Steve Marr Blog

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Nov 02

Location and Lifestyle

Posted by: Steve Marr

Tagged in: Untagged 

I grew up in Detroit and never gave a lot of thought to moving for a number of years. I had a good corporate position, shopped at the same meat market my grandmother did and was the fifth-generation living in the Detroit area. I don’t think I would have moved except that my wife had severe allergies and her doctor told us we needed a climate like Arizona.  For that reason I resigned my corporate position and made the move.


Most of us get stuck in one location and tend to resist moving. We may dream of relocating for a better lifestyle, but few of us take the plunge. Remember when the Lord told Abram to move?  “The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you. And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing.’” (Genesis 12:1, NIV) The key is that Abram moved because the Lord told him to.  Before making a major move you need to ask the Lord for guidance. 
My advice to anybody thinking of relocating is to think through three key factors.
1. Lifestyle

How much are you willing to pay for the lifestyle you want?

For example, if you want to relocate from Detroit to resort locations in northern Michigan, it will cost 50% of the income from most professions. Is this a good trade-off?

To seriously answer this question, write down the elements of the lifestyle that you want.  How many places could you live and enjoy this lifestyle?  Research them. Make a plan and execute that plan. Spend your summer vacation in that location. Travel there several times a year in different seasons to get a feel for the place. A great lakefront home may be wonderful in the summer but isn’t as good in the winter when the restaurants close. Subscribe to the local newspaper or read an online version of it to get a better feel for the community.

For a while I lived part-time in Durango, Colorado. The old downtown was wonderful with quaint shops and excellent restaurants. However, this wasn’t where I spent the majority of my time. When I shopped I went to Walmart, Home Depot or other national stores most of the time. We find those stores almost anywhere unless we are in an isolated location. In other words, the shopping experience is pretty much the same everywhere around the country.

2. Work

How will your location help you in your work?

I have worked out of my house for over 20 years. I need two things from my location: a quiet place to focus and an airport within reasonable driving distance. Unless I relocated in an isolated place, many wonderful places fit this requirement.

Since not everyone can move and take their work with them, many need to carefully determine whether they would be able to earn a good living in a different location. Check out “Help Wanted” ads through craigslist and other venues. In general, an area with a growing population and commercial base will present better opportunities than more stagnant areas.  Also, resort locations do not provide the best work opportunities.  Flagstaff, Arizona was a wonderful town two hours north of Phoenix in the mountains. However, many residents described Flagstaff as “poverty with a view.” Good paying jobs were scarce.

Arizona is still experiencing solid growth because air-conditioning has made the heat tolerable in the summer and water from the Colorado River is meeting the needs of residents.

3.  Cost of Living

Can you afford to live there?

I might think that a beach home in Malibu would be a dream; however, the $5 million price tag is way over my budget. Aspen, Colorado may be a nice place to visit; but the cost of living is out of reach for most. When you consider the higher cost of living in places like southern California, New York and Chicago; you must earn a significantly higher wage to live in these areas.  If you relocate to many parts of Texas or other states, you could enjoy a better lifestyle with less income. These are all important considerations.

I also understand that family and friendship ties are important and may weight a decision against moving for these considerations. These are personal choices.  If you are thinking about relocating to achieve a different lifestyle, work through this process carefully and count the cost. If you believe the Lord is leading you in this way, do the research and take action.
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