LIVING IN A LONELY WORLD!!!
SHE TOOK THE MIDNIGHT TRAIN GOING ANYWHERE!
I swear, this post isn’t going to be about Journey. I’m not sure what got into me there. That song is just so much fun to sing. Isn’t it, guys from Family Guy?
As the fine folks from Control Your Cash like to mock me about, I come from a small town in Alberta. My hometown is full of all the rural redneck stereotypes you can think of. Lots of big trucks? Check. Rampant homophobia and racism? Yep. I probably know a full 25% of the people in town – not necessarily by name, but by association. Hey, there’s that guy who works at the Ford dealership. It’s a comfortable existence, if that floats your boat.
For at least half of the graduating class of the high school, they want nothing to do with the small town where they grew up. Once the fall semester of university starts, they’re gone faster than a piece of cake in front of Paula Deen. (Topical!) Others choose to go find a job in another town, which is their own way of throwing off the shackles of their hometown. Bruce Springsteen famously sang about leaving New Jersey for the bright lights and opportunity of New York. I understand that, for many youths, starting their own life in a faraway place has a certain allure.
But is it the smartest move? Perhaps not. In fact, maybe you should be moving from a big city to a small town. Here’s why.
You Can Still Make Bank
My town has 6 lawyers, spread out among 3 law firms. 1 of the 6 is basically senile, he’s got about 32 clients who are all equally senile. Between those 5 lawyers, they do every single real estate transaction, every single divorce, every single lawsuit, you get the picture. I bet each of those lawyers make a gross salary of $250k. There is enough business that they will tell you to hit the road if you’re making their life miserable.
In a lot of small towns in Canada, there is a shortage of doctors. And since doctors get paid per patient seen, a hard working doctor could make more cash, providing they’re willing to put in the hours.
It’s like that with all sorts of other businesses too. I know a lady who recently started her own accounting firm. She stopped taking on new clients 6 months later. The two dentist offices in town are always swamped. The two optometrists don’t even try to undercut each other’s prices anymore. When you don’t have to worry about the 94 other competitors in town, there’s a lot of money to be made.
It’s the same thing with other professions. Teachers, nurses and the like are constantly looking for new people, since many people decide to transfer to the big city. Often these jobs are filled with young folks just out of college, who generally repeat the cycle after a few years. And yet I still can’t get one of them to go out with me.
It Costs Less To Live
Where I live, the nearest big city is Calgary. Basically, it costs almost half as much to live where I do compared to Calgary. Here, $300k will buy you a nice family home, completely renovated, in one of the preferred areas of town. My house cost $210k, and it’s a reasonable place with a nice yard that only sometimes smells like cat pee. What does $210k get you in Calgary?
(I just checked. It gets you a somewhat small house in a crummy neighborhood. Or one of approximately 1.54 million condos.)
If my house were to be plunked in a similar neighborhood in Calgary, I estimate it’d sell for about $350k. The difference between a $210k mortgage and a $350k mortgage? Only $700 per month. We’re talking some serious dough here.
If I pay $8400 per year less for housing costs, it means I can make at least $10k less for an income and be in the exact same boat as someone in the big city. If I can manage to make the same amount (which I would if I worked for the government) I’m automatically that much ahead.
And Then There’s The Commute
How long does the average city dweller take to drive to work each morning? 20 minutes? A half hour?
Compare that to my commute. I hop in the chip truck and a whole 2 minutes later I’m at my first stop of the day. Even if I had to drive clear across town, I can do it in approximately 5 minutes. The closest thing we have to a traffic jam is when everyone is leaving the hockey game at once and it takes 5 minutes to drive home compared to 3.
Driving through rush hour traffic is horrible. You’re surrounded by cars, which are usually driven by ugly people. You go forward slowly, then slow down, then go forward slowly again, repeating the process until you’re ready to give yourself a concussion. There’s always some knob who thinks that changing lanes 5 times is going to get him through the maze of cars slightly faster. No wonder people are always so pissed off when they drive.
Us small towners get to avoid that whole experience entirely. How would you like to glide to work in less than 5 minutes?
There’s no public transportation, but that’s no problem. All you’d have to do it get a place relatively close to where you work, and you can easily walk. Everything you need is clustered in one core area, all of which is easily accessible by foot. If you need to make a Wal-Mart run, you just suck it up and pay the cab.
This is why many people who don’t make a whole lot of money end up in small towns. Rent costs less, you can get away with not having a car, and there are usually still plenty of low-paying unskilled jobs to choose from.
What are you waiting for? Come move to my small town, but only if you’re single, female, cute and willing to sleep with me. I’m not liking my chances.