Author Topic: Mustachian Relocation Guide  (Read 35047 times)

ChpBstrd

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #150 on: May 22, 2017, 08:49:45 AM »
After much reading of this blog/forum and others, I have not yet encountered a side gig or optimization that would work in a HCOL area but not a LCOL area. All the same products/services can be bought or sold in any metro area of 600k people or so, and LCOL areas also have lots of free or cheap recreation/learning opportunities. Internet-based gigs would be even more profitable if done from an office that cost $70/sf to buy rather than $300/sf.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #151 on: May 22, 2017, 09:02:12 AM »
I've got all the new requests and the new cities added to the first post.
Could you please also add Nashville, TN and Knoxville, TN?  Thanks!

laurelei

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #152 on: May 23, 2017, 09:26:42 AM »
I no longer live in Ventura since I determined it was too HCOL for me, but since its the best (IMO) choice for mustachians looking for a SoCal coastal city, I thought I'd share my knowledge.

City: Ventura, California, USA


  • If a suburb, distance from city: Only 1 hour drive from northern LA (Hollywood, West Hollywood, Malibu, etc.) but it is definitely not considered an LA suburb. It's also only 45 minutes south of Santa Barbara. So it's far enough away from those cities to be considered its own community, but close enough to visit for a festival, concerts, etc.
  • Average housing cost (specify rent or buy): A modest 3-bedroom home in a decent neighborhood will be $600k, minimum. A 3-bed duplex or a home in a less desirable neighborhood will be $500k. You can find condos for $300-400k. Many of the "affordable" (less then $600k) homes have desert-like landscaping - no trees, front yard made of rocks or completely paved. Anything with trees or other plants have higher price tags.

    One bedroom apartments rent for $1,100 - $1,700, depending on neighborhood and whether or not you have pets. The renting market is extremely competitive, so renters with pets are limited in apartment choices. We have two dogs and could only find 2 apartment complexes that would take us when we moved there (2013). We managed to find a $1,000 400 sq ft tiny apartment in Oxnard after our first year living there, but it was not a nice place to live and we were anxious to leave after 2 years.

    Most people rent since it's so expensive. Housing prices are changing rapidly, especially on the west side of town near "The Avenue", which is quickly gentrifying thanks to its easy access to downtown and home to many art galleries. You used to be able to find a tiny, < 1,000 sq ft home on the west side for $300k, and I had a few friends who did. Now, those are all snatched up by investors paying cash - usually within hours of listing. Any other info you find on the internet about that neighborhood is likely outdated since it is changing so rapidly.

    I had several friends who took almost a year to eventually find a house, thanks to investors and others outbidding them.
  • Indoor Hobbies:  There are lots of creative people in Ventura, so you have many art galleries lining Main St. downtown or on Ventura Ave ("The Avenue"). One of my favorite things to do there was see local plays - there are several theaters that do small productions with local talent, for $10-25 a ticket. Because of Ventura's proximity to LA, the local talent is off the charts. Leaf through the playbill when you get to a play and notice the impressive resume of all the performers.

    There's also a lot of healthy, yoga-loving, crunchy, woo people in Ventura too. Lots of yoga and meditation classes.
  • Outdoor Hobbies: Popular outdoor activities are paddleboarding, kayaking, surfing, hiking, fishing, walking on the beach. The water is too cold to swim in and Venutra is only a mid-sized city, so the beaches are fantastically empty sometimes. It is not unusual to go to the busiest beach downtown and still not be near a single person. If you know where to find the less known beaches, you almost always have it to yourself.

    Because of the amazing weather and views, there are several groups that do donation-based outdoor yoga classes.
  • Weather: This is Ventura's strongest suit. The weather is about as perfect as you can ask for. It's 60-70 degrees and sunny almost all year. It does get foggy and gray from May - early July, otherwise known as "June gloom." The winters are like a beautiful autumn - just grab a light jacket and scarf if its the morning or evening - in the middle of the day it still gets warm.
  • Favorite things: Lots of free entertainment just by being anywhere with an ocean view. Go for a walk, have a picnic on the beach, drive up the 101 and back, bike on trails right next to the beach.
  • Least favorite things: The housing costs. Even as a DINK couple with frugal habits, we still couldn't afford a home AND early retire there.

    The job market for professional white-collar jobs was slim. I am in software, my husband is an accountant. Neither of us could find work in Ventura. Expect a commute. I bused up to Santa Barbara every day, which made for a 1.5 hr commute each way. My husband commuted down to Thousand Oaks (LA suburb) on bus, which also took about 1.5 hrs. It was one of the primary reasons why we left.

    I also didn't like that LA seemed to be slowly creeping up towards Ventura by the time I left there (2017). Rumors were flying around town that people were tired of the traffic and urban sprawl of LA were moving to Ventura and making the housing market even more competitive than it already is. BUT, I will say that I met a lot of new people in my time living there, and I didn't meet a single person who moved there from LA, so it's either a rumor or its still in its early days.
  • 'Must Try': Drive up a little mountain road next to the old courthouse downtown and it takes you up to Grant Park / "The Cross". Gorgeous views of the city and ocean, a few picnic tables, and some grass to sit and enjoy the view. People get married up there. I was proposed to there. It's just gorgeous.

    Spencer MacKenzie's fish tacos near downtown Ventura - get a large delicious fish taco for ~$5 and sit out on the patio and enjoy the people watching and fresh ocean breeze. Walk two blocks down the street to the pier/beach after your meal.
  • Stupid ordinances/laws: If CA is in a drought, you're not supposed to wash your car, water your lawn, and you have to explicitly ask for water at restaurants. It's not really *stupid* - it's actually smart, but dealing with the drought in general is what sucks.
  • Words of wisdom/Advice: If you're wanting to move there, move soon. Prices keep going up and up as people hear how great Ventura is compared to LA and Santa Barbara. Oxnard, which is the city right next to Ventura and in the same general metro area, is probably a smarter choice. It's less gentrified than Ventura and you can find cheaper prices there. And anywhere you live in Oxnard is still only a 20 minutes drive to anywhere in Ventura, so you can technically live in Oxnard but have your social life in Ventura, if you wanted to.
  • Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc): Solar panels would do well in Ventura. Gardens are possible but need to be watered like crazy since it's so dry there.

jordanread

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #153 on: May 23, 2017, 12:40:20 PM »
I've got all the new requests and the new cities added to the first post.
Could you please also add Nashville, TN and Knoxville, TN?  Thanks!

Done. Also added Ventura to the Table of Contents.
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Orvell

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #154 on: May 23, 2017, 12:58:25 PM »
Mewokins asked me to post about Madison, since I really love it here! Happy to oblige. :)

Madison, Wisconsin - USA


If a suburb, distance from city
Madison is the Capitol of Wisconsin, but not its largest city. It's about 1.5 hours drive from the larger Milwaukee, and about 3 hours drive from Chicago. Milwaukee and Chicago are also easily accessible by bus. Sadly not by train. Don't ask Wisconsinites about this. We just get depressed (and curse Walker's name).
Madison itself is a 'small' city-- both geographically and population wise. Its heart is settled on an isthmus between two lakes, and it spreads east and west. You can drive 30 minutes out of the heart of downtown and find yourself in a cornfield. That said, it's a vibrant, fun city with a large university town feel, and bridges the line between city life and town life in terms of size and amenities. One of my favorite things about it is how easy it is to walk and bike within the city, because of its small size.

•Average housing cost (specify rent or buy)
Overall, Madison probably falls into LCOL, but thanks to housing, I consider it medium cost of living. Our rents are higher than pretty much anywhere else in Wisconsin, but still cheap compared to big cities. If you want to be on the isthmus expect that a room in a shared house will cost at least $500/month, and single bedroom and studios are around $600-800 on the low end. I currently rent a room for $600, had a studio for $700, and half of a 2 bedroom for $800 after that.
Houses start around $150K and progress up from there getting cheaper and larger the further out you go.
According to Trulia: Median house price is $237K, price per square foot is $180, median rent is $1,595

•Indoor Hobbies
Roller derby, great library system, comedy club, bars a plenty (it's Wisconsin, you can't spit without finding one), Children's museum, Veteran's museum, History museum, (2) Art museums, movie theaters, a shockingly huge selection of really great and diverse restaurants (and not at New York prices)

•Outdoor Hobbies
Ice fishing, regular fishing, hiking, biking (good trail systems all over southern Wisconsin), cross country skiing, all sorts of festivals and races (there's a really fun one in February where they pump snow into the Capitol loop and have ski and dog races!), amazing farmers markets, boating on the lakes, outside concerts (6 free outside Chamber Orchestra concerts every summer on Wednesday nights at the Capitol square, often with as many as 40,000 people in attendance), music at the Terrace, "Rhythm and Booms" fireworks and music on the 4th of July on the lake.

•Weather
So this is the thing. It's Wisconsin. It's not Canada levels of winter, but we have that winter thing. There's no getting around it. If you want to move here, you should be comfortable driving in snow/ice to some extent, and realize what you're getting into. It gets cold, and dark, and the days are short and the nights are long. The flip side is that we have a jaw droopingly beautiful 4 seasons. Our springs are gorgeous, our summers are hot and lush, our fall colors are beautiful, and our winters are.... well. Being honest they're a bit long. But they're good in their own ways. People here get into winter sports. :) And watching everyone emerge from their shells when spring comes is sort of beautiful. That first day above 50 degrees with sun? You will just see everyone, all at once, smiling. :)

•Favorite things
The walk/bike-ability. You pay a premium to stay on the geographically compressed isthmus, but the reward is pretty grand. I live 2.5 miles from work (and pretty everything in the city proper is within 3-4 miles) and bike, walk, and take the bus. Even friends who live out in "the burbs" are only 5-6 miles away. :) I love nothing more than in summer, walking around downtown on a Saturday, listening to people playing music in the streets and eating cheesy bread (it's Wisconsin. Cheese is a thing. We don't fuck around with our cheese, and it's damned good) and enjoying life. Summers here are lovely.
Because it's compact, it's easy to feel connected to the city and its inhabitants.

•Least favorite things
The winter. Less the cold and snow, which I'm fine with, more the short, dark days. The winter blues are real, and can be an understandable deal breaker for folks.
Another thing I'm not super delighted about are drunk university students. UW-Madison likes its beer, and youngins are often not equipped to drink/handle themselves responsibly. State Street after 10PM can be a bit jammed with them.
Overall, the city is pretty white, especially in the gentrifying and expensive downtown.
Finally, Madison is (overall) a liberal city. But the state tends towards conservatism. This can be frustrating, as the city's values are not the same as the state's.

•'Must Try'
Come here on a summer Saturday morning and walk the farmers market that circles the Capitol. You won't regret it, and you'll love Madison for it. Also, walk down State Street with me, buy an ice cream cone, and come with me for a beer on the Terrace by the water. We'll watch the sailboats go by. If it's raining, we'll go to the Chazen art museum instead. (All these things are within 1.5 miles.)

•Stupid ordinances/laws
They decided to 'sanitize' a few crazy block parties, specifically "Freak Fest" which used to be Madison going completely bonkers on Halloween. Now it's bonkers within certain boarders, and they sell tickets. I wasn't here before the change (about 10 years ago I think) and am neutral/have no opinion. Other than it's probably good not to have a city go completely nuts and this probably results in less property damage.

•Words of wisdom/Advice
I have no idea the future. :) Madison seems to be a budding technology base, with lots of start ups, and a backdrop of the software company Epic bringing in (and churning out) people in the tech fields. It certainly seems to be a healthy city, and I don't see that changing.

•Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc.)
Our growing season is fairly short, but the area is brimming with CSAs and farms, and it's totally possible to have a nice garden. Winter months bring much more limited local food possibilities, but should you desire, the Willy Street Co-Op will always have sustainable food choices for you.
Solar panels exist, but I imagine they are not as efficient as elsewhere in the country. The city respects hippies. :)

In Sum: I really like Madison. A lot. It's a solid little city, and I've found amazing people here to be friends with. The winter thing sucks, but something is always going to suck. At least this type of suck also lets you go ice skating.
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crimwell

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #155 on: May 29, 2017, 01:45:04 PM »
What other Oregon towns do people want? I guess I can really only do Portland without also giving away where Hometown is. Hmmm.

Actually, I can do Bend and La Pine as well if anyone is interested.

You can do La Pine? Wow, sure I'm interested.

I've been through there a couple times and thought it seemed like a nice area (nearer to some very pretty areas) but also a weird place to live, like not really a town but not true rural countryside.

 it seemed like large portions had been subdivided into large semi-rural/semi-suburban lots in big lot grids that put a lot of houses with not a huge amount of land that also aren't near anything. Kind of like a lot of places in semi-rural central Florida, where you just find a big grid with 0.5 to 1 acre lots and only half of them are full and no sidewalks and no commercial anywhere. Similar to Central Florida too with the pines and sandy soil, just a lot colder and drier.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #156 on: May 30, 2017, 08:22:36 AM »
What other Oregon towns do people want? I guess I can really only do Portland without also giving away where Hometown is. Hmmm.

Actually, I can do Bend and La Pine as well if anyone is interested.

You can do La Pine? Wow, sure I'm interested.

I've been through there a couple times and thought it seemed like a nice area (nearer to some very pretty areas) but also a weird place to live, like not really a town but not true rural countryside.

 it seemed like large portions had been subdivided into large semi-rural/semi-suburban lots in big lot grids that put a lot of houses with not a huge amount of land that also aren't near anything. Kind of like a lot of places in semi-rural central Florida, where you just find a big grid with 0.5 to 1 acre lots and only half of them are full and no sidewalks and no commercial anywhere. Similar to Central Florida too with the pines and sandy soil, just a lot colder and drier.

Haven't spent much time in central FL (some time in Jacksonville, but not enough to get a strong impression beyond "no", lol), but it sounds like you pretty well have La Pine pinned. It's a really odd place. Very welcoming in the "give you directions" sort of way, but very closed off in terms of moving to town. A neat town to have a vacation home I imagine, but year round residents are pretty much old people and young people with drug problems- everyone else moves =\ You have to, there are just no jobs really. Particularly over the winter when tourism through the area dies down.  You can seasonally make a pretty good living as a hunting guide or similar fields. I suppose you could commute into Bend, if you can find a job up there.
Oddly enough, there's a pretty cool little enclave of weird old hippy artists that live around the area. They mainly sell out of Bend at the nice galleries up there, but if you know the right places to go you can see people doing some incredibly iron sculpture work and stuff like that =)

  • City, State, Country:La Pine, Oregon, USA
    That city you've driven through. It only has 1500 people. Has its own elementary, middle, and high schools though.
  • If a suburb, distance from city: I guess it's kinda close to Bend
    It's a half hour drive to Bend. Feels like it's own world though.
  • Average housing cost (specify rent or buy):Cheap, but not many
    This is a 'visited often, haven't lived' town for me, so I don't have first hand knowledge. According to zillow, median home price is $210k. And there's literally not a single place listed on craigslist right now in La Pine proper.
  • Indoor Hobbies:Church, or drive to Bend for shopping
    Not much there.
  • Outdoor Hobbies:Tons
    Summer: water sports, hiking, road and mountain biking, caving, rock climbing. Winter: snow shoeing, snow mobiling, skiing/snowboarding, etc. Then of course fishing and hunting.
  • Weather (High Temps, Low Temps, Seasons, Sun):Hot in the summer, cold in the winter. DRY.
    Sunny almost year round, but with snow in the winter. The same weather I wrote up for Bend applies here.
  • Favorite things:There's a couple good greasy spoon diners I like... although I can't find them on a map, so maybe they're gone now
    Also there's an Ace and a BiMart, which sell literally everything you would ever need ;) And it has Ray's, which is the best independent grocery store EVER. Plus you can be outside of town in one of the best State Parks we have. Also the Wikiup Reservoir. Hellooooooo fishing.
  • Least favorite things:Tiny, tiny town. Drugs
    Sadly, Meth is alive and well in La Pine. It's an incredibly small town, so unless you're integrated into family/community there, it can be really boring and exclusionary. The houses are all in really rough shape, most of them are manufactured homes, and a lot of the streets are super dusty/rocky/not paved. One of my favorite games there as a kid was "throw the rock at the pine tree", so as you can tell it's a Happening Place ;)
  • 'Must Try':Lake Paulina
    Pro-tip, it's pronounced "paul-eye-nah", not like the name Paul-ee-nah. And it's incredibly beautiful. And also there are pikas, and pikas are the best.
  • Words of wisdom/Advice:You could make a really cool life here, if you're a rural sort
    There's a strong current of religion, Trump support, and why-did-the-logging-jobs-falter. But, that balances with being very close to Bend and having that weird rich hippy vibe. La Pine loves to hate Bend, all the while relying on that Walmart being there. So it's an odd, small town, but if you're the sort who doesn't mind small town culture and small town problems, it's a pretty cool one. And the country out there is GORGEOUS.
  • Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc): Little to none
    You can't really bike for a commute (you're probably driving in to bend), unless you have a pretty intensive green house setup you're not gardening much, and there isn't much culture for it... OTOH, there's plenty of sunlight for solar, and you might need to compost just by necessity, so there are personal action options you could take.
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crimwell

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #157 on: June 04, 2017, 12:37:45 PM »
Cost of Living vs. Salary Study

 The worst moves would be to go to Boston or San Francisco, where our savings rate would drop to 42% and 35%, respectively.


But percentages can be overwhelmed by absolute numbers.

To simplify drastically, if your current income is $100K/yr, and you save 50% for a yearly savings of $50K/yr, compare that to San Francisco.

If your income in San Francisco is $200K/yr and you save 35%, that's a yearly savings of $70K/yr. You can bank that extra $20K/yr but still base your retirement COL on Little Rock (or another Low COL place).

Again simplifying drastically, assuming 0% investment rates of return, it would take you 20 years of saving $50K/yr to get to $1M. It would only take 15 years of saving $70K/yr to get to $1M (again, with the 0% rate of return). In this example you can cut 5 years off your years of work. If you're going to retire in Little Rock regardless, you can move to San Francisco, juice your earnings with San Francisco salaries, and then leave when you hit your Little Rock retirement number.

edit: this basic phenomenon is very common with traditional Florida retirees.  The classic Florida retiree made her money in NYC or New Jersey, retired, sold the condo, and bought a bigger house in Florida for cheaper.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2017, 12:53:31 PM by crimwell »

crimwell

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #158 on: June 04, 2017, 12:59:04 PM »

  • City, State, Country:La Pine, Oregon, USA
    That city you've driven through. It only has 1500 people. Has its own elementary, middle, and high schools though.

Awesome, thanks! I guess no huge surprises there, but good to have it confirmed.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #159 on: June 04, 2017, 02:19:26 PM »
Cost of Living vs. Salary Study

 The worst moves would be to go to Boston or San Francisco, where our savings rate would drop to 42% and 35%, respectively.


But percentages can be overwhelmed by absolute numbers.

To simplify drastically, if your current income is $100K/yr, and you save 50% for a yearly savings of $50K/yr, compare that to San Francisco.

If your income in San Francisco is $200K/yr and you save 35%, that's a yearly savings of $70K/yr. You can bank that extra $20K/yr but still base your retirement COL on Little Rock (or another Low COL place).

Again simplifying drastically, assuming 0% investment rates of return, it would take you 20 years of saving $50K/yr to get to $1M. It would only take 15 years of saving $70K/yr to get to $1M (again, with the 0% rate of return). In this example you can cut 5 years off your years of work. If you're going to retire in Little Rock regardless, you can move to San Francisco, juice your earnings with San Francisco salaries, and then leave when you hit your Little Rock retirement number.

edit: this basic phenomenon is very common with traditional Florida retirees.  The classic Florida retiree made her money in NYC or New Jersey, retired, sold the condo, and bought a bigger house in Florida for cheaper.

That was my thought too. Unfortunately, even the absolute savings numbers were lower! Here's how a LR > SanFran move would affect our finances:

LR take-home pay after 15% taxes: 122k
LR cost: 50k
LR savings: 72k or 50%

SF take-home pay after 15% taxes: 151k
SF cost: 90k
SF savings: 61.5k or 35%

The caveat here is whether salary.com underestimates salaries in HCOL areas. I see no reason to think so.

Johnez

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #160 on: June 04, 2017, 05:34:48 PM »
  • Anaheim, CA, USA
  • If a suburb, distance from city:
    Los Angeles is considered the major metro, but Anaheim is a metro in its own right. This guide is mostly Orange County oriented, being that to me it feels like one giant city as there aren't many boundaries.  About 30-60 minutes away from LA, more or less depending on where you are going. 90 miles away from San Diego.
  • Average housing cost (specify rent or buy): Rent currently $1535 for 1 bedroom apartment per month. If no pets one can grab a steal for about $1300 if you are patient. Houses-few below $500,000.
  • Indoor Hobbies: Mostly an outdoor haven.
  • Outdoor Hobbies: Beach, sports (lots of soccer and baseball leagues), hiking in surrounding areas, gardening (a lot of "annual" plants are perrenial here), outdoor fitness (walking/running/biking). Cities around have started adding some really great and visible bike lanes recently. Parks are spotty, some are decrepit and near druggy neighborhoods, others well kept (Mile Square Park).
  • Weather (High Temps, Low Temps, Seasons, Sun):70s-80s year round. No snow. Perpetual drought or fear of drought, means watering restrictions.
  • Favorite things: Weather never miserable. Tons of places to go. Sports is everywhere. Pro baseball, and hockey. Basketball and more baseball and more hockey 30 miles away. Disney is boring and sanitized and hellishly expensive-but people like it. Food-variety AND tons of it. Like Mexican food? Depending on the street ya might find between 5-10 restaurants a block. OK, slight exaggeration. Vietnamese pho restaurants everywhere as well. Cuban, Peruvian, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Puerto Rican, restaurants all easy to find.  Ethnically diverse people as well with some very proud communities and business districts (Little Saigon in Westminster is an example). Aquarium of the Pacific, multiple zoos nearby, the beach, entertainment out the wazoo.
  • Least favorite things: Cost of living is very high. Homeless population is exploding. I see lots of new complexes going up, unfortunately living here is unsustainable long term. Hotels and redevelopment push out some older and unique places. Anaheim had strawberry fields up till recently when room was made for another parking lot. Disney and friends have eaten up a lot of my old childhood stomping grounds....
  • 'Must Try': A Ducks game close up, or a concert at the Honda Center. I saw AC/DC and Rammstein here and seeing and being a part of the mass of humanity united in enjoyment was pretty awesome. Get up and close to awesome bands at the House of Blues in Anaheim.
  • Stupid ordinances/laws: I honestly can't think of anything too onerous.
  • Words of wisdom/Advice: If going to an Angels game, or Disneyland especially,-bring your own food. Both places allow it. Disney especially is horrendously expensive.
  • Gardening year round, solar is big here. A school and a hospital nearby just covered their parking lot with solar panels. Brilliant IMO.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2017, 01:09:09 AM by Johnez »

retiringearly

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #161 on: June 05, 2017, 08:50:43 AM »
Can I please make a request for Bloomington, IN?

Thanks

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #162 on: June 05, 2017, 08:59:14 AM »
I've got Anaheim in the table of contents, and the request for Bloomington is on there now.
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Johnez

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #163 on: June 08, 2017, 03:54:17 PM »
I'd like to request a few cities:

Las Vegas, NV
Cedar Rapids, IA
Erlanger, KY

All have opportunity for me with my employer at decent pay. Interesting how the further isolated one gets the higher the pay gets. Brookville IN and Fargo ND have the highest pay rates I've seen for warehouse loaders.

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #164 on: June 09, 2017, 08:20:51 AM »
I'd like to request a few cities:

Las Vegas, NV
Cedar Rapids, IA
Erlanger, KY

All have opportunity for me with my employer at decent pay. Interesting how the further isolated one gets the higher the pay gets. Brookville IN and Fargo ND have the highest pay rates I've seen for warehouse loaders.

I've got them added. I'll reach out to a few people who can answer the first two on your list.
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Johnez

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #165 on: June 09, 2017, 03:46:51 PM »
Awesome. Thanks for putting this thread together AND keeping it updated.

Channel-Z

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #166 on: June 10, 2017, 10:46:14 AM »
City, State, Country: Kansas City (Missouri and Kansas), USA

If a suburb, distance from city: The city itself is vast. Suburbs can be anywhere from 5 to 50 miles away.

Average housing cost (specify rent or buy):
-This varies greatly on the part of town. But a typical SFH in a reasonable neighborhood will be $250,000. In Kansas City, Missouri, the median SFH is $190,000. In Overland Park, Kansas, it is $375,000. If you want a beige mcmansion, we have plenty.
-I rent a 910 ft^2 apartment for $820/month. This is typical for a reasonable neighborhood. But you can easily spend $1,500 if you want.

Indoor Hobbies: Whatever you like to do indoors, you can do it here.

Outdoor Hobbies:
-Lake culture is huge, especially in Missouri. Boating, water-skiing, fishing, floating, day-drinking.
-People love to eat. You can find a food festival every weekend. Kansas City is fat.
-You can find an outdoor music festival every weekend.
-Charity 5Ks are popular.
-50% of the town seems to be on a rec league softball or sand volleyball team.
-We have three major professional sports teams (Royals, Chiefs, Sporting K.C.)
-College sports are territorial and families go to war for their alma mater.

Weather (High Temps, Low Temps, Seasons, Sun):
-Whatever weather you can imagine, we have it. Kansas City has four distinct, relatively equal seasons. Climate change has made winter, especially, kind of wild. Zero (F) one day... 50 degrees the next? We can do that!
-Winter can be brutally cold and surprisingly mild, all in one week. A typical snowfall is 20" per winter, mostly in February and March. The last several winters have been dry. We had 6" this past winter. Our coldest low temperature was around -10 (F). Unfortunately, the cold arctic air tumbles down the plains without anything to stop it.
-Spring is the wettest and stormiest season. We rarely see tornadoes. Usually, super-cell storms form over western and central Kansas, then congeal into an overnight downpour when reaching Kansas City.
-Summer is hot, highs in the 90s. The humidity is not as bad as the eastern U.S., but it's not as dry as Colorado-- just somewhere in between.
-Fall is downright pleasant.
-In the great plains, the wind rarely ceases. "Skirt alert" is a common phrase the meteorologists at my TV station use.
-If you have a ragweed allergy, you're going to have a bad time.

Favorite things:
-Barbecue
-Easy to drive
-Sports
-Relatively cheap. I only make $52k a year, so while I'm not doing well by comparison to the rest of the nation, I can be mustachian and still live comfortably. If you have a high-paying job, you can count stacks of money until you retire.

Least favorite things:
-The city is car-centric. I probably risk my life every week walking on streets that lack sidewalks. Kansas City is not bicycle-friendly. Bus transportation is typically seen as "poor person's transportation." Mass transit is non-existent in many parts of town.
-Kansas City and environs is sharply segregated. Troost Avenue is a physical representation of a socio-economic division here.
-People get really territorial about which side of the state line they live.
-People see law enforcement personnel as god-like, and law enforcement definitely takes advantage of it.
-The riverfronts are not developed, unless you count riverboat casinos. Homeless still camp on the rivers.
-People who grew up here, stay here. I am guilty of it. I am going to a cookout hosted by a guy I've known some pre-school. Those cliques can be hard to break.

'Must Try':
-Barbecue. Kansas City has a sauce-based barbecue culture.
-Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. It's free.
-Liberty Memorial/National World War One Museum
-Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
-Jayhawk Basketball at Allen Field House (Lawrence, Kansas -- my hometown)

Stupid ordinances/laws:
-Kansas doesn't allow Sunday liquor sales.
-Kansas only this year approved full-strength beer at grocery stores
-Kansas never ratified the 21st amendment.
-Some suburbs (both states) have .05 DUI ordinances, issuing city tickets as revenue generators.
-Some areas (both states) have banned pit bulls.
-Your point of view may differ, but in Kansas, people can openly carry a handgun without a permit. An exemption for hospitals and college campuses is ending, so now all have to allow guns, or set up expensive security to keep them out. Missouri is considered "open-carry friendly" but local restrictions still exist. Both Kansas and Missouri recently dropped permit requirements for concealed handguns.

Words of wisdom/Advice:
-You might be tempted to live 30 miles from work, but come on. Live as close as you can. I live six miles, and it takes me 15 minutes.
-I live in Kansas but work in Missouri. Kansas credits 100% of my income, so it all evens out, tax-wise.
-The central parts of the city are more liberal/Democratic and the suburbs/exurbs or more conservative/Republican.

Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc):
-Wind energy provides some electricity.
-Kansas and Missouri are trying to collect fees from solar panel users to give back to the utility companies.
-Back yard chickens and beehives are becoming more popular.
-Community gardens are becoming more popular.
-Typically you shouldn't plant until Mother's Day.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2017, 11:53:27 AM by Channel-Z »

aalferez

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #167 on: June 21, 2017, 11:08:57 AM »
Please can someone do a review of Asheville. I'm very very interested.
I currently live in Chicago.
Winters are brutal and summers are very hot too (and humid)
I love outdoors stuff but there just a few days you can do that, but there are a few State Parks, or the lake to have fun. Also the amount of people here is insane in summer. All tourism! Can't even walk downtown or the beach.
Prices are high and the state is almost in bankruptcy...

So Asheville, NC seems to have a better weather, mild winters and cooler summers, more outdoors activities, more affordable...
I love the perfect temperature of the mid 70s.
Asheville is on my list of places to move for living in a short time (5 years)
Should I consider other places?


wordnerd

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #168 on: June 25, 2017, 05:51:05 PM »
City, State, Country: Atlanta, GA

If a suburb, distance from city: Suburbs as far as the eye can see! I've mostly lived on the east side of things with easy access to the city.

Average housing cost (specify rent or buy): Highly area/school district dependent. The low end of things near-ish to the city will be Clarkston/unincorporated Dekalb where you can get a 3 bedroom house for $150Kish. In Decatur (beautiful with great schools) or intown, you're probably looking at $500K+. If you're willing to go farther out, Lilburn has great schools and big houses for $250K-$300K. Northside suburbs (Duluth, Suwanee, etc) are somewhat similar to Lilburn I think.

Indoor Hobbies: Anything you want is probably available in Atlanta--live literature, burlesque, ballet, symphony, traveling musicals, cool concert venues, live bluegrass, major sports, good restaurants, comedy, poetry slams. Some of these things are easy to find; some take time to figure out.

Outdoor Hobbies:Lots of hiking both in hidden pockets of the city and outside the city (most notably Stone Mountain, but others like Arabia Mountain are great too), lazy river rafting (AKA Shootin' the Hooch), parks, farmers' markets, festivals, music festivals, races (lots of 5Ks and half marathons--the Peachtree Road Race is annual Fourth of July tradition, though I have no idea why thousands of people want to run in July in Atlanta)

Weather (High Temps, Low Temps, Seasons, Sun): Sticky. Occasional ice in the winter. This ice sometimes shuts down the city

Favorite things: Mild climate, lots of outdoor activities, generally nice people, low cost of living, access to bug city amenities

Least favorite things: Poor infrastructure, including lack of sidewalks, public transit, and bike lanes, which contributes to unnecessarily bad traffic, low-quality schools in much of the metro, high segregation still (finding any one neighborhood with an ethnic/religious mix can be difficult), a lot of community building is church-centric, which isn't great for me

'Must Try': Your Dekalb Farmers' Market (the craziest, most amazing international Costco-like farmers' market you'll ever experience), Write Club Atlanta, Fox Brothers' BBQ, catching a show at the Fox Theatre, MLK historic sites

Stupid ordinances/laws: No booze buying until 12:30 on Sunday (used to be all-day), heavy policing in general it seems (I think a lot of the municipalities make their money this way)

Words of wisdom/Advice: It took me a long time to find my niche in Atlanta and seek out/build the community that worked for me. But now that I have, I can't think of a better mix of climate/cost-of-living/big city benefits. Also, if you're a typical Mustachian, stay away from Buckhead.

•Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc): There are community gardens sprinkled in the more hippy-leaning parts of town (Decatur, Kirkwood, Avondale Estates, East Atlanta Village, Grant Park), but in general sustainability is not a community norm. There are groups focused on solar energy and electric vehicles though (again, everything/everyone is here if you look hard enough)
« Last Edit: June 25, 2017, 05:54:15 PM by wordnerd »

SnackDog

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #169 on: June 27, 2017, 10:02:32 AM »
Please add Boise, Palm Springs and Tucson.  And alphabetize the index.  Thanks

Undecided

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #170 on: June 27, 2017, 09:20:45 PM »
It sucks making good money and feeling pushed out in price. Dang, rents are crazy there too. Well Corvallis is sounding enticing to check out.

I'll do Bend here shortly. But have you considered Ashland, OR? It has some of the Portland flavor (weird hippy stuff, haha) in a little town. Shakespeare festival is pretty cool too.

Downside to any non-Portland OR towns: Portland is the only international airport. Eugene has a little airport, but corvallis only has an airfield for the local flight school and stuff. Bend also only has a little municipal air field, is my understanding. So if travel is a consideration, that's something to keep in mind.

The airport in Redmond, which is 25 minutes from my house in Bend, has direct service to at least Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver and Salt Lake City.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2017, 09:22:21 PM by Undecided »

sisto

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #171 on: June 28, 2017, 04:33:02 PM »
I'd love to see more cities in Mexico, it's seriously starting to look like a good place to retire. I think I'd prefer to see stuff that's easy driving to the ocean, but not right on it.
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Verdure

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #172 on: June 28, 2017, 06:04:13 PM »
Fellow Indy resident, thought I'd add a few notes.  Included below in green.

I've lived in San Diego, CA, and West Palm Beach, FL, but I wouldn't choose either over Indianapolis.  I've lived in Indianapolis for 10 years now, and I never plan to leave!
I've lived in about a dozen cities, been in Indy 11 year.  Very happy here, but the right job could draw me away, and likely will choose someplace warmer for retirement

  • City, State, Country:Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

  • If a suburb, distance from city: Plenty of great suburbs all around the circle

  • Average housing cost (specify rent or buy):Generic SFH from $100k+.  Our home is 1700sqft, and cost $118k in 2013 (Would be able to rent for $1300ish/mo).  Future target homes will be similar or smaller but nicer and nicer areas for ~$250k

  • Indoor Hobbies:Tons of museums, restaurants, events.  Will list more details below in "Favorite Things" Some great libraries!

  • Outdoor Hobbies:Great parks, super walkable and attractive downtown There are fun regional festivals of all sorts, MiLB Baseball team (AAA Pirates affiliate)

  • Weather (High Temps, Low Temps, Seasons, Sun):Summer can "Feels Like" over 100, and can be humid.  Winter can be mild or snowy/icy (but usually for only a few days at a time).  Spring and Fall are 60s-80s with nice weather I think it's a great climate for people looking for 4 seasons, but don't want an extreme winter. Summers may be too humid for some, and if you're a winter sports lover, probably not the place for you.  Fall and spring are absolutely lovely, but the allergies can be a challenge.

  • Favorite things:Indianapolis Museum of Art (One of the most beautiful places I've seen), Indianapolis Children's Museum (#1 in the World), Symphony on the Prairie (Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra outdoor event at Conner Prairie), Conner Prairie (1800s educational "park", White River State Park / Canal / Eiteljorg / NCCA Hall of Fame (Many other museums), GenCon host!, Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Indy 500, Brickyard 400, Angie's List Grand Prix, RedBull Air Race, and more), really nice "trendy" areas (Broad Ripple, Fountain Square, Irvington), within 4hrs of Chicago, Detroit, Cincinatti, St. Louis, Louisville I would add Eagle Creek Park to this list.  The Monon bike trail is pretty cool, also. We have a really great craft beer scene! I also think it's worth noting that Indy is one of the top 10 most racially integrated cities in the country

  • Least favorite things:Colts Fans, hah!  No there isn't really anything I dislike about Indy Hey, Colts fans are lovely people! ;-)  The main thing I would say is that public transportation is pretty lacking, but the traffic is not bad at all, as long as you don't want to go to Fishers/Noblesville during rush hour.

  • 'Must Try':The Indy 500 is something everyone needs to fully experience.  Stop by The Tamale Place for lunch, and The Brugge for dinner.  All of my other "Favorite Things" I'd consider Must Try too! Hah, I can't agree about the 500, but The Brugge and The Tamale Place both get enthusiastic thumbs up.

  • Stupid ordinances/laws:Can't buy beer on Sundays Not just beer.  You can't buy take-home alcohol on Sunday, except growlers. You can still buy a drink in restaurants/bars, though.

  • Words of wisdom/Advice:I anticipate Indy's COL to keep raising drastically in the next decade.  Lots of tech companies coming here, and a ton of new developments in and around downtown.  I'm not saying it'll be PNW COL in the next 10 years, but it will definitely be closer. My advice is choose your neighborhood or suburb carefully. There are pluses and minuses to all of them, and they tend to have a very different vibes. Make sure you are choosing one that is best for you.


  • Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc): As of 2014, Indy was the home of the World's largest solar farm.  Not sure it still holds the title. Lots of local farmers markets. A number of CSA options, too, and definitely you can garden. Indiana just passed a law to end net metering for home solar/wind by 2022.


Vindicated

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #173 on: June 29, 2017, 06:34:39 AM »
I approve all of Verdure's additions!

Verdure, head over the the "Anyone in Indiana?" thread.  We have meet ups every month in the Indy area.
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crimwell

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #174 on: June 29, 2017, 03:01:10 PM »

That was my thought too. Unfortunately, even the absolute savings numbers were lower! Here's how a LR > SanFran move would affect our finances:

LR take-home pay after 15% taxes: 122k
LR cost: 50k
LR savings: 72k or 50%

SF take-home pay after 15% taxes: 151k
SF cost: 90k
SF savings: 61.5k or 35%

The caveat here is whether salary.com underestimates salaries in HCOL areas. I see no reason to think so.

I'm sure you're right if you've looked at your specific job fields/industries. I imagine certain jobs you could get pretty big premiums being in San Francisco versus Little Rock and other jobs you would not, since those are going to vary by job and by the specific industries of the HCOL and LCOL areas you are comparing (e.g., a doctor in Rochester MN, which is somewhat LCOL, might be paid the same as a doctor in NYC, because of the presence of the Mayo Clinic and associated medical industry cluster. But a financial analyst in Rochester MN might get paid a lot less than a financial analyst in NYC.)

retiringearly

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #175 on: June 29, 2017, 06:00:28 PM »
Fellow Indy resident, thought I'd add a few notes.  Included below in green.

I've lived in San Diego, CA, and West Palm Beach, FL, but I wouldn't choose either over Indianapolis.  I've lived in Indianapolis for 10 years now, and I never plan to leave!
I've lived in about a dozen cities, been in Indy 11 year.  Very happy here, but the right job could draw me away, and likely will choose someplace warmer for retirement

  • City, State, Country:Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

  • If a suburb, distance from city: Plenty of great suburbs all around the circle

  • Average housing cost (specify rent or buy):Generic SFH from $100k+.  Our home is 1700sqft, and cost $118k in 2013 (Would be able to rent for $1300ish/mo).  Future target homes will be similar or smaller but nicer and nicer areas for ~$250k

  • Indoor Hobbies:Tons of museums, restaurants, events.  Will list more details below in "Favorite Things" Some great libraries!

  • Outdoor Hobbies:Great parks, super walkable and attractive downtown There are fun regional festivals of all sorts, MiLB Baseball team (AAA Pirates affiliate)

  • Weather (High Temps, Low Temps, Seasons, Sun):Summer can "Feels Like" over 100, and can be humid.  Winter can be mild or snowy/icy (but usually for only a few days at a time).  Spring and Fall are 60s-80s with nice weather I think it's a great climate for people looking for 4 seasons, but don't want an extreme winter. Summers may be too humid for some, and if you're a winter sports lover, probably not the place for you.  Fall and spring are absolutely lovely, but the allergies can be a challenge.

  • Favorite things:Indianapolis Museum of Art (One of the most beautiful places I've seen), Indianapolis Children's Museum (#1 in the World), Symphony on the Prairie (Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra outdoor event at Conner Prairie), Conner Prairie (1800s educational "park", White River State Park / Canal / Eiteljorg / NCCA Hall of Fame (Many other museums), GenCon host!, Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Indy 500, Brickyard 400, Angie's List Grand Prix, RedBull Air Race, and more), really nice "trendy" areas (Broad Ripple, Fountain Square, Irvington), within 4hrs of Chicago, Detroit, Cincinatti, St. Louis, Louisville I would add Eagle Creek Park to this list.  The Monon bike trail is pretty cool, also. We have a really great craft beer scene! I also think it's worth noting that Indy is one of the top 10 most racially integrated cities in the country

  • Least favorite things:Colts Fans, hah!  No there isn't really anything I dislike about Indy Hey, Colts fans are lovely people! ;-)  The main thing I would say is that public transportation is pretty lacking, but the traffic is not bad at all, as long as you don't want to go to Fishers/Noblesville during rush hour.

  • 'Must Try':The Indy 500 is something everyone needs to fully experience.  Stop by The Tamale Place for lunch, and The Brugge for dinner.  All of my other "Favorite Things" I'd consider Must Try too! Hah, I can't agree about the 500, but The Brugge and The Tamale Place both get enthusiastic thumbs up.

  • Stupid ordinances/laws:Can't buy beer on Sundays Not just beer.  You can't buy take-home alcohol on Sunday, except growlers. You can still buy a drink in restaurants/bars, though.

  • Words of wisdom/Advice:I anticipate Indy's COL to keep raising drastically in the next decade.  Lots of tech companies coming here, and a ton of new developments in and around downtown.  I'm not saying it'll be PNW COL in the next 10 years, but it will definitely be closer. My advice is choose your neighborhood or suburb carefully. There are pluses and minuses to all of them, and they tend to have a very different vibes. Make sure you are choosing one that is best for you.


  • Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc): As of 2014, Indy was the home of the World's largest solar farm.  Not sure it still holds the title. Lots of local farmers markets. A number of CSA options, too, and definitely you can garden. Indiana just passed a law to end net metering for home solar/wind by 2022.

I would add to the Indy list, you are less (?) than an hour away from Bloomington which is routinely voted the most beautiful Big Ten college town.  Bloomington = college sports, college town atmosphere, Little 500 bike race, etc.    A short drive from Bloomington is Brown County and Nashville, IN.  Gorgeous ares.

jordanread

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #176 on: June 29, 2017, 06:30:50 PM »
I approve all of Verdure's additions!

Verdure, head over the the "Anyone in Indiana?" thread.  We have meet ups every month in the Indy area.

Do you want to just update your original post to include the new information? That way we don't have nested quotes and stuff. That is where it currently links to.
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clarkfan1979

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #177 on: June 30, 2017, 12:22:07 AM »
Just quote this post, and then delete the quote for an easy format with all of the requested information:

The island of Kauai, HI

Average housing cost (specify rent or buy):

I think the median house price for a single family home for the entire island is 600K. The most expensive areas are Princeville on the north shore and Koloa/Poipu on the south shore. The west side is cheaper (Kekaha, Waimea, Hanapepe). On the east side, the inland part of Kapaa (Kapahi) is a little cheaper.

Most houses need work, even the one's for 600K. When the listing says that it's ready to go, it means that it's not a tear down. You can find a single family for 400K and put 50K to 100K into it to make it look real nice.

Many houses come with attached studios that rent for $1000-$1500/month. Most of them are "unofficial" but not necessarily illegal. If it's an unpermitted full kitchen, then it's illegal. If it's a mother in law suite with a kitchenette, then it's probably within the rules. Rentals must be leases at least 6 months. No airbnb, unless your property falls within the special zoning.

We rented a studio for 1,100/month including utilities and the internet. We were less than 1 mile to the beach. It was an income suite attached to a house.

There are no apartments on the island except for low income housing projects. All other units are individually owned and operated.


Indoor Hobbies: Not really sure about this one. Everyone is outside pretty much all the time. Most people do not have air conditioning so your house can be hot during the day. Better to get outside and catch a breeze.

Outdoor Hobbies: Surfing and hiking. Year round surfing is best on the west side. You could both south swells in the summer and north swells in the winter. If you are on the north shore, it's huge during the winter and non-existent during the summer. For the south shore it's medium size during the summer and small during the winter, but often rideable.   


Weather (High Temps, Low Temps, Seasons, Sun): The weather is pretty hot and humid from May to September. You really wish you had the money to pay for air conditioning, but you don't. You buy fans, but it still sucks. October and November is not miseable. The weather is perfect from December to March with no air conditioning needed.

Favorite things: You learn to not sweat the small stuff and be nice to one another (Aloha). It feels like it would add at least 5 years to my life.

Least favorite things: traffic in between Kapaa and Lihue from 3:30-6:00. Many landlords won't rent to people with dogs. If they do, it's very expensive. This is because the red clay stains everything. Outdoor dogs who never come inside are less discriminated against by landlords.

'Must Try': Hike sleeping giant and waimea canyon. Golf the 9-hole course in Kalaheo.

Stupid ordinances/laws: Flying dogs/cats to and from the island is more than a human. When you fly a pet to Kauai, it costs about $500 in fees. If you count the $100 each-way for the airlines, it's $700 round trip for a dog. We have the Alaska credit card which gives you a $99 companion fare each year. A typical round trip flight from Kauai to Denver, CO costs about $800 + $99 . That's $450/each. We each have a credit card and do this twice/year. Our third flight is typically free with points. As a result, we typically only spend about $2,000/year for 3 round trip tickets for 2 people (6 round trip flights total).


Words of wisdom/Advice: It's truly a magical place, in both the topography and the people. If you are nice to the people, they are very nice back. No trouble with racism as a white person.

It's more expensive than Denver, but less expensive than San Diego.

Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc): The nickname for Kauai is the Garden Island. Everything grows here. Neighbors swap fresh fruit and vegetables year round. If you don't have any friends, you could do the farmer's markets, but I never found the need.

Costco is about 10% more expensive than the mainland. However, with the year round growing season and free fruit and vegetables from neighbors, I think it's a wash. I would pick up avocados on my morning walk. We would eat about 5-7 avocados/week and only paid for about 5% of them so far.

Solar is a nice option if you want air conditioning. If you don't opt for air conditioning, it's probably not worth it to buy solar panels. The cheapest energy is propane. Propane clothes dryer and propane cooking stove are worth the extra money. Electricity is about 300% the normal rate of the mainland.

DarkandStormy

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #178 on: July 05, 2017, 02:15:16 PM »
Newish to the forums, so thought I'd hop in and rep my hometown of Columbus.

City, State, Country: Columbus, Ohio, USA

If a suburb, distance from city: Suburbs can be found anywhere from 2 miles to 25+ miles away from the city.  The CBD or "downtown" isn't huge and Columbus annexed a lot of areas in the '70s & '80s so "Columbus proper" is actually spread out quite a bit

Average housing cost (specify rent or buy):
-This depends on where you want to live -> near the city's center or out in the suburbs or even rural areas.  Using the links provided on COL, "Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 Sqft) furnished accommodation in EXPENSIVE area" runs $1,462/month.  "Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 Sqft) furnished accommodation in NORMAL area" runs $1,037/month.  That is in line with what I've seen posted for rents - if you want the brand new apartment downtown it'll cost you $1.5K-$2K or even more for the luxurious ones.

Median home price is listed around $160K or ~$120/sq ft.  You will definitely find pockets of Columbus that run much more than that.  I'd say if you are looking in a decently safe neighborhood and closer to the city (say, within 6-8 miles) it will cost upwards of $150/sq ft.  There are some "revitalizations" going on immediately east and west of downtown, so the prices there are a bit cheaper while still being close to downtown.  Suburbs vary - if they're nice w/good schools (Dublin, New Albany, Westerville, Upper Arlington) it might be a bit higher.  If you're really looking to keep your $/sq ft down, then you should look to some of those suburbs near or even outside the outer belt (the flip side is you will be 10-12+ miles from downtown but if you like suburban living then it works out).

Indoor Hobbies: There are several museums (COSI is big for the kids).  It depends on if you have kids or not - Columbus has options for all.  Like most cities, plenty of gyms if you're a gym rat, plenty of community rec centers to get involved with. If you or your kids like hockey, there are several indoor rinks.  Columbus actually has the 3rd or 4th largest adult hockey league in the country. There is a lot of shopping (not that it's recommended, but hey...people watching!).  A lot of smaller music venues if you're a concert-goer (a couple big arenas too, but that costs a lot of $$$).  A bunch of local breweries have popped up in the last 3-4 years (I think 25+ now in the area).  You can find plenty to do indoors.

Outdoor Hobbies:
-In the fall, Ohio State football dominates - probably 150K+ are on campus for tailgating, partying, going to the game, etc. for the home games on Saturdays.
-There are a good number of city and metro parks for dog walking, biking, some kayaking/canoeing, minimal hiking (Columbus is very flat).
-There are 3-4 decent-sized inland lakes within an hour drive or so.
-Festivals.  I won't name them all, but there are a lot of free (and some with a cost) festivals around the city - most occur from late April-September.  Music, food, fashion, etc.
-Could be "indoor" but there are a lot of independently-owned restaurants.  I've heard Columbus described as an under-the-radar foodie town.  We also have quite a few of your typical chain restaurants when you get farther away from downtown.  We actually are a "test market" for fast food restaurants in a lot of cases as we supposedly are described as "America in one city."  So if that's your thing, you'll get to try that new Wendy's burger or White Castle slider before it goes national.
-Golf is pretty big - there are a lot of nationally ranked courses within ~hour drive of Columbus.  We host the Memorial PGA event in a nearby suburb in June and have had a Nationwide Tour (is that what it's still called?) at Ohio State's course.  There are a lot of good courses that are open to the public as well (in addition to I'd guess 12-15+ country clubs).
-The Clippers (AAA baseball farm team of the Indians) and Columbus Crew play in outdoor stadiums.  There is a Major League Lacrosse team as well and I think rugby?  Should have put under "indoors" but the Blue Jackets are our NHL team.
-I'm sure there is even more, but in a nutshell Columbus is a pretty flat area with a lot to do outside in the city, and even more if you care to venture out to the surrounding counties & towns.

Weather (High Temps, Low Temps, Seasons, Sun):
-We get it all in Columbus.  It's technically a "hardiness zone" as defined by the USDA.
-Humid, humid, humid.  We get a lot of humidity in the summer months, but usually cold and dry winters.
-Definitely a four season climate.  The joke is that we even manage to get all four within a few days sometimes.
-Summers can be hot, even brutal sometimes.  Typically low 90s in the "dog days" but usually 80-89 in the summer (these are in Fahrenheit, obviously).  Seems like those "summer storms" can pop up any day.  So pools get a lot of use from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
-Falls can be absolutely beautiful.  Typically we get the full range of leaves changing colors.  It's usually very mild for 2-3 months (I don't think we ran heat or AC from mid-September to Thanksgiving last year).  Tops out at maybe the low 70s but more often temps are in the 60s in the fall.
-Winter can be hit or miss.  I think the last 2-3 winters have been very mild (don't think the schools closed at all last winter).  Sometimes we get pounded with snow.  We don't get any lake effect like Cleveland or Buffalo, so it's actually low snowfall on average for the region.  You will have to shovel snow (if you own property or a driveway for your car, that is) and/or scrape your car off a few times.  It's usually not too bad, but every few years we get a blizzard that dumps a foot of snow.
-Springs are typically pretty wet.  When it's not raining, spring-time can be very nice and it's funny how many people get excited about hitting 45+ degrees F and the snow all melting until next winter.
-Record high (twice) is 106 F and record low is -22 F - just to give a range.  Anything above 95 F is rare and anything below 10 F is rare as well.  That's the given range I'd expect in a year.

Favorite things:
-Local beer/breweries & restaurants.  We have cut back significantly on going out, so it's more of a treat for us to try a beer at a new brewery (finace and I usually split, because of course).  Personally, we don't really like the chains (it's fine if you do, because those dot the suburbs) so when we do celebrate by going out for a meal, it's nice that there are so many local options.
-The history.  This might not be high on too many people's list, but it's cool for me.  Columbus, as the capital of Ohio, has some really cool history and buildings/museums celebrating that.  The hockey team (the Blue Jackets) is named for Ohio's contributions to the Civil War (320,000+ soldiers, for example).  There is some under-the-radar history here if you're into history at all (and you can explore a lot of it for free!).
-The people.  Maybe it's just who I've had the opportunity to interact with, but everyone I have come in contact with (even random people walking around or at shops) are all pretty laid back and friendly.  Could be complete coincidence or it could be part of that "midwestern" way of living.  YMMV.
-The resources.  The metro area is home to 2 million+ people now, so with that comes a lot of things to do.  It's growing as well, so there are always new things popping up.  The airport isn't too far from downtown, so if I wanted to travel far away it's convenient.  We're also within a 500 mile radius of roughly 1/2 the population of the U.S.
-Very open city.  I've heard us referred to as the "San Francisco of the midwest."  There is a fairly significant LGBTQ population and many businesses are very open-minded about that.  We're probably a little more progressive/liberal than one might think for Ohio.  A lot of diversity as well.

Least favorite things:
-The city is car-centric (for various reasons that I won't delve into - but the auto industry is big in Ohio and provides a lot of jobs for people, so there's some incentive to downplay other means of transit).  Columbus is trying to do other things, but most notably missing is light rail or passenger rail.  We're the largest city and I believe largest metro area with no light/passenger rail.  There is a bus system that just went through an overhaul and it provides free service for a 3-4 mile stretch downtown.  Bike share has been available for awhile and has expanded.  We have car2go - the car sharing service.  Some bike lines have been put in, but they're only experimenting with the completely segregated bike lines (instead of just drawing a small line on the road).  The bus service is also implementing "bus rapid transit" for a line with plans to expand.  We did win the "Smart Cities" grant so a lot of companies (in addition to the $50m federal grant) are now collaborating on fully autonomous vehicles for workers in a low-income area of town, which is adjacent to one of the mega mall complexes.
-Some parts of the city aren't great - high crime, low income, foreclosed homes, etc.  If you know where to avoid, then it's ok.  But the murder rate has jumped this year - we might be above 40 for 2017 so far.
-Some people see the "Ohio State football-centric" part of the city as a downside.
-I've mentioned it, but a lot of the suburbs are the prototypical "suburban sprawl" of America - the same chain stores surrounded by the same chain restaurants and massive parking lots.
-Transient city.  A lot of people "stop here" while going to Ohio State and then move on to somewhere else.
-If you are into real estate, it can be hard to compete with the tax abatements the city hands out to the big developers.  I get the premise behind them, but it's difficult for the "little guy" to break into real estate if only the big developers are getting tax help.
-I like to ski and there are no mountains (a few small ones - we're talking 250 foot verticals) about an hour away.  So no mountains, no oceans/beaches - some small lakes 30-60 minutes away and a couple rivers that cut through the city, but almost no one goes out on the water on them (not exactly the kind of rivers you boat on).
-Fairly segregated (often along racial and income lines) in terms of living.  Columbus has not done a great job of offering low-income housing options near more expensive housing.  Maybe that's just how it always is, but certain places can have almost no minorities.  So I think you lose the sense of a "melting pot culture" if you are outside of a 2-3 mile radius from downtown.

'Must Try':
-Ohio State football - just to experience everything that is a Saturday in Columbus, at least once
-State House Tour
-COSI (science museum)
-Zoo - we're consistently ranked #1 or #2 in the country
-Sports fans should check out a Blue Jackets game at Nationwide Arena
-North Market - 30+ vendors in old market warehouse-type building.  Walk around and smell the food of a bunch of local restaurants and then pick one, or two!

Stupid ordinances/laws:
-No alcohol can be purchased from 1:30 AM to 5:30 AM (bars will stay open until 2:30 AM though).
-No "open container" districts (unless specified, like for a festival).  There are some areas where people have argued it should be allowed to people can walk with a drink to another bar.
-Can't really think of too many others and I'm not going to post the goofy ones that would come up on a google search.

Words of wisdom/Advice:
-Do you want to live without a car?  Columbus is trying to improve that, but for now it's very hard to live in the city without some kind of vehicle.  It depends on your lifestyle, of course.
-Have you considered Columbus? Many people I've talked to haven't or didn't...until a family member wanted to or a job offer came along. https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/columbus  From what I've read/heard/compared, we have a pretty low cost of living.
-Can you deal with the weather?  We'll get everything from a blizzard to 95 F sun.  That said, it's pretty mild compared to other locations and we avoid tornadoes (they rarely occur here), hurricanes, extreme desert heat, the worst of the snow, and earthquakes.  I'd take that into account if climate is a big part of where you are moving.
-If you still want to work or still need to work, Columbus has a strong economy.  We have a strong government presence - being the state capital and all.  A lot of healthcare jobs, a growing number of tech jobs, several large insurers.  A lot of jobs tied into the university.  We handled the 2008-2009 surge in unemployment much better than the national average.
-Come visit! If Columbus isn't on your radar, but the low cost of living appeals to you then come check out the city for a weekend (or even longer).  Plenty of things going on if you don't want to be purely a "doing your homework" type of visit.  Hopefully the above gives you a good enough overview to decide if it should be on your radar.
-You can have almost any kind of lifestyle you want here - the urban bustle downtown, the "university" type living near Ohio State, the typical suburban lifestyle, or even more rural living but nearby a big city if you want to make use of the airport, theaters, etc. on a rare occasion.

Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc):
-We do have certified master gardeners in the city - tied in with Ohio State.
-Net metering is an option with your electric company.  That said, I haven't run numbers on how much energy could actually be generated give we are overcast here quite a bit.  I'd need to double check Project Sunroof.
-Community gardens are popping up and taking hold, at least in my estimation as I drive by them frequently.
-A lot of people have backyard gardens.  A lot of options for seeds, planting, etc. at stores around the city.  Growing season is probably mid-April into October.
-"Go Green Columbus" offers rebates on composting bins.  It's pretty easy - you fill in your address information and they'll send you a rebate form.  You either buy from one of their approved retailers or send them the receipt and photo of one you bought.  Rebate is either $50 or maybe even $75 now - haven't looked recently.  You may need to check HOAs or whatnot if composting is allowed (can only think of one notorious snooty suburb that has tighter restrictions on composting, fencing, etc.).
-Not sure if it's needed or not, but every single-family home in Columbus is provided with a recycling bin.  It's a bit tougher to recycle if you're in an apartment, townhouse, etc.

That's all I can think of for now - quote this and ask me any questions you might have and I'll do my best to answer!  If you've been thinking about Columbus at all, shoot me a PM.