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Old 01-27-2017, 07:34 AM
6,316 posts, read 4,762,537 times
Reputation: 12973


I have no idea what meets other people's needs. I can only relate my experience for others to think about.

When I retired, my wife and I sold the house on Long Island and took off traveling and living full time in a small RV. The goal was to learn photography, tour the grand National Parks and eventually look for a new place to settle.

I had some vague ideas and had done some research, but was a long way from picking a new location. I wanted to be out of urban congestion, in a lower cost of living area, in an area with decent weather, and natural beauty. I wanted reasonably close access to major medical facilities and airports, but I was really thinking about small to medium sized towns/cities. As I traveled through more rural areas and the small and medium sized cities, I started to realize that my quest for a new place to live was not going to be easy. The rebel flags and fake Civil War cannons in the front yards more than killed any interest I may have ever had in living in the rural areas of the Southeast. We visited small towns in the Midwest where my wife's relatives had lived. They were also depressing. The economies had died and the towns were just hanging on. In the West, we visited Anaconda, MT. We spent a couple of days in that little town just taking it in. The mines had shut many years ago. There was nothing left. Those who stayed were just living cheap in the middle of a scary polluted landscape.

As I traveled through these areas, I started to think about what was important in my life. I could sum it up with one word, "excellence". By some standards, I had achieved a lot in my working life, but I came to feel that based on excellence, I had lived at an average level of maybe 7. I wanted to continue my life at 8 or 9 or hopefully even 10.

Can you live a life of excellence in a small town? Absolutely, depending on your activities. But it is not always possible or easy. Not when the local economy is on the skids and most people with get up and go have gone. Not if your interests are fine arts, classical music, learning, philosophy and the like. Sometimes stimulation and even competition is important. Anyway, as much as I like peace and beauty and aloneness, I realized I will never be a small town person.
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Old 01-27-2017, 08:08 AM
Location: The Berk in Denver, CO USA
14,056 posts, read 20,404,877 times
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Originally Posted by bpollen View Post
I am going to be harsh. You need to leave and get yourself to an area that is best for your future.
Now. Sooner, rather than later.
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Old 01-27-2017, 08:10 AM
Location: Colorado Springs
4,865 posts, read 4,977,192 times
Reputation: 17368
I heard a similar story last week of a friend recently driving cross country to Pennsylvania from Colorado. She observed many dilapidated small towns with "Trump" signs on the front lawns. She said it was depressing to see.

For those of us living in relatively healthy economies and visiting either coast by flying, that seems like a foreign land.

Perhaps that explains the recent election results.
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Old 01-27-2017, 08:27 AM
Location: Tennessee
23,673 posts, read 17,640,506 times
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The economic/logistical issues are what they are, and similar stories have played out all over the country in small towns and rural areas.

I lived in Iowa for a year in 2012. The economy in Tennessee was completely in the tank, but out there, you could turn on the radio and there were places (lots of windmill and manufacturing) paying $20/hr needing laborers immediately. It was basically "come in and apply Friday - start Monday." For someone who grew up in Appalachia, that much work available, even before the economy really got moving again, was completely foreign to me, even back during the boom years of Bush.

CR - yes, the family knows about the job situation - it is a local news item here. They act like it's no big deal, and I'm not sure why. Things have been slow for me since the first of the year. This could potentially impact hundreds of staff, dumping lots of skilled professionals into an area that has few openings and unable to absorb them. There is no guarantee of layoffs either way but you have to be cautious, especially when you're the party on the receiving end and your work seems slow.

Aunt is also likely to be laid off soon - most of the staff at her facility have been offered jobs at the St. Louis office and sacked when they didn't take them. Given that my aunt helps my grandmother the most, the odds of either of them moving are slim to none until grandmother dies. She has no major medical issues and could easily live another five years or more. What's unfortunate is that grandma has no remaining siblings or anything to care for in the area (one brother is in CA), so she should be "portable," but would absolutely not move even if aunt could find a job elsewhere. If aunt gets laid off, she may end up retiring and having grandma move in, getting by however they can. Two older widows will need help.

His situation isn't that stable either over the next few years - he works at a large call center, the original plans a decade ago were to have far more staff at the site, but the employer never filled the building. Probably half of the current employees will be laid off in a year or so with their government contract expiring - fortunately, he is not on that contract. With a building the size of a super Walmart probably housing 20-30 staff and the property tax abatements ending, I don't see a reason to keep the place open. The company closed their call center in Colorado and northern Virginia and sent those jobs to Dallas. I wouldn't be surprised to see all those jobs end up in Dallas and the site closed by 2019/2020. Again, no guarantees, but some storm clouds on the horizon.

They are still acting like they are 40 or even 50 with many years until retirement, and are acting like they have the past twenty years. Mom is wanting a new car, but I don't think she realizes that will probably mean payments until she is 65, and I doubt she will be able to work then. He wants her to retire when she can get SS at 62. I have no idea how they are going to manage on just his income plus her SS and small pension. They seem to be completely clueless that they will be 60 this year with likely five, maybe ten in his case, working years left.

If I get laid off, I don't know what I'll do. I've been out of college seven years in May, have held eight jobs, and three of those places have closed or the contract was ended. I don't want to be 40 and still having to move or switch jobs every year to find a new IT gig - at some point, you need something more stable and portable.
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Old 01-27-2017, 08:34 AM
6,345 posts, read 5,081,974 times
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I live in a small rural town and I really don't feel stuck here. If I wanted to leave, I would just take off. The things that keep me here are my animals. Family - eh. The ones that are here would never leave. And they hate having to go to the city for medical and other needs.

I do think about moving later after my pets expire. You get old and you tend to get ill, so if I feel the need to be close to medical, I'll move. But then maybe I won't feel that way. I'll just let nature take its course.
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Old 01-27-2017, 08:46 AM
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I currently live in a small town of 7,500. There is no public transportation, but there is a senior bus that you can call M-F during the daytime hours if you need a ride somewhere. We have a good sized medical clinic, but still lack some of the specialties. They are available at clinics within 70 miles. This is only temporary for me as I am my mother's caregiver while we are cleaning out her home, etc. Most towns and cities of any size have a senior center that can provide many resources for seniors who need different types of help. Check with your county department on aging.
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Old 01-27-2017, 08:57 AM
Location: USA
6,229 posts, read 5,373,707 times
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I don't consider 50k small at all. My town is only 6,000, but we have mostly the same stores, restaurants, and excellent healthcare that you would find in a bigger city. But that is mostly because the town is only a few miles away from a small city of 100,000 or so. The area is growing rapidly because of expats coming from high cost of living areas like NJ and NYC.

Many old folks that grew up in rural areas and small towns tend to be pretty tough characters and very self reliant. My neighborhoods dad worked his farm until he died in his 90s.
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Old 01-27-2017, 09:13 AM
Location: USA
6,229 posts, read 5,373,707 times
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Serious Conversion, the job market requires one to be as mobile as possible, especially in something as volatile as IT. The days of being able to settle down in one area and work at one place for 40 years have been over for awhile now.
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Old 01-27-2017, 10:44 AM
6,316 posts, read 4,762,537 times
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Originally Posted by s1alker View Post
Serious Conversion, the job market requires one to be as mobile as possible, especially in something as volatile as IT. The days of being able to settle down in one area and work at one place for 40 years have been over for awhile now.
I had a tech job and ended up needing to move numerous times:

First job, Pine Bluff, AK..... After only 1 year of work I learned the contract was not going to be renewed. I would need to find another job or hope the new contractor would hire me. I left after about 18 months.

Kansas City, KS.....Employer ran into financial problems. I could have stayed except you NEVER want to work for a company with financial issues. I left after exactly 1 year.

Los Angeles, CA......Training position with a new company. I was promoted and transferred to Chicago after 18 months.

Chicago, IL....Worked 4 years until the company was sold and the Chicago facility closed.

Phoenix, AZ......Job lasted 4 years until the management and ownership changed. I was offered a "choice". I could be fired or resign and allow the new management to bring in their team.

Long Island, NY.......After 2 years with a new company the old building was replaced with a new building, giving me a 2 hour commute. I stuck it out for 3 more years and then the company was sold. Facility was scheduled to be closed within a year.

Long Island, NY.....Found a job with another employer, still had a long commute but did not have to move. After 2 years the company ran into financial issues. Life was tough but I survived and eventually the company financials improved. I retired after 12 years.

Clearly even working in a major metro area does not mean, you will be able to stay there if you work in a volatile field. A job in a more remote area would mean absolutely no options for employment if the job situation changed. I suppose it would have been possible for me to find some sort of replacement job in each area where I worked. However, the choices and salary would have been minimal and future growth would have meant moving again, anyway. Moving and reestablishing elsewhere is a ***** but that seems to be a part of modern life and employment.
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Old 01-27-2017, 12:13 PM
Location: USA
6,229 posts, read 5,373,707 times
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Wow that's pretty rough. I can't say I have had to move, but I have bounced from company to company over the years. Luckily all of them were close to one another. I'd say that the modern career is just a series of jobs in a related field. In the past it was basically a golden handcuffs situation where you stayed at one place for 30 years to collect that fat pension.
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