Sunday, October 19, 2008

Finding Your Spot

Here I am doing all this research about where I should move, and it turns out there's a relocation site that'll figure it out for me! It's called, and I was (and still am) dumbfounded that I'd not heard of it. (A big thanks to Amy Mulert for tipping me off.)

FindYourSpot is quite comprehensive. Not only does it recommend a whopping 24 places based on their proprietary quiz, but it provides you with four-page summaries of each locale. The cost? Zip. (Access to more in-depth city reports will set you back $9.95, however.)

Here's an excerpt from the FYS "About Us" page:

You may be like millions of other Americans who are choosing where to live based on quality-of-life factors that really matter to them. Thanks to technology and "portable" skills, those movers can often plug their skills into a meaningful career in the place they really want to live.

And from the "How It Works" page:

FindYourSpot is the best way to discover your perfect hometown...just tell us your ideal and we’ll find the best candidates for you. We don’t have the bias of your Aunt LuLu, we don’t have mounds of useless data for you to sort through, and we don’t have the gall of "best places" lists that tell you what your priorities are. What we do have is the most accurate automated recommendation system and the most pertinent information.

Could FYS be more up my alley? Even the name gets at the heart of my quest. I'm not just looking for any cheap spot. I'm looking for MY spot. My geographical mate, if you will. How will I know it? It should feel like the place that fits the person I've become.

What I enjoy about FYS's approach is that they see where you live not as a strict consequence of your job or your place of birth, but as a true choice in today's jetsetting, increasingly online world. A choice that influences your lifestyle, your activities, your culture, your quality of life...and quite possibly, your happiness. Here here!

The quiz takes about 10 minutes, with questions broken into the following categories:

1. Climate
2. Culture
3. Schools/Hospitals/Airports
4. Outdoor Activities/Sports
5. Population and Geography
6. Predilections and Organizations
7. Religion and Churches
8. Taxes and Housing/Rental Costs

For me, the hardest parts involved selecting my airport preferences (am I willing to drive a few hours to reach a major airport?), my population preferences (small or medium-sized towns?), my weather preferences (how much snow, humidity and rainfall can I stomach?) and housing caps (what is my max home price or rent?).

Ultimately, I threw in my lot with sun-soaked small towns that are within a few hours of the airport and have a very low cost of living (below national averages). I'm still processing my recommendations, but let's just say the results are uncanny. Two states already on my radar represented half (12!) of the selections.

Which two states? You'll find out in my next post, where I dissect and deliberate on the 24 picks.

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