A Potentially Easier Way To Get Rich: Move To The Midwest

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It’s no secret that big city living is expensive. We’ve all heard stories of starving artists sleeping 6 to an apartment in Boston, aspiring actors working three jobs to make ends meet in Chicago, or the infamous $500,000 closet-sized apartment in New York City. Talk to people you know who live in big cities and you’ll hear more of the same- usually accompanied by complaints about just how hard it is to get by.

Unfortunately, those stories generally aren’t exaggerations. The truth is, living in a big city is extremely expensive, especially if you want to buy an apartment in a prime location or rent anywhere close to downtown. And on top of the cost of real estate, you’ll also be on the hook for higher-than-average taxes, climbing food costs, and expensive everything else- from daycare to private schools. With all that being said, it’s easy to wonder why people choose to live in a big city anyway. As someone who lives in one of the cheapest regions of the country- Central Indiana-  it seems like such an unnecessary struggle.

But then again, big cities do offer some things that small towns simply cannot- the hustle and bustle of the crowds commuting, the big buildings towering overhead, the nightlife, the shopping, the scenery, the people-watching, the street fairs and the culture. All of those charming attributes can be hard to find anywhere outside of a major city or metropolitan area, and nearly impossible to find anywhere in the Midwestern United States.

But those perks come at a high cost for anyone who isn’t already well-to-do. (Related: Why Gen Y Can’t Afford Prime Real Estate Any Longer) And those who want to get rich might want to consider an entirely different lifestyle altogether. That’s right- I’m talking about a big move to the Midwest.

The Financial Benefits of Midwestern Living

It’s hard for people from big cities to fathom just how far your money can go in the Midwestern United States. For example, when I tell people I bought my 2,000 square foot Indianapolis home on 1/3 of an acre for a cool $188,500, they often look at me like I have three heads. In fact, I’m pretty sure they assume I’m being dishonest somehow, or that my home is actually a giant cardboard refrigerator box.

But they’re wrong. My house is actually extremely nice and well cared for, with professional landscaping, granite countertops, and custom woodwork from top to bottom. The bus picks my kids up at the end of the driveway each morning, and we live in one of the top-rated school systems in the state. Not only that, but we have two community pools, two community tennis courts, and walking trails all throughout the neighborhood. And guess how much I pay for it- a total of $360 annually for neighborhood upkeep, pool access, and recreation. And my property taxes? $1,850 per year.

So, what’s the catch?

To be frank, there really isn’t one. That’s just how much it costs to live in most parts of the rural and suburban Midwest. To see just what I mean, let’s compare several big cities across the U.S. with their smaller, Midwestern counterparts. (All housing and income data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau and uses 2008-2012 figures. Cost of Living Index figures come from the U.S. Census.)

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Cost of Living Index “measures relative price levels for consumer goods and services in participating areas for mid-management standard of living. The national average equals 100 and each index is read as a percent of the national average.”  So basically, the COL Index is a theoretical price index that is used to measure the relative cost of living in a specific place and time. As you can see, the cost of living for the biggest cities in the U.S. is almost twice that of some of the smaller, Midwestern regions. To put things even more in perspective, let’s add a few more columns and some more data:

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And herein lies the problem. Let’s start with San Francisco, California as an example. The median housing value for 2008-2012 was more than 700 percent that of the median housing value in Memphis, Tennessee during the same timeframe. However, the median household income was only twice as much. With such a huge disparity between incomes and housing prices, it’s no wonder that only 36.9 percent of San Francisco residents owned homes from 2008-2012.

And New York City? You can get more than 4 times as much house in Indianapolis, and most likely a yard and a private garage to park your cars as well. Yet, the median household income in Indianapolis is only $10,000 less than the household income in New York City. So, what gives?

The Midwest: What You Give Up

Living in the Midwest may not be all that exciting, but it’s not the worst thing in the world either. Instead of big city street fairs and galleries, we’ve got small town festivals and church open houses. Instead of world-renowned museums and attractions, we’ve got corn mazes, empty fields for kids to play in, and the local park. And in place of ballroom dancing, fine dining, and Broadway shows, we’ve got the movie theatre, the bowling alley, and the public library.

People who live out in the boondocks also go without the luxury of living near much of anything. For example, my husband’s parents owned a lake house in South Dakota that was more than a half hour from the closest store of any kind. Imagine making dinner and realizing you’re out of eggs or white wine, but having no option to run to the store quickly to pick some up. Simply put, living in many parts of the Midwest can be downright inconvenient, if not isolating. And, in some rural areas, a trip to the nearest town to buy groceries can seem like a pretty big deal. 

Obviously, there are cultural trade-offs too.  For example, many parts of the Midwest are lacking diversity, and a lack of exposure to other cultures could lead to children that aren’t especially well-rounded.  And if you want speak other languages fluently with locals, you’ll probably be out of luck; most parts of the Midwest are full of people who speak English-only.

Career aspirations might also have to fall to the wayside if you choose to set up camp in most parts of the rural United States. If you want to work for Google, Goldman Sachs, Apple, or P&G, for example, you’ll either have to find some sort of unicorn work-from-home position at one of those companies, or just let the dream go. On the other hand, you could always choose to live in the suburbs of a big city in the Midwest, such as Chicago, and look for an opportunity at an international firm.

How to Get Rich in the Midwest

In many parts of the Midwest, $1 million dollars will buy you an actual mansion- something with 10,000 square feet or more and several acres of land. Away from the big cities, you might even get a pool and pool house for that amount, lakefront property, or a custom garage that holds 5 or 6 cars.

But you don’t really want to do that, do you?

The real way to get rich in the Midwest is to take advantage of the low housing prices, low taxes, and low cost of living. Instead of going big, try to buy a house on the low end of what you find acceptable and stash all of your money away instead. Personal Capital can then help you track your own finances or have someone professionally manage your money.

And that’s probably the best thing about living in the Midwest anyway; the Joneses are few and far between. When everyone around you lives a humble lifestyle without too much grandeur or luxury, it’s easy to blend in with the crowd. Unlike people in the big cities, Midwestern folks are less concerned with name brand fashions and flashy cars, private university degrees and family trees. In the Midwest, no one knows if you’re old or new money, and no one cares.

If you’re living in the big city and struggling to get by, consider moving to a place where even a modest income can make you instantly rich.  After all, the money you can save could mean the difference between struggling to get by or getting rich, renting forever or owning your dream home, and traveling the world or staying home. And there’s no need to worry about missing out on all the things big cities have to offer.  Thanks to low prices on everything from real estate to groceries, Midwestern folks often have one thing big city people don’t- the money to travel anywhere we want. 

Welcome To Personal Capital


Do you think living in the Midwest would be worth the potential savings?  What are your thoughts on living outside of a big city? Are there enough good jobs out in the Midwest to make it rich?

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Holly Johnson

Holly Johnson is a financial expert and award-winning writer whose obsession with frugality, budgeting, and travel plays a central role in her work. In addition to serving as Contributing Editor for The Simple Dollar, Holly writes for inspiring publications such as U.S. News and World Report Travel, Personal Capital, Lending Tree, and Frugal Travel Guy. Holly also owns two websites of her own - Club Thrifty and Travel Blue Book. You can follow her on Twitter or Pinterest @ClubThrifty.


  1. Cl

    It is true that the Midwest offers more bang for your buck. Indianapolis is the twelfth largest city in the US, though, so it offers more than the average Midwestern town. We do have the world renowned Children’s Museum, which is the best in the world. We also have ballroom dancing and fine dining. There are affordable houses and good schools in the Indianapolis area. If you ever feel the need to hang out in a big city, Chicago is less than 3 hours away. Some of my friends parents would just go for a weekend getaway. If you want your kids to grow up with multicultural exposure, you can send them to the International School. They will mingle with kids whose parents hail from Spain or France, and they will be fluent in both languages after spending time there. if you want to raise kids, Indianapolis is a great place. I now live in a smaller city in the Midwest of about 580,000 people, and I can appreciate the things I have lost, such as direct flights. 🙂

    • Holly Johnson

      Oh, I completely agree. I think that’s the hardest thing for people from the coasts to understand. Central Indiana actually has extremely affluent areas- like Hamilton County where I live. Indianapolis also has tons of culture and opportunity. I was telling a friend the other day that the median annual wage in Carmel is something like $101,000! It’s hard to understand what it’s like to live here unless you’ve been.

      But ugh, I also miss direct flights =(

        • Holly Johnson

          That doesn’t surprise me at all. I live in Noblesville but right near the Carmel line. It’s absolutely beautiful up here and entirely underrated. And you’re right- it does keep the costs down!

  2. Nila Ridings

    Not only that, but we have two community pools, two community tennis courts, and walking trails all throughout the neighborhood. And guess how much I pay for it- a total of $360 annually for neighborhood upkeep, pool access, and recreation. And my property taxes? $1,850 per year.

    So, what’s the catch?

    Here’s the catch. You are living in an HOA; homeowners association. There are 350,000 of them in the United States and over 60,000,000 people living inside of them. If the HOA board goes rogue you’ll be singing a totally different song. When you purchased in the HOA you signed away your US Constitutional Rights, became business partners with all of your neighbors in a non-profit corporation, and guaranteed payments on all debts, loans, lawsuits, liabilities, settlements, construction defects and disaster rebuilds. Property values in HOA are dropping all over the country because millions of people have learned HOA living can destroy your life, health, savings, and happiness.

    I live in the Midwest in an HOA and for me to sell and get out of this hellhole I’m going to lose $200,000. I would not own another HOA property if it was paid in full and given as a gift. I would hand the keys back.

    If readers are thinking of moving to the Midwest I highly suggest you do the research and avoid condos and HOAs.

    To help you learn exactly what you’ve bought into or looking to buy into here are some resources:

    Neighbors At War by Ward Lucas, Villa Appalling by Donie Vanitzian, Privatopia and Beyond Privatopia by Evan McKenzie, HOA Warrior by Shelly Marshall http://www.neighborsatwar.com http://www.onthecommons.net this is a radio show about HOA where experts in the field talk about all that is and can happen in an HOA. I would highly recommend listening to Dr. Gary Solomon and doing an internet search for HOA Syndrome and reading it. He also has youtube videos available.

    HOA living is not the utopia many people think it is. Every single HOA in America is only one vote away from being a hellhole and destroying your life. I know that to be a fact because I’ve lived it. The CAI has the legislators controlled and homeowners are learning all too quickly what a rotten bunch the Community Associations Institute is all about. And then they ask the question. How can this be going on in America with no laws to protect the homeowners from this abuse?

    • Holly Johnson

      I have heard a lot of nightmare stories about HOAS, but not all communities with an HOA have issues. I understand what HOAS are all about and what the benefits and drawbacks are. I was lucky when we bought this house- two of my high school friends have lived in this neighborhood for years so I was able to ask them a ton of questions about the HOA and everything else.

      • Brandon Rinebold

        I think his point is that the HOA you love can change pretty quickly with just a few people moving in/out or even just a few people changing their attitudes.

        Most small groups like that are actually run by a handful of people willing to put in a lot of time and effort into the micropolitics of the neighborhood and shape opinions of their neighbors. As long as those people are relatively understanding and cooperative, the neighborhood is great. If they ever go on a power trip or get vindictive, it’ll be a pretty horrible experience almost immediately.

        • Holly Johnson

          Yeah, I get that. Fortunately, my HOA is drama-free at the moment. If that ever changes, I will reassess.

  3. Financial Samurai

    We’ve had a lot of back and forth on this post already as the editor, and I do like the idea of moving to the Midwest to potentially get rich.

    But I like the idea of the option of moving to the Midwest AFTER you’ve gotten rich even better!

    Although coastal cities like SF, NYC, LA are expensive, they are expensive for a reason. The jobs are more plentiful and higher paying. People might scoff at a $1 million SFH in SF, and wonder how the median $78,000 income earner can afford it. The thing is, the median income earner is not buying these homes. There is A LOT of STEALTH WEALTH going on in big cities.

    It’s not just people who have money that nobody knows about, it’s international money buying up property as well.

    The jobs at Google, Apple, Goldman, McKinsey might start off the same or slightly higher than midwest jobs out of college, but the upside potential is much, MUCH greater. We are talking $200,000+ for practically every one of these company employees after 10 years experience, many of them earn much more.

    It’s better to start off in an expensive city, build your nut, and then have the choice to geoarbitrage to a cheaper location. If you start at the cheaper location, it’s hard to ever leave because everything will be so much more expensive.

    One can only cut costs so much to build wealth. Making more money is much more lucrative.


    • Holly Johnson

      I just disagree with you- that’s all. Many people don’t have aspirations to work at Google or Apple, nor do they want to pay 500K for a starter home. They just want to get a good paying job and live the American dream. And a lot of people have no desire to move to the big city anyway. Why would they when they can afford to visit any time they want?
      It’s not hard to get rich living in the Midwest on an average salary at all. I should know; I’m doing it.

      • Financial Samurai

        Maybe we disagree on the definition of “getting rich”? What is your definition exactly given the title of the post?

        • Holly Johnson

          That might be it- I suppose my idea of “getting rich” is probably far different than yours.
          To me, it’s about having enough money to retire incredibly early, pay for my children’s college, and never worry about day-to-day expenses ever again. I suppose the standard definition of “rich” requires more money than I want or need.

          • Satfactor

            Living in the Midwest is cheap. I live in one and I moved from NYC to here. But the only thing that is cheap is housing. Every other expense is the same. Cars, insurance, gas, you name it. You want to travel to Mexico. It doesn’t matter where you live. Tickets cost the same. I took a 50% pay cut and the author is right about job opportunities. Very little if you are the ambitious type. overall I don’t save as much money as I had expected.

  4. Nila Ridings

    I should add that I live in the suburbs of Kansas City on the Kansas side of the state line. It’s a wonderful area but the littered with HOAs. My dues are $3,000 per year…2 pools and 2 tennis courts and a clubhouse. And my taxes are $1,850. HOAs were created in part so cities could offset their expenses by having a private entity charge dues that are not tax deductible while computing taxes at the exact same rate as if the property was not inside of an HOA. It boils down to double taxation. One of which is controlled by a non-profit corporation that is run by a bunch of volunteers that in most cases have no experience running a business, often times are liars and thieves and receive massive kickbacks from vendors.

    Again, anyone living in an HOA or thinking of buying into one and that includes condos should be learning the truth about the massive risks they are taking.

  5. Lisa

    I love how the median housing costs on that chart for Philadelphia, PA are $142,300. I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia and you can’t really buy a nice, single family home for anything under $400-$500k.

    • Holly Johnson

      Yikes! That’s a lot! The U.S. Census data must not include the suburbs when they come up with those figures.

      • Lisa

        You can certainly buy a row home in center city Philadelphia for under $100k.


    When our daughter was 3 we moved from San Diego to the Midwest and raised her and built our nest egg in the central part of the country. Now that our daughter is grown we are back in CA. It was a superb way to grow our assets and allow me to take time off to raise our daughter. It was a great decision for us.

    • Holly Johnson

      I like that strategy, Barbara!

  7. Kevin

    I agree with the writer on this subject. We live in the Midwest (central IL) and we find it amazing the COL in other areas. We’re in our mid 30’s, 2 kids, a great house, several acres, top public school in the area, 15 minutes to work…all for well under 200k. We actually bought our place for about 100k, dropped another 100k into a complete remodel to suit our desires. For 500k, the comparables are 6000+ sq/ft mcMansions.

    We make quite a bit of money, and spend very little (well below the average in our area). We’re sitting on enough cash to pay our house off or boost our investments whenever the market decides to come back down. And we didn’t even really start living below our means until maybe 5-6 years ago. At this point, we’re debating on which area of the FL coast to buy a 2nd home for vacations/winter once the kids graduate HS. We have 3 area airports that offer great flights to major cities (FL, Vegas, Denver), 2 Intl airports within driving distance. We are a 2-3 hour flight from anywhere in the US.

    All of this due to good luck, good jobs, good savings plan, and the low cost of the Midwest!

    • Holly Johnson

      Awesome, Kevin! We are in our mid-30’s too. I feel like life is much easier when you don’t have an enormous mortgage hanging over your head or the pressure to perform that comes with it. I hope you find the perfect vacation home =)

  8. Lee Newton

    Holly, wonderful article. I agree fully. I sometimes wonder if I could even afford to own any house in the more expensive areas of the country. In Bay City, MI, I have a business that feeds us, live comfortably, and there’s fortunately a couple dollars remaining to invest in real estate and save for the future. Best wishes.

    • Holly Johnson

      Hi Lee! Thank you. It sounds like you have a good deal in Michigan. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Abigail

    Yeah, but Indianapolis isn’t exactly a small place. So I think you prove that you can move to a low COL area without sacrificing too much.

    We moved to Arizona due to health problems, and man the cost is so much lower than Seattle. We just couldn’t afford a house up there, even now that one of us is working. Even a two-bedroom is going to run $250k or more. (Probably much more.)

    We got a foreclosure down here: 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, 1,500 sq ft plus a small guest house for $60k. We made some improvements, including tile, a new A/C unit and bringing the place up to FHA standards. And even having put only 3% down, we pay $530 a month. It’s just silly. Granted, the summer cooling bills are a bear, but it’s still an amazing deal.

    • Holly Johnson

      Good point, although I live in a small suburb of Indianapolis and not in the city itself.

      Awesome deal on your foreclosure! I would love to pick something like that up for $1,500. And a $530 monthly mortgage is the perfect recipe for a huge savings rate.

  10. Adam

    This article sets forth a binary scenario: you either live in a vibrant, very high cost-of-living, extremely urban area on one of the coasts….or you live in a sprawling, relatively low-cost-of living suburb or rural area in a flyover state. Both options have their problems. The article already outlines the problems with living in the big city but in my opinion completely misses the negatives of the suburban/rural midwest option. Namely that you will likely end up being car-dependent (cars cost $8-10k per year to own and operate and research shows they shorten your life and affect your mental health), have little interaction with the community around you (potentially leading to depression and other mental health issues), and be part of an unsustainable development pattern that (to paraphrase Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns.org) is essentially one big Ponzi scheme. The latter–the looming insolvency of sprawling suburbs, whose obligations exceed their revenues–should, of course, be of concern to anyone that cares about their personal financial health. And then some people just have no interest in living in the suburbs and will gladly give up some future wealth for a more fulfilled long-term lifestyle.

    There is, however, a third way. Or rather, there is a spectrum of options and somewhere in the middle is far better, in my opinion. I’ve spent time in some of the Indianapolis suburbs mentioned in other comments (Carmel, Fishers, etc.) and have absolutely no interest in living in any of these places. Rather, my wife and I chose to find a city with relatively low cost of living (on a national scale) but tons of culture and action and that provides the opportunity for an urban lifestyle. We ended up just outside of downtown Madison, WI. We can bike or walk everywhere, my commute is 10 minutes, our neighbors have a strong sense of community, and I’m paid significantly more than I was in Dallas. We chose Madison, but there are many other cities across the country (not just in the Midwest) that can provide this type of lifestyle.

    One more point to make…I don’t believe there are people choosing between a $1m Manhattan apartment and a $200k, 4,000 square foot house outside of Lincoln, Nebraska. People–especially those that are willing to pick up and move across the country–make their decisions about where they live based on the lifestyle they want to lead (and, I would argue, this is often based on superficial things rather than peoples’ core values). Then they see what they can afford that meets that lifestyle (e.g., “drive till you qualify”), even if it means incurring excessive additional costs.

    • Nik Nik

      Thank you, Adam, for the most sensible comment here. With my wife we contemplate a possible move to Indiana to be closer to her parents and to be able to provide better education to our child, may be one more in a year or two. What we discovered is that even with $180K combined annual income in NYC it is practically impossible to have even an approximation of a middle-class life style here with a child. Taxes (federal, state and city) eat half of the income and because we are considered ‘middle-class’ we are ineligible for any subsidized public services. Midwest seems like an option but as it was already mentioned in the comments – you need to make some money there too. At the same time the type of jobs that we both have are only found in really big cities – like NYC, LA, Chicago. So we’re on the cross road.

  11. Steve Lyon

    Although I understand what is being said here, I don’t really know how realistic it is as a suggestion to all living in a major city. I moved from Ohio to New York after college, I have had a very fast pace career so far (5 years) with no sign of slowing down. I make on average 30-40k more a year then my friends who stayed in Ohio. If I moved back to the midwest somewhere before I purchase my first home or start a family I have to consider the need for what I do professionally in that location and the price agencies are willing to pay for it. I’m sure the salary or freelance will drop in relationship to the cost of living in the selected area. I am by no means in love with NYC, I have gotten used to it. But I feel like it would be preventing me from ever amassing any moderate wealth to walk away from the city. If anyone can speak from personal experience in the creative field that can say otherwise I would love to hear from you. This has been a thought/concern since relocating here.

  12. Tom

    As I live in Pasadena, California, I’m very surprised that no one is mentioning……weather. We wear T-shirts and shorts virtually all year long in Southern California. And no humidity or bugs either. If you want to go to the beach and swim, an hour away. If you want to go to the mountains and ski, an hour away. Any entertainment or sports ( except pro football!) and it’s here. There is no other place in the entire world that has such mild weather while putting you so close to so much. I bought into a house in a very nice neighborhood as soon as I got out of college and it’s fine. My 401k is healthy as well. Back to my original point: How does one accomodate cold or hot-humid-buggy weather 3-6 months out of the year?

    • Mark

      Tom, I one hundred percent agree with you that weather is a giant factor. I personally live in orange county California about 40 miles south of you and never get sick of the weather. We raised three kids here – they had tons of stuff to do. We paid off our mortgage at age 57 for me 55 for my wife. And we didn’t even know anything about financial blogs and early retirement coming up through the stages. We travel a lot now since we no longer have the mortgage and our kids are grown. We “survived” this area no problem, fortunately for us our property taxes were locked in by prop 13 and we pay about $3000 per year. Plus if we choose to leave the area we can pretty much afford to live anywhere, whereas someone in the Midwest maybe stuck in that area or other low-cost areas. BTW Just checked my phone for the weather and it is currently 86° at 1 PM – nice! Also I grew up in a cold climate Anchorage Alaska and have no desire for that action again!

  13. E J

    I live in San Diego, CA. People rave about the weather but San Diego is very expensive, parking is limited, and the Middle class is not doing so well. I came to the conclusion that San Diego is only good for the very poor or the very wealthy. I used to work for the public housing program and most of those people don’t have to work and are very well taken care of at the expense of the taxpayer. The very wealthy can afford to live in the nice places you are on TV and travel brochures. Places like La Jolla, Coronado, and downtown. The rest of us, most of us, live in the undesirable areas and struggle to make ends meet.
    My husband and I have no children and have what some would consider “good jobs”. We make over 100k and own or own home but we can only afford to live in the ghetto. We save as much money as we can and live below our means but our housing expenses are so high and the job market so bad that if we lose our jobs, we’d be homeless in a year. It’s difficult to find a good paying job with benefits.
    We are considering moving to the Midwest for a while. This way of living is unsustainable.

  14. Bored Midwesterner

    I’m super late here, but although I enjoyed reading the blog I think I’m the other side, the Midwesterner that feels the need to run like hell.. I would like to just point out quickly though that the corporate office for P&G is in downtown Cincinnati, OH (The Midwest). So, that is actually one place a Midwesterner could work and likely have a lucrative career for a multi-international firm. I’m an Ohioan, have been here pretty much all my life but outside of the cost of living a bigger city imo has more to offer for the reasons mentioned, culture, diversity, more career ambitious people etc…..I like the notion of leaving while you’re young, experiencing the world and then maybe settling down in the Midwest. I would say my gripes about the Midwest are that it seems that you encounter the same person over and over, Everyone tends to think the same, people fear risk and it seems that there is still that mentality of get married, have kids, settle for a job and just be thankful to have one, be miserable, grow old, die……people just don’t seem quite as ambitious about life in the Midwest as in bigger cities. It’s rare to find people who think outside the box. If you’re a creative person or want anything outside of that life progression I mentioned…..the Midwest is probably not for you. I do think there are some hubs in the Midwest where you can find a good mix (Indianapolis is probably 1 of them) but where I am from (Southwestern, OH) not so much. On top of this we have to have 4 wardrobes for the weather changes and have them readily available week to week, if you don’t like the weather in OH….wait 10 minutes 🙂 So, I guess I will say that I agree that the perception of where you would rather live, big city vs rural Midwest, is largely affected by what lifestyle intrigues you, (and yes….the weather) As for me, I feel the need to get out of here soon before I am sucked in and driving a minivan to the county fair for entertainment (ok, that was a bit much)…….just for reference my husband and I are in our early 30s

    • Bored Midwesterner

      *corprate headquarters *multi-national …..sorry it’s late

  15. Natalie

    I am also SUPER late to the conversation, but am eager to provide my viewpoint here. As a native of Denver, CO, I can tell you that, although jobs are plentiful in Colorado right now (especially in energy, tech, and cannabis production, etc.) I can tell you that the cost of living will usually far exceed the median incomes for the area. Coastal types are buying up property here and it is having a big impact on what the middle/working class can afford anywhere in the Denver metro area or along the front range. My husband and I make nearly $120k combined and it is still really hard to get by here – a good chunk of our population is paying 50% or more of their income on housing, especially if they’re renting or if they bought a house in the last 2 years.

    My husband’s family is from the Chicagoland/Milwaukee area and I am seriously considering a move to the Midwest. He hates it there, but I wish he’d give it a second look, as this article suggests. Sure, the weather is a trade-off, but when you can purchase a home for $100-200k and have plenty of money left over for retirement, savings, and a less stressful lifestyle overall, I have to ask myself why on earth I would live anywhere on the west coast or Rocky Mtn. region when the cost of living continues to go nowhere but up.

    I would strongly caution anyone thinking of moving to Denver to think twice. If you love traffic, weed, and skiing, it might be for you. Otherwise, look elsewhere. Austin, TX has many of the same amenities (minus skiing) and is considerably less expensive. They also have good job growth at the moment. Also consider Boise, ID. I would like to explore these cities more, and/or look into Twin Cities, MN, Bloomington, IN, or St. Louis, which I hear has a lot of cool things to do.

  16. Lily Coleman

    That’s a quite good article! The information here is surprisingly helpful and detailed. My husband and I are moving to Indianapolis at the end of January and your post is definitely a good additional facts for us. Thank you for sharing!

  17. Buy Cheap House Kansas City

    Hi, Excellent explanation of A Potentially Easier Way To Get Rich: Move To The Midwest with the help of charts. I have completely read your web blog and articles.

    Thank You

  18. paul

    I am a Chinese Catholic and want to immigrate to Midwest to raise my 3 kids family. This article helps me a lot. Thank you.

  19. Laura

    Hi All,

    My husband and I are in our late 20’s and selling our 1st home in the suburbs of Seattle. With this we are looking to trade in our 100K household income to move to a small Midwest town. It was luck that we were able to buy in the bottom of the market and therefore have a little nest egg. We both want the small downtown, in walking distance, with a small veggie garden and be able trade fruit/veggies with the neighbors to make something for the community potluck/block party on Friday night. A place you can leave your backdoor open. I have yet to find the ‘right’ place. We are taking a month after the sale of our home to travel the Midwest. There is just so much to cover. If anyone has any suggestions I’d love to hear. We are looking more north as we both rather have more snow than 100+ degree summers. We have lived near Seattle our whole lives. I love the water, grew up spending me summers on boats in the San Juans, so being near water of some sort would be ideal. We have never encountered tornados and this is a concern for us. Its also worth mentioning that while we are not super political we were born and raised in Seattle’s liberal environment. Hoping to find the needle in a haystack!


  20. dave


    Sounds like central to northern michigan would be a good pick for you. I’m from southwest ohio

  21. Martha

    I would have moved there too, if their laws weren’t so terrible.

  22. International moving companies miami fl

    Interesting advice, I hope you’re right.

  23. Brad

    I live in the mid west been on the east coast me and my sweetheart save about 3 to 4 grand a month going up slowly living in the Midwest because housing is cheaper. We li/ve for under 1000 dollars a month in the projects so we can do this. We would never be able to do this in New York regardless or not if the salary’s are higher. Because it’s not just higher col but taxes as well. If we keep on the same pace we should be worth around 3 to 4 million by the age of 40 enough to comftorable live off dividends and never touch the principle thus still allowing our income to grow over time.. I do predict though that as the coast gets so expensive people will migrate to the Midwest and over the next 50 years we will see a dramatic increase in prices. I feel this for Denver Minneapolis maybe Chicago and some of the surrounding city’s. I’m in Milwaukee now and let me tell you that lake is a fricken ocean looks the dang same people will catch on it is very nice here same luxury’s as any big city I’ve been to just cheaper. Scoop up your rentals while you can before it gets over priced

  24. Anonymous

    You can work for P&G and live in the Midwest— HQ is in Cincinnati


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