What are you paying for, to live where you live?

Where you choose to live is a personal choice, one that is influenced by many factors, including amenities, local culture, career opportunities, friends, family, and more.

But it’s easy to get caught up in the routine of life, and forget to question why you are here. It’s an important question to ask, because where you live can have a huge impact on your stress, your lifestyle, and your wealth. Like it or not, we are a product of our environments.

One way to approach the financial aspect of this is to ask yourself, “what am I paying for, to live where I live?” Basically, what justifies the cost of living in your town?

I used to live in Washington DC. Living in DC is expensive.

Why is living in DC expensive? Because lots of people want to live there and that high demand drives up prices.

Why do lots of people want to live there? Because it’s the nation’s capital. There’s no better place in the country if you want to do work with the federal government. All of the defense contractors have huge offices there. Lobbyists are everywhere. Journalists are everywhere. They’re there because, for people like them, it’s the place to be.

But I wasn’t like them. I was a web developer. And I started to realize that I was paying a lot of money to live in the political center of the country, and it didn’t really matter to me. I wasn’t taking advantage of it.

I think a lot of people are in a similar situation now, with COVID-19 forcing them to work from home. You can’t take advantage of the big city when you’re stuck in your studio apartment. How long before that $2,000/month rent just stops making sense?

It’s an important question to ask. And if you’re asking the question now, let me just say that it’s pretty hard to beat the price of a studio in Dayton. :)