Quite a few large retailers—from Target and Walmart to Walgreens to Nordstroms—are closing stores and leaving San Francisco, Portland, New York, and other cities with high crime rates. Several financial companies in New York and Chicago have moved some or all of their operations to Florida. Gun companies in anti-gun places like Massachusetts and Maryland are moving south to friendlier states.
What can we learn from this?
When the situation changes, you need to leave, even if you have been there for decades. When an area becomes unsafe, it is time to close up shop and go, even if that means taking a loss when you sell your house.
You can look at it as giving up, but it’s more accurate to say you made an assessment of the current situation, as these and many other companies have done, and made a decision that is best for you and your future.
Don’t get Wedded to Your Home
When you bought or rented your current home, it was probably for a host of good reasons. You need to ask yourself if those reasons still exist. Are you staying in an unsafe location because it is easier to stay than to move? If so, act like one of those companies above, cut your losses, and move to greener fields.
It is easy to find reasons not to leave. Maybe your low mortgage rate makes it hard to move. Some people find it difficult to leave the house where their child was born or that has been in their family for years. But cities and neighborhoods go through cycles or renaissance and decay. If your area is heading down, you need to get out while you can still find a buyer.
Moving can be time consuming and expensive. It is disruptive; it yanks kids out of their familiar schools and away from their friend group. Everyone will have to adapt to a new situation. But if you move for the right reasons, it is worth it.
If you think about it, you might realize many of your reasons for staying put are emotional. If you put on your objective thinking cap, there may be numerous reasons to move. Ask yourself: Would you move here today? If not, find a location both your emotional and intellectual sides can live with. Somewhere you and your family can be both happy and secure.
Remember, “home” is better defined by the people in it that the physical structure around them. Move the people and you will find you have moved your home.
Don’t Wait Until it is too Late
When I lived in New York back in the 1980s, my car was broken into and my girlfriend’s car was stolen. A friend was mugged while walking home. Those are signs it is time to move. Why wait to be victimized?
Throughout my adult life, I moved from large to smaller and smaller cities, further and further away from the Boston-to-Washington Interstate 95 corridor on the East Coast. Each place I lived further from the city center. That often meant longer commutes, but it also meant more space, more peace, and a better quality of life.
If that is what you have to do—jump from a city to a smaller city or town rather than committing to going rural—it is still a step in the right direction.
When we searched for and moved to the prepper property where we now live, prepping drove our decision making. We made a list of what we wanted, and we got most of it, including a home that is heated with wood, has gravity fed water, where we can raise some small livestock, is in an area with a low population density, and is far from Interstates.
Only after we moved did we realize many other unlooked for benefits, including:
- Lower cost of living
- Friendlier people in the community
- No traffic jams
- Nature surrounds us and we spend more time outdoors
- We see more wildlife
- There is no noise pollution
- More stars are visible in the night sky because there is no light pollution
- There are more outdoor recreational activities
- It is a healthier, low-stress environment
Quality of Life
Even if you don’t move for prepping reasons, there are plenty of reasons to head to the country and a big one is how your will kids grow up. You may be used to where you live, but if you see more drug users than flowers at the local park, it’s time to improve your quality of life.
When I was a kid, my parents could tell me to “go out and play” and I would do so unsupervised. I could roam the area with a few friends and no one worried that we would get killed or kidnapped. There are some places where that is still possible, but none of them are in large cities.
If you have some acreage in the country, there’s no reason kids and friends with common sense can’t roam it and play in the nearby woods. Sure, they may grow up shooting .22s at squirrels, riding four-wheelers, and tracking mud into the house, but they will also grow up with some independence, the ability to kill and dress a deer, and be in good health after eating homegrown food from the garden and the farmyard.
There are plenty of pressing prepping-related reasons to move further from urban areas, but there are also quality of life reasons to leave the city. As long as no one in your family has pressing medical issues that require a university hospital or other special considerations, then make like Target leave the crime-ridden cities behind.