“Geoarbitrage”, a term popularized by Tim Ferris in his book, The Four Hour Workweek, simply means relocating in order to take advantage of a lower cost of living. Due to the fact that I got started late in my FIRE adventure, geoarbitrage will factor into the overall plan to retire in the next five years. It’s tricky, though. There are a lot of important things to consider, not the least of which is the question of “where”?
There’s plenty of data for determining where the low cost areas are. In the United States, for example, this article from 2017, shows the lower cost areas (mostly in the Midwest and South) and the high cost areas (mostly the west coast and parts of the east coast).
I consider myself a fairly adventurous soul, but I’ve pretty much landed on geoarbitrage within the United States. (There are less expensive international options, but those options add quite a bit more risk and complexity).
Cost aside, there are other important considerations to think about: proximity to family and friends, access to quality health care, weather, access to arts and culture, traffic, crime and taxes, to name a few.
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about weather. The Mr. and I are leaning toward the Atlanta area (though we are early in our research). I’ve never lived in the South before. The lure of warmer weather and cheaper housing is strong. Will I be able to manage the heat and humidity of the summers? Is Atlanta far enough inland to avoid major hurricane damage? Will our adult daughters ever visit us (or, better yet, decide to relocate as well)? These are important questions that we’ll need to find answers to before committing to this life-changing plan. Luckily, we have almost five years to find answers. If my “analysis paralysis” doesn’t set in, we should be fine.