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Old 06-27-2008, 12:00 PM   #21
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They dislike work more?

Sometimes a person doesn't realize how much a place is not suited to them until after they move there. The lure of no more four hour daily commutes to and from work, buying a place six times the size in a good neighborhood - stuff like that can skew one's judgment at the time. I am one of those Californians who left California and helped drive up housing costs where I now live.
Fair enough; we've all made bad calls now and then. So, you dislike the place and you dislike the job even more, and probably can't afford to move to a nice place just yet.

To me, that doesn't spell FIRE. It spells, "find a new job somewhere nicer." Be patient. FIREing now and sentencing yourself to a place you dislike just to be able to FIRE doesn't sound like a winning strategy.

New job, nicer place, couple more years to save up all sounds better to me. I'm sure you'll figure it out -- just need a mid-course correction. And it souinds like you're close enough to financial independence that it won't take long.
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Old 06-27-2008, 12:13 PM   #22
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there was a website whereby you plug in a bunch of preferences such as weather, cost, social activities, etc and then it gave a bunch of choices that might fit the bill. looking through my saved sites to see if i still have it. if anyone can think of it, please post for the o.p.

edit: found it. maybe you will find your low-humidity, bugfree, thunderstorming utopia here...

Best Places to Live: Compare the Best Cities & Small Towns for You!
Thanks for this link. Two of the places that popped up are places I have considered - Eugene and Salem, OR. I could probably add a couple hundred thousand to my retirement fund if I moved there. Not surprisingly, several CA cities turned up on my list as well. That is a great link!
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Old 06-27-2008, 12:34 PM   #23
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One suggestion that might be a bit out of left field, but I'll offer it up anyway: Austin, TX. We've visited, and I really liked the town. As far as your critiera:

Nice people: the folks we met were very nice.
Public transport: within the city center, yes, but not so good outside of town.
Bugs: unknown (we weren't there during "bug" season).
Political bent: liberal...for Texas.
Weather: probably a bit more humid than you want, but generally nice...for Texas. No snow that I'm aware of.
Near water: no oceans nearby, obviously, but there are a number of good-sized lakes in the area.
Decent job market: Dell is headquartered there, and the job market seems to be pretty good.
Real estate prices: less than half what we see here on the left coast (though I understand property taxes are higher).

Good luck!
Austin is in the process of adding light rail for more mass transit. I have a lot of doubts that the city is laid out to be able to use it effectively, but they are determined to try.
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Old 06-27-2008, 12:35 PM   #24
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Oh yeah, the Gulf of Mexico isn't terribly far away, 3+ hour drive.
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Old 06-27-2008, 03:24 PM   #25
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My experience has been that you do take your attitude whereever you live, so if you don't find nice people in one location it's unlikely you'll find very many nice ones in other locations, no matter how lovely the geography.

On the other hand, people do make the place. Bible belt Missouri is a very different place to live than, for example, Denver, Co. because the people have created different cultures and those places attract like minded people.

So I've probably just contradicted myself, which is nothing new.

Anyway, to address the OP's question.

Boulder, CO

Nice people: Yes but lots of 20-30 somethings.
Public transport: Excellent
Bugs: not many but mosquitos carry West Nile in summer/fall
Political bent: extra liberal
Weather: cold/hot but always beautiful
Near water: lakes and streams nearby
Decent job market: Denver is within commuting
Real estate prices: Expensive! But surrounding areas are affordable.

Boulder also will have light rail all the way to Denver and to the airport within the next decade.
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Old 06-27-2008, 03:34 PM   #26
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The short anwer to the OP question is NO!! I live in the kind of Eden OP describes and it is the ONLY reason I am still w*rking.
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Old 06-27-2008, 03:36 PM   #27
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Well, water is very important to me. (So I moved to a desert, go figure. ) So is being around nice people. Where I lived before there were a lot of nice, single, and well educated people and, dare I say, it was a rather liberal place. I love natural beauty and diversity (love Asian supermarkets and international stuff) and little quaint hole-in-the-wall type restaurants. I like shady trees and wind and a place not packed with mega freeways. A good transportation system is important, as I don't like driving everywhere. A land not dominated by chain restaurants is nice too. I've only lived in California, Oregon (for a brief period) and now in AZ. Oh, weather is important too - I prefer no snow, love thunderstorms, dislike humidity, dislike big bugs, and I like a combo of sunny and cloudy days (unlike here where the sun shines day after day and I keep my house dark just to compensate for it). I've only always lived in big cities in CA and where I currently reside (except for Minneapolis - born and raised, and Portland which I think are good size or something smaller might work too) and would like to try something on a smaller scale than where I've lived most of my life. Oh, and a good job market, just in case, is important too.

Do I ask for too much? I don't know the east coast and sometimes think the perfect place could be in that half of the country, but I don't know that part of the country, as I said - some nice community where I could buy a house free and clear (and hopefully pay less than I did for my current one). Anyone know of a place that meets the above criteria? It would be great if there were a few places out there like my description. Thanks for asking!
OK, let me trot out my amateur marketing guy's hat and try to match your list of features with your desired benefits and see how those benefits can be satisfied in some way.

How large a body of water do you need? Would a lake do? Do you own a boat or simply want a place to sit and contemplate. Do you need a place to swim or do you need the waves to surf?

Would you trade walkable/bike-friendly neighborhoods with a vibrant down town for a good public transportation system?

Would a good concert series featuring world-class classical musicians be enough, or do you require a world-class orchestra to be resident in your city?

How often do you eat out, and what is your pattern for dining out? Do you like sampling different restaurants every week without repeating, or do you have a favorite 3 to 4 restaurants that you frequent?

How liberal? I used to think that I'm very liberal until I experienced ultra liberal first hand. It was just as unpleasant as ultra conservative.

As for critters, there is no much you can do about that. I hate bugs, too, but you can get away from having to deal with a lot of bugs and critters by living in condos and townhouses.
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Old 06-27-2008, 03:39 PM   #28
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My experience has been that you do take your attitude whereever you live, so if you don't find nice people in one location it's unlikely you'll find very many nice ones in other locations, no matter how lovely the geography.

On the other hand, people do make the place. Bible belt Missouri is a very different place to live than, for example, Denver, Co. because the people have created different cultures and those places attract like minded people.

So I've probably just contradicted myself, which is nothing new.

Anyway, to address the OP's question.

Boulder, CO

Nice people: Yes but lots of 20-30 somethings.
Public transport: Excellent
Bugs: not many but mosquitos carry West Nile in summer/fall
Political bent: extra liberal
Weather: cold/hot but always beautiful
Near water: lakes and streams nearby
Decent job market: Denver is within commuting
Real estate prices: Expensive! But surrounding areas are affordable.

Boulder also will have light rail all the way to Denver and to the airport within the next decade.
Damn, you beat me to it. I would love to live there again.
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Old 06-27-2008, 03:40 PM   #29
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My experience has been that you do take your attitude whereever you live.
Yes, that's the way it has been with me. I've had to move to different cities because of a j o b...didn't really want to go, but made the best out of the situation.

The next time I move, it will be because of retirement and this time I will choose where I want to live.
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Old 06-27-2008, 03:55 PM   #30
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Forget Florida ,we have bugs that are the size of house cats !
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Old 06-27-2008, 04:22 PM   #31
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OK, let me trot out my amateur marketing guy's hat and try to match your list of features with your desired benefits and see how those benefits can be satisfied in some way.


Quote:
How large a body of water do you need? Would a lake do? Do you own a boat or simply want a place to sit and contemplate. Do you need a place to swim or do you need the waves to surf?
Anything natural and bigger than my pool. Just kiddin'! I am from the land of 10,000 lakes (MN) and spent 13 years on the CA coast, so anything in between works great! Just please no lame man made and filled in "lakes" like the ones here. I don't swim in anything with critters so it would just be for walking around, contemplating or maybe boating.

Quote:
Would you trade walkable/bike-friendly neighborhoods with a vibrant down town for a good public transportation system?
Absolutely! I like the vibrant downtown part the best!

Quote:
Would a good concert series featuring world-class classical musicians be enough, or do you require a world-class orchestra to be resident in your city?
The former is fine!

Quote:
How often do you eat out, and what is your pattern for dining out? Do you like sampling different restaurants every week without repeating, or do you have a favorite 3 to 4 restaurants that you frequent?
I seldom eat out and my favorite restaurants are ethnic little holes-in-the-wall. I am not fond of chains.

Quote:
How liberal? I used to think that I'm very liberal until I experienced ultra liberal first hand. It was just as unpleasant as ultra conservative.
Liberal enough to make me feel too conservative, as in San Francisco. Politically I am right up there with the best of 'em in the Bay Area. However, the weird liberal stuff I'll take a pass on.

Quote:
As for critters, there is no much you can do about that. I hate bugs, too, but you can get away from having to deal with a lot of bugs and critters by living in condos and townhouses.
Agreed, there are exterminators. I just cannot do snakes or Florida size bugs.

Thanks!
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Old 06-27-2008, 04:28 PM   #32
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By the time people have reached an age and maturity to retire, they usually know what they like and what they don't like. To me, it would make no sense to go someplace that hasn't ever appealed to you before, or even worse that sounds downright bad to you. In the case of the OP, she has to work anyway, she can't retire anywhere with much margin of safety. Why not work and live where you already know you will enjoy life?

As regards big city/small city, opinions differ, but to me big has the advantage that it is big. There is a greater variety of all things that thrive in centers of population and wealth. I think this may be less important to married people.

I also disagree with the theory that you take your happiness or unhappiness wherever you go. A crazy person will stay crazy, and an extreme optimist/coper will do OK everwhere. But between these bookends is where most of us live, and we obviously resonate better to some places and some social environments than we do to others.

I have had the good fortune to never have to spend much time in a less than desirable place. But I can tell you that one of the happiest days in my life is the day I woke up in New England and went to bed in Venice CA. So even when they are all good, some are better for a particular individual.

Ha
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Old 06-27-2008, 04:47 PM   #33
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But I can tell you that one of the happiest days in my life is the day I woke up in New England and went to bed in Venice CA. So even when they are all good, some are better for a particular individual.
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That must have been one heck of a day! .....
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Old 06-27-2008, 05:13 PM   #34
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Well, water is very important to me. (So I moved to a desert, go figure. ) So is being around nice people. Where I lived before there were a lot of nice, single, and well educated people and, dare I say, it was a rather liberal place. I love natural beauty and diversity (love Asian supermarkets and international stuff) and little quaint hole-in-the-wall type restaurants. I like shady trees and wind and a place not packed with mega freeways. A good transportation system is important, as I don't like driving everywhere. A land not dominated by chain restaurants is nice too. I've only lived in California, Oregon (for a brief period) and now in AZ. Oh, weather is important too - I prefer no snow, love thunderstorms, dislike humidity, dislike big bugs, and I like a combo of sunny and cloudy days (unlike here where the sun shines day after day and I keep my house dark just to compensate for it). I've only always lived in big cities in CA and where I currently reside (except for Minneapolis - born and raised, and Portland which I think are good size or something smaller might work too) and would like to try something on a smaller scale than where I've lived most of my life. Oh, and a good job market, just in case, is important too.

Do I ask for too much? I don't know the east coast and sometimes think the perfect place could be in that half of the country, but I don't know that part of the country, as I said - some nice community where I could buy a house free and clear (and hopefully pay less than I did for my current one). Anyone know of a place that meets the above criteria? It would be great if there were a few places out there like my description. Thanks for asking!
Seattle meets most of the criteria you describe- but the combo of sunny and cloudy days might be skewed a bit to the cloudy side... Very
liberal, good public transportation, lots of hole in the wall places, good cultural attractions, lots of trees & green... little snow, occasional thunderstorms. You might be able to trade your current CA equity for a house in WA without a mortgage. Depends on how close you want to be to the CBD, the Sound and the Freeways.
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Old 06-27-2008, 05:32 PM   #35
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That must have been one heck of a day! .....
When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

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Old 06-27-2008, 05:39 PM   #36
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I've concluded there is no affordable perfect place to live, every choice is a compromise. We will FIRE somewhere that is some of the features we are most interested in, but ultimately it will be the least of all evils and therefore not someplace we hate. Not very optimistic I guess, but what we've concluded...
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Old 06-27-2008, 05:52 PM   #37
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No.

I could never see myself living in the big city permanently. I enjoy rural areas. The big city is just a means to the end.
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Old 06-27-2008, 06:05 PM   #38
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One thing people have not mentioned is the fact that you dismiss the idea of a condo or even renting. At some point I want to move to a bigger city and I want to be in an area where I can walk to the store, the library, and a few decent restaurants. I have a neighborhood in mind. The houses are very pricey but condos not so much. I'd compromise on the condo for the walkable nice neighborhood.
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Old 06-27-2008, 06:35 PM   #39
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I've concluded there is no affordable perfect place to live, every choice is a compromise. We will FIRE somewhere that is some of the features we are most interested in, but ultimately it will be the least of all evils and therefore not someplace we hate. Not very optimistic I guess, but what we've concluded...
This is how I feel. All these factors have to be figured in simultaneously. I would be less happy having a mortgage than living here, which is why I am here. Of course if there were another place where the cost of living would be lower and I'd be just as happy or happier, I would be there. I could take what I've got in my equity and invest it and still not have a mortgage in a place where the cost of living is lower. There is no perfect place and what I hate about this place, I avoid. Problem is I end up avoiding a lot. Hah, in all seriousness I have it pretty good. My property hasn't dropped in value at all and I do have a job interview on Monday. It only pays $15 an hour and involves driving a lot (but even I could maybe tolerate driving if it is limited to the east side) and there is no way I could even consider a $15 an hour job in my previous life. I won't get rich, but as long as they have a 401K, medical benefits and I go back to school for another degree (and I have an MBA so I wouldn't be limited in my new career field to just providing services), I could climb the ranks somewhere. Or...maybe I could even figure out a way to FIRE by moving to Mexico someday. I am working on my espanol these days, so that comes in handy.

I think it's all a balancing act and a matter of priorities. I guess I am moving in the direction of building my assets and I guess at my age and being single that should be my priority, even if I am not living in paradise. I goofed off enough in my younger years and now I'm paying the price. I wish I would have joined the military (those VA benefits sure look wonderful) and I wish I would have started saving money from the age of 16, but hindsight is 20/20.
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Old 06-27-2008, 06:42 PM   #40
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I am not fond of chains.
How about whips?

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But I can tell you that one of the happiest days in my life is the day I woke up in New England and went to bed in Venice CA.

Ha
Alcohol will give you turnips disease: you might turn-up in New England, you might turn-up in California...
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