have a helluva time doing much with it. very few under 35 own homes, many have roommates (not by choice), most are super low on savings outside of 401k.

i often think about the tradeoffs. i love the weather, year-round activity access and youthfulness out there. we both have beaches, casinos, a ton of cultural events, airports, great restaurants, traffic, crime, etc etc...but i have been able to buy a ton of rental RE and a second home in addition to my 401k. plus i live on the water and have plenty of disposable income. if i get laid off, oh well, i'm fine for a long long time...but they will have to get back on the treadmill.

rarely is a decision in life without compromise, and this is no different. like UMT said, you gotta know what works for you and what's important to you.

there was a Cheers episode where Frasier and Lillith decide to quit their jobs and go live in a cabin in the mountains. Sam convinces them to just "try it out first"...well Frasier cant get a fire started, Lillith emasculates him and they run screaming back to civilization. i think the lesson is clear: dont marry a bitch. wait, what was i talking about?

secstate said:   TravelerMSY said:   Low COL towns are the backup plans for people who don't plan well for retirement.

On the contrary in my case living in a cheaper mid-sized city is my plan for a great retirement while still having a decent lifestyle now. I work for an NYC employer so I get NYC salary sans the taxes, commute and cost of living. And I can still get my big city fix when I visit during one of my three weeks per year I do up there. It just reminds me how good I got it when I return home.


Agreed. But I think the OP meant a really small, dirt-cheap town where a *nice* house was 100k.

If you're comparing to NYC/SFO/Boston as the baseline, then relatively large cities like New Orleans/Austin/Portland will seem cheap yet still have lots of stuff to do.

Yea, its called retirement.

Low COL usually also means low paying jobs and/or higher unemployment/crime/etc.(think detroit).

I've thought about it, but the areas in the USA with low cost of living don't have tropical climates.

ubermichaelthomas said:   bilbo6360 said:   I'm moving to Costa rica in Jan. I'm getting out of this country before it hits rock bottom....see ya and enjoy your once great country...Choi...bought a beautiful 5 be 4 bath on the ocean for 187 k.....would be 700 k in caliporno ...I wish you all good luck, and hope you don't really sick in the coming years...and MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Don't forget to continue paying US taxes for the next TWENTY YEARS on any earned and investment income you make while in Costa Rica. It used to be 10 years but the US federal government went just a tad bit overboard on spending during the last 4 years so they recently bumped your tax obligation to 20 years after renouncing US citizenship. And since the US controls the world and all banks of the world fear the US government, they will be happy to garnish your accounts on behalf of the US government if you fail to pay. Enjoy Costa Rica!


Actually it is a lot more complicated than that. If you remain a US citizen then you are taxed for the rest of your life even if you never come back to the US. The US is pretty much the only country that taxes based on citizenship vs. residency. If you renounce your US citizenship then there is a different set of rules and in some instances if you are considered high net worth according to the IRS and the bar is fairly low (2 mil in assets, or 147k per year earnings AVG. for last five years, etc.), you are taxed as if you sold ALL your assets on the day you renounced your US citizenship. This is a very complex area and if anybody is actually thinking of doing it do your research.

We pretty much did this, except our current house cost a little more than $100,000. We left San Diego County in 2006 and relocated to Huntsville, Alabama. Now we're considering taking it all one step further... sell the house, the furniture and the rest of the crap and do full time RV'ing.

Marlin1975 said:   Yea, its called retirement.

Low COL usually also means low paying jobs and/or higher unemployment/crime/etc.(think detroit).


Agree. It's hard to go all-in on a low-COL lifestyle when friends and family (and, as a result, me and the wife) all reside in high COL Nassau County, NY. Low COL lifestyle is just a pipe dream for me. Maybe when I'm in my 60's.

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   Ypu can fund a nice house for $100k in Any of the cities from Palmdale to Sacramento

http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/Proposed_Route_Planner.aspx

And if this thing is actually built your home value will triple


Uhh...Palmdale is a pretty undesirable place to live. Its basically the Section 8 dumping ground for all of LA County. Hot as balls in the summer too. When we were living in Newport Beach some friends bought a house there. I'd rather pay double the rent for half the house than be in Palmdale.

Totally false. Look up the salaries by industry and county. You'll find that they are only a few percentage points higher in high cost areas. (To do this, you'll have to control for the very high salaries of a very small number of people who can skew the averages. After that, there is amazingly little difference.) This is a very common misconception.

FreddyPharkas said:   Marlin1975 said:   Yea, its called retirement.

Low COL usually also means low paying jobs and/or higher unemployment/crime/etc.(think detroit).


Agree. It's hard to go all-in on a low-COL lifestyle when friends and family (and, as a result, me and the wife) all reside in high COL Nassau County, NY. Low COL lifestyle is just a pipe dream for me. Maybe when I'm in my 60's.



Yea me and the wife live in NoVA. We make good money at work but that would drop a good deal if we moved.

But we save as much as we can and low COL will come later in life. And by later I mean fully retired at 50ish.

saladdin said:   I'm glad so many people think this idea is equal to "slumming" it. I'll just keep my 68k, brick 1400, sq ft house sitting on an acre with 407 annual taxes. I must be sooooo miserable not living in the big city.


Best friend closed last week on an 87 acre farm with 1200 sq ft house for 200k. I'll tell him to be miserable too.



Where are you? LOL!

saladdin said:   I'm glad so many people think this idea is equal to "slumming" it. I'll just keep my 68k, brick 1400, sq ft house sitting on an acre with 407 annual taxes. I must be sooooo miserable not living in the big city.


Best friend closed last week on an 87 acre farm with 1200 sq ft house for 200k. I'll tell him to be miserable too.


Did you ever stop to consider the reason the population is shifting to urban areas out of the farms is that's what the majority of people prefer? The last thing I want is 87 acres or even 1 acre, in fact I don't want any land personally, it's not my cup of tea.

fir2 said:   Totally false. Look up the salaries by industry and county. You'll find that they are only a few percentage points higher in high cost areas. (To do this, you'll have to control for the very high salaries of a very small number of people who can skew the averages. After that, there is amazingly little difference.) This is a very common misconception.

Ok. Electrical engineers make median $38/hr in Birmingham Al and about $48 median in Los Angeles. Just a random example. Its not double but it is >25% more. Looking at median controls for the outliers. Of course it depends on the job. School teachers or electricians in AL may make just about as much as those in LA.

Here in St. Louis, one can get a perfectly fine 3 bdrm, 2 bath house in a historical neighborhood for $100k. You can get newer if you're willing to move further into the sticks, or bigger if you want a more marginal neighborhood. It's pretty pleasant, overall - with access to everything a big city has but at much, much lower prices.

St. Louis is one of my favorite cities. I have never made it out for Mardi Gras though. I've often thought of relocating out there.

jerosen said:   fir2 said:   Totally false. Look up the salaries by industry and county. You'll find that they are only a few percentage points higher in high cost areas. (To do this, you'll have to control for the very high salaries of a very small number of people who can skew the averages. After that, there is amazingly little difference.) This is a very common misconception.

Ok. Electrical engineers make median $38/hr in Birmingham Al and about $48 median in Los Angeles. Just a random example. Its not double but it is >25% more. Looking at median controls for the outliers. Of course it depends on the job. School teachers or electricians in AL may make just about as much as those in LA.


you'd probably need to make $57/hr in LA to maintain the standard of living you had in Birmingham.

It's called the "sunshine discount"

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   kiasuchick said:   


.
Constantly wonder if I'd be happier with a small wooden 1900s $50k house, walking distance of a small downtown vs. an $800k craftsman house walking distance from Old Town Pasadena (CA)... Would I miss sushi, boba, dumplings, Costco, the beach, the mountains? !


You can get the $50k 1900s house in Fresno , Stockton sacramento etc - any major town in the central valley- and still have the sushi , boba, dumplings Costco and a short drive to delta beach and mountains. All of California is not expensive . And there is a large Asian population in all of these cities .


Yeah Stockton Every car that is parked on the driveway, it's window is broken and CD player/NAV gone. Highest crime rate. Nearest airport is SAC or SJC, more than 50 miles. Humid summers, rainy winters. I visit that place sometimes and there is a reason it is cheap. No decent job of anykind unless you want to work at WalMart. Most of the population either is on welfare or work on minimum wage. That is why the crime is high. You want to get your BMW serviced, nearest one is 40 miles away.

marketingmike said:   JTausTX said:   

I think Austin would be the best bet of all these, though... right in the middle, and it's a great city with a lot of diversity and growing tech sector and a good economy overall, in addition to not being particularly expensive.


Austin's full. Don't move here.
You can keep it. Boomer Sooner!

I've lived in many cities ranging from a tiny town two hours from the nearest airport, to major cities like LA. My belief is home is whatever you make of it. If you enjoy the simple life with no one to bother you, you can totally live in the middle of nowhere with low COL. If you enjoy hustle and bustle, then you have to trade off with higher COL. I disagree with others that state you can have it all with low cost of living. There's always a reason the COL is high or low. Maybe because it's in the middle of nowhere. Maybe because of high crime. Maybe because it's just dang cheap because everyone is so care free they don't care about money.

Consider the following: You're a high tech person and you move out into a happening area with bars, clubs, cheap drinks, cheap food, and beautiful women. But there are no high-tech people there because there are no high-tech jobs. Will you be happy with the (in your mind) simple locals who only drink and party and no one owns an iPhone or Galaxy S3?

You're a social person and decide to move in a low COL area next to a lake. Nobody for miles. Will you be happy not having human contact for months at a time?

You're a famous movie star. You move to a quiet neighborhood with no movie theater and people who have never heard of you. Will you be happy being out of the spotlight?

Basically, there's a perfect place for everyone as long as you figure out what you want and don't want. Place A would be great for someone who is a party animal and wants to party it up for the rest of his life. Place B would be perfect for the introvert who enjoys sitting by the lake and minding his own business. Place C would be good for someone who likes others but just wants a simple life. High COL places are high only because the people who live there think it's worth it (such as a fancy car, expensive TV, high-class restaurants, high paying jobs, 'higher quality' H&B, etc).

At the moment, I live in a relatively higher cost of living area because I enjoy going to live theaters, a variety of foods, owning gadgets, being close to an airport, safe city, good schools, and geeky conversations with like-minded individuals. I also get gratification from fatwallet when it saves 25% on a local offer that ends up being like $50. If I lived in a low cost area, it might only add up to a savings of like $0.50, which would make me feel like I wasted my time.

saladdin said:   I'm glad so many people think this idea is equal to "slumming" it. I'll just keep my 68k, brick 1400, sq ft house sitting on an acre with 407 annual taxes. I must be sooooo miserable not living in the big city.


Best friend closed last week on an 87 acre farm with 1200 sq ft house for 200k. I'll tell him to be miserable too.


Pardon my ignorance, but where do you find an 87 acre farm with a house on it for $200k?

Personally, I've lived in high COL places my whole life. I've recently moved from NYC to Miami, which is *much* more affordable (while still being very expensive relative to this thread), but I've decided Miami isn't for me either. No ideas on where to go yet. I own my own business and could work anywhere that has fast internet.

ohmic314 said:   ... Will you be happy with the (in your mind) simple locals who only drink and party and no one owns an iPhone or Galaxy S3?

..


You'd be hard pressed to find a corner of the country where people don't own iPhones.

zimaman said:   saladdin said:   I'm glad so many people think this idea is equal to "slumming" it. I'll just keep my 68k, brick 1400, sq ft house sitting on an acre with 407 annual taxes. I must be sooooo miserable not living in the big city.


Best friend closed last week on an 87 acre farm with 1200 sq ft house for 200k. I'll tell him to be miserable too.


Pardon my ignorance, but where do you find an 87 acre farm with a house on it for $200k?

Personally, I've lived in high COL places my whole life. I've recently moved from NYC to Miami, which is *much* more affordable (while still being very expensive relative to this thread), but I've decided Miami isn't for me either. No ideas on where to go yet. I own my own business and could work anywhere that has fast internet.


The Great State of Tennessee.

No state income tax either.

Squeezer99 said:   I've thought about it, but the areas in the USA with low cost of living don't have tropical climates.

There are certainly parts of Florida with low COL -- Homestead, suburbs of Orlando (eg: Clermont).

ohmic314 said:    Will you be happy with the (in your mind) simple locals who only drink and party and no one owns an iPhone or Galaxy S3?

One time I flew somewhere on a business trip to a mid-size city. I won't embarrass them by naming the actual city.

I went to a local bar, had a great time meeting new people. Everyone was so friendly. One particularly cute guy started dancing with me. At the end of the night I went to exchange numbers with this guy so I did the usual thing of having him send me a text from his phone to my phone (so I know I'm not getting a fake number... guys can be such assholes sometimes).

This guy pulls out a Galaxy S1 from 2010. Then I noticed his friend had a Motorola flip phone from like 2007. A FREAKING FLIP PHONE!

The night was ruined. I can't believe I almost had a good time with such backwards peoples. I told my boss to NEVER fly me to that city again.

Exactly. People are making absolutely asinine and ridiculous comments about all low COL areas - that they are devoid of activities , entertainment , culture , etc.

There are tons of larger cities with populations over 100,000 or even 300,000 with nice houses under $100k. They have nightlife , entertainment , sports and recreational activities, etc.

And its quite funny that we see complaints there will either be nothing to do or not enough smart geeks to hang out with- Here is a news flash - youll find geeks in every larger city and most of us browsing FWF are not the nightlife / activity butterflies that people keep saying is so important to them . The majority here work In their tech job or on their computer most of the day anyway , and the outside world is not even something they experience from 8-8 every day.

Yes there is a huge difference if living in a rural area but that's not the alternative to NYC or LA - there are tons of other large cities that provide all the "big city " activities and experiences at 1/10 the cost

zimaman said:   Squeezer99 said:   I've thought about it, but the areas in the USA with low cost of living don't have tropical climates.

There are certainly parts of Florida with low COL -- Homestead, suburbs of Orlando (eg: Clermont).


Ah yes, the beautiful South Florida city of Homestead, where just yesterday a 13 year old was murdered by another student, shot in the neck on the school bus. A wonderfully colorful city with the median household income of around $15k/year, only 30 minutes south of Miami.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/21/3107824/students-mourn-cla...

zimaman said:   saladdin said:   I'm glad so many people think this idea is equal to "slumming" it. I'll just keep my 68k, brick 1400, sq ft house sitting on an acre with 407 annual taxes. I must be sooooo miserable not living in the big city.


Best friend closed last week on an 87 acre farm with 1200 sq ft house for 200k. I'll tell him to be miserable too.


Pardon my ignorance, but where do you find an 87 acre farm with a house on it for $200k?


It's not 87 acres but this one is on 24 acres with a private lake, 1 mile from a large recreational lake and about an hour from both Greenville SC and Atlanta...listed at $149,900.

king0fSpades said:   SUCKISSTAPLES said:   kiasuchick said:   


.
Constantly wonder if I'd be happier with a small wooden 1900s $50k house, walking distance of a small downtown vs. an $800k craftsman house walking distance from Old Town Pasadena (CA)... Would I miss sushi, boba, dumplings, Costco, the beach, the mountains? !


You can get the $50k 1900s house in Fresno , Stockton sacramento etc - any major town in the central valley- and still have the sushi , boba, dumplings Costco and a short drive to delta beach and mountains. All of California is not expensive . And there is a large Asian population in all of these cities .


Yeah Stockton Every car that is parked on the driveway, it's window is broken and CD player/NAV gone. Highest crime rate. Nearest airport is SAC or SJC, more than 50 miles. Humid summers, rainy winters. I visit that place sometimes and there is a reason it is cheap. No decent job of anykind unless you want to work at WalMart. Most of the population either is on welfare or work on minimum wage. That is why the crime is high. You want to get your BMW serviced, nearest one is 40 miles away.


I gave three examples and you choose to pick one of the cities to explain why it's beneath you to live there ? Sac has an airport . And a BMW dealership for all the douchebags .

It's quite ignorant to claim you can't get a BMW serviced in Stockton . As if there aren't any independent garages there.

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   It is narrow minded to think that cheap houses only exist in tiny towns in the middle of nowhere.

There are cheap houses prob within 90 miles of any expensive major metro area. You don't need to live in some mosquito infested Backwoods area. There are also numerous major cities with affordable homes. Atlanta , Las Vegas, Orlando , most Midwest major cities , etc. There is nightlife , fine dining , recreational activities , cultural diversity , etc. I am always amazed how narrow minded fwfers are when it comes to this . Perhaps because many of you are young and haven't seen the country .

Once you get your head out of the sand and realize the world doesnt revolve around NYC SF LA Boston etc., you'll find the rest of the country is quite affordable . When I buy rentals , I look to these affordable areas.

The mortgage is not the only consideration in COL. Property taxes, cost of goods and services, availability of goods and services all matter at least as much. It's not hard to imagine spending $100/week in gas commuting to medical services (dialysis comes to mind).

If you are healthy and can find a small town in a low burden state with modest services, it's possible to live well on a modest income. Even though people look for gee whiz schools and lots of local services, your kids can learn a lot more helping out with a garden or reading with a stay at home mom.

Good luck to you, OP.

PS Stay away from the mosquitos

ubermichaelthomas said:   

This guy pulls out a Galaxy S1 from 2010. Then I noticed his friend had a Motorola flip phone from like 2007. A FREAKING FLIP PHONE!

The night was ruined. I can't believe I almost had a good time with such backwards peoples. I told my boss to NEVER fly me to that city again.


I hope that was meant as humor.

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   Yet another fallacy. Owning RE in California gets me a $25000 deduction off earned income

In fact I doubt I've paid more to CA in the form of state income tax over last 20 years than I received in Cal Grants so I'm still ahead


i received pell and cal grants too in college and i am grateful to the governments, i am proud of paying back to the federal and state in personal and business taxes more than i received in grants, i hope to ensure the governements are not broke so the future generations can receive the same kind of generous help i was blessed

Instead of debating the varied diversity, and personal preference... That certainly is a part of the world, why not give personal examples of how each of you , in your own way, associate and relate to with the topic.

What is COL?

goubar said:   What is COL?Cost of Living

Ahhhhhh, complete opposite of where I am in my life (28 yrs old). Trying to move closer to my job, seeing if I can by a 1400 sq ft condo for 600k.



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