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Old 05-23-2009, 02:38 PM
 
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Anybody lived in both Connecticut and Florida and can give me their perspective on the pros and cons of living in each of these states? I live in South Florida, have for 20 years, but grew up in Michigan...so I know about living with snow, ice, overcast skies, and short summers...and lucky me...I now also know the joys of hurricanes, tornadoes and oppressive heat and humidity...so those things aren't issues for me. I am more interested in quality of life, cost of living, culture, jobs, housing, educational opportunities, the things that really matter. Is Connecticut a place where someone over 50 would enjoy living and could afford to live reasonably well after retirement? What about coastal towns there? Are they just out of reach for most people, or still affordable? Does Connecticut have a state income tax and what kind of a bite does it take out of your paycheck? Florida has no state income tax, but heavy sales taxes, so that is a major consideration for me. Also if anybody can speak about sea level rise from climate change in Connecticut that would be helpful. Is it forecasted to wipe out most of the state like it is in Florida?
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Old 05-23-2009, 03:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willowsmom View Post
I am more interested in quality of life, cost of living, culture, jobs, housing, educational opportunities, the things that really matter. Is Connecticut a place where someone over 50 would enjoy living and could afford to live reasonably well after retirement? What about coastal towns there? Are they just out of reach for most people, or still affordable?
Taxes take TONS out of your paycheck, enough said.
1.Quality of life is decent I would say.
2. Cost of living is HIGH
3. As far as culture you wont find much compared to florida.
4. No, I dont believe CT is the RIGHT state to retire in, it is too expensive.
5. Coastal towns are out of reach for most people unless you want to live in the few big urban cities on the coast where crime is MUCH higher.

Any home near the coast will have you needing to spend at least 400K to find a decent but small home.

If I were you and you are thinking about retiring, I would stay where you are in Florida where it is much cheaper to live....
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Old 05-23-2009, 06:04 PM
 
Location: Fairfield County, CT
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I can't speak to Cost of Living issues as I am a single man with strong income and will be living in a one bedroom condominium. It will certainly be more expensive than Austin, Texas where I live now, but I am moving to be closer to family and for a lifestyle that is more compatible with the way I prefer to live. My parents recently moved from Fairfield County to Florida for COL reasons now that they have retired. I think they would STRONGLY disagree about cultural life in CT compared to Florida. The cultural life in my opinion (and my parents who where 50 year Connecticut residents) is far superior in CT than in Florida.

In CT we were a train ride from NYC or Boston. There were many small theaters in CT that provided quality entertainment. The CT landscape is unmmatched--- especially in fall. The restaurants and culinary scene is far superior to Florida which is dominated by strip malls and chain restaurants. There are four true seasons in CT and all that goes with that. Ice skating during the holidays, the beach in the summer, an unmatched autumn and a spring that is a true "Nature's awakening" is very attractive to many people.

There is also an intangible sense of sophistication that exists in CT and not in Florida. It is not an uptight or condescending type of thing. It's more of a live and let live attitude coupled with a well educated, goal and work oriented populace that leads to a quality of people that I haven't found elsewhere in the country.

I think you really have to appreciate the intangibles to enjoy CT. If you do, you realize the higher taxes and COL (which I think are overexaggerated by some-- While taxes are higher in CT your homeowners will be lower, no HOA's etc.) are a small price to pay for the quality of life.
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Old 05-23-2009, 08:09 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
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Unfortunately Connecticut is not considered a state to retire to because of the high taxes. I do know a few people from other high tax states that move here though to retire because housing can be more affordable than places like New York. As for culture, there is a lot to do here. New Haven has a lot to offer in theater, museums, restaurants and activites. The same can be said for Hartford and Stamford. Even our smaller cites like New Britain offer things. New Britain has an excellent small art museum as well as some of the best Polish reataurants in the country. There is a lot of history and charm as well. And we do have some of the finest medical facilities which is very important as you get older. I would suggest you consider the coastal towns east of New HAven including Branford, Guilford, Madison, Clinton, Westbrook and Old Saybrook. They are charming towns with wonderful neighborhoods and trains that will take you into New HAven and on to New York if you wish. Good luck, Jay
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Old 05-23-2009, 08:40 PM
 
Location: Cheshire, Conn.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KH02 View Post
3. As far as culture you, won't find much compared to Florida.
You have to be kidding, right?
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Old 05-24-2009, 05:52 AM
 
1,219 posts, read 2,735,073 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlassoff View Post
I think you really have to appreciate the intangibles to enjoy CT. If you do, you realize the higher taxes and COL (which I think are overexaggerated by some-- While taxes are higher in CT your homeowners will be lower, no HOA's etc.) are a small price to pay for the quality of life.
NO, the high taxes aren't overexaggerated. They are high. Yes, the homeowners insurance is lower. Some folks have HOA's, but most do not. My FIL in Fl has a home similar in size and style to mine and pays less than half what I do in property tax.

That being said, I don't want to live in FL. I like to visit and then go home in a week! I'm not over 50, but I think a nice compromise would be to spend a few months in CT a year-not winter though LOL.
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Old 05-24-2009, 08:54 AM
 
Location: Earth
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Just an aside, I think that culture is being confused with diversity.
CT has much more "culture" (museums, etc.), while Florida is much more "diverse" in terms of the ethnicity of its population.
CT has a higher cost of living--higher taxes, for sure, and everyday items such as groceries are also more expensive (actual prices, not sales tax.) as is car insurance and registration. FL on the whole is much less expensive. However, the quality of life in CT is better. I have lived in both areas for a substantial amount of time, and my quality of life was better in CT--better health care, better schools, better public service/amenities, etc. I think that CT is one of the best states in which to raise a family, especially b/c of the schools, both public and private.
Re: retirement, it's a toss up. Houses on the shore/coast are expensive everywhere. You will pay high property taxes and have higher general costs in CT but what you don't pay for in property taxes in FL, you will pay in homeowner's insurance and HOA's, especially if you live in a coastal area. Hurricanes can also do more extensive damage to coastal homes, and sometimes there are mandatory evacs of coastal properties during hurricanes.
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Old 05-24-2009, 09:37 AM
 
Location: USA East Coast
4,445 posts, read 4,655,661 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willowsmom View Post
Anybody lived in both Connecticut and Florida and can give me their perspective on the pros and cons of living in each of these states? I live in South Florida, have for 20 years, but grew up in Michigan...so I know about living with snow, ice, overcast skies, and short summers...and lucky me...I now also know the joys of hurricanes, tornadoes and oppressive heat and humidity...so those things aren't issues for me. I am more interested in quality of life, cost of living, culture, jobs, housing, educational opportunities, the things that really matter. Is Connecticut a place where someone over 50 would enjoy living and could afford to live reasonably well after retirement? What about coastal towns there? Are they just out of reach for most people, or still affordable? Does Connecticut have a state income tax and what kind of a bite does it take out of your paycheck? Florida has no state income tax, but heavy sales taxes, so that is a major consideration for me. Also if anybody can speak about sea level rise from climate change in Connecticut that would be helpful. Is it forecasted to wipe out most of the state like it is in Florida?
I spend a lot of time in Florida (lived there on and off) but live in Connecticut:

1) The posters who wrote about Connecticut’s culture are correct in my opinion. Connecticut in general has a far superior culture that most of Florida in terms of (theater, entertainment, museums, educational/historical activities, casinos, nautical activities…etc). Although recently many of the cities in southeast Florida (Boca, Jupiter, Stuart,…etc) have really been coming on strong with symphonies, theater, new collages, culinary schools…ect. Still, places like the New Haven, Stamford, and Hartford metro areas have much to offer…and with NYC only 2 hrs from most areas of CT, you have access to Americans only World-class City and all it has to offer. The Tri-State area is in a great geographic position, for there is much to do in less than a days drive: The rugged terrain of the New England States is just to the north (Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine) as is the resort beach towns in the Mid –Atlantic/Northeast (Atlantic City, NJ. Ocean City, MD, Cape Cod, Newport, RI). In Florida however, you know the deal - it’s beautiful (mostly along the coast), but you need to drive for 5 hours to see something really different (then your only in south Georgia).

2) Connecticut IS expensive. There is the long-standing theory that the places that are the most expensive are that way because they are the most desirable (look at Hawaii, Manhattan, Orange County, CA…etc). I have been trying to find validity to this theory for years (I’m still confused). Nevertheless, things like utility costs home prices, taxes…etc are higher in Connecticut than Florida. By the way, the higher coastal insurance premiums have hit the whole East Coast from Rhode Island south. I live 8/10 of mile from the beach and have a $7,000 deductible (mandated by Allstate if within 1 -mile of the water). So if you want to live coastal from Rhode Island south… it will cost you no matter where you go.

3) WINTER: While Connecticut is obviously not a subtropical climate like Florida…it has far milder winters than Michigan has (especially southern/coastal CT). You will get less than half as much snow, far fewer under 32 F days, and a much longer growing season in coastal/southern Connecticut than you would ever get up in Michigan. Also, Connecticut and the whole East Coast from Rhode Island south gets significantly more sunshine in winter than the Great Lakes. There is a thread further down called “Connecticut’s Weather”. It has maps that show CT climate compared to the rest off the USA. One look and you can see Michigan has little in common with southern /coastal CT climate wise. Coastal Connecticut, coastal New Jersey, and Long Island…. are far milder in winter than many folks often realize.

Based on what your looking for (lower cost, but close to larger areas, culture, jobs, housing, educational opportunities), I would look in the coastal towns of Branford, Clinton, Westbrook, Old Saybrook). Old Lyme is nice too but a bit more pricey. All of these towns are fun, funky, and even a little ramshackle in some areas, but safe and uncroweded. Eastern Connecticut coastal towns have more of a tidal marsh and flat looking Mid-Atlantic look to them… than the New Englandy looking rocky coast of western CT. So the beaches tend to be nicer in eastern CT. The two casinos, New Haven, the beaches of Rhode Island, the ferries, …etc are all close by in these towns. I-95 is not as overcrowded in this area as in southwestern CT, while the Shoreline East rail service provides an easy and inexpensive way into NYC 7 days a week (or anywhere else on Amtrak).

In winter many of the retires in the coastal towns of eastern Connecticut are down in Florida or coastal South Carolina/Georgia. If you are not a winter fan (like me), you can hide from winter (sort of) by taking a few weeks here and there down south. I kind of live like a nomad from late November to March (lol). When it starts to get cold in November or so…we take a week down in SC (usually it’s still in the 70 ‘s there). Since real winter weather in the Tri-State area doesn’t start until late December in most years… many folks spend Christmas home, then head down to Florida in January for a few weeks or a month, then go back again in early March for 10 days or so. In some years I never even see snow the whole year (lol).

Good Luck what ever you choose…coastal Florida and coastal eastern Connecticut are both really nice areas to live.
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Old 05-24-2009, 01:57 PM
 
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Yes, lived in both. JMO retire to FL. Shoveling and slipsliding and wearing icecleats to walk the dog is a pain I'd like to forgo when I get in my slower years. And I hate grey days that just feel like the sky is sitting low. I know FL can get cold too, but at least you've got those expansive sunrises and sunsets to lift your spirits. Ok...true ...foliage is nice, but it has to be raked up; how's your joints? arthritis?

Here's a thought ....close your eyes and think the perfect dream retired day in January....
Now~ What is out your window?
In florida orange magenta and violet sunrises? Palm trees, warm breezes, hibiscus and a few random gecco's? What are you going to feel like climbing into? shorts? maybe a golf shirt

or in CT.. The perfect blue winter morning with sun glinting off ice covered birch trees like a crystal forrest, spruce trees, snowmen wrapped in last years scarf, While pulling on a favorite cotton sweater over your uggs and cords?

It is a personal choice only you can see when you close your eyes and think "now this is perfect"
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Old 05-24-2009, 02:28 PM
 
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I have lived in CT for almost two years, 12 in South Florida before that.

Cost of living. Definitely, it costs more to live in CT if you do not have school age children. Besides taxes, of course, groceries cost more, wine is more expensive, and I estimated the cost to be 1 third over what I used to spend in FL. However, houses cost less, unless you are trying to retire in Fairfield. Well, not true, it used to cost less when we moved here, two years ago. Not now, I am afraid, given that the FL real estate market has crashed in a way we will never see in CT.

However, we ended up being financially about the same as before because we have children and because we have a much better insurance now than we were able to have in FL. When you have young children, medical costs can add up over a year period and end up making a difference. But what turn our balance horizontal between FL and CT was the fact that we HAD to send our children to expensive private schools in FL, while here, having moved to a good public school district, we no longer have that cost.

Quality of life. I miss the quality of life in FL. We moved to CT excited about the opportunity to spend time outdoor, immerse in nature. Instead, we found ourselves immerse in mosquito and tick land. We used to spend way more time outside in FL than we do here. Despite the scorching summers, we were always outside, soaking up in the pool. In CT, half the year it is too cold to be outside (however, we do enjoy skiing, and that is a major pro for CT), the rest of it is tick-packed season. On the other hand, South FLorida is surrounded by ... nothing, unless you travel a lot to the Caribbean islands. In CT we spend a weekend in NY once a month. A pro of CT is the pleasure of picking up your produce at the farms during the growing season.

I know you do not need opinions on seasonality. However, just make sure you do not discount, like I did, the effect of the lack of light. You do not need to be a depression-prone person to suffer from it. I spent two winters here now and, while I am originally from an even more northern latitude than here, I did not remember being so much affected by the darkness and cloudiness as I am after allowing my body to adjust to 12 years of sun. My younger child is suffering from severe vitamin D deficiency. There is a reason why the major cultures developed south of this latitude!

Culture. Well, it does not take much to have a better cultural life than South FL, unfortunately. I live near Hartford and the cultural scene is quite busy. And Broadway adds up nicely to it.

Educational opportunities? Are you thinking about something for yourself? Should I assume you are more interested in adult education, since you mentioned retirement? In that case, there are so many universities around here, it would hard not to find a program you are interested in.

Social life. Expect a few years of misery. This long it takes to break into these people. I have not yet, so I can not really tell you how long it takes, but I was assured that three years is a bare minimum. So keep you FL friends: you may need them when you need someone to talk to.
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