This post continues the thread -a checklist based on a blog post by Penelope Trunk.
Trunk’s second item is, ” Live where people have as much money as you do.” That’s worth considering, especially if you have children.
When you buy the cheapest house on a wealthy block, your kids will have to deal with friends who can afford a lot of things you can’t provide. You’re putting them in the position of low-income children who get accepted to posh prep schools.At the same time, if you have kids, a wealthy neighborhood may have top public schools, saving you a bundle on private education.
IF kids aren’t a factor, I would pay attention to two things: housing and affordable leisure. If you are lucky enough to find ONE place you can afford in a high-priced city, you’d better be buying: you might never find another rental.
Wealthy cities often have lots of free or low-cost amenities: free or cheap entertainment, public transportation, good libraries and more. You’ll spend leisure time in well-maintained parks, even if your own backyard is small or non-existent. You’ll have more health insurance and health care options.
I know one woman who retired in Philadelphia on an income of $25,000 a year, plus a fairly small investment account. She lives comfortably on her own terms. True, she lives in a third-floor walkup with no pets. But her budget allows health insurance to supplement Medicare plus occasional moviess, live theatre concerts and cab rides. It’s easy and cheap to get to New York for a day.
Trunk coincludes that “ou need to have a little more money than your friends do in order to feel financially secure.” The link in her post refers to a study based on men playing a game in an experimental setting. According to the author of the article, the research “backs the idea that what people really strive for is relative rather than absolute prosperity.”
Prosperity isn’t the same as security.Financial security itself is subjective. I’ve said a million times, “Some people need to earn $300K a year to feel secure. Others sleep soundly when they don’t know where they’ll get funds to pay the mortgage.”
Additionally, the findings were associated with testosterone levels in males and the experiment was conducted on college students.
What would I say? Well, in any city you are likely to find people with a range of income levels and an even wider range of prosperity. With the increase in telecommuting and opportunities to earn money on the Internet, you’ll find wide disparity even in isolated small towns.
Making friends is a whole challenge in itself. Books have been written on the difficulty of establishing friendships in contemporary America -well beyond the scope of this post.
That brings me to Item #3 on Trunk’s checklist: Live where your friends are. If you’ve lived in a city or town awhile, you probably have friends, unless you’re a hermit. Proximity is a great predictor of friendship.
But I wouldn’t pay attention to aggregated statistical studies showing that you need a huge sum of money to equate happiness from interacting with friends.
Friends move and change. So will you.
I rarely recommend moving to be near friends or family. Once you move, the dynamics of your relationship will change. As you live in a place, your friendship network will grow and you will probably find people with whom you have more affinity. You won’t spend as much time with the people you knew originally.
Of course you’ll find exceptions. My friend “Nancy” moved to Seattle to be near her sister, “Carol.” She and her family stayed with Carol until they found their own home – less than a mile away. Nancy and Carol were always close and they’re still best friends.
Ultimately, I’d say, “It’s a good idea to move to a place where you’ve got friends. You may still keep the friends. But you may not see them often and you shouldn’t count on them to create your social network.”
My ebook on Relocation and Careers can be found at http://www.RelocationStrategy.com