Author Topic: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE  (Read 12291 times)

rob in cal

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Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« on: August 12, 2017, 08:43:44 AM »
     Right now we are entering that interesting zone where we could be fired now if we sold our house for about 420k and moved to a smaller house in a cheaper part of the country for about 150, and then applied the extra capital to our FIRE fund.  That is not on the table at this point because both my wife and I grew up in Northern California and most of our family and friends are here.  It just doesn't seem worth it at this point in our lives right now to do it.
   To those who did this, what have been the good parts, what do you regret, and how much of a capital appreciation did you achieve by doing so?

Feivel2000

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2017, 11:00:14 AM »
Interesting. I always wondered if this was a cultural thing. Americans could be just way more open and mobile than Germans. I would never move away from my family and friends just to cut costs. And Germany is way smaller. Move 100km from the city to the village and you probably can get housing for the half price. But at what costs? How often do you really visit someone if you have to drive 90 minutes first?

Moving for a good job opportunity or university is something else, but not just to cut costs.


MoneyMatrix

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2017, 11:56:54 AM »
Yep, I wonder this too. We could probably FIRE if we moved out of HCOL area, but we like the community and the schools, have some family nearby.  That would be a tough move, especially with kids. Also, it would be too expensive to try to come back. We've heard of some people who moved away LCOL area only to come back and couldn't afford to buy again. Those people were retired, but same idea.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2017, 01:40:54 PM »
My parents in law who retired at 50 moved to a cheaper part of the Netherlands, instead of living in the most busy part. The went to live in a tiny village and built a new fancypants house (FIL is an architect). We have the impression that FIL liked it really well. He got a new network and has always bern occupied. MIL was probably not equally hapoy there. Yes, she had a lot of space to do all her hobbies, but she didn't have a social network. We moved to another country at the same time they moved there. We visit once a year and they often visit us once a year as well. We also use Skype each week. Their other son, who now has produced a grandchild, is living a couple of hours driving away. They might have liked to live closer. Now MIL is in a nursary home because of dementia. I think FIL who took care of her for a year before she went to a home would have appreciated the help from his nearest son.
Another thing I have noticed is that FIL makes three times as many miles with his car than my DH and I do together, because he still wants to visit people all over the country, like his grandchild every week.

rachael talcott

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2017, 02:08:45 PM »
I am currently FIRED in a LCOL area, and while I'm glad to have the freedom of retirement, I want to eventually move some place that is a better fit personally.  The thing about LCOL areas is that they tend to be rural or semi-rural, have higher crime rates, have fewer interesting things to do, fewer educated people, etc.  I can travel to see interesting places, and when my lawnmower was stolen, I figured that the $200 replacement cost was nothing compared to how much I was saving living here (I paid $59K for a 3 bedroom brick house with a nice yard).  The part that is not workaroundable is that I don't fit in.  I used to think that I could make friends anywhere, but the social climate here is very closed, not to mention the political climate.

But you might find a LCOL area that fits you, or you might find one that is bearable for a certain amount of time.  It would make sense to rent for a few months until you commit to a particular place, though.

GenXbiker

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2017, 02:30:25 PM »
I am currently FIRED in a LCOL area, and while I'm glad to have the freedom of retirement, I want to eventually move some place that is a better fit personally.  The thing about LCOL areas is that they tend to be rural or semi-rural, have higher crime rates, have fewer interesting things to do, fewer educated people, etc.  I can travel to see interesting places, and when my lawnmower was stolen, I figured that the $200 replacement cost was nothing compared to how much I was saving living here (I paid $59K for a 3 bedroom brick house with a nice yard).  The part that is not workaroundable is that I don't fit in.  I used to think that I could make friends anywhere, but the social climate here is very closed, not to mention the political climate.

But you might find a LCOL area that fits you, or you might find one that is bearable for a certain amount of time.  It would make sense to rent for a few months until you commit to a particular place, though.
I take it you moved there strictly because of it being a LCOL area.  Were you even in the same state to begin with, or how did you go about moving to that location?  TN is one of the areas I've considered, although Nashville housing is very expensive, Knoxville is more reasonable.  It's not something I need to be concerned with for a couple years, at least.  I'm already in a LCOL area with a paid off house, but I would prefer a larger city when I FIRE.

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2017, 02:46:37 PM »
Living in Houston contributed greatly to my FIRE.  My 1950 sq ft 4 bed/2 bath house went for 97k in 2002.  Today it is arguably worth 115k at best.  You can't get those prices in the city center but the burbs are very reasonable.  I'm commuting distance to world class museums, opera, symphony, professional sports, and all kinds of urban funkiness.  Political climate is very "blue" for Texas (call it purple).  Houston is easily the most ethnically diverse large city in America.  Job picture is robust here.  There is no state or local income tax here. 

Downsides are traffic and sweltering summers and a hurricane roughly once a decade.
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GuitarStv

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2017, 02:58:18 PM »
How often do you really visit someone if you have to drive 90 minutes first?

I don't have friends or family less than 60 minutes drive from my home.  Everyone I know is spread out over a very wide area.  We head out and visit with people nearly every weekend (or have someone over), and works out pretty well while we're working.

GenXbiker

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2017, 05:04:25 PM »
Living in Houston contributed greatly to my FIRE.  My 1950 sq ft 4 bed/2 bath house went for 97k in 2002.  Today it is arguably worth 115k at best.  You can't get those prices in the city center but the burbs are very reasonable.  I'm commuting distance to world class museums, opera, symphony, professional sports, and all kinds of urban funkiness.  Political climate is very "blue" for Texas (call it purple).  Houston is easily the most ethnically diverse large city in America.  Job picture is robust here.  There is no state or local income tax here. 

Downsides are traffic and sweltering summers and a hurricane roughly once a decade.
I looked a little into the Houston area because of the warmer climate and also because one of my best friends moved from this area to Houston long ago and is still there.

I can live with diversity and the political climate, and I'm hoping I will never need to work again as far as jobs are concerned, although I might be inclined to work part time if an opportunity presents itself (I'm in IT now.)  I would like to live somewhere I can just jump on the bike at home and ride safely away.  And I don't want to be in a flood plain.

It looks like homes in a good neighborhood are more expensive there than similar homes where I currently live in the midwest but no where near as high as Nashville.  But in the Houston area, the property taxes plus MUD tax end up being higher than my current property taxes in a similarly priced house despite the fact that I'm currently living in the second highest taxed state in the U.S. when it comes to property taxes.  The addition of the Municipal Utility District (MUD) tax made the Houston area more costly in that regard, even when factoring in that TX has no state income tax.  And due to possible hurricanes, I figure my homeowner's insurance would be higher as well.  So Houston ends up not looking as LCOL for me, but not too bad.  And I understand MUD tax can vary greatly based on the location.  I haven't completely crossed it off my list of possible areas to relocate to - I'm on a minimal 2 year plan to fire with any relocation possibly another year or more beyond that, so I have plenty of time to think things through.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 05:46:53 PM by GenXbiker »

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2017, 05:46:38 PM »

I looked a little into the Houston area because of the warmer climate and also because one of my best friends moved from this area to Houston long ago and is still there.

I can live with diversity and the political climate, and I'm hoping I will never need to work again as far as jobs are concerned, although I might be inclined to work part time if an opportunity presents itself (I'm in IT now.)  I would like to live somewhere I can just jump on the bike at home and ride safely away.

It looks like homes in a good neighborhood are a little more expensive there than similar homes where I currently live in the midwest.  The property taxes plus MUD tax end up being higher than my current property taxes in a similarly priced house despite the fact that I'm currently living in the second highest taxed state in the U.S. when it comes to property taxes.  The addition of the Municipal Utility District (MUD) tax made the Houston area more costly in that regard, even when factoring in that TX has no state income tax.  And due to possible hurricanes, I figure my homeowner's insurance would be higher as well.  So Houston ends up not looking as LCOL for me, but not too bad.  And I understand MUD tax can vary greatly based on the location.  I haven't completely crossed it off my list of possible areas to relocate to - I'm on a minimal 2 year plan to fire with any relocation possibly another year or more beyond that, so I have plenty of time to think things through.

I wouldn't call my neighborhood bikeable.  Heck, I wouldn't even try it with a motorized scooter.  Just outside the subdivision is 9 lanes of undivided highway.  Bus service is not particularly useful this far out from the city center.  My MUD tax is definately high at around 900 a year but we get great police coverage through an officer alliance the MUD has with the sheriff's office. 

For part time work, I've considered minimum wage work as a concert usher.  It would be more about the free concerts than the scratch.  There are lots of 'fun' jobs you can do if money is no longer an object.

The Heights area might work for you if you can find something that is still developing.  Inside the loop, bikeable, access to city services, but maybe still a little rough around the edges.  The neighborhood was a terrifying ghetto a decade ago but is rapidly gentrifying due to a desireable location.

Dallas might be a better fit for you.  I had to choke on that a little bit.  As a native Houstonian, I think I am obligated to hate on Big D.  It is more bikeable in my opinion although a little more pricey than Houston.  But no real danger from hurricanes.  They are 'blown out' after getting that far inland.

Austin is an awesome town but has grown insanely expensive.

Best of luck in your post-FIRE location search.
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Dicey

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2017, 04:50:12 AM »
Living in Houston contributed greatly to my FIRE.  My 1950 sq ft 4 bed/2 bath house went for 97k in 2002.  Today it is arguably worth 115k at best.  You can't get those prices in the city center but the burbs are very reasonable.  I'm commuting distance to world class museums, opera, symphony, professional sports, and all kinds of urban funkiness.  Political climate is very "blue" for Texas (call it purple).  Houston is easily the most ethnically diverse large city in America.  Job picture is robust here.  There is no state or local income tax here. 

Downsides are traffic and sweltering summers and a hurricane roughly once a decade.
Hmmm. I've got New York and Jersey City on the line. Seems they want to have a word with you...

https://wallethub.com/edu/most-diverse-cities/12690/

All kidding aside, assuming decent family relationships, the older your folks and you get, the harder it is to be far away from family. Also, some places really are insular, which can be difficult to detect on a visit, and even more difficult to surmount after arrival.
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rachael talcott

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2017, 07:00:20 AM »
I am currently FIRED in a LCOL area, and while I'm glad to have the freedom of retirement, I want to eventually move some place that is a better fit personally.  The thing about LCOL areas is that they tend to be rural or semi-rural, have higher crime rates, have fewer interesting things to do, fewer educated people, etc.  I can travel to see interesting places, and when my lawnmower was stolen, I figured that the $200 replacement cost was nothing compared to how much I was saving living here (I paid $59K for a 3 bedroom brick house with a nice yard).  The part that is not workaroundable is that I don't fit in.  I used to think that I could make friends anywhere, but the social climate here is very closed, not to mention the political climate.

But you might find a LCOL area that fits you, or you might find one that is bearable for a certain amount of time.  It would make sense to rent for a few months until you commit to a particular place, though.
I take it you moved there strictly because of it being a LCOL area.  Were you even in the same state to begin with, or how did you go about moving to that location?  TN is one of the areas I've considered, although Nashville housing is very expensive, Knoxville is more reasonable.  It's not something I need to be concerned with for a couple years, at least.  I'm already in a LCOL area with a paid off house, but I would prefer a larger city when I FIRE.

I was in the DC area, which was one of the highest COL areas of the country at the time. I moved to TN for a job, and then took stock of my situation and realized that I could retire quickly if I put some effort into it. My goal is to move to Paris, which is less expensive than most people would guess, but more expensive than where I am now.

You might also look into Chattanooga.  It's also not expensive and there has been downtown revitalization going on for awhile now. It's smaller than Knoxville, but it has a city "feel."  And it is halfway between Nashville and Atlanta (less than 2 hrs to each), whereas Knoxville is more isolated.

startingsmall

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2017, 07:54:11 AM »
I am currently FIRED in a LCOL area, and while I'm glad to have the freedom of retirement, I want to eventually move some place that is a better fit personally.  The thing about LCOL areas is that they tend to be rural or semi-rural, have higher crime rates, have fewer interesting things to do, fewer educated people, etc.  I can travel to see interesting places, and when my lawnmower was stolen, I figured that the $200 replacement cost was nothing compared to how much I was saving living here (I paid $59K for a 3 bedroom brick house with a nice yard).  The part that is not workaroundable is that I don't fit in.  I used to think that I could make friends anywhere, but the social climate here is very closed, not to mention the political climate.

But you might find a LCOL area that fits you, or you might find one that is bearable for a certain amount of time.  It would make sense to rent for a few months until you commit to a particular place, though.

I can completely relate to this.

I moved to a rural, LCOL area many years ago for a job. Then, I met my husband and stayed. We're still here because he's somewhat attached to his job and his family helps us out a decent bit with babysitting our daughter, but we're finally making tentative plans to move in a few years. YIPPEE!! Yes, it will delay progress towards FIRE, but that's well worth it to me. I can't imagine wanting to FIRE here... I'd probably just keep working forever, because there's not much to do in this area that I enjoy.

Like you, I just don't fit in here. I tried for years, but I've finally accepted that it just isn't going to happen. I have plenty of people that I'm friendly with, but no one that I'd consider an actual 'friend' except for my husband. And maybe my mother-in-law. The culture here, though, is just completely different from what I grew up with... extremely conservative (not just politically, but socially as well - for example, we're regarded by many with suspicion because I earn more than my husband, I know very few people our age with kids as young as ours because most people here have babies very early, etc.), very low emphasis on education (the two nearest towns have HS graduation rates of 76 & 78%, college graduation rates of 10 & 20%, and graduate degree rates of 0.5 & 4%.... compared to 96/43/20% where I grew up), etc. It's just hard for me to find common ground. I'm friendly with my coworkers, and might even occasionally go out to lunch with them or whatever, but there's no one that I would feel comfortable opening up to about personal things because I wouldn't expect any of them to relate.

The other issue for me (and this may not be an issue for everyone - just depends on your preferences) is that I don't have access here to the things that I like to do.
- I enjoy spending time in nature. In my hometown, this would manifest as sunrise or sunset walks on the beach, walks on mangrove-shaded boardwalks along the bay, reading in the shade at parks adjacent to pretty creeks, hiking in a state park, kayaking, etc. Around here, the options are very limited. There's one hiking trail within a 30 minute drive, but it's very short and not very scenic. The other 'parks' in this area are small dirt lots with playgrounds. A short-but-somewhat-pleasant hike requires driving 45 minutes and a truly enjoyable hike requires driving 1-1.5 hours. There's a lake about 30 minutes away for kayaking, but it's so overdeveloped that it isn't appealing to me... we've tried several times but there's lots of boat traffic and seawalls, very little birds or other "nature." I'm spoiled by quiet creeks and mangrove swamps!
- I love biking.... whether biking around town for transportation, or biking on a greenway or state park for recreation. This area is not at all bike-friendly... all curvy two-lane roads with speed limits of 50+mph, narrow lanes, and a sharp drop-off to the shoulder.  The nearest place that I'd feel safe biking (a greenway that's only 5 miles long) is 45 minutes away. In my hometown, though, there are plenty of bike-friendly roads and there's a 10 mile greenway right in town.
- I'm one of those people who likes to get out of the house and do things, even if the weather is blah. In my hometown, there are plenty of opportunities for that.... there's an art museum and an aquarium in my hometown, and a science museum, zoo, bigger aquarium, and multiple museums in the bigger town an hour away. Here, we can drive 40 minutes to the tiny kids' science museum or an hour to  the bigger adult science museum, but there isn't anything else.

I realize that I'm complaining a lot and it's true that I did choose to move here, once upon a time. And hopefully we'll be getting out soon.... maybe back to my hometown but, if not, at least I feel like I better know what to look for to maximize my chances of happiness.

I say all of this, though, to help others think about some of the things that never really crossed my radar when I moved. In my mind it was "ooh, I'll be living near the mountains --- outdoorsy stuff galore and that will make up for everything else!!" It never occurred to me that there isn't much outdoorsy stuff if there isn't the tax income to pay for public outdoor spaces.... I drive through miles of pretty woods every day, but it's all privately owned with big NO TRESPASSING signs everywhere. Having the mountains just 1.5 hours away is great, but it isn't practical to make that drive every single Saturday, so we spend many Saturdays just sitting at home staring at each other. Also, it never really occurred to me how lonely it can feel to be surrounded by people so different than yourself.

Just some things to consider.

Katiekatie

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2017, 01:07:39 PM »
We moved from a big city onto an island where houses are 1/3 of the cost and although it's beautiful here and lots of nature and  less traffic my husband finds it extremely hard because his whole life has been in the city. We've been here for almost 2 years and are always talking about moving back one day but as a millennial and the cost of housing, it's almost impossible to move back. For an average house in Vancouver is 900k where as here we bought brand new for only $400k.  We moved here to have more time for our 2 young kids so although it's hard since we don't have much of a network of friends and family here it's something we are willing to sacrifice. We want to be able to raise them than to just put them in daycare.

I guess it depends what stage you are at in life and what your willing to sacrifice and trade off.


richman0841

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2017, 01:37:24 PM »
I guess I've always taken my LCOL with me wherever I went, since I took my retirement in chunks as I went along and had to live frugally to do that. It helps that I'm introverted and can happily spend my days reading, surfing the net, and watching movies (netflix, amazon prime, and a $6 theater fairly close).  For people, there's my book club and a Starbucks I can walk to.

I can only sympathize with folks who moved to rural/high crime areas; I'm in a decent middle-class neighborhood and the book club is full of retired engineers and teachers, smart people and more open-minded than most.  If I moved, I couldn't afford to come back.

I can drive six miles to a marina and sit in my camper with a book and a beer and a sack lunch and the same view as the mega-mansions. I can fly space-available in military planes and stay inexpensively on the bases. Life is good.

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2017, 08:39:04 PM »
I live in an insanely HCOL area (ski resort) and could have been FIRE long ago by moving to somewhere cheap... but what on earth would I do with my time? I'd rather do some amount of work and have amazing mountains, trails, skiing, etc out my door (and lots of like minded folks to do those things with) than not work at all and have no access (or much more limited access) to that stuff.

To some extent I'm guessing most of us also want to replicate our childhoods for our kids. Hard for me to do that anywhere but a ski town.

To each their own, though. There are lots of neat places that are cheap cheap cheap. None of them particularly appeal to me, but if you have different interests, they might be perfect.

-W

Linda_Norway

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2017, 01:49:02 AM »
So often you have to do some serious looking and make harder choices about how and where you want to live. One person would rather have a large house in a lower cost city 50 miles from mountains and another would rather live right in a mountain town but can. only get a one bedroom condo for the same price. Other than housing costs there isn't too big of a difference between L and H COL.

Very true, it is all about ones priorities. But it is not without reason that the three most important qualities of a house are: location, location and location. I am personally still looking for the perfect location to FIRE, where you have great skiing options (cross country for me) during winter, great fishing during summer (preferably in sea and in rivers), nice mountains for hiking and a diverse forest for hiking and foraging, close enough to a city where things happen, close enough to a central airport and still affordable. Therefore our plan is to first try out some location and rent over there.
My DH thinks we need the central airport to be able to fly home to the parents when they are in need. I still don't like the idea of parents becoming a burden and me being responsible for them. I guess we can live with the parents for some time in periods e.g. to help them selling their house for example and helping to make the house look nicer for sale.

tj

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2017, 04:05:07 PM »
Not FIREd yet, but I love the LCOL city that I moved to (Phoenix metro). I'm closer to things to do, and there's a lot more of them to do, and I spend much less $$ on necessities like shelter. No regrets at all.  I miss the ocean, but I suppose I'm content to visit a few times per year instead of pay the ultra premium to live there. :)
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richman0841

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2017, 05:17:37 PM »
A possibility I haven't seen mentioned (yet, unless I missed something farther up the thread) is calling SEVERAL places home for say four months a year.  After all, even the best view gets a little invisible after four months.  Maybe pick locations by their best seasons, as was hinted at in the "skiing, fishing" message.  With a reverse mortgage, I have to occupy the homestead a certain amount of time, but it needn't keep me from enjoying lengthy visits to NYC, Rio, Paris, and 'Frisco (pick your own favorites!).  Two idols for me: Nicholas Berggruen, the "homeless billionaire" who stays only in five-star hotels, and at the opposite pole, Annie Hill, who wrote Voyaging on a Small Income (an early Mustachian, she and her husband were FIRED almost from day one). One thing that helps is that with the internet you can be in touch anywhere, any time.

waltworks

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2017, 05:23:20 PM »
Dude, nordic skiing and fishing in the ocean?

Anchorage. Period. Decent alpine skiing too, great mountain biking in the summer.

Cheap. Quite cheap.

It's pretty much that or Japan. Seriously, that combo is rare as shit. I do a ton of nordic skiing (part of the reason I live where I do) but the fishing in northern UT is meh for most folks. Certainly no ocean! 

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2017, 05:39:52 PM »
Why not switch to a job you really love and continue working in a Pricier place you enjoy living than to retire to a location you hate with nothing to do and no friends. My parents have friends who retired and moved to some podunk town in Montana 20 years ago. They hated it. Both died of boredom before age 65. My parents stayed put with the high living costs plus all their family and friends. Mom is still working at her favorite job at age 81.
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alexpkeaton

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2017, 07:31:26 AM »
Houston is easily the most ethnically diverse large city in America.

I'd say that title goes to Queens, NY. There are more than 800 different languages spoken in people's homes. http://www.businessinsider.com/queens-languages-map-2017-2

Jrr85

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #22 on: August 15, 2017, 07:42:47 AM »
Interesting. I always wondered if this was a cultural thing. Americans could be just way more open and mobile than Germans. I would never move away from my family and friends just to cut costs. And Germany is way smaller. Move 100km from the city to the village and you probably can get housing for the half price. But at what costs? How often do you really visit someone if you have to drive 90 minutes first?

Moving for a good job opportunity or university is something else, but not just to cut costs.

Pretty sure it's an individual personality thing.  It's pretty jarring to me to think about leaving a place we've spent the 15 or 20 or even 30 years to start over somewhere new.  I hear way more people who have made significant career sacrifices just to move back home to be near family.  And not just to avoid being across country, but to avoid being say a 5 hour drive from family (which granted is a haul but still doable if inefficient for a weekend visit and pretty manageable for a three day weekend visit). 



Linda_Norway

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2017, 07:56:08 AM »
Interesting. I always wondered if this was a cultural thing. Americans could be just way more open and mobile than Germans. I would never move away from my family and friends just to cut costs. And Germany is way smaller. Move 100km from the city to the village and you probably can get housing for the half price. But at what costs? How often do you really visit someone if you have to drive 90 minutes first?

Moving for a good job opportunity or university is something else, but not just to cut costs.

Pretty sure it's an individual personality thing.  It's pretty jarring to me to think about leaving a place we've spent the 15 or 20 or even 30 years to start over somewhere new.  I hear way more people who have made significant career sacrifices just to move back home to be near family.  And not just to avoid being across country, but to avoid being say a 5 hour drive from family (which granted is a haul but still doable if inefficient for a weekend visit and pretty manageable for a three day weekend visit).

Yes, I think the concept of what is too far, is a cultural thing. When I lived in the Netherlands, my parent would seldom visit family that lived 1,5 hours driving away from us. That was considered far away. Here in Norway we have different standards. Lots of people have a cabin 3-4 hours away from home and everybody thinks that a normal distance to drive for a weekend trip. Our cabin is even further, 5 hours away. As said above, totally doable for a long weekend. But we even do it for a short weekend sometimes.

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2017, 11:52:49 AM »
I am currently FIRED in a LCOL area, and while I'm glad to have the freedom of retirement, I want to eventually move some place that is a better fit personally.  The thing about LCOL areas is that they tend to be rural or semi-rural, have higher crime rates, have fewer interesting things to do, fewer educated people, etc.  I can travel to see interesting places, and when my lawnmower was stolen, I figured that the $200 replacement cost was nothing compared to how much I was saving living here (I paid $59K for a 3 bedroom brick house with a nice yard).  The part that is not workaroundable is that I don't fit in.  I used to think that I could make friends anywhere, but the social climate here is very closed, not to mention the political climate.

But you might find a LCOL area that fits you, or you might find one that is bearable for a certain amount of time.  It would make sense to rent for a few months until you commit to a particular place, though.

I'm not sure these generalizations apply to all cases...like crime rates or things to do.

We live in a very LCOLA area, and there are certainly sacrifices with this one...culture and cultural diversity, resources that larger cities and wealthier areas bring, political ideology.  BUT, this place is very safe with low crime, and our main hobbies are much more well supported here than any big city could, or most spendy resort areas.

A big issue for us, mentioned above, is the hit we would take if we ever wanted to move to a higher COL area.  Our house has appreciated, but the differences between the best price we would get selling it and a much smaller place in other places we might want to live, is pretty substantial.
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DarkandStormy

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2017, 01:47:03 PM »
Houston is easily the most ethnically diverse large city in America.

I'd say that title goes to Queens, NY. There are more than 800 different languages spoken in people's homes. http://www.businessinsider.com/queens-languages-map-2017-2

Going purely by race and ethnicity, Houston is actually the least diverse of the top 4 cities (NY, LA, CHI).  Whites still make up a majority, barely (50.5%).  That is not the case in the other three.
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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2017, 05:52:02 PM »
Houston really is the most racially and ethnically diverse large metro area in the nation. It's all in the 2010 census results.  And anyone who has lived there can see it clearly. 

https://kinder.rice.edu/uploadedFiles/Urban_Research_Center/Media/Houston%20Region%20Grows%20More%20Ethnically%20Diverse%202-13.pdf
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GenXbiker

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2017, 06:42:01 PM »
Houston really is the most racially and ethnically diverse large metro area in the nation. It's all in the 2010 census results.  And anyone who has lived there can see it clearly. 

https://kinder.rice.edu/uploadedFiles/Urban_Research_Center/Media/Houston%20Region%20Grows%20More%20Ethnically%20Diverse%202-13.pdf
Thanks.  Houston is definitely on my list of possible relocation destinations post-FIRE.

MoMan

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2017, 06:30:08 PM »
Houston is definitely on my list of possible relocation destinations post-FIRE.

This city has definitely treated me well. There may be other more attractive locales, but I ain't complainin'.
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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #29 on: August 25, 2017, 10:32:20 AM »
A lot of the conversation here reminds me of a debate my wife and I have been having. We both work remotely so we can technically live anywhere and we've been travelling around to lots of places to look at where we might want to live.

The thing is though that after all that searching, we kinda just want to be near people we know and things we find familiar. We're probably going to be moving back to where we lived for 5 years after getting married because we know and like the people there. I wrote up our thoughts about it on our blog here: http://therecklesschoice.com/2017/08/12/where-would-you-live/
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libertarian4321

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #30 on: August 25, 2017, 12:48:20 PM »
Houston really is the most racially and ethnically diverse large metro area in the nation. It's all in the 2010 census results.  And anyone who has lived there can see it clearly. 

https://kinder.rice.edu/uploadedFiles/Urban_Research_Center/Media/Houston%20Region%20Grows%20More%20Ethnically%20Diverse%202-13.pdf

I guess it depends on how one defines "diverse."  If they want the most even mix, Houston wins.  But if you define "diverse" as non-white, other cities, including some in Texas are more "diverse."

But anyway you look at it, the large cities in TX are among the most in the nation (Houston, San Antonio, DFW, Austin, and El Paso).

If you believe the nonsense the Trumpsters are pushing, all that "diversity" (largely Hispanic) is terrible.  But we seem to be doing just fine here in San Antonio- booming population, surging economy, very low unemployment.

brooklynmoney

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #31 on: August 25, 2017, 03:45:15 PM »
Side note. Queens is the most diverse place on earth.

Chas

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #32 on: August 25, 2017, 07:38:29 PM »
Side note. Queens is the most diverse place on earth.

Ummm...have you visited Toronto? We may set the standard!

GenXbiker

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #33 on: August 27, 2017, 05:42:43 PM »
Living in Houston contributed greatly to my FIRE.

Downsides are traffic and sweltering summers and a hurricane roughly once a decade.

Quote
Dallas might be a better fit for you.  But no real danger from hurricanes.  They are 'blown out' after getting that far inland.

Best of luck in your post-FIRE location search.

In light of recent developments, I'm putting even more weight on these comments.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 05:47:25 PM by GenXbiker »

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #34 on: August 27, 2017, 07:43:51 PM »
The thing about LCOL areas is that they tend to be rural or semi-rural, have higher crime rates, have fewer interesting things to do, fewer educated people, etc.
That was our problem. I "sort of" FIREd about 13 years ago, in the sense that I quit and replaced my salary with investment income, but my wife continued working.

We live in the suburbs of Boston, and housing prices are very high, if other expenses aren't particularly. A few years ago we discussed moving to an area where $100k-$200k would buy a decent house. We had enough so she could retire if we did that. She said she'd rather wait and accumulate enough so that she can retire here, because living in a relatively liberal, well-educated area was more important to her than retiring.

We're now well past that point. No mortgage, and 35x expenses in savings. She continues to work because not having a salary scares her a bit, whatever I may say about Safe Withdrawal Rates, and she's pretty happy with her job anyway.

rdaneel0

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2017, 08:38:37 PM »
I have some insight on this because I grew up in a very rural LCOL area and now live in a super urban HCOL area. I've also lived in affluent suburbs, blue collar towns, and small cities.

There are people in all types of locations who are provincial and close minded, that's for sure, but in low population areas that aren't diverse (or are diverse but are highly segregated by both class and neighborhood), people are different. I am definitely going to leave our HCOL area for a cheaper place, but not a place that's so low cost that I can't enjoy my life. I'd rather work an extra 5-10 years and live in a place I like than retire earlier and live in a place I hate.

My husband and I have been researching areas to move to that are smaller and cheaper than where we live now, but still a good fit for us. Here are a few questions I ask myself when considering a city, maybe this will be helpful for others:

1. What is the population, is it growing or shrinking? I only consider cities that are over 200k and growing, I don't look at "metropolitan area" as this can be very misleading in urban sprawl areas. I avoid cities with declining populations.

2. What are the major employers in the city and who are the newcomers? When the major employers are government, schools, and healthcare, and there's little else, that's usually a sign of a pretty sleepy town with lots of likeminded people. I like small cities that have a few different areas of industry, and I really like small cities that have new companies moving there with some frequency.

3. Are there industries or organizations (or other factors) that might draw transplants? In my opinion, a bigger factor than population in terms of the culture of a place is the percentage of transplants. I have lived in cities that were a decent size but where almost everyone was born and raised there (or close to there), and those places feel like really small towns and outsiders often have a hard time.

4. Which businesses are thriving? I like to go on yelp and check out restaurants, grocery stores, boutiques, gyms, and other services/entertainment in the area. If a town is on the small side but has an Asian market, a Middle Eastern market, a fish shop, pubs, cafes, venues, an orchestra, and a college...odds are you'll find a fairly interesting population. If the only businesses are chain restaurants, big box stores, nail salons, malls, and things like that, you're in for a more homogeneous population.

5. What are the annual town/city events? Most local papers will have a section for annual events. Towns, even small towns, that have a diverse offering of well-attended events are usually a good choice. When you see arts festivals, beer festivals, music festivals, sporting events, cultural events, food events, and the like, it means people in the town care about and enjoy that stuff and have the money to spend at events like that. It also means there's a sense of community and public involvement.

6. What do the local newspapers report on? Local newspapers will teach you a lot about a place. If most of the paper is dedicated to reporting on crime, city/town hall, traffic, national events, and high school sports, that's a decent indication that you're looking at a fairly rural place without much happening. When a small newspaper reports on crime, city/town hall, traffic, national events, sports, AND upcoming public events, opening of new businesses, op-eds, features, reviews, profiles, things that show town pride, that's a nice sign that the town has a lot going on.

7. What's the demographic breakdown? I always check what the latest census says about the breakdown of race, age, income, and education in a city. I like a nice mix of people from different places, a good distribution of income, and a highly educated population.

8. How are the libraries, parks, and schools? I like to look at how much the city spends on things like public spaces and education as well as how locals feel about those areas. Reading reviews of parks and libraries is a great way to get a sense of how places are perceived/valued by the population. Also, when you see that a city is pouring money into urban development, small businesses, education, libraries, free entertainment, after school programs, and things like that, I think it's a really good sign of a place on the rise.

It's not a perfect system, but I think it's pretty good in terms of discerning between sleepy areas where people used to urban areas would struggle and LCOL areas that might be smaller but still enjoyable for people used to urban areas.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 08:41:26 PM by rdaneel0 »
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tj

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #36 on: August 27, 2017, 09:00:20 PM »
Excellent post, rdane. It's crazy to me that people think SF, Boston, DC and NYC are the only places with a gathering of open-minded humans.

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deborah

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #37 on: August 27, 2017, 11:41:13 PM »
Most diverse places on Earth - https://www.oyster.com.au/articles/58015-11-diverse-melting-pot-cities-around-the-world/ - you will notice that two if them are in Australia.

Wow! that post by rdaneel0 is fantastic!

dougules

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #38 on: August 28, 2017, 11:13:41 AM »
I would be a little leary myself.  I'm in my hometown which is LCOL, but despite having grown up here I really don't feel like I fit in. I lived in the NW for a year, and I'm considering about working a couple extra years to go back. 

A lot of it depends on what LCOL area you go to.  There is a very wide variety of places that are LCOL. 

One question, if you moved to a LCOL area and didn't like it, how hard would it be to get back into your career to get to HCOL FIRE?  If it would be easy then it wouldn't be a big deal to move somewhere as a trial run. 


I am currently FIRED in a LCOL area, and while I'm glad to have the freedom of retirement, I want to eventually move some place that is a better fit personally.  The thing about LCOL areas is that they tend to be rural or semi-rural, have higher crime rates, have fewer interesting things to do, fewer educated people, etc.  I can travel to see interesting places, and when my lawnmower was stolen, I figured that the $200 replacement cost was nothing compared to how much I was saving living here (I paid $59K for a 3 bedroom brick house with a nice yard).  The part that is not workaroundable is that I don't fit in.  I used to think that I could make friends anywhere, but the social climate here is very closed, not to mention the political climate.

But you might find a LCOL area that fits you, or you might find one that is bearable for a certain amount of time.  It would make sense to rent for a few months until you commit to a particular place, though.
I take it you moved there strictly because of it being a LCOL area.  Were you even in the same state to begin with, or how did you go about moving to that location?  TN is one of the areas I've considered, although Nashville housing is very expensive, Knoxville is more reasonable.  It's not something I need to be concerned with for a couple years, at least.  I'm already in a LCOL area with a paid off house, but I would prefer a larger city when I FIRE.

I was in the DC area, which was one of the highest COL areas of the country at the time. I moved to TN for a job, and then took stock of my situation and realized that I could retire quickly if I put some effort into it. My goal is to move to Paris, which is less expensive than most people would guess, but more expensive than where I am now.

You might also look into Chattanooga.  It's also not expensive and there has been downtown revitalization going on for awhile now. It's smaller than Knoxville, but it has a city "feel."  And it is halfway between Nashville and Atlanta (less than 2 hrs to each), whereas Knoxville is more isolated.

I completely second Chattanooga.  It's generally where we end up when we take a day trip, and it's our most likely FIRE destination if we stay LCOL.  I find Knoxville to be blah, and I don't really get everybody's fascination with Nashville.  The urban neighborhoods of Chattanooga are starting to get a little pricey, though

GenXbiker

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #39 on: August 28, 2017, 01:13:29 PM »
I completely second Chattanooga.  It's generally where we end up when we take a day trip, and it's our most likely FIRE destination if we stay LCOL.  I find Knoxville to be blah, and I don't really get everybody's fascination with Nashville.  The urban neighborhoods of Chattanooga are starting to get a little pricey, though

From my investigation into Tennessee housing costs, it looks like Chattanooga and Nashville are considerably more expensive than Knoxville and Memphis.  Only Nashville has a low unemployment rate.

Rubic

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #40 on: August 28, 2017, 01:44:19 PM »
I completely second Chattanooga.  It's generally where we end up when we take a day trip, and it's our most likely FIRE destination if we stay LCOL.  I find Knoxville to be blah, and I don't really get everybody's fascination with Nashville.  The urban neighborhoods of Chattanooga are starting to get a little pricey, though

From my investigation into Tennessee housing costs, it looks like Chattanooga and Nashville are considerably more expensive than Knoxville and Memphis.  Only Nashville has a low unemployment rate.

Native Nashvillian here.  Nashville is probably better pre-FIRE due to the employment
opportunities, but if I didn't already have ties here, Chattanooga would be on my radar.
Knoxville would also be a consideration, but definitely not Memphis.

spartana

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #41 on: August 28, 2017, 02:19:34 PM »
I already posted in this thread but deleted it to protect personal info. But yes I moved from a HCOL area to a lower (but not super low) COL area in order to FIRE. Selling my paid off house gave me enough extra money to add to the stash to reach FI level, and also enough to buy another house with cash so that I could RE. The place I moved to (cool mountain ski town surrounded by Nat forest, big lake,  cute village, lots of outdoor and social activities, interesting diverse people) was a great improvement over the ginormous metro area I left.
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dougules

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #42 on: August 28, 2017, 04:07:11 PM »
I completely second Chattanooga.  It's generally where we end up when we take a day trip, and it's our most likely FIRE destination if we stay LCOL.  I find Knoxville to be blah, and I don't really get everybody's fascination with Nashville.  The urban neighborhoods of Chattanooga are starting to get a little pricey, though

From my investigation into Tennessee housing costs, it looks like Chattanooga and Nashville are considerably more expensive than Knoxville and Memphis.  Only Nashville has a low unemployment rate.

Native Nashvillian here.  Nashville is probably better pre-FIRE due to the employment
opportunities, but if I didn't already have ties here, Chattanooga would be on my radar.
Knoxville would also be a consideration, but definitely not Memphis.

I've been to Oakland, Quito, Mexico City, Birmingham, Lima Peru, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Nicaragua, New Orleans, Atlanta, Baltimore, DC, and the South Side of Chicago.  Memphis is the place I have felt the most uneasy. 

GenXbiker

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #43 on: August 28, 2017, 07:56:00 PM »
Native Nashvillian here.  Nashville is probably better pre-FIRE due to the employment
opportunities, but if I didn't already have ties here, Chattanooga would be on my radar.
Knoxville would also be a consideration, but definitely not Memphis.

I've been to Oakland, Quito, Mexico City, Birmingham, Lima Peru, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Nicaragua, New Orleans, Atlanta, Baltimore, DC, and the South Side of Chicago.  Memphis is the place I have felt the most uneasy. 

Yeah, I just was checked it out as one of the TN cities for housing costs comparisons along with a couple others I didn't mention, but I'm not considering Memphis.

yavenay

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #44 on: August 29, 2017, 11:01:47 AM »
I am currently FIRED in a LCOL area, and while I'm glad to have the freedom of retirement, I want to eventually move some place that is a better fit personally.  The thing about LCOL areas is that they tend to be rural or semi-rural, have higher crime rates, have fewer interesting things to do, fewer educated people, etc.  I can travel to see interesting places, and when my lawnmower was stolen, I figured that the $200 replacement cost was nothing compared to how much I was saving living here (I paid $59K for a 3 bedroom brick house with a nice yard).  The part that is not workaroundable is that I don't fit in.  I used to think that I could make friends anywhere, but the social climate here is very closed, not to mention the political climate.

But you might find a LCOL area that fits you, or you might find one that is bearable for a certain amount of time.  It would make sense to rent for a few months until you commit to a particular place, though.
I take it you moved there strictly because of it being a LCOL area.  Were you even in the same state to begin with, or how did you go about moving to that location?  TN is one of the areas I've considered, although Nashville housing is very expensive, Knoxville is more reasonable.  It's not something I need to be concerned with for a couple years, at least.  I'm already in a LCOL area with a paid off house, but I would prefer a larger city when I FIRE.

That's exactly what I did and now I am thinking about moving again. I love that I am able to retire now but while it is a nice area, I don't fit in. So I am pretty sure i will be moving again. I just haven't figured out where yet but it will probably be closer to my family. While this isn't my forever home, it has given me so many options and financial freedom but I find that I need a little more.

GenXbiker

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #45 on: August 29, 2017, 04:54:52 PM »
I am currently FIRED in a LCOL area, and while I'm glad to have the freedom of retirement, I want to eventually move some place that is a better fit personally.  The thing about LCOL areas is that they tend to be rural or semi-rural, have higher crime rates, have fewer interesting things to do, fewer educated people, etc.  I can travel to see interesting places, and when my lawnmower was stolen, I figured that the $200 replacement cost was nothing compared to how much I was saving living here (I paid $59K for a 3 bedroom brick house with a nice yard).  The part that is not workaroundable is that I don't fit in.  I used to think that I could make friends anywhere, but the social climate here is very closed, not to mention the political climate.

But you might find a LCOL area that fits you, or you might find one that is bearable for a certain amount of time.  It would make sense to rent for a few months until you commit to a particular place, though.
I take it you moved there strictly because of it being a LCOL area.  Were you even in the same state to begin with, or how did you go about moving to that location?  TN is one of the areas I've considered, although Nashville housing is very expensive, Knoxville is more reasonable.  It's not something I need to be concerned with for a couple years, at least.  I'm already in a LCOL area with a paid off house, but I would prefer a larger city when I FIRE.

That's exactly what I did and now I am thinking about moving again. I love that I am able to retire now but while it is a nice area, I don't fit in. So I am pretty sure i will be moving again. I just haven't figured out where yet but it will probably be closer to my family. While this isn't my forever home, it has given me so many options and financial freedom but I find that I need a little more.

Do you mean that you moved to TN specifically, or just that you moved to an area with a different COL than you were originally?

soccerluvof4

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #46 on: September 01, 2017, 01:05:20 PM »
I was just in knoxville and was very impressed by it and if we move again I want to be close to a University as I am not good around old grumpy  people and want to enjoy all the things the University has to offer. Not to mention your only an hour and a half from Asheville, NC another great town. If your not from Knoxville and you live there now what can people share about the area, if its diverse enought for most anyone to fit in and if its overall a good place to live. 
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EarthSurfer

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #47 on: September 01, 2017, 02:15:50 PM »
Is there a post on the MMM forums that defines LCOL / MCOL / HCOL?

It's kind of a gray / subjective thing unless we have an agreed objective criteria.

But I'm an engineer...
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dougules

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #48 on: September 01, 2017, 02:22:42 PM »
Is there a post on the MMM forums that defines LCOL / MCOL / HCOL?

It's kind of a gray / subjective thing unless we have an agreed objective criteria.

But I'm an engineer...

Interesting idea, but high, medium, and low are completely subjective words.   It's all relative and you'll never be able to put numbers to that.  Plus, if you back out and think about the world as whole, everywhere in the US and most other developed countries is HCOL. 
« Last Edit: September 01, 2017, 02:24:20 PM by dougules »

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #49 on: September 02, 2017, 02:16:32 AM »
hCOL is mostly housing-related. Over $300 per sq ft city median is high. Anything under $150 is low.
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