Planning a relocation
When my wife and I realized that our current location was not where we wanted to stay long term, we had to take the hard step of figuring out where else to go. To do this, we leaned heavily on the core values we had identified for ourselves. We began our relocation pursuit by identifying that we were looking for somewhere that met the following criteria:
- We could afford to purchase a house on one salary.
- We could afford to have my wife stay at home with kids.
- There were mountains and plentiful outdoor spaces to explore.
- The culture was very family oriented.
- I could find a job that would provide for our immediate needs and wouldn’t be too limiting of a career step.
- The tax structure left us with as much in our pocket as possible.
- Legislation around personal freedoms were unobtrusive.
- We were far enough from major cities to feel “rural” but not so far from civilization that we had limited access to basic necessities.
- We could be within four hours of at least some direct family members and could be a potential rallying point in a time of emergency.
Once you have your core values determined, plan on spending considerable time researching where you would like to go. If you have always had somewhere you wanted to move, then this step might be a lot shorter and easier for you.
We set our initial search within the continental U.S., to make the moving process as easy as possible. To meet our family criteria, we limited the scope to somewhere east of the Mississippi River. From there, we looked at tax structures to see which states were most favorable to our current position. After determining the single state with the lowest tax burden, we started examining the major cities to see which one had the most job opportunities around it, and we also looked at the smaller cities that would offer opportunities but also be off the main paths.
After identifying some likely candidates, we spent considerable time researching the housing and job markets in each of the three major cities we identified. Eventually reaching a research wall, we took a week off work and visited each of the cities. We drove around neighborhoods in each of the cities for seven days straight, visiting friends or family that we had lined up prior to the trip. This was not only fun but invaluable for determining the actual feel on the ground.
When we returned, we had settled on two cities we would be happy with, and we started applying to jobs in the surrounding towns of those cities that we had explored and liked. After a few months, I was able to secure an interview at a company in one of the quiet towns outside our second favorite city. My wife and I flew down and fell in love with the area. We accepted the offer, and within two weeks we had both quit our jobs, and we moved into a new apartment 1000 miles away from where we grew up.
We quickly looked for a house and were able to find a modest property on half an acre that fit the low end of our budget. It was not a perfect “prepper” retreat, but it was leaps and bounds better than where we were before. We have a solid community in our neighborhood and are enjoying the new relationships we are forming. In a few years we plan to move to an area with a little more land and space, but we didn’t want to extend ourselves too far with our first house.
So let’s break this down and determine the steps that you should follow when planning your relocation. We are still in the creating a plan stage here, and as you can see this is very important!
Here is a quick recap of where we are now:
- You have determined your core values individually and as a family, if you are married or have kids.
- You have identified the gaps between your desired situation and your reality.
- You have determined that there is no way to meet your goals without relocating to a different area.
Congratulations! You are about to become a migrant. This is a treasured and celebrated lifestyle in America and has been a constant driver of progress from the Pilgrims to Western Expansion. The drive to better one’s situation by relocating has been a central part of the American dream throughout our country’s short history.
Relocation Planning: Location determination
The most important thing to remember when choosing a new location is that you are not picking a bug out location; you are picking a life location. TEOTWAWKI may or may not happen during your lifetime. There are plenty of moldy bomb shelters from the 70’s that thankfully never got used. Do not only plan for the worst case scenario. You want your move to be defined by what you are moving toward and not what you are moving away from. If your entire move is defined by fear, you will bring that negative perception to your new area, and you will make integrating in your new home much more difficult. If it is defined by how much you love the area you are moving to, that story plays out much nicer in your own mind and in the minds of the the people you are moving towards or away from.
There are several very important considerations for your new area. The reason people (and maybe you) live in large population centers is because they offer many resources within a small geographical area. Sure, there may not be a lot of food production resources, but you have large amounts of human capital, and where there are lots of people there are usually abundant ways to make money (and more problems).
If you are looking to move to somewhere more rural or farther from a city, you need to take a close look at the resources you will have available to you. Key resources to evaluate are:
- Land, and
Below are some thoughts about and a few questions to wrestle through relating to each of these areas.
Employment is probably one of the most, if not the most, important resources to consider. If you mortgage the perfect prepper estate yet lose it all because your job disappears, you are in a worse spot than when you started. Questions to consider:
- Does the area you are evaluating have the economic potential to support you and your family?
- Is all industry tied to one factory that is struggling to get by and may shut down within the next few years?
- If you plan on opening your own business, is there entrenched competition in your market?
- Will you be taking an income hit by moving to this area, or will your maximum income potential be reduced?
- Are the taxes higher or lower?
- Would you need to move to a different area if you lost your job?
- Moving with a family can easily cost ten thousand dollars; do you have the cash on hand for this expense or will an employer pay for it?
- If your trade is in a field that requires a large amount of customers to be successful, would the area offer enough resources to provide for your needs?
- What do you know about the culture of the place you are evaluating?
- What is crime like in the area?
- What is the education level in the area?
- Is the area friendly or closed towards outsiders?
- Are your hobbies accepted or frowned up?
- Are there opportunities readily available for you to connect with local people?
- If you are religious, is there a church or denomination located close to your target area that lines up with your values?
- If you are non-religious, is the culture heavily religious and would this create a significant barrier to overcome?
- When you look at the area, do you think it should be changed or that you would like to change to be more like it?
- How attached are your children to their current situation? How much emotional distress would they feel detaching from their current social circles?
- Are there opportunities for your children to pursue their passions?
- Is the area near or far to your immediate family or relatives?
- Would you be in a place where family would retreat to, or would you need to bug out in the case of an emergency?
- How will your immediate family feel, if you move far outside of a range that they can frequently visit?
- If you are looking at moving far from family, will that be okay for you or your spouse/kids emotionally?
- Can you afford the cost of traveling to visit relatives on holidays?
- How far are you from a major airport, in case you need to travel quickly?
- Will your spouse thrive with the new lifestyle, and are they fully on-board with this decision? Don’t lose a marriage you have for the sake of an unknown future.