Newcomer's wealth impedes friendship
Dear Amy: Two years ago, I made the decision to move from a city to a rural area because I knew I would never be able to afford to buy a house in that city.
I can telecommute for work, giving me the ability to make a good salary and live almost anywhere I want.
Since moving, I have made many local friends, many of which can only dream of earning the kind of money I make. That hasn't stopped me from making friends; I don't care about a person's wealth.
This hasn't been a problem until recently. I have decided to buy a house in the area I moved to. This is the house I plan to spend my retirement in.
My friends are divided. Many are happy for me, but others now consider me "the problem." The problem as they see it is when a non-local moves in and is able to afford the ever-increasing cost of rent or real estate.
Since moving here, I understand this issue. I am near a national park, and the visitor rates have skyrocketed. Many people come to the area to buy weekend homes or Airbnb rentals, which drive up the prices for locals that generally work low-paying jobs.
I just want to plan my retirement in an area I love, but in some friends' minds, that makes me the enemy.
I don't know how to deal with this. I want to be part of the community and I have been trying. I am not someone swooping in just to make some money. I don't know how I can fix this with my friends who are starting to see my presence as part of the problem.
-- Former City Folk
Dear City Folk: Yes, this phenomenon is definitely affecting rural communities.