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Old 11-13-2011, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Center City
6,860 posts, read 7,809,283 times
Reputation: 9487

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We moved to Philly from Houston. Houston has a reputation for having a low COL, but I can tell you our living is much cheaper here in Philly. Among the savings:
>Property taxes are less than half those of Houston.
>We sold one car, reaping savings in gas, maintenance and insurance.
>Insurance rates on the remaining car are about 70% of what we paid in Houston. Beyond that, we fill up every 5 - 6 weeks or so, as we walk everywhere for shopping, restaurants and entertainment. (I use the car once a week to drive 5 miles to volunteer and for occasional excursions to explore the area.)
>No hurricanes or mold? Homeowner's policies are less than half those in Houston.
>Our electricity bills are ridiculously small compared to what we paid for AC in Houston.
>Like Texas, pensions and IRA distributions are not taxed by the state or city.
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:59 AM
mlb
 
Location: North Monterey County
3,188 posts, read 2,858,918 times
Reputation: 4879
Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post

IMO, the best recommendations are from those on the ground, those actually living in or at least knowing a place very well firsthand.

If we were to stick to 5 simple questions, based on your living there (current or recently) how would you rate your recommendation for where to grow old? (Please don't list where not to.)

1. Niceness of the area, aesthetically
2. Driveability (traffic factor, distance factor)
3. Ease in access to basics: supermarket, library, P.O., stores, entertainment
4. Quality of medical facilities and senior living options
5. Affordable (all things considered, all kinds of taxes) for retirees of modest income, say $50K or under/year.
I've read through 20 or more pages of responses....and a factor that's important to me and lacking in the criteria - (we have no children - but I have lots of siblings and nephews & nieces).... is who is going to watch over me when I am feeble and elderly. If I'm out in the sticks - and my DH dies before me (he has no reliable family whatsoever to speak for him) who will that be?

Right now we are 700 miles from my nearest sister - who is 7 years older than I - and I'm positive I will outlive her. But I am 1200 miles from my core family (more siblings and their kids).

I have a child-free elderly aunt in MKE. She's 83 and starting to fail. She's literally been passed around from cousin to sibling to sibling. She needs assisted living. It's hugely expensive in Wisconsin. She'd like to stay/die in her home - if only there were supportive care efforts (not likely with current economic conditions in Wisconsin)...to keep her in her home. But that also requires family to monitor her.... and not many of them have the time to do that. This is frontburner conversation in our family.....as she may have Alzheimers. But she's from a strong gene line - so she could live a very long time with dementia.

I love my homestate - but I'm not certain I want to live there. It's changed alot - and not for the better - since I left in 1976. But I may have to return there to be near family to watch out over me and my spouse. I spent the first 22 years of my life there..... but I've also spent more years away (California - North and South - a combined 15 years....and Utah now going on 22 years)....so Wisconsin is more unfamiliar to me now than it's ever been. I could say where I'd like to be rurally - not in big city MKE or Madison..... but is that a smart decision? I don't know.

Yes, people are living longer - but the quality of their lives is not that great.

So when you're talking about criteria....it all sounds like fluff - compared to the brass tacks of "whose going to take care of me when I need help and am alone and elderly"?
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Old 11-13-2011, 11:17 AM
mlb
 
Location: North Monterey County
3,188 posts, read 2,858,918 times
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A comment about how great the San Francisco Bay Area is.....

I lived in SFO from 1976-1984. It was wonderful to live there as a young adult. But I couldn't wrap my mind around living there permanently. Reasons?

1. FOG. FOG. FOG. Sorry - I find a blinding snow storm more comforting than having the fog burn off at 10am and return at 2PM. And that's YEAR ROUND.

2. Expense. I have a sister who lives down the Peninsula -and yes, they are a Prop 13 house. She pays only a couple hundred dollars more a year for property taxes than I do here in Utah. However, everything else she buys - from her local community, suppliers, plumbers, car repair guys, etc., etc.? Horribly expensive. Because their expenses are POST-Prop 13...and they pass on those costs to the customer.

She will probably stay/die in that house (it's a dumpy ranch house they bought for $36K in 1973 now "valued" at just over $1.2 million - which absolutely blows my mind) - because they love the area... and now her kids (one in Seattle - the other moving back to work at Google - from the east coast) are all in the same time zone.

Again, being close to family has its value.

3. Earthquakes. It's going to happen again and again. It was a huge cluestick for me and my DH (a southern californian, btw) - that we did NOT want to buy where we could lose everything.

I just do not like living in areas where the population is huge. I'm glad I had a big city living experience - but if I had to choose? I'd choose rural. In a heartbeat.
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Old 11-13-2011, 11:28 AM
mlb
 
Location: North Monterey County
3,188 posts, read 2,858,918 times
Reputation: 4879
Another comment (sorry!) about St. George, Utah.

Living in the same state (northern end) I have many friends, co-workers who have a place in southern Utah. St. George mostly. Many have family roots there.

The heat index is nothing to sneeze at. You'd better be able to tolerate many, many days above 100 degrees with single digit humidity - or no humidity at all. It's not unlike Vegas.

It's growing by leaps and bounds.....and not in a good way. Also remember - it's governed by pretty much 100% Mormon population..... so the liquor laws and laws of the State of Utah will reflect that "theocracy" if that squicks you out. Something to consider.

We've learned to tolerate it up here in the north.... and hopefully make inroads to diversity. But it will be a very long time - before southern Utah is religiously or ethnically diverse.
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Old 11-13-2011, 11:29 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,616 posts, read 39,986,663 times
Reputation: 23772
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlb View Post
... a factor that's important to me and lacking in the criteria - ...."whose going to take care of me when I need help and am alone and elderly"?
Important point, but this is a AMERICA (Land of the free, home of the brave)

Actually, our entire family has / is aging being segregated. I do personal volunteer care for seniors (non-agency, just folks I meet who are in need) . Many of my clients have had family nearby that was not interested / available to help with their care. I often accompany for several yrs and through Hospice / Interment.

so... as many others, I will be aging without family. It will be friends / local support structure and NOT FAMILY that will care for me (If / when...). A bit unnerving for some, but not me. I have met a realm of folks more competent and certainly more caring than my family. That is just how it will have to be.

I plan to choose a small agrarian community within ez reach (20 minutes) of culture / medical / transportation. I have yet to find it, but I am certain from a lifetime of travel / hosting / caring for others that there are numerous choices for this. (I'm a farm kid, so this happens to be the best choice for ME, YMMV)

Statistically, the most affordable Long-term care infrastructure I have found has been in OK. I have no doubt I can find a great place there (And I carry LTC insurance having a terrible family history of needing care for 30+ yrs). I have never lived in OK and have never been impressed with the place, BUT I have met MANY folks from there who lead me to believe it will be very comfortable and friendly for 'end-of-life'.

Another option is international destinations. I have met so many quality and caring Filipinos with shared values, that I keep enough $$ in a reserve account for a one-way flight there. Numerous folks / friends have illustrated the international options are very doable (and likely necessary with ObamaCare).
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Old 11-13-2011, 12:43 PM
 
701 posts, read 1,532,341 times
Reputation: 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlb View Post

So when you're talking about criteria....it all sounds like fluff - compared to the brass tacks of "whose going to take care of me when I need help and am alone and elderly"?
Indeed.

I have worked on county social service crisis response teams in Minnesota and Alaska. I can't tell you how many times we were called out to figure out what to do with someone who could no longer handle their own affairs and there were no children to help them figure it out.

The social service system is straining at the seams. Don't know what is going to happen when it is hit by a silver tsunami with dementia.
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Old 11-13-2011, 12:50 PM
 
701 posts, read 1,532,341 times
Reputation: 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post

Another option is international destinations.
Father of a friend spent his last years near Lake Chapala in Mexico.

I read where one son took his elderly parents to India, where for a third of what assisted living cost in the U.S. they had attentive care.

One friend has purchased a home in Costa Rica. They live there half the year now and spend the other half on their boat. When the time comes, they'll give up the boat and remain in Costa Rica permanently. Good health care. Warm climate. Affordable.

Lot of international options. However, it means spending your last years without family or long time friends.
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Old 11-13-2011, 01:56 PM
mlb
 
Location: North Monterey County
3,188 posts, read 2,858,918 times
Reputation: 4879
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatRoy1 View Post
Indeed.

I have worked on county social service crisis response teams in Minnesota and Alaska. I can't tell you how many times we were called out to figure out what to do with someone who could no longer handle their own affairs and there were no children to help them figure it out.

The social service system is straining at the seams. Don't know what is going to happen when it is hit by a silver tsunami with dementia.

Yes, this. Choose your state/poison carefully.


We droce down the New Mexico - to see what alla the hubbub was about - alot of people relocating there to retire. State has less money for senior services than where we are now.

I can't even imagine what it's going to be like in California.
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Old 11-13-2011, 03:08 PM
 
9,202 posts, read 9,280,929 times
Reputation: 28838
Quote:
Another comment (sorry!) about St. George, Utah.

Living in the same state (northern end) I have many friends, co-workers who have a place in southern Utah. St. George mostly. Many have family roots there.

The heat index is nothing to sneeze at. You'd better be able to tolerate many, many days above 100 degrees with single digit humidity - or no humidity at all. It's not unlike Vegas.

It's growing by leaps and bounds.....and not in a good way. Also remember - it's governed by pretty much 100% Mormon population..... so the liquor laws and laws of the State of Utah will reflect that "theocracy" if that squicks you out. Something to consider.

We've learned to tolerate it up here in the north.... and hopefully make inroads to diversity. But it will be a very long time - before southern Utah is religiously or ethnically diverse.
As I mentioned earlier in this thread, DW and I have a second home in St. George that we hope to retire to someday.

I'm quite familiar with the area and I think you are far too negative.

Our plan is to spend winters there and spend summers in Northern Utah near where we currently live north of Salt Lake City.

St. George is relatively close to three national parks: Zion; Bryce; and the Grand Canyon. The home we own is located within one mile of Snow Canyon State Park and within one mile of the Tuacahn outdoor theater. I can't say enough for it as a place to live. Its surrounded in all directions by miles of hiking and biking trails.

It does--as you point out--get quite hot in the summer, but its a dry heat. Its much more endurable than that awful humid, sticky heat that you get along the coast or in places like the deep South. Summer tempatures can top 110 degrees. However, air conditioners and swimming pools help a lot. Part of it is just what you are used too. I've spent a lot of time in the summer doing outdoor recreation or labor. You learn to adapt. You make sure you have plenty to drink and you wear cool cotton clothing.

I agree if having liberal liquor laws is critical to your retirement lifestyle, St. George is probably not the best place for you. However, I seriously wonder how many seniors this is an issue for. There are three state run liquor stores in the St. George area and a number of restaurants have liquor licenses as well. You can buy beer at any grocery store in the area. I think people who are not from Utah make far, far too much out of the liquor laws here.

The lack of diversity is a legitimate issue for those not of the LDS faith. This would really only be a concern to me if I were trying to raise a family there (btw I am LDS). I think for a couple without children or for a couple whose children have grown up, the lack of diversity is not a big issue.

I love it when we are able to go use our second home. I think its a great area and I don't even golf.
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Old 11-13-2011, 03:44 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,985,208 times
Reputation: 15649
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlb View Post
Yes, people are living longer - but the quality of their lives is not that great.

So when you're talking about criteria....it all sounds like fluff - compared to the brass tacks of "whose going to take care of me when I need help and am alone and elderly"?
A huge question, indeed. On other CD retirement threads, some posters have said they do not want to depend on their family, and that kids owe their parents nothing.

All very well and good, but say you are a couple and you live or move far away from reliable people who would be "there for you" in old age...and your spouse kicks off before you do (or gets dementia, etc) and suddenly you're alone with (at best) friends your own age--or younger, or none. What then? How much will "friends" really help--how much can they? Hope that a senior van will take you where you need to go at age 85? That some kind soul will check in with you daily to be sure you didn't drop? If our health or eyesight is failing, who's going to really reach out and help?

In reality, our kids or siblings or cousins or friends may not be "there for us" for whatever reason, but it seems like a better bet to be near someone who might care and help, right?

As far as affordability goes, it may be more affordable to stay in our own homes as we get to be old. There are state programs for "aging in place" in our own homes. I know I will want to, as "affordable" for me does not include "assisted living" at $350-$400 per day.

Affordable isn't just about housing, it's about all forms of support as we age.
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