Author Topic: How to research where to live  (Read 5763 times)

cosmie

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How to research where to live
« on: July 23, 2012, 07:02:54 PM »
MMM has, on several occasions, touted the fact that he strategically chose where he lives. What factors do you look at to choose where to live? How do you go about researching that?

Context: I'm wanting to restrict companies I try to intern at to those where I can accept a full time position if offered. So I'm trying to figure out which states/areas to restrict my search to.

Dee

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Re: How to research where to live
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2012, 07:33:21 PM »
Good question!

I would think a major consideration would be transportation from home to work, without having to rely on a car would be near the top of the list. Finding a climate you can walk or bicycle in for the biggest portion of the year would be a big consideration, I would think. Affordable housing near anticipated work place would be a huge consideration as well. But for a lot of other factors, the importance would just be a factor to weigh in a complex equation. For example, access to inexpensive activities would be important but what that means would vary from individual to individual (for some, paved recreational trails to walk and bike on would be important, for others, more off road-type trails would matter more, while for others still, it would be more free outdoor concerts).

Taxes would also play into the equation -- where is the sales tax, state (or province income tax) and property/school tax situation optimized to amount to the least dollar amount (in exchange for the services you need and want most)?

I am looking forward to reading how this thread develops and whether more advances mustachians have a pretty definite list of criteria and how to weigh them...

P.S. I hear Longmont, CO is a very mustachian place to settle in!

DocCyane

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Re: How to research where to live
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2012, 09:38:39 PM »
I would add that once you move somewhere and work for years or decades, it's not easy to uproot and move elsewhere. Therefore, pick a place you'll want to be throughout phases of your life, not just when you're young.

And as a Californian, I'd say "not California". It's terrible here.

Jamesqf

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Re: How to research where to live
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2012, 11:45:19 PM »
And as a Californian, I'd say "not California". It's terrible here.

tooqk4u22

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Re: How to research where to live
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2012, 08:18:03 AM »
As Dee said it is a complex equation that is difficult to put together and generally it is difficult to piece together a perfect scenario.  The hardest part is that low cost of living areas typically have few employment opportunities but that can be addressed with compromises with how you want to live longterm (smaller, roomates, etc).  Beyond that taxes (income & property mostly) are the biggest thing to consider, if more of your money is going to the gov't then less for you and longer you will be working. 

I think it is a solid move to approach your internship this way but don't box yourself in. 

As said, Longmont seems to work as it is affordable, low taxes, and close to Boulder for jobs (but you have to be a techie of some kind).

Don't come to NJ - it is the east coast version of CA - that is what happens when you get out of control socialist spending - never any cuts only higher taxes.

Stacey

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Re: How to research where to live
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2012, 08:44:13 AM »
I would add that once you move somewhere and work for years or decades, it's not easy to uproot and move elsewhere. Therefore, pick a place you'll want to be throughout phases of your life, not just when you're young.

I second this.  It doesn't mean you're locked in, but if you think of a longer time horizon when you move, there's a greater likelihood you'll pick a place that you won't want to run from in the next stage of your life.  I recommend doing some thinking about what gets you going.  Would you rather live in a big city and walk everywhere, in a small town, in a rural area, near mountains, near the water, with lots of snow, or lots of sun...  If you really put together your priorities of what makes you happy, you'll start to see regions of the country/world beging to emerge, and then you can investigate employment possibilities, taxes, etc. on a smaller range of choices. 

fumanchu

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Re: How to research where to live
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2012, 09:13:43 AM »
The most important factor in one's level of happiness is the quality of their social relationships. This should be on your mind first and foremost with all other factors secondary. If you are a gregarious person who makes friends easily where you move won't matter as much as someone who doesn't make friends as easily. So if you know people who live elsewhere and have a decent circle of friends, that would be a good place to start. 

tannybrown

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Re: How to research where to live
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2012, 10:47:15 AM »
-Property taxes hit Mustachians harder than sales tax, and often those two taxes are inversely correlated.  Locales with very high sales tax may be a good place to start looking.

-If you're very close to FI, state income tax becomes less of an issue than property taxes as well.  These two things provide opportunities for low-income, low-spending households.

-Walking scores for neighborhoods are a nice metric, but proximity to work is usually more important.

-Heating/cooling costs may be a consideration, in some locations (e.g. - air conditioning is harder to turn off here in AZ this time of year, and ends up being a significant cost).

-As you approach FI and have much more leisure time, the ameneties of the city will likely become more important (parks, museums, events at universities, activities in downtown, etc.).  Rust Belt cities typically have infrastructure and ameneties that surprise.

kisserofsinners

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Re: How to research where to live
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2012, 12:18:38 PM »
And as a Californian, I'd say "not California". It's terrible here.

As a Californian...
 
If you like spending money: choose the LA area, also good to profit off of people spending money.

If you like being a kid your whole life: Choose the SF bay area.

If you like a simpler life that is clearly over taxed for their infrastructure.... In fact, if you think Northern Cali is your spot, just keeping going to Oregon. :)

Good luck

Kriegsspiel

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Re: How to research where to live
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2012, 08:37:57 PM »
During my job search I've been doing a lot of this, here are some useful site.

trulia.com- find out housing prices, and it has a walk score, and property taxes
walkscore.com- obvious
http://taxfoundation.org/article/property-taxes-owner-occupied-housing-county-ranked-property-taxes-paid-2007-2009-3-year-average
http://www.retirementliving.com/taxes-by-state

cosmie

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Re: How to research where to live
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2012, 10:08:28 PM »
You guys all have some really interesting points!

Quote
I think it is a solid move to approach your internship this way but don't box yourself in.
I'm not really boxing myself in by doing it this way; I'm actually trying to branch out. I already have solid internship offers in Tempe, AZ,  Chicago IL, Peoria, IL, and Philadelphia, PA. These are all pretty much unsolicited and mine for the picking, if I want one of them. Given these 5 locations, it's easy enough to narrow down which ones are acceptable based off of Mustachian principles. However, my degree can be applied to virtually any industry for the purposes of optimization, predictive modeling, risk forecasting, etc, so finding an internship is fairly easy in any locale, due to it's versatility. So now I'm trying to go about it inversely, and narrow down specific locales to find companies to solicit for internships, if any of them are more appealing than the offers I have.

I would think a major consideration would be transportation from home to work, without having to rely on a car would be near the top of the list. Finding a climate you can walk or bicycle in for the biggest portion of the year would be a big consideration, I would think. Affordable housing near anticipated work place would be a huge consideration as well. But for a lot of other factors, the importance would just be a factor to weigh in a complex equation. For example, access to inexpensive activities would be important but what that means would vary from individual to individual (for some, paved recreational trails to walk and bike on would be important, for others, more off road-type trails would matter more, while for others still, it would be more free outdoor concerts).
Other than weather and activities, how do you account for the rest? If you find the house first, what do you do if you can't find a job in a reasonable distance? If you find a job first, what guarantees you'll find an affordable house?

As Dee said it is a complex equation that is difficult to put together and generally it is difficult to piece together a perfect scenario.  The hardest part is that low cost of living areas typically have few employment opportunities but that can be addressed with compromises with how you want to live longterm (smaller, roomates, etc).  Beyond that taxes (income & property mostly) are the biggest thing to consider, if more of your money is going to the gov't then less for you and longer you will be working. 
Is there a publicly accessible large scale data source for income, property, and sales tax by regions?

I would add that once you move somewhere and work for years or decades, it's not easy to uproot and move elsewhere. Therefore, pick a place you'll want to be throughout phases of your life, not just when you're young.

I second this.  It doesn't mean you're locked in, but if you think of a longer time horizon when you move, there's a greater likelihood you'll pick a place that you won't want to run from in the next stage of your life.  I recommend doing some thinking about what gets you going.  Would you rather live in a big city and walk everywhere, in a small town, in a rural area, near mountains, near the water, with lots of snow, or lots of sun...  If you really put together your priorities of what makes you happy, you'll start to see regions of the country/world beging to emerge, and then you can investigate employment possibilities, taxes, etc. on a smaller range of choices. 
This is very true. However, doesn't "what makes you happy" tend to change over time? I'm still relatively young, but my interests have changed dramatically over the years, so much so that I think trying to predict them 20, 30, 40+ years down the line would be futile. Or does this change in interests slow down over time ?

-Property taxes hit Mustachians harder than sales tax, and often those two taxes are inversely correlated.  Locales with very high sales tax may be a good place to start looking.
I've noticed this is true. Sales tax here is roughly 10%, but property taxes are relatively low (from what I've been told - I rent for the time being), and state income tax is non existent.
holds.

Quote
-Walking scores for neighborhoods are a nice metric, but proximity to work is usually more important.
Are walking scores very accurate? Are they based off of specific addresses or regionally sourced (city wide)?

Quote
-As you approach FI and have much more leisure time, the ameneties of the city will likely become more important (parks, museums, events at universities, activities in downtown, etc.).  Rust Belt cities typically have infrastructure and ameneties that surprise.
That's interesting. I never thought about Rust Belt cities having good infrastructure and amenities, but I guess that does make sense that they'd be built out well.

During my job search I've been doing a lot of this, here are some useful site.

trulia.com- find out housing prices, and it has a walk score, and property taxes
walkscore.com- obvious
http://taxfoundation.org/article/property-taxes-owner-occupied-housing-county-ranked-property-taxes-paid-2007-2009-3-year-average
http://www.retirementliving.com/taxes-by-state
Thanks for these! :)


focusaurus

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Re: How to research where to live
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2012, 05:03:16 PM »
http://findyourspot.com/ is fun and helpful to get some ideas.

As valuable as thinking through all this stuff intellectually is, nothing beats trying an area out for a while. When I decided I wanted to move out of my home state of NJ, I spent 10 months trying 8 different cities for 4-6 weeks at a time, eventually settling near MMM in Louisville, CO.

My blog has details if you start here and read foward: http://peterlyons.com/persblog/2007/11/find-your-spot

Of course, my circumstances were pretty rare in that I had a job that was telecommute-friendly and was a footloose bachelor with few strong ties holding me down to a specific place. Tougher if not impossible with on-site jobs, family household, etc, obviously.