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Would you live in a place you didn't like if it meant you could FIRE?
Old 06-27-2008, 05:24 AM   #1
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Would you live in a place you didn't like if it meant you could FIRE?

Part of the reason I moved to my current location is so I could live a mortgage free lifestyle, which I do enjoy and it provides for a lot of security. Problem is I miss my old city. One of the many (wonderful and not so wonderful) qualities of my former city is that the cost of living is probably second to NYC. I did own a house there but it was far from the city in an area I did not want to live in but I could own something. Returning there really isn't an option for me unless I want to work forever just to have a little house somewhere not too far from the city. Townhouses and condos aren't an option for me as I hate having common walls. At any rate, I am stuck for now but I am wondering how many of you have relocated to a cheaper place just to FIRE? Does FIREing make up for the lack of being in a place that may be less than your ideal location? At any rate, just wondering what people have done in order to FIRE in terms of location?
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Old 06-27-2008, 05:40 AM   #2
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We moved to a much less populated area at retirement solely to get away from having to plan our lives around traffic. We had a paid-for house there, sold that and wrote a check for a much nicer place "out in the sticks" as relatives put it. Ten minutes from several large grocery stores, a small mall and other amenities hardly qualifies as "the sticks" to me though.
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Old 06-27-2008, 07:36 AM   #3
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I wouldn't move someplace I didn't like just to FIRE. "Less than ideal" is different than "don't like". I look at it just like I did when j*b searching. If the right job was in a place I was ok with but not ideal, I'd take it; but I probably wouldn't if I was pretty certain I wouldn't like it there.

Fortunately my ideal isn't an expensive city like NYC so I haven't had to make that kind of compromise. Where I live now, I'm close enough to my ideal to be happy, and I suspect if I tried some of the places I think I might like better, I'd find that the grass isn't really greener there.
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Old 06-27-2008, 08:06 AM   #4
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hmmm, move to where i don't want to be so i don't have to work or take a job i don't want to work so i can be where i want to be. i would rather not have to make that decision. how fortunate that my finances declined when i was ready to move anyway.

i guess it partly depends on what matters more, on which compromises you less. i've a friend who, though i think he would make the ideal expat were he the adventurous and not the anal retentive sort, would only stay here in lauderdale and so he will work until he's dead. he loves his house and the night life and spending lots of money and he's not giving that up for anything.

i agree that it's great here but i've had it great here for more than 30 years, during which time i've lost a lot of what made it great for me, the people in my life. no amount of money i could work for is gonna bring them back. so there's not a whole lot holding me to this great place.

i could probably put myself out there and meet a new group of people but i can do that anywhere. i have good friends scattered all over the country so i've no doubt there's other good people out there as well.

now i just have to hope i don't find some great person here who i want to know before i sell out and move on. because while i probably wouldn't go back to work just to stay in a place i like and while i don't think i would move to a place i don't like because that is all i could afford (while i have the capacity to work to be able to afford a place i would like) i'm pretty sure i would go back to work for the right person if that person was in a place i could not afford without working.

having been in love, i know that for me it doesn't matter one bit what i do during the day, work or play or sit and think. having buried love, i know that it not only doesn't matter what i do, but it doesn't matter where i am. for me, in terms of settling down, it is the people who make a place, not the place that makes the place.
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Old 06-27-2008, 08:16 AM   #5
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Kathryn, can you list some qualities of your ideal location? I'm sure that with everyone's experience on this board, we can suggest a few locations that can fit both your FIRE goals and your quality-of-life metrics.
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Old 06-27-2008, 08:40 AM   #6
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In a word: no...

But I'm flexible, nonetheless!
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Old 06-27-2008, 09:07 AM   #7
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If I absolutely knew I would hate it there the answer would be NO! However, if it was this place is not as nice at that, or the thought of living there is not palatable, then MAYBE.

In the service we moved 15 times in 20 years. Some places were better than others. We took the attitude: 'Lots of people call this place home. There must be something here they like.' We then sought out that something. The results, we never had an assignment we did not like. Too many people play 'Ain't it awful!' finding all the faults with there surroundings. These people are never happy.

So, it depends on what type of person you are as to weather you would be happy moving.
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Old 06-27-2008, 09:20 AM   #8
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The older I get, the more I move toward Rustic's notion of places to live. There are certain places I am reasonably certain I would be pretty unhappy in (fer Gawd's sake, I hope I never end up in Fort Worth, for example). But mostly, there are interesting and worthwhile things about most places you might end up. So I think that if you know what you like, you should be able to find some of it wherever you are if you are in the right frame of mind and go looking for it.

I also increasingly find that wherever I am is home and I generally do not want to change the location of my permanent home. Partially that is because with small children entering school, I am committed to where I am and like it here, but its also a part of my make-up. If and when we move, it will be a long-considered decision.
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Old 06-27-2008, 09:23 AM   #9
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To a degree. I would compromise, but there are limits.

In reality, one has to weigh for themselves the enjoyment/liberation they'd get from telling the rat race goodbye with the enjoyment they derive from living where they are.

But in the end, except for a few complete hellholes, there are redeeming qualities of just about every place, and if you're the half-full type of person who could focus on those (rather than what you don't particularly like about it), then I'd say it's likely to be a good trade off to move if you really want out of your j*b.
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Old 06-27-2008, 09:30 AM   #10
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So Rustic and Ziggy (both TX residents) have a philosophy of "no matter where you live you can probably find something good if you just look for it".

And Brewer says he agrees - as long as he doesn't have to live in Texas...
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Old 06-27-2008, 09:53 AM   #11
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Kathryn, can you list some qualities of your ideal location? I'm sure that with everyone's experience on this board, we can suggest a few locations that can fit both your FIRE goals and your quality-of-life metrics.
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!
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Old 06-27-2008, 10:37 AM   #12
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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!
I honestly think it'll be impossible to get ALL of what you want in an area low-cost enough to allow you to ER. If you don't like bugs, humidity and snow, the east coast is probably not going to be appealing. From the sound of it, you really want to be in coastal Northern California. Unfortunately, prices there are not very conducive to ER. Perhaps you could find the kind of town you're looking for by going much further up the California coast. It'd probably be a little bit inland to keep RE costs down, but close enough to drive to the coast. The Bay Area would be a car-trip away for when you need to satisfy your cultural cravings.

EDIT: That kind of place will obviously lack the kind of public transportation you say you're looking for. Hmmmm. Somewhere in Washington State might work, as well, but I don't thnk RE prices get much better when you're close to good transportation, culture, etc.

DW & I have a similar dilemma: we love SoCal, but half of our net-worth is tied up in our house. We won't be able to ER anytime in the next 15 years without selling the house and moving to a lower-cost area. We like the area and the schools, etc., and don't hate our jobs, so we're sitting tight for now (and maybe forever). I'd like to be FIREd today, but not at the cost of living somewhere that doesn't appeal to my family.
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Old 06-27-2008, 11:16 AM   #13
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I hear you ProspectiveBum. I rack my brains to try to figure out such a place that I described, but I don't know that this place exists. I could compromise in some ways, for instance, public transportation isn't a requirement but I am tired of living in mega freeway land. You being in SoCal know what I mean. Where I live is just a hotter version of LA without the water. And I do miss N. CA and its beauty and tons of interesting stuff to do - but it came at a huge price. In hindsight, I could have sold my house and moved in closer and not have a mortgage, but I wasn't in the financial position to do that until I'd already made this move. Oh well. I guess I'll just keep plugging along and make the best of things where I am, but if anyone knows of a perfect little place out there that no one else knows about (because once a perfect place is discovered, it stops being perfect as everyone moves there), would love to hear! Or even if there is a place that is not perfect but meets most of my criteria, would love to hear! Thanks!
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Old 06-27-2008, 11:17 AM   #14
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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.
You should move to Marquette, Michigan! It's right on the water, the people are nice, and it's a small university town with a regional teaching hospital to boot. That means you're around nice, single, and well-educated people.

As a bonus, the -80 F weather in the winter keeps the rattlesnakes away. Oh, and being a small town, every place is a hole in the wall.

I am in a place that I think is less than ideal, and we want to move, but we've had fun here in spite of that. We can't wait to move, but it's more to looking forward to adventuring a little than being miserable here. As has been pointed out, there's something to love about everywhere and you're better off finding that than hating a place for being what it is.

Nords has a great story about his in-laws time on the island... I think you could read it and understand why it's better to love where you are than be miserable.
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Old 06-27-2008, 11:18 AM   #15
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Do I ask for too much?
Decent job market, good weather, near the water and nice scenery are all generally at odds with "low cost."
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Old 06-27-2008, 11:37 AM   #16
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Would you live in a place you didn't like if it meant you could FIRE?

I find this to be confusing. I'm not sure why anyone would stay in a place they didn't like as a way to retiring early (unless they had to for some reason or other). Why bother? You'll just continue to dislike it and not be working, if it's really "the place" that's the problem.

I'm all for moving to a happy place if you have the means and desire to do so. But the attitude may be more important than the latitude, as they say.
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Old 06-27-2008, 11:44 AM   #17
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The title may have been a little more extreme than the post. The original post sounded more like: "There's some place I'd rather live, but it costs too much."

It's definitely one of those tradeoffs everyone tries to figure out. Depends how much the location contributes to your happiness, depends how much your job stinks. I know I have limits -- there is no way I'd move back to the area I grew up in to retire earlier, even though cost of living is much lower there. I'd rather work longer at a job I didn't like than do that. Wait, that's what I'm doing...
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Old 06-27-2008, 11:47 AM   #18
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Would you live in a place you didn't like if it meant you could FIRE?

I find this to be confusing. I'm not sure why anyone would stay in a place they didn't like as a way to retiring early (unless they had to for some reason or other). Why bother? You'll just continue to dislike it and not be working, if it's really "the place" that's the problem.

I'm all for moving to a happy place if you have the means and desire to do so. But the attitude may be more important than the latitude, as they say.
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. Ideally I'd love to take my house and plop it back there, but it ain't going to happen.

At any rate, I am going to make the best of it. Like you say, attitude is very important although I think latitude matters a heck of a lot. Although I've avoided it for five years, I may have to get back into that rat race. The difference now is I can afford to do it for a lot less money so I have more choices in terms of the second half of my life. If only I had a few (or many) hundred thousand more, but that's always been my problem...
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Old 06-27-2008, 11:50 AM   #19
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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...

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Old 06-27-2008, 11:56 AM   #20
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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!
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