For two months now Travis has been delighting the sidebar of my blog with lovely tweets, generally themed to money-related assessments of various places and activities. For my two month blog post, I gave him a list of everywhere we’ve been and asked him to compile some “top 5 favorite” and “top 5 worst”-type lists. When he didn’t share the same excitement as I did for ranking places we’ve been based off random personal preferences, I told him he should instead compare several cities we could potentially move to based on location, cost of living, weather, etc. He decided this was a much better option, as it gave him the opportunity to prove to me why we shouldn’t move back to California. I still don’t believe him though.
Regardless, here are the thoughts on living in various cities by Mr. Travis himself:
In visiting various cities over the past two months I’ve been trying to determine what I like in different cities. On a financial level it comes down to two basic things: what is the average cost of a 2 bedroom apartment, and how much does the state steal from your paycheck?
The next biggest factor for me anyway is the weather. I don’t like the cold, but surprisingly the “perfect” Southern California weather drives me nuts. I like a nice thunderstorm and downpour every once in a while. Bright and sunny all the time is the equivalent of that person who’s just too happy and energetic (think the waiter in Office Space who works at Chochskies). So as far as weather goes I actually prefer the South East. I guess I can ask what would it be worth to avoid cold. $100/month? Maybe. And a little weather here and there, another $50?
I find I like living near the water. Mostly for the opportunity to go sailing, which I would value at $200/month.
One thing I’ve found on this trip as far as the feel and ambiance of a place I like something with a little historical value. I like Old Town Savannah and Charleston, Montreal & Quebec. I think living in a historical building/area would be worth adding about $100/month to rent.
Another aspect that would be good to have is a city with a decent public transportation system. I would place a pretty high value on doing away with driving everywhere. Avoiding gas wear and tear on a car each month would be worth about $300/month.
The chart below sums up the above Costs (Rent & Taxes) and subtracts the benefits of each place to come up the total cost.
For the tax rate I assumed an income of $60,000 per year.
The cost of living in Southern California is twice what it is in Dallas. Even factoring in better weather and being near the ocean. So it’s worth living in Southern California over Dallas if I can find a job which nets about $11,000 more per year. Of course to net $11,000 more the base pay has to be about $22,000 more per year since over $60,000, Social security, income taxes & state taxes steals your paycheck to be used by Bank of Benanke, Obama Motors & maintaining nuclear arsenals.
In the end it comes down to where jobs are to be found and how much it pays. Without a bunch of job offers it does not really matter where the best place is to live.
I still think we’ll end up in California ^.^