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Get Rich With: Moving to a Better Place

If you’re like me, you currently live somewhere. But can you explain WHY exactly you live there?

For most people throughout the history of our species, the reason they live somewhere is because they were born nearby. And the reason they were born there is because their parents were born nearby.

Very rarely, a brave and enterprising person will make a Big Move to a whole new place in search of wealth or happiness. Some of your ancestors did that, forming an interesting chapter in your family history. And maybe even YOU have done that in your own lifetime, and you’re currently living far from where you were born, probably because of a bold personal choice you made. Good for you!

I’m bringing up this topic because I am often amazed at the disparity in Niceness between different regions of the US (and of other countries and parts of the world in general). There are some areas which have drastically better weather, or landscape, or outdoor recreation, tax rates, job possibilities, mountains, ocean, lakes, beaches — you name it. And yet, as I study the areas with the best attributes, the cost of living in these areas is often completely uncorrelated with how nice they are.

I like to make fun of the New York/New Jersey region, because it is just amazingly expensive and crowded, and yet it is completely unremarkable compared to the rest of the United States – humid summers, rainy and cold winters, limited access to wide-open natural areas. All wrapped in a package of heavy regulations on small business owners like myself and shocking property taxes (annual tax on a house like mine would be over $10,000 there vs. $2300 that I pay now, even while the house itself would probably be a 1-bedroom shack in my under-$400,000 price range). It is true that some people make ridiculous salaries in New York City, and for those people it is logical to live there for a short time to maximize their savings. Others actually like it there, and of course many are tied by strong family bonds, which are very important. But after we rule out those groups, there are still millions of people who are just there because they are there, living a crowded and expensive life just because they haven’t realized how energizing it can be to MOVE.

Meanwhile, I’ve seen a lot of other parts of the US on my many roadtrips over the past decade. When visiting Tucson, Arizona and Albuquerque, New Mexico, I was astounded by the gorgeous scenery, neverending clear blue skies, and the extremely low cost at which you can pick up a stylish stucco house on a palm-treed lot in nice parts of town near the university. Especially after the housing price crash we’ve enjoyed in recent years in this country. My own Colorado is mostly cheap and presents a nice balance of culture, recreation, and reasonable outdoorsy year-round climate.

Update: this article was first written in 2011, and the US has been on a non-stop house appreciation binge since then. So, although many cities in my country remain very affordable, other prices are pretty out of date.

But recently (2016), an MMM reader developed a global search tool to help seek out cool, inexpensive places to live around the world. It’s really well done and still expanding: check him out at The Earth Awaits – https://www.theearthawaits.com/


 

In Las Vegas, you can get a very nice house in many parts of town for about $100 grand. A stylish condo near the strip which you can rent out to tourists for massive profits as a vacation rental, or a spacious modern house with a pool out near the foothills where you can swim and hike out of your back yard, and never see winter again. You won’t care about the housing market or even the job market, because your cost of living will be so low that you may be able to retire a decade earlier than normal! The same story of palm trees and neverending warmth combined with negligible living costs now exists in Phoenix, AZ, and even the desert suburbs near the foothills just East of Los Angeles.

In the Pacific Northwest you can live affordably in the land of Beer and Beards in hip towns like Portland, Oregon or Bellingham, Washington. You can even live on a rainforesty island in the nearby San Juan Islands, and spend many of your days exploring coastlines by kayak.

In the 200-mile-stretch of beach cities around Miami, you can pick up a luxury house, or a snappy condo complex with a sweet pool and hottub, or a skyscraper overlooking the beaches and turquoise waters, for pennies on the dollar thanks to bank foreclosures, making a waterfront tropical beach compound less costly than a vinyl-clad shack in a Toronto suburb.

Ahh, Toronto, the Big City near my birthplace. It’s the Canadian version of NYC. People pay fantastic amounts for modest houses that are buried in stale brown snow for several months each year, and commute 40 minutes each way through a 16-lane traffic jam to get to their jobs. Or Fort McMurray, Alberta, where people pay Toronto prices to live in a Mosquito Tundra near the arctic circle, just to plug themselves into an above-market income stream from the Saudi-Arabia-sized Oil Sands project that is in a permanent expansion there. What kind of life is this!?!?

Canada has the fantastic Oceany Cliffs of the Maritimes, where everyone is friendly, houses near the sea are nearly free, and the parties are legendary. It has the Sunny Granola/Marijuana hippy belt in Interior BC and the Okanagan valley. There’s the Hong Kong Cosmopolitan buzz of Vancouver, with its non-snowy winters, or the Indie Rock/University Town/Island vibe of Victoria.

I also love Australia and New Zealand, where pleasantly different and fun-loving cultures combine with much more Ocean and noticeably cheaper Food and Beer – all in a gorgeous climate that rivals the best parts of North America.

With the increasing number of careers and entrepreneurial businesses that can be done from ANYWHERE through teleworking, and the fact that an ambitious person can carve out a job for themselves in almost any city, I think that moving is often a fantastic idea, and it is mainly fear of the unknown and fear of change that is holding people back.

When I graduated from Engineering school, I moved 300 miles away from my hometown, because that was the location of the best jobs that I knew about at the time. It was also where my wonderful sisters and my girlfriend, the future Mrs M., lived. But as my career progressed, I learned about the work opportunities South of the border. They sounded fantastic, as did the increased choice of geographic settings, versus those available in my native Ontario (“Smoggy metropolis”, “Mosquito Forest”, or “Mosquito Swamp”). I did the research, got the interviews, fought for the work permits, and BOOM, here I was in a fantastic new land of untold adventure.

I can’t even express the joy this decision has brought to my life over the past twelve years. It’s strange, because I cannot deny that regardless of where you move, you are still the same person. So some would suggest that you should be equally happy regardless of your surroundings. But it doesn’t seem to work that way for me. I think that for some people, there really is A BETTER PLACE. For me, it was the presence of mostly nature and sunshine with just enough city thrown in to make life convenient, and the odd combination of culture in the Boulder, Colorado area that starts with an entrepreneurial and educated base, but throws the whole Workaholic thing out the window and seeks Quality of Life instead. Sure, we still have douchebag consumerism and the odd clueless fancypants daintily laying grocery bags into the back of an empty Cadillac Escalade. But it’s drastically less than in other areas. And the much-mentioned pressure to compete based on material possessions seems to  be nonexistent in the area I live myself.

And let’s not forget the economic argument to moving. For me, the irresistible combination of higher income, lower taxes, and a lower cost of living was the thing that allowed me to retire so early. If I had not moved here at age 24, I’d probably still be working an increasingly monotonous high-salary job to this very day back in Canada.  Mr. Money Mustache would not even exist yet! Early retirement is still completely feasible in any capitalist economy, of course – it’s just speedier in some areas than others.

So the combination of geography, climate, culture, and economy is what makes me happy in my particular Better Place.

I do miss my family, especially when I read the emails about casual get-togethers that I missed out on because of living 1700 miles away. But we were always a far-flung family who got together only a couple times a year anyway. With the new model of making a six-week visit every summer, we get almost as much visiting time, without having to give up the benefits of the better life when not visiting.

Moving is easy when you’re young, fresh out of college, and with no kids. It is mostly in the minds of those people that I am trying to plant these ideas. Considering new cities is like reviewing a broad and exciting variety of new dishes and deciding which one to eat. I highly recommend doing this type of dreaming and strategizing when you are young. My own way of browsing involves reading Best Places to Live lists, touring the country and the world in person, and virtually flying around to check out the terrain and the bike paths using Google Earth (and the house prices and ‘hoods using Realtor.com).

The Ultimate Human-friendly city in my own view is one with a population between 50,000 and 200,000, in a compact and bikeable footprint, separated from neighboring cities by Actual Cows And Fields, as opposed to the fake cities that exist by the dozen on the sides of giant cities. Denver has “Lakewood, Englewood, Centennial, Aurora, Westminster” and a bunch of other silly non-cities attached to it. It should all just be called DENVER. But you have to drive for some time and pass a number of different crops and animals before you reach the distinct cities of Boulder and Longmont, for example. This distinct city status ensures that you’ll have everything you need right in your own town, and yet you’ll be able to hit the streets and very quickly end up in the country soaking up open vistas and black starry skies, even without resorting to car transportation. Your cell phone will have data access, FedEx will deliver your Amazon packages efficiently.. but yet you’ll never find yourself paying to enter a parking garage or waiting in an endless line for a restaurant. There is space for everyone in these Person-friendly cities.

For slightly older and more settled folks like the MMM family, moving is temporarily off of the menu – we want the lad to grow up in a stable place where the faces and friends stay the same from birth until high school graduation, and even the trees and hills and seasons become familiar through the span of his childhood.

But Mr. and Mrs. Money Mustache have  already got some more Adventure Moves planned for the many decades to follow in the future. Maybe we’ll move to a different college town as part of helping our son earn in-state tuition in another state. Maybe we’ll try Hawaii or another tropical island. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for San Diego.. but I also am fascinated by some expatriate destinations in Mexico like Lake Chapala near Guadalajara. Or maybe Victoria, on Vancouver Island back in the homeland.

You should live in whatever place works best for you. But you should be able to prove to yourself that it really is the right place – instead of just being the place you happened to be born.

  • Cadence January 8, 2014, 6:55 am

    Hey MMM,

    My husband and I had a talk a few weeks back about how we really need to get serious about paying off debt, being more frugal, etc. and so I started to look online for inspiration and came across your blog!
    At any rate, this particular post struck me. We live just outside of Boston which is where we are both from. My husband has 5 siblings in the area plus their families and nearly my entire extended family is here including my 96yo grandmother 1 mile up the street. These things have mostly kept us here over the 13 years we’ve been together.
    As you stated, it is much easier to pick up and move when you’re young and not “tied down” to anything yet. Of course, we are renters (housing market is out of control here – 2BR 1BA ranch can go for $500,000 in my town) and have no kids so really nothing is tying us down and thats the way we like it! 12 years ago we packed our car with clothes, camping gear, and our dog and went on a road trip to find our new home…for many reasons (primarily sun and cost of living) we ended up in Scottsdale, AZ. We stayed for about 2 years but then moved back. We both hated our jobs, I wanted to go to grad school and knew more about doing so in MA, we were getting married back in Boston, and we were totally broke (making about $10/hr each) and sick of spending all of our $$ and vacation time going home to visit. We moved back to our hometown with the intention of staying for a few years so I could go to grad school and then he wanted to move to CO, which I had agreed to do. Then I graduated and got a job and it seemed to make more sense to stay in MA and work for 2 years so I could get licensed (I’m a Marriage and Family Therapist). When those years were up, I said, “Okay, lets do it!” and my husband changed his mind and decided he wanted to stay by his family. FF 2.5 more years and we’re both bored, still broke, and still dreaming of the west.
    This long winded story is all to say that now that we’re serious about moving to CO again (and we ARE doing it this time), I’m finding that it is going to cost us a LOT of money to get there. Here are my specific questions if you have time (or any other reader wants to chime in) to address them:
    To rent a Uhaul or some such would cost approx $2400 for the trip. Even if we sell just about everything, I still think it will be more than we can fit in our pick up truck (gas guzzler, I know) to bring the things I deem to be essential (clothes, camping gear, photo albums, a couple of my best pots/pans, my files (one small file cabinet), and a few other things I’m probably forgetting. I think sending them will cost more than replacing them, but most aren’t replaceable things.
    Secondly, we want to buy a house out there but I’m thinking we should get a cheap apt first for 6 mos-1 year to check the place out and decide for sure where we want to live (leaning toward Evergreen – would love info on this). That requires another couple thousand dollars for 1st, last, security.
    The gas alone to get there will be over $600.
    And of course we both need to find jobs BEFORE we move, which will almost certainly require flying out at least once (I hope only once) to interview. One way we’ve thought to incorporate this is to take our 10th anniversary vacation there this summer (camping) and try to set up interviews over the course of a few days.
    I really want this to happen and I think it will, but all of this cost stresses me out.
    I didn’t go into our debts at all but we are definitely in a HAIR IS ON FIRE!!!! situation there and I’m working on that.
    Thanks MMM and anyone else willing to give some feedback here!
    Cadence :)

    Reply
    • PeachFuzzStacher January 8, 2014, 7:32 am

      Cadence,
      Unless you have a good paying job lined up and a lot of cash for emergencies, I would advise against purchasing a home when you move to a new region. If you can reduce your belongings, barebones it in an apartment for 6 months – year until you can get your feet on the ground, especially if you have debt.

      Maybe you can let a family member back in Mass hold on to some of the sentimental possessions until you find your more permanent place? By then, you might have enough saved up to ship some things one at a time, or try out a container shipping service like PackRat or PODS, which will drop off a container you fill to the specified destination.

      Good luck with the move and tackling the debt.

      -PeachFuzzStacher

      P.S. – I’m in NJ/NYC area and am in a similar market to what you experienced near Boston. I compromised and moved out 45 minutes from family where it’s a bit cheaper and there’s still jobs. It doesn’t seem fair sometimes.

      Reply
      • Cadence January 9, 2014, 1:22 pm

        PeachFuzzStacher (haha I like that!)

        Yes, I think you’re right. We definitely wouldn’t move without both having jobs lined up, which means we may have to move separately. I have a close friend out there I could crash with for a short time if necessary.
        I also think even aside from $$ it will make sense to rent first so that we can really check out all the areas and decide where we want to call home.
        I think having family hold onto stuff and send it later is a great idea – we did that when we moved to AZ but unfortuantely we didn’t pack it very well and a lot was ruined – this time we’ll know better!
        We were actually looking at buying land in NH and eventually building up there so we could stay near family, but ultimately we both decided the West is calling to us and we really won’t be satisfied staying in the northeast. I say all the time I wish I was born somewhere with a better climate and lower cost of living but then maybe I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of all the time I’ve spent in NH, VT, ME, RI, and MA on wonderful weekend/weeklong getaways! Always a up and a downside.
        Thanks so much for your feedback!
        Cadence

        Reply
    • HaiYen January 23, 2014, 1:44 pm

      Hi Cadence,

      I wanted to chime in since your situation is very similar to mine including the places you’ve been and wanting to go. I’ve lived in MA, CO, LA, and KY and have been giving some serious thoughts to AZ but have not done much research yet. With all the moves we made, we did them ourselves with all the household STUFF, cars, and such with Penske & trailer since it was the cheaper option. I’m pretty sure truck rental has gone up in price since our last long moves.

      As for housing, we never bought since we weren’t ready for the long-term commitment which I don’t regret since we have moved so much. We did make some of the moves with temporary housing lined up with relatives which did save us the hassle of finding something right away as well as saving some money. We have also moved without housing lined up and found apartments/townhouses within the budget. Jobs were the same way, we actually braved some of the moves without jobs. Looking back I do regret using up some of our savings in those areas but they have given us experience. For the next move, I would definitely do online research and make a trip to visit the area. As for jobs, I’m still planning that. It will depend how financially set we will be before the move.

      I know exactly what you mean about the long list of things to figure out in order to make a move happen because we also have that list. We are currently in MA with decent jobs so the move won’t be for another 5-7 years so I think we have more time than you.

      Coincidentally, we lived in the Longmont area for a few years as well as other areas in CO. I totally agree with MMM’s writing regarding the Longmont area, but my plan is to go somewhere even warmer.

      Hope you like hearing another story, maybe we can do the planning together!

      Reply
  • Frugalina February 1, 2014, 9:42 pm

    Just wanted to share how we ended up in San Diego. My husband and I lived in ID & visited SD on a last minute vacation to get away from the cold (we both hated winters but somehow lived in the NW for too many years). After a day of being in SD we both said we can see ourselves living here…except the obvious high cost of living was intimidating. After we returned home, I started looking for jobs and housing costs & researching how much things cost there vs where we were living and seemed it was possible to enjoy the year-round sunshine on a frugal lifestyle. We moved 3 months after our 1st trip to SD (after securing a job & finding renters for our home). And yes, even with moving into a home that was half the sq. foot of our NW home with double the mortgage, I’d say it was definitely worth it. I’m talking about going from a 1650 sq home to 880 sq & living a simplified/debt-free life and it is possible. All the best to everyone on the quest for a better life…whatever our personal reasons may be…

    Reply
  • Crystal February 10, 2014, 3:41 pm

    If MMM was to move to San Diego, what neighborhood would you move to?

    Specifically, what neighborhoods are the most bike-able (bike to the beach!) with the best schools and lowest cost of living?

    Thanks in advance for your feedback!

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache February 15, 2014, 11:42 pm

      I think we’ll have to let our SD readers answer that one. I always stay near Balboa Park when I visit there, and I was able to bike everywhere (including to beaches, downtown, the airport, etc.) from there. But there are many more choices to be sure.

      It’s Southern California, which means the car culture is still awful, but bikes are so versatile that you can really prosper with them anywhere.

      Reply
    • Frugalina February 16, 2014, 2:45 pm

      The problem with this area is that the most bike-able areas that are close to many things are also the areas with the higher cost of living …especially if you want the best schools. Lower cost of living areas are about a 15-20 minutes (or even further) drive away which is the option we chose as we couldn’t justify a ridiculously high mortgage (or rent).

      Reply
  • nellibelli February 17, 2014, 11:14 pm

    I am a new reader, am working my way through the posts from the beginning. Very inspiring! I live in San Diego, and do not think it is the best place for frugal living, nor for biking. The weather might be great most of the time, but the drivers, and they are legion, are in general not considerate to bikers and the city is not set up for pedestrian/bike traffic very well. I do think it’s getting better, but it has a long way to go. And as Frugalina said, expensive housing. Especially in nice neighborhoods biking distance to the beach with great schools. ;) But anyway, I am feeling very inspired to crack down on our situation and begin our mustache. My husband already has an impressive mustache, but unfortunately it is not of the money variety. :)

    Reply
  • james March 18, 2014, 10:05 pm

    I’d love to move out of Los Angeles if my industry, aerospace, was not so concentrated here and the whole market was not undergoing a contraction. I honestly don’t enjoy the work that much but can’t see a way out. I don’t think I could handle taking a retail/service job to make ends meet at my age, but I also can’t see any professional position that isn’t engineering available to me. If I could apply my aerospace engineering skills to designing outdoor gear (rock climbing equipment use a lot of similar analysis, bicycles too) that’d be ideal, but those jobs seem to be in very short supply.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache March 18, 2014, 10:44 pm

      Go for it! Save most of what you earn and decrease your lifestyle costs to reduce dependence on the job. Fire out resumes to companies that might take a chance on you – even with a lower salary because you won’t need as much money after the switch. Find a gig (or start your own via consulting) that allows you to work from anywhere.

      As a fellow engineer, I can tell you that it is engineers (i.e. people who can solve problems and then communicate clearly about them) who are in short supply, not the jobs. But it may take some outrageous optimism to bust through the barriers you currently face.

      Reply
  • Caroline May 30, 2014, 7:04 pm

    We left Montreal, Qc more than 2 years ago. We lived in Sydney, Aus , Toronto, On and now Vancouver, BC. All these cities are much more expensive than Montreal, yet we have been saving like crazy during this time.
    It started by just being able to get by with only one salary in Australia since I never found a job during the 9 months I was there, a miracle we could never have afforded back home. Then we both got hired and the company paid for our relocation to Toronto. Then again, a one-month road trip across the country was financed by the next company located in Vancouver.
    We not only discover the world free of transportation charges and get paid twice as much as home but we also learn quite a lot about Mustachian principles just BECAUSE these places are so expensive. It forced is to do things differently. It is also easier being “unconventional” because there is no pressure from friends and family. We were forced to rent smaller and smaller just to afford the rent, only to realize we never needed 900 sq ft in the first place. Then there is all that junk left sitting in my lovely in-laws’ basement that I haven’t been missing one bit these years.
    But, Montreal is home and always will be. It defines me in a way… Anyway, eventually I will go back, hopefully making home a better place.

    Reply
  • Richard June 2, 2014, 7:23 am

    I currently work for a company headquartered in Austin, with a smaller office in Denver and a tiny one in Seattle. I couldn’t handle the Austin heat, so I moved back to Seattle. However, I’ve been wondering if I should move to Denver instead. It’s probably better for my particular work situation, and Denver sounds promising in general. I would rather deal with Seattle winters than Austin summers, but Denver weather sounds much better than either. Besides, I grew up near SLC, and miss the Rockies. A big point is that it’s more affordable, but I’d have the same income. I’d miss the water and greenery, though. Oh well, no place is perfect.

    BTW, it’s a good job, and stock options vesting over the next couple years will speed up my financial independence by a couple years or so. I’m still new at this (I’m writing this on an iPad, so I obviously have a ways to go), but evaluating expenses by how much they will delay financial independence has been enlightening. I wish I had discovered this much earlier (I just turned 40), but at least I’m on my way now.

    Reply
  • Kat June 9, 2014, 6:11 pm

    I am writing from the year 2014. By the way, the future is amazing!!
    I just wanted to give a little shout out to Los Angeles, even though I’m sure most people would assume it doesn’t belong anywhere near a financially responsible blog such as this one.
    But here’s the thing: Los Angeles is a million different things in one city! I live near the ocean in a very quiet, neighborhood-y and affordable type area. But I am only a bike ride away from the streets of Hollywood where I can share the sidewalk with investment bankers, prostitutes, newly arrived immigrants, people of every race and religion speaking an impossible number of languages, with an endless smorgasborg of values, backgrounds, education levels, and interests.
    I really related when you described the benefits of your town, MMM, but was confused as to why you would only want to live near other educated and industrious individuals who are very similar to yourself. How far do you have to travel to meet people who are nothing like you?
    By the way, I’m only up to this post, so if you’ve moved in the past 3 years, please forgive my outdatedness. By the way, I LOVE this blog. I have felt light and life has seemed full of possibilities ever since I discovered it.

    Reply
  • sinc July 28, 2014, 4:49 pm

    Come to Victoria! As you know we have a temperate climate (thanks to warm Japanese currents) and outdoor pursuits such as Kayaking, Cycling, and Hiking are readily available year round. Greater Victoria is also of sufficient size (Population 330,000) to offer a good selection of restaurants, theaters etc.

    PS – Really enjoy your blog!

    Reply
  • Melanie Wagar October 10, 2014, 1:45 pm

    Thanks for the shoutout to East Coast Canada! My parents are currently living in a 3-bedroom beauty right on the atlantic ocean, with hours of hiking trails streaming from the woods in their back yard. The price? 130,000! More people should take advantage of it for sure, so great post.

    Reply
    • Marcie December 21, 2014, 5:22 pm

      I live on the East Coast of Canada and only paid $105,000 for my home in 2009. The winters are tough but adventuresome in a way and make you appreciate the more pleasant times of year I think . I run, bike, and hike along the ocean within kms oft home weekly. The population is under 100,000 in my city and my family lives here.

      Reply
  • Andrea November 3, 2014, 9:56 pm

    I am VERY late to the MMM party, but I have been binge reading all the posts starting at the first one for exactly a week now every chance I get (I made it 5 months in, so I’m giving myself a gold star). I have a new goal to retire by 35 (I am 24 now), and I am super pumped about it.

    I was born and raised in Albuquerque (which doesn’t have palm trees, by the way, but you can’t beat the blue sky or the views). I moved to St. Augustine, Florida, for grad school almost 2 years ago (Jan 2013), to get my Masters in Occupational Therapy. In June 2014, I started 6 months of clinical rotations (Fieldwork) and used the opportunity to MOVE, instead of staying in the north Florida area like so many classmates opted to do.

    I lived in Fort Worth, TX, for the hottest three months of the year (worth it to live with friends and experience something new) and in September 2014 moved to San Marcos, CA, one of those not-distinct cities in the vast city-after-city-city-city-city north of San Diego. Each Fieldwork stint is only for 3 months, but it’s been really eye-opening experience to learn not only about cost of living in different places, but also myself. Hell, I moved across the entire country. You’re right Mr. Money Mustache, it’s very easy to move when you’re young and single! Everything I own fits in my car (a 2002 wagon I bought with cash in 2012).

    Albuquerque reigns supreme on the cost of living front, and I have accepted a job to move back home to Albuquerque once I graduate next month. I plan to bike to work as much as possible, enjoy fresh local produce, the mountains, green chile, and of course, my friends and parents. I guess I will be one of those people who lives close to where she grew up, but not because I never experienced anything else. Because I did move (soon to be 4 times in less than 2 years) and it was AWESOME! Going home for at least a little while should be awesome, too.

    Reply
  • daniel February 24, 2015, 7:49 am

    I’ll tell you why I am still in Tucson after ten years.
    I’m stuck here! I can barely earn enough to live in a decent place,and I can’t afford to save up enough to get the hell out? I ‘like many who have come here over the last three decades am an economic hostage. The most tight fisted employers on the planet. Despite years of experience in my field,they won’t pay me any better than some wet eared rookie. Your chances of your boss ever voluntarily offering you a raise as a reward for a job well done,no matter how long you’ve been on the job,no matter how reliable,skilled and productive you are are ZERO. If you finally are forced to humiliate yourself and beg for a raise,(which no good worker should EVER have to do) You will likely be fired for your audacity. The cost of living here,in proportion to the pathetic wage scale is double that of the city of Chicago.
    You can’t market yourself into a better paying job,because they don’t exist. Business owners,even those in direct competition with each other,conspire tokepp wages artificially low.(‘I won’t hire away your good people by offering more money if you don’t) They call it ‘competitive wages” I would not recommend this city to my worst enemy.
    Finally after ten years of working two jobs,I have saved enough to go home to New Hampshire,and blow this backwater. I will miss it not,and I have no doubt that the neighbors I have lived next door to for the entire ten years,who won’t even wave at me much less say ‘good morning’ won’t even know I’m gone.

    Reply
    • Eldred February 24, 2015, 9:55 am

      I’ve heard similar things about Arizona before. It’s a great place to RETIRE, assuming you already have savings built up. But the cost of living is too high for the existing wages. So how is that even sustainable? Do many of the people who work in AZ commute from another state?!? I’d think that either the COL would drop or the wages increase…

      Reply
  • Andy April 5, 2015, 7:52 am

    I started at post #1 and am working my way through all of them. I’m here and thought this was a good place to pop the ol’…you know what with my first comment, since this is kinda where I am with life right now. I’ll be 38 next month and work as an accountant making $65,000, but have a 45 minute drive (each way) for work. I live in Michigan where the cost of living is very low. I have a mortgage with about $112,000 remaining and live a pretty low cost lifestyle. I also have the gf living with me, but she only makes about $10,000 as she works part time while finishing her degree. We’re seriously considering moving to Washington state. My best friend lives in Bothell, so likely there or around there. We go there to visit at least once a year and absolutely love it! I’m a vegetarian and we both work out regularly, so we both like the state seems to embrace high quality foods/farmers markets and active lifestyles much more than in Michigan. I also hate the dreadful winters here, and the summers are often too humid to enjoy as well. So despite “all the rain” people talk about there, I like to think I could hack it considering there is no extreme hot or cold there. The job market there is also crazy good compared to what we have to choose from in Michigan, one reason I took a job so far away (which I seriously regret now after having facts here put in front of me). I basically only have two things that still concern me about doing it. One, a lifetime of friends and family are here with me in Michigan. I have a feeling it’s much easier for me to say moving clear across the country is a great idea since I haven’t actually done it and faced leaving everybody here. Ya know, the fantasy is much easier to fantasize about when it’s just a fantasy. But, my friend there has twin three year old boys that I absolutely adore and want to see grow up and be involved in their lives; not to mention I want to see and be with my best friend more than once or twice a year. And second, the cost of living/housing is INSANE compared to what I have here. I’m worried about pulling off this early retirement thing if I eventually have a $350,000 home versus my $100,000+ home. I just think my quality of life will be much better there. I love the mountains, and the ocean is a drive away, and they are much more into “green” and healthy lifestyles in Washington, which are all important to me. Perhaps someone who has done something similar or just have their 2 cents in general can chime in for me. Thanks!!

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  • Alex April 24, 2015, 1:59 pm

    I am not sure how accurate this device is, but I came across this “Cost of Living” calculator on Nerd Wallet which helps determine how reasonable a move from city A to city B is for your income/situation, or what you would need or gain from the move. As someone who has committed to spending the next 2 years scraping by in NYC as a grad student, I am having fun planning my escape by plugging in various cities across the US for as soon as a graduate!

    http://www.nerdwallet.com/cost-of-living-calculator/

    Reply
  • Mark May 5, 2015, 8:54 am

    Another benefit of moving: what if you discover that you REALLY liked the place (and job) you left? And this doesn’t have to pertain exclusively to the “…young, fresh out of college, and with no kids” audience you mentioned.

    At 54 I was getting settled…perhaps too much so, and accepted a job in Daytona Beach. In a surprisingly Mustachian move, I noticed that rental prices got less expensive…THE CLOSER YOU GOT TO THE BEACH/ATLANTIC OCEAN! This is a factor of older, clustered houses and minimum wage jobs in the (mostly service industry) positions. So I landed a small $600/mo. house one block from a public beach entrance within easy walking/biking distance to all sorts of activities, restaurants and bars. (Yes, mostly tourist traps, but kind and inexpen$ive to locals.)

    After three years, I regretted the decision, and returned to my previous employer – at a significant wage increase. :) At that time the tenant in my free & clear home was moving to Orlando, so my living expenses dramatically decreased, my take home pay (maxing out retirement accounts…50+ catch-up) still increased and my ‘Stash started growing like a weed in May! Most importantly, I now know EXACTLY where I want to live and retire, and can plan accordingly without second guessing myself.

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  • Todd S September 6, 2015, 12:56 am

    Boulder has changed a lot since 2011, a bit more expensive and eclectic; beautiful place still. Any suggestions on locales these days? September 2015?

    Reply
  • JB September 6, 2015, 12:31 pm

    My husband and I have been seriously contemplating a move to Colorado. We are both unhappy w our jobs, we live in NJ and pay over $7000 in property taxes for a $200k house. We want to go somewhere w more outdoor activities, nice weather, nice scenery, less cost of living expenses, and pleasant people.Our only thing holding us back is our family because we have 3 little kids (5, 3, 1). we are close with our family so we are a little scared of taking the plunge.

    Reply
  • PatrickCW February 17, 2016, 3:27 am

    Great article. Having lived in Fort Collins for 5 years and NYC for 13 (not consecutively: junior high – university and then 3 year stint after having moved all over the country), I can sum up NYC vs. somewhere like the Mountain West thus: You can do yoga in a tranquil studio that smells like jasmine or in an NYC subway tunnel that smells not quite like jasmine, but it’s much easier to be happy doing yoga in the former.

    Reply
  • Eric March 22, 2016, 3:42 pm

    I live in Vancouver, BC, and I can’t wait to move away. Average detached house prices are a little over $1,000,000 now, even 20 miles out into the suburbs. Developers are pretty much taking over the city, tearing down perfectly good houses to put in the biggest, most expensive houses allowable by law, which drives up the cost of housing even more (and creates a bunch of uselessly big, wasteful houses). Also, rental unit availability is extremely low. Pretty soon, the only people who will be able to afford this city are doctors, lawyers, and CEOs.

    I agree with MMM that cities with a population between 50,000 and 200,000 are very attractive: they tend to have a very reasonable cost of living, and I generally like the atmosphere of a small city like that. Big cities are just too hectic for me. Unfortunately, small cities tend to not have as many good jobs available.

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  • Vee M April 26, 2016, 8:50 am

    MMM, first off – thank you for this blog. It’s been a welcome presence in my mindless morning commute on transit. It also gives me hope that I will dig myself out of my law-school debt trench, achieve financial independence and maybe even retire early. I think your comments about choosing the best place to live are especially smart. I have always had the wanderlust to travel and live in different places. During my undergrad I did an exchange in Copenhagen, which was and still is one of my most favourite experiences. After university I did an 8 week trip in Europe (which was amazing) and I’m still convinced I would be happy in Europe. I returned in September 2008 to a job in banking on Bay Street at the peak of the credit crisis. Fortunately I held onto my job and went on to earn very good income for several years ($65k in my first year and $125k the year I quit at age 24). I maxed out my savings programs at work and invested some of that money (and a bit I inherited) to buy my first condo. After several years working in corporate-land, I decided that I was ready for a new, more fulfilling challenge and decided to apply to law school. I also knew I wanted to go out west (to Vancouver, “lotus land”). After I was accepted, I took the summer off before school and traveled South East Asia. After my first few months in Vancouver I was hooked. The change of scene was invigorating and the more earthly culture was a better fit for me. I was fortunate too that from a financial perspective, I could afford to pay, with cash saved, my entire first year of law school ($12,000k tuition plus $800/month rent plus living costs, books, beer, etc). I had a wonderful 4 years in Vancouver making new friends, having new experiences, and enjoying a new way of live (more work-life balance and enjoyment of the he good ol’ outdoors (hiking, running, cycling, beaching). It was wonderful. After my articling year (mandatory in Canada after law school) I decided to head back to Toronto because I missed my family, and the bright-lights/energy of Toronto. It was tough when I came back. I was now in debt (about $47k – I paid off about $10k during my articling year by stretching my $50k salary with lowered expenses) and unemployed. Despite a stellar resume and grades, there were very few jobs for new lawyers. I networked my tail off and found a great job in 2 months with a new firm that promised a decent starting salary ($90k) and offered good opportunities. Unfortunately the job was delayed many times and I had to find contract work to help pay my expenses and make some debt repayments (Employment Insurance here pays about $2000/month gross, but with housing costs of about $1,450/month it’s not a lot of money). Now I’m happily embedded in my career, committed to paying off my debt as soon as possible, especially since I’m planning to get married to my B.C. boyfriend in another year or so. It’s sometimes tough thinking about how well I was doing before financially, which I kind of threw away to start all over again. I know I made the right decision but I wish I was further along financially at this point in my life (I’m overall net positive with all my assets less my liabilities, and I remind myself that’s a lot better than the average person perhaps). My boyfriend and I both have strong income potential so I know we’ll make enough money but I fully agree with your approach in cutting out the excess expenses, living a modest life and saving for the future (whether that be early retirement, or the comfort of knowing you have a healthy nest egg stashed away). It’s also nice to enjoy a life a bit more when the kiddies come. While I don’t know where I will live in the future, I am drawn to your idea of a smaller, more person-friendly city. Being from Ontario, I can’t say that any of our smaller cities appeal to me – though I’ve heard Ottawa is very liveable and much more affordable than Toronto – but their winters are horrible :( . I’m more interested in Victoria, Nanaimo, Kelowna or Kamloops (but don’t tell my parents because I don’t think they will be happy if I leave again). I just wanted to share my thoughts with the MMM community and say thanks for your blog. It’s a big help to me and a great motivator in my life. And thanks for your Canadian content! -Vee

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  • Paige June 23, 2016, 10:26 pm

    I love this whole concept. My husband and I worked really hard and lived very simply in order to move out of the country. We have two young kids and we now live in beautiful Guanajuato, Mexico. It’s an enchanting city that’s completely walkable with gorgeous architecture, incredible quality of life and its insanely cheap. It’s so cheap that we both work less than 10 hours a week while there. Our children attend an incredible Montessori school for less than $150 each per month. Our time is spent with family, friends and volunteering. Once a year we come back to the States to work for a couple of months and visit family. Our life is soooo good. It baffles me when we return to our hometown and see our friends still living their 9-5 existence.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache June 24, 2016, 4:01 pm

      Wow Paige! I’d love to hear more of your story since I often think about living in Mexico someday myself. If you’re in the actual city of Guanajato, that looks pretty wild, judging by the Google street view tour I just took :)

      Reply
  • Mags June 25, 2016, 12:18 pm

    I’m a born and raised Victoria native and I love my city with it’s walkability, beautiful ocean/mountain views and endless options for outdoor activities! I’ve travelled a fair amount and lived short times in different places around the world but it always makes me appreciate my hometown more. House prices are getting ridiculous, almost as bad as Vancouver, but the Canadian house market has to crash at some point right?

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  • Be September 27, 2016, 1:27 pm

    I miss New Zealand. I lived in Wellington for my first 26 years of life but downgraded to the USA to be with my husband. I’m still hoping I can return some day. No one seems to understand why we live in the USA rather than NZ – Americans and Kiwis alike ask us why we made such a strange choice. But, for now, needs must.

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  • Rick September 28, 2016, 12:17 am

    Stumbled upon this old post. It’s dear to my heart. Fell in love with NW on first trip in 1974. Finally made the move in 1983. Left my childhood home and family in San Diego. My girlfriend, eventually and still wife, moved with me to Seattle. Missed our families (especially during the raising of our son), but we never looked back because we always felt this is where we belonged. Now we’re old, our son is grown, and we are retired. Unfortunately, it took us until we were 59. But, we were DINC’s (dual income no child), weekend warriors, embracing the outdoor culture, until our late 30’s when we finally got around to having a child. Working two jobs, we saved up our money, read “Your Money or Your Life” when it came out and set some goals. When our son came along I was able to cut back my work 24 hours a week and, working evenings, we needed very limited childcare. Now he’s done with college with zero debt and we are retired. We can’t believe (and sometimes, wonder) how we made the decision to follow our hearts. But now we just sit and look at each other and are grateful for making that move 33 years ago and marvel how it all turned out. So I’ll tell you what I (reluctantly–I don’t want him to move away) tell my 22 year old son: Follow your heart. If you feel the need to find that place, if you can give up being close to your family (make no mistake, that is a huge sacrifice), then you might find just what you want…what was meant to be.

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  • Erica November 20, 2016, 11:10 pm

    My partner and I have spent a great deal of time discussing this. We currently live in AZ, although he is originally from the East Coast. I am a 4th generation Phoenician. As a child I dreamed of escaping and a full ride to a college in NY helped this dream. But four years of moldy smelling rain and six foot snow storms was enough to satisfy my desire for seasons and I took the first opportunity i had to come back to my hometown desert.

    The greater Phoenix area is still a very affordable place to live. Some of the most beautiful houses are the oldest ones, built on slightly larger properties than the more modern mcmansions. They are also often the cheapest as well. We’re actually checking out a classic 1940s ranch home with full shag carpeting and avocado green cabinetry. Asking price is $120k for the 3 bed 2 bath time warp house.

    A few years back we were named the worst city for bikers, and have since instituted numerous changes to become more friendly. We can also basically live off of solar power forever, which is a huge win.

    My dream is an affordable fixer upper with a dead pool that I can convert into a badass greenhouses and live pretty much off grid in the city. Only with internet.

    Reply
  • SLO Will February 26, 2017, 11:06 am

    Anyone to comment on their experience on tradition rental vs AirBNB Hosting? We have two houses in the SF Bay Area, we are already renting one and want to move to cheaper area and rent the other.

    My question: Traditional Rent vs AirBNB
    *Traditional Rent – One (current rental) house could get $3500/mo rent (mort, tax, insur) is $2200. Our primary could be $5000/mo rent and (mort, tax, insu) is $2400. Gross inc – $8500 (I have 18 years experience renting this property and have had good tenants and bad ones)
    *AirBNB – Based upon comparables, our current rental house should be $300/night. Our primary (which is very well located) should yield $500/night. So at 50% occupancy, the gross inc would be $12,000. But I know we would have to pay for cleaning service and yard service.

    I know the AirBNB route is more labor intensive and time consuming. But the potential extra $2-3k a month would allow me reduce my worklaod (I’m self-employed). I am handy with tools and construction and have stayed in AirBNBs 10+ times. We would move out of the area to someplace cheaper but be within 4 hours of returning in case there is a problem. I also have local support network who could help me and know there are AirBNB Host services I can use too.

    Does anyone have actual AirBNB hosting experience who could recommend one path over the other? So far there are no AirBNB restrictions, nor hotel taxes in our community yet ( I would just collect the extra tax if there was).

    Is there something I am not seeing?

    Reply
  • Jeff March 15, 2017, 7:36 am

    I’m a native of Oregon that moved to upstate New York. I find it funny that you describe NY as unremarkable and expensive and praise Portland. I used to live in rural Oregon. Moving to Portland would have cost me an easy $15K extra a year in real estate, property taxes, fuel, and miscellaneous expenses. It is beautiful, but it’s not without its problems, and I would not consider it cheap. Oregon also doesn’t fund its schools so my son’s 7th-grade chemistry class had 40 students. I moved to the Albany area one and a half years ago. The property taxes are higher, but in general, my cost of living is pretty much on par with rural Oregon. There is a great tech scene here. The schools are much better. I drive home through the countryside. There are lots of places to be in nature. New York gets a very bum rap because everybody thinks the whole state is NYC. It is not and for the moment is a nearly ideal place for my family to live.

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  • Phil June 19, 2017, 1:54 am

    I freaking love your website. My brother told me about your website on a recent holiday to visit me in Canada. I am a Brit, who like so many others, has moved from the UK to Canada and never wants to leave. I live in Vancouver, BC and absolutely love it here. The housing prices are bonkers, the cost of living not cheap, the wages reasonable but I still love it.
    I totally want to live in the way you describe through your blog. I will freely admit I have indulged too much over the years, mainly in dining out and drinking too much alcohol. My most recent indulgence is moving into my own studio. For this I have drastically cut back my drinking, eating out, generally flitting away money and am focusing on writing my first book. Yes, the money I spend on my studio I could save another $100 per month on rent and live with someone but for the mental clarity, happiness, general sense of self-worth and overall quality of life I am much more prepared to cut down other areas of my life drastically not only to enjoy this expense (FYI I turned 30 9 days ago and it is the first time I have lived on my own and I cannot put into word how happy I am) but also I am hell bent on sorting my crap out and getting out of the financial paycheque to paycheque lifestyle I have been living for far too long.
    Please do not stop writing and keep posting such useful information. It is going in and I thoroughly enjoy reading it and now implementing it. I was only told about your blog 4 days ago and I have already read over 35 posts, including this one. If you could see my tab bar at the moment I have another 12 posts lined up to read. I am rapidly becoming a MMM convert. Also note I do not own a car, I take advantage of benefits through my workplace and have moved from one area to another where I more than save the $100 extra I pay in rent on cost of living for groceries and commuting.

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  • Alyn July 12, 2017, 6:11 pm

    This reminds me of a favorite article from The Tightwad Gazette books where she made a chart of median house cost v. Median salary and divided to get a ratio for each state.

    Grew up in AZ. Miss mountains. Have lived in SLC, soCal, Lincoln NE, Columbia MO, Athens GA, and now SC.

    My husband is an academic, and applied for jobs in probably 20 states over a 4 year period. So I’ve done a fair share of locations research. If I couldn’t find any houses that looked affordable, I didn’t want to apply to that place. And I don’t like winter.
    He loves the Midwest. Even though it’s not easy having my kids so far from extended family, I’m thankful for a nice town and low cost of living…Although we hoped to live in the west, within 12 he drive of AZ, this is a nice town to raise our children.

    I dream of retiring to mountains. I hope we can afford someplace with irrigation for my gardening hubby in AZ, southern UT, or CO.

    Reply
  • MJII September 6, 2017, 11:49 am

    Great article!!

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  • Raegan Mae October 10, 2017, 12:57 pm

    I love this article because moving can be such a great idea. My ideas about it are a bit different from most though probably because of my upbringing.
    I was born in Alberta and had moved for the first time when I was six months old to New Jersey. New Jersey is much as MMM describes it and we moved again by the time I was 11 to Pennsylvania. First we lived in town and later on a 10 acre ‘farm’.
    I went to school in Ontario (I am a dual citizen [Guelph]) and I had my first job in Montreal (cool trivia: they get lots of ice storms there [even a mountain bike is very unsafe on an icy road][a pitcher of warm water can be the key to entering your car]).
    When I met the man who would become my husband he stated that he would never move out of the area (in which he was born). Things change and I am pretty convincing. We moved to Wyoming last year. We did lots of research regarding where to move. As MMM said, Canada is just not a great option for a working person, the income is too low and the taxes are too high (although retirement and the old age allowance sounds pretty nice there). We decided on Wyoming as it had the climate and earning potential we were looking for. We are snowkiters and the winter weather and wind make for perfect conditions for our recreation. I’m in healthcare and due to its rural nature, it seems that Wyoming is willing to pay a premium for my services. My husband was working as a mechanical engineer at a power nuclear plant in PA and he moved out here w/o a job. He quickly attained a position at a local whiskey distillery (which is apparently much more fun than the nuke plant).
    There are two things that I don’t like about where we are now living. First, we are too far from an airport-6 hours. (I’m hoping this may be resolved in a few years with driverless cars.) Secondly, there are no good contractors. We do most of our own work, but when we needed a mason to do some block work we were SOL. Thank god for youtube, time to acquire new skills (mason for him, hod carrier for me).
    I’m not sure we’ll stay here permanently, but we have other options besides moving. I have a really neat job, I’m a Speech-Language Pathologist. There are always travel positions available and we live in a tourist destination. One idea is to go for a three month travel position and rent our place out on airbnb for the summer. Oh and the rate of pay for these positions is even higher than my current rate.
    I just think that moving can be such a great opportunity for people and if you do the research you can find something perfect for you.

    Reply
  • Call Me Cheap January 16, 2018, 9:38 pm

    For someone who really wants to make hardcore steps to FI, try widening your search to include working overseas, not just in continental America. This is especially true for the professional class.

    Having lived in Asia for nearly a decade, it is a great spot to grow your moustache.

    I’ve seen three basic sorts come through here:
    1) Younger people looking for adventure and travel opportunities who will take a job for a year or two in order to fund their travels. Cool way to see the world on the cheap.
    2) An assortment of loners and losers who are either running from something or looking for something. These stories often don’t end well.
    3) People with professional skills. This is the class to be in if you are looking to hit early retirement – if you don’t fall into some of the money traps.

    For example, in Canada I could make $50k-$60k in my communications job. It’s a fair enough standard of living. But here in China, in order to attract people to move overseas, they have to offer more than the going rate, so I can make about $70k. In addition, income taxes are about half, so add another $10k saved. Plus, I get free accommodation (including utilities) within walking distance of work. So no rent/commuting fees. That adds another, say, $20k in pretax income, if not more.

    Conclusion: I am getting about double the real salary for the same work just by flying across the Pacific.

    (Note: Many expat packages are even juicier than that, if you have good professional skills that are in demand)

    The secret to really racking up your bank account overseas is to live like a local, not an expat. Since most expats (except students and people teaching English under the table) make better money than the locals, businesses and people looking to make a quick buck see them as walking dollar signs.
    This is where frugal muscles need to be flexed:

    DON’T go to restaurants in the areas expats frequent, where you can get “ribs the way they make them back home for only $30.”
    DO go to the wonton shop around the corner for a large $3 bowl.
    DON’T drink in the expat bars for $7 a beer.
    DO buy your alcohol at 7-11 for 50 cents.
    DON’T go to massage parlors and spas.
    DO find a mate – especially a local one who can negotiate lower prices at the vegetable market.
    DON’T buy a car. Are you frickin’ kidding? Did you notice the traffic jams? Where will you park?
    DO take public transportation. It’s faster and cheaper (50 cents for the subway, 10 cents for the bus.)
    DON’T go to the specialty western shops. They know you have money and price their goods accordingly.
    DO broaden your horizons. Buy local.

    By following such frugal principles I was able to save 59.4% of my income last year. (Yes, I use a spreadsheet). Expenses included the birth of a child (not covered by workplace insurance) and overseas travel to visit family. My “discretionary” spending was on a few subscriptions that, if I cancelled would bring me up to 60.2%. But I feel that the social value of their publications makes is a valuable expenditure, like paying a bit more for organic food. I also meet once a week with a support group in a coffee shop (hard to believe how Starbucks gets away with $5 for regular coffee here, but people line up for it.)

    My largest single expenses now are family related. If I were single, however, and went cheapo extreme, I could probably hit an 80% savings rate.

    I have seen people spend years here with nothing to show for it but hangovers. Others, like some of the guys I hang with, are jumping into frugality and FI, and are starting to sock it away. They can see early retirement just down the road. It is great meeting and chatting with these sorts, who see the opportunities, rather than those who complain about how things are so different here and so squander a golden chance to hit ER.

    So take chance, spread your wings and really fly!

    Reply
    • MB September 3, 2019, 11:49 pm

      Have to second this!
      5 years in Shanghai on a decent expat package got us a long way to FI, before I even knew what that was. Paid a UK salary in £ but with +30% in allowances, accommodation on top, amazing health cover, and flights home every year. Think the lesson is to keep eyes open and jump when a chance comes along, and don’t let fear of the unknown get in the way.
      Also to add, as for most places in China, it was great for cycling! Both around the city and on longer adventures.
      We’ve now moved to the somewhat less lucrative Singapore (though tax is insanely low which helps), to get us close to family while the kids are young. Our only real dilemma is on schools as the International school my son’s at is amazing but around £20k a year.
      For our next step I think the question will be where is a good place for us if we are working in a more casual/part time manner or even not working at all – I’m assuming immigration difficulties will limit our options but need to look into this more.

      Reply
  • BV February 9, 2018, 4:52 pm

    I so wish I would have had this info in 2007 when I bought my condo straight out of college. Instead I bought in LA right before the recession and it’s been my ball and chain ever since! And now I’m finally going to sell it since it’s recovered, we are moving to colorado too! Wife & kids in tow! We actually were in longmont last year scoping the area out, but I think Louisville might be more our thing.

    Reply
  • Calvin February 14, 2018, 9:48 pm

    I have to plug my hometown of Edmond, a suburb of Oklahoma City. Very safe, low cost of living, great schools. Twenty minutes to downtown OKC to catch an NBA game, or twenty minutes to the middle of nowhere. It shows up in the best places to live surveys pretty regularly. Only downsides are the weather, hitting 100 degrees in July and 20s and below in winter, and the economy is not very diverse.

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  • G.D. October 31, 2018, 7:24 pm

    I love this article and website.
    The first ten years of our marriage (5 with children) were spent in NYC. Everything said is true: no quality of life (for us). We now live in a cute little town 25 minutes outside of Dayton OH. We live by a river, 300+ miles of paved bike trails, great public school, tons of cafes and restaurants, and a crazy low cost of living. Don’t knock the Midwest! We would not move anywhere else (except for maybe Mexico…gotta check out Guanajuato)

    Reply
  • Steve November 23, 2018, 9:41 am

    Hey there MMM,

    I’m new to the site and a bit late on commenting on this article but I’m going for it anyway. I am making my way through all your blog posts and finding them fun and interesting but I’m not done yet so please forgive me (and re-direct me?) if you’ve already answered a similar question.

    My wife and I are Canadian and are ~5 years from retirement (Fall 2023, woot woot!). The retirement plan is to be homeless for a couple years (i.e. see a bit of the world), then move to Las Vegas because we love the desert and it is so close to many of the places we enjoy visiting. My question is regarding semi-retirement options. You advocate taking occasional fun jobs and being self employed. This sounds appealing to me not only for interest, but also to make sure we don’t need to head back north with our tail between our legs if our investment income doesn’t quite cover our expenses.

    Just wondering about your experience with moving to the US. The plan is to stay in Calgary for the next 5 years because a) My wife recently graduated with a great job through a friend but does not have much experience yet, b) My company offered to pay for an MBA if I stay with them for a bit. c) Calgary is a pretty sweet place to live for now (we live close enough to run to work every day, lots to do within the city, not too far to the mountains when they call) – too bad about these long winters…

    I tell you this because we could move south earlier if it would make the retirement move easier. Do you think moving was much easier because you and Mrs. MM were both coming to full time employment? What was your citizenship status when you retired and started your business?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

    Reply
  • Jay January 17, 2019, 1:40 pm

    I have been reading from the beginning and waiting for a post like this. I live in a place with outrageous cost of living, but it’s the only place (even after working in many states and cities around the country) where my job pays me enough to allow my wife to stay home with our kid. So raising a family on my income while paying $3000 a month in rent, for a small, old house, and living with the other inflated prices that come with this city, it will take me a lot longer to get to retirement. But I consider it worth it so that my kid gets to have at least one parent home all the time.

    As a bonus our quality of life is awesome. I don’t hate my job, entertainment consists of hikes in the mountains near my home, and walks to the ocean.

    Reply
  • Cormac Friel March 26, 2019, 2:05 am

    We love this. We live in Leeds in the UK which is super cheap compared to London but with salaries of about 95% of what they are in the capital. We have been able to really build wealth here.

    My husband is a UK and Australian citizen and I am Irish so there is a wealth of countries to choose to live in. We decided to start a family in the UK because adoption is much better here than elsewhere and my husband is currently enjoying 11 months of fully paid parental leave. That is something you don’t get in many other places.

    We are now planning on moving to Melbourne to be near my in-laws, for help raising the boys (and because childcare there beats childcare in the UK by quite a margin) and then the world is our oyster. Perhaps we will then move to where I’m from in Ireland where cost of living is very low, or we could try retirement in Spain, Portugal or Malta. Who knows?

    We plan on obtaining UK, Irish and Australian citizenship for our two sons. It is the best gift (aside from a stable home), I think we’ll ever be able to gift them. Hopefully, we will bestow upon them some Mustachian ideals and then they can go and live and work wherever in the EU, UK, Aus or NZ suits their situations throughout their lives.

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