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Old 09-30-2017, 01:48 PM
Location: Tampa Bay, Florida
83 posts, read 53,579 times
Reputation: 161


We're considering relocating our family and have a lot of factors to consider. I've been doing a lot of research and having a hard time finding a place that meets all the desired criteria. Overall, I'd like someplace where we can be physically and financially comfortable (and safe), where there's a healthy (active) culture, and where our kids have enough resources and outlets as teens & young adults that they aren't so bored and / or limited in opportunities that they can't wait to move away.

Our reasons for leaving Florida:
1. Too much growth, development too fast. Not only is this destroying all the natural beauty, but development isn't being done properly, so our roads are a mess and our schools are over-burdened.
2. Dangerous roads & drivers. In part due to #1, it's infuriating and downright scary getting around here. FL is also worst in the nation for pedestrian fatalities.
3. Under-funded education: Lawmakers aren't increasing education budget to cover cost of influx of new students every day. Our district in particular is really struggling.
4. Local government: Priorities at county & state levels are not in residents' best interests.
5. Humidity!: I'm fine with hot weather, but coupled with humidity the summer months are so stifling it's not enjoyable to be outside.
6. Mosquitos: They could carry you away!

All that being said, moving our family, which includes 3 boys in middle school and my retired in-laws, these are our considerations:
1. Weather. 4 seasons would be great (though not necessary), as long as humidity isn't suffocating and winters aren't extreme (okay with a little snow, but not lots and lots of it ).
2. Sunshine (A MUST): I know this is also weather, but it's so important to us it gets it's own line. My in-laws hated Michigan because of the lack of sun.
3. Safety: In neighborhoods and on roads.
4. Schools: Good public schools as well as access to quality colleges.
5. Outdoor culture: Prefer an area that's bike-friendly and offers lots of outdoor recreation (hiking , kayaking, snow sports, etc)
6. Fun for teens & families: things like amusement parks, trails, festivals, youth activities
7. Job opportunities: Professional job options (like culinary, tech, research, etc) within reasonable distance
8. Affordable: We plan to rent for awhile, and would like to be able to get something comfortable for our family of 5 for around $2,000/mo, and still be able to afford little things like food
9. Tax-friendly for retirees: My in-laws will be living off retirement so we'd prefer a place that doesn't harshly tax retirement income.
10. Less chance of natural disasters: Would like to stay out of tornado alley and the Gulf region.
11. Less mosquitos would be great!

We are not interested in California, New England is going to be too cold for our tastes and I prefer to stay out of the deep South. Does that leave us with any options? Lol

I've really been thinking Colorado. It has varied terrain, tons of recreation, good education and thriving job market, but I keep hearing it's too expensive to live there and the nice areas are far more crowded than here in the Tampa area.

In-laws want to consider Indiana, which looks really nice except I don't know what it offers for colleges & jobs, and outdoor recreation.

I understand there may not be any places that meet all of our preferences, but I'd like to hear thoughts on locations that meet most.
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Old 09-30-2017, 02:43 PM
21,220 posts, read 30,443,839 times
Reputation: 19674
You might check out Richmond VA.

It has a moderate four season climate, isn't too hot/humid or snow/ice prone, has many safe/desirable areas with good schools (check out the west side around Short Pump or SW side around Midlothian), very good colleges in the area (VCU, U Of Richmond, Randolph-Macon, UVA to the west in Charlottesville, William & Mary to the SE in Williamsburg, Mary Washington to the north in Fredericksburg), a decent number of sunny days (210 on avg per year), good public schools, lots of outdoor recreation nearby and is within a short drive to the Blue Ridge Mountains/Shenandoah Valley, plenty of activities for all ages, affordable rent and real estate, plenty of employment opportunity in a growing economy, retirement tax friendly (social security is not taxed and retirement accounts have 12K deductibles per person annually), it's generally lacking in natural disaster occurrences and mosquitoes are not a major issue.

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Old 09-30-2017, 02:48 PM
Location: TOVCCA
8,452 posts, read 11,470,231 times
Reputation: 12309
The 13 states that tax Social Security are Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia.
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Old 09-30-2017, 03:00 PM
Location: Tampa Bay, Florida
83 posts, read 53,579 times
Reputation: 161
Kyle, I've had VA on my list but haven't paid it much attention. But now that you've mentioned that, and I've looked back at a lot of my notes, it actually does have a lot going for it. I'll give it more consideration and check out those areas you mentioned. Thanks.

Sparrow, thank you for that info. My FIL also has a military pension. I believe that's exempt from taxes in most states, though.
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Old 09-30-2017, 04:41 PM
Location: Big Bayou
721 posts, read 302,204 times
Reputation: 988
Were I to leave Florida, some of the places that I would consider include Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Since Georgia and South Carolina are technically the deep south, I would recommend North Carolina. It fits all of your criteria.

Colorado would also fit your criteria, but since legalizing pot, it has gotten out of control expensive you are correct. Indiana would be a step down from Florida in a lot of ways.

North Carolina is great, and it seems to check all the boxes on your list.
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Old 09-30-2017, 04:47 PM
Location: Tampa Bay, Florida
83 posts, read 53,579 times
Reputation: 161
Zambon, thank you for the ideas. May I ask what, in particular, you'd consider would be a "step down" in Indiana?
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Old 10-01-2017, 06:12 PM
Location: Aurora, CO
6,569 posts, read 10,299,032 times
Reputation: 9839
I don't think Colorado is a great match.

We've been growing pretty quickly over the last 7 or so years. Economy is great. Unemployment rate currently stands at 2.4%. Pot legalization is not the main driver for the growth (unless a bunch of stoners just happened to bring several thousand jobs with them).

$2000/month is low for 5 people in a decent neighborhood with good schools.

Schools here are underfunded as well because of The Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR). There are good and bad districts, but class sizes are large and many districts have problems keeping teachers because of low pay.

Cities along the Front Range (where most of the jobs are) may get more snow than you're comfortable with. Granted, it doesn't come all at once or stick on the ground for months on end, but most places average more than 2 feet of snow in the winter.

Denver and Fort Collins average about 54" of snow per year. Colorado Springs is just under 40", and Greeley and Pueblo average around 35". Monument, at 7000' on the Palmer Divide between Denver and the Springs, averages 110" of snow per year.

I don't personally consider Colorado to be particularly "crowded" because a vast majority of the state's population is confined to the long and narrow Front Range Urban Corridor. Outside of that the state is largely rural. The largest city on the Western Slope (west of the continental divide) is Grand Junction (61,000). The largest city on the Eastern Plains (east of Denver) is Sterling (18,000).

Colorado does tax social security, but, honestly, if you're under the age of 55 and your nest egg is heavily-reliant on social security your retirement planning should probably be called into question.
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Old 10-01-2017, 07:07 PM
Location: TOVCCA
8,452 posts, read 11,470,231 times
Reputation: 12309
Too bad you eliminated California!

Thousand Oaks has everything on your list. Top schools, family-friendly, one of the safest cities over 100k in the US, preserved open space and hiking trails, clean streets with mostly underground utilities, designated bicycle lanes, extensive food and shopping choices, a great parks and recreation dept with many activities for all ages, of course excellent climate and access to still-pristine nature, population and sprawl limits, good hospitals and medical care, no highrise buildings, no humidity, no mosquitoes, has Prop 13 property tax laws that limit increases, has a senior center and a teen center, access to Los Angeles metro with all its jobs and amenities. You can rent a 4-bd house if you push the budget up a bit: example, https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_ren...4_rect/11_zm/?

Not perfect, earthquakes are possible, but no hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, blizzards, and most areas are not in a wildfire zone. Things are more expensive than Florida, but salaries are higher.
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Old 10-01-2017, 07:40 PM
Location: Tampa Bay, Florida
83 posts, read 53,579 times
Reputation: 161
Thanks, bluescreen. I've heard about the teacher shortage too, and that school districts haven't seen any of the money that they were supposed to get from pot taxes.

Are there any nice areas outside of the Corridor (southwest or southeast) that are family-friendly but not as abundantly populated?
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Old 10-01-2017, 07:40 PM
56,755 posts, read 81,102,256 times
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In terms of another area of VA, perhaps the Roanoke and nearby Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford areas may be worth a look. It is near mountains, has some good college/university options, has a COL that is lower than other parts of the state and it has as much sunlight as other parts of the state. https://www.visitroanokeva.com

Home - Step Into Blacksburg - Living and Working in Blacksburg, VA
Go To Montgomery
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