short pours

Short Pours #4: Thinking about Geoarbitrage

Short Pours is my short-format series of posts that will allow me to publish more frequently, and get a bit more creative with my content. Check out my introduction for more information on this series.

In this edition of Short Pours, I’ll discuss our sudden focus on making geoarbitrage a part of our FI plan. I’ll also share some Good Reads I’ve come across lately, and talk about the next beer on tap at the Brewing FIRE home brewery.

Thinking about Geoarbitrage

For Mrs. BF and I, talking about leaving New England is a pastime of sorts. The chatter normally escalates at this time of year. I get sick of being cooped up in the house, Mrs. BF gets sick of paying our enormous yearly tax bills and insurance premiums. We idealize our escape to another land.

And then we carry on living our lives.

One of the main reasons we haven’t explored geoarbitrage is our family. We feel guilty leaving our parents and depriving them of their only grandchild in our own interest. You can say, “do what’s right for you” but we would still have a hard time leaving.

This all changed with a frank dinner conversation a few weeks ago. When posed with the idea, much of our family (including the seemingly entrenched contingent) seemed surprisingly open to the idea. See, they are all retired, and fixed income doesn’t go as far in high COL states.

The ball is rolling.

For the record, I am not shitting on my home state. I’ve lived nearly my entire life here, and if it really sucked that bad, you’d have to question why I’m still here.

There are plenty of pros to living in CT:

  • Excellent public education
  • Availability of quality healthcare
  • Strong arts and cultural scene
  • Nearby access to beach, hiking, and rivers
  • Close to NYC and Boston
  • Four seasons; beautiful fall foliage

Now, on to the cons of CT living:

  • Taxes, taxes, taxes (state, local, sales)
  • Economic outlook doesn’t look especially great
  • Net outflow of population
  • Cost of living in general (property, utilities, food)
  • The Yankee attitude

We pay a high cost for our nice home nestled in a good school district close to all the amenities. But nearly $8,000 in property taxes is still tough to swallow. I know, this cost can definitely be reduced while still living in Yankeedom. We’ve implemented house hacking to subsidize our living expenses, but it’s still not enough.

Our state has also seen a lot of large corporations and businesses move their headquarters out of the state, presumably because of the unfavorable tax situation. This has led to a net outflow of people (adjusted for overall population growth).

Obviously, the situation is not so dire that we need to leave. On the other hand, do we want to stay planted in New England for the next generation (or three) to grow up?

Where Would We Go?

Mrs. BF has spent time in Michigan, Virginia, West Virginia, Mississippi, and North Carolina. She is most fond of her time in VA. I’ve always fantasized living somewhere in the mid-Atlantic, closer to my beloved, insufferable Baltimore Orioles. I also would like to shave a month or 2 off the winter, since I no longer snowboard for my own long-term health.

Initial criteria for geoarbitrage landing spot:

  • More temperate climate (shorter winters)
  • Lower cost of living
  • Strong public education
  • Plenty of outdoor activities

The states in orange are among our current list of places to start researching. I apologize that I excluded your state. I’m sure it’s awesome.

Initial thinning of the geoarbitrage destination herd

Stay tuned for a more complete analysis of our situation, as our decision to relocate potentially picks up more steam.

Good Reads

Seeing as we just celebrated Valentine’s day, Financial Mechanic gave us her personal take on the Mechanics of Shared Finances. On a related note, A Purple Life talks about why she’s never getting married. An intense discussion follows.

Morgan Housel from Collaborative Fund further details the impact of a hitting the jackpot when it comes to investing, specifically VC. This dovetails with much of my reasoning for selling all my individual stocks.

Slowly Sipping Coffee tackles the issue of time management, something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently. As I begin to realize that time is my most important commodity, I have started looking for ways to take greater control of my schedule. More to come on this.

What’s Brewing?

This marks an important milestone in the Brewing FIRE home brewery. After 6 years and scores of recipes, I have brewed my first Pilsner!

hopefully it clarifies over the next couple weeks!

I’ve given it the tacky moniker, “Poppin’ Pils.” So why, after so many years and so many beers, have I never made a pilsner?

Time for your brewing lesson of the day.

Beers are normally divided into two main categories: ales and lagers. The primary factor separating these styles is the yeast. Ales are fermented with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and lagers are fermented with Saccharomyces pastorianus. The other main differentiator is the fermentation temperature: ales are fermented at warmer temperatures (60-70 F typically), while lagers ferment at colder temperatures (50-55 F). Of course there are exceptions to everything I just said, but these are the general guidelines.

So why did it take me this long to make a pilsner? That’s simple: I had no way of getting my fermentation temperature cold enough! Alas, that has changed since I finally purchased a chest freezer which will now be my fermentation chamber.

Poppin’ Pils is made in the style of a Czech Pilsner, which is a light, crisp but flavorful lager. I didn’t follow the style guideline exactly, because I didn’t bother to source Bohemian ingredients such as floor-malted barley. I also chose to use a Japanese hop called Sorachi Ace (made famous by Sapporo). It adds a hoppy lemon kick to the flavor.

Overall, I’m fairly pleased with my first pass at a lager. I’ve definitely tasted some nasty lagers in my day (we call them drain┬ápours), from both commercial breweries and homebrewers. I’ll have no trouble drinking this quaff.

That’s it for this edition of Short Pours. Let me know what you think about our geoarbitrage idea in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Short Pours #4: Thinking about Geoarbitrage”

  1. i can’t wait to see where the family might land. we’re still trying to figure out where to retire. i used to live in norfolk and that was terrible in the 80’s but i haven’t been back in over 20 years. we might visit my brother in law in va. beach this summer though. it was real religious down there.

    i read that housel article and that’s why i love individual stocks. i think i’m sitting on that 2000% gainer that will make us rich as we buy and hold a diversified bunch of stocks. i’m a big pilsner urquell fan so i’m glad you successfully made one. cheers!

    Reply
    • When looking at living in the south (or near-south), the two things I fear are racism and religion. Most of my family lived in TN for a brief stint in the 90s, and they left because they never felt welcome as Yankees. I’m definitely going to visit any prospective places multiple times before we get serious about the move.

      Reply

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