Author Topic: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal  (Read 31408 times)

begood

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Re: Seeking the ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #100 on: April 20, 2015, 12:16:55 PM »
I think Asheville can be expensive because housing costs are driven up by tourism. Not sure what the availability of good-paying jobs is like, either.

I'd expand beyond Chapel Hill and think of Durham and/or Carrboro. I spent a few years in the triangle and there are lots of high-paying jobs in biotech and other fields, but still a relatively low cost of living (if you avoid rich suburbs like Cary or Apex). Very socially liberal area as well.

Definitely has mild winters good for yearlong biking. I hesitate to call the climate totally mild because the hot/humid summers are not to my liking personally.

We lived in Durham when we first married (I worked in Chapel Hill, he worked in Raleigh and we split the difference), and my dad now lives in Durham too. There are still nice neighborhoods of old mill houses that people have fixed up. Small houses, small yards, sidewalks. Very appealing. And we have friends who've found similar neighborhoods in Carrboro. Chapel Hill feels trafficky and crowded to me now, especially compared to what it was like when I was a kid in the 70s.
(Outing myself) I live in Durham. I have to say Durham has been officially discovered, in that people are moving here even without jobs and the real estate prices keeps going up. Just went to a neighborhood block party, and that neighborhood sounds just what you are looking for. The way it is like anywhere, there are nice but wealthy neighborhoods you need $$ to move their but it may rather staid. And there are some neighborhoods while cheap (literally 40K houses) you don't want to live there. In between a number of neighborhoods that have modest sized but reasonably priced houses, and also borderline neighborhoods closer to Durham that you can "invest in" by buying and fixing up a house and contributing to the neighborhood by your presence. I do like the weather, except the summers (originally from midwest). If I end up living here the rest of my life might need to invest in a summer home in the mountains or farther north to escape the heat and humidity : ) 
Can also look into non chapel hill areas of orange county, and Hillsborough, pittsboro if you want a more rural feel.

Thanks, partgypsy (and elicoolio for the rec of northern Chatham County). The little towns - Apex, Hillsborough, Carrboro, Pittsboro - all have potential since nothing in the Triangle is super far from RDU. I also like Jamestown and the Guilford College area in Greensboro - west of downtown Greensboro, toward the airport.

I really appreciate the suggestions people have made because it is absolutely my natural bent to look at these areas in NC - Triangle, Triad, Charlotte, Asheville - because they're familiar and comfortable. We moved away from NC in 1996, so it's been almost 20 years (how in the heck did THAT happen???), and part of me has always wanted to go back. But I've grown up a lot since then too, and so I think it's a worthwhile effort to look OUTWARD instead of BACKWARD and see what else the big beautiful world has to offer.

partgypsy

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Re: Seeking the ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #101 on: April 20, 2015, 12:23:05 PM »
I think Asheville can be expensive because housing costs are driven up by tourism. Not sure what the availability of good-paying jobs is like, either.

I'd expand beyond Chapel Hill and think of Durham and/or Carrboro. I spent a few years in the triangle and there are lots of high-paying jobs in biotech and other fields, but still a relatively low cost of living (if you avoid rich suburbs like Cary or Apex). Very socially liberal area as well.

Definitely has mild winters good for yearlong biking. I hesitate to call the climate totally mild because the hot/humid summers are not to my liking personally.

We lived in Durham when we first married (I worked in Chapel Hill, he worked in Raleigh and we split the difference), and my dad now lives in Durham too. There are still nice neighborhoods of old mill houses that people have fixed up. Small houses, small yards, sidewalks. Very appealing. And we have friends who've found similar neighborhoods in Carrboro. Chapel Hill feels trafficky and crowded to me now, especially compared to what it was like when I was a kid in the 70s.
(Outing myself) I live in Durham. I have to say Durham has been officially discovered, in that people are moving here even without jobs and the real estate prices keeps going up. Just went to a neighborhood block party, and that neighborhood sounds just what you are looking for. The way it is like anywhere, there are nice but wealthy neighborhoods you need $$ to move their but it may rather staid. And there are some neighborhoods while cheap (literally 40K houses) you don't want to live there. In between a number of neighborhoods that have modest sized but reasonably priced houses, and also borderline neighborhoods closer to Durham that you can "invest in" by buying and fixing up a house and contributing to the neighborhood by your presence. I do like the weather, except the summers (originally from midwest). If I end up living here the rest of my life might need to invest in a summer home in the mountains or farther north to escape the heat and humidity : ) 
Can also look into non chapel hill areas of orange county, and Hillsborough, pittsboro if you want a more rural feel.

Thanks, partgypsy (and elicoolio for the rec of northern Chatham County). The little towns - Apex, Hillsborough, Carrboro, Pittsboro - all have potential since nothing in the Triangle is super far from RDU. I also like Jamestown and the Guilford College area in Greensboro - west of downtown Greensboro, toward the airport.

I really appreciate the suggestions people have made because it is absolutely my natural bent to look at these areas in NC - Triangle, Triad, Charlotte, Asheville - because they're familiar and comfortable. We moved away from NC in 1996, so it's been almost 20 years (how in the heck did THAT happen???), and part of me has always wanted to go back. But I've grown up a lot since then too, and so I think it's a worthwhile effort to look OUTWARD instead of BACKWARD and see what else the big beautiful world has to offer.

I think if you haven't been here in 20 years, you may be (mostly) pleasantly surprised. For example, instead of downtown being a ghost town, it is being revitalized. Granted if I was going to complain I'd say it would be more functional to have say a decent grocery store and drug store in or close to downtown than yet another fancy bakery shop, but I can't pick and choose.

begood

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Re: Seeking the ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #102 on: April 20, 2015, 12:32:20 PM »
I think if you haven't been here in 20 years, you may be (mostly) pleasantly surprised. For example, instead of downtown being a ghost town, it is being revitalized. Granted if I was going to complain I'd say it would be more functional to have say a decent grocery store and drug store in or close to downtown than yet another fancy bakery shop, but I can't pick and choose.

We go back several times a year to see my father but tend to hunker down around Duke Hospital/Hillandale Rd/Club Blvd area. So we see the Ninth Street neighborhood and the area around the School of Math and Science and think, "Hey, NICE!" But I haven't been in actual downtown Durham since we used to go to Durham Bulls games back in the day at the old field - families with kids sat along the first baseline, singles and no-kid-couples along the third baseline. Beer was $1, as were hot dogs, popcorn, and peanuts. SO much fun. I'm sure I would hate the new ballfield on principle. Heck, I've never gotten used to the Dean Dome! To me, all b-ball games should be played in Carmichael!

Daleth

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Re: Seeking the ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #103 on: April 20, 2015, 12:43:27 PM »
Subscribed in hope of new possibilities being mentioned.

Likewise.

begood

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #104 on: April 20, 2015, 12:53:37 PM »
I found this link in a thread at Bogleheads:

Sperling's Best Places: http://www.bestplaces.net/compare-cities/

You can put in two cities and see how they compare in terms of housing, education, crime, climate, et cetera.

freeedom

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #105 on: April 20, 2015, 02:00:00 PM »
I've been researching the same thing. I came up with a few possibilities: Austin, Tx, DFW, Tx, Raleigh, NC.

All have plentiful jobs, lower cost of living, and temperate climates (most of the time).

justajane

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #106 on: April 20, 2015, 02:12:05 PM »
Maybe I misunderstood the OP's original intention, but I thought the goal was to avoid all extreme temperatures. I'm not seeing how many of the suggestions fit that bill.

For almost half the year, isn't Dallas, Atlanta, or most Southern cities pretty much an oven? I grew up in one, so I know of which I speak. I wouldn't describe the climates in these places as mild.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2015, 02:17:53 PM by justajane »

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #107 on: April 20, 2015, 02:15:43 PM »
I grew up in Dallas and live in southeastern PA, and I consider southeastern PA to be milder. But if you just really hate the cold, Dallas is certainly the superior choice.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #108 on: April 20, 2015, 02:37:37 PM »
Sounds like snowbirding is the answer you seek!  Now just figure out how to swing a teaching job for you you and the mister and you will be set!

mak1277

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #109 on: April 20, 2015, 02:38:32 PM »
Maybe I misunderstood the OP's original intention, but I thought the goal was to avoid all extreme temperatures. I'm not seeing how many of the suggestions fit that bill.

For almost half the year, isn't Dallas, Atlanta, or most Southern cities pretty much an oven? I grew up in one, so I know of which I speak. I wouldn't describe the climates in these places as mild.

I read it as "mild meaning not cold" as opposed to "mild meaning always between 40-70".

Davin

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #110 on: April 20, 2015, 03:11:58 PM »
We're currently living in Austin, but feel it's too damn hot in the summers and traffic is beginning to feel more and more like LA traffic, one of the reasons I left LA was to get away from the traffic. I hesitate to mention where we're headed next because I don't want others to discover it and drive up the prices before we move there, but I'll do it anyway...Ashland, OR.

Have you been there in the summer? I lived in the Rogue Valley (Phoenix, OR - just a few miles north of Ashland) for 3 years and found the summers to be unbearably hot. Ashland is the nicest town in southern Oregon by far, and there is a lot to say for it, but you may be disappointed by the heat and the inversion layer that causes the air to stagnate over the valley floor. I still visit, but try avoid it in the summer. FWIW that was my only experience living outside of coastal California.

oops edited for spelling
« Last Edit: April 20, 2015, 07:52:19 PM by Davin »

LiveLean

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #111 on: April 20, 2015, 04:04:22 PM »
When I think of low COL, I eliminate anywhere with state income tax. I've only lived full-time in what now could be considered purple states (Virginia, Florida), and I'd eliminate my native VA because of higher COL.

Florida has the mild temps and low COL, especially if you rent rather than own and thus avoid the two biggest Sunshine State expenses -- property tax and homeowners insurance. Gainesville probably hits your trifecta best, followed by Orlando and South Florida.

blueridge

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #112 on: April 21, 2015, 07:34:02 AM »
We went through a similar process a couple of years ago.  We were living in the Boulder and Fort Collins areas, which we really liked, but needed to move East to be closer to family. 

We were searching for a place with low cost of living, outdoor opportunities, and good music/culture.

Our list ultimately came down to Asheville, Brevard, or Roanoke, VA.  After visiting Roanoke, we decided it was the best fit for our criteria, plus the people were very friendly.  We ended up moving here in 2013. 

Compared to Asheville, it is less socially liberal (some would even say a bit backwards in some areas), but the cost of living is MUCH lower.  We have found people to be open-minded, and it is refreshing to have more diversity of thought after living in Boulder for nearly a decade. 

Compared to Brevard, it's a lot less rainy and has just as many outdoor opportunities.  Plus jobs were more difficult to come by in Brevard if the need came up--you would just end up driving 45 min to Asheville. 

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #113 on: April 21, 2015, 08:19:11 AM »
When I think of low COL, I eliminate anywhere with state income tax. I've only lived full-time in what now could be considered purple states (Virginia, Florida), and I'd eliminate my native VA because of higher COL.

Florida has the mild temps and low COL, especially if you rent rather than own and thus avoid the two biggest Sunshine State expenses -- property tax and homeowners insurance. Gainesville probably hits your trifecta best, followed by Orlando and South Florida.

Correct me if I misunderstand, but if OP is looking for a place for early retirement, wouldn't income tax play no role? (But I agree, it completely contributes to high COL... people forget to factor it for Oregon because COL looks low, especially with no sales tax. But our income and property taxes can be nuts).

frugalnacho

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #114 on: April 21, 2015, 08:28:02 AM »
When I think of low COL, I eliminate anywhere with state income tax. I've only lived full-time in what now could be considered purple states (Virginia, Florida), and I'd eliminate my native VA because of higher COL.

Florida has the mild temps and low COL, especially if you rent rather than own and thus avoid the two biggest Sunshine State expenses -- property tax and homeowners insurance. Gainesville probably hits your trifecta best, followed by Orlando and South Florida.

Correct me if I misunderstand, but if OP is looking for a place for early retirement, wouldn't income tax play no role? (But I agree, it completely contributes to high COL... people forget to factor it for Oregon because COL looks low, especially with no sales tax. But our income and property taxes can be nuts).

I (and probably many here) still plan to have income from a side gig or just from tIRA->ROTH pipeline conversions, so state income tax will still be a consideration.

begood

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #115 on: April 21, 2015, 08:35:42 AM »
Maybe I misunderstood the OP's original intention, but I thought the goal was to avoid all extreme temperatures. I'm not seeing how many of the suggestions fit that bill.

For almost half the year, isn't Dallas, Atlanta, or most Southern cities pretty much an oven? I grew up in one, so I know of which I speak. I wouldn't describe the climates in these places as mild.

I read it as "mild meaning not cold" as opposed to "mild meaning always between 40-70".

Yes, that's what I meant, mak1277. I can deal with hot summers much more easily than I can months of cold. Probably something to do with spending my first 43 years south of the Mason-Dixon line! I can actually see doing it either way - staying in SE PA most of the year and wintering somewhere warmer OR moving somewhere warmer and spending a few weeks "up north" in the summer if it gets to be too much.

Realistically, we're not looking at much of an ER - my "live to work" mister is currently open to the idea of considering retiring at 59 or so. Our daughter would have graduated from college by then, so we would have a good sense at that point of how big a hit the stash took with all that edumacating, and what kind of shape it's in at that point.

In some ways, this is a mental health exercise for me. I don't ever want to feel stuck, if that makes sense. I'm a planner, so getting ideas for "the next step" is a fun project for me. And it seems like a great list of places to visit too - PNW, NM, CO, TX. Road trip! ;)

begood

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #116 on: April 21, 2015, 08:37:53 AM »
We went through a similar process a couple of years ago.  We were living in the Boulder and Fort Collins areas, which we really liked, but needed to move East to be closer to family. 

We were searching for a place with low cost of living, outdoor opportunities, and good music/culture.

Our list ultimately came down to Asheville, Brevard, or Roanoke, VA.  After visiting Roanoke, we decided it was the best fit for our criteria, plus the people were very friendly.  We ended up moving here in 2013. 

Compared to Asheville, it is less socially liberal (some would even say a bit backwards in some areas), but the cost of living is MUCH lower.  We have found people to be open-minded, and it is refreshing to have more diversity of thought after living in Boulder for nearly a decade. 

Compared to Brevard, it's a lot less rainy and has just as many outdoor opportunities.  Plus jobs were more difficult to come by in Brevard if the need came up--you would just end up driving 45 min to Asheville.

So funny, blueridge, that you moved FROM one of the places people have recommended here! Thanks for the info on Roanoke!

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #117 on: April 21, 2015, 08:38:09 AM »
When I think of low COL, I eliminate anywhere with state income tax. I've only lived full-time in what now could be considered purple states (Virginia, Florida), and I'd eliminate my native VA because of higher COL.

Florida has the mild temps and low COL, especially if you rent rather than own and thus avoid the two biggest Sunshine State expenses -- property tax and homeowners insurance. Gainesville probably hits your trifecta best, followed by Orlando and South Florida.

Correct me if I misunderstand, but if OP is looking for a place for early retirement, wouldn't income tax play no role? (But I agree, it completely contributes to high COL... people forget to factor it for Oregon because COL looks low, especially with no sales tax. But our income and property taxes can be nuts).

I (and probably many here) still plan to have income from a side gig or just from tIRA->ROTH pipeline conversions, so state income tax will still be a consideration.

Ah, that makes sense. Thanks! I suppose Oregon is nice on the tax front if your overall living expenses and earnings are low- not too steep at lower incomes, but rises very sharply past the poverty line. (Is my understanding. My best year in my life so far I've earned $22k. The state pretty much sent me an apologetic card with my tax return).

Cpa Cat

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #118 on: April 21, 2015, 10:49:02 AM »
When I think of low COL, I eliminate anywhere with state income tax. I've only lived full-time in what now could be considered purple states (Virginia, Florida), and I'd eliminate my native VA because of higher COL.

Florida has the mild temps and low COL, especially if you rent rather than own and thus avoid the two biggest Sunshine State expenses -- property tax and homeowners insurance. Gainesville probably hits your trifecta best, followed by Orlando and South Florida.

Correct me if I misunderstand, but if OP is looking for a place for early retirement, wouldn't income tax play no role? (But I agree, it completely contributes to high COL... people forget to factor it for Oregon because COL looks low, especially with no sales tax. But our income and property taxes can be nuts).

I (and probably many here) still plan to have income from a side gig or just from tIRA->ROTH pipeline conversions, so state income tax will still be a consideration.

Also, if you plan on supplementing income (or living off) taxable investments with dividend or capital gain income, most states do not tax these at preferential rates like the federal government does. So while this income is at a 0%-15% tax rate for most people, federally - tack on ordinary state tax rates. In Oregon, for example, you're looking at an additional 9% tax.

frugalnacho

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #119 on: April 21, 2015, 10:52:10 AM »
When I think of low COL, I eliminate anywhere with state income tax. I've only lived full-time in what now could be considered purple states (Virginia, Florida), and I'd eliminate my native VA because of higher COL.

Florida has the mild temps and low COL, especially if you rent rather than own and thus avoid the two biggest Sunshine State expenses -- property tax and homeowners insurance. Gainesville probably hits your trifecta best, followed by Orlando and South Florida.

Correct me if I misunderstand, but if OP is looking for a place for early retirement, wouldn't income tax play no role? (But I agree, it completely contributes to high COL... people forget to factor it for Oregon because COL looks low, especially with no sales tax. But our income and property taxes can be nuts).

I (and probably many here) still plan to have income from a side gig or just from tIRA->ROTH pipeline conversions, so state income tax will still be a consideration.

Also, if you plan on supplementing income (or living off) taxable investments with dividend or capital gain income, most states do not tax these at preferential rates like the federal government does. So while this income is at a 0%-15% tax rate for most people, federally - tack on ordinary state tax rates. In Oregon, for example, you're looking at an additional 9% tax.

Yes, good point.

NoWorries

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #120 on: April 21, 2015, 12:52:10 PM »
I've heard great things about Asheville, NC

partgypsy

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #121 on: April 21, 2015, 01:16:56 PM »
Again, Asheville is a cool town, in a beautiful mountain setting, but it's a tourist destination, not cheap.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #122 on: April 21, 2015, 02:09:42 PM »
Asheville is beautiful and cool, but it's also COLD in the winter, and a long-ass way on mountain roads from anything else and therefore pretty isolated.

dcheesi

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #123 on: April 21, 2015, 02:56:27 PM »
FWIW, my hometown of Charlottesville, VA is relatively mild, socially/politically liberal (though the state as a whole is "purple" at best), and generally a great place to live.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned in my previous post, it has also been "discovered" by the rich & famous as well as various lifestyle magazines, so the price of real estate is a lot higher than it used to be. Still cheaper than a lot of major metros, though, including nearby Washington DC.

kimmarg

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #124 on: April 21, 2015, 03:15:50 PM »
What about Savannah, Georgia? I've only been a visitor, but a good friend lives there and it seems to be pretty awesome. Its on my list.

Just be aware of the paper mill stench that can permeate the air in Savannah, and in other southern coastal cities with these paper mills. Major turnoff when I visited!
Have you visited recently? Up here in Maine most mills no longer smell. They use a different process now. In fact I bought a house in a town that I used to call "stink-peu" as a kid. That said there is one or two that still smell, so maybe. Just be sure your info is current!

iluvzbeach

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #125 on: April 22, 2015, 10:38:55 AM »
We're currently living in Austin, but feel it's too damn hot in the summers and traffic is beginning to feel more and more like LA traffic, one of the reasons I left LA was to get away from the traffic. I hesitate to mention where we're headed next because I don't want others to discover it and drive up the prices before we move there, but I'll do it anyway...Ashland, OR.

Have you been there in the summer? I lived in the Rogue Valley (Phoenix, OR - just a few miles north of Ashland) for 3 years and found the summers to be unbearably hot. Ashland is the nicest town in southern Oregon by far, and there is a lot to say for it, but you may be disappointed by the heat and the inversion layer that causes the air to stagnate over the valley floor. I still visit, but try avoid it in the summer. FWIW that was my only experience living outside of coastal California.

Davin, don't get me wrong, I know the summers are warm, but a key difference between Austin and Ashland is that Austin is terribly humid and it doesn't cool down that much in the evenings. I can take a few hours of 90-100 degree temps, as long as I know it isn't for 60+ days on end and knowing it gets cool overnight. I used to live in SoCal and trust me, that was the ideal climate, but the HCOL and tax rates rule it out for us. We feel like Ashland will be a nice compromise between the two.

oops edited for spelling

mabinogi

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #126 on: April 22, 2015, 11:13:40 AM »
I've only skimmed all the comments, so apologies if these suggestions have already been made.

1) Missoula, Montana. Winters aren't exactly MILD, but they're also not as cold as you might expect. They're almost certainly warmer than Pennsylvania. Summers are milder as well, due to low humidity. While the COL is a bit high for Montana, it's low relative to the country in general. And it is GORGEOUS! Lots and lots and lots of outdoor recreation opportunities, if you're into that. It's always been on our list of top five places to live.
2) Blacksburg, Virginia. Because it's in the mountains, the summers are not nearly as hot as elsewhere in the region. Winters are a bit cold, but not extreme by any means. The presence of Virginia Tech drives the COL up somewhat, but it's still pretty low. The town itself is getting quite a bit cooler. When I lived there, we spent a year living in a super-awesome cohousing community, which I'd definitely recommend checking out.
3) Boise, Idaho. This is a new addition to my list. Parts of town are more liberal than others, to be sure, but if you are anywhere near the downtown / north end / northeast side of town, you'll find some great spots and some great people. Boise is really turning into a great little city, but is still quite affordable. Climate is pretty mild, airport is pretty affordable, lots of outdoor rec opportunities, etc. I like it a lot.

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #127 on: June 03, 2015, 12:19:59 PM »
If someone finds such a place let me know.  As a young gay man I had to run out to California to escape the horrible, hateful small town-minded upbringing in Sometown, USA in the midwest. 

SpicyMcHaggus

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #128 on: June 04, 2015, 09:48:12 AM »
Vancouver, WA puts you within driving distance of "keep it weird" Portland. WA has no income tax. OR has no sales tax. The weather is mild, and the COL isn't too high if you stay out of Portland proper.

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Re: Seeking the ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #129 on: June 04, 2015, 12:25:49 PM »
If you can put up with the absolute opposite politics in the rest of the state, the suburbs of Austin, TX seem to fit your criteria.

I'm finding more and more open minded folks where I live in the 'burbs between Ft. Worth and Dallas.  I'm fiscally conservative and socially liberal, so I just focus on the politics I have in common with people rather than the differences, unless I want to spark a discussion.  I nod along as complainypants republicans gripe about taxes and the ACA, and nod along as complainypants democrats gripe about lack of social equality.  That said, the DFW metroplex fits my desire for short winters, lots of swimming pool weather, and LCOL.  The property taxes are a bit stiff but while I'm still working and earning, the lack of state income tax more than makes up for that. 

Texas does have it's extremists here and there when it comes to guns and God, but DFW is a big enough place that you can find the right combo for your taste.

ladydoc

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #130 on: June 04, 2015, 09:16:58 PM »
Again, Asheville is a cool town, in a beautiful mountain setting, but it's a tourist destination, not cheap.

My sib just bought a spacious, relatively new house just outside Asheville for like 150k and he lives well there for <20k/yr so I think it's still a pretty reasonable COL at this point if you know where to look. But maybe I'm just jaded from living in the NE and Northern California too long :)

begood

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #131 on: June 05, 2015, 07:46:40 AM »
I've been looking at houses for sale online in the Asheville area, including Black Mountain and Swannanoa. I think if I don't care about a view or being in a "mountain house" - aka a vacation home - then I could probably find something reasonable and convenient.

My hesitation with Asheville is that it doesn't have a big airport.

surfhb

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #132 on: June 05, 2015, 09:10:24 AM »
Silver City, NM is a fine place

letired

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #133 on: June 05, 2015, 09:38:49 AM »
If you want moderate temps and LCOL, Austin is not the city for you. Housing/property prices are climbing at a semi-astronomical rate, the summers are brutal (expect 6+ months of 90-100 degree weather), and the traffic is getting more horrific by the second.

FrogStash

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #134 on: June 11, 2015, 12:57:44 PM »
If you want moderate temps and LCOL, Austin is not the city for you. Housing/property prices are climbing at a semi-astronomical rate, the summers are brutal PERFECT (expect 6+ months of 90-100 degree weather), and the traffic is getting more horrific by the second.

Fixed it for you.  :-)  I love the hot weather.

TheAnonOne

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #135 on: June 11, 2015, 02:02:33 PM »
MN, very liberal and low cost of living.

Also, Las Vegas, low cost of living and pretty-much ANYTHING goes there.

jamaha

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #136 on: June 11, 2015, 09:16:44 PM »
Have you considered Greenville, SC?  It doesn't quite meet the trifecta, as it's a bit more conservative, but the COL versus the opportunities and amenities here is hard to beat.  GSP is a fairly good airport, you're well positioned between Charlotte, Atlanta, and an hour from Asheville.  Beautiful weather, a very nice downtown.  A lot of improvements and investments being made to make the city more livable. 

And it's not all that conservative.  I moved from the Upsate to Berkeley, CA and back.  There's a difference between the two, to be sure, but it's not that different.

Edit: And how could I forget Charleston!  It's even milder in the winter, but a bit muggier in the summer.  You're at the beach though.  COL is higher by SC standards, but still low as long as you don't live downtown or on the beachfront.  More of a liberal subculture than the rest of the state.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2015, 09:21:11 PM by jamaha »

StarBright

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #137 on: June 12, 2015, 09:02:40 AM »
All these comments about the Triangle area moved me from lurker to poster :) We live in Hillsborough and I'm pretty convinced that it is about as perfect a town as can be.

Nice 3 bed houses (well kept homes built in the early 80s) can still be found for under 200k. The town is working on being walkable/bikeable, there is easy public transportation to Durham and CH - DH takes a bus to work in CH. There is a huge emphasis on community, it has a nice political blend, though it skews liberal, great food and music and honestly everyone just seems proud and happy to live here.

My husband is an academic and I work from home and his job might require us to move soon. We're seriously weighing whether he should pursue a different career path because we love it here so much. Obviously being North Carolina, the bugs are atrocious in the summer and I could live without the copperheads but these are small issues for how livable the area is.

MsFrugalista

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #138 on: June 14, 2015, 09:51:27 PM »
Edit: And how could I forget Charleston!  It's even milder in the winter, but a bit muggier in the summer.  You're at the beach though.  COL is higher by SC standards, but still low as long as you don't live downtown or on the beachfront.  More of a liberal subculture than the rest of the state.

Thanks for recommending Charleston! This is on our list :)

We have recently started to talk about this exact topic as we near our FIRE date. I have been reading this thread closely (thanks begood for starting this thread!) and most of the places you guys have mentioned are on our list. Our criteria is very similar to the OP, except that we are leaning towards the east coast in the US as our family lives in southern Ontario and it'll be much easier to visit 1-2 times a year. We also want to be near a body of water - we love to kayak and canoe. We LOVE the west coast and recently have fallen in love with the PNW (based on our couple of trips to the Portland area and Seattle/Puget Sound/San Juan Islands areas). We may find ourselves there some day down the line, but I think for the next 10-15 years it makes sense to be not so far from parents (maybe someone can convince me otherwise??). As people have mentioned, the south/southeast can be a swamp in the summer, so we have talked about traveling elsewhere (abroad or to milder climate areas in North America) during the summer months (opposite of snowbirds).

Begood - if you're willing to consider the west coast/PNW, I think you should definitely take a trip over there and spend some time getting to know the area. Sounds like climate is very important to you (as this is very important to me), this area may be the most agreeable with you. Or maybe Colorado from what I've been told and read - but haven't been here myself, so I cannot comment on this.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #139 on: June 15, 2015, 03:58:53 AM »
If you don't mind the heat, I guess San Antonio is the cheap version of Austin.

Scandium

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #140 on: June 15, 2015, 11:44:30 AM »
I grew up in Dallas and live in southeastern PA, and I consider southeastern PA to be milder. But if you just really hate the cold, Dallas is certainly the superior choice.

Yeah, we live in MD, ~2 hrs south of Philadelphia and visit family there frequently. I don't consider winter there harsh by any standard except perhaps on the "CA beach bum scale" :S

On the other hand the summers can get unbearably hot and humid which I find much worse! If it's cold you can just put on more clothes, but there's a physical (and social) limit to how much you can take off.. I don't think there's any way I could handle living further south than PA/MD/DC, and even this is stretching it.

Unfortunately it seems my wife want to stay close to family in the area, so there's a limit to how far we can go. West in PA might be an option, but I think NH is too far. Have heard good things about Pittsburg so trying to plan a vacation trip there.

I've only briefly been to southern Delaware. Does anyone know if anything there is attractive? Too slow and tiny? Cheap for so close to the coast, but have the impression is a bit crappy there. Called "slower lower" for a reason..

Chesterfield

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #141 on: June 15, 2015, 02:54:28 PM »
I just skimmed comments but I would recommend Louisville, KY. It is a mix of southern and Midwestern cities, but COL is low, very liberal neighborhoods ( Frankfort Ave and the Highlands), has a biggish airport, 6 hours to Chicago in a car. It does have hot summers, but way more variable weather. Might get super cold for a day or two several times in the winter, then it's suddenly 50 or 60 degrees. Great local food scene, lots of up and coming neighborhoods, great old housing stock. Avoid the burbs, totally red, but def a blue spot in a red state.

Argyle

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #142 on: June 15, 2015, 03:00:01 PM »
The young'uns may not realize this is a line from the song "Signs":

And the sign said, "Long-haired freaky people need not apply"
So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeT5otk2R1g

Exhale

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Re: Seeking my ideal trifecta: mild climate, LCOL, socially liberal
« Reply #143 on: June 15, 2015, 06:40:30 PM »
...I could live without the copperheads but these are small issues for how livable the area is.

You lost me at copperheads! (Not that I was thinking to move.) You're a braver person than I. :-)