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

Or people that want to retire at 50 or less.

ohmic314 said:   

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. .


My low COL city has all of those things. I bet I see more theatre, eat at a larger variety of restaurants, have more gadgets, and travel more than you. Why? My low COL area gives me more disposable income. Your condescension may explain the red...

chuzzlewit 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.


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.


Perfect... makes us both happy. Let me say living in a fly over state SUCKS. Don't come here.

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   There are numerous areas where you can get a nice house for $50-70k , not even $100k required

I never can understand those who pay 50% + of their income to live in a high cost area. You are sacrificing quality of life .


Well, the market has spoken. There is a reason those areas are "high cost": the population has determined they are more desirable than the other areas that are, consequently, cheaper. Anytime I start to complain about the cost of living on the coast near SF, I just remind myself of all I get included with my high housing costs. The beach, the ocean views, the mountains, better weather than 90% of the country, an educated population with tolerant belief systems, great variety of food, etc. All that is what I consider "quality of life."


I'd rather live in a van, traveling up and down the California coast, than live in a 10,000 sq. ft. mansion on ten acres somewhere in fly-over country.

marabout said:   
Well, the market has spoken. There is a reason those areas are "high cost": the population has determined they are more desirable than the other areas that are, consequently, cheaper.

some of us beat the market. i buy in neighborhoods that i suspect have the ingredients to appreciate.

some of us have vision, and do not just follow the price trends because they are trends.

some neighborhoods/cities are vastly overpriced...for example, all of CA in 2005-2008.

you are "california dreamin" if you think value=cost in all cases.

marabout said:   

Well, the market has spoken. There is a reason those areas are "high cost": the population has determined they are more desirable than the other areas that are, consequently, cheaper. Anytime I start to complain about the cost of living on the coast near SF, I just remind myself of all I get included with my high housing costs. The beach, the ocean views, the mountains, better weather than 90% of the country, an educated population with tolerant belief systems, great variety of food, etc. All that is what I consider "quality of life."


I'd rather live in a van, traveling up and down the California coast, than live in a 10,000 sq. ft. mansion on ten acres somewhere in fly-over country.


I agree with most of what you say. There is frequently a significant non-financial cost to living in a lower cost of living area. That said there are also many benefits. FWF is made up of people who like to think outside of the box (i.e., come up with angles the general population, aka the market, has not thought of). One has to decide what is valuable in life. My wife is from the Bay Area and I love it but that said I also find it crowded, expensive and has commutes that would make consider suicide. I have seen how her friends families live there on equal or higher incomes and I would not live in neighborhoods like that even for the wonderful weather, beautiful views and a million open minded individuals. Now if I were single or when I am retired and don't have to commute and can live in a small space then my calculus might change. I left a major metro area once a family was in the cards because I realized I could have a reasonably priced house, a good neighborhood with good schools and a reasonable commute (but could only pick two).

The bottom line is there is no single right answer to this question. You basically have to pick your poison. Put another way I saw my father in-law get $600k for his house literally next door to a crack house in south San Jose and I would rather live in a $100k house in a decent neighborhood in a midsized city than live in the Bay Area and raise a family in a 600k crack house with a view.

Congratulations everyone. We have all discovered the field of economics, the science of choice and personal value maximization. Some people prefer higher salaries and nice weather and are willing to put up with high COL and long commutes. Others prefer to work less hours, perhaps retiring early, in a more quiet laid-back setting with low COL. All of us seek to maximize personal utility based on our individual perception of the costs and benefits associated with each decision. Economics!

solarUS said:   

some neighborhoods/cities are vastly overpriced...for example, all of CA in 2005-2008.

you are "california dreamin" if you think value=cost in all cases.


Not "all of California," was overpriced. Many places have seen no drop in prices. Only places that were faking it, like Stockton for example, pretending to be desirable places like SF or the best parts of So Cal, when in reality they are horrible in many ways, have crashed. You know, the kind of places being recommended here as "just as good as SF, NYC, LA, etc." When it comes down to it, these pretender cities couldn't provide anywhere close as good of a quality of life as they pretended they could and the market responded accordingly.

Does anyone know where to find more recent data on household income for the largest 100 cities? I am only seeing data from 2009? Back then, Austin had a higher average income than Los Angeles, and a lower cost of living.

Each morning, I get up to drive 50 miles to work, in a 52 story building, surrounded by an 'uptown' area of high priced lofts, early morning pan-handlers, and road construction.

Also, each morning, I walk out to my vehicle while it's still dark outside and I'm bereft of caffeine, and there etched in the heavens, is the Little Dipper twinkling clearly above my moon-lit car. Somewhere in the distance, a rooster crows from the dead silent morning. I have enough land that I can't throw a baseball across if I tried, and an all brickt home with room for 4 to have their own rooms, all for less than I make in 18 months.

Some people find personal value in the former, some the latter, but in the end it's all up the person.

Logan71 said:   I have enough land that I can't throw a baseball across if I tried

Do you even lift?

Logan71 said:   Each morning, I get up to drive 50 miles to work, in a 52 story building, surrounded by an 'uptown' area of high priced lofts, early morning pan-handlers, and road construction.

Also, each morning, I walk out to my vehicle while it's still dark outside and I'm bereft of caffeine, and there etched in the heavens, is the Little Dipper twinkling clearly above my moon-lit car. Somewhere in the distance, a rooster crows from the dead silent morning. I have enough land that I can't throw a baseball across if I tried, and an all bright home with room for 4 with privacy, all for less than I make in 18 months.

Some people find personal value in the former, some the latter, but in the end it's all up the person.


The area you describe sounds like a commute from Brenham, TX to the Galleria/Uptown area of Houston. Brenham is home to one of the largest ice cream creameries around, yummy.

bippie said:   ohmic314 said:   

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. .


My low COL city has all of those things. I bet I see more theatre, eat at a larger variety of restaurants, have more gadgets, and travel more than you. Why? My low COL area gives me more disposable income. Your condescension may explain the red...


Thanks for the feedback. I was wondering why I was getting red. I apologize if it sounded like a condescending remark. I was just trying to tell people there's always a reason for high cost of living. Lower cost of living places have given up SOMETHING. It may not matter to you, but it matters to the people who are willing to pay for it. May I ask where you live? I'm very interested in a low cost of living place that has access to broadway theater, close to hiking, skiing, the beach, good food ranging from vegan to sushi to Ethiopian, is ranked in one of the top 20 cities for education, has a temperate climate (not too cold, not too hot), has access to amusement parks within 1 hr, shopping that ranges from 99c to LV, has world renowned museums and art exhibits, has a diverse group of people from every country, has every form of dancing available every night (such as swing, salsa, merengue, hip-hop), and much more. If you live in a low COL place with all this, please let me know, because I'm clearly missing out.

Again, please don't take this as "your place sucks". Because far from that. My place has things that suck too. Crowded places, traffic, pollution, crime, etc. There's tons of things I hate, I am only listing the things I love and cannot find in one place anywhere else, so would gladly pay more to have these things all within 1 hour from me.

Now I also am confused why people associate high cost of living with low disposable income. That's not always true. If I make $100k and spend 40% on my house, I'm left with $60k. If someone else makes $50k and spends 20% on their house, they're left with $40k. This is an extreme example, but it shows why you can't just take COL into consideration. You have to take average salary and COL into account.

Oh, and the people who commented that you'd be hard pressed to find any place that doesn't have an iPhone... have you ever lived in Nigeria, Iran, or India? Let's take some rural city in China where the average salary is $400 a MONTH. Sure, you could live there, but it would take you more than a month of saving to afford an iPad. How many people here own an iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, iPod, and iMac? Do you think these people in China have all that? You guys think I'm condescending, I find it self-centered that so many people here think there are places where people don't own an iPhone. (I feel I'm going to get red for that last remark, but I felt it had to be said).

I'm not telling anyone my place is better than yours. I'm not saying you're an idiot for choosing a low COL area. I am just saying, first consider what you find important and are willing to pay for. Then find the cheapest location that has all those things. Don't choose a place based solely on COL.

JTausTX said:   

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.

That's what I did.. I bought a 2700 sqft home (KB Foreclosure) for around $120k in 2002. There were homes in the 90-100k in the neighborhood.
Downsides: Appreciation wasn't great in a down market. 20-30 minute commute. Blue collar neighborhood. Cookie cutter home. I sold it for $136k (FSBO) about 3 years later

The same house is now within 5 miles of commuter rail, giving accessibility to downtown jobs w/o a major drive hassle.
Current market value (per tax assessor) - $136k, after peaking at $151k last year (probably not accurate). So pretty slow appreciation... Still, very low cost of living within access to high tech jobs.

I moved from Southern California 25 years ago. Sold out before the big prices but moved to the Olympic peninsula where I bought a house 3 times as big, with a view in front of the straights of Juan de Fuca and out the back of the Olympic Mountains. It's not as sunny and warm here but I and my family have been pretty happy. Seattle is 70 miles and a ferry ride away but we have Costco and Home Depot about 20 miles away. Our whole county is less than 60,000. One town of 19000, one of 4000 and 1 of 2000. The rest live more rural.

JaxFL said:   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.

Ha! I tried to do that, but got red. It seems everyone replying to this thread loves low COL places and thinks everyone who is willing to pay for a higher COL place is stuck up.

ohmic314 said:   bippie said:   ohmic314 said:   

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. .


My low COL city has all of those things. I bet I see more theatre, eat at a larger variety of restaurants, have more gadgets, and travel more than you. Why? My low COL area gives me more disposable income. Your condescension may explain the red...


Thanks for the feedback. I was wondering why I was getting red. I apologize if it sounded like a condescending remark. I was just trying to tell people there's always a reason for high cost of living. Lower cost of living places have given up SOMETHING. It may not matter to you, but it matters to the people who are willing to pay for it. May I ask where you live? I'm very interested in a low cost of living place that has access to broadway theater, close to hiking, skiing, the beach, good food ranging from vegan to sushi to Ethiopian, is ranked in one of the top 20 cities for education, has a temperate climate (not too cold, not too hot), has access to amusement parks within 1 hr, shopping that ranges from 99c to LV, has world renowned museums and art exhibits, has a diverse group of people from every country, has every form of dancing available every night (such as swing, salsa, merengue, hip-hop), and much more. If you live in a low COL place with all this, please let me know, because I'm clearly missing out.

.....

I'm not telling anyone my place is better than yours. I'm not saying you're an idiot for choosing a low COL area. I am just saying, first consider what you find important and are willing to pay for. Then find the cheapest location that has all those things. Don't choose a place based solely on COL.


ohmic,
When do you plan to retire? A big difference between low cost areas and high cost areas is the type of mortgage people choose. Around my area most people pick 15-year fixed, while in many high cost areas they go for 30 or 40 years,or even no interest loans with payoffs as long as 50 years. I'd love to see stats of when people retire by metro area.

JaxFL said:   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.

I'm a single female.
I live in a midwest city in Iowa, pop.110,000.
I own a 4 bedroom, 1700 sq. ft. Craftsman bungalow worth approx $100,000 (purchased for $40K in 1988 when I was 21) I paid off my house when I was 32. My property taxes are $1,200/yr
I have made over $50K/yr since my mid 20's ($92,000 last year).
I sent my child to parochial school and he is in his senior year in a state college and I pay half his tuition.
I have vacationed with my child on 4 continents (21 countries and dozens of cities), been to WDW and Hawaii. I've been on 13 cruises. We go to NYC every other year to shop and see Broadway shows. I can afford to bring my mother on vacations and also let my son bring a friend occasionally, on my dime.
I have managed to save $490,000 for retirement so far - no company 401K match but I will receive a pension.
I come home for lunch everyday.
I've never had a cell phone....or a cell phone bill
I bought a 1995 Nissan Altima in 1997 for $10,000 and still drive it - it has 96,000 miles on it now and still gets 24/mpg (and it doesn't matter if it gets hit in the winter)
I could care less what people think I'm worth.
I have to put up with snow, mosquitos, and humidity.
I plan on retiring at 53.
It's okay if my city doesn't have everything I love because I have the money to travel several times a year.

marabout said:   solarUS said:   

some neighborhoods/cities are vastly overpriced...for example, all of CA in 2005-2008.

you are "california dreamin" if you think value=cost in all cases.


Not "all of California," was overpriced. Many places have seen no drop in prices. Only places that were faking it, like Stockton for example, pretending to be desirable places like SF or the best parts of So Cal, when in reality they are horrible in many ways, have crashed. You know, the kind of places being recommended here as "just as good as SF, NYC, LA, etc." When it comes down to it, these pretender cities couldn't provide anywhere close as good of a quality of life as they pretended they could and the market responded accordingly.

ohhhh so now when the market speaks, like a distant star its message isnt told for years to come. so naturally, with your soothsayer-ish knowledge you shorted every company with significant CA RE holdings in every place that was, uh, "faking it"?

like...
san fran

just a couple posts ago you approached it all 1-dimensional econ-101 style. now we all need crystal balls.

All this talk about great cheap Texas homes... My experience in Houston and DFW has been that cheap homes there are often either in the far away suburbs, or not so nice areas. I've done the Houston commute gig (59 and beltway 8- some of the less crowded areas) and it sucks. I told my wife either I quit, we move, or I kill myself. It was horrible. Smaller older homes close into work with borderline school were 50% more. Comparable homes school wise and size wise were 2-3x. So yes, you can get 100k homes in Houston, but if you have to drive it sucks.

ohmic314 said:   It seems everyone replying to this thread loves low COL places and thinks everyone who is willing to pay for a higher COL place is stuck up.
FWF values value.

if i have 99% of what you have for a fraction of the price, then i win

ubermichaelthomas said:   
Some people I went to business school with went to work for DeLoitte in San Francisco as first year MBA-level consultants. They made around $80k/year to live in San Francisco. Essentially, they got to save $0 because rent is $2k to $2500 and state income tax is 10%. They were living hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck, because they wanted to live in San Francisco.

The problem is they traveled 5 to 6 days a week. So they enjoyed SF for 1 to 2 days a week. And since they weren't home all week, at least half of one day off is spent doing laundry, cleaning, etc. And half of one day is spent laying down watching TV because you're exhausted.


To criticize living in a high-cost, high-quality-of-life area based on the lives of people who travel 5-6 days out of the area is ABSURD.

I live in SF Bay area. Yes, the cost of living here is high. Yes, the taxes are way too high. But in the end it's worth it/ I've lived in cheaper areas. Unless I run out of money, I ain't moving. The weather, healthcare, job market, diversity and sheer amount of cultural and nature entertainment can't be matched by the low-cost boondocks.

you can buy a home in Hayward , 15 miles away from Sf proper , for 75% less than sf proper, and with better weather than sf proper.

The diversity , job market, health care, culture and nature attractions are exactly the same . And there's no fight for parking every night when you come home from work. And there's 3bd houses under $200k

But , ewwww, it's Hayward ! I just love how people keep saying the alternative to a high cost area is some rural boondocks

say hello to the chinese banks, with more branches coming everywhere they are truely an alternatives to the banks fearful to us government.

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![/Q


]

foghorn19 said:   ubermichaelthomas said:   
Some people I went to business school with went to work for DeLoitte in San Francisco as first year MBA-level consultants. They made around $80k/year to live in San Francisco. Essentially, they got to save $0 because rent is $2k to $2500 and state income tax is 10%. They were living hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck, because they wanted to live in San Francisco.

The problem is they traveled 5 to 6 days a week. So they enjoyed SF for 1 to 2 days a week. And since they weren't home all week, at least half of one day off is spent doing laundry, cleaning, etc. And half of one day is spent laying down watching TV because you're exhausted.


To criticize living in a high-cost, high-quality-of-life area based on the lives of people who travel 5-6 days out of the area is ABSURD.

I live in SF Bay area. Yes, the cost of living here is high. Yes, the taxes are way too high. But in the end it's worth it/ I've lived in cheaper areas. Unless I run out of money, I ain't moving. The weather, healthcare, job market, diversity and sheer amount of cultural and nature entertainment can't be matched by the low-cost boondocks.


It's absurd because the reason why COL is so high in SF is because of people who live there 7 days a week and are pushing the costs of real estate up. If you're only there 1 to 2 days a week, then you're paying the same for real estate/rent as everyone else but only getting 10% to 20% of the same value.

In essence, on a value-adjusted scale, you're paying 5x to 10x more for that "value" of living in SF than everyone else.

It would be like saying: "There's an AMAZING restaurant. It's really expensive at $100 per dinner but it's really good and a lot of people always go. BUT you have to pay $1,000 per dinner, even though you get the same value of dinner."

Do you still want to go? The food is the same as everyone who's paying 1/10 of what you are. It's great food. But you have to pay 10x more for whatever hypothetical reason. Do you still go?

Sure SF is great if you like that area. But if you're only there 1 to 2 days a week and still paying full price to live there, then you're paying 5x to 10x more than everyone else for the same value.

That's what's absurd.


I have never thought of moving to a LOC area. I love large metro areas and I love living close to everything. This means I have to work hard and make more money to pay for the life I want.

I believe its foolish to lie to oneself into thinking that a less expensive but easier to achieve life style is a suitable substitute. People should always work hard to get what they want.

MaxRC said:   I have never thought of moving to a LOC area. I love large metro areas and I love living close to everything. This means I have to work hard and make more money to pay for the life I want.

I believe its foolish to lie to oneself into thinking that a less expensive but easier to achieve life style is a suitable substitute. People should always work hard to get what they want.


The problem is that if you have to work too hard to get it, then you never enjoy that high COL city you live in because you're too busy working. And when you're not working, you're commuting, too tired to get off the couch after a 12 hour day, or doing food shopping/laundry/house cleaning/mowing the lawn on weekends. That's considering an average 60 hour work week with 1 hour commute each way.

If you have a 10 minute commute and a strict 40 hour a week job in a great city, then that's a different story, however much decent paying jobs are salaried and you're expected to bust out 60 hours or more each week.

And if you're not salaried, it usually means you're getting paid a fairly low hourly wage and need to work 20 hours overtime each week to earn enough to survive in a high COL city.

There's exceptions to everything, although I'd be curious to hear your specifics:

1) What time do you start getting ready for work in the morning (with respect to dressing in any business clothes)?
2) What time you get back home each night?
3) Subtract these two times to get your real total number of hours worked each day.
4) How many days per week do you work?
5) Multiple Line 3 by Line 4 and modify for any half-days you might typically work as part of your typical work week
6) What's your average time spent doing chores, food shopping, laundry, housekeeping each week?
7) Add Line 5 and Line 6

There's 112 waking hours each week if you sleep 8 hours each night. Take out another 1 hour each day for showering, popping, shaving, brushing teeth, etc. - down to 105 hours now.

Subtract your answer from Line 7 from 105. That's how many free hours you have to live in your big city each week.

I'd guess that a typical corporate slave has about 20 to 30 hours free each week to spend in their city. I'd also estimate 10 to 15 of those hours are spent lying on the couch exhausted after work on weeknights. That leaves you 10 to 15 hours a week to enjoy the city.

So in essence, you are paying a significant increase in COL in order to enjoy that city for 10 to 15 hours per week.

Suppose you go to the gym and work out 4 to 5 days a week for one hour. Add in travel time to the gym, warmup, stretching, showering after and there's another 10 hours a week that don't get used in your awesome high COL city, because you would be doing the exact same workout in a cheaper gym in a cheaper COL city.

Calculate how much extra your net COL is (factor in that your salary is higher as well, but on average the higher COL will outpace the salary increase) - relative to the new COL of living in a cheaper area (with a lower salary but significantly lower COL).

Let's suppose you can earn $100k/year in a high COL area and $80k per year in a cheaper area.

However, on that tax bracket, you're pushing 25% marginal level so the extra $20k is really $10k after federal, state, FICA tax. But, your COL is not tax deductible. So your additional COL might be $30k to $40k more when you add in additional gas for a longer commute (because big cities are big), additional rent/property taxes, higher food costs at restaurants, etc. Housing is going to the biggest additional expose. It might be $500/month rent in Iowa but $2500/month in SF. That's $24k per year difference in housing costs alone.

This means that your decision to live in the high COL area is costing you $20k to $30k per year.

That's about $500 per week on average that you are "paying" (or forgoing, if using opportunity cost terms).

And you can only really enjoy the city for 10 hours each week (using the sample math above, you're working, commuting, exhausted, sleeping, etc for the rest of the time), so you're paying $50 per hour of enjoyment of that big city.

Even if my numbers are off BY A FACTOR OF 10 (which is fairly significant, because let's say you work 40 hours per week and I estimated 60. That's only off by a factor of 1.5) - that would still mean you are paying $5 per hour of leisure time in your city of choice on top of everything else you do. Go to a bar? Still have to buy drinks but tack on an extra $5 each hour you go out. Most FWF people go out of their way to save money and churn deals. Tacking $5 to $50 per hour on your cost of leisure time is fairly significant and as I note below, you will need to pay that whether you decide to use the leisure time or not:

Suppose you get sick or just want to stay home one week. You spent that $500 that week for nothing because the inside of your home is the same as it would be if you lived in a low COL area.

Of course these are rough estimates that may not even be close to your actual numbers. Maybe you would only be able to make half your current salary in a rural area. This shows you have to run the numbers for yourself and think critically about how much you're really giving up by living in the big city.

he next stage to the calculation is to ask yourself "if I did move to the low COL area and I saved that $500 per week, then how many years earlier could I retire, and perhaps move to the high COL city in "early retirement" at age 45 when I am not working and can enjoy the city to its full potential?

There's no right or wrong answer. I don't presuppose I can tell anyone how to live. I simply challenge you to make critical conscious decisions rather than what you thought you might like on emotion alone.

Yes I've considered it but then I saw a cable tv show last night about buying a house in Alaska. $100K can easily buy you an 800 square foot log cabin in bear country with a master bedroom in the loft, no running water, no electricity, and an outhouse. If winter doesn't kill you, the bears will when you have to go outside to pee. But the view of mother nature from the bedroom is absolutely gorgeous.

great!!! but then how did that Facebook guy went to Hong Kong (or somewhere similar) to avoid high US tax?

qcumber98 said:   Yes I've considered it but then I saw a cable tv show last night about buying a house in Alaska. $100K can easily buy you an 800 square foot log cabin in bear country with a master bedroom in the loft, no running water, no electricity, and an outhouse. If winter doesn't kill you, the bears will when you have to go outside to pee. But the view of mother nature from the bedroom is absolutely gorgeous.

Did you also factor in the $1500 per year dividend check the state of AK gives you for being a resident, due to their surplus of oil money? That sweetens the pot a bit.

I have a home I love in an iffy zip code, but a great street of predominately ower-occupied homes. It came with a half acre land & I'm 30 min from anywhere in the KC metro. Property taxes are $500 cheeper than they were in SW Iowa on a house with half the value. (zipcode is nice in that aspect) Will be paid off within 12 years & bought with growing old in mind: stairs, etc. 15 year note is less than rent.

I have a small town feel & a great location. Wish I would have bought the house next door, too

ubermichaelthomas said:   
Sure SF is great if you like that area. But if you're only there 1 to 2 days a week and still paying full price to live there, then you're paying 5x to 10x more than everyone else for the same value.

That's what's absurd.


OK. let me try this one more time.

Your friends are the EXCEPTION. Most people living in SF Bay area DO NOT travel to places away from here 5-6 days a week.

Your example is therefore IRRELEVANT. Your friends must have a very good reason to live in SF, or they are idiots. In either case, your argument is silly. Stick to the point, i.e. the cost/benefit of living in expensive metro areas 7 days a week.

xpaphil said:   I moved from Southern California 25 years ago. Sold out before the big prices but moved to the Olympic peninsula where I bought a house 3 times as big, with a view in front of the straights of Juan de Fuca and out the back of the Olympic Mountains. It's not as sunny and warm here but I and my family have been pretty happy. Seattle is 70 miles and a ferry ride away but we have Costco and Home Depot about 20 miles away. Our whole county is less than 60,000. One town of 19000, one of 4000 and 1 of 2000. The rest live more rural.

If you like the constant rain, bone chilling code, and a dead downtown, it's all good. I've been to this area you speak of and it's wonderful--for a visit.

Look. If you've never lived in a world class city, don't knock people for living in it. There's a place and time for everything. Life isn't all about money. It's about the enjoyment that money brings.

If you like to save that extra 200/week and prefer to live with the squirrels, then do so. But there are lots of us that prefer to walk down the streets and have a choice of 30 restaurants w/in a mile radius. And then take the rail to the theatre, airport, and seaport.

We like to see famous bands, plays, etc perform. You don't get that in a smaller town.

If you like nature and don't do much except watch tv when you get home, sure, living out in the hinterlands is the way.

goubar said:   What is COL?

Thanks for asking. I read 30 post and kept wondering what it was, but didn't want to feel like a dumass asking.

i3ighead said:   goubar said:   What is COL?

Thanks for asking. I read 30 post and kept wondering what it was, but didn't want to feel like a dumass asking.


cost of living

tinlizzy said:   JaxFL said:   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.

I'm a single female.
I live in a midwest city in Iowa, pop.110,000.
I own a 4 bedroom, 1700 sq. ft. Craftsman bungalow worth approx $100,000 (purchased for $40K in 1988 when I was 21) I paid off my house when I was 32. My property taxes are $1,200/yr
I have made over $50K/yr since my mid 20's ($92,000 last year).
I sent my child to parochial school and he is in his senior year in a state college and I pay half his tuition.
I have vacationed with my child on 4 continents (21 countries and dozens of cities), been to WDW and Hawaii. I've been on 13 cruises. We go to NYC every other year to shop and see Broadway shows. I can afford to bring my mother on vacations and also let my son bring a friend occasionally, on my dime.
I have managed to save $490,000 for retirement so far - no company 401K match but I will receive a pension.
I come home for lunch everyday.
I've never had a cell phone....or a cell phone bill
I bought a 1995 Nissan Altima in 1997 for $10,000 and still drive it - it has 96,000 miles on it now and still gets 24/mpg (and it doesn't matter if it gets hit in the winter)
I could care less what people think I'm worth.
I have to put up with snow, mosquitos, and humidity.
I plan on retiring at 53.
It's okay if my city doesn't have everything I love because I have the money to travel several times a year.



congrat comrade, i am same age as you, live in the bay area, combined income of $75k, bought my first house at 24, since meeting SO bought our last house in 98 for $200k paid off 6 years later now worth $500k turned into rental, bought the current one last year for $400k now worth $450k paid off 6 months later, I have $300k in liquid asset and $100k in my 457 plan, will retire at 50, secret to making it for lower income folks like us even in high cost areas is being frugal, living under our means, brown bag lunches almost every day, cook our meals most of the time, no cable bill, prepaid cell phones only, buy only items on sale, do most our maintenance on cars and houses, etc, don't go on too many vacations though as we are introverts, mainly spend quality time with F&F and enjoy each other for free, we do buy newer cars for safety, but never into luxury, only Hyundai, mitsu, Mazda, etc

we love the bay area for its diversity, beautiful coastal scenery, magnificent Golden Gate Bridge, enlightened people, etc, never thought about moving inland or lower COL areas as it has not been too hard for us even in hgh COL area, when we get old we may move to a small townhouse though for easier upkeep, my thought is once you get your bay area housing need taken care of, be it a paid off house or lucky to be in a rent control apt like in Berkely, it will be much easier as the only thing that makes the bay area expensive is it high housing cost

I've done it. The same fading ccurs in reverse.

I live 5 minutes from work. That is worth paying more for me cause I am a lazy bastage and hate traffic and long commutes. I don't see how people drive more than 30 minutes to get to work every morning and another hour to get back in the evening. That is time you could be wasting away on FWF.



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