Thinking of moving to Detroit in the future

Many of you might think I’m crazy for considering to voluntarily move into what is widely considered to be the worst major city in America, but hear me out. All I want from life now is just enough to get by. I have no family, no relationships, no friends, no attachments. I’ve made peace with this fate, and I figure if I’m going to be a single man with no attachments, I might as well live like it. And by the time I move there I’ll be in my prime- late 20s/early 30s.

Detroit has a very low cost of living, and absurdly low housing prices. There are also plenty of wide open spaces, and a relative lack of “law and order” in the city. I’m still serving my army contract, but when I get out I anticipate having around $50,000 saved up, which can be done if I keep my expenses to a minimum. With the extremely low cost of living in the city, I think I might be able to secure myself an early retirement. But before I move to Detroit, I first want to get my A&P (Air frame and Powerplant) licence. It is an aviation maintenance certification, and it should give me something to fall back on in case I ever *do *need employment.

I personally would have no problem moving to Detroit in your position. I actually like the city and the general area. And you wouldn’t be the first. From my understanding, there’s a lot of “urban pioneers” who have been moving to the area in the past decade.

The Detroit area is awesome, and Detroit itself is looking up. Nothing at all wrong with your plan.

People I’ve known who live in Detroit like it just fine. They remain surprised when people question them about it. That includes a cousin, my ex-wife’s family, and lots of other people.

For me, its best positive attribute is it’s easy to get to Canada, and you can get the CBC on cable.

Hell, you don’t even need cable!

Well, of course, you’re NORTH of Canada there…

A lot of my college friends live there now, and still believe in the city.

Whenever I visit, I make sure to make a trip downtown to the Detroit Institute of Arts. Great art, films in a restored theater, and cool cafes. And you’ll get in for free (if you end up in Wayne, Oakland or Macomb County).

You are planning to retire on $50,000? Even for Detroit (which has cheap housing but is not otherwise that much cheaper in other cost of living factors) that is not enough money for a lifetime, or even more than a couple of years of very frugal living.

Detroit is not the worst city in America (that title belongs to Gary, IN, although San Bernardino, CA, Camden, NJ, and Birmingham, AL are making a shot at the title) but it is not a good place to live poor, especially if you don’t plan on having a car and relying on public transit. If you want to make the most of your small pile of money you are better off looking to a rural area not too hard hit by meth and opioid epidemics and look for part time work to supplement your savings and any pension you might be getting. Alternatively, you could take your nest egg, put it in diversified high yield investments, work for another ten years or so to cover living expenses, and then take your pile of money and buy property in Alaska, eastern New Mexico or Utah, or someplace else with cheap property and a low cost of living.

Do you have any particular objective for your life besides retiring early? If you don’t have other passions or hobbies and no social connections retiring can be just as much of a drag as a 9-to-5 job. Being “footloose and fancy-free” you could do anything with your life without concern about how it would affect others. What would you do with your life if you had no financial constraints?


You say lack of law and order like that’s something desirable. I guess it is, if you’re planning to do something illegal in Detroit. Is that your plan? (You don’t need to answer that - there may be informers in our midst.)

Detroit is definitely on the upswing. It gets a bad rap from those who don’t know any better. Someone with typical low expectations would be astonished at how lively and vital much of it is. Downtown, Greektown, Mexican Village, the River Walk, Corktown, Eastern Market, etc. etc.

But if I read your OP right, you are planning on retiring now? On 50 Grand?

You need a new plan.

I’m not that frugal and I am sure I could get by with longer than a few years unless you mean a half decade or more. :dubious::smiley:

If you have no family and no mortgage…money goes a long way. 50k in savings and a hefty pension and SS…isnt that enough? If not, ya all been living the good life. Try to live like the lower income people, we do perfectly fine with one cell phone for more than one year at a time. :p:p

OH and OP; unless you’re coming from Cali, Detroit’s cost of living is the same as all over Michigan. If you’re lucky, you might have one of them there produce garden stores that seem to be popping up (I hear) all over the poor areas…

Do you mean “Detroit” as in the City of Detroit, or “Detroit” as most people use it (which is all of Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties?)

I’ve been thinking of moving back to the Detroit area, or even Detroit proper.

It really is doing better these days, although there are of course still problems.

But $50,000 isn’t much - you’ll at least need to do odd jobs from time to time to keep from running out of money even if you live frugally.

Your “:dubious::D” wouud appear to stem feom a lack of reading comprehension. The o.p describes himself as “…by the time I move there I’ll be in my prime- late 20s/early 30s.” meaning he is still in his twenties now. No social security, no half-pay pension at a senior NCO or mid-level officer grade with twenty years in service, just his $50k nest egg and an A&P certificate for backup employment that may or may not be all that much in demand depending on how close he is to an aircraft maintenance facility. $50k will keep a person in housing, a basic used car, processed foor, and cheap beer for about a couple of years. Eliminate the car and share a small apartment with a roommate and you might stretch that to three or four, but that’s about it. And except for housing, the Detroit area is not otherwise extraordinarily cheaper than anywhere else in Michigan.


You’re right, other cost of living factors in Detroit are near, at, or slightly above the national average. But the housing is so ridiculously cheap that it drags the overall cost of living far below the average. I may not be able to support myself without working indefinitely. As someone else said, I’ll have to pick up employment from time to time.

Haha, yeah I’d rather live in Detroit than any of those places.

I will consider these options. Although something in me is drawn, for some reason, to decaying urban landscapes.


No, not really. I really cannot adequately express in words how much I despise having to work for a living. If I had no financial constraints, I’d live in a nicer area than Detroit, but still very frugally, and I’d spend my time doing solely what interests me.

The DIA is a world class museum. The staff is knowledgeable and helpful, it’s just about the right size to spend an entire day in, and some of the pieces are just extraordinary. The café is just ok in my book but they don’t rip you off too much so that’s a plus. I highly recommend it for any visitor.

So (and I ask this with the understanding that you are not in any way obligated to share details of your personal life or amitions on a message bord) what does interest you? Is there something in your interest or hobbies that could generate income? $50k plus educational assistance from the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill can take you a long way in studying or training in some area of interest, and the GI Bill benefits aren’t just limited to four year college and trade schools; you can use it for otherwise unpaid apprenticeships, on the job training, and so forth, in the arts and crafts like sculpture, painting, and fine carpentry. It even comes with a housing stipend (depending on your situation and time in service), which would allow you to keep your nest egg intact and invested. This is a fantastic benefit that is really one of the absolute best deals for your service and sacrifice, and everybody who has served should avail themselves of this benefit because who knows how long it will be before the self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives will realize they can cut it and save money by ignoring veterans.

On the other hand, if you just want to lie around all day and watch television then I guess Detroit is as good a place as any. But even if you don’t mind the decay, crime, and corruption, Detroit is a far-north city with all the terrible weather that entails. If I were going to pick someplace cheap to lounge about it I’d look for somewhere warm, like the Gulf Coast or the Florida/Georgia/South Carolina coast, or if you want inland and mostly drier, someplace like eastern New Mexico or Utah. If the only appeal of Detroit is that it is cheap take a visit in mid-winter and see how much you like it then.


You’re thinking of moving to Detroit in the future?

If the Robocop movies are any guide, I’d avoid Detroit in the future.

The future? Hell, that’s pretty much Detroit today, except they went the ED-209 route with everything.


I don’t plan on doing anything (seriously) illegal, I just don’t like authority figures constantly breathing down my neck.

Hmmm. Speaking for Detroit, maybe they don’t want you.