When you know where you are you, can be anywhere
This old saying has recently come back to my mind as I have been looking at developments in technology.
As a retired Air Force Aviator, I never lost my interest in engineering solutions and technology and what SpaceX and Tesla and some other companies are doing the last few years is really amazing. Yes, you could say that I am somewhat of a “fan-boy” for this stuff.
What does location accuracy to do with residential real estate investing we normally talk about? It has to do with the ability to determine what efforts it would take and how much it would cost to make a move to a new location from where you live right now.
Until the beginning of 2020 the location we live at, among a few other factors, had mainly to do with our economic outlook. You went to college (as that’s pretty much required these days to find a decent job), and if you’re lucky the companies you would be interested to work for are pretty close to where that college is located.
The alternative was to get a degree in the field of your choice and the more technology-oriented or related to engineering or material science, you would have to move to an area that had the companies specializing in these fields. For the pharmaceutical industry, there are a few really immense areas along the East Coast, especially between New York and Boston. More recently, a pharma research triangle has emerged in North Carolina and then there are West Coast options between San Francisco and San Diego. Yes, there are some other towns and cities that have some good size pharma companies, but in order to be where the biggest activity and innovation was happening, you had to move into those main areas.
High tech was pretty much the same. You could go to Silicon Valley or the Seattle area, some locations on the East coast, and some major cities in other states.
The bottom line, to really be close to the action, have a good chance to get promotions and a quickly developing career, you were basically forced to be close to these locations. I actually saw many many job descriptions that insisted to only accept candidates from the local area.
The problem with that system was that the locations that had great jobs are all relatively expensive to live in. The even more unfair aspect is that someone just joining an industry typically has the lowest salaries and wages, even though landlords don’t take that into account when renting an apartment to an applicant. The assumption is that your job at a well-known company automatically means that you make plenty of money and can easily afford the rent.
When only focusing on this overall situation in isolation, it is already a dreadful picture. Adding any intention to aim for a life where you reach economic independence and can stop exchanging time for money, let’s say in your forties, is almost impossible to achieve.
I often felt it is almost unfair that someone talented who happens to choose a high-tech industry for a profession has to subconsciously decide to value the job and the associated location over the achievement of life goals and happiness.
That does not mean that people working in high tech would not be happy, but when you have to spend 50% of your income for housing and all the other costs for food, etc. eat up most of the rest of your income, you just find it much harder to put money into an accumulation account than someone who lives in a more affordable area. I love to help people develop the discipline to still be able to accomplish their goals. Our strategy of “OOS-TK” (Out — Of — State TurnKey”) is still achievable, it’s just harder.
With the new era we are moving into, location accuracy will be much easier for everybody. I recall that I had to learn to navigate using a compass and maps. Then it was considered a huge improvement and innovation when laser-gyros emerged and navigation in planes was accurate to within a few feet. In the civilian world, some people might still recall MapQuest.
That’s what people used to look up locations and driving directions on computers. Then came google maps on Android phones and Apple maps. Today we are so used to have navigation in cars and on our phones that we don’t even question it anymore.
There are services that can tell you what is within walking distance from any location or address to help you determine how long it would take to walk, bike, or drive to places for coffee, restaurants, shops, etc.
All this increased accuracy now also allows you to determine where you could live. Though not yet at the level it will soon reach (more about the topic of connectivity in one of the next articles), the fact that all this information is now available in relation to any chosen spot in the country gives much more choice.
The other major aspect of accuracy is something that wasn’t available for people who adopt my recommendation of residential real estate investing and the application of the OOS-TK strategy.
With work from home being adopted in many many professions and probably something that will remain in the future for many people, you can decide to live in a location that is farther away from the facilities of an employer. I predict that the insistence of local candidates to apply for a job will go away as companies realize that it is more important to find a talented and motivated employee than someone who is living not far from the companies offices.
Take advantage of the accuracy of the location tools to determine where a good location (region or city) would before you to live and make it a point to also find out how easy it would be to start investing in residential real estate within a radius of about 100 miles or less.
The combination of location accuracy increased acceptance of work from home and the longer-term goal of economic independence seen together in a virtuous triangle opens totally new opportunities for anybody starting a career or deciding to change career for a better future.
I hope you take advantage of this triangle and find your “sweet spot” on the map.
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