JohnB wrote:As people can live anywhere, what you see is in house prices and salaries is the cumulative choices of people moderated by their family and friend networks. "If you could live anywhere" means removing constraints, so you might be rich, able to work from home, have no caring commitments, no family ties and be able to make friends easily.
I'm FIRE and single, so have fewer constraints, but am stuck in London until Mum dies. Then I could go anywhere, with the big constraint of my social network (I lived in Boulder, CO for 2 years, glorious place to live, but their lack left me lonely and deeply depressed), so its likely to be Reading, not because its lovely, but because its best for seeing my friends.
Pragmatic answer as you get old, live on the bus route from the town centre to the hospital in the place your least flakey child lives.
Hope things work out for you John. Friends are very important, and if Reading has them, that's a key part of your decision.
Can you clarify your comment about Boulder please as it looks like there's a typo, or a word missing perhaps, and I'm interested in what left you "lonely and deeply depressed" there. I've never been to Boulder, although I have been to Colorado three times, and a close friend has very positive views from visiting his offspring at Uni in Boulder hence my interest. It scores highly in the best places to live, US version. Another high scorer particularly for 'best places to retire to' is Santa Barbara, CA, which I have visited and like very much, and St George, UT, which I am visiting in September. Hence my interest in Boulder if that's not too OT.