Decision #7 - The Place You Live

October 14, 2020

This is the seventh week we’ve been looking at the idea that there are about seven major decisions a person makes in life, and the rest of the decisions in life are simply managing those decisions. This week, the decision is the place you will live.

Some of us choose to remain in the place we were born. That keeps our family connections close, and there are many benefits of that. My family and I have remained within 45 minutes of each other, and I can’t tell you the blessing it has proven to be to us. Others, either because of job improvement or other reasons choose to move cross country and find it meets their most significant needs best. Both decisions have results that are important to consider.  

Of course, the place you choose to live impacts your life in a variety of ways. I grazed the internet and found that social experts suggest that you consider the following factors. Begin by determining what is most important to you and your family. If you’re single, living in a bustling city might be an ideal choice for your next home. If you have a family, on the other hand, a small town offers amenities that your kids will love. But hang on until the end. There’s one more I think is most important. 

1. Affordability. No matter what your pay grade is, living comfortably and within your means should be your first concern. Affordability includes more than just housing expenses; the prices for consumable goods, like groceries, vary greatly from town to town. The price of gasoline, utility services including electric and water, and taxes, also varies. 

2. Taxes. Consider local sales tax, income tax, and tax credits and exemptions when you’re looking for the perfect place to live. 

3. Employment Opportunities. Employment opportunities vary from state to state and city to city, so spend some time researching the job markets in different areas of the country. Start by analyzing quality employment opportunities within your industry, then determine where the highest concentration of these jobs is located. The kind of job you want affects this as well. Income levels for jobs can vary greatly from state to state. 

4. Real Estate Value. Since buying a home is the single largest investment you will probably ever make, you need to seriously consider this factor. With real estate in a constant state of flux, it’s important to research current home prices, the length of time homes are for sale, the resale values of homes, and probable long-term value estimates. 

5. Crime Rates and Statistics. No one wants to live in a high-crime area, but that doesn’t mean everyone can live in a Utopian society where crime never happens. By researching the crime rates and statistics for various areas, you can learn more about the safety of a town or neighborhood. 

6. Proximity to Family and Friends. If extended family and friends are important to you, choose a place either within driving distance or within a reasonable distance by plane. Otherwise, you’ll constantly feel torn, and likely spend all of your vacation time and energy going back and forth to visit friends and family. 

7. Climate. The climate plays a large role in our lives as it impacts our hobbies, behavior, and sometimes even our jobs. Living in the climate in which you are most comfortable contributes to your mental health. 

8. Education System. A good education is essential to setting up children to better handle the rest of their lives, so the importance of good schools cannot be overstated. 

9. Town or City Size. If you enjoy a friendly wave from everyone you pass while driving to the post office, then a smaller town is definitely for you. If you wish to remain relatively anonymous, a larger town or a big city is better suited to your personality. 

10. Healthcare Facilities. Healthcare facilities are important at any stage in life, but they are especially relevant if you have children or if you are nearing retirement age. Easy access to good healthcare can increase your quality of life exponentially, so be on the lookout for towns and cities with good hospitals and medical schools.  

11. Proximity to an Airport. If you travel a lot, you may need to live within close proximity of an airport. If you live more than an hour away from the closest airport, traveling to and from the airport can become very time-consuming and expensive. If you spend a healthy amount of time traveling, definitely consider the distance to the airport. 

Those all are reasonable considerations, and they will determine many other decisions you will need to make throughout the course of living. And they will all impact you. But none will impact your life and your family now and forever like what kind of spiritual environment you will have in the place you live. Over the years I have suggested strongly to many couples that they be sure they are able to find a vital spiritual community before they accept a job promotion or any reason for a move to a new place. Having a place in your community that is a true spiritual home with friends to grow with; people to provide accountability and encouragement and more---nothing can make up for that loss. The follow-up decisions that ripple from not having a warm and solid spiritual home often have heartbreaking dimensions. None of the other elements like climate, taxes—any of them—will make up for the lack of a solid spiritual home for you and your family. 

Choose well in all these areas. You have one life. Live it well.