Author Topic: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE  (Read 12067 times)

tralfamadorian

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #50 on: September 02, 2017, 08:35:13 AM »
hCOL is mostly housing-related. Over $300 per sq ft city median is high. Anything under $150 is low.

Source? 

Personally, I set HCOL as $500-600/sqft but I just made that number up. 

Dicey

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #51 on: September 02, 2017, 10:00:03 AM »
hCOL is mostly housing-related. Over $300 per sq ft city median is high. Anything under $150 is low.
Those were the numbers that I was going to suggest, too.

I just checked our math. We bought our house on a short sale in 2013 for $352/sf. Based on recent comps it's up to $474/sf now. And we're in a "moderate" part of our HCOLA. Ugh. At least we're close enough that DH walks to work.
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Itchyfeet

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #52 on: September 02, 2017, 11:40:58 AM »
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!

As someone living in Dubai, I would have thought it to be higher up the list. I suppose the massive Indian population is what prevents this. In Dubai when I go out with a group they will always be from the 4 corners of the world.

redrocker

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #53 on: September 02, 2017, 12:54:43 PM »
hCOL is mostly housing-related. Over $300 per sq ft city median is high. Anything under $150 is low.

While technically housing related, I'd maintain that property taxes and cost to insure are as important if not significantly more important to a retiree than purchase price/sqft.

tj

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #54 on: September 02, 2017, 01:26:24 PM »
hCOL is mostly housing-related. Over $300 per sq ft city median is high. Anything under $150 is low.

Isn't that kind of arbitrary? I guess I've always lived in LCOL! :D When I lived in Southern California, I paid $110 per sq ft in 2010. I sold five years later for $233 per sq ft.

Most recently, I paid a whopping $68 per sq ft for my 1 bedroom co-op apartment here in Scottsdale, AZ.  :D That was obviously a huge motivation for moving here, but just because I found an awesome deal on housing, doesn't necessarily mean it's a rock bottom cost of living across the board.

My impression is that the restaurants and take out food places are more expensive than Southern California was. For example, 5 street tacos will cost me $7-$8 instead of the $5 they cost in CA. Lean Cuisines at Kroger-owed Frys cost $2.79 each instead of the $1 the same lean cuisines had cost at Kroger-owned Ralphs.  Auto and property insurance via USAA is more expensive here than it was in California as well. Of course, electricity rates and gasoline is a lot cheaper....does the cheaper housing make up for everything else? Over a multi-decade span, probably. But I guess it depends on your lifestyle.

GenXbiker

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #55 on: September 02, 2017, 05:18:17 PM »
hCOL is mostly housing-related. Over $300 per sq ft city median is high. Anything under $150 is low.

Most recently, I paid a whopping $68 per sq ft for my 1 bedroom co-op apartment here in Scottsdale, AZ.  :D

Yes, that's more in the range of what I call LCOL housing and is in the range where I live, which is nice quiet middle class neighborhood with no crime on the edge of the city.  A HCOL area I was considering relocating to had similar homes to mine climbing above $150 per sq. ft., so I've started looking more to areas where it's under $100 per sq. ft.  If I have to go back to work or lower my discretionary spending significantly just to relocate to a HCOL area, it's not worth it to me.

Note: That's based on actual homes I found in the areas I've researched - I am not referring to the average or median home values in those areas.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2017, 07:32:22 PM by GenXbiker »

tralfamadorian

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #56 on: September 02, 2017, 06:02:15 PM »
I guess this thread does show that HCOL/LCOL is completely arbitrary and dependent on the experience of the person in question.  I recently purchased a rental at $165/sqft and feel like I got a screaming deal in a MCOL area.  Another I was peripherally involved in under contract for $800/sqft in a city with many new west coast transplants who love how far their money goes. 

soccerluvof4

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #57 on: September 04, 2017, 05:24:13 AM »
While I agree homes are the major part of this there are so many other things that go into the equation. Property taxes and other taxes, food costs, gas prices etc. I live in the same town/school district for awhile now in a home that i bought for about 95$ a square foot in a nice enclave of an area with homes that are well over 2-3-400$ a square foot and beyond. We all shop the same stores etc.. But even Aldis has higher prices here than if I drive 20 miles to the east.  It all adds up.
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jamccain

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #58 on: September 13, 2017, 08:59:18 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 sure you didn't mean it the way I took it....but if this is what you believe about your neighbors, I would say you're the one who's not educated...

Also, I'm sure you can point to a statistic which says cities have more "college graduates" than more rural areas and if that's what you mean I agree with you. 


atreechange

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #59 on: September 16, 2017, 07:48:37 PM »
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.

Great insights rdaneel0, especially #2 and #3. DW and I are planning on moving from Sydney to Toowoomba, a regional Australian town interstate and having a diverse range of industries and where a good proportion of the population moved from elsewhere in Australia or overseas are positive signs.

I think having access to an airport is handy to make visiting family/friends achievable and vice versa. The town recently had an airport open up 3 years ago connecting major eastern seaboard cities with plans in the future for international destinations.

Once we have moved we would plan on renting for 12 months and if we fill the place suits us then look to buy.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Do you regret moving from HCOL to LCOL to achieve FIRE
« Reply #60 on: September 17, 2017, 08:50:36 AM »
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.

Brilliant RDaneel0 (love the Asimov connection in the user name).

Posted in "Best post I saw on the forum" (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/the-best-post-i-saw-today-on-the-mr-money-mustache-forums-was/msg1698845/#msg1698845)

I'm glad my selection of FIRE location meets all the requirements.

I also add the following criteria
  • International airport nearby. Travelling abroad is a big part of my FIRE plans. Also, I have family back in India
  • How liberal the community is to people who do not look like them. As a brown person, I do not want to land in a lily white place and stick out. A good bench mark for this would be to see how the community treats LGBT folks.

Wow! that post by rdaneel0 is fantastic!

Folks, please post in the "Best post.." forum if you see something great. Share the info and give love to the poster!
« Last Edit: September 18, 2017, 10:10:37 AM by CowboyAndIndian »