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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.


Well, not all people have high standard of living. I can only imagine what you get for $68k. I think I'll pass living in the back of the woods.

ohmic314 said:

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 can't believe the arrogance of you tone. I would like to know the where this amazing place is you live.

I live in Waynesville, Ohio (small town) on two acres and have access to everything you listed except for the beach.

However I do have this 5 minutes from my house:
Ceasar Creek

Amusement parks: 20 minutes south of me is Kings Island(decent amusement park). 2 Hrs north of me is the best roller coaster amusement park in the nation...Cedar Point.

I can go to Cincinnati Reds/Bengals game (45 minutes south).

I have Ohio State football games 1 hr east...and unless you have been to a traditional football power game you don't understand.

I have University of Cincinnati, University of Dayton(hosts the first four March Madness games and host to the most tournament games ever), Ohio State, Wright State, Miami of Ohio(always ranked in the top of pretty girls) within 1 hour of me.

The Air Force Museum is 30 minutes from my house...with the air force base where a huge part of military research and technology is.

I can ski an hour away.

I have one of the finest hospital 3 hrs away (Cleveland Clinic)

I can go to Dayton (20 Minutes) Cincy(45 Min) Columbus (1 Hr) Indianapolis (2 Hrs) Pittsburgh (2.5) Cleveland (3 Hrs)

There is no real traffic to these places.

I have 2 acres with a 900 Sqft garden where I grow my own food to cook with.

And finally the experience of a real fall season in a small town is impossible to describe.

All of this is one long winded way of saying it aint so bad. Do I live in the best place in the world, no. But for you to think that without living in a major city I am missing out is wrong. I have lived in San Francisco, been to New York and Chicago and I hate to break it to you, but other than the buildings being a little bigger and a few more of them, a city is a city. I have no idea why people would want to raise kids in a city...but that is a personal choice. A place only becomes great with the people you meet and know, not the restaurants and.

So please don't cry for me...in fact I cry for you being stuck in the city.

cr3s said:   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.


The problem is that the low COL area was defined earlier in the thread as basically a "nice" house for $100k, which can actually be found in a lot of cities that just aren't in the middle of nowhere. Then we had the person come in say none of these people have smart phones when I think last article said that 70% of the US does.

skeer27 said:   I have lived in San Francisco, been to New York and Chicago and I hate to break it to you, but other than the buildings being a little bigger and a few more of them, a city is a city.

The proximity of things appears to be one of the biggest factors why quite a few of my friends choose to live in the cities. It's definitely nice to be able to walk to a museum / sporting event / restaurant rather than drive for 45min - 1 hr. That convenience is certainly reflected in the hosing prices here in Boston and you can save a ton of money by living 15-20 miles away from the city.

Unfortunatley there are still liberals, alcoholics, and trashy people with no manners and loud motorcycles in small towns. It isn't Mayberry.

I moved to a low cost of living area about eight years ago but I actually stayed in the same state. Obviously many states can have a great variance in the cost of living. I moved from northern VA (Washington DC metro area) to Richmond VA. In my case the move was an excellent one financially and I don't miss much about DC but a few things.

Things that really did not change:
Taxes (income and sales taxes were the same and property taxes were slightly lower (15%), real estate is a lot cheaper but the tax rate is higher).

Climate (it is mostly the same given the 90 or so miles between former and current home).

Pros:
Cost of living is a much lower. Mostly this is due to real estate which is about 33-40% the cost of DC. However, many other things are also cheaper. Gas is a bit cheaper, car insurance is less, services here are cheaper, and private school is quite a bit cheaper. I managed to export my DC salary here so I have done very well financially.

Commute time is much less. Here my commute was 30 mins and now 15 mins (they moved my office) and I mostly telework these days so really 0. As compared to an hour or more in DC and the commute itself is much less stressful. Rush hour here is like 10PM on a Sunday night in DC though the locals still complain about it.

Wife was able to keep her DC job and telework full time so we saved on child care since she could work and care for our son. My job also now allows me to telework most of the time and this helps with the child care even more. Obviously this is does not have much to do with job location other than wife being able to telework (she could not ironically if she were closer to her home office) the same applies to me to some extent since I now report to the NY office. If I was in NYC I'd have to be in the office at least two days week, down here I go in maybe once a month.

My employer had a very generous relocation package so I was able to sell my house in DC for a nice profit and avoid realtor fees. Basically I was able to move to a lower cost of living area for nothing out of pocket and with my DC salary intact.

Cons:
Cheaper places are frequently cheaper for a reason. In my case both wife and I are in IT and there are probably more IT jobs in a couple of square blocks of Tyson Corner (DC suburb) than there are in the entire metro area here. Basically if I did not like my current employer I'd probably face either moving or a long commute to another metro area or the exurbs of said metro area. I made the move knowing this and with the thought I would likely retire from this employer (it has great benefits and a pension). So far that has worked out. If wife had to leave her telework position she'd find something locally most likely but probably had a pay cut as compared to her DC telework salary. Essentially one of the major reasons that this area is cheaper is that there are just a lot less relatively high paying jobs though it has improved in that area over time (I think the low cost of living by east coast standards is attracting employers).

As alluded to in some other postings there can be a great variance in culture from one place to another. There are some good things about the culture here such as folks being friendly and more laid back than the DC area. However, there are some negatives as well. One religion is more important here and folks do tend to be more open about it. It is not a major problem for me and, and so far, nobody has gotten in my face about my religion or lack there of. Two of more concern to me is that folks here are, on average much less worldly, than major metro areas. Most of my co-workers have never left the country (I spent half my childhood overseas) and they just seem to have a smaller view of the world. This doesn't bother me much except for what my son might pickup by osmosis. Three, there is a lack of diversity here as compared many major cities. This again bothers me for my son since he is going to have to operate in a world that is much more diverse than what he is exposed to today. That said you can still find pretty much every ethnicity and their associated culture/restaurants but you just have to look harder.

Some observations:

One I believe it was good that my wife and I got our start in a much bigger city. We got opportunities there, that were not possible at our current location. If we had started out here we would not be where we are today. The move made more sense once we had gotten closer to our career peak and were looking to start a family (the major reason we left DC).

Two if you do move to a lower cost of living area don't do what I did and get a house with a large (acre +) yard. Having come from a postage stamp sized yard in DC I went hog wild and got an acre+ yard. The problem is that it is a LOT of work and money. I like the space but honestly it is not worth the time and money I put into it. If there was anything I could redo about the move it would be to buy a similar sized house on a smaller lot.

Three looking inside yourself and understand how important the cultural aspects are to you where you live and if they are important whether they will be replicated at your new location. There was a pretty major cultural shift from our previous location to our new one. It has not impacted my wife and I much because we largely rely on one another for support and the like but if we were single it would have been a hard shift.

Overall the move was great for me. I am financially much better off than I would have been in the DC area, I am able to send my kid to one of the best private schools in the area, afford a nice house in one of the nicest zip codes and still save a large proportion of our income. To pull this off in DC would have easily required at least twice the income my wife and I make today. I don't regret the move for an instant.

My advice to anyone considering this is to consider the following:

1). How are you going to feel ripping up your roots and moving away. This was ok for my wife and I but I will say our roots in our new location are far less than at the previous location. I ascribe this to the fact as you get older and get a family it is harder to find the time to make new friends. This is probably less of an issue for somebody younger or particularly outgoing.

2). Understand that cultures will be different. This may or may not be an issue for you. Since I have lived all over the world I don't have much issue living pretty much in any reasonable sized city that can provide basic services. Extreme rural areas would mostly not appeal to me.

3). Understand how it fits into your plan for your life. In my case moving allowed me to afford a much nicer house/neighborhood than I could in the DC area at the same time it allowed my wife and I to increase our savings such that I should be able to retire 5-10 years earlier. That said in my career field DC, SF and others would have provided probably more interesting jobs. In my case I work to live so I'll put the emphasis on where I am better off financially. If I was more of a live to work person I'd probably be happier in a major metro area with more job options.

4). At the end of the day life is about more than $ so don't do something for the $ that you might regret later.

i3ighead said:   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.

I totally agree with you and have always paid a premium to be closer to work but while it is easy to do while you are young and you rent it gets more complicated to pull off as you get older. Buy a place and the transaction costs can eat you alive if your job moves or you move jobs. Get married and spouse may have a job far away from yours. Once kids are in the picture then the public school system becomes an issue. Then there might be the need to be near older relatives to care for/look in on them or have them assist with child care.

I have been a field engineer and worked all over the US, including the big towns. (I am based in Dallas)

There are nice areas to taste everywhere- the trick is to find them. A good example is Freeport ME, if you like cold climates (which I do) - all the shopping you would ever want since its a shopping town built around LL Bean. I was staying IN town in a property that was valued at about 150K and 2 blocks from LL- tons of properties a bit further out in the 100K range. (I was renting, and I like walking) College town 20 minutes north and Portland ME 20 minutes south with the BEST dining I have found in any town in the sub-$50/plate range. If my job allowed telecommuting I would go back. Burlington VT was fairly nice as well, but more expensive housing wise than Freeport.

I lived in Richmond VA as well, secstate. I did a year there working mostly from my apartment in Shockoe Slip. I found Richmond to be the deadest college town I have EVER seen for live music and arts. Dining was pretty poor before I found a few specific gems. To each their own, indeed.

Memphis is another under-rated town. I also liked Austin and Portland OR a lot. Never did that much time in CA, I just remember cussing at traffic a lot. (same for Miami)

There are nice places all over, its just what you want in particular. I live in a Condo in Dallas that is around that 100K price point -- but property taxes are high here. I can walk to the Dallas Arts district as well as two different "bar" districts. I can bike to 3 others as well as a great coffee shop. The only issue here is size, its small. The work that I do now *could* be telecommuted but most employer/contracts want you working from the office. (and those are 20-35 minute commutes -- last two jobs were/are in the suburbs and not downtown.

I really hate commutes, but not really wanting to live in the 'burbs either. (see: likes to walk to entertainment, above)

solarUS said:   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


Agreed, fatwallet people use their money smartly. They don't splurge for the sake of splurging. They spend their money in an effective way. If someone associates money with time and will pay higher COL for time or close commutes or distance from certain venues, then a fatwallet person will find the most cost effective way to live in a high COL area. It is not the fatwallet way to move out into a low COL area for the sake of it being low cost.

Let's just examine a completely made up example. Let's say I like to go to the beach every day. Let's say I choose a place that's 50 miles away because it's low COL. I drive to the beach every day for an hour. That's 2 gallons of fuel (assuming I have a nice fuel efficient car) plus two hours of driving to get to the beach every day. That's 2x365x$4 = $2920/yr in post-tax dollars I'm spending on gas + $365 (IRS mileage for car wear) + $7300 (if I assume my time is worth $10/hr - low and I bet most people would make this number higher) = $10585/yr I'm spending to go to the beach every day. The fatwallet way would be saying "hey, I'm spending $10k/yr going back and forth to the beach... why don't I just live next to the beach where I would spend $5k/yr more on rent. It's higher COL, but I'm getting more VALUE."

This is where I take offense where people think high COL areas have no value. It is just as bad as anyone who thinks a low COL area has nothing to do. Both statements are not true.

ubermichaelthomas said:   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.
It's easy to find a well paying job that's strict 40 hours a week if you have a good solid education and worked to develop some experience-based skills. Sure, I too have worked 60-80 hour weeks when I first started out in my 20's. But anyone who is still doing that by their mid to late 30s is doing something wrong. Work smarter, not harder. Living in northern Virginia, the 1 hour commute each way is a fact of life. But I work strict 40 hours a 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.I don't know about other large metro areas but hourly wage is fairly high where I am at. It is pretty much impossible to find anyone willing to work for $15/hr or less. Temporary hourly help typically runs us $20 to 30 an hour for basic admin type tasks that just requires someone that's of average intelligence, punctual, composed, somewhat organized, can follow directions, and has a positive attitude. The bar is not that high.


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


I wake up at 7:30, half an hour to get ready, grab a bite, and then endure NoVA traffic for the next 30-45 minutes, getting to the office sometime just before 9. I get home at about 6pm. Considering that I have to dress myself every morning anyway, I'd say that the time it takes to get ready is a wash. So I'll allow 10 hours a day, or 50 hours a week. We have someone come in to clean the house for $75 every week. I enjoy food shopping because I love stuffing my face. And I love having a variety of Asian grocery stores around where I can annoy the butcher by asking for one specific slice of pork belly. I would say in any given week, the family spends about 10 hours total with chores and shopping and stuff.

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.
So 45 hours a 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.I have a good eliptical machine for cardio, free weights and a power cage for strength training. I belive it cost me about $2k to put together, but no gym membership needed. Ever.

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.I understand, and I suppose that to someone who doesn't care one way or the other, living in a low cost of living area is fine. But there are too many things that I don't want to give up. For example, most of the posts about "here's a nice home for $100k" type posts in this thread, the homes are just not acceptable to me. I don't want to live in or near homes like that.

lonestarguy said:   
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.

I'm one of those weird people that would go insane if I had nothing to do for too long. So I plan on never completely stopping from working. I used to work with this 75 year old guy that got bored of being retired, so worked part time. He told me "the best job you can ever have is a job where you're not afraid to get fired." That's my plan. Not to give a $#!^ when I'm old, but still contribute to society.

If I get sick of it, hopefully I've accrued enough equity in my 30 year mortgage that I can afford a smaller house in a low COL area. And, honestly, if I die with small bank account and a new 30 year mortgage over my head, I don't think I'd be very upset. Good luck getting mortgage payments from me when I'm dead! :p As long as my kids are well off and I gave them my money while I was alive, I'm a happy camper.

ohmic314 said:   Good luck getting mortgage payments from me when I'm dead!

Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of NYC, said in an interview with CBS' 60 Minutes: I plan to give all my money away before I die, and hope that my check to the undertaker bounces!

I am currently living in a small college town which is about 30 miles away from a medium-sized city. For me, this is the best combination.

kb75 said:   hope that my check to the undertaker bounces!

Pay your bills DEADbeat

Try living like a local wherever you want to retire to, for a few weeks if you can do it in a private-property dwelling space (no hotels, motels etc.). Medical facilities reflect incomes generally. Crime is underreported. Insurance for property and car is often ignored until too late (Florida.) Climate may have to do with property costs. In other words, subscribe to (FW approach: read in library) WHERE TO RETIRE magazine, deduct 50% for all claims.

skeer27 said:   
I can't believe the arrogance of you tone. I would like to know the where this amazing place is you live.

I live in Waynesville, Ohio (small town) on two acres and have access to everything you listed except for the beach.

However I do have this 5 minutes from my house:
Ceasar Creek

Amusement parks: 20 minutes south of me is Kings Island(decent amusement park). 2 Hrs north of me is the best roller coaster amusement park in the nation...Cedar Point.

I can go to Cincinnati Reds/Bengals game (45 minutes south).

I have Ohio State football games 1 hr east...and unless you have been to a traditional football power game you don't understand.

I have University of Cincinnati, University of Dayton(hosts the first four March Madness games and host to the most tournament games ever), Ohio State, Wright State, Miami of Ohio(always ranked in the top of pretty girls) within 1 hour of me.

The Air Force Museum is 30 minutes from my house...with the air force base where a huge part of military research and technology is.

I can ski an hour away.

I have one of the finest hospital 3 hrs away (Cleveland Clinic)

I can go to Dayton (20 Minutes) Cincy(45 Min) Columbus (1 Hr) Indianapolis (2 Hrs) Pittsburgh (2.5) Cleveland (3 Hrs)

There is no real traffic to these places.

I have 2 acres with a 900 Sqft garden where I grow my own food to cook with.

And finally the experience of a real fall season in a small town is impossible to describe.

All of this is one long winded way of saying it aint so bad. Do I live in the best place in the world, no. But for you to think that without living in a major city I am missing out is wrong. I have lived in San Francisco, been to New York and Chicago and I hate to break it to you, but other than the buildings being a little bigger and a few more of them, a city is a city. I have no idea why people would want to raise kids in a city...but that is a personal choice. A place only becomes great with the people you meet and know, not the restaurants and.

So please don't cry for me...in fact I cry for you being stuck in the city.

Arrogance of my tone? Hahaha. You should take a look in the mirror.

Waynesville, OH sounds like a great town and I bet it has wonderful people. I'm sure for you, it works well. But for me, these are the reasons I would not live there (no insult intended to anyone who does live there):
- Closest Korean restaurant is 10 miles... and anything korean is a mix of korean/japanese. I can't find a Korean tofu house within 100 miles. Heck, I can't find any Cuban restaurants. Where exactly is the Ethiopian food? Well, on the bright side, there is 3 Pho places within driving distance. Ah, but where do I get my ramen fix? There's cup-o-noodle, but nothing compares to fresh ramen. Also can't find any Hawaiian. And Brazilian! Oh, not so bad, only an hour's drive away. Mmmm... this is making me hungry.
- Roller coasters - ya got me there. It's a tight race news
- Air Force Museum - probably cool, but how does that compare to the National Air and Space museum in DC? Honestly, I've only been to the one in DC and would be interested to know if this one is better. But let's take a look at the Ghetty, Griffith observatory, or the California Science Center (which actually houses the space shuttle... how cool is that?)
- I tend to be a night owl. What time do things close in your area? One of my gripes having lived in smaller towns has been things close at 9-10pm. Hanging out at a bar, chatting over coffee, or playing pool till 2am is a way I socialize and connect with friends.
- Sure, major cities may be within 1-2 hours drive from home, but that's time I could be using with eating, socializing, relaxing, etc. I don't find driving to be relaxing, even without traffic.
- Let's check the diversity index.... 97% white in Waynesville? I don't consider that diversity.
- Where is exactly the broadway theater? Where can I watch Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, or the Blue Man Group?

Now let's compare that to Los Angeles.... it's got all I want. It may be more expensive, but I find value in these things, so I'm willing to pay more for them. If I only wanted a garden and a big yard to call my own, I wouldn't be living here. Your lifestyle is your own business and it is neither better or worse. I won't patronize you for the way you live your life despite how you are patronizing me and others for living in a large city.

I can go buy a fleet of every new BMW from the 1 series through the 7 series , in cash , so I don't think affordability is an issue . BMW are supposed to only need service every 10-15k miles thanks to synthetic fluids . so its about a $200 benefit. And theres nithing wrong with owning a bmw- But the fact that someone would even list living close to a BMW dealer as being important is probably the ultimate sign of douchebaggerry. Ignoring the fact you can get a loaner for that yearly service . and ignoring that if your bmw is in the shop much more often, as many 6 and 7 series are, it was likely a poor financial choice of car and will have terrible resale value. It is exactly what was said early in this thread-

ubermichaelthomas said:
Do you want to wake up to alarm clock 5 to 6 days a week, drive 1 hour to work each way, spend $20 a week on dry cleaning, feel the need to compete with your neighbors to buy a new BMW every 3 years, etc, in order to live in a "nice" city that you only get to enjoy maybe 10 to 20 hours a week because the rest of your life is dedicated to work, commute, household chores/food shopping/etc.

u.


the COL is far higher than just the home price bc you need to buy an expensive car to keep up your image with the neighbors in an expensive area, a vicious cycle .

LLLosingit said:   In central Iowa you can have the best of both worlds, Small town living with pretty good schools and short drives to larger populations that have most everything you need. The cost of living here is reasonable and housing is about as cheap as it gets right now. Granted it's not going to be for everyone but many first time visitors really appreciate what we have.... I know after traveling the perception people have of Iowa does not match our state.

95 percent of the central Iowa towns are dumps and drug infested. Meth rules Iowa. Have fun in the winter.

I work as a post-doctoral fellow in biomedical research. Post-doc salaries mostly follow NIH guidelines, which is about 40K, and has no COL adjustment. The hotbeds for biomedical research are Boston (Harvard, MIT, and the various affiliated hospitals) and the west coast--in neither location will 40K go far. My wife is a teacher, and while higher COL areas pay a bit more, IMHO it is not sufficient to offset the increase in COL.
I took a position with a good lab in a small town in a much lower COL area. Compared to my friends from graduate school who went to Boston to pursue post-docs, I live quite a comfortable life, and the wife and I have afforded to rent a nice townhouse, maintain two cars, and have our first kid, all while saving for retirement and a downpayment for a house. On top of being a low COL area, the particular place I live is extremely easy to live in terms of having almost no crime and very little traffic--it is in some ways very similar to the fictional town of Mayberry. I have however sacrificed my research opportunities by being at a lesser university. Likewise, the low COL area severely lacks in the shopping and eating out areas, and things like Costco, good sushi, good Chinese, or even Olive Garden are unavailable where we live. I still think I made the right choice, and the tradeoffs were well worth it given my goals in life.
I will second what secstate points out about smaller areas having less job opportunities. The PI over the lab I was in moved to a more prestigious university in a very high COL area, and I turned down an offer to move as there would have been no appreciable increase in salary. It was certainly much more difficult for me to find another position than if I had been in a city like Boston. In many low COL areas there aren't as many opportunities, but if you are amenable to moving, you can go from one low COL area to another to find new opportunities.
The one fear I have about the low COL area is that I am becoming too soft to go back to the higher stress in the high COL areas.

I live in a 2200sq ft nice condo 10 minutes from NYC, and spend 8.12% of my pre-tax income on housing costs. Parking is free here. I love my job.

tolamapS said:   I live in a 2200sq ft nice condo 10 minutes from NYC, and spend 8.12% of my pre-tax income on housing costs. Parking is free here. I love my job.

What % of post-tax income do you spend? I'm going to assume you're in the 50% tax bracket due to NYC tax, Federal tax, NY or NJ state and FICA.

How long ago did you buy? Are you in year 28 of a 30 year mortgage so inflation has taken the bite out of your monthly mortgage?

I have a feeling that someone who wants to move to NYC and live 10 minutes away and spend 8% of their pre-tax income will likely need a job paying $600k/year at current housing costs.

Ecuador and the Philippines. Super low cost areas

ubermichaelthomas said:   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...


There are good and bad parts of every city/town.

Most of Homestead is rural and safe. There is a part of it which is dominated by subdivisions that primarily got sold to lower-income households and has higher crime.

That kind of judgement is similar to saying that all of NYC is unsafe because there are high-crime sections of Brooklyn and Bronx.

codename47 said:   Ecuador and the Philippines. Super low cost areasSo why do you live in Dallas?

One of the themes that seem to run through this thread is how people are "chained" to a specific location because of a job.

I consider myself lucky. As an internet retailer, I can live virtually anywhere in the country as long as there is a Post Office nearby.

beltme said:   One of the themes that seem to run through this thread is how people are "chained" to a specific location because of a job.

I consider myself lucky. As an internet retailer, I can live virtually anywhere in the country as long as there is a Post Office nearby.


As an "internet retailer" I assume you're chained to whatever basement is below where your parents currently reside.

ubermichaelthomas said:   As an "internet retailer" I assume you're chained to whatever basement is below where your parents currently reside.

Actually, my office is in the basement. However, I'm the parent.

Random data point:

Reduced my taxes/expenses/COL by 17.5k/yr by moving out of California.

COL went from 20% of pretax income to 9%.

Lucky to have a job where that was possible.

jd2010 said:   Random data point:

Reduced my taxes/expenses/COL by 17.5k/yr by moving out of California.

COL went from 20% of pretax income to 9%.

Lucky to have a job where that was possible.


Did you go to Texas like the rest of wayward-Californians? If you don't mind sharing, what (general) geographic region did you end up in?

In all this conversation, one way to get great housing very cheap has been overlooked.

The method? Take a job that gives you free housing. Lots and lots of jobs do. Bank all the money you save on housing and then buy wherever you want. Or better yet, buy a decent rental apartment in a high-cost-of-living area, and rent it out while you live in your employer-supplied digs. Then you get two free houses: one that your employer provides, and one where your tenant pays your mortgage.

Completely off topic but I got to chime in. Being a liberal or conservative does not make you open or closed minded. Being "enlightened" just means people think like you.

wp746911 said:   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.

I can't speak to Houston, but I've lived in various DFW suburbs for the last 15+ years.

Yes, the nice affordable suburbs aren't in downtown Dallas, but neither are many of the jobs. A lot of the job centers down here are in the Northern suburbs themselves. So choosing a suburb with a short commute isn't difficult - just get the job first...

I like the thread but it falls into the typical FW trap of trying to evaluate every decision based on purely financial reasons. Where you live depends on very personal factors and price is only one of them. And a lot of the advice here, IMO, is skewed by the posters being relatively young.

marabout said:   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.



I live in the SF bay area. Weather is great. Food is great. The crazy liberal wack jobs here are not as open-minded as they'd like to delude themselves.

I occasionally go the beach and the mountains. I sure as hell can't afford to have ocean views and still be within a reasonable commute.

If it wasn't for my parents and close-knit extended family, I'd be long gone. Here, in the Bay Area, we're all just rats in a race. But people like to pretend otherwise.

stopmakingcents said:   Unfortunatley there are still liberals, alcoholics, and trashy people with no manners and loud motorcycles in small towns. It isn't Mayberry.

I grew up in a small (9K) West texas town -- ALL of the alcoholics and trashy people with no manners and loud motorcycles voted for the same guys you do.

I know -- I'm related to a lot of 'em.

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 .


Hawaii can't be beat for the large eurasian population.

TravelerMSY said:   I like the thread but it falls into the typical FW trap of trying to evaluate every decision based on purely financial reasons. Where you live depends on very personal factors and price is only one of them. And a lot of the advice here, IMO, is skewed by the posters being relatively young.
Agreed that "quality of life" comprises more than just financial factors and that it's a very personal definition. One other thing: what constitutes what I consider a good quality of life now might change over the years. For example, a given home in a given location might be ideal for raising a family, but when the kids have become independent adults, that equation could easily change.

Around here, generally speaking, the trashy people with no manners and obnoxious motorcycles that sit around drinking beer all day are union folks or unemployed people who think they're owed handouts and vote accordingly.

Texas may be different however.

TheDragonn said:   jd2010 said:   Random data point:

Reduced my taxes/expenses/COL by 17.5k/yr by moving out of California.

COL went from 20% of pretax income to 9%.

Lucky to have a job where that was possible.


Did you go to Texas like the rest of wayward-Californians? If you don't mind sharing, what (general) geographic region did you end up in?


Theres actually more emigration of Californians to WA and OR than TX. Generally always has been.

jerosen said:   TheDragonn said:   jd2010 said:   Random data point:

Reduced my taxes/expenses/COL by 17.5k/yr by moving out of California.

COL went from 20% of pretax income to 9%.

Lucky to have a job where that was possible.


Did you go to Texas like the rest of wayward-Californians? If you don't mind sharing, what (general) geographic region did you end up in?


Theres actually more emigration of Californians to WA and OR than TX. Generally always has been.


Ended up in a SW metro area. Also upgraded from a studio apt to a 3 br 1.5k sqft place.

tinlizzy said:   

I'm a single female.


And nobody's asked for pics?



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