Author Topic: How do you evaluate locations for relocating after RE?  (Read 2012 times)

HipGnosis

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How do you evaluate locations for relocating after RE?
« on: March 01, 2018, 02:00:38 PM »
I am RE, but not FI.
I live on the edge of Milwaukee, but I'm not a city kinda guy (I grew up on a farm and rarely go 'downtown').
And the snow bothers me a bit more each year.
So I'm thinking of moving south a bit.  Southern MO or IN (maybe KY).
How do I evaluate (to decide between) various locations?
The MMM relocation guide thread is actually city reviews.  I'm not going to a city.
I can get house costs, weather etc, on the internet.
But each location has it's pros, cons and quirks...  how do I find them?
I'm also interested in the potential for gig-economy and/or seasonal work.
 

Trifele

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Re: How do you evaluate locations for relocating after RE?
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2018, 04:05:00 AM »
We were in this same place three years ago -- looking to move out of the upper midwest to a nice small town or rural area.  Our approach was to think hard about our 'must haves' and our 'nice-to-haves.'  In the end we came up with a short list of things that any new place HAD to have, and then a couple of things that would be the cherry on top of the sundae. 

FWIW, our absolute must-have list was:  milder weather, lower taxes, excellent access to outdoor recreation opportunities, good climate for gardening, not too conservative politically.     

After you get your list together, stick your head deep down the internet information rabbit hole and start gathering a list of potential areas/towns.  As you said -- that type of information is readily available on line. One line of searching that was fairly fruitful for us was googling "best small towns"  and "best small towns for outdoorsy people", "best small towns for retired people" -- things like that.  There are millions of internet 'list' articles out there.  Just skim through them all, and you will start to get ideas.  Keep an open mind, and keep referring back to your list of must-haves.  If you find a town/area that ticks all your boxes, put it on the list of potentials.   And start researching that place in more depth. 

Next came the intangibles, which is what I think you're really asking about?  After we gathered a list of potential areas we might like to live, we went and visited them.  We just started at the top of our list with the top contenders and worked our way down.  It was fun and very enlightening -- vacationing with a purpose.  When you visit a new potential area, drive around and walk around.  Visit the Chamber of Commerce, and also talk to people.  All sorts of people -- the clerk at the hotel, the cashier at the grocery store, someone you run into at the park.  Ask them the questions you really are curious about, like "how friendly is this town to newcomers?"  "What's the best grocery store?"  "What are the things you don't like about living here?"  "What's the best thing about living here?"  In general people like to talk about where they live, and they like to give advice.

Visiting tells you a lot, but it's different than really living somewhere.  If you are getting really serious about an area, you can also post a question here on the forum to get the MMMers' takes on the intangible pros and cons.  For example, @FINate posted a question recently titled "Convince me that Bend, OR sucks."  He is considering moving there, and specifically was asking for the negatives about Bend from people who know the area well.  https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/convince-me-that-bend-or-sucks/

If you can come up with a grabby title for your post, and clearly state what your must-have list items are, you'll get some good ideas from the forum members.  We have smart folks around here.

 

 
« Last Edit: March 03, 2018, 04:08:34 AM by Trifele »

Trifele

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Re: How do you evaluate locations for relocating after RE?
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2018, 04:07:00 AM »
I am RE, but not FI.

Did you mean this the other way around -- Financially Independent but not yet retired?

DreamFIRE

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Re: How do you evaluate locations for relocating after RE?
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2018, 09:02:59 AM »
I am RE, but not FI.
I live on the edge of Milwaukee, but I'm not a city kinda guy (I grew up on a farm and rarely go 'downtown').
And the snow bothers me a bit more each year.
So I'm thinking of moving south a bit.  Southern MO or IN (maybe KY).
How do I evaluate (to decide between) various locations?
The MMM relocation guide thread is actually city reviews.  I'm not going to a city.
I'm FI, but not RE.  Maybe in 2019 if all goes well.

I'm in the midwest but not as far north - I'm actually bothered more by the cold than I am snow.  The snow doesn't seem to last long.  I've been looking into the same southernly relocation possibility for a good part of the last year.  There are actually other threads that pop up on MMM that are relevant other than the one mentioned.  I like to read the forums at city-data.com because there's a separate forum area for each area of most states.  For example, if you're interested in Chattanooga, TN, or the surrounding area, you can ask about it in the Chattanooga forum and read the previous posts to learn about the area.  There are always questions from people who are considering relocating to the area specific to each forum section.  Ultimately, visits to the area are a good idea, which I haven't done.  I figured I would do some slow travel when I FIRE to check out more areas and so that I can take my time to really get a feel for things.  And, I wouldn't be too quick to buy a house because you really need to live somewhere for a while before you know if you want to live there for the long haul.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2018, 09:54:17 AM by DreamFIRE »

Carrie

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Re: How do you evaluate locations for relocating after RE?
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2018, 09:18:03 AM »
Mississippi keeps coming up on the internet lists for retirement. Tax friendly to retirees and low cost of living, plenty of countryside & rural areas. Politically it's a red state, but I think it has the ability to go purple. There are pockets that are less conservative - college towns, around Jackson, maybe the coast (but not sure about that). 

I'm posting to follow, as I'm on the look out for similar things - and wonder if I haven't already found it.

FINate

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Re: How do you evaluate locations for relocating after RE?
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2018, 12:12:22 PM »
city-data.com is your friend. Just search "<some_city> city data" and check it out. Population, demographics, climate, crime, air quality, politics. For cost of living comparisons: bestplaces.net

Intangibles are tough. The forums here can help give a better sense, narrow down the list and give you ideas for what to watch out for (E.g. fakeness in Bend). Ultimately, you need to visit for yourself, but much easier once whittled down to a very short list.

Cressida

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Re: How do you evaluate locations for relocating after RE?
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2018, 01:05:16 PM »
We were in this same place three years ago -- looking to move out of the upper midwest to a nice small town or rural area.  Our approach was to think hard about our 'must haves' and our 'nice-to-haves.'  In the end we came up with a short list of things that any new place HAD to have, and then a couple of things that would be the cherry on top of the sundae. 

FWIW, our absolute must-have list was:  milder weather, lower taxes, excellent access to outdoor recreation opportunities, good climate for gardening, not too conservative politically.     

After you get your list together, stick your head deep down the internet information rabbit hole and start gathering a list of potential areas/towns.  As you said -- that type of information is readily available on line. One line of searching that was fairly fruitful for us was googling "best small towns"  and "best small towns for outdoorsy people", "best small towns for retired people" -- things like that.  There are millions of internet 'list' articles out there.  Just skim through them all, and you will start to get ideas.  Keep an open mind, and keep referring back to your list of must-haves.  If you find a town/area that ticks all your boxes, put it on the list of potentials.   And start researching that place in more depth. 

Next came the intangibles, which is what I think you're really asking about?  After we gathered a list of potential areas we might like to live, we went and visited them.  We just started at the top of our list with the top contenders and worked our way down.  It was fun and very enlightening -- vacationing with a purpose.  When you visit a new potential area, drive around and walk around.  Visit the Chamber of Commerce, and also talk to people.  All sorts of people -- the clerk at the hotel, the cashier at the grocery store, someone you run into at the park.  Ask them the questions you really are curious about, like "how friendly is this town to newcomers?"  "What's the best grocery store?"  "What are the things you don't like about living here?"  "What's the best thing about living here?"  In general people like to talk about where they live, and they like to give advice.

Visiting tells you a lot, but it's different than really living somewhere.  If you are getting really serious about an area, you can also post a question here on the forum to get the MMMers' takes on the intangible pros and cons.  For example, @FINate posted a question recently titled "Convince me that Bend, OR sucks."  He is considering moving there, and specifically was asking for the negatives about Bend from people who know the area well.  https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/convince-me-that-bend-or-sucks/

If you can come up with a grabby title for your post, and clearly state what your must-have list items are, you'll get some good ideas from the forum members.  We have smart folks around here. 

I've been thinking about this issue too. This response is helpful - thanks for posting.

HipGnosis

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Re: How do you evaluate locations for relocating after RE?
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2018, 10:47:27 AM »
Thanks for the multiple tips on city-data.com.
I will definitely visit multiple areas once I narrow the list down.   And then visit multiple times once that list is narrowed down further.

HipGnosis

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Re: How do you evaluate locations for relocating after RE?
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2018, 10:51:46 AM »
I am RE, but not FI.

Did you mean this the other way around -- Financially Independent but not yet retired?
Nope.  I am RE, but not FI.
I have enough to get by, but some discretional funds would make life happier.
This is why I'm also interested in the potential for gig-economy and/or seasonal work.