Cost of living is largely a lifestyle choice. You could live on Nob Hill or the Upper East Side… but you could just as easily pick somewhere with the same commuting time for a much lower mortgage/rental cost. It’s a choice. Taking that idea a bit further, @PoF wrote a great post about geographic arbitrage (finding the sweet spot between high salaries and low cost living).
I wrote a bit about house hacking here. Many people mistakenly believe you need to physically live in the same apartment building as your tenants, but the concept works just as well if you’re half a world away.
Basically your tenants not only cover the operating and financing costs of the investment properties they occupy… but they also subsidise (partially or fully) your own living costs. Feels like winning to me!
As for the lovely list of benefits (both work and societal), check out much of Europe, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Unfortunately it is (much) harder than it used to be not so long ago… with insecure nationalists the world over voting to raise the draw bridges, hide behind walls, and require superhuman powers to meet onerous visa/residency requirements. That said folks can still buy citizenship in places like Malta for relatively low prices, which in turn provides admission to many of the above.