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Old 06-15-2011, 09:28 AM
 
157 posts, read 274,004 times
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Wife and I are looking to make our last move, and are hoping to find a few nice people to help us consider the "under the radar" aspects of a few places we're considering, Austin, Charlotte and Charleston. If you have lives in any one (or better yet, two) of these places we'd love to hear from you. I can save you time: we are 45 and 53, no kids (so school stuff not important), significantly professional and educated, looking for a place we can easily transition into retirement in 13-18 years. The obvious metrics I can find (COL, crime stats, housing costs, etc.). We want a nice, upscale (but not ridiculously snooty) area. Near water would be nice (ie lake Travis in Austin and Charleston beaches of course). Homes in the 300-400K range preferred. What is your overall impression of the job market for seasoned professionals? For example, Charleston concerns us due to size - not many jobs unless you work for Boeing.

Tell us (given our description) what your impressions are (good, bad, ugly). The more reasonable, balanced and candid posts will be most appreciated.
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:16 AM
 
Location: metro ATL
8,190 posts, read 12,288,069 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wedmiston View Post
What is your overall impression of the job market for seasoned professionals? For example, Charleston concerns us due to size - not many jobs unless you work for Boeing.
That's inaccurate, especially since the Boeing plant hasn't even been open a week yet. Charleston's forte as far as the professional job market goes is in aerospace (which existed pre-Boeing), defense contracting, higher education, and healthcare/medicine. However, both Charlotte and Austin will necessarily be better markets than Charleston and you gave the main reason: size. Well, that and the fact that both are more white-collar cities.

Can't really speak for Austin since I've not been there, but Charleston and Charlotte are kind of yin and yang, so it really depends on the type of city you'd like to retire in. Charleston is beachy, more arts-oriented, has great food, lots of historic sites, and the like. Overall it's more leisurely. Charlotte is more "big city," faster-paced with more city-oriented amenities, more business-oriented, and attracts more of a cross-section of people.
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:55 AM
 
157 posts, read 274,004 times
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This confirms much of my impression. Charleston sounds like such a great place and we're in that period where we still have to plan for working another 12-15 years, but don't want to move again when we retire. consequently, we want to choose a place we can work and then stay in afterwards. Charleston sounds great for the latter, but not necessarily the former part of our plan.

Trying to make both plans for the future work together. Thoughts?
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Rochester Hills, Mi
811 posts, read 1,646,802 times
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I would go and visit each place for a long weekend. Drive around, see the weekday traffic etc...for a decision that big/long.

I have a friend that lives in Mt Pleasant/Charleston and loves it but the cost of living can be high for the $ and traffic is bad. I grew up in Summerville, SC but haven't lived there since 1993. I think Charlotte would offer more options/diversity of jobs if you were to lose one it might be easier to find a suitable replacement compared to Charlotte. It is a reasonable drive to the mountains and has 2 lakes. Cost of living is reasonable with housing costs right now. You could easily live in SC on Lake Wylie and save some $ on taxes and the drive isn't bad for jobs in downtown or Ballantyne.

Really depends on the vibe you want to be honest.

It gets hot in Charlotte but prob not as bad as Austin and you still get a sense of seasons. Good luck!
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:09 AM
 
3,115 posts, read 6,128,507 times
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I think it's going to come down to your personal preference and desires for retirement. You could not pay me to retire in Charlotte. It's a nice enough place to live, and jobs haven't been a problem for my family, but there's no way I would spend my golden years here. Between the three, I'd pick Charleston.

You really need to do an extended visit to each place and decide for yourself.
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:25 AM
 
467 posts, read 859,162 times
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I wouldn't consider many other places in the country than Charlotte to live while in my professional career, but there's a 0% chance I'd retire here. It's a tossup between the stretch of coast between Charleston and Savannah, or Charlottesville, VA. I can't say enough about Charleston in terms of it's food scene (top 5 or 6 in the country), architecture and history, natural setting, pace of life. It's a dream if you can stand the humidity. But jobs? It's very "nichey" if that makes sense. There are definitely some bedroom communities like Summerville where you can make the salary/cost ratio work for you, but you'd definitely want to do an in-town move to Mt. Pleasant or Johns Island when you actually retire.
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:20 AM
 
157 posts, read 274,004 times
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Thanks everyone for the recent feedback, especially addressing the retirement potential of each area. We are coming from a situation where we don't want to move again in 12-15 years (mid 60's), so we hope to make this a final move. I agree the other areas are more specifically geared to retirement, I just don't get a sense we'd get jobs at our level and in our industries in Charleston, Savannah, Asheville, etc.

back to Charlotte for a moment. We are coming in 2 weeks for four days to check out areas. Lake Norman is appealing (access to downtown seems a reasonable commute). Also read that southern Charlotte areas are better.

Any suggestions? A reminder:
  • Just two late 40's couple - no kids
  • Area we can potentially stay in retirement
  • No tract home, highly suburban, lots of kids, cookie-cutter areas please - just not our thing. Homes in the $300-$400K range. not poor but not millionaires.
  • Help me eliminate big swaths of areas - is the east and west out?
Also - if you say you wouldn't consider an area - please add a few objective bullets as to WHY, otherwise I can't get anything out of your feedback.
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:15 PM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
21,860 posts, read 27,133,212 times
Reputation: 8929
Quote:
Originally Posted by wedmiston View Post
Thanks everyone for the recent feedback, especially addressing the retirement potential of each area. We are coming from a situation where we don't want to move again in 12-15 years (mid 60's), so we hope to make this a final move. I agree the other areas are more specifically geared to retirement, I just don't get a sense we'd get jobs at our level and in our industries in Charleston, Savannah, Asheville, etc.

back to Charlotte for a moment. We are coming in 2 weeks for four days to check out areas. Lake Norman is appealing (access to downtown seems a reasonable commute). Also read that southern Charlotte areas are better.

Any suggestions? A reminder:
  • Just two late 40's couple - no kids
  • Area we can potentially stay in retirement
  • No tract home, highly suburban, lots of kids, cookie-cutter areas please - just not our thing. Homes in the $300-$400K range. not poor but not millionaires.
  • Help me eliminate big swaths of areas - is the east and west out?
Also - if you say you wouldn't consider an area - please add a few objective bullets as to WHY, otherwise I can't get anything out of your feedback.
I can't speak for the east. I live west of Charlotte. This area was hit hard by the collapse of the mill system. The towns are reinventing themselves. There is culture out here. (art societies, galleries, community theater, etc.). It might or might not be your cup of tea.
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:16 PM
 
157 posts, read 274,004 times
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specifics - where west? how big of an area do your comments refer to?
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Old 06-22-2011, 02:04 PM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
21,860 posts, read 27,133,212 times
Reputation: 8929
Quote:
Originally Posted by wedmiston View Post
specifics - where west? how big of an area do your comments refer to?
West of Charlotte starts with Mt. Holly & Belmont & for commuting purposes ends with Kings Mountain, although people do commute from Grover which is very small & bisected by the state line. Now, if you got a job in Gastonia, which is the largest city west of Charlotte, you could look as far away as Shelby. Gastonia was the defacto capital of the textile industry. It was hit very hard by the collapse. Kings Mountain & Shelby were also hit badly. All 3 cities are trying to reinvent themselves. All 3 have cultural groups & places.

As I said, this area might not be your cup of tea, but the area is in transition. Yes, there are some cookie cutter developments, but not in mass quantities.

There are also some nice areas in Lincoln County, but we generally do not recommend Lincolnton. It's a beautiful town, but people there don't like outsiders.

ETA: Clover SC sort of fits in here.
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