Why Dot Com Moguls Still Live in Expensive Cities

The average price for a detached house in Greater Vancouver is well north of $1 million, in a city where the median household income is around $76,000. Vancouver may not necessarily be the most expensive city in the world, but it is the third most unaffordable city in the world. And yet, it’s where John Chow himself chose to live for years, despite making his living online. Why?

Think about this. When you have a more traditional job, regardless of the industry that you are in, you are usually tied to a physical location. If you are a chef, you have to come in to work at your restaurant. If you are an accountant, you have to come in to your office. If you are a teacher, you have to go teach at the school. These are all perfectly respectable occupations and some are more lucrative than others, but they are all tied to a physical, geographic location.

Not All Dollars Are Spent Alike

Making money online and working for yourself frees you from such constraints, because you are able to manage and run your online business from anywhere you can access the Internet. If you store all your vital documents and resources in the cloud, you can pack up your laptop and hop on a plane to practically anywhere and continue to earn your living. We’ll put aside the challenges of citizenship, work visas and other documentation for now.

Given all of this, it would make the most sense if you spent the majority of your time where your dollar (or Euro or yen or whatever other currency you earn) can stretch the furthest.

Why would you spend over $1 million on a teardown of a house in Vancouver when you can buy a palatial mansion elsewhere in the world for a mere fraction of that? Why would you spend $200 on a steak dinner in Manhattan when you can have an even more impressive meal elsewhere for the equivalent of $20? The dollar you earn is the same, but how much it buys can vary considerably.

Why do it? It’s about connections, community and lifestyle. Let me explain.

Success Breeds Success

While I certainly cannot claim to be pulling in the same kind of paycheck as John, I am able to eke out my comfortable middle class living here in Vancouver as a freelance writer and blogger.

A big part of that is because of the connections I was able to forge by the very nature of living in Vancouver. If I didn’t live here, I would have never met John in real life, I likely would not have starting writing here, and I likely would not have forged many of the other business relationships that have followed since.

If I lived halfway across the world in some rural village, I would not have had the opportunity to meet the people that I have. Attending conferences and trade shows are useful, but the day-to-day community can speak volumes. Vancouver has that. Seattle has that and that’s partly why John lived in Bellevue for a time. Orange County in California has that and that’s partly why John lives there now.

These are all very expensive places to live, but they’re worth it for the great upside they can provide.

When you make your money on the Internet and you have the privilege of location freedom, why wouldn’t you choose the most desirable places to call your home? Why wouldn’t you want to surround yourself with other like-minded individuals, living and working from these hubs of inspiration, ambition and vision?

The Laws of Attraction

It really shouldn’t surprise anyone that some of the biggest vloggers on YouTube live either in New York or in Los Angeles. It really shouldn’t surprise anyone that some of the biggest tech startups are based either in Seattle or San Francisco. It really shouldn’t surprise anyone that despite being a country consisting of a single city, Singapore is home to some of the most ambitious and successful Internet marketers and bloggers in all of Asia.

These are all expensive cities, because they are cities that have the potential to breed success. And they all offer a certain lifestyle that’s awfully appealing too.

Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!

10 thoughts on “Why Dot Com Moguls Still Live in Expensive Cities”

  1. Hey,
    Its a very nice article. Working on internet is really a fun task, and if you are successful in your work, you can earn in millions just by chilling in your home as it does not involve the daily helter skelter like in traditional jobs such as of teacher, chefs and accountants. Also I guess if the location that you chose to live can help you to earn a fair sum of income, then it really does not matter whether the city you live in expensive or cheap.

  2. I like it Michael. I have met some awesome folks all over the world, being a globe trotter often spotted in exotic locales, but it can help to live in blogging hot beds. Either you will meet folks in your home town or you will be around when a summit rolls into town, as I was in NJ and met John at ASE in NYC last year.


  3. We don,t much over still live in the expensive city. We are able to manage and run our business.

  4. This is a great article which reveals while people like me have been trying to make a living online for almost 5years now without earning a dime. It could probably be as a result of my location, but what can I do when I can’t afford the expensive cities.

  5. Jon says:

    I’m not sure that location matters that much. After all if you’re making big bucks, you can travel to marketing summits anywhere in the world and the good thing is that the countries that are becoming more prominent in online marking are becoming more diverse. In the old days it was mostly the USA and Canada but not any more.

  6. Jude says:

    I agree it is important to surround yourself with the right community and paying that premium may be well worth it at some breakthrough point. However, I think if you are already location-independent, it is also nice to consider more exotic locations where you can be close to the city/nature you have always wanted to be in. This, is the best part of a dot com lifestyle.

  7. AR Simon says:

    I think it’s a personal decision at the end of the day. I personally rather live in a 4000 sq foot condo with an indoor pool for only $4000 usd per month (in Medellin, Colombia). Instead of a cramped NYC apartment for that same price.

    My kids study in the 3rd best school in the country (elementary-high school here) and it only cost $1200 usd per month. Is it the Howard Mann School? no, is it Phillips Academy? Hell no. However, going to an Ivy League school or Top Tier is still very possible, if they choose to.

    When I want to visit a conference I hop on a plane and do that. When I need coaching I purchase it online and watch it online. I’m able to invest in the US without any problems. And being a US born citizen, i’m able to come and go as I please. As can my kids. My wife (tourist visa).

    Talking to influential people. You find some titans of industry in the circles you live in. At the country club (400 usd per month for family of 4) or learning to ride horses with your kids. My neighbors are politicians and wealthy business owners. I’ve been to dinner with the Vice President of Colombia. Call the white house and try setting that up.

    So again, live where you are going to be the happiest. And that’s more important than anything. I’ve made more $$$ when I left NYC. Because I can afford to have my own company and I’m rapidly growing that by living overseas. And following John, Billy Gene, Grant Cardone all online from the comfort of my sick pad.


  8. fuad says:

    Good work Michael!

    it’s good to live where you feel comfortable. I do remember when I was that close to moving to Vancouver than myself and wife decided to return back to ON.

    I would move to KL if I have that $.com lifestyle. Sadly, I have an 8-4 lifestyle, but I always tell my self one day I will make it…….one day.

  9. Enrique says:

    Hello Michael Kwan! Thank you for the insightful post. I happen to live inside of a 30 minute drive to Los Angeles, the city. No doubt, one of my goals is to move into a great place in a rich area. For me, I can only imagine how much encouragement there is waiting from everyone. I think, to hear stories of poverty and excuses why I shouldn’t do something, I should stay in a poor area. But to hear inspirational stories that will encourage me to take the steps necessary to move up to the next level, I need to move, or at least spend a majority of my time, in a better area. Or better, the best area. I enjoyed reading your post. You have a clean writing style.

  10. Boss Digital says:

    I think it’s definitely to do with ease off access to experts and piers and having more business scope and access to people.

    I work in a small town and it’s definitely difficult to network with like minded individuals or experts in my field. I have to regularly travel to London or Manchester and some cases abroad for conferences or events to meet highly influential experts. But saying that because my living expenses are not through the roof I can still travel and and have a decent standard of living. Id be paying triple what I pay now just in living expenses,

Comments are closed.