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Old 02-17-2012, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis / St Paul
323 posts, read 421,131 times
Reputation: 144

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I've lived in the Twin Cities (MN) for most of my life. Past few years, winter's gettin' on my nerves more and more.

Since me and the spouse are around the midlife point (knock on wood), it'd be nice to move once to someplace that meets our current needs/preferences, and will also suit us during retirement.

Problem is predicting the future. We've been gathering info, but are falling even farther short of having it all than we expected would be necessary. We're having trouble organizing priorities and 1st principles to guide us, so are still waffling between new house, new city, or even new state.

How did you decide / are you deciding? What useful tidbits, tips, or ideas have you dreamed up or heard that are clever and helpful?

(There's also a 2nd wrinkle, but this is getting long, so I'll post about it separately...)

Last edited by yakimono; 02-17-2012 at 12:06 PM..
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Old 02-17-2012, 11:40 AM
 
45 posts, read 60,373 times
Reputation: 76
The most useful thing I've learned is that visiting, even repeatedly over several years, is not the same as actually residing in a place. I strongly recommend renting for one year first, even if that means you'll have to move again when you buy a place. Renting gives you a chance to check out neighborhoods so if you settle there you'll know exactly where you want to live. Renting lets you move if things don't work out, without having to sell your house at a loss and pay a realtor's commission.
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Old 02-17-2012, 11:57 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas
13,877 posts, read 25,302,878 times
Reputation: 26334
I left Minnesota because I could no longer stand the endless cold, shoveling, yardwork, severe storms, and bugs. Anyplace where Winter is half the year is too much for me. Plus I can't imagine ageing there with all the snow and ice. Looked to me like a broken hip waiting to happen. Plus I lived in a rural area where there was exactly nothing to do. Beautiful, but boring. And outside was never very useable because of either cold, or bugs.

Picking Las Vegas was easy for me. I wanted hot weather, pool, and a 1 story home. I have always loved Las Vegas and I probably went 3 or 4 times a year before I actually moved here. I knew what I was getting in to and that's the key.

Start picking out places to visit and go. Make a list of the places you like and go back over and over. Make another list of what are the dealbreakers for you. In my case, it was humidity, cold, bugs, and severe weather. So you get to take some trips and look for your perfect location. It's out there, you just have to find it.
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Old 02-17-2012, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
34,667 posts, read 33,667,394 times
Reputation: 51854
From one of my 2010 posts:

If you do decide to relocate in retirement, I offer these suggestions from other posts of mine:

I tell people that before they relocate in retirement they should read the potential town's newspaper online or subscribe for at least 6 months and when they visit, visit like a future resident, not like a tourist.

Look at photos in the newspaper and attend a public event (fair/festival/concert/etc.) when you visit and look at the people. Do they look like your kind of people? Are you the sportswear type, make up and hair done type and they are the jeans, tee shirt and no make-up type (or vice versa)? Do you drink your served drink in a glass and they prefer beer in a bottle? Do you drive a pick up truck and they drive a Lexus? Do you like bluegrass/country concerts in the park and they like classical concerts/rock and roll? Do you like to hunt and fish but the newspaper stories are all about golf and sailing and gun control (or vice versa)?

Read the town planning meeting stories in the newspaper. Are they planning to build a new school at the end of your street, put a hotel up around the corner, widen the road near your property?

Do they have what you like in the stores? Your brands? The quality and variety to which you are accustomed where you live now? Definitely go in the stores when you visit.

As a retiree, you will be home during the daytime. Are there things to do in the daytime, there? The more retirees in the area, the more likely there is for weekday activities/events.

Are a lot of younger people also moving to the town? Will your property taxes/rent go up if they need new schools? How fast is the town growing? Will your taxes go up if they need more police/fire? Does the town/county/state over-regulate driving up taxes and the cost of goods sold because the businesses have to pass those costs down to you?

If you are a church go-er, attend a service while you visit. If you like to fish, fish when you visit. If you like to bowl, go to the bowling alley. If you like to read, see if the library carries your kind of books and if they are current. In other words, do the things you like to do where you live now and see if the potential new town measures up.

Do a "city compare" on the Internet. Google it. Compare where you live now to the potential new town on things like cost of living, crime, air and water quality, voting patterns, religions, median age, doctors per capita, income levels, etc. You might not know, for example, how much rainfall you get where you live now or what the air quality is but you know if you tolerate it. When you compare the two places side by side, you'll know if the potential new town is better/worse than where you live now on several variables.

Watch the local TV news when you visit.

When doing online research, check out the online yellow pages and find out what's actually in the town.

Does it rain and roads flood a lot but you've only been asking about snow and the cold? Are you used to a lot of sunshine and they have a lot of grey days in a row?

Do you like to walk but there are no sidewalks or trails/greenways?

Do you go to movies a lot but the only theater in town isn't a multi-plex?

Do you drink and it's a dry town? Is there a playhouse but it's only open 6 months of the year? Are you a night person but the town closes up at 6:00PM? Is it a tourist town that's jumping in the summer but is dead in the period between Labor Day and Memorial Day?

Are the doctors in town taking new Medicare patients? If you have some type of condition, are there specialists nearby and does the hospital have the quality of care you might need? How does the weather/air quality jibe with your medical condition?

Buy a street map when you visit and mark on it the neighborhoods you think are seedy or other things you notice. When you get home and read crime stories in their newspaper, also mark the locations on your map. You will probably see clusters of crime locations so when the real estate office calls you about a house, you will know if the house is in a bad neighborhood.

After you house hunt/apartment hunt in the daytime, go back to the location at night and observe what it's like there when kids are home from school and adults are home from work.
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Old 02-17-2012, 12:06 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
15,060 posts, read 18,985,577 times
Reputation: 24128
I agree. We are traveling to different areas to see how they feel at first glance. On those trips, we are looking at homes to get a feel for what our money will buy. If/When we find an area that seems like a very good fit, we will rent for at least 3-12 months.

Many people do this traveling via RV. We have visited many areas using home exchanges ranging from 2 weeks to 3 months.

We determined what our priorities were with research. We discussed what was critical/non-negotiable to each of us. We discussed what our preferences were. We discussed what would be nice, but not necessary. Then, I (an ex-accountant) did the research based on those priorities. I developed spreadsheets to clarify areas to consider, then sent husband to his computer to see what he thought. He whittled the list down a bit, telling me what he liked and didn't like.

We are still in the final stages of this experience, but have it down to one state, and a couple of areas within that state.

I must say that it helped enormously to put a deadline of sorts on ourselves. We were going around in circles, making each other crazy, for the last 3 years with this process. In January, I said that we will be somewhere else, in a rental, before the end of 2012. We fully intend to comply with that self-imposed deadline. (However, it remains a topic of discussion about selling or renting our current home in AZ.)

Edited to add: Laura C - I love your list!!!! (except maybe the library thing - ebooks have really changed that requirement!)
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:11 PM
 
5,090 posts, read 13,540,747 times
Reputation: 6928
The first place you should look for retirement is where you are. You say that you do not like where you are. However, when you retire from work in your area, you will find that what you do, what is available and what is needed is all of sudden much different. What you dislike now may be become more acceptable after you retire.

When you are working, you are too busy to notice all the other life going on around you. There are recreational activities and there are sights to see that you never noticed. You now have the time to see and experience all that you missed when you worked.

The weather is more difficult when you are working. It is now less of a chore because you can stay home when the weather is bad. You can choose when to get up; you can choose when to shovel, You have more choices and are not always restricted by weather. Keep in mind that the difference in weather define many differences that you will have to accept and amenities that you like, will no longer be there. So, where you are there are many lakes, trees and water resources. In areas where there is less snow and rain, there are less of those features, if you relocated to the desert Southwest. There are areas where there are no snow because it is warmer but that does not mean there are less bugs or less humidity, as in the South.

You life really becomes much different in retirement wherever you are. You must determine if the advantages of moving outweigh the advantages of staying. For in the place you are has the comfortable familiarity of place. You know the roads, the neighborhoods and the stores. You may have a long term doctor and dentist. You are comfortable with the local newspaper. You may have more relatives and friends that give you companionship and support. You know the area so intimately from time past, especially if you grew up in the area, and you know the good and the bad of everything around you. You have memories of the past and you can easily visit those sites and many find comfort in those remembrances; that can never be replaced in relocating.

That comfortable familiarity of place cannot be bought or quickly established and it takes time, which as we age we have less or not enough. As we age, for some of us, the known becomes more desired and the strange becomes harder to accept. I have met many elderly who have relocated here because they needed the support of their children who move here. It is the same story all over the country as these elderly relocated much latter in life from the life the know. They seem to be lost and they seem to be out of place. It is not always the case, depending on the age. My siblings and I relocated to Denver as adults and latter we moved our parents, who were in their sixties. They adapted well and enjoyed their life in this area.

Yes, look into other areas to retire and seek your happiness but do not necessarily exclude the area where you are. I grew up near Buffalo and I am very well aware of the hard winters of the Great Lakes. The Army gave me a view of other areas and I saw that other cities were much better and offered better opportunity. Eventually I settled in Denver, after a period of wandering. Now, after being here for about 34 years and I am now in my sixties and retired. I have been here more years than Buffalo. Now Denver is my home and it does have that comfortable familiarity of place. I have chosen to take that advantage over any other advantages that other areas will offer me.

Livecontent

Last edited by livecontent; 02-17-2012 at 01:36 PM..
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis / St Paul
323 posts, read 421,131 times
Reputation: 144
Excellent ideas so far, I'm really pleased to see the depth of thought and shared experiences.

We have made a commitment to sell our current house by the end of Autumn 2012.

Part of the dilemma is we have 15-20 years before we want to retire, and we'd like to get away with moving only once. Due the already acknowledged differences likely in lifestyle pre- and post-retirement that might not be in our best interest.

One thing that is unlikely to change is I like going for walks. I want to be able to walk almost every day, year-round. I don't want to have to drive somewhere to go for a walk. I don't want to walk outside when it's below freezing. Neither can I enjoy walks in 80-degree temps.

I'm not sure this place exists in this country...regardless of the rest of my greedy list of wants! ;-)

Resigning myself to having to move twice, I might be able to satisfy more criteria--but, gosh, do I hate moving. And interstate does make it a little "hairier"!
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Old 02-17-2012, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Lexington, SC
4,281 posts, read 10,728,968 times
Reputation: 3716
The issue is to decide the general location where you want to relocate to. General as in east coast, west coast, warm weather, seasonal weather, travel distance to family, etc. then zero in the reality/exactness of the location.

Milder weather (both golfers) played a major role in our decision as did our familes being in the eastern 1/3 of the US. We had always said east coast, south of Wilmington NC, north of middle FL, within 100 miles or so of the coast. The further north, the closer to the coast for milder weather. That makes for swarth of 600 miles by 100 miles. A pretty big junk of real estate. Granted we had a slant toward SC as we knew it best from visiting family.

As you both still work, I believe the reality issue will then be making a living. That fact might well drive say the final 100 miles of the decision/location. As an example there are more opportunities to make a living in Columbia SC and Charleston SC then there are in Myrtle Beach SC.

Wishing you well.
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:09 PM
 
6,986 posts, read 6,979,790 times
Reputation: 5791
Default Good Ideas!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraC View Post
From one of my 2010 posts:

If you do decide to relocate in retirement, I offer these suggestions from other posts of mine:

I tell people that before they relocate in retirement they should read the potential town's newspaper online or subscribe for at least 6 months and when they visit, visit like a future resident, not like a tourist.

Look at photos in the newspaper and attend a public event (fair/festival/concert/etc.) when you visit and look at the people. Do they look like your kind of people? Are you the sportswear type, make up and hair done type and they are the jeans, tee shirt and no make-up type (or vice versa)? Do you drink your served drink in a glass and they prefer beer in a bottle? Do you drive a pick up truck and they drive a Lexus? Do you like bluegrass/country concerts in the park and they like classical concerts/rock and roll? Do you like to hunt and fish but the newspaper stories are all about golf and sailing and gun control (or vice versa)?

Read the town planning meeting stories in the newspaper. Are they planning to build a new school at the end of your street, put a hotel up around the corner, widen the road near your property?

Do they have what you like in the stores? Your brands? The quality and variety to which you are accustomed where you live now? Definitely go in the stores when you visit.

As a retiree, you will be home during the daytime. Are there things to do in the daytime, there? The more retirees in the area, the more likely there is for weekday activities/events.

Are a lot of younger people also moving to the town? Will your property taxes/rent go up if they need new schools? How fast is the town growing? Will your taxes go up if they need more police/fire? Does the town/county/state over-regulate driving up taxes and the cost of goods sold because the businesses have to pass those costs down to you?

If you are a church go-er, attend a service while you visit. If you like to fish, fish when you visit. If you like to bowl, go to the bowling alley. If you like to read, see if the library carries your kind of books and if they are current. In other words, do the things you like to do where you live now and see if the potential new town measures up.

Do a "city compare" on the Internet. Google it. Compare where you live now to the potential new town on things like cost of living, crime, air and water quality, voting patterns, religions, median age, doctors per capita, income levels, etc. You might not know, for example, how much rainfall you get where you live now or what the air quality is but you know if you tolerate it. When you compare the two places side by side, you'll know if the potential new town is better/worse than where you live now on several variables.

Watch the local TV news when you visit.

When doing online research, check out the online yellow pages and find out what's actually in the town.

Does it rain and roads flood a lot but you've only been asking about snow and the cold? Are you used to a lot of sunshine and they have a lot of grey days in a row?

Do you like to walk but there are no sidewalks or trails/greenways?

Do you go to movies a lot but the only theater in town isn't a multi-plex?

Do you drink and it's a dry town? Is there a playhouse but it's only open 6 months of the year? Are you a night person but the town closes up at 6:00PM? Is it a tourist town that's jumping in the summer but is dead in the period between Labor Day and Memorial Day?

Are the doctors in town taking new Medicare patients? If you have some type of condition, are there specialists nearby and does the hospital have the quality of care you might need? How does the weather/air quality jibe with your medical condition?

Buy a street map when you visit and mark on it the neighborhoods you think are seedy or other things you notice. When you get home and read crime stories in their newspaper, also mark the locations on your map. You will probably see clusters of crime locations so when the real estate office calls you about a house, you will know if the house is in a bad neighborhood.

After you house hunt/apartment hunt in the daytime, go back to the location at night and observe what it's like there when kids are home from school and adults are home from work.
This is a thorough, excellent list. Bravo!!!
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Old 02-18-2012, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Prospect, KY
5,288 posts, read 17,950,172 times
Reputation: 6544
Really, the best way to find a retirement spot is to actually visit. Our vacations for the last 5 years before retirement were to areas that we were interested in retiring to. We narrowed our choices down and re-visited 2 or 3 places at least 3 times and stayed for as long as a week (and visited during different times of the year).

While visiting, we tried to do many of the things that we enjoy doing on a daily basis. We attended our church, went to cultural events, checked out local services, tried out restaurants, talked to locals about how they liked living in that particular town, took note of the weather during different seasons, checked out the library, location of hospitals and medical buildings and gyms. We made appointments with realtors and had them show us neighborhoods (they also knew all kinds of useful into about each neighborhood, taxes, e tc.) - some of them gave us a driving tour of the town showing us and telling us about features that we might have otherwise missed.

You can look on the internet and read on-line data and talk to people about how they made their retirement choices but nothing replaces actually visiting potential retirement areas.
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