With the internet has come an enormous amount of possibilities. We can find a huge amount of information, we can connect to people with specific interests and knowledge from around the world, we can express ourselves (virtually for free) on our personal blogs and be read in every corner of the world, we are offered numerous services for free or at almost no cost which used to be expensive and there are many other great solutions that the internet offers.
Image that in 15 years 95 % of all people on the planet are connected through free Internet and free PC´s (all sponsored by web portals/search engines which you use as your start page in exchange for use of the equipment) at local (internet) cafes, libraries and other places. People will be able to get first class educational material for almost any kind of primary, high school, technical and university course. Everybody can call anyone for free through the Internet … and there will be much, much more!
On the other-hand the internet has made it possible to lock ourselves up in our rooms and live virtual lives, pretending to be things which we can’t or don’t have the guts to be in real life. In the virtual world we live separated from nature, there are no time zones, no gentle balance between the sun and the clouds, no day and night, no business hours, no actual stuff. It’s a world in a hurry for the next thing. What’s hot and on top this morning won’t be good enough by nightfall. Everything is being hyped and blown up and there’s little connection with what happens and is needed in real life. Just like city-living the Internet is a speedball of idea’s and people vying for attention.
There is something about city living that just can’t be beat. There is ease of transportation, plenty of cultural events, job opportunities. The list can go on. There are definite benefits to living in a big city, but sometimes the biggest cities have the highest cost of living. While some people believe that the salaries in a big city make up for the high cost of living, many would disagree.
Sure, you often make more money when you live in a place with a higher cost of living, but the bump in salary is often not enough to make up for the high cost of living. Most of those in the cities are in fact heavily in debt. Many having to rely on credit, loans and other forms of money lending.
Most will visit banks, arrange overdrafts, utilise credit cards or borrow money from friends and family to keep up with their lifestyles in the more expensive cities. Sydney, New York and London are all over-priced with the inhabitants often under paid. Take London for example where I signed up here for a cash loan to keep my weekend going while visiting recently.
If you live in an area with a high cost of living and having trouble getting ahead or making ends meet, you may want to consider moving to a different city or a suburban location where the cost of living is substantially lower. Your cash can work harder, and you can get ahead financially more easily, even if you are making less money.
From One Big City to Another
San Jose, California is enriched by Silicon Valley and many start-ups. However, the cost of living in California, especially in large cities, can be detrimental financially.
If you have had enough of California and are ready to make a change, Raleigh, North Carolina boasts the research triangle, and many residents in Raleigh are highly educated professionals. The cost of living is modest. If you were making $100k in San Jose, you would only need to make $61k in Raleigh to experience a similar cost of living. While buying a house in California can be difficult at best (unless you have a wealthy benefactor), prices are modest in Raleigh at $213k. (Compare this to $713k in San Jose.)
What could you do with a mortgage that is $500k less than one in San Jose? How much faster could you grow your retirement funds?
From One College Town to Another
Prospective college students are used to looking at the price of tuition for the schools they are considering attending as well as the financial aid they may receive, but perhaps they should also consider the cost of living in the college town as that will also affect their bottom line.
Ann Arbor, Michigan is home to the Big 10 school the University of Michigan, but cost of living is high. (Some even call it the Midwest’s New York City.) Rent goes for almost $1,200 a month. However, Lincoln Nebraska is also home to a Big 10 school, the University of Nebraska, and the cost of living is 9% lower. Rent goes for just $913 a month. Over 4 years of college, that is a difference of $14k in rent alone.
A college student’s financial aid dollars can stretch much further in Lincoln.
Moving from the City Suburbs to a Smaller Town
Currently my husband and I live in the suburbs of Chicago, though we plan to move in two to three years, ideally to my hometown, Kalamazoo, Michigan. While Kalamazoo is not the equivalent to Chicago, it is only a 2.5-hour drive from either Chicago or Detroit, and there are two colleges there. In short, we could find cultural events thanks to the university and a theatre community.
By making the leap from city suburbs to a mid-size metropolis, we could earn 23.76% less than our current income and still maintain our current standard of living. Some eye-opening proof? While the median home in the Chicago suburbs is $370k, it is only $195k in Kalamazoo. Rent in the Chicago suburbs averages $1,375 per month, while it is just $575 in Kalamazoo. By making the move, we would give ourselves a raise, essentially, making it much easier for our dollars to stretch further.
What do you think? Is a city with a higher cost of living worth it, or does it make more sense to strategically move to a lower cost of living locale?