I don't care how much money I have as the years go on...you will never see me buy a luxury car. Some people who have to drive a long distance to work buy fancy cars and use the commute to justify it...go for it, if that adds value to your life. For me, if I had an endless supply of funds, I'd buy a small piece of residential real estate downtown so that I don't have to commute. But doing that is more than just the cost of your slice of the city...it's the cost of private school for the kids (or even just the astronomical daycare costs as compared to the already astronomical costs we pay further out of the city). It's the cost of a security system and monitoring. It's the high cost of HOA fees. These are the hidden monetary costs of urban living that make it more unattainable than you'd think, even when you subtract out gas, tolls, and vehicle wear and tear.
Nevertheless, my goal is to live where we don't have to commute. To me, time is more important than space (obviously, I'm a "minimalist", lol). The thing I find difficult to balance is, what would my kids think of growing up in a different world than I did? I imagine raising kids in the city can be difficult, because on one side you have deep poverty, and right next to it you have filthy rich families (think "old money" y'all). All in the same community, but not really. Where does a middle class family fit in, in the city? I personally do not pay much attention to socioeconomic status when it comes to who I build relationships with or relate to, but I am trying to look at it from my kids' perspective. Would it be good for them? Or bad for them? I'm probably over thinking this....what is right for my family may not be right for yours, so why would I feel compelled to conform to the values of others?
My husband and I are trying to look at what we've got going on in our current lifestyle -- thinking about what isn't working, what to change, what to keep, what we love, or is the entire thing effed up? This is kind of fun...it's like a strategy game. If I think of it that way, it's not as stressful. Most of the thoughts are around urban living, hence my writing about it this evening.