Author Topic: StashTown, USA: Where is your amazing place to live? Official Discussion  (Read 12911 times)

Money Stoic

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 22
  • Location: Athens, GA
Great MMM post on finding your home base. This forum post is a chance to share where your amazing place to live is and why based on the original article: 

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/05/09/stashtown-usa/

For me it is the Athens, GA / Oconee County area of Northeast Georgia. 

More details on this later.

This post is very timely for me as I decided to quit my job of over a decade to document (by video and web-posts) the most Amazing Places To Live around the U.S. and world.  I am 4 months into the project and will monitor this post for places I need to visit and document next and to share my findings thus far. 

EDIT: 

So, where is your amazing place to live? 

The MMM categories are:

What is it about state and region that makes it amazing?

What is it about the city or town that makes it amazing?

Employment opportunities?

Climate?

Culture?

Housing?

Taxes?

Flaws?

 So many great posts so far.  If anyone has a blog post full of photos and stories and even video that highlights your amazing place to live, link that post here.  I would like to take a look and possible include it on an online channel I am building that will highlight amazing places to live.

Thanks!
« Last Edit: July 22, 2014, 08:53:26 AM by MoneyWom.com »

Mississippi Mudstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1469
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Fernandina Beach, FL
    • A Riving Home - Ramblings of a Recusant Woodworker
I spent 5 fabulous years earning 2 degrees in Athens, GA. My wife and I hope to move back to that area one day. I prefer a more rural setting, so we will probably be looking on the Madison/Oglethorpe Co. side of Athens. Great town, though.

If I were willing to live farther from my family, then somewhere out West or even another country, like New Zealand, would probably be calling my name. But I am currently a 9-hour drive from our closest family and that is too far as it is.
“There is scarcely anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse, and sell a little more cheaply. The person who buys on price alone is this man's lawful prey.” -John Ruskin

My Woodworking Blog

steveo

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1386
So, where is your amazing place to live?  Sydney, Australia,

What is it about state and region that makes it amazing? What is it about the city or town that makes it amazing? I grew up here so I love watching the football (rugby league). The climate is good - a bit cold in winter and right now. Shopping for food and essential groceries is pretty good. If you travel the whole east coast of Australia is great. My particular suburb has lots of great walks and bike riding tracks as well.
Employment opportunities? Sydney has good employment opportunities.
Climate? Answered above.
Culture?Answered above.
Housing? Ridiculously expensive. I imagine it is one of the most unmustachian places in the world for buying or renting a house.
Taxes? High but I think less hidden taxes such as property taxes.
Flaws? Housing.

I would move somewhere else and may do so when we become FI however my wife doesn't really want to move outside of Australia and to me there are very few options within Australia that are as good as where we live now.

Stacey

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 104
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Maine
    • Bottling Moonlight

This post is very timely for me as I decided to quit my job of over a decade to document (by video and web-posts) the most Amazing Places To Live around the U.S. and world.  I am 4 months into the project and will monitor this post for places I need to visit and document next and to share my findings thus far. 


Awesome project - I'd be interested to see your findings thus far.  My family was doing much of the same this past year (though with an emphasis on pure travel).  We knew we wanted to leave the DC area and wanted to travel, so we figured we camp all around the country and look for a new spot to call home.  Lots of great places out there!  Not sure what your criteria are - everyone's are different - but the places I'd definitely check out are central Kentucky (Lexington area), Bozeman and Missoula areas, some of the CO mountain towns, Southern Vermont (though admittedly not great for employment prospects), the Willamette Valley, Bend, OR, Albuquerque and Taos areas, the list could go on.  Also, just for traveling purposes, southern Utah was phenomenal.  And the Buffalo River in Arkansas. We're actually in the Western Mass area at the moment (another great area) and may wind up here permanently - we shall see!  I'm interested to hear where you've been and where you're headed.  Glad to trade travel/place tips!
Join us as we explore, hike, play, and, ultimately, find a new place to call home.  www.bottlingmoonlight.com

mickmey

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
I'm following and curious.  I think our requirements are a bit different than most.  Hubby will earn an active duty pension in six years, I'll earn a reserve pension at 60…so we're using quasi-mustachianism to achieve FI in six years when hubby retires. 

Our kids will be young (9 and 7) and travel is a priority (we lived in Germany for six years courtesy of the army).  We have a 5th wheel travel trailer and truck to tow it (very anti-mustachian, we know, but it's the lifestyle we want).  So we need a base that works for lots of RV travel, and the ability to take advantage of cruise deals and international travel deals. 

I'm from Texas, so it holds a draw for us.  But, it is tough to find a bikeable city in TX.  We're considering New Braunfels:

What is it about state and region that makes it amazing?

Texas Hill Country-beautiful rugged hills.
Wildflowers!
Great State Parks in easy driving distance (diversity and amenities exceed most states…and they're inexpensive)
No state income tax
Mild winters
Able to be outside year-round (if you can tolerate the heat…that's where the rivers and lake come in handy)
Low COL
Access to both Austin and San Antonio.
San Antonio has Riverwalk, museums, Six Flags Park and Seaworld
Austin has museums, live entertainment, miles of bike trails, water sports
Several universities nearby (San Marcos-Texas State; Seguin-Texas Lutheran; Austin-UT; San Antonio-UTSA, St. Mary's, Our Lady of the Lake, Incarnate Word)
Galveston cruise port (several hours away, but drivable to take advantage of cruise deals)

What is it about the city or town that makes it amazing?

Two clear rivers (tubing, kayaking, swimming) in the town
Recreational lake nearby
Waterpark in downtown
Walkable downtown and walkable "town" of Gruene (historical area revitalized with shops, restaurants, wine bar and entertainment)
German history vibe-Wurstfest, German restaurants (my mom is from Germany, and we lived there for years)
Excellent city parks right in town

Employment opportunities?
4.3% unemployment rate (lower than Texas average).  Close access to San Antonio and Austin if you can stand a commute.
Some seasonal work, though, due to tourist industry (good or bad depending on how you look at it)

Climate?
Mild in winter, gorgeous in spring and fall, hot in summer.  But you can be outside year round, and it's typically sunny.

Culture?
German heritage; Mexican infusion; Texan culture; Historical vibe (plus access to San Antonio and Austin: two culture rich cities)

Housing?
Because New Braunfels is gaining in popularity, the downtown homes are rising in cost.  1500 sq ft home in need of some renos could be $250K or more.  On the flip side, if you're willing to live out of downtown, housing prices are very inexpensive, often $100-$120 sq/ft.

Taxes?
We don't own a home there, but I *think* the overall county, city and school tax rate is under 3%.  If you live outside the city limits (many do) you avoid the city rate.
Sales tax is 8.25%, but if you're not buying much, it's not a big deal.

Flaws?
It is a Texas tourism town…particularly in the summer, when the rivers, waterpark and lake are a huge draw.  But, then again, that's the best time to take the RV to Colorado, IMHO, so we'd avoid that.
The real estate prices in downtown are rising, so we're trying to decide if we want to pay more for the property and walk to most things in town (and pay to store our RV), or live out of town, pay less for the house (and taxes) and not have to store the RV. We're going to own a reliable truck, regardless, because of the RV, so that aspect of our life will never be mustachian.
It's hot in the summer.  Not going to lie.  Air Conditioning is a big deal.  Even if you're comfortable with 85 in your house, the average high in August is 95…average, so you know what that means!  Good news is it is dry (unlike humid parts of Texas), so evaporative cooling (or swamp coolers) is a viable option if you're open to it.
If you lived in downtown, you could bike to everything you need, BUT like most Texas towns it is set up for drivers. 

Toffeemama

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 702
  • Age: 2013
Can anyone vouch for Richmond, VA(or the surrounding towns)?  We're working on moving from the DC area once we fix up our house, and need a place to settle down with our 3 small children.

I lived on Ft. Lee for several years growing up, and I was always enthralled with the amount of culture in Richmond.  I know it used to be run down and full of crime, but they've really cleaned it up the past 20 years or so.

MissStache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 712
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Washington, DC
Can anyone vouch for Richmond, VA(or the surrounding towns)?  We're working on moving from the DC area once we fix up our house, and need a place to settle down with our 3 small children.

I lived on Ft. Lee for several years growing up, and I was always enthralled with the amount of culture in Richmond.  I know it used to be run down and full of crime, but they've really cleaned it up the past 20 years or so.

I've never lived in Richmond, but I have a few friends who live there and absolutely love it.  It's a cool place to visit, for sure.  Nice mix of history and students with a cool bohemian vibe.  Carytown is particularly great, but I'm not sure about the real estate prices there.  There are definitely some mustachians there, too!  I've seen their posts about doing meetups in downtown. 

Have you ever been out to western Virginia, in the Staunton/Harrisonburg area?  It is cheap and gorgeous out there, plus has the added benefits of some culture and two colleges/universities.  That's my FIRE location!

Scandium

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1938
  • Location: EastCoast
Looks like my comment never posted to the blog.

Do anyone have any opinions/facts about Vancouver, WA? COL, taxes, schools in the area etc? My company has an office there and while switching jobs is of course an option, if I could just move it would be easier. Just something I thinking about (very loosely for now), and I'm intrigued by the NW. I'd have to go visit to really see the area though.

mwmorama

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
I read the original post when there were still only about 30 comments. “Surely someone will write up a great post about Phoenix that is much better than anything I could write”. Well, I am surprised, and slightly saddened, that the only mention of Phoenix (Mesa – not exactly Phoenix) was about someone wanting to leave it. I fear that this may stem from this MMM post: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/12/28/prospering-in-an-anti-mustachian-city/. I am here now to tell the MMM world that Phoenix can be a phenomenal place to be for mustachians.
 Why Arizona/Phoenix? This is because I moved out here for a graduate program in anthropology in 2009. It was the best program, so I didn’t have much choice. And, honestly, at the time, the desert didn’t seem very appealing to me either. My wife and I planned to get the hell out of here as soon as I finished my program. That was in 2011. We’re still here, and now we’re even home owners. We’ll be around for a while.
The city at a glance? It’s the 6th largest city in the country. It’s huge. It has everything, and mountains.
Employment? Anything you could think of. It’s here. Tech, Education, Health (including a Mayo Clinic), Food, Retail, etc. I work for Arizona State University. My wife and I get free tuition, and great benefits, which include both a 403(b) and a 457 simultaneously. Job growth has been up and down, but if you’re in the city (and you should be if you’re a mustachian), it’s been steadily climbing as downtown is revitalized. My wife and I both work downtown, and we live 4 miles away. We bike to work off and on, weather depending. I’d feel worse about not doing it every day, but we’re a little lazy, don’t need the extra exercise (as we’re rather active otherwise), and we only have one car and carpool (getting the extra half hour of sleep is worth it usually).
Climate? Yes, it gets up to 123 degrees in August, but you don’t ever see highs below 60 either (as in, we never turn the heat on in the house). If you ask me, we get 7 months of beautiful weather for only 5 of not so nice weather, and truly on 2 months where it’s unbearable/unsafe for extended-period outdoor activities. However, there are plenty of mountains and cooler climates very close by, because Arizona is an awesome state with multiple types of climates. Just 2 weeks ago I was up in Flagstaff for a nice weekend hiking trip, and we got snowed on. It’s only 2 hours from downtown Phoenix. You can’t find that just anywhere in the US. The combination of high desert and mountainous regions is truly unique.
Housing? We bought a house a year ago. 4B 2B, 1,550 sqft. $157K. We couldn’t be happier with it. I’ve built a patio, and a raised vegetable garden. And yes, it is very possible to grow an extremely successful garden in the desert – contrary to popular belief.
Property taxes? Preposterously low. It has some of the lowest in the US, especially in Phoenix proper and Mesa.
Culture? Where we live (near 32nd Street and McDowell if you’re curious), we are within biking distance of multiple grocery stores, restaurants, and parks. As well, we are within 5 miles of 2 mountains, and within 10-25 miles of three other mountain ranges. That’s crazy!!!! The desert botanical garden is also within 5 miles, and is a great place to remind yourself that, despite a lot of beige, Phoenix and it’s flora are quite colorful. Also, I know it’s not the most mustachian thing, but if you like food, Phoenix is a fantastic place to be. So many aspiring chefs choose to come here because LA is now a really shitty place to try and start any kind of restaurant or food truck. Meanwhile, Phoenix is now a bustling culinary metropolis, and hosts a world-class culinary festival, Devoured Phoenix, each year to prove it. The Roosevelt Row area of downtown is a fantastic place for artists. They host bi-weekly open showings at a long strip of galleries on Roosevelt, and generally have free wine and cheese. As well, the Phoenix center for the Arts is right downtown, and you can take one of their over 150 classes in metalworking, glass, painting, pottery, dance, voice, theatre, etc. This is what kept us in Phoenix, honestly. We were blown away by the fantastic arts and outdoors community here. It’s a special place, and a welcoming place, despite the recent bad press.
Which leads me to the flaws… Yes, there are some nonsensical politics. However in Phoenix, there is also a very active and vocal movement for change – as seen by the well-publicized overturning of various laws and regulations recently.  Also, there is no way around the weather issue. It does get awfully hot here. We deal with it though. Yes, your electric bill will be high, but we keep the thermostat at 85, and our bill has never been more than $180. Also, despite some 100 degree days so far this year, we have yet to turn on the AC, and again, we never turned on the heat in the winter. But, that’s when you go up to Flagstaff more often. Phoenix really is a great, and potentially mustachian, place to live. Just give it a shot.

the fixer

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1037
  • Location: Seattle, WA
After moving here last year, I'm a huge fan of Washington, especially the part west of the Cascades. Seattle itself is quite pricey and inconvenient to live in on summer weekends; I wouldn't be living here at FIRE, but there are so many candidates for nice small towns to settle down in. We haven't made up our mind yet on which one exactly.

Benefits of this region are a mild climate and lots of access to the outdoors. You can do really good hiking, rock climbing, skiing, river or sea kayaking, sailing, mountaineering, mountain biking, and much more. Most of these activities can be pursued most times of the year because temperatures rarely get below freezing or over 80F. Yes, it rains a lot in the fall/winter/spring, but it's usually a mild drizzle that's easy to ignore. If you get sick of it, drive over the Cascades and bask in the sun on the east side (it gets colder there though). And when it's not raining here it's absolutely BEAUTIFUL. The people here are similarly quite outdoorsy, and this culture even extends to the local news which will discuss outdoor recreation and environmental topics I'm not used to hearing about from mainstream sources.

When I'm outdoors I like being able to get away from everyone else. You can easily do that here, with some extremely remote backcountry wilderness areas like the Olympic Mountains, Alpine Lakes, and North Cascades. The cynical way of looking at this (as compared to Colorado) is that a lot of areas are much more difficult to access, requiring hiking in over mountain passes and other obstacles. I see these as assurances of solitude on the other side.

Possible locations to consider:
Olympia
Bellingham
North Bend
Monroe
Wenatchee
Cle Elum
Vancouver
Spokane (way east, only visited once, but a very nice place for the day I was there)

General downsides: Traffic on the north/south I-5 corridor because of Seattle and Joint Base Lewis McChord, but if you don't live near either place you will rarely be affected. Streets and highways are neglected by my standards; the interstates desperately need resurfacing. Most of the above places don't have many cyclists, that activity is largely confined to the Seattle/Bellevue metropolis. Seattle doesn't offer as many free museums and other attractions as Washington DC, but there are some and many of the ones that cost money open their doors for free admission on the first Thursday of every month. The large amounts of rainfall are tough on houses, destroying neglected shingle roofs and chimneys (so keep up with maintenance or get a metal roof), and making mold a consistent annoyance. Consider probable lava flow paths from Mount Rainier (through Tacoma) since there's a chance it will erupt in our lifetimes. Also consider the risk of major earthquakes, there could be one of those too.

A place in the mid-Atlantic I know about: Frederick, MD. Similar to Richmond, VA, it's close to DC but far enough away to avoid most of its ridiculousness. Quite bikeable, historic downtown (stay away from the southwest part of the city, too much suburban cul-de-sac feel). Typical Maryland climate, but in my experience the summer highs were usually a couple degrees cooler than around DC because of the lack of the heat island effect. If I wanted to ER in MD I'd also consider other historic towns in the western part: Cumberland and Hagerstown.

ThePlatypus

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 7
For me it is the Athens, GA / Oconee County area of Northeast Georgia. 

More details on this later.

Do tell. I'm a Georgian but I have never spent any time in Athens apart from one middle school field trip. I must admit I have a negative preconception of Athens due to the type of people I knew growing up that wanted to go to UGA. That said, I'm aware it has/had a good music scene. What else is great about it?

Are there areas of town that are insulated from the traffic on game days or is that a problem you have to contend with? I guess more generally, are there sections of town that are not dedicated to serving the college masses?

DCJrMustachian

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 54
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Washington DC
  • Enjoying life while building a stash
    • DC Power Stilts
Not too much on DC yet.  In Summary, it has a lot going for it, but it's not a very mustachian place to live due to high costs.

Pros:
Employment: lots of good-paying, stable jobs in military, education, government, gov contracting, and non-profit sectors
Public Transit: Large, mostly clean subway system with late night service and hundreds of bus routes
Bikes: good biking culture, plentiful bike lanes, bike share option
Culture: dozens of free museums, some among the best in the world, embassies, political gatherings, protests
Art/Events: Lots of galleries, events and often free concerts/parties for those in the know
People: Mostly well-educated, intelligent, egalitarian crowd
Food: abundance of options in every category: grocery, farmers markets, food trucks, casual and upscale dining
Parks: lots of places to find open space, lots of trees all around, paddling/sailing
Weather: real seasons with many beautiful days
Neighborhoods: Lots of transit-centered, walkable communities... Live an urban planner's dream

Cons:
Housing: Dense, plain, and expensive unless you are homeless
People: You'll wait in line here... with stressed, rushing, workaholics
Traffic: Rush hour lasts pretty much all day.  You'll pay dearly for parking/tickets/insurance etc
Education: Some great schools and some terrible ones
Taxes/Fees: seems high
Weather: hot/muggy in summer, cold/snowy winters

If you move here it will be good for your career and social life.  Probably not so good for stashing your cash (but it still can be done)
« Last Edit: May 15, 2014, 01:29:40 AM by DCJrMustachian »

dcheesi

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 510
Can anyone vouch for Richmond, VA(or the surrounding towns)?  We're working on moving from the DC area once we fix up our house, and need a place to settle down with our 3 small children.

I lived on Ft. Lee for several years growing up, and I was always enthralled with the amount of culture in Richmond.  I know it used to be run down and full of crime, but they've really cleaned it up the past 20 years or so.

I've never lived in Richmond, but I have a few friends who live there and absolutely love it.  It's a cool place to visit, for sure.  Nice mix of history and students with a cool bohemian vibe.  Carytown is particularly great, but I'm not sure about the real estate prices there.  There are definitely some mustachians there, too!  I've seen their posts about doing meetups in downtown. 

Have you ever been out to western Virginia, in the Staunton/Harrisonburg area?  It is cheap and gorgeous out there, plus has the added benefits of some culture and two colleges/universities.  That's my FIRE location!
Richmond still has crime, though I'm sure you can find safer areas in the metro. I haven't spent much time there, but I know a lot of people love it.

Charlottesville is also awesome, but housing costs are inflated ever since they got on a "best places to live " list years ago.

 If you're looking more rural, Nelson county is pretty sweet. Cheap taxes, better housing prices (compared to Albemarle county), etc. Near the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive, lots of local farms, wineries, brewpubs, cideries, a ski resort... Easy access to Staunton, Waynesboro, and Charlottesville.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2014, 05:36:07 AM by dcheesi »

RootofGood

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1362
  • Age: 37
  • Location: North Carolina
  • Retired at age 33. 2 years in, still loving it!
    • Root of Good
We are partial to Raleigh, NC. 

Objectively speaking, it has a lot going for it.  The real estate prices are fairly low given the availability of high paying jobs in tech, engineering, pharma, universities, finance, and law (our 4 BR 1800 sf house is worth less than $150,000 for example).  High paying jobs means faster stash building and ability to job hob (to a certain extent).  Raleigh has a nice greenway system for walking or bike riding.  Unfortunately biking on surface streets isn't particularly easy.  Winters are generally somewhat mild, but summers can be very hot and humid in July and August.  The school system is decent, property taxes are fairly low.  Big, well regarded state universities are plentiful and tuition is moderate. 

Subjectively, most of our family lives in the Raleigh area, so it's convenient for us. 

Retired at age 33 to spend more time with my wife and 3 kids.  2 years in and still loving every minute!
Sharing my thoughts on early retirement, finances, taxes, travel, and life in general at rootofgood.com

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3206
Ames or Iowa City, IA are my top choices that I wish we could move to (not a lot of job prospects for my H's field, though)

What is it about state and region that makes it amazing?   Eh.......  my family lives there.  Land is cheap.  Centrally located for driving out west or out east.

What is it about the city or town that makes it amazing?   Both towns are the perfect size of being easy to get around, yet having most of what you need.  (both are in the 50-100K range).  Excellent cultural stuff for a town that size due to large university.  Thus also more progressive, excellent public transport, and bike-able, access to great cheap restaurants, and values education- good public schools.

Employment opportunities?  Probably good on average, but since they are smaller towns, it is hit or miss by industry. 

Climate? Hot summers, cold winters.  I don't mind since I grew up in it, and I would hate the hotter weather down south, but I can see why a southern person or the elderly might hate it.

Culture?  The state as a whole is more conservative, but both towns I listed are more liberal due to the universities.

Housing?  Cheap!

Taxes?  Good question..... haven't explored this as I haven't owned a house there.  I rented as a college student but didn't pay any attention to property taxes, and didn't have to pay any state income tax since I had no income.

Flaws?  I am sure many would consider it the middle of nowhere, too cold, and lacking culture.  This is true compared to big cities.  I really value the ability to navigate the whole town via bike and/or bus, and the cheapness of housing.  We lived in Mpls for a while and it is less middle of nowhere, more culure, but also more cold.  I wouldn't at all mind ending up back in Mpls but housing costs are much higher there. 
Journal:  http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/mayday's-journal/350/  featuring children, chickens (new!) and other ch words.

grantmeaname

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4309
  • Age: 24
  • Location: London
  • This night has silence and very little fear
    • The MMM Blogger Community
It may be good to merge this thread with the other one.

Money Stoic

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 22
  • Location: Athens, GA
Let's keep this thread alive on it's own.

I would like to use it to ask for the power of the MMM community to post the following: 

 If anyone has a blog post full of photos and stories and even video that highlights your amazing place to live, link that post here.  I would like to take a look and possible include it on an online channel I am building that will highlight amazing places to live.

Thanks!

hybrid

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1669
  • Age: 50
  • Location: Richmond, Virginia
  • A hybrid of MMM and thoughtful consumer.
Can anyone vouch for Richmond, VA(or the surrounding towns)?  We're working on moving from the DC area once we fix up our house, and need a place to settle down with our 3 small children.

I lived on Ft. Lee for several years growing up, and I was always enthralled with the amount of culture in Richmond.  I know it used to be run down and full of crime, but they've really cleaned it up the past 20 years or so.

Oh hell yeah I can vouch for Richmond. You are right on target, the city itself is cleaning up nicely (in the parts that needed cleaning up) but every city of any size is going to have poorer areas, so start and stop there.

If you have small children you do not want to move to the city of Richmond proper, you want to move to Chesterfield, Henrico, or Hanover county for the schools (Richmond city schools are a disaster). I live just inside the Chesterfield County line and my two kids both went through CCPS, it is an excellent school system. TrulyStashin taught in CCPS for 10 years (I worked in IT there for three). Housing is very reasonable compared to NOVA, jobs are plentiful, there is very little heavy traffic, and there is a ton of things to do and see.

In my older (built in 60s and 70s) neighborhood in Chesterfield the lots are all 1/2 acre, the homes average over 2000 SF, most are brick and built solid as a rock, and the average sale price is less than 200,000. What's the catch? Closer to poorer areas of the county that drag down the local schools reputation and not near the best shopping. I am three minutes from Chippenham Parkway though and can be in Carytown in fifteen minutes, I can bike to work downtown. I love, love, love my neighborhood, it is such a great value for someone not driven by shopping convenience or being in the very best school district (which in Chesterfield is usually a matter of demographics, not school quality). Mustachian Buddy also bought in my neighborhood after tiring of his small rancher in Henrico, he got a tremendous value on a foreclosure and is laughing all the way to the bank.

PM me if you want more info. Come on down!
Life is a game. Play it better.

viper155

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 258
Re: StashTown, USA: Where is your amazing place to live? Official Discussion
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2014, 08:57:03 PM »
Ames or Iowa City, IA are my top choices that I wish we could move to (not a lot of job prospects for my H's field, though)

What is it about state and region that makes it amazing?   Eh.......  my family lives there.  Land is cheap.  Centrally located for driving out west or out east.

What is it about the city or town that makes it amazing?   Both towns are the perfect size of being easy to get around, yet having most of what you need.  (both are in the 50-100K range).  Excellent cultural stuff for a town that size due to large university.  Thus also more progressive, excellent public transport, and bike-able, access to great cheap restaurants, and values education- good public schools.

Employment opportunities?  Probably good on average, but since they are smaller towns, it is hit or miss by industry. 

Climate? Hot summers, cold winters.  I don't mind since I grew up in it, and I would hate the hotter weather down south, but I can see why a southern person or the elderly might hate it.

Culture?  The state as a whole is more conservative, but both towns I listed are more liberal due to the universities.

Housing?  Cheap!

Taxes?  Good question..... haven't explored this as I haven't owned a house there.  I rented as a college student but didn't pay any attention to property taxes, and didn't have to pay any state income tax since I had no income.

Flaws?  I am sure many would consider it the middle of nowhere, too cold, and lacking culture.  This is true compared to big cities.  I really value the ability to navigate the whole town via bike and/or bus, and the cheapness of housing.  We lived in Mpls for a while and it is less middle of nowhere, more culure, but also more cold.  I wouldn't at all mind ending up back in Mpls but housing costs are much higher there.

Progressive is good?

freeat57

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 51
Re: StashTown, USA: Where is your amazing place to live? Official Discussion
« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2015, 05:38:54 PM »
I realize that I am really late to the party on this one.  I just joined the site.  In this and other threads similar in topic, I have never seen anyone mention Indianapolis.  For anyone who wants to live frugally in an urban environment, Indy is a good choice.  I lived there 20 years in a Mustaschian fashion, while earning a 6-figure income.  Thus, I can now do what I want.  The older neighborhoods can be very affordable for housing and the property taxes are low.  (I now live in TX and property taxes are HORRENDOUS! And, yes, I am leaving Texas.) Yes, IN has a state income tax, but if you are retired with lower income, that does not matter.  I lived in the Irvington area of Indy.  Historic houses, wonderful neighborhood spirit, restaurants, stores within walking/biking distance.  I biked to Aldi,  ACE hardware and a library branch.  Lots of green spaces.  Indy has extensive trails and bike lanes.  My part of Irvington, "Par10" is surrounded by green space on three sides, park, creek greenbelt, and golf course.  It is only 5 miles from the center of downtown, which is really a nice, walkable downtown.  There are street festivals and Halloween is a huge extended block party with hundreds of people on the streets and front porches.  (Can you tell I miss it?)  There are other similar neighborhoods in Indy.  Just stay away from the pricey far northern suburbs where AntiMustachianism is a fanatic religion!  Let those people drown in debt, while you enjoy a rich life on little money. 
The one problem with Indy........ Winter!  If you don't mind the winter weather, it is worth considering.  Spring, summer and fall are usually really pleasant.

PFHC

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 653
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Midcoast Maine
  • Busy doing.
Re: StashTown, USA: Where is your amazing place to live? Official Discussion
« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2015, 08:27:55 PM »
So, where is your amazing place to live? Pemaquid Peninsula, ME

What is it about state and region that makes it amazing? The scenery. Maine's scenery is world famous. Its the combination of ocean, beaches, rugged coastline, mountains, endless forest, etc. Add that to the fact that is has been continuously settle for centuries gives it this awesome, lived patina of rugged individualism.

What is it about the city or town that makes it amazing? The towns are quaint, coastal, and on the water or very near it. Despite being small, places like Damariscotta boast all sorts of amenities that are available year round, excellent schools, proximity to outdoor activities, incredible food available (organic farming capital of the world), no crime, and the people are wonderful.

Employment opportunities? Good, but not great. There is a healthy upper/retired class so there is a solid middle class. Services are booming (hospital, lawyers, insurance, trades, etc.), and tourism plays a part. There is very little industry, so the foundation of the economic platform is a bit weak, but Maine has been surviving this way for about 50 years, so it is proving to be somewhat sustainable.

Climate? I love it. 4 full seasons; all of them awesome. Only rough time is late winter early spring where it is cold, muddy, and grey. The winters are cold, snowy, and gorgeous and a time for rest. I love them. If you want to be busy, there are miles and miles of trails to snowshoe and cross country ski. The beaches are achingly gorgeous in the winter. Nothing better than hunting for sea glass on a bright frigid day. The springs are some of the best I've ever experienced. The world absolutely explodes. Everything turns green over night. There are tons of flowering trees in the area, and when the sea breeze blows through them, the towns smell like heaven. After enduring the winter, everyone is full of excitement, activity, and promise. The summers can't be beat. Warm, sunny, and lazy. The second season of rest. Early summer can be a little buggy, but a screen tent and citronella candle handles that. The beaches are second to none. Pemaquid beach has an average of 15 people a day, 30 on weekends and is a huge sandy beach. The boating is world renown and for good reason. The coast is dotted with islands and you could spend six lifetimes exploring them (I hope to...). The fall. Oh lord, the fall. The best. Cool during the day. Think jeans and long sleeved shirts. Super sunny and bright, crisp, fresh. The air smells of apples and wood smoke. Its a time of activity to prep for the winter. Harvest, chopping and stacking wood, covering your boat, putting up food... I just love it. And this time of year the leaves will tear your heart out. So gorgeous to get out on your boat and see the leaves change from the water.

Culture? Wonderful. Plenty of retirees from larger metropolitan areas, so the arts and culture are well supported. Damariscotta, Boothbay, Bath, and Brunswick all boast top notch theaters and cinemas. The cinemas tend to play smart, well done movies. They also have a variety of plays available, both live by local troupes, and streamed live from broadway. They also boast live feeds of the Met, have a well respected classical quartet that plays the area, speakers, etc. Of course, there's the organic farming culture. This area is the epicenter with MOFGA Common Ground Fair bringing thousands of interesting people to area each year.

Housing? The median price is high due to ocean front skewing the data. You can fixer uppers for less than $100k. My house is a cute house that needed updating and I got it for less that $150k. You can find a very nice home for $200k. The rental market is OK in the smaller towns and great in places like Brunswick. prices ranges from $750/month to $750/night. :) Average price for a 2 bedroom, 1000 sq ft apartment is around $1000/month.

Taxes? Maine has a high tax burden. Sucky.

Flaws? Um. It is rural. There are not the advantages of the big city. Highly lucrative employment is not widely available.

Fireball

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 130
Re: StashTown, USA: Where is your amazing place to live? Official Discussion
« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2015, 04:01:49 PM »
So, where is your amazing place to live? Knoxville, TN

What is it about state and region that makes it amazing? Climate - Very, very mild. Outdoor recreation abounds - something for everyone. The people - it's the South ya'll. 

What is it about the city or town that makes it amazing? Knoxville is just large enough to have most anything you could want as far as shopping, eating, and recreation, but without the massive traffic gridlock. Rush hour is practically nonexistent. The Great Smoky Mountains are 45 minutes away along with 3 million acres of national forest, parks etc. Excellent trout fishing! University of TN makes for ravenous fans if your into college football. Low cost of living!

Employment opportunities? Not as good as Chattanooga 1.5hrs away. The economy based is mostly manufacturing with retail and tourism rounding it out. Chattanooga has swallowed up most of the manufacturing growth thanks to a VW plant and Knoxville hasn't seen much benefit. Still, there are some large employers here with good salaries such as TVA, Denso and the Dept of Energy.

Climate? Very mild winters & summers mean I only need heat or A/C about seven months of the year. Would be less except for our awful humidity. Bleh.

Culture? Not as great as some areas, but not bad for the South and getting better.  We gain new festivals, museums, theaters and such every year. We recently elected the first female mayor in Knoxville/Nashville/Chatt/Memphis history and she has made some strides there.

Housing? We average $80-$90 per square feet for housing with rent for a two bedroom apartment being roughly $700.

Taxes? No state income tax

Flaws? Very slow growth in all areas seems like - economic, real estate appreciation, wages, etc. Cultural activities aren't there yet. Schools - Not great. Private schools rate well, but are expensive obviously.   

ysette9

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1456
  • Location: Bay Area, CA
Re: StashTown, USA: Where is your amazing place to live? Official Discussion
« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2015, 04:25:23 PM »
Oh, what a fun thread.

So, where is your amazing place to live? Bay Area, CA (the closer you are to the coast, the better)

The MMM categories are:

What is it about state and region that makes it amazing? This is such an incredibly rich and vibrant area of the world. With so many immigrants coming to this area you can find interesting cultural microcosms all over, including all the fun things that go along with it (good food, different languages, cultural events). With so many tech companies here it is possible to get a series of great jobs and have both spouses pursue meaningful careers without ever having to move. The weather is almost always some shade of perfect which means you can hike, bike, camp, run and more 365 days a year. We don't do humidity and we don't believe in nasty flying bugs like mosquitoes. There are tons of open spaces, preserves, parks, and beaches for all matter of outdoor fun. We have semiarid hills and oak forests, evergreen redwood forests, and beaches within a half an hour drive. Back to the weather, you can grow most things in your garden and grow food year-round.

What is it about the city or town that makes it amazing? I didn't specify a single city or town because there are wonderful things about most of the cities in the Bay Area. My personal prefernce is to be as close to the water as possible so I think the further west you head, the better things are. Our current FIRE plans are to live in Half Moon Bay which has great (cool) weather, beach access, and has that small town feel while only being 20 minutes away from anything you could possibly want from a large urban center.

Employment opportunities? Lots. It's Silicon Valley - need I say more?

Climate? Fantastic. Mild, especially as you head west. Beautiful green, rainy winters and sunny, mild summers. Most houses don't have AC because you don't need it and we never get that white stuff on the ground that other places get in the winter.

Culture? Diverse, multi-cultural, laid-back, innovative/entrepreneurial

Housing? Expensive, no lie

Taxes? Higher than other places. My glass-half-full take on this is you get what you pay for.

Flaws? High housing costs. It has so many great things going for it that everyone wants to live here which makes it challenging.
"It'll be great!"

CientoUno

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 40
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Roi Et, Thailand
Re: StashTown, USA: Where is your amazing place to live? Official Discussion
« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2015, 07:46:31 PM »
Now for something a bit different... Thailand!

Pros:
- Unbelievably cheap cost of living. Like, I still can't believe it 1.5 years later.
- Wide availability of TEFL jobs that don't pay a lot, but more than enough (especially if you've already built a good Stash)
- Incredible food
- World class beaches
- Super friendly people
- Warm weather all year
- Way easier to date girls (call me a pig if you must, but it's true!)
- Within easy travel distance of other beautiful parts of the world, that are equally cheap
- Culture that values relaxation and leisure over work

Cons:
- That relaxation-focused culture can sometimes create problems if you just wanna get something simple done, quickly
- Periodic visa runs if you don't have a work visa
- Unstable government, which rarely affects foreigners too much, but there's always an element of "you never know what next year will be like"
- Far from family, if that's a thing for you
- Sort of limited to teaching jobs. Not exclusively, but in most other professional fields they will always prefer to hire a Thai
- You can sometimes get the impression that you're seen as a walking ATM. In fairness this is only true some of the time.

But hell, I love it. I'm heading back Stateside soon to try to make some real money, but then I'm coming straight back.

Making Cookies

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1652
Re: StashTown, USA: Where is your amazing place to live? Official Discussion
« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2016, 08:50:16 AM »
I'm not going to "out" my town (b/c it might "out" me) but I'll describe the type of town that has worked for us.

Look up "micropolitan" towns. These a great little towns - not too small, not too big. Often equipped with a university, plenty of shopping options, plenty of interesting eating options beyond the typical franchise joints found everywhere coast to coast. There ar ejobs in these towns too. Low costs of living in our town. Low taxes. Short drives to everything.

The university brings opportunities to participate in marathons, charities, listen to concerts, watch great plays, watch all sorts of sports matches.   

Our town is less than an hour's drive from 6-8 state parks, less than two hours from two national parks, wildlife areas, etc. Major cities in every direction a couple of hours up the highway.

There is some good local music if country and bluegrass is your thing. Good local brews.

Traffic is low except the two main roads through town on Friday afternoon (payday, got to go out to eat and shopping!) Plenty of alternative routes. Local planners seem to control traffic speed by making sure the lights catch everyone.

The bad: a few low income folks here stumbling through life making mistakes as they go but I've seen that everywhere I've lived (including some multi-million resident cities). Just choose your friends carefully and you'll be fine. The folks circling the drain represent a small number of unimaginative, unmotivated people. Crime is restricted to drugs, petty theft and an occasional assault and that is almost always a family problem or "friend on friend". Murder rate is 1 or 2 and seldom random.

Its a conservative politics and conservative religion town so a person has to share conservative ideals or be adaptable. Much of the town socializing goes on through connections made at church and work so unless you get involved in activities where you share alot of time with other people such as rehearsing plays, community band concerts, etc you'll struggle for a while. Being outgoing helps. An introvert like me really has to work at it. ;)

If you don't "fit in" it might feel a little lonely until you find more folks like you. I know as a bachelor here years ago it could feel a bit lonely b/c I wasn't going to church, I didn't frequent the honky-tonk bars, and I wasn't involved in the local music/drama/band scene. After I married my wife and our kids came along we've had plenty of opportunities to socialize through scouts, school, jobs, and so on. You just have to create those opportunities I suppose. Just invite some people over for dinner...

Thanks to the university there is a big community of all the alt-lifestyle folks. Also a "hippie" community nearby that that hosts concerts, and some open-house events. Folks just living life as they see fit. Glad to have them here too.

We've had fun over the years exploring a myriad of tiny businesses that are hidden away across a half dozen counties. If you take the "big city" approach and drive around looking for the biggest parking lots and the biggest advertising - you'll miss alot in this area. Many little single family businesses around here - some Amish, some Mennonite, some regular folks making and selling things. We can buy all the kitchen staples fresh from the farm too. A micro-brewery the next county over. Old fashioned crafts and cooking by the Mennonites a few miles in a different direction. Little businesses like these are a refreshing alternative to the franchises which guarantee the same food, same goods and same service (for better or worse) coast to coast.

American pop-culture seems to revolve around the biggest cities on the coasts but there are a ton of good places to live in between that get very little attention. I've listened to people talk of escaping these smaller places but what are they escaping? A smothering family? We get the same brands here, the same cable TV, the same Internet, and the same evening news. We just don't have to put up with the hustle and bustle of the big city. We wouldn't go out every night in the big city so why deal with the big city life to have those opportunities? We have those opportunities when we want them - we just need to drive a few miles to get there. We might also be motivated to spend the night there if we were going to stay out late but it's just not a priority for us. Its like driving a 10 passenger vehicle b/c a few times a year you need to seat that many people. Our town covers our needs. When it doesn't there is Internet mail order. Or make a Sat shopping trip to the big city.

We go to the big city and have a nice day or two (or more some times) but day to day life is much easier than what some of our friends have built in the big city. We hear stories of no-go neighborhoods in the cities (not safe), iffy-schools, HCOL, high property costs, traffic and long commutes, sprawl, theft and violence, etc. The things people have to go through to operate in these cities - street parking, have to move the car every day or two, etc.

I watched four does frolicking around in the snow last night. Watched a full moon rise through the trees. Listened to the winter wind blow through the trees. And I went to bed knowing we were safe and had all our needs fulfilled.   
« Last Edit: January 26, 2016, 08:57:38 AM by Jethrosnose »

talltexan

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 648
I grew up in San Marcos, TX, and was surprised to see New Braunfels mentioned on here. I've wondered about other towns in that area, particularly Wimberly. The I-35 corridor south of Austin is a rapidly growing area, and I've thought that owning real estate there would be a sound investment long term.

deadlymonkey

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 394
I will go for an usual choice because it is our dream retirement area if we can do it.

Misawa Japan (or anywhere in Aomori Prefecture really)

Pros
Laid back more rural area (no Tokyo craziness)
proximity to major cities of Aomori and Hachinohe
Virtually no crime of any kind
Incredibly friendly people
Amazing produce that will blow your mind
Skiing (up to 40 feet of the best powder you can image every winter)
Fast internet
Excellent public transit and low traffic roads.


Cons:
Language issues
Expensive to travel back to the states
Depending on visa, work can be impossible
Higher COL than most of US.



Cons

Kaydedid

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 200
Stevens Point, WI

1) Why is the area/state amazing?
This part of Wisconsin is a paradise in summer and early fall.  Beautiful rivers and lakes, gorgeous pine forests.  Tons of outdoor sport opportunities in all seasons - hiking, kayaking, fishing, hunting, skiing, you name it we've got it.  Wisconsin has a neat DIY/self-sufficient culture, and a good mix of political opinions.  Only a few hours from major cities.

What is it about the city or town that makes it amazing?
All the amenities of city living (walkability, public transit, cultural events etc) with much lower COL.  Rural areas are close, and the university in town attracts interesting people and events.

Employment opportunities?
For someone in IT/business or healthcare, there are good jobs available at local insurance companies or hospitals.  Job market is limited, but pay is good for a LCOL area.

Climate?
Gorgeous in summer - rarely gets above 90, although generally quite humid, and always cools down at night.  AC, IMO, is not needed.  Winters are a bit rough, with 1-2 weeks never getting warmer than 0F, and quite a bit of snow.

Culture?
Most people are of Polish decent, so some interesting local customs abound.  Active local theater and music scene, city orchestra, and lots of cultural events sponsored by uni.  Much less diverse than a city, but lots of options for the size.

Housing?
Pretty darn cheap, although this area is expensive for the region.  A nice 3b/2ba 1500sqft ranch on a 1/2 acre can be had for under 150k.  Older, less updated homes in town can go for under 100k.  300k gets you a mcmansion on 10 acres.

Taxes? Property taxes are high in the city-$1600 on a $80,000 house.  Several unicorporated areas still receive benefits like city water but pay less than half the tax rate.  No sales tax on food, 5.5% otherwise.  Don't remember state income tax percentages.

Flaws?
The winter.  6ish months of the year are cold and dark.  Most people here have bipolar feelings about the place, hating it in winter but loving it in the summer.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk