Rethinking Where We Live

The events of the last few years changed the way we lived and worked and with the ever-increasing demand in the workforce for remote work, more and more people are thinking seriously about why they live where they live. For generations, people have congregated in particular places for family or work. But that paradigm is being questioned. Let’s look at some key factors why people might consider relocating if remote work is an option.

Cost of Living

In the past people would often shrug their shoulders when it came to cost of living in a given city. Relocation is difficult and at times traumatic, and even though the devil we know may cost more this year, it’s still a devil we know. While housing is often the most obvious consideration here, so are taxes (which also are known to increase).

Interestingly, because remote work is now a reality for so many more people, the cost of real estate has been disrupted nationwide. It’s no longer only inhabitants of big cities or vacation hubs that are feeling the ever-increasing cost of housing, but those in cities that used to be under the radar before 2020 but have now gotten a reputation as a nice place to live, drawing those in search of greener pastures.

On balance, however, those moving from big urban centers to lesser known tier two and three cities are often going to save a lot on housing and taxes.

Family and Friends

More than anything, this is the reason many of us don’t move. “My family’s all here,” isn’t just a statement of fact, it’s part of a system of roots that keeps us in a place. But, that statement only makes sense if you regularly spend time with your family.

Some have found that moving further away, sometimes to locations that are attractive or to homes that are much bigger and allow for hosting friends and family, that they spend more quality time with family and friends. Instead of taking them for granted, people can invest more in the time they spend with those they care about, and if you’re in a better frame of mind because you’re happier where you live, you’re going to be more present (and pleasant).

Unlike cost of living, this isn’t negotiable. It’s definitely a downside one has to accept if moving away.

Quality of Life

If you find yourself always heading to the mountains and you live in a flat state, or you love the beach but you live inland, there may be other factors besides cost of living that are pulling you elsewhere. Quality of life includes leisure activities and culture and food, but it also encompasses serious things like education and crime rates. And things that you can’t change, like weather.

Part of what has driven people away from traditional population centers have been big changes. “I don’t recognize my town anymore,” say those frustrated by crime, failures to deal with issues of homelessness and drug use, or challenges of illegal immigration. That may inspire some to stand their ground and fight. But for others, it makes more sense to leave.

Quality of life factors tend to loom large when considering a relocation, in part because it’s so much of what we look forward to when we’re not at work. But it’s also important to remember that some of these things will only be part-time in your life.

90% of Your Time

What’s not part-time is your spouse, your children, and your work. Those things, and the things that surround them, like school and chores and church and errands and sports, are going to take up 90% of your life. When thinking about where to live, the ease and joy of accomplishing this 90% should be your primary thought, not the excitement of living in the mountains or having great jazz spots nearby (as nice as those things are).

And remember that just because someone else has found a place to be great it doesn’t mean it will be a great fit for you too. Consider a scouting trip in the form of a one month workcation in a place. Such a trip won’t answer all your questions, but it can offer a much better answer than a weekend trip to the question of whether you can see yourself living someplace.

It’s an exciting time with choices our ancestors never had. Choose wisely.

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