Author Topic: LCOL map  (Read 13619 times)

OurTown

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LCOL map
« on: April 18, 2017, 08:00:49 AM »
This is something that gets tossed around in the discussions here:  the difficulties of living in a HCOL area vs. the benefits of living in a LCOL area.  Here, I found this helpful map!

http://www.businessinsider.com/regional-price-parity-map-2016-7

Obviously in some fields it is necessary to be located in or around a HCOL area because that is where the jobs are or because the salary differential makes it worth it.  If however you are in a field where the salary is relatively "flat" nationwide, or alternatively if you are in a field where you can do a large portion of your work online, why wouldn't you relocate to an LCOL area?

rantk81

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2017, 08:12:20 AM »
Thanks for the link... Very informative.  However, I would argue that the area surrounding Chicago should be a little bit darker red... especially after the last 2 years of property tax hikes :P

FireHiker

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2017, 10:50:54 AM »
Interesting map, thanks for sharing the link! Living in one of the HCOL dark red zones, I can't wait to retire to a blue(r) area. We are tied here for the time being with high paying, stable jobs, but someday that won't be the case. It's helpful to have some insight into relative COL in other areas; we are still working out pros and cons of a few areas we like for our eventual retirement.

Pennycounter

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2017, 03:30:01 PM »
Interesting for sure.  Thanks for posting.  Another dark red resident here, but life is so good (for me) in the HCOL just expensive!

v8rx7guy

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2017, 04:12:15 PM »
Awesome map... eastern oregon and eastern washington are calling my name!

As an interesting note, this looks a lot like an inverse of the 2016 Election results map by county.

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2017, 04:38:02 PM »
Interesting!

For Georgia, it has 3 of the lowest cost of living "metros"  (dalton? ahemm), while having the Atlanta area as right on average of 95-100. Only state in the south like that. Which I guess translates to saying that COL inequality (and maybe income inequality) within the state of Georgia is pretty drastic.

It's also interesting to me that pretty much all of the midwest is more expensive than the rural parts of the south -I've often assumed rural kansas or nebraska to be similar COL to rural Georgia, Tennessee etc.

Viking Thor

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2017, 06:20:08 PM »
That is interesting. I am in a dark red HCOL also, and not planning to move.

Financially we could probably do better somewhere else if we had similar jobs in a LCOL area, and certainly would be better off  financially somewhere else in retirement.

For us it's a decision based on enjoying the area where we live and having friends and other connections.

Of course if we had a strong financial need then we could consider moving but would like to stay.

GetItRight

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2017, 07:32:45 PM »
I hate everything about the HCOL area I live in, except there's at least some legally usable water within a reasonable drive for the weekends. That's about all that makes it tolerable. It's genuinely one of the two worst places to live in the country as far as I'm concerned.

Why don't I leave now? Biggest reason is I was dumb enough to go to college, incurring huge student loan debt. Second reason is I really like the company I work for. So for now I stay and pay off my debt earning a decent income at a job that is pretty good. When I'm debt free and have appreciable savings? Well I'd push for remote work with regular time in one of our offices, probably a hard sell but if it didn't work I'll eventually leave for the southeast for a far better quality of life. I can tolerate this area for now but I can't live in an expensive socialist paradise forever and stay sane.

big_slacker

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2017, 07:58:48 PM »
why wouldn't you relocate to an LCOL area?

I can think of a few good ones:

Often the LCOL areas aren't as nice an environment. There might be weather extremes (see Vegas summers, MSP winters), there might be higher crime or worse schools. There might be crushing boredom if the LCOL area just doesn't have much going for it culturally. There might be a lack of some feature people need to feel right like mountains, or the ocean. Even if you can work remote, are you now tied to the company you work for due to lack of local options?

Not poo pooing on the idea of a LCOL area at all, but deciding where to live especially long term is a big choice and not to be made lightly. Gotta weigh more factors than cheapness based on your individual and family wants and needs.

surfhb

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2017, 08:32:33 PM »
I estimate my choice to live in a very HCOL (So Cal) area will tack on a good 15 years of working for me.....worth every penny/second.   
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 08:35:57 PM by surfhb »

solon

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2017, 09:19:05 PM »
Here's the map. BI wouldn't let me read the article because of my ad blocker.


obstinate

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2017, 09:25:52 PM »
You could equally well title this map, "Places that are very desirable to live."

undercover

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2017, 09:41:15 PM »
You could equally well title this map, "Places that are very desirable to live because of high paying jobs."

Added my thoughts in bold. Other than high-paying jobs, how realistic is it to assume that a combined ~3% of the entire USA is actually better than the other 97%?

JLee

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2017, 09:42:02 PM »
You could equally well title this map, "Places that are very desirable to live."

I live in NJ and I'm not so sure I agree.

obstinate

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2017, 06:08:42 AM »
You could equally well title this map, "Places that are very desirable to live because of high paying jobs."

Added my thoughts in bold. Other than high-paying jobs, how realistic is it to assume that a combined ~3% of the entire USA is actually better than the other 97%?
Pretty realistic, IME. It's more fun to live in big cities than away from them. The jobs are there because the people are there. The people are there because the jobs are there. There is there because there was a harbor, a river, a lake. Causality goes deep. Nonetheless, you don't hear about young professionals who are excited to make a move to Nashville, and that's not solely because of the jobs.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2017, 06:10:41 AM by obstinate »

solon

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2017, 07:15:56 AM »
You could equally well title this map, "Places that are very desirable to live because of high paying jobs."

Added my thoughts in bold. Other than high-paying jobs, how realistic is it to assume that a combined ~3% of the entire USA is actually better than the other 97%?

The desirable places to live are in blue, not red!

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2017, 07:16:59 AM »
Interesting you bring up Nashville.  I personally know 7 people that have moved there in the last 3 years (since I graduated college). 7!
Anecdotal I admit, but that's a ton! I happen to know more people that have moved there than probably any other out-of-state city. (one of them is not a "young professional" though - he is a musician and travelling ghost writer, which is very "Nashville" )


OurTown

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2017, 07:57:00 AM »
Awesome map... eastern oregon and eastern washington are calling my name!

As an interesting note, this looks a lot like an inverse of the 2016 Election results map by county.

I noticed that too.  It's obviously a result of the rural / urban divide. 

I get the posters who say it would be too eff'ing boring to live in the rural areas.  But for those of us living in the suburban paradise, is there an appreciable difference between living in a suburb in say New Jersey or Northern Virginia and living in a suburb of Atlanta or Nashville?  Isn't one suburb pretty much like all other suburbs, i.e., aren't they fungible? 

Cranky

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2017, 08:15:02 AM »
We used to drive our daughter to and from college a couple of times/year, and we were interested to find that the suburbs of NY look exactly like the suburbs of NE Ohio, only the houses cost 5 times as much. It lead to some interesting discussions, because I'm pretty sure that if I lived in the suburbs of NY, my daily life would be exactly the same as it is in the suburbs of NE Ohio, I'd just have to work a lot harder to afford it.

We also realized that if we moved back to Denver (where my dh grew up) we'd still only go to the mountains about twice/year, and we could do that now if we really wanted to. It made us a lot more content about where we are, and the freedom that it gives us.

v8rx7guy

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2017, 08:49:24 AM »
I am surprised that Detroit (or what seems to be Detroit) is a high(er) cost of living.  I always thought housing was dirt cheap there... or maybe things have picked up?  Of course this takes into consideration much more than housing...

edit: I think that the pink box is actually probably Ann Arbor... still shockingly high for MI.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2017, 08:56:50 AM by v8rx7guy »

OurTown

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2017, 09:05:18 AM »
I think that is Ann Arbor.  IMO college towns are worth living in.  I would gladly pay a cost-of-living premium to retire to a college town.  YMMV.

PathtoFIRE

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2017, 09:14:26 AM »
For Texans, is anyone else surprised that Austin is not at least light red? It's in the same grouping as Midland-Odessa.

Just Joe

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2017, 09:14:59 AM »
Pretty realistic, IME. It's more fun to live in big cities than away from them. The jobs are there because the people are there. The people are there because the jobs are there. There is there because there was a harbor, a river, a lake. Causality goes deep. Nonetheless, you don't hear about young professionals who are excited to make a move to Nashville, and that's not solely because of the jobs.

That depends on the individual and their income - no?. I've been poor in the HCOL city and poor in the LCOL town. I'll take the LCOL ANYTIME over the big city in a poor neighborhood. Things get stolen, potential violence, tight quarters with troubled neighbors, the complications of owning a car, the complications of living without a car.

I'll agree that there are some very nice urban areas to live in but as someone already said - it takes alot more money to live in the HCOL city. I'd say that it takes alot more effort in general to live in a HCOL city - traffic, long commutes, high cost of everything, the wear and tear of dealing with massive numbers of people constantly all day and evening if you go out.

DW & I make multiples more in in our LCOL town than some of my friends in the HCOL of living city. The difference is in a LCOL area you might have to work harder to find opportunities to advance your career dreams. You might need to drive to the big city occasionally to see a big name entertainer.

Driving around our town it seems very quiet until you look a little closer. There are a dozen people practicing for a community theatre production, a gaggle of people at the farmer's market, people at the various businesses, people networking at work and while shopping for this weekend's plans - some road bike riding, water skiing, go for a hike, a cookout, etc. Its just that the population density is low enough that unless you know where to look, it doesn't seem like alot is going on.

I've heard that the people who remain in the small towns are the people who lack ambition but I don't think that is true until we look at a really small town where it is actually painful to remain in that town b/c of a lack of jobs and poverty. Then no amount of hunting and fishing and just being outside for the joy of it makes it worthwhile.

Regardless of the situation DW and I are going to earn a good living. Not going to spend a lifetime eating ramen noodles.

big_slacker

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2017, 09:16:44 AM »
Awesome map... eastern oregon and eastern washington are calling my name!

As an interesting note, this looks a lot like an inverse of the 2016 Election results map by county.

I noticed that too.  It's obviously a result of the rural / urban divide. 

I get the posters who say it would be too eff'ing boring to live in the rural areas.  But for those of us living in the suburban paradise, is there an appreciable difference between living in a suburb in say New Jersey or Northern Virginia and living in a suburb of Atlanta or Nashville?  Isn't one suburb pretty much like all other suburbs, i.e., aren't they fungible?

Proximity to cool shit matters. Climate matters. People that don't suck matters. Local gov matter HUGELY in what your environment ends up being or not being. I could get a house a LOT cheaper in Vegas but the lack of culture, lack of good schools, the values of the people (not all, but many/most), the crime, the brutal summer heat, less higher level jobs in my fields and so on. HCOL often does buy you something.

katsiki

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2017, 09:24:47 AM »
Is DFW the 100-105 "blob" in the north central part of TX?

jtraggie99

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2017, 09:27:49 AM »
For Texans, is anyone else surprised that Austin is not at least light red? It's in the same grouping as Midland-Odessa.

I would have thought Austin would have been higher than DFW and Houston.  I live in Dallas, though, and all I hear about is how expensive it has gotten in Austin.  Granted, real estate prices in Dallas have been skyrocketing and do not seem to be slowing down any time soon.

jtraggie99

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2017, 09:28:31 AM »
Is DFW the 100-105 "blob" in the north central part of TX?

Yep, and it's only going up.  Real estate has gone crazy here unfortunately.

katsiki

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #27 on: April 19, 2017, 09:32:07 AM »
Thanks.  I thought so.  (I should know this being in Louisiana... :)  )

oldmannickels

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #28 on: April 19, 2017, 09:34:29 AM »
For Texans, is anyone else surprised that Austin is not at least light red? It's in the same grouping as Midland-Odessa.

I was thinking the same thing and I think the answer is that the data is by county, so bigger western states with sprawling city counties are going to have a lower index than compact coastal or older cities.

PathtoFIRE

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #29 on: April 19, 2017, 09:38:43 AM »
Yep, and it's only going up.  Real estate has gone crazy here unfortunately.

I'm in a rather expensive small suburb of Dallas, and my house has appreciated 40% since we bought in 2012, and DFW experience only a mild downturn in housing prices during 2007-2009.

undercover

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #30 on: April 19, 2017, 09:46:48 AM »
Awesome map... eastern oregon and eastern washington are calling my name!

As an interesting note, this looks a lot like an inverse of the 2016 Election results map by county.

I noticed that too.  It's obviously a result of the rural / urban divide. 

I get the posters who say it would be too eff'ing boring to live in the rural areas.  But for those of us living in the suburban paradise, is there an appreciable difference between living in a suburb in say New Jersey or Northern Virginia and living in a suburb of Atlanta or Nashville?  Isn't one suburb pretty much like all other suburbs, i.e., aren't they fungible?

Proximity to cool shit matters. Climate matters. People that don't suck matters. Local gov matter HUGELY in what your environment ends up being or not being. I could get a house a LOT cheaper in Vegas but the lack of culture, lack of good schools, the values of the people (not all, but many/most), the crime, the brutal summer heat, less higher level jobs in my fields and so on. HCOL often does buy you something.

Las Vegas is just one place (which is a very bad example, I'd never want to live there either). I could name you at least 10 others places you'd never consider but has "people that don't suck", acceptable climate, liberals (I assume this is what you mean by values), good schools, low crime, etc. Can't promise jobs (they exist anywhere and everywhere, but are not abundant obviously). But no one is accusing anyone of staying in a HCOL area for their great job as something bad. I only think it's crazy to think that a HCOL area is inherently better if you're someone who could live anywhere (FI). We're "Mustachians". We're not only thinking about 10 years down the line, we're thinking about our entire lives, which includes moving to other, better places in the future.

In my experience, all local gov's suck (mostly because they all operate in the same archaic, universally adopted manner). Literally no one says "I want to work for the local government". Smaller local gov means less regulation, less ordinances, less problems.

Pretty realistic, IME. It's more fun to live in big cities than away from them. The jobs are there because the people are there. The people are there because the jobs are there. There is there because there was a harbor, a river, a lake. Causality goes deep. Nonetheless, you don't hear about young professionals who are excited to make a move to Nashville, and that's not solely because of the jobs.

Eh...that's a subjective statement if I've ever seen one. I'll bite though and say that you'd have to be a pretty boring person with not a lot going on upstairs if you have to live around "exciting" things to get "excited". I'd also argue the people are there, not because of jobs, but because that's where they landed since it was convenient from the UK (mainly East coast). Sure they began to trade and develop "jobs", but they (most) stayed simply because there were no cars, trains, planes, or internet. Vastly different time we live in, no?
« Last Edit: April 19, 2017, 10:13:44 AM by undercover »

OurTown

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #31 on: April 19, 2017, 09:50:16 AM »
For Texans, is anyone else surprised that Austin is not at least light red? It's in the same grouping as Midland-Odessa.

I was thinking the same thing and I think the answer is that the data is by county, so bigger western states with sprawling city counties are going to have a lower index than compact coastal or older cities.

From reading the article I think the data is by MSA.

MinimalistMark

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #32 on: April 19, 2017, 10:00:06 AM »
You could equally well title this map, "Places that are very desirable to live."

I live in NJ and I'm not so sure I agree.

I couldn't agree MORE.

infogoon

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #33 on: April 19, 2017, 10:08:44 AM »
I noticed the massive disparity between NYC and the rest of New York State.

It's darkly humorous that our state thinks that they can set tax and regulatory policies that will work well for two disparate populations like this.

Cranky

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #34 on: April 19, 2017, 10:16:24 AM »
For Texans, is anyone else surprised that Austin is not at least light red? It's in the same grouping as Midland-Odessa.

I think the map uses 2015 figures? Midland-Odessa is a boom/bust area. My sister lives there, and she said a couple of years ago there just were *no* apartments available because so many people were looking for places.

Now the bust is back, and I bet it's a lot cheaper.

mizzourah2006

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #35 on: April 19, 2017, 10:22:52 AM »
You could equally well title this map, "Places that are very desirable to live because of high paying jobs."

Added my thoughts in bold. Other than high-paying jobs, how realistic is it to assume that a combined ~3% of the entire USA is actually better than the other 97%?
Pretty realistic, IME. It's more fun to live in big cities than away from them. The jobs are there because the people are there. The people are there because the jobs are there. There is there because there was a harbor, a river, a lake. Causality goes deep. Nonetheless, you don't hear about young professionals who are excited to make a move to Nashville, and that's not solely because of the jobs.

I guess it depends on what you consider fun. Most of my friends that live in DC and NYC spend a lot of times in restaurants and bars. Sure the large cities have higher caliber nightlife and dining experiences. But I consider hanging out at the lake, hiking with beautificul scenery, and hanging out on a friends back porch watching our kids play and drinking a few beers to be fun. I can do that in a much lower cost of living area. Not a big foodie (all my NYC friends make fun of me), but perhaps it is because ever since I was 12 I've had to watch what I ate to remain at a weight where I could play sports competitively. I've come to think of food as a means to an end (nutrition and calories) instead of something that always has to be enjoyed and I place no value around the experience of eating.

The only thing I miss is professional sports and a nice zoo, museum, etc. But I'm only a couple hours from places that have all of that, so weekend trips are easily doable, which is when I would be doing those things anyway. Also live in a college town with a minor league baseball team, so I still get my live sports fix :)
« Last Edit: April 19, 2017, 10:31:48 AM by mizzourah2006 »

Cranky

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #36 on: April 19, 2017, 10:27:07 AM »
Also, what is all this culture people are consuming? How often are you going out and doing something cultural? Isn't that exhausting? LOL

I like to cook, so I don't care so much about restaurants. We go out and do something "interesting" about once/week - this week we're going to hear Margaret Atwood speak ( cost = $0). We go to a lot of classical music performances.

stoaX

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #37 on: April 19, 2017, 10:47:28 AM »
I guess it depends on what you consider fun. Most of my friends that live in DC and NYC spend a lot of times in restaurants and bars. Sure the large cities have higher caliber nightlife and dining experiences. But I consider hanging out at the lake, hiking with beautificul scenery, and hanging out on a friends back porch watching our kids play and drinking a few beers to be fun. I can do that in a much lower cost of living area.

Well said.

Johnez

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #38 on: April 19, 2017, 11:37:26 AM »
Funny they mention Anaheim. My 750 sf 1 bed apartment rent is being hiked up to $1535. Surrounding rents are similar, only Santa Ana seems cheaper.

Wish they'd do more than a top ten on both ends of the spectrum, nice map over all.

stoaX

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #39 on: April 19, 2017, 12:25:33 PM »
Funny they mention Anaheim. My 750 sf 1 bed apartment rent is being hiked up to $1535. Surrounding rents are similar, only Santa Ana seems cheaper.

Wish they'd do more than a top ten on both ends of the spectrum, nice map over all.

My 2br 907 square foot apartment in southern Orange county jumped to $2150 per month on 1/1/17.  HCOL indeed!

big_slacker

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #40 on: April 19, 2017, 12:39:02 PM »
Las Vegas is just one place (which is a very bad example, I'd never want to live there either). I could name you at least 10 others places you'd never consider but has "people that don't suck", acceptable climate, liberals (I assume this is what you mean by values), good schools, low crime, etc. Can't promise jobs (they exist anywhere and everywhere, but are not abundant obviously). But no one is accusing anyone of staying in a HCOL area for their great job as something bad. I only think it's crazy to think that a HCOL area is inherently better if you're someone who could live anywhere (FI). We're "Mustachians". We're not only thinking about 10 years down the line, we're thinking about our entire lives, which includes moving to other, better places in the future.

In my experience, all local gov's suck (mostly because they all operate in the same archaic, universally adopted manner). Literally no one says "I want to work for the local government". Smaller local gov means less regulation, less ordinances, less problems.

Couple clarifications so you get where I'm coming from:

Vegas-I used to live there so it's an easy example to give to ourtown who asked if all burbs were not effectively the same. My point was not at all that there aren't burbs that are closer to an ideal of nice climate and more affordable.

No I didn't mean liberal by values. I meant a strong community, commitment to education, an eye towards making the city/burb a pleasant place to live and raise families, etc. Not a blue vs. red issue, either can have this.

I agree that it's crazy to assume that a HCOL area is default 'better', but I don't think I ever said that. The point I'm getting at is a balance sheet that includes lifestyle factors rather than just pure $$.

So instead of: "How do I maximize savings and FIRE?" it's "How do I maximize savings and FIRE while living in a place that meets criteria X,Y and Z?"

RE Culture:

How bout a thriving live music scene of the type you're into, hearing a popular speaker (free or pay), theater, festivals for the subgroups you're into (veg fests, local brew fesst and so on), cultural specific events (we do a lot of Polish but have also been to Indian and others), educational events for kids, volunteer orgs for causes you're into (MTB trailwork for me!), professional and even amateur sports, professional/networking groups and so on.

This isn't to say smaller places don't have some of this, but the level and variety definitely is ramped up in cities. Dunno why the sarcastic tone or needing to explain this stuff? But there it is. :D
« Last Edit: April 19, 2017, 12:47:54 PM by big_slacker »

marielle

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #41 on: April 19, 2017, 12:53:35 PM »
Also, what is all this culture people are consuming? How often are you going out and doing something cultural? Isn't that exhausting? LOL

I like to cook, so I don't care so much about restaurants. We go out and do something "interesting" about once/week - this week we're going to hear Margaret Atwood speak ( cost = $0). We go to a lot of classical music performances.

Same here. I do like going to the Whitewater center and other activities like that, but Charlotte is still a fairly cheap area to live in, and South Carolina is DIRT cheap just below Charlotte. I somehow found a job in the middle of nowhere in South Carolina (literally a town of 300 people), but I can rent a 3 bedroom house within biking distance for $450 a month. I've never lived in a HCOL area, so I don't know what the appeal is other than nightlife and restaurants (neither of which I care about).

OurTown

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #42 on: April 19, 2017, 01:00:35 PM »
Las Vegas is just one place (which is a very bad example, I'd never want to live there either). I could name you at least 10 others places you'd never consider but has "people that don't suck", acceptable climate, liberals (I assume this is what you mean by values), good schools, low crime, etc. Can't promise jobs (they exist anywhere and everywhere, but are not abundant obviously). But no one is accusing anyone of staying in a HCOL area for their great job as something bad. I only think it's crazy to think that a HCOL area is inherently better if you're someone who could live anywhere (FI). We're "Mustachians". We're not only thinking about 10 years down the line, we're thinking about our entire lives, which includes moving to other, better places in the future.

In my experience, all local gov's suck (mostly because they all operate in the same archaic, universally adopted manner). Literally no one says "I want to work for the local government". Smaller local gov means less regulation, less ordinances, less problems.

Couple clarifications so you get where I'm coming from:

Vegas-I used to live there so it's an easy example to give to ourtown who asked if all burbs were not effectively the same. My point was not at all that there aren't burbs that are closer to an ideal of nice climate and more affordable.

No I didn't mean liberal by values. I meant a strong community, commitment to education, an eye towards making the city/burb a pleasant place to live and raise families, etc. Not a blue vs. red issue, either can have this.

I agree that it's crazy to assume that a HCOL area is default 'better', but I don't think I ever said that. The point I'm getting at is a balance sheet that includes lifestyle factors rather than just pure $$.

So instead of: "How do I maximize savings and FIRE?" it's "How do I maximize savings and FIRE while living in a place that meets criteria X,Y and Z?"

RE Culture:

How bout a thriving live music scene of the type you're into, hearing a popular speaker (free or pay), theater, festivals for the subgroups you're into (veg fests, local brew fesst and so on), cultural specific events (we do a lot of Polish but have also been to Indian and others), educational events for kids, volunteer orgs for causes you're into (MTB trailwork for me!), professional and even amateur sports, professional/networking groups and so on.

This isn't to say smaller places don't have some of this, but the level and variety definitely is ramped up in cities. Dunno why the sarcastic tone or needing to explain this stuff? But there it is. :D

I hear you on all those quality of life issues.  I've been thinking about relocating to a college town when we FIRE in about 6 years for many of the reasons you articulate.

NeonPegasus

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #43 on: April 19, 2017, 01:11:35 PM »
I'm laughing my butt off at the list of least expensive metros. They have a pretty loose definition of metro when Rome, Valdosta, and Dalton, GA make the list. Atlanta suburbs are bigger than those "metros".

I would not choose where to live simply due to cost of living. Sure, it's less expensive to live where I grew up but getting away from that pocket of ignorant, closed off rednecks was worth more than money.

bobechs

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #44 on: April 19, 2017, 01:29:25 PM »
You could equally well title this map, "Places that are very desirable to live because of high paying jobs."

Added my thoughts in bold. Other than high-paying jobs, how realistic is it to assume that a combined ~3% of the entire USA is actually better than the other 97%?

The desirable places to live are in blue, not red!
[/quote]

Right on!  Take, for example, Holmes County, Mississippi; bluest of the blue zone on the fabulous (muddy) Yazoo River.

Poverty, ignorance, despair, and the lowest life expectancy in the whole United States -- but that excludes all the wonderful things about the place, like.... 

Well, I'll have to get back to you on that...
« Last Edit: April 19, 2017, 01:31:08 PM by bobechs »

OurTown

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #45 on: April 19, 2017, 01:37:37 PM »
Yes, I am the last person to argue that living in a rural area is some great LCOL utopia.  I grew up in the sepia portion of the Wizard of Oz, so I get how provincial it is.  But, I think there is really something to be said for the argument that life is what you make of it and that you can have just as good of a life in a LCOL location.  So comparing San Francisco to the much-maligned Dalton Georgia is not really a fair comparison, but if you are comparing San Francisco to a legit metro area, say Kansas City, or Cincinnati, or Charlotte, the question becomes do I really need to spend $X when I could have a similar quality of life for $Y in a lower cost metro area.

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #46 on: April 19, 2017, 01:40:40 PM »
For Texans, is anyone else surprised that Austin is not at least light red? It's in the same grouping as Midland-Odessa.
I was thinking the same thing WRT Nashville... I don't think this is granular enough to really reflect localized HCOL areas.

OurTown

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #47 on: April 19, 2017, 01:43:58 PM »
For Texans, is anyone else surprised that Austin is not at least light red? It's in the same grouping as Midland-Odessa.
I was thinking the same thing WRT Nashville... I don't think this is granular enough to really reflect localized HCOL areas.

I suspect that's right.  The Nashville burbs are considerably more expensive than the Memphis burbs.

zephyr911

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #48 on: April 19, 2017, 01:53:13 PM »
I suspect that's right.  The Nashville burbs are considerably more expensive than the Memphis burbs.
And Nashville proper is fuckoff outrageous compared to just a few years back. I have friends trying to move there, about to give up.

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Re: LCOL map
« Reply #49 on: April 19, 2017, 05:24:46 PM »
Also, what is all this culture people are consuming? How often are you going out and doing something cultural? Isn't that exhausting? LOL

I like to cook, so I don't care so much about restaurants. We go out and do something "interesting" about once/week - this week we're going to hear Margaret Atwood speak ( cost = $0). We go to a lot of classical music performances.

A few weeks ago (when I wasn't working nights), I was in NYC 2+ times a week for dance.  I'm not sure that counts as "doing something cultural" or not, but it's certainly not something I could do if I lived in the middle of nowhere. : )