Taking Calculated Risks

As a real estate investor you’re looking for the equivalent of a stock market mantra, “Buy low, sell high.”

Attracting Trend-Setting Couples
Well off empty nest 45 – 65-year-old couples and successful midlife 30 – 44-year-old couples signal the transition to higher appreciation in real estate.

An excerpt from Book Five in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Sierra Mountain resorts.

Part Two in a 4-Part Series.

Part One: You

Look for a real estate market just taking off or, as in the Lake Tahoe market, accelerating again after a consolidation or drop in prices.

Lake Tahoe Homes

Contact local brokers for property price statistics and discuss vacancy rates for the town

  • Falling vacancy rates indicate demand is outstripping supply.
  • And that translates into enduring price appreciation.
  • Another quantitative variable to check is any factor that would limit the amount of land available for development.

Harry Dent advises you to look for any clues

These would include environmental constraints, water shortages, adjacent hills and lakes that count towards the acreage totals but cannot be developed, zoning laws, and so on.

  • As a real estate investor you’re looking for the equivalent of a stock market mantra, “Buy low, sell high.”
  • Or in retail, “Location, location, location”
  • A limited supply of suitable land plus growth equals appreciation.

    Explosive Las Vegas Growth

Dent turns to Nevada, Florida and Colorado for examples.

  • In Las Vegas at the time of his report had been growing by 14% every year, exactly the kind of statistic you’d want to find.
  • But with so much cheap land surrounding the gambling and entertainment mecca housing supply easily kept ahead of demand.
Desert Surrounding Vegas

This is why, for example, Las Vegas is growing at an astonishing rate of 14% per year but homeowners are enjoying only modest appreciation. 

Here’s the contrarian position.

  • When “timing is everything.”
  • There is a physical limit after all.
Mountain Range Halting Limitless Expansion

But Las Vegas is approaching the limits set by the surrounding mountain ranges. As a result, it may see more substantial price appreciation in the future.

What about Florida, an irresistible  magnet for snowbirds and retirees?

High population growth rates?

Check.

But, Dent says to consider two anti-appreciation factors.

Florida Lifestyle

Lots of flat land suitable for development and plenty of water have kept the price appreciation in most areas relatively modest. 

Look for pro-appreciation factors at work.

Limitations which limit growth (supply) while the attraction (demand) drives population growth.

  • California’s priciest areas limit growth by geographical, think Pacific Ocean, and ecological limitations.
  • Finally, at the top of our bucket list, Telluride, Colorado, is surrounded by mountain walls.

    Canyon Surrounding Telluride

The appreciation in such areas due to a growing population has been phenomenal.

The idea for this book germinated from a simple question my son asked on the porch of Tom’s Place.

He pointed to the houses, cabins and vacation homes perched on the winding terrace lots.

“How to live in one of those while doing what I want to do.”

My quest to build my knowledge bank came from Dent’s insight.

The final piece of quantitative data that can give us insight into a potential boomtown tells us about the local lifestyles, known as psychographics. 

Without having to visit each and every boomtown you can first filter a long “Birds-of-a-Feather” bucket list down to a more manageable regional itinerary.

  • Then visits to your short list you can confirm what lifestyle profiles suggest.
  • Take extended vacations in both the summer and winter test the fit, get a “feel” for the place and check out what’s going on.
  • You can correlate numerous measurable demographic factors with specific lifestyle preferences as we’ve shown beginning in Whitefish, Montana and ending with Mammoth Lakes, California.

A lifestyle analysis of any city, town, zip code, or neighborhood …

can help you identify a new town that is  attracting people like you whom you’d enjoy as neighbors. 

It is also important to use such data to identify which towns are attracting the trend setting lifestyles of the more affluent sectors of the population. 

The towns with Wireless Resorter profiles attract trend setting lifestyles.

Center of Mammoth Lakes Development
  • Over time Mammoth Lakes shifted from a Maturing Resort lifestyle magnet – informal, bluejeans  unpretentious – to a growing Premier Resort  attraction over the years we tracked them.
  • The appearance of both the 09M1T1 and 25Y1T1 profiles — well off empty nest 45 – 65-year-old couples and successful midlife 30 – 44-year-old couples signal the transition to higher appreciation in real estate.

Dent originally wrote …

If a Claritas (now Nielsen PRIZM Segmentation) report on the town you are researching shows a significant or growing influx of any of these lifestyle segments, then it confirms that you have selected a boomtown. 

But if it didn’t, how could you find Wireless Resort profiles?

Steps:

22) Selectively evaluate the best quality-of-life communities to live in and weigh the tradeoffs of risk and rewards for accruing real estate appreciation along a progression of rural and small towns that meet what your pocket books can afford.

 

You

“… it is necessary to invest time to personally visit and evaluate each one—there are many qualitative factors affecting your final decision that can’t be wrapped up in neat columns of data.”

Is This The Right Investment for You?
On the other hand, if real estate prices have been growing for a long period of time, there is a risk that prices could peak and consolidate for a period of time.”

 

An excerpt from Book Five in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Sierra Mountain resorts.

Part One in a 4-Part Series.

Part Two: Taking Calculated Risks

What about you?

It’s time to clarify your own priorities.

Is This Lifestyle Right for You?

There are not shortages of best places lists, but what is the best fit for you personally?

  • To what type of place do you want to relocate?
  • What type of boomtown would be a wise investment? 

The challenge and the opportunity lying before you falls into two parts.

First, use quantitative data to research potential towns that interest you for your own bucket list.

Second, Harry Dent says

it is necessary to invest time to personally visit and evaluate each one—there are many qualitative factors affecting your final decision that can’t be wrapped up in neat columns of data or expressed in a terse written description.

Is there a threshold below which or above which you should look for?

For the first, Dent cautions you as you consider towns with fewer citizens.

As a general rule, you will want to invest in a small town only when it has a minimum population of 3,000; an even safer bet is 5,000 people. 

If the town has between 3,000 and 5,000 people, make sure that there are solid plans for growth and that it offers some qualitative advantages over other areas before investing in it. 

Too Far Away To Appreciate

Another rule of thumb.

The growing towns following their development strategies often take off after reaching a population of 20,000.

The next threshold Dent identified was 50,000.

The critical mass for many new growth cities (or formerly small towns) making the transition to a growth city, is often around 50,000.

But, that’s not all.

At each of those minimum population thresholds you will also want to find out if their continuing growth trend is growing or, better yet, accelerating.

This is a strong indicator that real estate is appreciating, not depreciating, and confirms that you have selected a town that other investors find attractive as well. 

Absolute population growth or even population growth as a percentage can be misleading, though.

A better measure is relative growth calculated over the last 10 years.

How does it compare to the rest of the country, state or region in which the town is located.

To calculate the relative growth, simply divide the town’s population growth for each year by the population growth of the country, state or county for that same year, and then plot the figure on a graph. 

Before Google and Wikipedia, you’d have to spend a tremendous amount of time at the library sorting through statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.

And, then you’d have to visit or subscribe to reports from state and local agencies, and from demographic marketing companies.

Now most of that information exists online at two or three sources.

For future projections, you might have to dig a little.

I’ve grown to depend on city-data.com

Mobile Analysis While You Enjoy Your Visit

By collecting and analyzing data from numerous sources, we’re able to create detailed, informative profiles of all cities in the United States. From crime rates to weather patterns, you can find the data you’re looking for on City-Data.com.

For a snapshot, Wikipedia usually provides the top-level statistics, as it does for Mammoth Lakes.

As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 8,234, reflecting an increase of 1,141 from the 7,093 counted in the 2000 Census.

And, if Mammoth makes the first cut consult Wikipedia for a little more detailed data. 

In this case what the 2010 Census revealed.

The population density was 325.4 people per square mile (125.6/km²). The racial makeup of Mammoth Lakes was 6,643 (80.7%) White, 29 (0.4%) African-American, 49 (0.6%) Native American, 128 (1.6%) Asian, 5 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 1,151 (14.0%) from other races, and 229 (2.8%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2,772 persons (33.7%).

But, if projected population data are available, plot future years as well.

Let’s say you’ve done you homework researching your bucket list.

And you discover that the town has grown in the past, but it is not growing faster than the surrounding regional area.

Red flag.

While not always included in other Wikipedia’s pages, for Mammoth Lakes a sidebar tracks population growth from each Census beginning in 1880 (473) through 2010 (8234) or an increase of 16.1% from 2000.

Wikipedia’s sources project for last year in 2015 a drop of 3.5% from 2010 to 7946 residents.

It is not a genuine growth town.

In all categories of boomtowns you’re considering, with the exception of areas that appeal to affluent retirees, look for growth in job markets and a rising level of income.  

Without the growth there simply isn’t enough money circulating to boost  real estate prices.

  • Are there extenuating circumstances?
  • An economic downturn that all resorts suffered?
  • Does that signal a buying or investment opportunity?
Center of Mammoth Lakes Development

Dent says

Even in a growing resort area with a large percentage of retired homeowners, you would expect to see job and income growth for the people who provide goods and services to the town.

Dent recommended engaging demographic marketing firms for economic and job data.

In addition to providing past data, they can give you good estimates for 25 years into the future, based on demographic factors and business and employment trends. 

Today that once expensive knowledge can be found online.

Specific to Mammoth Lakes

As more powerful “Big Data” cloud technologies aggregate it for you.

No matter what the source, you should review data for an entire county as a reliable way to evaluate a single town.

Mammoth Lakes, California Zip Code 93546

“But, only when that town comprises most of the county’s population,” Dent says. 

“Or, such data also can help you easily identify high growth counties in which to look further for high growth towns.”

Searching on City-Data.com for “Mammoth Lakes” and by Mammoth’s zip code “93546” yield slightly different, but useful data sets.

I’m not sure why, but you should consider both when you are serious.

And, another search of “Mono County” shows you all the growth comparison calculations you’ll need plus the distance to nearby towns and nearby zip codes to explore.

Details About Mono County from City Data

All within minutes.

If you find growth in the town’s real estate prices, Dent says treat it as a simple positive indicator.

“Strong appreciation indicates that other people think this town is a good investment, too. 

On the other hand, if real estate prices have been growing for a long period of time, there is a risk that prices could peak and consolidate for a period of time.”

Steps:

21) Spend the time to find the best place to live and invest. It will be worth your while. The great thing about living where others spend their vacation is the year round quality-of-life. 

22) Selectively evaluate the best quality-of-life communities to live in and weigh the tradeoffs of risk and rewards for accruing real estate appreciation along a progression of rural and small towns that meet what your pocket books can afford.

Neighborhoods

“It’s this last aspect that brought a taxing disruption to a “New West” resort community in one of the Rocky Mountain states on our bucket list.”

Montana’s Glacier National Park
Keys for Unlocking Your New Home: BOF, Bucket Lists, Life Stages and Lifestyle Segments

An excerpt from Book Three in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams.

While Claritas / Nielsen Segmentation may redefine their lifestyle descriptions and change the names of their trend-setting profiles, neighborhoods themselves change only slowly over time.

All neighborhoods evolve slowly through life stages over years and decades:

  • Formation,
  • Early Growth,
  • Late Growth,
  • Maturity,
  • Decline and
  • Renewal.

Each neighborhood has its own “brand” – an image and an attraction – for people of the same type.

Colorful Neighborhood “Brand”

Neighbors feel the attraction because the neighborhood fulfills their fundamental need to belong.

Picture your current or most recent street.

Neighborhood Street in Winter

How quickly can you describe your neighborhood composition?

“Well, we have mostly families with kids, except the older kids have graduated.

Most left home for college, but then returned when they couldn’t find work.”

If you’re like me, it’s not something you notice or even think about.

If given a list to choose from, you’d have no problem at all.

You’d be able to rattle off:

  • Their social rank — made up of income, employment level and education level achieved.
  • And the degree of mobility (length of time living in your neighborhood).
  • The mix of ages, genders and living arrangement household composition.
  • And, their ethnicity (race, foreign birth, ancestry, and language)
Densely Populated Urban Neighborhoods

Visitors to your neighborhood can easily observe:

  • The degree of urbanization (variations in urban, suburban, and rural populations);
  • The density (how much room between housing units you see); and
  • Housing types (own, rent, value, age, number of housing units).

So, if you were an outsider about to move into a another neighborhood on your bucket list,

  • How well do you feel you would fit in?
  • Will established neighbors share your same values?
  • How likely will they treat a stranger like you with open arms?
Birds-of-a-Feather or Chicken Wars?

Consider those neighbors who have lived decades in your potentially new community – like those in Whitefish, Montana or Bishop, California.

When new people move in, if they are decidedly different from the birds-of-a-feather (chicken or otherwise) tensions mount.

If strangers replace former neighbors, the local’s sense of belonging to there long standing,  tried-and-true community can be dramatically challenged.

And they don’t like it.

Why?

In general, when people move in, they tend to stay.

Just like those who have lived there for generations.

Fight or Flight.

If locals hate the changes, but can’t afford to move on – they may lack the skill sets to find work or work in professions that are in decline – they feel stuck.

So you get chicken wars, among other things.

We’ve even identified a subset of our High Country Eagle lifestyles – Rustic Eagles – who live in the least densely populated rural areas.

Their communities represent our nation’s most isolated towns and rural villages.

Sparsely Populated High Country Eagle Neighborhoods

You’d recognize Rustic Eagles after hanging out a while in their pristine, remote communities.

They have relatively modest incomes (a median household income of just over $30,000 in 2011) and low education levels.

Most of their neighbors live in aging homes and are employed in local blue-collar occupations.

It shouldn’t come as a any shock if we told you they spend their leisure time hunting and fishing, enjoying church socials, swapping war stories at the veterans club, dancing to country music and racing cars.

Long-time Country Residents

You’d also notice two distinct age groups – 30-44  year olds and senior citizens 65 years old and older.

So, they’re a mix of young singles and seniors living in unmarried and family households.

What they most likely notice is a trend – an exodus as neighbor after neighbor migrates to cities and greener pastures.

Attractive Neighborhood Features

Often kids who have grown up in the small town can’t wait to escape to the big city after high school graduation.

If not for economic reasons then for life events.

And, if a community finds itself on an early growth path, chances are the real estate values have priced the 20-somethings out of the local market.

Take my neighborhood – original residents moved in at the same time, so any change is very noticeable.

Graduating Neighborhood Kids

We know when people are:

  • Leaving the nest,
  • Graduating from college,
  • Getting married,
  • Having children,
  • Being promoted,
  • Emptying the nest, and
  • Retiring.
New Family Formations

When people move because of a positive life event, they usually find a neighborhood that is like the one they just left or better – a step up in social status.

Normally, the next set of birds set up their nest in the neighborhood home just vacated.

Moving Day

So, as you research and then visit resort towns on your bucket list keep a few things in mind.

Neighborhoods, like all things in nature, evolve through stages.

Characteristics that define a neighborhood change slowly.

Slowly Evolving Neighborhoods

The stability of a neighborhood comes from its fixed features:

  • Location,
  • Housing,
  • Transportation,
  • Schools,
  • Places of worship, and
  • Employment.

“Birds of a Feather” flock together.

They attract each other.

Social Ties and Deep Friendships
  • People with similar cultural backgrounds, needs, and perspectives naturally gravitate toward each other.
  • People choose to live in neighborhoods that offer affordable advantages and compatible lifestyles.
  • Self-organization and self-perpetuation reinforce the stable nature of neighborhoods

With stability comes predictability.

Variety of Neighborhoods Attract Different Lifestyles

And, with a little research and intelligence gathering you can whittle a long list of potential bucket list down to fewer, higher probability best fit towns.

How can you take advantage of the predictable nature of neighborhoods?

Several marketing and demographic firms (we’ve stuck with Claritas / Nielsen PRIZM Segmentation over the years) offer statistics on specific clusters of neighborhoods.

They group segments into their similar demographic and behavioral characteristics.

If you know the area’s zip code you can discover the lifestyles of residents living in the community.

And, you can compare your profile with theirs to estimate your degree of fit.

On your visits look for any newer developments that may trigger changes in neighborhood patterns.

Newer Construction

New construction in or around the neighborhood.

Major regional economic adjustments.

Transition from households with children to ones that are empty nests.

Rezoning, and dramatically rising/falling land values.

It’s this last aspect that brought a taxing disruption to a “New West” resort community in one of the Rocky Mountain states on our bucket list.

More to follow.

Steps:

(22) Selectively evaluate the best quality-of-life communities to live in and weigh the tradeoffs of risk and rewards for accruing real estate appreciation along a progression of rural and small towns that meet what your pocket books can afford.

 

Itineraries

“It is obvious that you are a young, smart-a– who probably moved from LA to Mammoth, couldn’t afford to live there and ended up here.” “I was born here. You’re obviously a hypocrite.”

Winter Season
Itineraries:  11 resort towns in 3 travel regions in California; 14 resort towns in 3 travel regions in Colorado

Changing Regions for Changing Reasons during Changing Seasons.

Let’s help you put together a travel itinerary.

Summer Outdoors

Your goal is to plan two vacations, one for opposite seasons – winter and summer.

In the regions of your top bucket list destinations.

To sample the good, bad and ugly community factors.

With the help of our knowledge bank, you can choose for variations in your new neighborhood by:

But to zero in on the best place for you you’ll have to visit and schedule time to explore potential new homes in a region.

For our “quality-of-life purposes” we can help you plan two mountain itineraries —

  • one for the Rocky Mountain Region and
  • one for the Sierra Nevada Mountain Region.

Whitefish, you’ll recall is located in Northwestern Montana in the Glacier Country Travel Region within the Rocky Mountain Region of Western United States.

Best of Whitefish, Montana

Phew!

You’d like it for all of those quality-of-life outdoor activities like

  • skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and
  • road and mountain biking, hiking, camping, kayaking, horseback riding, and whitewater rafting in the summer.

That means, of course, to build your own bucket list, you should focus on the four-state region Rocky Mountain Region which includes

Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.

So from the common (Premier Resorts –WRPR 09M1T1 and Rustic Eagles –HCERE 58M4T4) and the lifestyle-specific lists we’re eliminating some states.

The first to go is Arizona, followed by parts of California and Nevada, and New Mexico and Utah.

Get Your Kicks on Route 66

But, first you may enjoy our “Best West Road Trips – Route 66” which traces the “Mother Road” from

the Texas Panhandle Region through New Mexico, Arizona and

ends up on the Santa Monica Pier in California.

Oh, and if you’re planning to move your lifestyle business from Whitefish to an artist colony, you may want to keep

Bisbee, 85603 and Jerome (Prescott), 86305 in Arizona and

Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505 on your list.

Jerome (Prescott), 86305 in the Northern Arizona travel region was once a notorious “Wild West” town, a hotbed of prostitution, gambling, and vice — “the wickedest town in the West”.

Today Jerome is known as an art destination, with more than 30 galleries and working studios.

Bisbee, 85603, on the other hand, is in the Eastern Arizona travel region known for high desert lands, Wild West history galore and small towns near the border.

Art Galleries

“Bisbee offers some of the best art galleries together with highly Zagat-rated restaurants and brewpubs. 

Main Street’s antique shops and galleries are surrounded with examples of Victorian architecture.”

In our “Best West Road Trips – Route 66” magazine profiling the North Central travel region of New Mexico  you may enjoy discovering all that Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505 has to offer you as one of the

Santa Fe, New Mexico Art Scene

“world’s top destinations for its long history of artists (especially Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz) , musicians and fine dining.”

Oh, and before we dismiss Montana, if Dudley and Arthur and the long-term locals, Charles and his brother relocated as part of the Rustic Eagles –HCERE 58M4T4 migration, it’s entirely possible that they would prefer Red Lodge (Billings), 59068.

You’ll recall that they fell victim to astronomical tax valuations based on the skyrocketing land values that had turned much of western Montana into a real estate gold mine over the previous 10 to 15 years.

So if they took some of their friends advice, “Your sitting on a couple million dollars; why don’t you sell it?’ they might have capitalized on a hidden opportunity.

Most other Montanans got relatively small property tax increases in the same year — some, in declining areas like eastern Montana, actually saw their tax bills go down.

And, not only is Red Lodge still in Montana it is on the eastern side of the Continental Divide roughly an eight hour drive southeast of Whitefish.

Like Whitefish, Red Lodge offers many outdoor recreation opportunities: skiing, mountain biking, and backpacking.

Red Lodge in Montana

In April it is host to a popular triathlon called the Peaks to Prairie.

Red Lodge’s population increases from about 1,200 people in the winter to over 1,800 people during the summer tourist season, arriving via the Beartooth Highway.

Pretty much just like Whitefish in the good old days before the celebrities, sports stars and CEOs made neighboring Flathead Lake their playground.

With sometimes as much driving time and distances to cover as from Whitefish to Red Lodge and with only a week or two vacation time to spend, we recommend organizing your itinerary by travel regions.

In the Rocky Mountain Regions, Colorado is often considered the gateway to the Rockies.  Within Colorado tourism areas are broken down into:

Colorado Regions

Denver Area

Eastern Plains

Front Range

Northwestern Colorado

South Central Colorado

Southwestern Colorado

In California the travel regions vary greatly, ranging from forested northern coastal regions to the rugged interior mountains to the harsh southern desert.

“Outside California’s major cities one finds some of North America’s most rugged national parks, incredible skiing/snowboarding opportunities, and quiet and ancient northern forests including the highest mountain peak in the contiguous states, Mt. Whitney.”

California’s 10 travel regions are broken down into:

Goin’ Coastal on PCH

Southern California

Desert

Central Coast

San Joaquin Valley

Sacramento Valley

Sierra Nevada

Gold Country

Bay Area

North Coast

Shasta Cascades

If you’re interested in the Desert and part of the Southern California region, you may enjoy the “California Regions” edition of “Best West Road Trips – Route 66

“California Regions – the last leg of your journey. From the desert and the mountains to the sea. Ending In Santa Monica at the Pier. It’s all there if you dare!”

If you’re fascinated by the beach towns and breath-taking scenery along Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), then you might enjoy, “Best West Road Trips – Goin’ Coastal,” an itinerary.

Iconic Hotel Del Coronado

It that takes you from

the historic beach Hotel del Coronado in San Diego

through South Coast beach towns to

the laid back Central Coast,

the Bay Area and finally  to the North Coast before continuing into

Oregon and Washington.

California – birds-of-a-feather (BOF) towns sorted by regions.

Southern California – Idyllwild, 92549; Del Mar, 92014; Escondido, 92026; Julian, 92036; Lake Arrowhead, 92352 and Malibu, 90265

Bay Area – Mendocino, 95460; Healdsburg, 95448; La Honda, 94020; Napa, 94558 and St. Helena, 94574

Sierra Nevada – Truckee, 96161, 96162; Lone Pine, 93545; Oakhurst, 93644; North Fork, 93643; Bishop, 93514; Squaw Valley, 96146; Tahoe City, 96145; and Truckee, 96161

Central Coast – Baywood – Los Osos (San Luis Obispo), 93402; Cambria, 93428; Montecito, 93108; Morro Bay, 93442; Santa Cruz, 95064; Santa Ynez, 93460 and Scotts Valley, 95066

Desert – Indian Wells, 92210; La Quinta, 92253; Palm Desert, 92260 and  Rancho Mirage, 92270

Gold Country (Western Sierra Nevada) –  Murphys, 95247 and Roseville (Granite Bay), 95746

Shasta Cascades – Susanville, 96137

Colorado – birds-of-a-feather (BOF) towns sorted by regions.

Denver Area – Golden, 80401

Front Range – Boulder, 80301; Winter Park, 80482;

Northwestern Colorado – Aspen, 81611; Basalt, 81621; Beaver Creek, 81620; Dillon, 80435; Edwards, 81632; Frisco (Copper Mountain), 80443; Snowmass, 81654; Vail, 81567; and Walden, 80480

Southwestern Colorado –  Crested Butte, 81224; Creede, 81130; Lake City, 81235; and Silverton, 81433

South Central Colorado – Pagosa Springs, 81147

Organizing potential quality-of-life mountain towns into travel regions for the migrating Premier Resorts –WRPR 09M1T1 and Rustic Eagles –HCERE 58M4T4 BOFs eliminates from the Southern California region …

  • Del Mar, 92014,
  • Escondido, 92026, and
  • Malibu, 90265.

We also skipped those towns in California’s Shasta Cascades, Desert, Central Coast and Bay Area Travel Regions.

So, our itinerary in California focuses on  the Western Sierra Nevada – Gold Country and nearby Sierra Nevada travel regions.

In preparation for the Colorado itineraries, we’ve eliminated the Eastern Plains, because no potential towns attracted ex- flocking neighbors.

And, by passing on the Denver Area and Front Range travel regions, we’re concentrating on the potential bucket list towns in the western half of the state, Southwestern, South Central and Northwestern Colorado.

California Itineraries 11 resort towns in 3 travel regions:

Southern California – Idyllwild, 92549; Julian, 92036; and Lake Arrowhead, 92352

Sierra Nevada – Truckee, 96161, 96162; Lone Pine, 93545; Oakhurst, 93644; North Fork, 93643; Bishop, 93514; Squaw Valley, 96146; Tahoe City, 96145; and Truckee, 96161

Gold Country (Western Sierra Nevada) –  Murphys, 95247 and Roseville (Granite Bay), 95746

Colorado Itineraries: 14 resort towns in 3 travel regions:

Northwestern Colorado – Aspen, 81611; Basalt, 81621; Beaver Creek, 81620; Dillon, 80435; Edwards, 81632; Frisco (Copper Mountain), 80443; Snowmass, 81654; Vail, 81567; and Walden, 80480

Southwestern Colorado –  Crested Butte, 81224; Creede, 81130; Lake City, 81235; and Silverton, 81433

South Central Colorado – Pagosa Springs, 81147

So the good news is you (and the migrating BOF from Whitefish, Montana) won’t have to visit all 75 potential communities.

By taking travel region itineraries you can cut the total by 66% and not have to deal with the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).

However, since we’ve eliminated most of the Southern California travel region you won’t have a chance to visit one of the three chicken-war battle fields, “Wealthy Influential” Newport Beach.

But the better news is, by traveling the Sierra Nevada regional itinerary,  you’ll (and former  BOF) be able to compare notes during Bishop’s Mule Days Celebration over the Memorial Day holiday at popular Erick Schat’s Bakkerÿ on north Main Street.

Come Early to Skip the Lines

You might run into those “hypocrites” …

“It is obvious that you are a young, smart-a– who probably moved from LA to Mammoth, couldn’t afford to live there and ended up here.” 

“I was born here. You’re obviously a hypocrite.”

And, so it goes.

Steps:

(32) Plan extended seasonal vacations during summer and winter months. Group destination locations together in regional trips to explore what several bucket list towns have to offer in the general vicinity – with only a week or two vacation time to spend, we recommend organizing your itinerary by travel regions.

An excerpt from Book Three in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams.

Best Places Bucket Lists

Added to the collection in the spring of 2009 was ZoomProspector.com’s list of best places with less densely populated towns – under 100,000 people – that were a best fit for entrepreneurs.

‘Preneur Bucket Lists – for all you consultants, freelancers, authors, artists, lifestyle business owners and entrepreneurs fed up or just plain dissatisfied with your community.

Between the two traumatic American events, 9/11 and The Great Recession, I aggregated and curated hundreds of potential locations from lists of “Best Places.”

Of course, over the years magazines like “Money Magazine” and “US News & World Report” kicked off best places listings and articles that they felt would appeal to their readership profiles.

As those lists moved online, CNN/Money for instance, it proved easier to aggregate.

And to track which locations sustained their high rankings and which ones fell to the way side.

Each year I had to add new folders and tags to my growing knowledge bank.

Under my “Best Places” you can review:

  • Top 100 places to live
  • Boomtown slowdowns (in 2009)
  • Cities with the best high tech jobs
  • Migrations to growth states
  • Best quality-of-life
  • For retiring to places with low taxes, better vacation home tax treatments and near small university towns
  • Cities poised to recover first from the real estate crash
  • And, not to be outdone, the first to recover from the recession
  • Places to time your purchase of McMansions
  • Where to live frugally with fun
  • Which rural areas to choose for retirement
  • Where to retire on lakes and rivers
  • For history buffs
  • For finding progressive-oriented neighborhoods
  • Where to pursue a cycling lifestyle
  • To raise a family
  • To work in communities with populations under 25,000

Added to the collection in the spring of 2009 was ZoomProspector.com’s list of best places with less densely populated towns – under 100,000 people – that were a best fit for entrepreneurs.

“Due to differing regional definitions, we used the label “town” for any city, township, borough or Census-designated place. 

Characteristics like the number of museums, parks, bars and restaurants, and cultural institutions per capita, and favorable business environment.” 

But, how did they define “favorable business environment?”

“These include patents, venture capital funding, sole-proprietorships, start-ups and small businesses per capita.” 

With a little digging in my knowledge bank, I assigned their top 10 to regional categories for future vacation itineraries.

The first five fell within the general Bay Area Travel Region in Northern California –

two in Silicon Valley, Cupertino (Apple) and Mountain View (Google and Facebook); and

three in the Peninsula area, Foster City, Hillsborough and Belmont.

Davis in Yolo County rounded out California’s Northern Region – at least north of the Central Valley in the Sacramento Valley travel region.

Tustin and Aliso Viejo in Orange County, as well as, Santa Monica in Los Angeles County made the remaining highly ranked in California situated in the broad South Coast Region.

For my personal bucked list, I only kept two.

Santa Fe in the North Central Region of New Mexico.

And my favorite on this list, Boulder along the Front Range, on the Eastern Slope of Rocky Mountains, north of the Denver Region.

These regions boast cultural amenities, pro-business environments, highly educated workforces and enviable salaries.

Downtown Bolder, Colorado

Boulder offers world-class ski slopes and an abundance of parks, as well as a strong venture capital environment, plenty of like-sized start-ups and high-quality talent from local resident University of Colorado.” 

Features like these helped propel Boulder to the top spot on our list of best towns to live well.

Oh, and we had already visited Boulder on our multi-Colorado region trip and were slated to revisit a year later.

That’s not cheating, is it?

Over the two timeframes, 2003-2008 and 2009-2014, the ‘Preneur bucket list grew.

Additions to the original list rated highly over multiple years:

  • Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Round Rock, Texas

Top ranked states in 2011

  1. Arizona
  2. Texas
  3. California
  4. Colorado

And, finally the best places list categorized alphabetically by states across the west and Hawaii.

  • Arizona – Prescott and Scottsdale

    Oahu, Hawaii
  • California – American Canyon, Carlsbad, Danville, Folsom, Marina del Rey, Novato, San Jose and Ventura.
  • Colorado – Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins and Louisville
  • Hawaii – Honolulu
  • Idaho – Boise and Coeur d’Alene
  • Montana – Billings and Missoula
  • Nevada – Henderson and Reno
  • New Mexico – Rio Rancho and Santa Fe
  • Oregon – Bend, Corvallis, Eugene and Portland
  • Texas -Bexar, Georgetown, San Antonio and Stafford
  • Utah – Salt Lake City
  • Washington – Bellevue, Bellingham, Olympia and Spokane
  • Wyoming – Cheyenne

Steps:

20) Pivot. Maybe the lists of best places don’t appeal to you. Where can you go to make a fresh, new start? Don’t limit your imagination. Think anywhere — across the globe. Where do you really, really want to live, work and play?  Why not live where it’s a vacation all year round?

An excerpt from Book Three in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams.

Compose

Almost any content can be easily categorized by Location, Alphabetical, Time, Category, and finally Hierarchy.”

Following the Mother Road
A Case Study in Progress: Aggregate. Curate. Compose. Share.

One of the features I like with Flipboard is the emphasis on the visual — photos and video – from the media you curate, but delivered uniquely.

They’ve figured out how to flip a page in your smartphone view.

They’ve differentiated themselves as the app that allows you to create “magazines.”

The YouTube boys, when they formed AVOS to reinvent Delicious, tried and failed to grab photos and text scraped from websites you saved into their “Stacks.”

When they discontinued the “Stacks” I had already composed travel itineraries – road trips – throughout western United States organized by regions.

Burned again.

A Corvette. An Open Road. What Could Go Wrong?

Because of the more engaging customer experience on Flipboard, I experimented with “Best West Road Trips” having reconstructed my former Delicious “Stacks” and retraced Route 66 traveling east to west.

The Mother Road ends at the Santa Monica Pier.

Well, not exactly, but the attraction more than makes up for historical inaccuracy.

You can’t drive any further west into the Pacific Ocean.

Hundreds of Dry Parched Miles to the Beaches of the Pacific Ocean

And, when standing at the end of the pier you look at the beaches to your left and right, you realize your next road trip adventure calls you with its siren song.

The iconic, and much more scenic road trip on Pacific Coast Highway.

So, I began curating  the coastal south-to-north route.

Profiling vacation beach towns, missions and piers beginning with Coronado in San Diego, California and terminating with Pacific Northwest towns and destinations like Tumwater and Port Angeles, Washington.

Goin’ Coastal on PCH

But, like the old Delicious “Stacks” you aren’t able to edit as much in your magazines as I wanted.

Except to rename your magazine, pick your magazine cover from a article already included and, in their desktop “editor” mode, rearrange the sequence of your articles.

OK.  I take it back.

Quite a bit more.

But, still not enough for what I wanted.

Other than facing some vexing technical issues, the experiment I’ve been conducting in my “knowledge lab” is to determine how much of a following do my handful of magazines attract.

Is there a Minimum Viable Product in the mix that attracts a large enough audience?

Across my first seven magazines I posted over 1,200 articles, but stopped when Flipboard’s bug prevented me from accessing my very first articles and all but the most recent 75 to 90.

Flipping Through Flipboard’s digital magazines

Why is that a show stopper?

Remember I’m tracing a road trip in sequence.

Living a Coastal Lifestyle

Where North San Diego County meets Trestles, the legendary surf spot at San Onofre, right there on the edge of South Orange County.

Where PCH takes you from San Clemente and Dana Point to Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and so on and so on.

Best Strolling and Surfing Beaches

One town after another up the Pacific Coast.

But, articles and stories appear when reporters, freelancers and travel editors decide.

Some seasonally.

Some randomly.

Nothing like the Funk Zone in Santa Barbara

So if all I have editing access to is 90 of the more recent articles and I’m “in the Central Coast Region” and I post a story about Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone chances are I can drag and drop it exactly where I want it in relation to all the other Santa Barbara articles.

But, if today a writer published a travel article profiling the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego and I want to slide it next to the other Coronado stories in the San Diego itinerary  – 250 articles ago, I can’t.

Coronado Island a Must See in San Diego

I wanted one Flipboard magazine …

“Best West Road Trips – 

“There’s nothing quite as all-American as a road trip, especially in the West, where a wealth of culture, natural beauty and excitement unfolds before you.”

Detour.

I planned to brand just the Best West Road Trips with repurposed local itineraries later.

So I panicked when at first San Diego was no longer reachable.

Slow recovery.

Best Places to Find Adventure and Just Plain Fun

It took months of rework.

The workaround drove me to many more magazines than I initially planned.

By roughly a year later the number exploded …

  • from seven to 28 magazines,
  • from 1,200 stories to over 13,000 articles and
  • from a handful to 514 followers.

“Fool me once …. fool me twice… mission accomplished.”

But, the promise is enticing.

In Flipboard you can add pictures, tweets, SoundCloud audio and videos.

And you can share your media magazines throughout your social media network.

For all you consultants, freelancers, authors, artists, lifestyle business owners and entrepreneurs, you can instantly create a publication dedicated to building your brand-as-an-expert.

Curate pictures, reviews, the content you publish on your blog, news stories – you name it – everything that helps you create and extend your brand.

You know, public relations …

My own brand is KnowLabs with the tagline

Literally bottled and set adrift from KnowWhere Atoll

For some reason, I keep coming back to Ev Williams, especially more recently having discovered his latest startup — Medium — a visually stunning publishing platform.

Following Ev Williams Blogger to Twitter to Medium

You know him from co-founding Twitter.

I first found him when I began four years of blogging.

Beginning in the spring of 2002 using Blogger created by one of Ev’s first internet companies.

I ended my “Journal of 2020 Foresight” and with my last post in the fall of 2006.

Moonlighting at the time I forced myself to get up before sunrise and search for documents in my knowledge bank.

I’d write and revise my postings for a couple of hours and then post them to Blogger.

I didn’t know anybody else who was blogging.

I didn’t know what I was doing.

Four Years Blogging on Ev’s Startup Platform

And I didn’t know that Ev lost almost everything — including his partners and employees, because he earned no income from the free Blogger tool.

Maybe that’s why he personally answered all my emails …

Google eventually bought his company about nine months after I began my journal.

Desktop Web with Buttons, Links and Search

But, I did know Apple during those Blogger years switched to a new operating system that wasn’t backwards-compatible.

My favorite knowledge banking software – a flat database named Hypercard, a misunderstood forerunner to wikis and what would become the worldwide web – would no longer be available to me.

Thanks, Apple. No Backward Compatibility.

Is there a lesson here?

Two lessons emerged from my “Knowledge Lab” between 2002 to 2006.

My first?

Information Anxiety to Knowledge Resilience

Richard Saul Wurman’s information architectural  made it easier to retrieve content in my knowledge bank.

Remember the acronym, LATCH.

Almost any content can be easily categorized by Location, Alphabetical, Time, Category, and finally Hierarchy.

Which as it turns out is a handy way to tag sources you’ve aggregated.

The second lesson use “instructional design techniques” to convert information into know-how that …

  • solves specific problems,
  • forms standalone blocks or modules of targeted learning, and
  • can be repackaged into a larger curriculum.

More on how the second technique aligns with business models later.

Every consultant and lifestyle business owner wants to turn on streams of income to make up for time when they can’t be billing.

One obvious option for consultants is a book.

When the Great Recession hit in 2008, finding income streams became critical.

I joined a writing support group to translate my “Journal of 2020 Foresight” into a book.

I had just negotiated a 3-year retainer at the University of California, Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business conducting workshops and one-on-one advisory sessions.

It took a year to finally self-publish the book so I could include what worked for Executive MBA students – mostly Gen-Xers with 12 to 15 years of experience in their late 30s and early 40s.

As they faced the most hyper-competitive executive job- market they probably would face in their career.

When it was finally published in 2009, I contributed five chapters to

“Adapt! How to Survive and Thrive in the Changing World of Work.” 

We structured the content into three categories; “How We Got Here,” “Wisdom and Strategies,” and “Advanced Career Tactics.”

My chapters were titled:

“It’s Been a Long Road Behind Me and a Long Road Ahead”

“Why Careers Are like Real Estate Markets”

“Leap But Don’t Trade Your Dream for a Nightmare”

“Create Your Dream Job, Save the Planet”

13 Ways to Stay Off the Endangered Species List”

A third lesson took a long time to learn.

I didn’t understand how internet marketing worked or how people supported themselves online.

Between the winter of 2007 and the winter of 2013 — after sunset and before sunrise,  I fell into the black hole of figuring out how to generate income on the Internet — while advising “entrepreneur-wanabes” and desperate career changers by day.

I knew nothing.

I didn’t know enough to even to search for the right resources at first.

And then a fire hose of information hit me.

I lost my bearings trying to separate fact from fiction and scams from trusted advice.

More to follow …

My day job and my moonlit job converged in the fall of 2012.

We already know that LinkedIn is the 100 pound gorilla-platform for professionals.

Not Facebook.

LinkedIn’s Audience

In October 2012 LinkedIn introduced articles from their selection of well-known “Influencers.”

LinkedIn sent 25,000 invitations to users in a pilot rollout.

Today you can compose essays – or share your blog posts — with their new publishing tool found on their website.

Each of your content stories – your opinions, insights, summaries of critical issues – helps build your brand as a thought leader.

Your content resides on your LinkedIn profile for every visitor to read.

Each article is displayed with a catchy photo and your attention-getting headline.

And, more importantly, your article circulates among your first degree audience.

If your articles resonate with that audience, your carefully crafted musings can reach an even broader audience with each “follow” button clicked.

And best of all, you can link your viewers to your blog, website or other social media accounts.

And then, what happens?

Steps:

(11) Maintain a consistent process of content aggregation, curation, composition, and circulation.

An excerpt from Book Two in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you make more money from a lifestyle businesses you’re truly passionate about.