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Packratona!
8-2-16, 12:15pm
I have been thinking a lot about this lately. Where is it easier to live a "simpler" life? Depending on how "the simple life" is being defined, of course. The automatic assumption is that the country wins over the city. Or another related question is, which is preferable after one reaches FI? Is it easier to manage financially after FI in a city, a small town, or the country? I know there is no right or wrong answer here. It is all related to one's preferences, comfort levels, leisure activities, skill and knowledge levels, etc. etc. Some on this site would never ever consider city life, and then some would be miserable in the country.
I also think it is instructive to get beyond all the emotion and look at cold hard numbers. I know that where I live, paid off house, no debt, own a car, good heath, we get along great under the poverty/no income tax level for 2 people Here we have access to public transportation and everything is close in. Our transportation costs would go up some if we lived in a rural place. Our housing should go down however because of lower property taxes. Food costs would go up also, because of less availability/competition. We could save some perhaps if we gardened, but there is a learning curve and setup costs required for that. And we may tire of doing that after a while.
Everything is a trade-off; this for that. I am wondering if any of you have any opinions, after becoming FI, about which type of environment is best for you? Rural, small town, mid-sized city, large city? Or even on the road/at sea? Permanent nomad wandering the world? All options. I can actually see the latter option being the cheapest.

razz
8-2-16, 12:50pm
May I suggest that you need some more info? At age 25-50, I have certain options living in the country - well water at minimal cost, garden for produce and meat, wood for heat, heat pump for cool, ease of comfort in a quiet setting living in one's own conservation area etc.

At age 50 plus, needs change. Some people leave making the change until it is too late and then are trapped in their rural dwellings requiring extra support that may be costly or even inaccessible. In my small town, I have minimal transit but some plus cabs, ready access within walking distance to all required services for a healthy person with healthcare services readily available, pay for water and natural gas heat and electrical AC, some garden produce but freeze locally available farm produce for the winter etc. I think it is a wash in the end as as one's needs change due to the impact of life's normal events. Been there, done both country and town living, love them both and content with the choices made but living simply.

SteveinMN
8-2-16, 9:06pm
I am -- unquestionably -- a city mouse. The kinds of things I like to do call for the population density of an urban area.

But DW and I have thought for some years about selling the house and just about all our stuff and putting ourselves on a cruise ship for years on end. See the world, have the room maintained for you, eat what you want when you want, meet interesting people, and even have a room steward who would peek in if no one had heard from us in a day or two. Since cruises can hit $100 a day if you shop carefully, we'd only be looking at around $40,000 income a year for all that. And if we could do something on board (play piano in a lounge, lead excursions, etc.), that would make it even easier financially.

JaneV2.0
8-2-16, 9:14pm
I'm a suburban rodent, dyed in the wool. All the perks of city living within a comfortable, leafy cocoon. Even better, now that I don't need to commute.

Jan Brett's Town Mouse, Country Mouse was one of my favorite children's books, btw. I do love a good illustrator!

LDAHL
8-3-16, 9:53am
I'm a suburban rodent, dyed in the wool. All the perks of city living within a comfortable, leafy cocoon. Even better, now that I don't need to commute.


I totally agree with you. I've never understood the condescension or outright hostility some people display toward the suburbs. Virtually all the conveniences are within ten minutes of my house. And if I feel the need to see an opera or get car-jacked, I can always drive into the city.

JaneV2.0
8-3-16, 10:31am
I totally agree with you. I've never understood the condescension or outright hostility some people display toward the suburbs. Virtually all the conveniences are within ten minutes of my house. And if I feel the need to see an opera or get car-jacked, I can always drive into the city.

I think it's the cheap developments that have sprung up like mushrooms in some suburbs--and maybe the lack of adequate mass transit that forces people into cars. Neither of those is a factor in my little first-ring suburb. And you're right--if I want crime or culture, it's only a bus ride away.

iris lilies
8-3-16, 10:47am
City all the way. while I do risk being mugged, the 'burbs lack architecture and an interesting built environment. It is blandland, thats why we do not like them. Sorry! The old close-in burbs with great old houses and downtown areas are too freaking expensive and hoity-toity for me.

I also like being less than ten minutes away from most theaters and knowing where to park, as an regular atendee, so that I can rush in the last minute. Two important venues are out in the 'burbs and I utilize them less often because of their impossible location.

Ultralight
8-3-16, 11:01am
I really want to live in a small town. The city and its amenities have worn thin for me. Though I do appreciate Indian Restaurants!

Living way out in the boonies often means too much driving!

But a small town...

LDAHL
8-3-16, 11:06am
City all the way. while I do risk being mugged, the 'burbs lack architecture and an interesting built environment. It is blandland, thats why we do not like them. Sorry! The old close-in burbs with great old houses and downtown areas are too freaking expensive and hoity-toity for me.

I also like being less than ten minutes away from most theaters and knowing where to park, as an regular atendee, so that I can rush in the last minute. Two important venues are out in the 'burbs and I utilize them less often because of their impossible location.

Maybe I'm a philistine, but I prefer my low-maintenance, low-murder Ranch to shackling myself to a demanding trophy-wife of a Victorian. A friend of mine owns a 110 year old Victorian in my little city, and he seems to be fighting a constant battle to keep the place up. Maybe I'll feel different when the nest is empty.

iris lilies
8-3-16, 11:13am
Maybe I'm a philistine, but I prefer my low-maintenance, low-murder Ranch to shackling myself to a demanding trophy-wife of a Victorian. A friend of mine owns a 110 year old Victorian in my little city, and he seems to be fighting a constant battle to keep the place up. Maybe I'll feel different when the nest is empty.
Oh no, if you dont love your architecture you shouldnt have architecture! Besides, those 60's ranches are becoming very trendy and may have reached the status of "architecture." I know that some of them are very wonderful.

LDAHL
8-3-16, 11:22am
Oh no, if you dont love your architecture you shouldnt have architecture! Besides, those 60's ranches are becoming very trendy and may have reached the status of "architecture." I know that some of them are very wonderful.

I'm waiting for "earth tones" and formica to come back into style. Then I'll sell out, stuff my cargo shorts with cash and move into a condo.

catherine
8-3-16, 11:35am
I'm waiting for "earth tones" and formica to come back into style. Then I'll sell out, stuff my cargo shorts with cash and move into a condo.

IL is right--I was helping my DD with her new apartment and "mid-century" furniture and accessories are very, very trendy. She LOVES the shapes of 50s/60s furnishings. So, next up: Harvest Gold and Avocado shag rugs! (But don't hold your breath)

iris lilies
8-3-16, 11:37am
I'm waiting for "earth tones" and formica to come back into style. Then I'll sell out, stuff my cargo shorts with cash and move into a condo.
Dude, if you have original orange formica on your brown cabinets in your 70's ranchette, you are a mere 3 years away from top of trend. For the hipsters, anyway.

LDAHL
8-3-16, 11:43am
Dude, if you have original orange formica on your brown cabinets in your 70's ranchette, you are a mere 3 years away from to,to trend. For the hipsters, anyway.

So all I need to do is live long enough for hipsters to become yupsters and IPO their artisanal cheese companies? I may start exercising!

Packratona!
8-3-16, 2:15pm
I am -- unquestionably -- a city mouse. The kinds of things I like to do call for the population density of an urban area.

But DW and I have thought for some years about selling the house and just about all our stuff and putting ourselves on a cruise ship for years on end. See the world, have the room maintained for you, eat what you want when you want, meet interesting people, and even have a room steward who would peek in if no one had heard from us in a day or two. Since cruises can hit $100 a day if you shop carefully, we'd only be looking at around $40,000 income a year for all that. And if we could do something on board (play piano in a lounge, lead excursions, etc.), that would make it even easier financially.

I think you could do a little better than $100 a day if you purchase one way cruises one direction, 90 day trip, when they have to get the boat back to home port. Then take a break until the next one starts, in some very cheap place to live. Could work. However the con is, getting rid of stuff you are attached to, and/or storing some or all of it which adds to the total cost of living. I personally would get sick of being on the boat all year...would rather just travel and live in several countries for 6 months or more at a time, that are pleasant and cheap places to live.

Packratona!
8-3-16, 2:18pm
I totally agree with you. I've never understood the condescension or outright hostility some people display toward the suburbs. Virtually all the conveniences are within ten minutes of my house. And if I feel the need to see an opera or get car-jacked, I can always drive into the city.

Or you could even see an opera AND get car-jacked. All on the same day!

LDAHL
8-3-16, 2:56pm
Or you could even see an opera AND get car-jacked. All on the same day!

If I got car-jacked before I paid for parking, that would be an added bonus.

JaneV2.0
8-3-16, 3:05pm
Or you could even see an opera AND get car-jacked. All on the same day!

It's more likely you could see an opera and have your car booted by some rip-off parking lot. Which would prevent it from being jacked!

I've lived in a (very) small town--picturesque but boring as a flotation tank (unless your hobby is gossip); a largish city--plenty to do, minimal crime at that time; and three suburbs. I've never lived in the country, and wouldn't, due to environmental concerns, lack of amenities, and perceived rural mentality. I could live in a city, but prefer slightly outlying areas. Very small towns and country living are non-starters, but I might consider a smallish town located not far from a metropolitan area, if it were attractive enough.

Gardenarian
8-3-16, 7:40pm
I live in a small city (22,000) surrounded by farms and wilderness. It's ideal for me. It has many of the amenities of a big city (theaters, shops, galleries, over 100 restaurants, lovely parks, lots of events and educational opportunities) without the crime, traffic, or noise of a big city.

University and/or tourist towns work for me (Ashland is both.) I can afford a comfortable house with a large garden within walking distance to downtown. And it is exceptionally bike friendly. House prices are going up really fast, though.

I also have a ranch house. We looked at a lot of beautiful Victorians but realized they don't suit the way we live. I love single-story living.

nswef
8-3-16, 7:55pm
I always thought I was a city person...44 years ago we bought this little wooden rancher about 30 minutes from a small town- 50,000 people now, but only 25,000 then. We both taught school in the town. We only have an acre but there are fields and woods around us as well as some houses. Not rural or suburban but "out in the county". Our road has a double yellow line....that to me means it's not rural! The thought of having to live with neighbors right next door makes me uncomfortable, but having a house in viewing distance is comforting. So, I guess I am a country mouse. I seldom go into the town. there is a fine smaller town about 10 minutes away that has a grocery store, library, bank, hair cutter- so that's where we tend to go more often.

jp1
8-3-16, 11:22pm
I've always been a city mouse. Currently we live with a light rail stop outside our door, Safeway, a mom n pop butcher and a veggie market all across the street, dry cleaner, bank, branch of world class library, restaurants all within a couple blocks. Yes our housing costs are way more but the simplicity of having everything so close is awesome. I don't necessarily need a yard. Maybe once we retire but for now that just sounds like more work to care for. My simplist lifestyle was the 250 sq foot apartment I lived in in NYC for 12 years. I was a 15 minute walk from work and the apartment was so small that I could clean the whole thing in no time.

That said, we don't own our apartment and although decently paid we don't work in tech or make tech level wages/bonuses so retiring here won't be an option. I'm with Gardenian on the idea of a college town. Many of the same benefits at a fraction of the housing cost.

ctg492
8-4-16, 6:32am
I have lived Out There, it was good at the time of life I was in. I have lived in the heart of the Small Town, I have lived in a Big City(hated). I am a small town USA girl 5,000 to 20,000 is good enough for me. One hour from big city is perfect if I want to go there. Township residence, yet close enough to bike to smaller city actually this is my main requirement. Townships have less restriction and goodness I hate too many rules! I like knowing neighbors are close enough if I need them, yet far enough that I can breath.

I have moved way to many times. I could live just about anyway If I had too. But since I have choices I choose the above>8)

printslicker
8-5-16, 1:48am
Hi, living in the city, I guess is quite difficulty everything is indeed expensive. My other relatives lives in the province and they don't spend too much unlike us here living in the city.

catherine
8-5-16, 7:42am
When we bought our first house I pegged myself as a "country mouse" because it was out in the boonies, dirt road, across the street from a horse farm, population in the low triple digits. At first I thought I was in heaven, but it became hell when I had to drive miles and miles for ANYTHING. If I forgot milk, 16 miles RT. If I had to bring my kids to soccer practice after a long day at work (60 RT), 28mi RT. To drive DH to the train station where he embarked on a daily 1.5 hour commute each way: 36 mi RT. When we moved to the Princeton area, I remember being ELATED at the cultural amenities available (And I'm talking regular small town amenities, not city amenities!)

I've always thought I would love to live in Manhattan, but that desire is gone now. I like big small town living, I think. The places I'm happiest in are towns with walkable main streets, with people that value community--places with front porches and book clubs and arts councils and lots of local business. Burlington VT is one of them, and so is Ocean Grove, NJ. Princeton is also one--and while way too expensive to live in, my short drive there makes it kind of the best of both worlds.

My own town was born of post-War suburban sprawl that took over the farmland, and no thought was put into a real "main street"--so what I really dislike about my town is its lack of a true center. You need a car to drive anywhere, and that "anywhere" is typically streets lined with strip malls.

And I write this while sitting here on vacation in Southern Vermont. We rented an unbelievably beautiful spot--it's a "hidden valley" of a house that is far from the nearest neighbor and overlooks a pond as well as Bromley Mountain, and it is so, so peaceful and beautiful I dread leaving.

So, I don't know if I'm country mouse or city mouse.

SteveinMN
8-5-16, 10:24am
I think you could do a little better than $100 a day if you purchase one way cruises one direction, 90 day trip, when they have to get the boat back to home port. Then take a break until the next one starts, in some very cheap place to live. Could work. However the con is, getting rid of stuff you are attached to, and/or storing some or all of it which adds to the total cost of living. I personally would get sick of being on the boat all year...would rather just travel and live in several countries for 6 months or more at a time, that are pleasant and cheap places to live.
For all the talk about architecture on this thread, while there are some more interesting cruise ships, almost all of the ones we've been on tend toward a standard established by middle-upper echelon hotels. Fortunately the scenery at each stop changes and we'd be able to counteract the bland with some of the finest architecture in the world. :)

In the long run, it might be something we'd do for maybe a year or so before we made a full decision to do it. We'd still want to be healthy enough to actually visit the ports of call; accessible accommodations are not as prevalent in some places as they are in the U.S. We did take a positioning cruise once and was worried about just what we would do with several days at sea. We downloaded ebooks and took some other activities with us; didn't need 'em. But cruising for several months in a row might just be a different animal. I think it would be fun to try!

Packratona!
8-8-16, 9:52am
From reading the replies to the post, it seems to me that the consensus is not rural or country, but rather, a town or city small or large are the preferred locations. Very instructive; how many here expected to see a lot of people vote for country/rural? I think in a forum dedicated to simple living, many would have expected way more persons who advocate a rural lifestyle. Didn't happen! For many very valid reasons, I think.

Alan
8-8-16, 10:41am
I think in a forum dedicated to simple living, many would have expected way more persons who advocate a rural lifestyle.
I'm one of them. I prefer suburbs over city and country over suburbs.
As I approach final retirement, I often find myself humming Paul McCartney's "Heart of the Country". I'd prefer to live so far out that I could run around naked all day without fear of scaring the neighbor kids, emasculating their fathers or attracting their mothers. At least one of those is possible in the suburbs.

JaneV2.0
8-8-16, 10:53am
Isn't a rural lifestyle anything but simple? It seems to me much more complicated--from getting supplies to attending to medical needs--let alone maintaining acreage. I guess it's all in how you define "simple."

CathyA
8-8-16, 1:14pm
Isn't a rural lifestyle anything but simple? It seems to me much more complicated--from getting supplies to attending to medical needs--let alone maintaining acreage. I guess it's all in how you define "simple."

That's absolutely true, Jane. We've lived out in the woods/country for about 35 years now. I think DH could live in town, but I would die. But it IS anything but simple. It's very hard, actually.

When my chickens were alive and I was on a chicken forum, I was talking to a fellow chicken guy who moved out to the country and was working to re-model his very old kitchen, and take care of various animals. He asked "This is simple living? I think simple living is living in a condo and eating out."
hahaha

Packratona!
8-9-16, 10:09pm
That's absolutely true, Jane. We've lived out in the woods/country for about 35 years now. I think DH could live in town, but I would die. But it IS anything but simple. It's very hard, actually.

When my chickens were alive and I was on a chicken forum, I was talking to a fellow chicken guy who moved out to the country and was working to re-model his very old kitchen, and take care of various animals. He asked "This is simple living? I think simple living is living in a condo and eating out."
hahaha

EXACTLY! I suspect that there are a number of persons on this forum who have never actually lived a rural life style. They have a romantic idea of it, but if they ever actually had to learn to survive in a very rural environment, they would have a tough time doing it without a significant stash of money and a paradigm shift, which is not easy. The issue is, they would not have the skills required, so would have to have some money to offset their limitations/handicaps. Those who can and do survive and thrive on a very low income in a rural environment, develop those skills over time. A lot of the skills are passed down from parents to children. Not something you can develop quickly. Also it takes money to invest in tools that are needed for survival in that environment. Of course, there is a continuum from very rural to major city. Which is why I am curious to hear what forum members have to say about it. I am hearing some fantasizing, and quite a few that say they prefer NOT country, but so far no one that is actually living a very rural lifestyle and that prefers it.

Alan
8-9-16, 10:19pm
I suspect that there are a number of persons on this forum who have never actually lived a rural life style. Or maybe we have and would like to try it again, without the poverty.
I'll trade poor country stories with you if you'd like.

iris lilies
8-9-16, 10:33pm
EXACTLY! I suspect that there are a number of persons on this forum who have never actually lived a rural life style. They have a romantic idea of it, but if they ever actually had to learn to survive in a very rural environment, they would have a tough time doing it without a significant stash of money and a paradigm shift, which is not easy. The issue is, they would not have the skills required, so would have to have some money to offset their limitations/handicaps. Those who can and do survive and thrive on a very low income in a rural environment, develop those skills over time. A lot of the skills are passed down from parents to children. Not something you can develop quickly. Also it takes money to invest in tools that are needed for survival in that environment. Of course, there is a continuum from very rural to major city. Which is why I am curious to hear what forum members have to say about it. I am hearing some fantasizing, and quite a few that say they prefer NOT country, but so far no one that is actually living a very rural lifestyle and that prefers it.
We could move from inner city urban to way out rural tomorrow and be fine because DH, ex-farm boy, knows how to do it all. And really, who says you have to raise animals and crops and vegetables and etc if in the country? It is all a choice. Seems to me that rural living could, at its simplest, involve only more driving and more mowing than living in the city.

But we wont move there because I don't wanna.

Packratona!
8-10-16, 4:32pm
Or maybe we have and would like to try it again, without the poverty.
I'll trade poor country stories with you if you'd like.

So the question being...what, pray tell, is stopping you?

Packratona!
8-10-16, 4:41pm
We could move from inner city urban to way out rural tomorrow and be fine because DH, ex-farm boy, knows how to do it all. And really, who says you have to raise animals and crops and vegetables and etc if in the country? It is all a choice. Seems to me that rural living could, at its simplest, involve only more driving and more mowing than living in the city.

But we wont move there because I don't wanna.

What I am gathering from this, is that it does not make sense to live some place that you would have to spend a lot of time and money while you lived there, to get to the OTHER environment (city or whatever). If the other place is calling you so much that you have to do that, then why own property and sleep at the other place (rural location or whatever)?
You could hire someone to do the mowing for you. Or even just let it all go wild and never mow. So you are back down to just more driving, "at it's simplest". But even with that, you could just hire someone to do the driving...Amish do it all the time.

Teacher Terry
8-10-16, 5:46pm
I have lived in a big city, medium sized towns and a town of 2k. The tiny town was only 5 minutes from a town of 20k so it was okay. I actually prefer a medium sized city. We lived in the burbs for 7 years and recently moved into town 4 years ago. I love that we can walk to many places. We have 2 cars that should last at least 14 more years and at that point when 1 dies we will probably just have 1 car. It will probably be cheaper to Uber it if one of us needs to then to maintain 2 cars. That would not be the case if we still lived in the burbs. I enjoy knowing our neighbors and talking to people when I walk the dog, etc.

iris lilies
8-10-16, 6:37pm
What I am gathering from this, is that it does not make sense to live some place that you would have to spend a lot of time and money while you lived there, to get to the OTHER environment (city or whatever). If the other place is calling you so much that you have to do that, then why own property and sleep at the other place (rural location or whatever)?
You could hire someone to do the mowing for you. Or even just let it all go wild and never mow. So you are back down to just more driving, "at it's simplest". But even with that, you could just hire someone to do the driving...Amish do it all the time.
Driving is time. My life energy time. Time spent in the car is a waste of my life energy and no, I will not hire a driver, that isnt practical for many reason although Uber may be changing that.

there are two things that appeal to me about rural living: 1) room to grow lots of iris and lilies 2) room and zoning to have to have goats and chickens and perhaps a milk cow and perhaps a pig and a beef cow.

Ultralight
8-10-16, 6:46pm
Driving is time. My life energy time. Time spent in the car is a waste of my life energy and no, I will not hire a driver, that isnt practical for many reason although Uber may be changing that.

Amen sistah!

Alan
8-10-16, 7:04pm
So the question being...what, pray tell, is stopping you?
Nothing. It's the first thing on my retirement bucket list.

Teacher Terry
8-10-16, 7:10pm
I hate to drive so living farther away is a PIA.

Packratona!
8-10-16, 8:23pm
I hate to drive so living farther away is a PIA.

I hear 'ya loud and clear!

artist
8-17-16, 9:08am
Isn't a rural lifestyle anything but simple? It seems to me much more complicated--from getting supplies to attending to medical needs--let alone maintaining acreage. I guess it's all in how you define "simple."

I've said this before and I truly believe this, simple living does not always mean easier. A major part of simple living for me personally is un-cluttering my life (my stuff, my calendar, my commitments, toxic relationships etc..) so that I can focus more on those things that really matter. Building worthwhile relationships, following my faith, serving others,mentoring, being involved in community, pursuing my passions and slowing down so that I am not being rushed by the day to day.

It takes longer to prepare meals from scratch. From planning the meal, gathering ingredients from the farmers market and local butcher, kneading the bread dough by hand and often times slow cooking everything. It takes time to grow my small vegetable garden and tend to weeds and pests that can get into it. It takes time to hang my clothes on the clothes line, rather than tossing them into a dryer, not to mention planning as I have to watch what the weather is doing. It takes time to live car light (meaning I will bike or walk if possible and minimize how often I take my car anywhere). So the two mile bike ride with panniers to the grocer takes longer, as does packing everything into the panniers. Yet each of these tasks adds to my life and makes it richer in some way.

It also takes time to budget and plan around a much smaller income, as I gave up working full time and went to part time so that I could live a more simple, less stressed, life. It means being creative in the kitchen, making my own cleaning supplies, taking time to repair clothing and home goods etc.

I should note that none of the above tasks take as much time as commuting five days a week and working 40+ not to mention the high the cost coming home exhausted, stressed or both.

As to where you live effecting how easy it will be to live a simple life. I feel that it doesn't really matter. You can live a simple life just about anywhere. The big city, trailer park, small town, suburb, boondocks. etc... Simple living is about attitude and making space and time to do those things to add value to your life. Each person is an individual and you need to examine what speaks to your soul. What gives you a sense of purpose and peace and work with that. If being surrounded by culture (theater, arts etc.) is your thing then perhaps a small apartment in a city is the best fit for you. If you find that being with people and an active part of your community enriches your life then maybe a small town is the better fit. Does doing your own thing and not needing to rely on anyone speak to your heart? Then maybe living off grid out in the middle of nowhere is the place for you. Each location has it's pros and cons and will result in a different picture of simple living being played out.

JMO

iris lilies
8-17-16, 10:13am
Artist, agree, simplicity can be found in any environment.

jp1
8-18-16, 12:17am
I also agree with Artist but would add that simplicity could mean something entirely different to someone who truly loves their work. I'm thinking of people like scientists working on a cure for cancer, or doctors who care passionately about helping their patients, but I suppose it could also apply to a business person who loves making deals or whoever else. For them maybe simplicity is hiring a maid and a cook and whoever with their salary that they get for doing what they love so that they can focus their life energy on their passion.