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Moving for quality of life

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  • Moving for quality of life

    My wife and I recently paid off our debts and anticipate starting our FIRE life in 4 years just before our son starts school. We currently live in the northeast and are tired of snow. I have a work contract that continues for 4 more years and should provide us the remainder of the money needed to hit our FI number. We are hoping to hear from others on locations that meet the following criteria:

    No Snow
    Low crime
    Average or better cost of living. Currently we are in a high cost area so even average will be a savings
    Good school and community
    Walkable and bikeable
    Easy access to outdoor activities like fishing and boating
    Within an hour of an ice hockey arena(this is my off ball one but as a mustachian i want to optimize without giving up ice hockey)

    Any help would be appreciated. Has anyone else made a move like this? Are others researching the same thing? We have been thinking about the Houston area but would prefer smaller town to big city.

  • #2
    Walkable and bike-able = definitely NOT Houston, unless maybe you're in/around Rice Village. The Woodlands has much of that, but it's a spread-out suburb about 45 min north of Houston.

    Basically nowhere in Texas is like this, mostly by virtue of being post-automobile cities with few natural barriers - very spread out. Most places down here make walking/biking and small town mutually exclusive.

    You might consider some of the areas on the edge of Austin, though property values have gotten somewhat ridiculous and are going up still. Def should look into it, but I'm not sure it'll tick all the boxes.


    • #3
      Charlotte or Raleigh/Durham NC come to mind.  I would say places like Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, and Prescott AZ but they might get too much snow.  Very difficult to find a location in the western half of the country (except California) that gets insignificant snowfall, yet doesn't feel like the inside of a furnace for 3-4 months of the year.


      • #4
        San Antonio is pretty spread out so isn't walkable but meets all of your other qualifications. Somewhere in North Carolina or Georgia would probably work as well.


        • #5
          Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, San Antonio, Tulsa


          • #6
            FL to NC coast line.

            Tampa, Jacksonville, West palm .

            Cali but cost maybe outside your limits if to get too coastal


            • #7
              Don't laugh.... Boise, ID

              4 seasons with some snow but typically mild winters
              Close access to outdoors. Great fishing. Lots of lakes/reservoirs for boating
              Good hockey programs
              Biking Mecca
              Lots of walking, biking paths (though not connected)
              Good schools
              Medium to low cost of living


              • #8
                I live in NYC metro area. I also had similar notions of "moving for quality of life." I embarked on a journey of traveling to multiple parts of the country (mentioned above) on the job interview trail. In the end, after much reflection and perspective, I realized that there truly is nothing like this area. Despite the snow, this is the best place in the country (IMHO).

                Hopefully, I don't change my mind again in a few years...


                • #9
                  I was thinking the Austin area ( New Braunfels maybe?) might fit the bill, but I have no idea if it has an ice rink.
                  I think the only downside of making a move like this, in retirement, is that you're leaving your whole support system behind. I'm not sure I'd want to do that. I more see myself moving somewhere for 6-12 months, to get the experience, but keeping our home to come back to. But who knows how I'll feel in 20 years!


                  • #10

                    Walkable and bike-able = definitely NOT Houston, unless maybe you’re in/around Rice Village. The Woodlands has much of that, but it’s a spread-out suburb about 45 min north of Houston.
                    Click to expand...

                    Agreed. I left Houston 5.5 years ago, but Rice Village and maybe some of the Montrose area may be somewhat walkable.  Houston would not be a great option for you despite no snow and low COL. (Food there is amazing!).

                    Are there places you've vacationed in the past that had some of these features (e.g. No snow as winter getaway, boating, etc.) that you absolutely loved? That may be a good place to start your search.


                    • #11
                      Startupdoc, interesting you say that as I am also in NYC suburbs and as much as this area has a lot of downsides (mostly related to cost of living, but also weather, traffic, bad roads etc) I too cannot see myself moving.  We do talk about it every now and then, but I guess after living close to NYC for a while it becomes difficult to move as you just have everything here.  Within an hour drive I can be at the beach or any restaurant in Manhattan or in the Hamptons... you name it.  But being close to friends and family and things you know is just so hard to beat more than anything else.


                      • #12
                        Are you looking for a dental friendly area i.e. not super saturated?


                        • #13
                          interesting that access to health care is not even on the list.

                          if small towns are preferable, i would think there are several in FL or TX that fit the bill.

                          if you don't mind tax implications, NC as stated.

                          the no snow thing really limits options



                          • #14
                            Columbus fits every one of your criteria, with the exception of the no snow requirement. Still, winters here are hit or miss; either it'll be really bad or insanely mild like last year. Otherwise, average to slightly below average cost of living, plenty of great parks for biking and walking (I'd recommend the Upper Arlington area personally, but there's plenty of other great suburbs), some of the best schools in the state, and plenty of lakes around for good fishing. Oh, and Blue Jacket games are awesome to go to.


                            • #15
                              Huntsville, AL has NCAA hockey and many of the features you're looking for.