Sunday, July 17, 2005

RGV Cost of Living is Lower

In business school, you learn that you can keep more money by doing one of two things. You earn more; or, you spend less. The Rio Grande Valley may be able to help you on both counts, maybe.

In the earning more front, our region is undergoing rapid growth. There are many reasons for the population growth. My main interest in this case is economic growth.

In recent years, our state has begun working on what is called the Regional Academic Health Center, or RAHC. This is supposed to get more physicians to do their residency requirements in the Rio Grande Valley. The theory is that if they learn here they will stay here to practice. After all, the RGV is underserved by medicine. It's nice to attibute economic growth to a growing population. I do, however believe that there is more at play here. Population alone won't cut it insofar as economic expansion goes. China, after all, has a population of over 1 Billion and we still make more money than they do. So, where I am going with this is that with more doctors, you need more nurses, more receptionists, more pharmaceutical reps, and more home health care services. Indirectly, you need better restaurants, stores, homes, and other things to provide high income people, such as doctors a means of spending their money. Of course, with more doctors you also need more lawyers to sue the doctors. Docs who marry will have nannies and landscapers and other hired help.

The Rio Grande Valley has many legal AND illegal workers that it's pretty cheap to get most things done. If you pay a housekeeper from Mexico on a visitor's visa $100 per week, she can make a fair living. Many contractors hire undocumented carpenters, painters, roofers, and whatever else is needed to make your home.

Food is not very expensive here either. The RGV grows many kinds of food and is the first stop of many Mexican imports that cost a great deal more North of here. If you want to eat a nice restaurant and have a limited budget, head across the border to Mexico and you can swing a decent night.

Are you looking for a place to build your home? You can still find acres of land for sale by owner. These are great for developing or just for building your homestead.

The point of all this is that high income jobs are coming to the Rio Grande Valley for those qualified for the jobs. Labor will still remain cheap. Food is cheap. Land is cheap. So, not only are some people earning more, they are keeping more of what they earn. We are still adding well paying jobs to the Rio Grande Valley. If you can find one here, you should definitely consider moving here.

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