One of the big advantages of living the FIRE life is that you can live basically anywhere you want to. We moved from Houston to Portland and approached our move in a methodical way.
Firstly we had to settle on a country; i’m a dual UK/US citizen and so by extension are our children so we could have moved to the UK. Without jobs awaiting us, there would have been a fair bit of paperwork including release of financial records to enable Tuffy to enter the UK, but we could have done this. In the end we decided not to for several reasons; firstly things in general are more expensive in the UK, and secondly we feel that post-BREXIT the UK is in too unstable a position to put all our eggs in one basket. Additionally, changing school systems at this stage in our kids education would have been unfair on them and finally all our money is locked up in the US, so moving to the UK would have been a logistical nightmare.
There would have been some positives had we relocated to England; we would have been closer to my mother, we wouldn’t have needed to worry about health insurance which definitely would have saved us a ton of money, and college tuition in the UK is much cheaper than the US. Also if we had been near London we could probably have lived without a car.
So after ruling the UK out we were left in the US. We had several key criteria:
- We have rarely ever lived anywhere near any family members, so we wanted to be reasonably close to at least one member of Tuffy’s family in the US.
- We wanted to have some topography! After living in pancake flat south Texas, access to hills and mountains for day trips was a definite draw.
- Both of us grew up near the ocean so we wanted to relocate somewhere reasonably close to the sea.
- We knew we would be signing up for ACA health insurance at some point, therefore we wanted a state that we knew would likely protect that legislation in some form in the event of any repeal.
- We also wanted a reasonable large city. This is a tough one, the idea of retiring to the country and living on 2 acres is very appealing and idyllic, however it would also require hard work. Also I don’t like living anywhere that we have to drive in order to get a gallon of milk. Finally, and most importantly, as we age we want easy access to good hospitals.
- Access to amenities was also important, we wanted somewhere with good museums, arts, public transport, parks and other things that in general improve the quality of life.
- Finally we wanted somewhere with decent weather. I suspect our definition of decent weather is different from most, in that we like seasons. So we wanted a climate that had warm (but not too hot!) summers and cool (but not blizzard!) winters.
After plugging all this in we ended up basically with two choices; the Boston, MA area or the Portland OR area. In the end we chose Portland because the cost of living is just a bit cheaper and the winters are not as cold. Also, we had never really explored the Pacific North West before so it felt like a bit of an adventure.
Will we stay here forever? Who knows, it could be that in 10 years once the kids have left for college we do decide to move elsewhere. If both children relocate to New York, then it makes sense for us to live closer to them; as long as they don’t feel like we are stalking them.
If you could live anywhere at all where would it be?