Author Topic: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?  (Read 7086 times)

Hoosier Daddy

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I'm curious if any of you have gone through this dilemma: you would love to live in some place but you don't because it's too expensive and it would likely delay your retirement with the double edged sword of having a lower savings rate due to high COL and needing to save more due to a high COL. If so, would you mind sharing your story and how you went about deciding what to do?

My situation: I live in a small town in indiana. I moved here BECAUSE I found MMM. I graduated college and had a ton of debt, found MMM and looked for the best job I could find in the cheapest place I could find. 18 months later I paid off all my debt. Before graduating college I moved to Miami and loved everything about it, but moved back to indiana because I couldn't pay debt and live there... Now that I'm debt free I'm wondering if I should go bsck? I see a lot of people here live in LA and make it work so there must be a way.... Thoughts?

mozar

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2015, 04:18:52 PM »
I think its better to live where you love and make it work. It is possible to be mustachian anywhere by living with roommates, living outside the town center etc.
If you are happy you will do better at work which means you are more likely to get a raise, etc. I wouldn't buy property in Miami though. It's in a bubble and climate change doesn't look too good for it.

Cassie

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2015, 04:38:34 PM »
Live where it will make you happy:))

use2betrix

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2015, 04:44:57 PM »
It really depends on the differences between the two. Like.. Make 60k, live in Miami, and save 20k a year, or live in Indiana, make 100k, and save 60k per year. In that sense, I'd stick it out for Indiana for a while and save hard.

If it's a much.smaller difference, then I'd consider going to Miami. Right now I can make nearly double doing traveling contract work, than I would in one place at a more desirable location. The way I look at it, I feel like it may be worth it to retire at 38-40 instead of 55 or so.

We'll  see though, getting very burnt out lol.

Pigeon

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2015, 05:17:02 PM »
Being around family is important enough to me that I wouldn't move to a lower COL place. It isn't horribly expensive here though but there are lots of cheaper places.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2015, 06:01:37 PM »
I'll assume you've thoroughly digested MMM's post "The True Cost of Commuting", and perhaps even done the back-of-the-envelope math.  Yes, it can be cheaper to live closer to work in a HCOL area.  But as others have pointed out... you should live where you're happy, and it's hard for anyone to measure what makes someone else happy.  For me, it's a high walkability score, combined with good high school, and close to my place of work.  YMMV

sistastache

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2015, 06:36:19 PM »
Posting to follow. Also moved to Southern Indiana for work, itching to get back to beloved Western Washington

forummm

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2015, 07:23:53 PM »
I'm struggling with this now. Trying to decide between sticking with an OK situation now where we are saving a ton of money and work is OK most of the time, or moving to a very expensive area and taking big pay cuts but doing something that I would probably enjoy more. I could do it now or wait another year or two. Or I could try something else locally that I might like more. I don't have a good answer for you.

Emg03063

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2015, 07:39:13 PM »
Posting to follow as well.  I recently moved to a LCOL area for a job with a short commute and the ability to aggressively 'stache and pay down debt.  (This was a no brainer for me at the time because I was unemployed prior to the move).  Logic would dictate that you live where it will maximize your total lifetime happiness.  Personally I'm hoping to pay off my debts here in the small town midwest (the non-mortgage ones, anyway), and then move to a higher COL area where I'd prefer to be (Portland, OR).  The downside of this approach is the time foregone developing lasting relationships in the place I want to call home.  At the same time, I'm also conscious of the fact that living in a HCOL area is a consumption choice and that it might be more badass to create some of the things I like about it where I am and develop my satisfaction accordingly.  I'm basically FI where I am, and probably wouldn't be with a move to a higher COL area in the near future.  There's a calculation to be done, but it ultimately boils down to what is more important to you (total time in goal destination vs. total FI time in goal destination).  Of course, to make that calculation, you have to make an assumption about your total lifespan, and whether or not to put a premium on the ability to spend your prime dating years in your target area (there is something to be said for that).  Maybe for calculation's sake you could figure a non FI year to be worth say 1/2 of an FI year in target destination, but work satisfaction options have to factor in as well.  My advice would be to look for the job you want in the area you want, run some preliminary #'s based on that, and if it looks good, start pursuing the opportunities and post back when you have an offer.

surething22

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2015, 09:28:09 PM »
I moved from one HCOL area (Wash DC) to another very HCOL (Southern California) a year ago. Recently indoctrinated in MMM about 4 months ago and realizing that living in a place where everyone chases material possessions and lives paycheck to paycheck isn't enjoyable for someone living frugally. I really enjoy the weather here, I've built a solid circle of friends, and the culture, food, entertainment, and activities are all solid, but I know I can find just as much satisfaction elsewhere. I plan on moving to a lower COL city within the next two years after advancing in my job, mostly because buying property is something I'm very focused on and isn't something I can make happen here. I know I'll find home ownership really valuable and personally fulfilling, even in a different location, and will help me with FIRE faster.

nottoolatetostart

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2015, 03:58:25 AM »
We live a MCOL area right now, but have good salaries. We are planning on retiring in a HCOL area (due to where our hearts are) when we retire. We have that built into our FIRE plans and it will be around the time before our oldest hits 2nd grade, so she isn't too old.

I say live where you love.

Hoosier Daddy

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2015, 04:10:34 AM »
I'm kinda surprised by how dominate the "live where you want" opinion has been in your replies. I hear the point about Miami being bad from a climate change perspective... I have heard it will be under water by the time I'm 100 years old lol. Very interesting though, just have to find roommates somehow as I don't know of any other way to live downtown or on south beach cheaply. (I too dream of not owning a car thus Miami's weather and congestion of activity around brickell and south beach areas make it very favorable to cyclists. There is even a bike path on one of the causeways that allows you to go to island of South Beach on a bike from the mainland!

I have applied to a few places and I think I have a pretty good resume for a 25 year old in that I have worked at a big 4 accounting firm and am not looking to command a $100k salary or anything. I'd be happy with an entry level position in Miami, but I have had trouble getting a job bexause I don't live there... Would you guys be willing to save up 6 months to 1 year of expenses and move out there, essentially betting that you could find a job in that time frame? Or would you keep looking for a job remotely? Its hard to know all of the options downtown when you don't live there. (I only want to work on south beach or downtown area due to walk ability. Miami has poor public transportation for a city of its size).

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2015, 06:26:20 AM »
I also think you should live where you love.

And...for me that meant traveling around a bit in my 20's. There are places where I could make triple my wage but it wouldn't be worth it for me due to quality of life.

I think that if you are creative enough, you truly can live anywhere now and make it work...there are enough online and remote type jobs now that it is doable.

And agree with whoever said being young/dating where you want to eventually settle makes sense. If you're planning on marriage/kids then the timing on that does matter. Not saying people don't meet/marry/conceive at 45 but it's not as easy.

DoNorth

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2015, 06:41:42 AM »
I moved from DC; lots of traffic, people etc. to a more rural, much lower COL area on the great lakes where outdoor recreational access is easy, abundant, and doesn't involve hundreds of other people.  Sure, I miss the wide variety  and convenience of restaurants and certain cultural aspects in DC, but the freedom I have now enables me to travel more leisurely and there's much more time for physical fitness, learning new hobbies, and family.

Emg03063

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2015, 11:56:27 AM »
Personally, I'd line up the job first, then move.  No sense moving from a sustainable situation to an unsustainable one.  If it takes longer b/c you're remote, so what?  You're on your own timeline, and the longer it takes, the wealthier you'll be when you get there.  You have access to the internet and a telephone in Indiana, which is everything you need to job hunt with.  If you happen to reach FI at the Miami cost of living the life you want before you find a job there, then quit and move.

Helvegen

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2015, 01:37:48 PM »
My family moved to where we wanted to live and thought we would want to live forever a few years back - from Indiana to Washington. We do love it out here and financially, it has been pretty much all gravy compared to the fast train to Brokesville we were riding in Indiana. We make good money, got all of my student debt paid off and are debt free now. We are now working on stockpiling cash like crazy. We owe all of this to moving out here to where we wanted to be.

So where is the downside?

Two big things that didn't seem like a big deal at all when we moved out here. The first was that I didn't fully appreciate how expensive or how much of a PITA it would be to fly out to visit family. Though I figured we would be able to do it just whenever, the fact is, we have only been back once in 4 years. The biggest problem is that my husband does not get a lot of PTO. We have a time vs. money problem when it comes to this. We now have money, but no time. I think this can only be truly solved by moving back within driving distance of my family.

The other thing is that when we moved out here, we had little money, had no jobs, were in debt, had serious problems with layoffs and underemployment. Obviously, buying a house was not on the radar at all. But now that our financial situation has changed a lot for the better, buying a home seems more and more attractive. However, we have been completely priced out here. If we moved back to the midwest/Great Lakes, we could buy a nice house for far cheaper and be in a much better overall financial situation for buying.

These were two, now very important, things I didn't entirely anticipate when I made the move. Again, we definitely do not regret it! Living out here has brought us a lot of great opportunities and experiences.  I just don't think it is for us long term anymore.

Anyway, I get that (southern) Indiana isn't paradise and don't blame you at all for wanting to escape on the next pod out, though I will admit I miss fall fun at Huber's! I am not planning on moving back to Indiana, rather Michigan, mostly for the more plentiful outdoor opportunities. It was always my second choice. And then the only way I am moving again is if we are somehow compelled to go back to Germany. My husband said we are on the first flight out if Donald Trump becomes president, heh...I  joked that will probably be just in time for AfD and FDP to sweep through parliament and his head exploded, lmao.

abiteveryday

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2015, 04:58:14 PM »
It's hard to balance sometime.   My job will pay pretty similarly anywhere.   I'm settled pretty well in Seattle, but for the equity in my house here I could easily pay cash almost anywhere else in the state and do similar work.        I have family here and friends here, but I've got those things other places too.     Interesting to read other people's opinions.

AZDude

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2015, 05:06:22 PM »
I moved to San Diego for a few months, loved it, but realized it was not working financially. Honestly, I kind of regret the decision and not just sticking it out and making it work. Trade off is I probably add 10+ years to retirement. Its a tough one.

Do the math, and make sure you see the actual numbers, so you know what you are getting yourself into. It matters quite a bit about your personal situation. Married? Kids? A single man/woman with no responsibility can make it anywhere because you are not burdened with stuff like looking for good schools, having a backyard, etc... You can grab that rented out bedroom and be happy.

FOBStash

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2015, 05:09:44 PM »
Live where it will make you happy:))

+1. No regrets if you suddenly drop dead. I live in the Bay Area. Expensive as hell but family is here and outdoor living is fantastic. I'm ok delaying FIRE.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2015, 06:50:08 AM »
Everyone is overlooking the most important factor: if you move to Miami, you'll have to change your username.

use2betrix

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2015, 07:56:51 AM »
I'm amazed how many people on the forum are suggesting it being worthwhile to put off RE in return of being able to live somewhere more desirable.

Out of curiosity, where would the line be drawn? Say.. If you could make 200k at a less desirable location/climate, vs making 100k in a place you consider ideal?

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2015, 11:50:20 AM »
Well, "Magic City Hoosier", the topic has changed a bit... but let's roll with it.
New Topic:  How to get that job in Miami while still in Hoosier-land

Get that job first.  Consider contracting - try Deloitte or one of the other Big Contract firms.  If you think the Indiana address on your resume is a problem,
Get a local address.  Rent a "mailbox" in South Beach or downtown Miami and put THAT address on your Miami resume, and have mail forwarded to you in Indiana.  OR leave OFF the street address completely - use only an email address. 
Get a career specific email address:  aka. "Bob.Big4@gmail.com" (or similar), and use THAT address as your professional address (both on your resume, and for LinkedIn). 
Get a local phone number ($0.99/month @ Sonetel, or others) forwarded to your existing line - put THAT number on your Miami resume.  All these ideas could be done in less than an hour.

Get housing second.  Craigslist room rentals.
Get out there, and

MAKE IT AN ADVENTURE.  Leave with just a pocketknife, your car with minimal stuff, and your wits.  Leave the car dead on the road in Kentucky, and hitchhike to Miami. etc.

I moved across country to CA several years ago.  Self-paid move.  The company later gave me a $3,000 'moving allowance' after making a good impression "on the job".  Only regret:  I should have Sold EVERYTHING before moving.  I shipped a bunch of junk - couch, dresser, bed, etc - (at my expense) ALL eventually replaced via Goodwill/Salvation Army/CraigsList.  I could have been $3,000 closer to FIRE + Xyears of returns.

Best of luck to you!

AZDude

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2015, 12:43:44 PM »
Well, "Magic City Hoosier", the topic has changed a bit... but let's roll with it.
New Topic:  How to get that job in Miami while still in Hoosier-land

Get that job first.  Consider contracting - try Deloitte or one of the other Big Contract firms.  If you think the Indiana address on your resume is a problem,
Get a local address.  Rent a "mailbox" in South Beach or downtown Miami and put THAT address on your Miami resume, and have mail forwarded to you in Indiana.  OR leave OFF the street address completely - use only an email address. 
Get a career specific email address:  aka. "Bob.Big4@gmail.com" (or similar), and use THAT address as your professional address (both on your resume, and for LinkedIn). 
Get a local phone number ($0.99/month @ Sonetel, or others) forwarded to your existing line - put THAT number on your Miami resume.  All these ideas could be done in less than an hour.

Get housing second.  Craigslist room rentals.
Get out there, and

MAKE IT AN ADVENTURE.  Leave with just a pocketknife, your car with minimal stuff, and your wits.  Leave the car dead on the road in Kentucky, and hitchhike to Miami. etc.

I moved across country to CA several years ago.  Self-paid move.  The company later gave me a $3,000 'moving allowance' after making a good impression "on the job".  Only regret:  I should have Sold EVERYTHING before moving.  I shipped a bunch of junk - couch, dresser, bed, etc - (at my expense) ALL eventually replaced via Goodwill/Salvation Army/CraigsList.  I could have been $3,000 closer to FIRE + Xyears of returns.

Best of luck to you!

I can 2nd the "sell everything" or at least most of it. We purged and purged and purged and still ended up moving random stuff. Quite a few times we opened a box and were like "Did you pack this? How did it survive the purge? Why do we still have this?".

I'm a red panda

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2015, 01:09:13 PM »
I'd live where I want to live.

No point, to me, in planning to retire early if I hate the moments leading up to it.  The present exists now, I have no way of knowing the future will exist.  I'm planning like it will, but I'm not ruining my present for it.

NumberCruncher

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2015, 01:58:14 PM »
This thread has some really interesting perspectives. For us, we're living in a fairly high cost of living area and are looking to move to a lower cost area (but still not "low cost") area, so our decision process is a bit different and more in favor of "move now."

I'd question the need to be in one particular place like Miami - shop around a little, maybe? Figure out what it is you like about Miami, for example, and see if you can get more of a "bargain" city that's got a lot of the positives at a lower price? There's no reason this needs to be black and white.

The biggest problem is that my husband does not get a lot of PTO. We have a time vs. money problem when it comes to this. We now have money, but no time. I think this can only be truly solved by moving back within driving distance of my family.

off-topic, but can he get unpaid time off?

Hoosier Daddy

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Re: Live where you want to live or live where you can retire earliest?
« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2015, 04:30:43 PM »
I moved from DC; lots of traffic, people etc. to a more rural, much lower COL area on the great lakes where outdoor recreational access is easy, abundant, and doesn't involve hundreds of other people.  Sure, I miss the wide variety  and convenience of restaurants and certain cultural aspects in DC, but the freedom I have now enables me to travel more leisurely and there's much more time for physical fitness, learning new hobbies, and family.

This is very true. After I moved down to my new job where amenities are limited I have spent so much more time learning new things and training in the gym. Last year I was around like 19% body fat; Now I'm at 12% and feel great.

This thread has some really interesting perspectives. For us, we're living in a fairly high cost of living area and are looking to move to a lower cost area (but still not "low cost") area, so our decision process is a bit different and more in favor of "move now."

I'd question the need to be in one particular place like Miami - shop around a little, maybe? Figure out what it is you like about Miami, for example, and see if you can get more of a "bargain" city that's got a lot of the positives at a lower price? There's no reason this needs to be black and white.

I love the Latin influence, the weather and the fitness scene more than anything. Ironically I don't much care for big cities; If I moved, I would prefer to live on South Beach and essentially live as an islander, very rarely venturing off the island. My ideal life is one of being able to save money while having lots of time to be outdoors and active (goal of 40 hours a week of work with a stretch goal of 20 hours). I wouldn't own a car and don't really care about having a flashy home or anything. 300 sq ft with a bed, toilet, shower, sink and some type of cooking device would be fine with me. Also kinda weird but I like to go barefoot when the opportunity presents itself. I lived in Miami for 3 months and had more fun in those three months kayaking in the everglades, deep sea snorkeling (best $30 ever spent), and working out on South Beach than I had the whole rest of my Midwestern life combined.

However I say all of this to try and give some essence to the flavor that attracts me to Miami; As for bargain replacements (I like where your heads at), trying to find a place that offers similar things AND a good job market is difficult. There are many places in Florida that are much cheaper and have a good latin influence I'm sure, but don't offer strong job opportunities. The only places I could think that would offer similar things would be perhaps some small beach towns around southern cali, Texas or somewhere else in Florida (Tampa?).

Everyone is overlooking the most important factor: if you move to Miami, you'll have to change your username.

I literally laughed out loud when I read this. *Slow clap* Well done hahaha.

My family moved to where we wanted to live and thought we would want to live forever a few years back - from Indiana to Washington. We do love it out here and financially, it has been pretty much all gravy compared to the fast train to Brokesville we were riding in Indiana. We make good money, got all of my student debt paid off and are debt free now. We are now working on stockpiling cash like crazy. We owe all of this to moving out here to where we wanted to be.

So where is the downside?

Two big things that didn't seem like a big deal at all when we moved out here. The first was that I didn't fully appreciate how expensive or how much of a PITA it would be to fly out to visit family. Though I figured we would be able to do it just whenever, the fact is, we have only been back once in 4 years. The biggest problem is that my husband does not get a lot of PTO. We have a time vs. money problem when it comes to this. We now have money, but no time. I think this can only be truly solved by moving back within driving distance of my family.

The other thing is that when we moved out here, we had little money, had no jobs, were in debt, had serious problems with layoffs and underemployment. Obviously, buying a house was not on the radar at all. But now that our financial situation has changed a lot for the better, buying a home seems more and more attractive. However, we have been completely priced out here. If we moved back to the midwest/Great Lakes, we could buy a nice house for far cheaper and be in a much better overall financial situation for buying.

These were two, now very important, things I didn't entirely anticipate when I made the move. Again, we definitely do not regret it! Living out here has brought us a lot of great opportunities and experiences.  I just don't think it is for us long term anymore.

Anyway, I get that (southern) Indiana isn't paradise and don't blame you at all for wanting to escape on the next pod out, though I will admit I miss fall fun at Huber's! I am not planning on moving back to Indiana, rather Michigan, mostly for the more plentiful outdoor opportunities. It was always my second choice. And then the only way I am moving again is if we are somehow compelled to go back to Germany. My husband said we are on the first flight out if Donald Trump becomes president, heh...I  joked that will probably be just in time for AfD and FDP to sweep through parliament and his head exploded, lmao.

Really enjoyed reading your experience. You say you don't regret the move, but at the same time you recognize that it isn't for you long term... Is this a case of "getting it out of your system"? Where you live somewhere exciting and you do all the things you want to do and then you get to a point where you come back to having family and finance being the primary motivators for location decisions? If that's true, do you think you would have gotten to this point had you not moved in the first place?

I also think you should live where you love.

And...for me that meant traveling around a bit in my 20's. There are places where I could make triple my wage but it wouldn't be worth it for me due to quality of life.

I think that if you are creative enough, you truly can live anywhere now and make it work...there are enough online and remote type jobs now that it is doable.

And agree with whoever said being young/dating where you want to eventually settle makes sense. If you're planning on marriage/kids then the timing on that does matter. Not saying people don't meet/marry/conceive at 45 but it's not as easy.

My only "baggage" is a 80lb Doberman; Hard to get a rental lol, but it can be done. That point aside, I am curious if you felt your career took a hit by traveling in your 20's? I would love to spend some time traveling in Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia and Argentina, but feel like if I leave the career path before I'm FI, I'll get passed by. Everyone my age will have spent those years working, getting better at their jobs and I simply won't compete, and when I get back, it will take me even longer to reach FI as a result... Are these irrational thoughts?

Well, "Magic City Hoosier", the topic has changed a bit... but let's roll with it.
New Topic:  How to get that job in Miami while still in Hoosier-land

Get that job first.  Consider contracting - try Deloitte or one of the other Big Contract firms.  If you think the Indiana address on your resume is a problem,
Get a local address.  Rent a "mailbox" in South Beach or downtown Miami and put THAT address on your Miami resume, and have mail forwarded to you in Indiana.  OR leave OFF the street address completely - use only an email address. 
Get a career specific email address:  aka. "Bob.Big4@gmail.com" (or similar), and use THAT address as your professional address (both on your resume, and for LinkedIn). 
Get a local phone number ($0.99/month @ Sonetel, or others) forwarded to your existing line - put THAT number on your Miami resume.  All these ideas could be done in less than an hour.

Get housing second.  Craigslist room rentals.
Get out there, and

MAKE IT AN ADVENTURE.  Leave with just a pocketknife, your car with minimal stuff, and your wits.  Leave the car dead on the road in Kentucky, and hitchhike to Miami. etc.

I moved across country to CA several years ago.  Self-paid move.  The company later gave me a $3,000 'moving allowance' after making a good impression "on the job".  Only regret:  I should have Sold EVERYTHING before moving.  I shipped a bunch of junk - couch, dresser, bed, etc - (at my expense) ALL eventually replaced via Goodwill/Salvation Army/CraigsList.  I could have been $3,000 closer to FIRE + Xyears of returns.

Best of luck to you!

Thank you! I do like your approach. Makes me think of something Tim Ferriss would do haha. If I decide to move and I continue to get blocked due to remoteness, I will have to try all these things. Don't have to be there to make it look like I'm there. Very smart; Thanks for sharing!