Author Topic: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!  (Read 5783 times)

ManchVegas

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Hi All,

Longtime lurker here. I finally decided to register here to get some advice Ė my wife and I are considering moving from a suburb of Boston to Greenville, SC in order to drastically speed up our run towards FIRE. Over the past two years we have done pretty well reducing all expenses, but the last big one is housing. Housing in Massachusetts is so expensive! We have looked at downsizing, but there is nothing in our area we would consider living in at the price point we want to be in. Why Greenville? My BIL lives in Greenville, and we have visited and loved the area. Additionally, selling our house would net us $120k-$150k so we should be able to buy a house with cash or at least have an insignificant mortgage (I realize that math tells us to finance a house and invest the cash, but we highly value being debt free).

Important things to note:
-   We are confident we will not take too much of a pay cut to move down there, and that our savings rate (and nominal amount) will be much higher :)
-   DWís parents would most likely follow us down within 6 months :)
-   We would be very far from my family (Vermont) whom we love to visit :(
-   My current commute right now is ridiculous 1.5hr one way on the bus :(, so proximity to the places we visit (work, church, grocery, park, etc.) will be a priority in our house purchase
-   We plan to rent cheaply for a little while until we identify a neighborhood we want to be in. The last thing I want to do is rush into a house and regret the location later :)
-   Ideally this would allow us to FIRE in 5-8 years :) given our current investments and expected savings rate, which would allow us to spend weeks at a time back in my homeland of VT :)
-   VT isnít a great option to move to. Itís really a mid to high COL, and outside of the Burlington area there isnít much to be had for jobs (meaning no FIRE) :(
-   Our only child just turned 1 so uprooting isnít an issue at the moment :)

Iíd love to hear what my fellow mustachians think of such a move. If you have done this yourself - was it worth it? How did it work out for you in the short term and long term? Did it actually help you achieve FIRE or are there other factors that are not obvious before making the move? Any and all advice is welcome!

NathanP

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2016, 10:05:46 AM »
I would do it solely to reduce your commuting time. The rest is a bonus.

South Carolina is a low cost/tax state (good), but may not have public schools that match what you have in Massachusetts. This may or may not be important to you.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2016, 10:17:50 AM »
With your username I assumed New Hampshire...do some people commute to Boston all that way?

I would make sure the public schools are acceptable to you, but I don't think there's many places where they're universally terrible.

Would either of you be able to telecommute to make the transition easier?

chemistk

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2016, 10:28:17 AM »
I would say do it! You seem to be in an excellent position and if you have the means and the motivation to do so, then I don't see why the moving van isn't already packed!

I live 8 hours away from my family and old friends, and I can tell you that there are times you will find it frustrating to be so far away. However, traveling to see them makes visits very meaningful and you'd be surprised how fast time passes between visits.

ManchVegas

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2016, 10:42:23 AM »
I would do it solely to reduce your commuting time. The rest is a bonus.

South Carolina is a low cost/tax state (good), but may not have public schools that match what you have in Massachusetts. This may or may not be important to you.

There are plenty of decent school districts around Greenville, all dependent on the neighborhood you live in (just like Mass). So we should be able to find a cross between cheaper housing and good school district. Plus, if we achieve FIRE in 5-8, we might even explore homeschooling.

With your username I assumed New Hampshire...do some people commute to Boston all that way?

I would make sure the public schools are acceptable to you, but I don't think there's many places where they're universally terrible.

Would either of you be able to telecommute to make the transition easier?


Lol ManchVegas is a nickname that is a riff on my last name and the town, even though I have never lived near the town. People do commute from NH to Boston, but I'm not sure how many commute from that far up in NH. I live in Southeast Mass.

I may have the option to telecommute (management has been iffy on this stuff in the past), but if not that is fine because we have been planning on only one of us having a job until we are settled. Once the in-laws arrive they will be a big help with childcare. Since my wife is already interviewing, it seems like I would be the one doing the SAHP thing (which is fine by me, I just hope I don't get to comfy doing it!)

I would say do it! You seem to be in an excellent position and if you have the means and the motivation to do so, then I don't see why the moving van isn't already packed!

I live 8 hours away from my family and old friends, and I can tell you that there are times you will find it frustrating to be so far away. However, traveling to see them makes visits very meaningful and you'd be surprised how fast time passes between visits.

Thanks chemistk! Charlotte is not too far and has direct flights to Burlington, VT - so it would be fairly easy (but not necessarily cheap) to visit my family. The biggest change is that would couldn't just scoot up there for the weekend, so your perspective is encouraging!

Kroaler

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2016, 11:49:35 AM »
I would do it solely to reduce your commuting time. The rest is a bonus.

South Carolina is a low cost/tax state (good), but may not have public schools that match what you have in Massachusetts. This may or may not be important to you.

I agree with this.  Your precious time on earth is being wasted on a soul sucking commute.



Also you are correct about the schools.  Neighborhood specific, ghettos have less desirable schools.  Luckily you can get a an excellent house in a good district for less than 200K. (Much less depending on what "luxuries" you demand).


Dicey

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2016, 11:55:07 AM »
If Portland or Manchester are within easy driving distance to Burlington, Southwest Airlines could be a good option. There's a huge thread about how to hack their RapidRewards CC program.

ManchVegas

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2016, 12:06:14 PM »
I would do it solely to reduce your commuting time. The rest is a bonus.

South Carolina is a low cost/tax state (good), but may not have public schools that match what you have in Massachusetts. This may or may not be important to you.

I agree with this.  Your precious time on earth is being wasted on a soul sucking commute.



Also you are correct about the schools.  Neighborhood specific, ghettos have less desirable schools.  Luckily you can get a an excellent house in a good district for less than 200K. (Much less depending on what "luxuries" you demand).



Shout out to Kroaler for sharing his local knowledge! - we have been messaging about Greenville specifics. Thanks dude! But to your point.... yes the commute is really bad. 3 hours of my day gone just to sit at a desk all day :(. The level of "Luxuries" we want in a house is still up for debate. I would like to be around 100K, my wife would like around 200k, so we will probably end up in the higher end of the middle.

If Portland or Manchester are within easy driving distance to Burlington, Southwest Airlines could be a good option. There's a huge thread about how to hack their RapidRewards CC program.

My family lives near Smugglers Notch (other side of the mountain from Stowe), so Burlington is the closest commercial airport, but Manchester is doable at about 2.5 to 3 hrs away. Portland is too far unless there was a ridiculous deal. I have always wanted to do the CC hacking thing, so this will be the perfect opportunity to learn it, thanks Diane!

Pylortes

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2016, 08:37:12 PM »
Sounds like a great idea. Greenville is on our list of possible destinations once we move possibly close to FIRE.  Visited once and enjoyed it. The climate/outdoor activities/cost of living seem pretty ideal from our perspective.  What fields are you in?  How much do you anticipate the drop in income could be?  What specific things about the area are you most looking forward to (other than the short commute and low cost of living)?

ManchVegas

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2016, 07:14:12 AM »
Sounds like a great idea. Greenville is on our list of possible destinations once we move possibly close to FIRE.  Visited once and enjoyed it. The climate/outdoor activities/cost of living seem pretty ideal from our perspective.  What fields are you in?  How much do you anticipate the drop in income could be?

Hi Pylortes! We are both accountants and work for banks, my wife is more on the budgeting side of things while I work more on the data management side. My wife will probably only end up with a 5% pay cut, and I will probably be around 10-15% just due to the fact that my wife's skill set is more marketable than mine. What we've been told (and have to started to see ourselves) is that entry level jobs in the south start much lower, but mid level career jobs are pretty much on par. When you factor in that our living expenses will be cut way more than 5-15%, we should come out way ahead.

What specific things about the area are you most looking forward to (other than the short commute and low cost of living)?

FIRE!!!! being able to potentially hit FIRE before 40 is by far the biggest draw for me. But you asked for specific qualities so here are some: Greenville has a very nice downtown, and the area is largest enough to have everything you need, but also not be overpopulated in every direction for hours like the northeast is. We're also looking for a change of atmosphere and pace of life (I'm sure we could acomplish that here, but its built in down there). Plus - BBQ! I love good bbq and there is a significant lack of it in Mass. I know there are more but I'm drawing a blank so I'll get back to you again after I get a chance to talk to my wife.

golden1

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2016, 09:38:58 AM »
As someone who lives in the suburban Boston area and feels your pain, I say go ahead!  I have to stay here for a variety of reasons (family, and DH's intolerance to heat), but I know several people from here who have relocated down to the Carolinas, and they all really like it there.  You can get a brand new house for less than a 50 year old starter home up here.  From what I understand, the culture is very different, but it might suit you better. 

ManchVegas

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2016, 01:05:10 PM »
As someone who lives in the suburban Boston area and feels your pain, I say go ahead!  I have to stay here for a variety of reasons (family, and DH's intolerance to heat), but I know several people from here who have relocated down to the Carolinas, and they all really like it there.  You can get a brand new house for less than a 50 year old starter home up here.  From what I understand, the culture is very different, but it might suit you better. 

Lol family and my intolerance to heat were two of the big reasons I have been resistant to moving south too! But the more I wanted FIRE, the more I was willing to accept those changes. Once I'm FIRE I can spend as much time with my family and away from the heat as I want! So there's still hope for you DH to come around ;)

I am expecting a bit of a culture shock, but it shouldn't be too bad. My BIL has lived there for a while now so we have a good idea what to expect. Apparently I'm going to have to learn how to say Yes Ma'am :)

Kroaler

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2016, 02:42:34 PM »
The heat really isn't bad with the right clothing just like the cold isn't bad with the right clothes.   

Wal-mart sells some off brand dry fit stuff. The shirts are 6$.   Makes all the difference in the world from a miserably hot day  vs feeling like just a warm day.     

It sucks to be drenched in sweat just from driving a car lol.

Dicey

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2016, 03:30:19 PM »
+1 to Kroaler's suggestions. Another point regarding heat is that when you're FIRE you have more control of your time. Don't schedule things in the middle of the day. Find an air-conditioned mall or rec center and hang out there a lot, saving on home A/C costs.

I've spent some time in that part of the country (my last final employer was based there) and while the humidity triply sucks when you're in work attire, it's not so bad when you can dress for the heat and not for the corporate dress code. I suspect you'll be fine there. I like your idea of renting until you hit on the place you want to put down roots.

As a bonus, many people notice their hair and skin respond well to humidity.

Syonyk

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2016, 06:29:11 PM »
Iíd love to hear what my fellow mustachians think of such a move. If you have done this yourself - was it worth it? How did it work out for you in the short term and long term? Did it actually help you achieve FIRE or are there other factors that are not obvious before making the move? Any and all advice is welcome!

I did something similar, though not specifically for FIRE goals.  My wife & I moved from Seattle suburbs (high cost of living, couldn't stand the place, no family nearby) to rural farm country (low cost of living, love it, feel like it's a great place to raise kids, lots of family nearby).

I've only been here for three months, so I can't speak to the long term "how it works," but we're both radically happier, and while I took a major pay cut to move out here (though part of this is that I'm able to drop back to part time work), the cost of living is low enough that we should be just fine.

And I've got enough land that I can do things I couldn't do in Seattle, like big gardens, chickens and goats, solar arrays, etc.

Some people love cities.  We couldn't stand it.  So we fixed it.  And I don't expect it to change my "cut back to random project work" date any. :)

undercover

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2016, 08:08:43 PM »
I say if you can make it work with your career, then why not? It's only ~1hr to the mountains, and ~3 to the beach. Yes, it's hot, but it's not quite as bad as Texas. And, like others have said, it's also a very manageable type of heat. The upside is that winters won't be intolerable. Beautiful downtown area, low cost of living, big city amenities...it's a great place. I was just there yesterday.

Dicey

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2016, 10:46:29 PM »
If Portland or Manchester are within easy driving distance to Burlington, Southwest Airlines could be a good option. There's a huge thread about how to hack their RapidRewards CC program.
off topic but where is this thread? Did a search but nothing came up. Looking to fly to Portland or Boston asap to continue my own potential relocation search. TIA
I'll look for it. Searching this forum can be frustrating indeed.

Dicey

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2016, 11:05:11 PM »
If Portland or Manchester are within easy driving distance to Burlington, Southwest Airlines could be a good option. There's a huge thread about how to hack their RapidRewards CC program.
off topic but where is this thread? Did a search but nothing came up. Looking to fly to Portland or Boston asap to continue my own potential relocation search. TIA

Found it!! Hope it's helpful. Don't think I've actually read it, as having MIL and Al Z. Heimer living with us means we can't really travel enough to make it worthwhile.  IIRC, your designated traveling companion does not have to be a spouse, so maybe you and your sister could work this deal together. Good luck!

Also, try the SWA website. Enter your airport codes and look for the "My Dates Are Flexible" link to find the best fares. Alas, the Ding Fare program seems to be gone for good.

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/southwest-100-000-bonus-points-2-years-of-companion-status-badass-offer/


ManchVegas

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2016, 06:27:31 AM »
Syonyk - thanks for sharing, that's sounds like an awesome move. Do you plan to FIRE at any point or are you content to work PT and live the country lifestyle? One of our debates right now is whether we would buy small and closer to work, or further out with a couple acres. Right now I'm leaning towards closer so that we can radically cut back on driving.

Spartana - your story is awesome, I hope you find an ideal location soon! yea the change in weather will be the biggest shock to me. I will miss easy access to winter sports - BUT once I FIRE I can spend weeks at a time in another location doing those, so I think the trade off is worth it.

acroy

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2016, 07:36:41 AM »
Agree with those who say DO IT! Good luck!

ManchVegas

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2016, 08:04:21 AM »
Thanks for the encouragement undercover and acroy! I was worried someone would slap me with some obvious reason or cautionary tale of why this wouldn't actually get me to FIRE, but its starting to sound like a no brainer! Quite a bit different reaction from some of my extended family :/

slappy

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2016, 08:46:18 AM »
With your username I assumed New Hampshire...do some people commute to Boston all that way?

I would make sure the public schools are acceptable to you, but I don't think there's many places where they're universally terrible.

Would either of you be able to telecommute to make the transition easier?

I actually live in the "Manchvegas" area, and yes people commute from here to Boston. It's crazy! My SIL does it three days a week, and works from home two days. Her husband also does it (and for a pretty low salary).  My husband once suggested that I look into working at my SILs firm. I told him there is no amount of money that would convince me to commute to Boston, especially not with kids at home.  My SIL is lucky to be able to work from home two days, but I don't even think I could handle the commute three days a week.

CindyBS

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2016, 08:54:58 AM »
I live in a LCOL, and have been to most of the HCOL areas of the US (NYC, San Francisco, Boston, DC).   I just got back from SF Bay area and was just astonished at how expensive every day items like groceries were (we made our own food the whole trip) and gas ($1/gallon more than home).

Go for it!  The other nice thing about most LCOL areas is they tend not to be as crowded - so aside from avoiding the commute to work, you are also avoiding traffic at 3pm on a Saturday, living far from the city core, having places like parks and beaches being packed, etc. 


Syonyk

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2016, 09:38:22 AM »
Syonyk - thanks for sharing, that's sounds like an awesome move. Do you plan to FIRE at any point or are you content to work PT and live the country lifestyle? One of our debates right now is whether we would buy small and closer to work, or further out with a couple acres. Right now I'm leaning towards closer so that we can radically cut back on driving.

I'm really not sure.  Ask me in 10 years.

I'm trying a rather different path towards FIRE, if I end up there.  I don't really trust the assorted markets for another 40-50 years of growth, as we run into various headwinds with the limits of growth, climate issues, the downsides of globalization, etc.  So I'm certainly invested in them, but I don't trust the "Put lots of money in the markets and, boom, you're done!" approach to FIRE enough to rely on it as my only path.

What I'm trying to do is focus on "early retirement through low and flexible expenses."  So, a few acres, paid off house, working on making it productive land for growing and storing food, chickens/goats, aquaculture, everything paid off, some solar for power, and pretty much front loading my expenses while I'm working so that longer term I don't have to work as much.

I also have a fairly diverse set of skills I'm working on improving, so I can do "random project work" long term - I rebuild battery packs, I do some web development, I'm working on improving my small electronics manufacturing/repair skills, etc.

The basic concept is that if the markets do well, I have more money to spend on travel and potting about the country, and if I have less, I spend more time around the property and focus more on food and such.  I intend to be able to grow a significant surplus if I need to, and help people in the community out/barter/etc.

I'm trying to build anti-fragility into my life as much as possible.  I don't know what the future will hold, so I'm trying to prepare for a wide variety of possible futures.  It's not as efficient, but efficiency is generally fragile (no surplus to handle unexpected events).

So, yeah.  Not really the standard path on here, but headed in the same direction through different means.

Quite a bit different reaction from some of my extended family :/

Clearly, you must stay in the city so you can earn more money so you can live the good life through buying lots of luxury goods!

Syonyk

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #24 on: July 08, 2016, 09:39:58 AM »
Go for it!  The other nice thing about most LCOL areas is they tend not to be as crowded - so aside from avoiding the commute to work, you are also avoiding traffic at 3pm on a Saturday, living far from the city core, having places like parks and beaches being packed, etc.

There's a country song with lyrics, "If I'm gonna hit a traffic jam, Well it better be a tractor man."

That's where I live now. :)  You very much do get slowed up behind tractors and other farm machinery.

Beats the pants off Seattle area traffic.

ManchVegas

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #25 on: July 09, 2016, 09:36:15 AM »

I actually live in the "Manchvegas" area, and yes people commute from here to Boston. It's crazy! My SIL does it three days a week, and works from home two days. Her husband also does it (and for a pretty low salary).  My husband once suggested that I look into working at my SILs firm. I told him there is no amount of money that would convince me to commute to Boston, especially not with kids at home.  My SIL is lucky to be able to work from home two days, but I don't even think I could handle the commute three days a week.

thats crazy, and i thought my commute was terrible :/

seattlecyclone

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #26 on: July 09, 2016, 10:20:10 AM »
Your occupation makes a huge difference with regard to what location will get you to FIRE the fastest. A recent study shows that Seattle has the highest software engineering salaries after you control for cost of living differences. I've been saying all along that I believe I picked a place that will let me save money faster than elsewhere, and now I have data to back it up!

However just because you can save a lot here in one occupation doesn't mean the same is true for all occupations. We had some friends who moved from Seattle to western New York a few years ago after they had a baby. They earn more dollars there than they did here and have lower expenses and they're close to family. Sounds like a perfect combination!

Syonyk

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Re: Considering cross country move to LCOL area to speed up FIRE!
« Reply #27 on: July 09, 2016, 11:16:45 AM »
Yeah, but Seattle is a shitty place to live if you don't like being jammed in tight with people whose idea of a good time is telling other people exactly what they can and cannot do.