Flocking

“Town and Rural areas have population density scores under 40.  This category includes exurbs, towns, farming communities and a wide range of other rural areas.

Photo: Visual Hunt
How Charles, Arthur and Dudley find new communities across the West.

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

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

Birds-of-a-Feather flock together.  

Dudley flew his Woodland Hills coop in Los Angeles County and landed in Whitefish in the mid-90s.

Even before the dot-com bubble exploded and the terrorists leveled New York’s Twin Towers.

Rocky Mountain Region – WikiTravel

Arthur’s family fell in love with the pristine valley long before Arthur inherited his old-three bedroom house from his parents.  

It didn’t take much coaxing for him to decide that Flathead Lake would be where he wanted to retire roughly two decades ago in 1998.

We initiated coverage of nearby Whitefish and the surrounding region in the Summer of 2008. 

Almost two years before Kim Murphy published her article in the Los Angeles Times.   

For Bucket List comparisons, here’s how we profiled it “At-A-Glance” in 2008.

Location At-A-Glance

Montana’s Travel Regions – WikiTravel

Region: Rocky Mountain Region, Western United States

State: Montana 

Travel Region: Glacier Country, Montana

County: Flathead 

Real Estate Phase: Early Growth  

Town:  Whitefish, Whitefish Mountain (formerly Big Mountain)

Population Density: Town and Country

Zip Codes: 59937

Profile At-A-Glance (Summer, 2008)

Life Stages: Singles, Couples, Families, Empty Nests, Seniors

Ages: 20-29, 45+, 55+, 65+

Community Neighbors: 

Wireless Resorters

Premier Resorts –WRPR

09M1T1, Big Fish Small Pond, 45+, Couples, Affluent Empty Nests, Accumulated Wealth, Landed Gentry WRPR Premier Resorts, Wireless Resorters (Mammoth Lakes, CA)

Distant Exurbans — WRDE

48Y3T4, Young and Rustic, 20-29, Striving Singles, Rustic Living, WRDE Distant Exurbans, Wireless Resorters (Park City, UT)

Resort Suburbans — WRRS

43M3T3, Heartlanders, 55+, Couples,  Cautious Couples, Middle America – WRRS Resort Suburbans, Wireless Resorters  (Prescott, AZ)

Community Neighbors: 

High Country Eagles 

Rural Cowboys — HCERC 

45Y3T3, Blue Highways, 20-29, Striving Singles, Middle America HCERC Rural Cowboy, High Country Eagles (Dillon, CO)

Rustic Eagles –HCERE

58M4T4, Back Country Folks, 65+Sustaining Seniors, Rustic Living, HCERE Rustic Eagles, High Country Eagles  (Whitefish, MT)

What does all of that mean?

Photo: Whitefish, Zip Code 59937 Google Maps

When you dig in a little deeper below the surface of Whitefish’s zip code you find what you would expect – a community whose residents reflect a mix of three Wireless Resorter lifestyles and two High Country Eagles.

Whitefish attracted a broad range of age and stage lifestyles – from the striving single 20-29 year olds to 65+ year-old sustaining seniors in older homes.  

Depending upon their circumstances, residents chose to live in Whitefish households alone or with other singles, couples, families, empty-nesters, and retired seniors.

Photo: Visual Hunt

Using original density definitions from Claritas / Nielsen PRIZM Segmentation, Whitefish fits the “Town and Country” community description.

Just under 40% of the U.S. population (39.6%) call town and country home.

“Town and Rural areas have population density scores under 40.  

This category includes exurbs, towns, farming communities and a wide range of other rural areas.

Using our density and lifestyle definitions most town and country residents live in either Wireless Resort or High Country Eagle communities.

Now consider that both Wireless Resorters and High Country Eagles come in four possible “flavors.”

Wireless Resort profiles

High Country Eagle profiles 

Let’s analyze the  profiles 

One at a time.

Why?

For the rest of our story, we’ll use those profiles as a way for Charles, Arthur and Dudley to find new communities across the West.

Premier Resorts (WRPR), 09M1T1. 

Photo: Visual Hunt

WRPRs like those that flocked to Whitefish are the more wealthy of those who migrated to smaller boomtowns. 

These are what the Claritas / Nielsen PRIZM Segmentation call the “Landed Gentry” social group. 

Many of their households contain families with members of the Baby Boomer generation. 

WRPR couples already earned college degrees and work in professional jobs. 

As a social group living in expansive homes. 

They are more likely telecommuting – twice as likely as the rest of Americans.

Along with their upscale incomes and expansive homes comes the ability to afford heavy spending on expensive toys.  

They’re the prime consumers of technology – 

  • exercise equipment, 
  • electronics, 
  • wireless and computer technologies, 
  • luxury cars and 
  • powerboats.  

They’ll display the books they’ve read, the magazine subscriptions. 

And, intentionally or not, the toys they buy their children or grandchildren.

According PRIZM’s 2011 statistics …

9,812,689 US households fall within this social group with a median household income of $82,323.

The “09M1T1” code in our Knowledge Bank stands for one of the most affluent WRPR lifestyles.

Balboa Island Ferry – Getty Images
  • It means they rank within the top 10 of affluence (09), 
  • have entered their mature life stage (M1) and 
  • reside in the premier resort neighborhoods (T1) of country towns and exurbs.

And, that makes their neighborhoods a mashup of Cambria in California, Pagosa Springs in Colorado, Sedona in Arizona, Santa Fe in New Mexico, Incline Village – Crystal Bay in Nevada and Deer Valley in Utah.

The M1 upscale, empty-nesting couples enjoy the trappings of success.

Photo: Visual Hunt

How so? By …

“belonging to country clubs, maintaining large investment portfolios and spending freely on computer technology. 

Older, upper-class, college-educated professionals, the members of PRIZM’s aptly named “Big Fish, Small Pond” are often among the leading citizens of their small-town communities. “

Which is why other Whitefish citizens had these reactions in Kim Murphy’s 2010 article.

Photo: Visual Hunt

“Longtime residents say it’s not unusual to see three or four old houses along the lake razed and replaced with a massive private lodge. 

Wine bars, gourmet pizza bistros and boutiques now sit between the saloons at the base of the ski slopes in rustic downtown .”

The Claritas / Nielsen PRIZM Segmentation says:  

“While those on the ‘MTV side’ of fifty may debate their inclusion in M1 group, Americans in the Mature Years tend to be over 45 years old and living in houses that have empty-nested.” 

Not all empty nests are as affluent as the Affluent Empty Nests 09M1T1 “WRPRs.”

But, as we will see a little later, these are upscale couples.

The members of the M1 life stage group are college educated, hold executive and professional positions and are over 45.

Photo: Visual Hunt

“With their children out of the house, these consumers have plenty of disposable cash to finance active lifestyles rich in travel and cultural events. 

They’re highly likely to order from L.L. Bean, contribute to PBS, read Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, watch The Triple Crown, and own a high-end vehicle like the Cadillac DTS.”

Oh, and these WRPRs are also community activists. 

They write their politicians, volunteer for environmental groups and vote heavily in elections. 

What about the other Whitefish Wireless Resorters, the Distant Exurbans (WRDE) and Resort Suburbans (WRRS)?

Distant Exurbans (WRDE), 48Y3T4. 

Distant Exurbans come in three lifestyle “flavors” …

Two striving single and younger segments ages 20-29 year olds –  both Millennials.

And a third much older sustaining senior 65+ age retirement group. 

What they have in common is “rustic living” in their more remote homes (T4).

Whitefish’s Distant Exurbans – 48Y3T4 – fit the profile of “young and restless” singles.

Photo: Visual Hunt

Unlike the older, more wealthy Wireless Resorters, they rank in the lower middle end of the income scale (48th out 66 rankings).

They haven’t made their mark in their life or career like two other younger year segments – Y2 mainstream singles who live in metropolitan areas or the older Y1 30 and 40 year olds succeeding by midlife.

PRIZM labels these “twenty-something” singles the “Young and Rustic” because they typically have low incomes—

Often under $25,000 a year—from service jobs or part-time work they take on while going to college. 

“In general,  they are high-school educated, but don’t own their own homes 

As a home-to-school-back to home and then out on their own group, they rent small apartments instead. 

Housing for the striving single group is a mix of cheap apartment complexes, dormitories and mobile homes.”

With their service industry jobs and modest incomes, the younger WRDEs still try to fashion fast-paced lifestyles centered on sports, cars and dating.

Photo: Visual Hunt

As consumers, the residents in these segments score high for …

  • outdoor sports, 
  • movies and music, 
  • fast food and 
  • inexpensive cars. 

In their remote communities, PRIZM says …

“they spend their leisure time in traditional small-town activities as fishing and hunting, attending social  activities at the local church and veterans club, enjoying country music and car racing.”

WRDE Distant Exurbans – 48Y3T4 – lifestyles, according to Claritas / Nielsen PRIZM Segmentation are more likely to:

“Order from Columbia House, buy science fiction books, read “Car Craft”, watch WWE Wrestling, and drive a Dodge Ram Diesel”

Resort Suburbans, (WRRS) 43M3T3. 

The third of Whitefish’s Wireless Resorters, 43M3T3 … 

live closer (T3) to the premier resort neighborhoods (T1) 

than the rustic exurbs (T4) 

which is why we call them the Resort Suburbans (WRRS).

Photo: Visual Hunt

The homes in these neighborhoods house mostly older couples without children existing on lower-mid level income rankings  (43rd / 66).  

Like the ’s fourth lifestyle, High Country Eagles, Rural Cowboys (HCERC), WRRS Resort Suburbans belong to one of six segments of a broad social group, “Middle America.” 

Middle America segments are filled with middle-class homeowners living in small towns and remote exurbs. 

They’re typically found in scenic settings throughout the nation’s heartland. 

Middle Americans tend to be white, high school educated, living as couples or larger families, and ranging in age from under 25 to over 65. 

Like many residents of remote communities, these conservative consumers tend to prefer traditional rural pursuits: 

  • fishing, 
  • hunting, 
  • making crafts, 
  • antique collecting, 
  • watching television and 
  • meeting at civic and 
  • veterans clubs for 
  • recreation and companionship. 

Friday nights are for celebrating high school sports.

Photo: Visual Hunt

A half a century ago things were different across the U.S.

Claritas / Nielsen PRIZM Segments says …

“America was once a land of small middle class towns, which can still be found today among Heartlanders. 

This widespread segment consists of middle-aged couples with working-class jobs living in sturdy,unpretentious homes.  

In these communities of small families and empty-nesting couples, Heartlanders pursue a rustic lifestyle where hunting and fishing remain prime leisure activities along with cooking, sewing, camping and boating.”

What about age?

You’ll notice in our knowledge bank we borrow Nielsen’s maturity as part of our code.

First the “M” and then the “Y” portions of the lifestyle label.

Photo: Visual Hunt

M1, the WRPR 09M1T1 affluent empty nesters in premier resorts we’ve already discussed is younger.

The M3 designation refers to the third of four Mature Years segments the large group of Cautious Couples, featuring an over-55-year-old mix.

“Widely scattered throughout the nation, the residents in the Cautious Couples seven lifestyle segments typically are working-class and white, with some college education and a high rate of homeownership. of singles, couples and widows.” 

As a whole group, Cautious Couples today pursue sedate lifestyles, given their blue-collar roots.

“They have high rates for reading, travel, eating out at family restaurants and pursuing home-based hobbies like coin collecting and gardening.”

We pulled all of the PRIZM classifications together (2011 Statistics) in our Knowledge Bank for the following snapshot.

43M3T3 WRRS Resort Suburbans can be found living in … 

“about 2% of US households (2,334,924) that earn median incomes of $43,485.” 

What else do we know about them?

“They tend to shop at places like Kmart, sew clothing from patterns and read “Family Handyman.” On television, they watch the CBS Early Show and would likely drive the GMC Sierra Flex Fuel.”

Fun facts.

  • M3 Cautious Couples live in roughly 6 times more homes (12,266,568), 
  • but earn roughly $2,000 less a year ($41,303), 
  • as compared to the Middle America social group, 11,533,179 households 
  • with median household incomes of $43,123.

Next up?  

Part Two:  High Country Cowboys and Eagles in Whitefish

Steps:

25) Compare what “life” was like in those communities before the Great Recession, how resilient each was during the economic downturn, and to what degree did each bounce back after with any “economic hangover.” 

26) If you know the zip code you can discover the lifestyles living in the community. You can compare your profile with theirs to estimate your degree of fit.

27) Estimate how well suited you are for the resorts. Refer to “Profiles-at-a-Glance” comparing 2008-2009 and 2013-2014 for changes in Life Stages – Singles, Couples, Families, Midlife, Empty Nests, Baby Boomers and Seniors; Ages – 20-29, 25-54, 30-44, 45+ 45-65, 55+ and 65+; and mix of Lifestyles in neighborhoods. Does the resort still offer the age, life stage and lifestyle profiles you prefer?

28) Which lifestyles profiled in the western resort towns during 2008 – 2009 remained five years later in 2013-2014?  Which disappeared entirely? Why? Which new lifestyles emerged, grew or moved in to shift the neighborhood mix? Have longtime locals been forced out by escalating property valuations and sky high property taxes?

11 Simple Steps for Finding the Authentic Quality-of-Life You Deserve

Maybe, for this time of year you want to visit the desert instead of the mountains.  Or take a vacation along the coast. Or islands – like Catalina off the coast of Southern California or one of the Hawaiian Islands.

 

Photo: Visual Hunt
You may just decide to live there for six months and somewhere else for the other.  In the mountains for skiing and snowboarding and then at the beach for surfing and sun bathing.

 

It may begin with a vacation to a friend’s favorite destination.

Like the mountains of California or Colorado.

Maybe it’s someplace where you’ve never been before.

Where do you find neighborhoods with similar families?

For your first time you’ll want to figure out your route and itinerary. 

Usually you have a region in mind, with some ideas where you might want to visit.  

Western United States – Texas A&M Transportation Institute

You may start with a map of a region within the West or of Hawaii.

You can start saving bookmarks about potential places, to revisit later.

Or you recall a trip you took out west a few years ago. 

From California to Nevada and Arizona. 

Up to Colorado and back through Utah and Nevada to your return to California.

A name rings a bell when you read an article in a file saved years ago that you stumble across while cleaning up your office.

It  lists the top places for retiring published by AARP – Loveland, Colorado. 

You spend a little time on the Internet and discover, it’s been singled out as a great place to retire on the water. 

In 2009 it was singled out as a best place to live.

Colorado Regions

You recall the fun you had hiking through the nearby Rocky Mountain National Park. 

What were the names of some of those other places you saw on the way? 

You wonder if Loveland is right for you?

After all, US News & World Report ranked it 7th on their top 10 places to live in 2009; right ahead of San Luis Obispo, California and behind front runner Albuquerque, New Mexico, # 3 Austin, Texas and #4 Boise, Idaho.

Now you’ve got your work cut out for you.  Follow these 11 steps to turn your dreams into your dream home.  Let’s use Loveland as an example:

1.  I recommend beginning with Wikipedia and WikiTravel for a quick summary, local history some pictures and the zip code or zip codes.  You’ll see a map of the state, a subset of that map for it’s county.  WikiTravel profiles vacation attractions – directions and transportation, where to stay overnight, where you should eat and play.  It gives you ideas for visiting local attractions and doing more when you consider a broader vicinity.  So you can plan for a long weekend or a one or more week vacation.  

2.  If you aren’t interested in Loveland you can stop there and consider San Luis Obispo next.  Maybe, for this time of year you want to visit the desert instead of the mountains.  Or take a vacation along the coast. Or islands – like Catalina off the coast of Southern California or one of the Hawaiian Islands. But, if you like lakes and rivers, then Loveland may be worth further investigation. 

3.  For our purposes, we are assuming that you really want to move, invest in, work in, start a business or retire in a new community that doubles as a vacation resort and with pristine quality of lifestyle activities.  Otherwise, why bother?  

4.  So, grab the zip code and go to Google and search on the 5 digits.  You’ll find a map which will show you where this destination is in relation to its surrounding area.  You see photo slide shows and videos of the area.  You can switch to satellite views and hybrid map views.

5.  Still believe this town may be a keeper?  Jump to Claritas to check out the types of people who already live in the neighborhoods.  “Birds of a Feather Flock Together.”  Neighborhoods change slowly.  They attract the same kinds of people over time.  If you plan to move, invest, work, start a business or retire, you’ll want to see if residents match your criteria.

6.  We’ve already done the heavy lifting for you by identifying neighborhood characteristics by the age and stage of life of their residents.  Single (20-29, 25-54, Mid-Lifers (30-44).  Couple (55+ or 65+). Family (20-44, 25-54, 35-54). Empty Nests (45+ and 55+).  Baby Boomers ( 55+). Seniors ( 65+).  

7.  And, we’ve compared neighborhoods by wealth and status and by density.  From Wealthy Influentials and Wireless Resorters to High Country Eagles and Permanent Temporaries.  And from Metropolitan to Suburban to Small Cities and Country Towns.  So, if you want to narrow your focus to neighborhoods with 25-54 year old families in Wireless Resorts, then you can find a list that no other top 10 magazine list can provide (New Braunfels, TX and Park City, UT).

8.  Let’s say you’ve compared and narrowed your search for real estate investments.  Check out City-Data for in-depth demographics and regional, county and zip code statistics – including the number of registered sex offenders.

9.  If you plan to move, you should search by zip code on Weather Underground to find a wealth of weather patterns including tornadoes, hurricanes and other disasters for each season, but especially for January and June to determine just how inviting your new vacation resort will be.  You may just decide to live there for six months and somewhere else for the other.  In the mountains for skiing and snowboarding and then at the beach for surfing and sun bathing.

10. Need a job?  Check the openings by zip code from two Internet sites – Indeed and Simply Hired.  You’ll want to take a couple of job hunting or house hunting trips before your final decision.  Make a vacation of it by returning to WikiTravel to line up the best accommodations, or visit My New Place for a listing, map and photos of rentals by zip code.

11.  We know that the best positions are hidden.  You find them by a chain of referrals and introductions.  How do you create a new network?  Use your zip code and key word description of the town in LinkedIn’s advanced search function and begin contacting the first few of 100 local introductions.

Copper Mountain, Dillon and Frisco

So even though he gave up a 6-figure salary, a big house and luxury cars, he made the best out of a horrible situation.

Not sure where we were really, in relation to all we could be seeing, doing, eating and drinking, we left the itinerary up to our local guides.

 

Dillon:  Part One

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

Recall author David Petersen’s interview about leaving Laguna Beach, California for the higher quality-of-life he found between Pagosa Springs and Durango, Colorado.

It wasn’t the magic of living off the grid that he wrote about in “On the Wild Edge.

It was more about self-reliance than self-sufficiency.

I find self-sufficiency an impossible dream in this modern world.

You can’t get away from it entirely, and frankly, there’s a lot of good stuff there that you don’t want to get away from.

The important thing, no matter where you live, is for a self-directed life, a recognition that by choosing simplicity in whatever ways you can, you reduce your reliance on materialism.

But, over time what he feared about Durango’s development came true.

The big houses, the Humvees, the SUVs, all of that is just the same here and in a way, people are really conspicuous consumers here in the country just like in the city.

In the shorter term, Finnmark would have quite a few “Landed Gentry” towns to choose from.

The first one is the same one we first discussed that connects Parker, Colorado with Austin and Lake Arrowhead.

It shares the neighborhood profile with another famous springs – Steamboat Springs in Colorado, as well. Look, there are connections to some of the better Colorado ski resorts – Breckenridge, Snowmass and Beaver Creek.

He (and you) could consider like-minded resort towns outside of Colorado.

In Utah, look what pops up – Park City and Deer Valley.

Even Sun Valley in Idaho and Incline Village in Nevada.

In each you’d be happy to find others like you:

Ages 35 to 45 and 45 to 64  – these are the knowledge worker profiles — well-educated executives, professionals, and technical white-collar workers.

They prefer to live away from the city.

Most families have more than one income.

So, they’re affluent and enjoy spending money on an active, outdoor recreational lifestyle, and on remodeling their homes – or at least reading about it or watching the cable channels devoted to the homeowner.

Colorado Regions

Where did Finnmark imagine living next, all things being equal?

If he moved he’d probably look in other exurb areas north, northwest and west of Denver.

How did they end up in Dillon?

Parker isn’t that far from the mountains.

Remember, mountains pulled them away from their Chicago suburb.

And, Dillon is in the mountains, duh!

And, for Finnmark a part of his Norwegian DNA probably drove him, right?

Things change.

As a couple, both of them were still relatively happy, until …

Finnmark lost his job like so many others.

In the local Denver job market, the telecom industry resembled a roller coaster of ups and downs.

Working in marketing and business development and product development, like in human resources, meant you weren’t critical to the success of the business.

If you have to cut back, start in those functions.

And, once you’ve turned 50 years old, as we’ve already acknowledged, it’s hard to compete with the “lower priced spread.”

Those eager, techno savvy Millennials.

If the roller coaster finally starts to climb out of its bottom depths.

But when one door closes …

Another door opens.

Though it may be hidden.

He volunteered, networked, and searched for jobs during the week.

But, on the weekends he began doing what he loved.

Teaching others how to ski at Copper Mountain Resort.

He found a job in the medical imaging technologies industry that lasted for about six years.

But didn’t quit doing what he loved on the weekend.

Finnmark wasn’t alone.

Later, when we profile Northstar in Lake Tahoe you’ll discover a 100-day bucket list story.

A 38-year-old landed a host position for the 2009 – 2010 winter season.

Stationed strategically on the mountain, he helped visitors figure out where they wanted to go and how to get there.

It was something he always wanted to do.

Ski the entire season at one of the premier resorts.

Plus he got to ski for free.

And, as it turned out he could do it, because of all the free time he had.

Unfortunately, it was due to the bankruptcy of his real estate business he had built over eight years.

He shared a three bedroom apartment with other roommates to make ends meet.

So even though he gave up a 6-figure salary, a big house and luxury cars, he made the best out of a horrible situation.

Luckily, for Finnmark, his Copper Mountain Resort position lasted more than one season.

He didn’t face such a dire situation.

And he was doing something he always wanted to do.

His ski instructing job gave him stability, when his new job of six years came to an end during the 2012 – 2013 ski season.

But, the long commute between Copper and Parker on certain weekends, similar to the Southern California traffic, got to him.

It could take him a couple of hours or as many as seven in the I-70 winter season congestion  triggered by tourist drivers out of their element and snow-driven accidents.

No one likes Monday mornings.

But, to kick off the work week after one of those commutes?

It’s enough to drain the passion right out of doing what you love to do.

His solution?

Buy a condo and stay for the weekends.

And choose a different day to travel, since Monday morning was no longer a work requirement.

As a couple with no children to complicate matters, they began to wonder.

What’s keeping them from relocating to where they want to really, really live?

They revisited the same process that led from Chicago to Parker.

  • What if?
  • Could they?
  • Should they?
  • Neither one worked for bosses they could respect any longer.
  • So why not?
  • But, how long would it take to sell their Parker home?
  • What about the timing?
  • Maybe not at the peak of the real estate market, but …

And, they felt a major problem might be how steep their driveway was for those frequently icy days and nights.

No problem.

Everything happened faster than they expected.

  • Their new owners told them they should have seen the driveway leading up to their last home.
  • Finnmark’s was child’s play in comparison.
  • Then things became real.
  • The pace quickened.
  • They had to step up their house buying process and pick a neighborhood near enough to Copper Mountain.
  • The clock ticked down to the deadline for moving everything out of Parker so the new owners could take possession.

But to where?

On scouting trips, they stayed in their condo.

Two of Parker’s Wireless Resorter lifestyle profiles, 05F1T1 and more specifically to them, 11Y1T1 match several of Summit County’s Monied ‘Burbs.

Premier Resorts – WRPR

05F1T1 Country Squires 45+ Baby Boomer, Families, Accumulated Wealth, Landed Gentry

And …

Maturing Resorts – WRMR

11Y1T1 God’s Country, 20-44, Couples, Midlife Success, Landed Gentry

Those two, it turns out, matched nicely what they cherished in Parker to what they found  in Summit County – friendly neighbors welcoming them with open arms.

Both profiles show up together in Frisco, and as we’ll see later, in resort towns on the banks surrounding Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada.

Finnmark’s closest lifestyle, 11Y1T1, populates neighborhoods in

They chose Dillon.

With the built up equity from sale of their home they were able to take advantage of local real estate market.

For all intents and purposes, they retired early while doing what they love.

With a rental and long-time renter at Copper Mountain providing a cash flow.

A few days a week in a helping out in a Frisco boutique.

Winter ski instructing.

Summer seasonal temp work – festival and event security – and some construction work.

They earn time off for good behavior while paying their bills without depleting their longterm investments.

That was then.

This was now.

The next day, we dropped off our rental at the local Enterprise office in Silverthorne.

Who knew?

For the first time in rental car history the price of gas per gallon offered by Enterprise turned out to be significantly cheaper than what we could see along the way to Dillon and during our local tour of the mountain communities.

I know!

With that out-of-the-way, and the long drive fading into memory, we were eager to vacate.

We had only one question on our minds, how much can you squeeze in, into one day?

Not sure where we were really, in relation to all we could be seeing, doing, eating and drinking, we left the itinerary up to our local guides.

So, there’s this little restaurant we both love in downtown Breckenridge, so let’s start there.

We like to eat.

He’s driving.

Why not?

Steps:

(8) Sit down with your spouse, partner or friends and write-up your bucket list of places.

(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?

(21) Spend the time to find the best places 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. 

Dillon

“What would you do if you had ten years to live and $10 million in the bank?” and “Where Would You Live, Anywhere On The Planet?”

Two what we now describe as “Wireless Resorters” – Premier Resorts and Maturing Resorts – called Parker home.

 

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

When Siri told us we had arrived our host, Finnmark, waved down to us from his slightly worn natural-colored wooden deck.  

He leaned over his dark green metal railing as we pulled into his driveway and greeted us. 

From behind him we could see the smoke from his grill drifting up into the cooling dusk night-time sky.

When he called inside, his two large poodles scampered out.  

He climbed down his entrance way steps to quickly help us bring in our suitcases and ran back to his deck barbecue to flip the chicken one more time.

And then in minutes we sat at his kitchen table which probably was set much earlier than the time we arrived.  

We visited, settled into our room and then hit the bed early since we were clearly worn out from our drive. 

For the next few days we would enjoy our own base camp for hiking, touring, visiting, eating and drinking at the best of what Summit County would offer.

  • Dillon.
  • Frisco.
  • Breckenridge.
  • Loveland Pass.
  • Shrine Mountain Ridge.
  • The Continental Divide.
  • Keystone Resort.
  • Copper Mountain Resort.
  • Vail Resort.

And, discover what the attraction was to our hosts when they followed their dreams.

For the second time.

Colorado Regions

A decade earlier we visited them when they called Parker, Colorado, their home, an exurb Southeast of Denver.

They went out of their way to show us the off-the-beaten-path experiences no tourist would find in and around Denver.

How did they end up in Parker?

From Southern California, by way of Chicago. 

As a couple, they inspired me to write this “Guide for Leaving California.”

Both of them missed the outdoors, sports and mountain living – hiking, backpacking, and skiing. 

Both  grew up nearer the Pacific Ocean.

Both frequented the local mountains and the Sierra Nevada’s – Mammoth Mountain.

Finnmark worked summers near Tom’s place, where we’ll visit later following the Birds-of-a-Feather (BOFs) resort bucket list itineraries in California.

Rock Creek and Little Lakes Valley to be more exact. 

After the move out west again, everything they loved was in driving distance. 

Except the ocean, of course.

Finnmark told me it was the congestion.  

How all of Southern California became overdeveloped.

It forced him entertain second thoughts about returning to California, when he realized Illinois just didn’t suit him any more.

And what was wrong with the Windy City? 

The Great Lake comes close to being an ocean.

For a Southern California boy, it was the fact that he had to wear long underwear under his suit during the first winter there.

It wasn’t the cold so, much, he told me – Denver gets cold, but the humid cold of Chicago was something else. 

And no access to “real” mountains gnawed at them.

He told me it hit him when he waited to cross a downtown street at a pedestrian cross walk. 

A big SUV came barreling through the intersection, hit a puddle and drowned him with gray slush.

That slush broke the camel’s back! 

All the little things just added up into a general recognition of dissatisfaction for them.

They both had jobs.

They owned a home.

But, they recognized if they didn’t act the opportunity to move might just slip slide away.

He and his wife sat down that weekend – at a little resort hotel they both enjoyed — and answered two questions: 

“What would you do if you had ten years to live and $10 million in the bank?” and 

“Where Would You Live, Anywhere On The Planet?”

They listed their passions and their dissatisfactions. 

When they combined and prioritized their two lists into one common one they discovered they were in synch on the vast majority of their “Musts” and “Wants.”

So they transferred their jobs to a better quality of life location?

That was the hard part. 

They tried.

But, in the end they took a leap of faith.

They took a big risk. 

They gambled that they could both find jobs to support their lifestyle in a climate and geographical location where they’d be happy.

But, it was a calculated risk. 

  • They did their homework and tapped into their “Birds of a Feather” – tribal connections, if you will — ahead of time.
  • They knitted together a small group of like-minded people for the sole purpose of trading inside information and referrals.
  • They needed inside sources of business intelligence and introductions to make the best life decision they could.
  • And, they took several scouting trips – some on business trips, some on vacations to confirm what they had researched. 

They double-checked advice they had received from family, friends and new acquaintances they met along the way.

They set up their own “outpost” by renting outside of the Denver urban area while they explored where they wanted to live. 

As it turned out, Finnmark managed to finagle a position with his Chicago-based company by opening an office for them in Denver.

Shortly after arriving his wife landed her job.

In the same industry and function, with the flexibility to work from her home office since she conducted audits “in the field.”

In fact, like a farmer you could say she was outstanding in her field.

Look, I didn’t say you would, but you (I) could.

Point?

She earned an outstanding reputation recognized by her new employer.

And in a few months both began living their version of the “Colorado Dream” lifestyle in a beautiful home in Parker. 

Over a decade ago we profiled Finnmark in “The Journal of 2020 Foresight.”

On our chart it is in the upper right hand corner at the intersection of “Doing What You Love in Current Geographical Location.” 

We visited some of these neighborhoods in Parker, Colorado to which our friend moved from an exclusive Chicago suburb. 

They don’t have to live in congested, urban areas so you find like-minded residents in the elite suburbs. 

Statistically, these neighborhoods house a high concentration of the wealthiest in the United States. 

If you are familiar with the Southern California – you’d find them in … 

  • La Jolla, 
  • Torrey Pines, and 
  • Escondido (San Diego County) and 
  • Newport Coast, 
  • Newport Beach, 
  • Corona del Mar, 
  • Huntington Beach, 
  • Irvine and 
  • Mission Viejo (Orange County).

Not all of Parker’s neighborhood lifestyle profiles grouped together within the elite suburbs.  

Two what we now describe as “Wireless Resorters” – Premier Resorts and Maturing Resorts – called Parker home.

Here’s how we described the broad grouping and then two lifestyle segments – Country Squires and God’s Country –  in the “Journal of 2020 Foresight.”

And Landed Gentry?

They’re the fourth most affluent with multiple incomes from executive, professional and technology-related knowledge workers. 

They prefer to live in the exurbs – beyond the suburbs and dense urban areas.

And the Country Squires and God’s Country?

Both yearn to escape urban stress and prefer to live away from the city. 

Country Squires have been called “big bucks in the boondocks” by Claritas. 

God’s Country neighborhoods apply their dual incomes to support an active, outdoor lifestyle.

Slowly neighborhoods change.

You can see the fit that Finnmark and his wife found when they first moved to Parker many years ago. But over time, what once was exurban now becomes suburban, and almost urban as communities mature.

If they had to do it over again, they might check out Parker’s 2025 Master Plan to decide if there was as much fit as they had anticipated.

Here’s a kernel of an idea that grew over time. 

It evolved.

When the opportunity presented itself, it burst to the forefront of Finnmark’s planning.

In the long term Finnmark said he wouldn’t mind living off the grid – becoming more self-sufficient like in the Lone Eagle scenarios. 

We now call the Lone Eagle scenarios – High Country Eagles.  

And, in many of the mountain resort communities you’ll find them living farther away from the towns in Rural Cowboy ranches, farms and other sparsely populated rivers, lakes and open land.

Steps:

8) Sit down with your spouse, partner or friends and write-up your bucket list of places.

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?

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. 

Renewal or Resignation in Your Mid-40s

If you’re in your forties, and you’re a man, and you haven’t been divorced at least once, there’s something up.

 

In the past I could rely on my appearances on public radio to excuse my lack of wealth

 

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.

Oh, darn!

Adult Life Stages

Part One:  She’s Leaving Home, Not Living Alone (Buy Buy)

Part Two:  Failing at Growing Up

Part Three:  Love, Marriage, Baby Carriage, or …

Part Four:  Crisis and Pivots for 28 -32 Year Olds

Part Five:  Making It – Ages 30 – 38

Part Six:  Authenticity Crisis for 35 – 45 Year Olds

Late Bloomers

Chris Erskine. Mom explained to me that I was merely a late bloomer, that life would eventually become easier.

I said, “Mom, I’m 45!”

Chris Erskine at the Los Angeles Times

She loved me anyway, perhaps the greatest test yet of a mother’s heart. See, unconditional love is one thing.

Then there’s a mother’s love, which is unconditional love with an extra spritz of love’s greatest qualities:

Devotion. Faith. Grace.

Authenticity and Adulthood

Amy Poehler.  In Marc Maron’s “Waiting for the Punch” Amy says:

“At this age, you have to find people that are already divorced.

At least once.

If you’re in your forties, and you’re a man, and you haven’t been divorced at least once, there’s something up.” pg. 142

Renewal or Resignation

On the “older side” of the Authenticity Crisis lies the rest of adulthood.

If you chose renewal when you faced your mortality, life opens to an age of mastery.

If you chose to look the other way and settle than your life feels stale.

I’m pretty sure Gail Sheehy coined “Flourishing 40s”.

A time in our life for:

  • Regaining our equilibrium.
  • Renewing our purpose
  • Making our life count at work as a parent.

Self-Acceptance

Marc Maron. “I have self-acceptance now.

Age helps.

I didn’t really grow up until I was in my late forties.

Marc Maron’s Insightful Interviews from his Wildly Successful WTF Podcast

I brought myself up pretty well.

I’m glad I never had kids.

I just didn’t want to put them through my own selfish struggle of being a grown-up.”  pg. 162

Idea of Failure

Maron: “It wasn’t until I let go of expectations and let the humility settle in as opposed to anger, self-pity, and the idea of failure that I became grounded in my body and a fucking grown-up.” pg. 280

Getting used to beginning your second stage of adulthood , you identify less with the kids who were in your high school class.

Or members of your generation’s cohort than you do with other people in your neighborhood.

And more with neighbors and friends dealing with common issues facing families, couples or empty-nesters.

 Seven 45+ Lifestyle Profiles 

Families, Couples and Empty-Nests: Wealthy Influentials and Wireless Resorters.

Goin’ Coastal on PCH

Within the top 10 (out of 64) lifestyles ranked for degree of affluence and status.

Living in:

Oregon: West Linn

Utah: Alta

Florida: Ft. Myers

California: Half Moon Bay, Seal Beach, Lake Arrowhead and Mammoth Lakes

Communities

Wealthy Influentials

01M1S1, Upper Crust, Empty-Nests – WIAE Affluently Elite (Half Moon Bay, CA)

02F1S1 Blue Blood Estates, Families – WIAE Affluently Elite (West Linn, OR)

06F1S1, Winner’s Circle, Families – WIAE Affluently Elite (Alta, UT)

07M1U1 Money & Brains, Couples – WIAE Affluently Elite (Seal Beach, CA)

10M1C1, Second City Elite, Empty-Nests – WIDM Digitally Mobiles (Ft. Myers, FL)

Communities

Wireless Resorters

05F1T1, Country Squires, Families – WRPR Premier Resorts (Lake Arrowhead, CA)

09M1T1, Big Fish, Small Pond, Empty-Nests – WRPR Premier Resorts (Mammoth Lakes, CA)

Encounters With Wealthy Influentials

John Hodgman. One of the moms in my son’s rowing classes had a long blond ponytail.

The day we dropped my son off, she introduced herself to me.

She pointed out her son, whose own blond hair had been bleached impossibly even blonder by the sun.

She explained he and the other two boys in the rowing class who were not my son had essentially grown up together every summer here in Main.

She also mentioned she had two older blond kids who are twins, brother and a sister.”

 She told me the town she lived in in Massachusetts – even more affluent and suburby suburb than Brookline.

She told me that her husband managed a hedge fund and could only get to Maine on the weekends.

“It’s so great that you can be here all the time with your kids,” she said. “What do you do?”

She had other questions.

She wanted to know:

  • Where were we staying?
  • Did we rent?
  • Or did we own?
  • How long had we been coming up?
  • How well did we know the town?” pg 166

Standard Wealth and Status Scan

Hodgman had been used to these types of encounters during his first adult development  stage in his 20s and 30s.

He even had a name for what was unfolding.

A standard wealth and status scan.

If you made the grade, you were “sufficiently human.”

And he was used to flunking.

Sheehy: “If one has refused to budge through the middle-life transition, the safety and supports will be withdrawn from the person who is standing still.

If a person is not comfortable with the way their life is progressing, they’re usually regretful about the decisions that they have made in the past and feel a sense of uselessness.

But Hodgman noticed something surprising emerged with this encounter.

Hodgman. In the past I could rely on my appearances on public radio to excuse my lack of wealth: being on This American Life is like being a monk – you may have to sleep on straw and wear the same tattered robe made of tote bags every day, but you are acceptable in polite society because you are sacrificing for a greater cause.”

But now, as she asked questions, I realized something surprising. I had answers.” pg. 166- 167

Create or stagnate

During this time people are normally settled in their life and know what is important to them.

Also during this time, a person is enjoying raising their children and participating in activities, that gives them a sense of purpose.

First House

Hodgman and his wife decide it was time to own their first home – becoming Wireless Resorters.

Hodgman. “It is a less fancy house in a less fancy town, a boatbuilding community farther out on the peninsula’s jagged coast. 

“I’m a P.C”, John Hodgman

It’s an impossible thing for your brain to absorb fully: to warp your whole emotional and financial life around the shape of this physical thing,

This new collection of problems and regrets, ants and undiscovered mold, bad drainage, and crack foundations that will be your burden until you sell it or it kills you. “pg 177

Sobering 30-Year Mortgage

Hodgman. “A thirty-year mortgage is hilarious when you are young and you don’t even remember what day it is; it’s a grim thing when you are older and see that this debt is a bright, un-ignorable line from the now of your life to its addled decline.

There is that moment at the closing meeting with the various attorneys where you realize: 

I don’t need to do this. 

I don’t need anything. 

I can run out of this office and go live in an old hollow tree stump.

But you do not walk away because if you’ve gotten this far there is only forward.

You’ve given up your apartment and gotten the loan and now you are going to trade this check with “ALL YOUR MONEY” written on it for some vague sense of progress in your life.”  pg 177 – 178

Life and Death

Maron: “That death is part of life is annoying and sad. 

Denial is childish, but I can’t think about it too much because it’s just too fucking depressing.

I choose to let myself be consumed with petty bullshit and not get too close to people.” pg. 343

Erskine. So I’m still frosted and confused over Rhymer’s death from cancer at age 51.

I’m dealing with it through this flower box.

Some guys march to different drummers, others dance to their own minor keys.

That was Rhymer.

Balboa Island Ferry – Getty Images

His favorite retreat from the stupidities of screenwriting was a little cottage near the water, an apostrophe of a place, barely even there.

At this little Newport Beach cottage he would host summer holidays, build batches of margaritas, sizzle steaks on the grill.

What a golf course was to Palmer, what Wembley was to Laver, this beach house was to Rhymer.”

Part Seven: 55 Year Olds – Millennials and Empty Nests

Authentic Boomtowns

An authentic boomtown also thrives largely on its local business base, not primarily on commuters. 

Mammoth Lifestyle
Mammoth Lake’s Paul Oster said the town and mountain business community solved many of the issues plaguing most ultra affluent resorts.

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 Four in a 4-Part Series.

Part One: You

Part Two: Taking Calculated Risks

Part Three: Plug In Dreams

Mammoth Lakes appeals to a healthy mix of residents.

  • The affluent lifestyles are drawn to its quality of life.
  • And, the “immigration nation community” and service workers like lift operators, ski and snowboard instructors, restaurant servers and bartenders.

Mammoth Lake’s Paul Oster said the town and mountain business community solved many of the issues plaguing most ultra affluent resorts.

As the lessons of the Great Recession made clear and evolution of Mammoth’s lifestyles and real estate market illustrate, Dent cautions.

Although smaller boomtowns will exhibit a clear tendency to attract the kinds of businesses that support a specific lifestyle, you want to look for business diversity. 

Winter in Lake Tahoe

Is there a hidden, festering problem that will potentially trigger an economic disaster?

If the area is sustained by one key business, say tourism, and the weather patterns change, as in the cases of Mammoth Lakes and Lake Tahoe, the local economy – your business – and the value of your property will take financial hits.

Isolated small towns, like Silverton, Colorado struggled during its transition from a gold mining town to a tourist town.

Downtown Silverton, Colorado

And the legacy toxic tailings from the area’s gold mining operations and a cyclical history of “blow outs” are gifts that just keep on giving.

But, not in good way.

Just ask Durango, Colorado residents.

And Animas River businesses like “Wet and Wild” devastated by the giant orange sludge flowing through town at the peak of the summer tourist season in 2015.

Yellow Sludge Filled the Animas River Starting in Silverton

How can you prevent those kinds of losses?

Choose wisely.

  • If there are different kinds of businesses in the area, the decline of one is likely to have a more limited effect on property values. 
  • Consider both the short- and the long-term value of your real estate investment when evaluating the local businesses.

You don’t want to keep potentially attractive boomtowns on your bucket list, if like in Santa Barbara, California traffic clogs the main artery.

Santa Barbara Traffic Jams

An authentic boomtown also thrives largely on its local business base, not primarily on commuters. 

This gives the town stability in growth.

It represents the lifestyle it is catering to.

Not simply making it available to people who earn their incomes elsewhere.

It also indicates that this boomtown supports the ideal of a quality lifestyle that offers enough leisure time to enjoy your family, your friends and your new community.

Ask around.

Find out where they live and work.

Observe.

  • Look at the traffic patterns during rush hour to determine if most people are commuting to a nearby city or suburban area. 
  • If they are, think twice about investing in this boomtown!

Steps:

(8) Sit down with your spouse, partner or friends and write-up your bucket list of places.

(21) Spend the time to find the best places 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.

Plug In Dreams

What if you knew those Wireless Resort profiles that attracted you?

Searching Wireless Dreams
For example, cappuccino shops and hip cafes give a different signal than a Wal-Mart or McDonalds.

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 Three in a 4-Part Series.

Part One: You

Part Two: Taking Calculated Risks

What if you used Nielsen’s MyBestSegments and plugged in any of the Wireless Resorter lifestyle profiles, could you find you dream neighborhoods?

You couldn’t except by trial and error.

Searching Claritas One Zip Code at a Time
  • Find the zip code for the town on your short list.
  • Plug it into Nielsen’s MyBestSegments online database and find out if it was.
  • Or in the majority of cases – not.

What if you knew those Wireless Resort profiles that attracted you.

  • Or those higher status and income profiles?
  • Or those age and life stage profiles?
  • You couldn’t simply plug them in and find the town or your dreams.

But, being a “What If” guy I reverse engineered the process.

And lived to write a book about it.

Following Harry Dent’s logic – the more affluent people always seek the best areas and the number of these areas is limited.

Therefore, such areas will see  the most money chasing the fewest properties. 

In the simple math of supply and demand, that adds up to the best real estate appreciation and, for some people, to the highest quality of life.

Luckily, he included a list of Western resort towns that fit his criteria to begin with.

  • Each one included a mix of lifestyles.
  • I painstakingly plugged zip codes of potential towns on my bucket list and compared them to Dent’s originals.
  • Over time patterns emerged.

And with enough patience a workable knowledge bank provided what I wanted.

All the Towns One Lifestyle at a Time

An easy way to search on 09M1T1 and identify a subset of all the Western towns and a way to group them into geographical travel itineraries for vacations.

  • Get out and smell the wildflowers.
  • Become entranced with waterfalls
  • Feel the cool breeze blowing through the golden aspen leaves.
  • And take note about the bucket list town’s amenities.
  • Whether or not it’s making substantial investments in its public facilities.
Shimmering Autumn Aspen Leaves

More specifically Dent offers a short list

Is it expanding the airport, improving public transportation, and building sports complexes, schools, cultural facilities, convention and meeting centers? 

Airport Expansion Clues?

What kinds of tourist attractions and family entertainment facilities is the city building or improving, and what do you think of them? 

How about the community’s attitude towards an influx of new people?

If it is creating an environment to attract more, this is another sure sign that the town is expanding and planning for more expansion.

Remember the online feud over chickens as pets in Bishop?

“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.” 

Birds-of-a-Feather or Chicken Wars?

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

“Go back to Metropolis, where superman protects you from all the big, scary and stinky farm animals. 

Bishop will be ok without one more flatlander type.”

A quick rule of thumb isn’t one universally appreciated by the locals, either.

  • Franchises are moving in.
  • Franchises such as Starbuck’s Coffee, McDonalds and Wal-Mart. 
Starbuck’s Signal Upscale Growth

These companies do extensive demographic and lifestyle analysis before moving to an area and they don’t make such an investment unless they are convinced that there is strong growth potential.

An important side note.

You’ll recall as a ‘Preneur, after weighing the pros and cons of buying a business or a franchise, investing in a franchise may also provide you with a proven business system and an established local customer base.

Growth by itself, however, is not the only factor to evaluate for keeping your bucket list town on the shortlist, and later when you set up shop.

Dent says to …

Consider what types of businesses are moving in, what kinds are already present, and determine whether or not they reflect and support the kind of lifestyle you’re seeking. 

Maybe just as important, you’ll get a feel for what types  of people you can expect to move into the area in the near and longterm future.

For example, cappuccino shops and hip cafes give a different signal than a Wal-Mart or McDonalds.

Becoming the Next Aspen?

The high-end businesses suggest you may be walking down Main Street of the next Aspen, whereas a Wal-Mart probably indicates another low-cost business town or an exurb that eventually will look more like an extended suburb. 

In reality, you’ll find both in your bucket list town.

Steps:

(8) Sit down with your spouse, partner or friends and write-up your bucket list of places.

(21) Spend the time to find the best places 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.

 

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.