Author Topic: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out  (Read 6219 times)

cheapass

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We're about 6-7 years from FI/RE and I know we don't want to stay where we're currently living (Dallas area). Too expensive, property taxes are rediculous, traffic is a nightmare and there is not much to do outdoors.

What we're looking for:
MOUNTAINS (preferably living on the side of one)
A climate without major extreme temperatures
Within 30-45 minute drive to a decent size city
Reasonable cost of living
Good public schools
Low property taxes
Income tax probably doesn't matter much since we will be "poor"
Laws that do not penalize law-abiding gun owners (no CA, NY, NJ, etc)
Legalized marijuana might be a slight perk

All of these points are negotiable but we would like to find a place to live that satisfies most or all of them.
Right now we're thinking Colorado, New Mexico or possibly Washington. Any specific areas we should check out within these states, or other areas we haven't thought of?

Thanks!


Dusty Dog Ranch

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2017, 03:55:31 PM »
Hmmm, mountains and no extreme temperatures may be a bit of an oxymoron!

Wenatchee, WA area might fit the bill. Chelan County taxes will be higher than Douglas County (East Wenatchee) I think. Methow Valley has higher land prices but taxes in Okanogan County are relatively low. Depends on how rural you want to go. Methow Valley school district (towns in the upper valley) and Okanogan (the town) school district are quite good.

cheapass

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2017, 04:21:00 PM »
Hmmm, mountains and no extreme temperatures may be a bit of an oxymoron!

Wenatchee, WA area might fit the bill. Chelan County taxes will be higher than Douglas County (East Wenatchee) I think. Methow Valley has higher land prices but taxes in Okanogan County are relatively low. Depends on how rural you want to go. Methow Valley school district (towns in the upper valley) and Okanogan (the town) school district are quite good.

Thanks for the recommendations. When I say "extreme temperatures" I mean anything outside of 0-100F for an extended period of time.

Livingthedream55

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2017, 01:19:37 PM »
This site will ask for some basic info and then make recommendations. Use the advanced settings to limit to the US only if you like.

https://www.theearthawaits.com/

marielle

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2017, 01:25:37 PM »
Asheville/Boone in NC or possibly other surrounding states in that mountain region. No idea about the schools though. It snows only in the mountainous areas but definitely doesn't get below 0 F! Lows would be in the teens, especially if you're on the side of a mountain. Highs maybe 85 during the summer.

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2017, 01:29:02 PM »
Unless you go out of state, you can't buy >15 round magazines in CO. Not a big deal for handguns at the range, but could be annoying if you like to load up an AR-15 type gun.

That being said, Colorado front range checks off all those boxes for me, personally, which is why i hope to never leave here.

JayhawkRacer

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2017, 01:37:36 PM »
Asheville/Boone in NC or possibly other surrounding states in that mountain region. No idea about the schools though.

That's a beautiful area. Low cost of living as well.

As for schools: a popular joke about North Carolina is "First in Flight, 49th in education."
« Last Edit: June 07, 2017, 01:42:19 PM by JayhawkRacer »

FireHiker

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2017, 03:19:19 PM »
We have some similar likes/dislikes for our FIRE location, though not a complete overlap (I couldn't care less one way or the other on guns; we don't personally have any but I am pretty libertarian on that particular issue). We want mountains/trees or at least closer proximity than we have now (San Diego). If we hit our 7 year time frame then the high school matters a LOT to us as we currently live in an area with phenomenal schools that we love. We've been looking at Cheyenne, WY and Bozeman, MT, after probably ruling out Durango, CO (I LOVE Durango though) because of schools and high(er) property costs than we'd like. The PNW is an option for us too, and Vancouver, WA is highly appealing if we decide we don't want to deal with snow after all. I'm not sure what you consider to be a "reasonable" cost of living so I don't know if Vancouver, WA would be too high for your range or not, but its close proximity to Portland is really nice. It is very, very reasonably priced compared to what I'm used to here, but admittedly my view is skewed being in So Cal!!

I'm trying to decide if my moderate self (ie, middle of the road/almost conservative here in CA but probably pretty "liberal" compared to most other places) would manage alright in more-conservative MT or WY, but I LOVE the outdoors there. Although really my biggest concern is health care in FIRE, so there is more research to be done on that front. I'm curious to see what other places people mention here!

shawndoggy

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2017, 04:09:14 PM »
The Nevada side of Lake Tahoe might suit your needs.

I can't speak to the guns thing, here in NV, but I think we're relatively liberal (i.e. libertarian) on gun laws here.

Lake Tahoe property values are pretty well insane.  But if you could afford to live in, say, Incline Village NV, I think it checks most of your boxes other than being low cost of living.

Problem I see with your needs are great schools, mountains, and low cost of living.  I think you get to pick two of those three.  mountain communities with good schools are going to be expensive.  More remote mountain communities/small towns are going to be affordable but schools not so good.

I guess we also need to understand what your expectations are when you say "living in the mountains"?  Nevada has lots and lots and lots of mountains, but many of them are pretty barren and arid.  Take a look at the Virginia City Highlands area outside of Reno, near Virginia City, NV for example. 

My go-to answer would've been Douglas County, NV (Minden/Gardnerville) 20 years ago, but these days I think the secret is out  a bit.  Still a great place to be ... an hour south of Reno, semi-rural, temperate, and close to both Tahoe and the eastern Sierra (Mammoth, Yosemite, Mono Lake, etc etc) without living in CA.

California expats move to Northern Nevada every day.

startingsmall

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2017, 07:08:14 PM »
Asheville/Boone in NC or possibly other surrounding states in that mountain region. No idea about the schools though. It snows only in the mountainous areas but definitely doesn't get below 0 F! Lows would be in the teens, especially if you're on the side of a mountain. Highs maybe 85 during the summer.

NC schools definitely aren't the greatest, but I know that Watauga County (Boone) schools are considered to be some of the best in the state. We're considering a move to that area in the near-ish future (currently live approximately 1.5 hrs away and spend most of our free weekend days up there) so I've been doing some research.

davisgang90

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2017, 06:03:14 AM »
Roanoke VA has small mountains, Roanoke County has great schools and the temps aren't extreme.

Taxes aren't great though.

That's where I'll be this time next year for my retirement.

GreenSheep

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2017, 11:21:01 AM »
If you're willing to be able to see the mountains from your home and drive to them in 30 minutes (and if east coast size mountains count), then Charlottesville, VA or any of the surrounding counties would work for a lot of what you mention. Excellent public schools in Albemarle County.

Also, northern New Mexico (kinda like Colorado without the price tag) and Washington's Olympic Peninsula. Oh, and Flagstaff, Arizona.

MMMarbleheader

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2017, 04:01:48 PM »
Liberal Vermont actually has the most lax gun laws in the country. Property taxes are high ish though. Check out the upper valley area near Dartmouth college. Also the Frugalwoods blog

surfhb

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2017, 05:55:07 PM »
Don't' count out California until you've spent time here.    We have more shit kickin, gun loving Yahoos than anywhere in the country!    Seriously.    Anywhere in the central valley fits your criteria.    We also have some of the lowest property taxes  in the country (thanks prop 13).  Food is cheap too.

Until recently, Ive owned several assault weapons and handguns.  I decided their value was worth more inside FSTMX ;)

But if your thing is open carry or concealed then youre probably out of luck.   But why the fuck would you need to carry a gun around on your person anyway? ....that's just lame. 

Just sayin....but I'm biased..... I love Cali !
(btw....no one who lives here calls it that)
« Last Edit: June 08, 2017, 06:05:36 PM by surfhb »

wordnerd

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2017, 07:27:21 PM »
Asheville, NC.

PerpetualWanderlust

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2017, 07:36:02 PM »
I know we don't want to stay where we're currently living (Dallas area).

Allenite here! Glad to know I'm not the only DFW resident on the forum.

Bateaux

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2017, 11:42:15 PM »
Check out Red River New Mexico.  It's on my list of mountain places.  Next door to Colorado without the crowds.  If it has a negative for me its the distance from the ocean.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2017, 05:10:56 AM »
If you're considering the eastern U.S., eastern WV may have potential:

MOUNTAINS (preferably living on the side of one): Lots of opportunities near Davis, Canaan Valley, Snowshoe area.

A climate without major extreme temperatures: Occasional sub zero weather in winter, but typically teens.  Summer temps depend on elevation; stay west of the Allegheny Front to mostly avoid 90 degree temps.  Above 2,500 ft temps rarely exceed low 80s, though humidity can get really bad.

Within 30-45 minute drive to a decent size city: Fail on this one.  3-4 hour drive to either Pittsburgh or DC.

Reasonable cost of living: Pretty comparable to Midwestern LCOL areas.

Good public schools: Epic fail here for the most part.  Typically rank 48th - 50th.  Unless you choose Pocahontas County, where you share the school system with the children of the astrophysicists who work at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

Low property taxes: See above.  Shitty schools = insanely low property taxes.

Income tax probably doesn't matter much since we will be "poor": About middle of the road here.  The legislature is making noises about eliminating the income tax, but I don't see how since the state budget is in a shambles.

Laws that do not penalize law-abiding gun owners (no CA, NY, NJ, etc): Jackpot.  Anyone over 18 without a felony conviction can legally carry a concealed firearm without a permit.  Non-gun owners are viewed with suspicion.

Legalized marijuana might be a slight perk:  Legislature just legalized medical marijuana, but not much appetite for legalizing recreational use.

Some potentially pertinent stuff not on your list:

-- Lots of entrenched poverty except near the resorts
-- Serious opiod and meth problems
-- No zoning or land use restrictions of any kind
-- Very conservative political viewpoints are dominant
-- Plenty of hunting opportunities if you are into that
-- Plenty of public land for all forms of outdoor recreation

cheapass

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2017, 06:30:47 AM »
I know we don't want to stay where we're currently living (Dallas area).

Allenite here! Glad to know I'm not the only DFW resident on the forum.

Hello there fellow Texan! There is a thread in the local/meetups section for DFW folks, I haven't made it to one yet but planning on it soon.

cheapass

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2017, 06:35:00 AM »
But if your thing is open carry or concealed then youre probably out of luck.   But why the fuck would you need to carry a gun around on your person anyway? ....that's just lame. 

Thanks for the input, but Kalifornia is out. Concealed carry is non-negotiable - I prefer to insource my family's security, not wait for the police - and I won't be paying taxes to a state that infringes on my rights. "Vote with your feet/dollars" as they say.

I appreciate the suggestions everyone, I'm thinking northern NM or Colorado are areas we will need to check out for sure.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2017, 06:37:03 AM by cheapass »

wenchsenior

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2017, 07:08:22 AM »
Flagstaff area of Arizona, or Los Alamos, NM are the two places that immediately spring to mind as meeting many of your criteria.

meadow lark

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2017, 03:06:22 PM »
I think NM is lovely.  I live in the mountains just East of Albuquerque - very rural feel, lots of Nat'l Park and State Park land, a fast ride down I-40 into Albuquerque which is around 800,000 people.  Pot is not legal, but I suspect it will be soon.  I believe the gun laws are relaxed - I have a lot of friends with concealed carry permits.  The only place in NM with comprehensive medical care is ABQ, so if you live anywhere else and you a problem, you will be flying to ABQ.

One issue with NM, be aware before you buy.  There are some weird pockets were the people seriously do not like outsiders.  There are quite a few land grant areas (land given to Spanish families by Spain before NM became a state) and there are occasional" We are a sovereign state" currents, still.  And then you have an estranged family member sell 20 acres on eBay, and things get weird.  Some of the small communities have serious drug problems (not talking about pot.).

All that said, I really like NM.  I also find it has the least race issues of anywhere I have ever lived.  I am white, my son is native, my step-mom is black.  I have lived in a lot of different places and there is less tension here than anywhere.

BuildingFrugalHabits

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2017, 03:15:58 PM »
How about Boise?  Temperate weather, low cost housing and lots of mountains there.   You'd have to research the gun laws.  But it seems to satisfy the other criteria.

shawndoggy

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #23 on: June 09, 2017, 04:14:01 PM »
Another issue for the OP to consider besides high temps (which could rule out places like Boise) is humidity. The western inland mountain states are pretty dry even if forested due to the elevation. I have a much harder time with low humidity (15% or so in many places like the Sierras and Rockies) than high heat. Plus it adds to some serious wildfires in the west. The east coast and PNW don't have that problem and have cooler summers too.

I thought you were going the exact opposite direction about the oppressiveness of humid climates.  I love my 10% humidity and 300 days of sunshine while living only 35 minutes from my local ski resort, an hour from tahoe (and several lesser known but still great lakes), and four hours from SF.  It's all a matter of perspective (I guess I should've figured it out with anywhere in Idaho being deemed "too hot" for a guy from Texas...)

surfhb

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2017, 05:13:39 PM »
But if your thing is open carry or concealed then youre probably out of luck.   But why the fuck would you need to carry a gun around on your person anyway? ....that's just lame. 

Thanks for the input, but Kalifornia is out. Concealed carry is non-negotiable - I prefer to insource my family's security, not wait for the police - and I won't be paying taxes to a state that infringes on my rights. "Vote with your feet/dollars" as they say.

I appreciate the suggestions everyone, I'm thinking northern NM or Colorado are areas we will need to check out for sure.

Fear sells.....a lot of guns ;)

meadow lark

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #25 on: June 09, 2017, 06:56:03 PM »
Yes, and a lot of people think brown landscapes are ugly - in which case stay don't settle in NM.

NorCal

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #26 on: June 09, 2017, 09:03:23 PM »
Check out Colorado Springs.  I visited a few years back, and it checks most of your boxes.  A decent sized city on its own, it's pretty close to Denver, with plenty to do outdoors.

From what I know of it Santa Fe would also check a lot of boxes for you, but I haven't personally been.

cheapass

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2017, 12:54:56 PM »
Fear sells.....a lot of guns ;)

And fire extinguishers, and backup generators, and first aid kits, and emergency food supplies...

shawndoggy

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2017, 04:56:53 PM »
Fear sells.....a lot of guns ;)

And fire extinguishers, and backup generators, and first aid kits, and emergency food supplies...

In that case, have you considered Utah or Idaho?

Elderwood17

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Re: Help me come up with a list of possible FI/RE locations to check out
« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2017, 06:10:45 PM »
Lived 14 years in Dallas and now live in Westner North Carolina not too far from Asheville.  Lived in Minnesota too so I have seen the extremes. The weather here is definitely four seasons but neither winter nor summer is extreme.  Long springs and fall seasons. Lots to do outdoors.  If you stay away from Asheville city limits the COL is low.  There are negatives of course but it is worth checking out.