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.