One of the biggest decisions we need to work out before our exit is where we will live. We live now in our work location, its nice, but not our early retirement dream. Our exit young location is intended to be a stable place to raise our daughter until she turns 18. After that, we could consider anywhere.
Proximity to our families is a limiting factor. We like our families (in-laws and all). We are all on the U.S. east coast and we are already farther than anyone would prefer. We agree that we don’t want to move any farther away from family so I’m only considering qualifying locations below.
We have a 1 year old daughter so she will be a big factor in where we go. My wife and I both went to public schools and turned out fine (she did anyway); We’ve decided our daughter will go to a public school. That makes quality of public schools a big factor to consider. I’m using greatschools.org to research schools. Its a concern that redistricting or other changes could have impacts down the road but we’ll keep an eye on surrounding schools when we buy and deal with changes as they come.
Other than those considerations, the calculation really balances on cost of living vs. “hominess”. A place can be super cheap but not feel like home. Or it can be an awesome place to live and quickly exceed our housing budget.
I’m going to grade for each the factors below. For this exercise we’ll go 5 highest, 1 lowest. We don’t know answers for many of the locations yet, so we’ll have to update as we visit some of these locations. If you have opinions on any of these locations please let me know in the comments below. Here goes…..
Stay (We’re still undercover so no exact location here) – Cost of Living 3, Schools 3, Hominess 4 = Aggregate 10
We could stay put. It is an option, but this location was chosen in large part due to its proximity to work. We like our house but its far more than we need for the 3 of us. We like our neighborhood but its missing some of the points we’d like in our next place including walkability. The schools rate ok, but by no means exciting. The traffic is pretty rugged, not LA, but not fun.
Small Move – Cost of Living 4, Schools 5, Hominess 4 = Aggregate 13
There are areas around here that address many of the concerns. Wouldn’t really change the proximity to family concern, but wouldn’t make it worse. Achievable improvements could include walkability, decreased property taxes and housing cost, better schools, and some improvement in traffic.
Bigger Moves (Best places to live on the east coast)
I have spent a lot of time lately reading up on the best places to retire. There is list after list you can look at but some locations that show up frequently and appear to hit the mark are:
Dover, Delaware – Cost of Living 4, Schools 3, Hominess ? = Aggregate ?
I was surprised about this one too. I’ve never been there and my knowledge of Delaware is summed up by the Simpsons. What I’ve seen is that the cost of living is quite low. Worth checking out.
Asheville, North Carolina – Cost of Living 2, Schools 4, Hominess 4 = Aggregate 9
I have been to Asheville. Its a very cool city with a neat vibe. A lot to do including great hiking, breweries, and restaurants. Concern here is cost of living which is higher than our current location by a good margin. I need to look more into the weather. I know the mountains make the summers cooler but how do the other seasons fare?
Pittsburg, Pennsylvania – Cost of Living 4, Schools 4, Hominess ? = Aggregate ?
Another location I’ve never been to and was surprised to see on the list. I’ve heard good things but I’m not sure about the winters and this may be more city than I’m interested in. Definitely would not run short of things to do. As with most cities, there are wide variations in the quality of schools depending on your neighborhood. We’ll have to visit.
Charlottesville, Virginia – Cost of Living 4, Schools 3, Hominess ? = Aggregate ?
Nice mix of small town meets stuff to do. I’m surprised by the weak school ratings in such a nice college town. I’ve only passed through so need to do some more research on Charlottesville.
Much more work to do and the location we choose may have a lot to do with what we envision doing for the 13 or so years in our early retirement phase.
If you have any ideas on locations on the east coast we should look into or thoughts on those listed let us know in the comments. We’ll revise this post over time.