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Old 07-04-2012, 06:30 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
34,673 posts, read 33,676,768 times
Reputation: 51867

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A lot of people ask, where should I move (in the state forums). Instead of making town/city suggestions I have offered suggestions over the last 5 years on how to research relocation places based on my experience. So, I took all of my old relocation posts and combined them. These are just suggestions for how to research retirement relocation. Maybe they can be helpful. Some of these items may not apply to retirees looking to move to big cities.

How to Research Retirement Relocation

Moving in retirement is not just about fleeing the perceived intolerable conditions (examples: snow, taxes, high cost of living, traffic, etc.) in the town you are leaving. It’s also not just about pretty, cheap and good weather in the new town. It’s about moving to a new place that offers you things to do when you will be home now for a big chunk of time. Know what it is you want to do in retirement (how you are going to fill up a 40 hour former work week with other daytime activities?). Don't compromise because of cheap and pretty. Examples: If you like to go to plays and ethnic restaurants, don't move near the ocean or to the mountains just because it's pretty there or it's cheap, if you have to drive 30 - 50 miles to do the things you like to do. If you enjoy museums, don't move to some place where the taxes are cheap and the trees are pretty but there are no big museums for 50 miles.

1. The very first thing you should figure out is what’s important to you. It shouldn’t just be the anti-intolerable condition because after a few months after you are settled in to the new place, you’ll be asking yourself, “Is that all there is?” You may take some things for granted and not realize they are important to you because you’ve always had them. (Example: You like to walk. You can do that anywhere, right? But the new town doesn’t have sidewalks and you never thought to check because you’ve always lived in a place with sidewalks. You moved and now you find you have to walk in the street and you aren’t happy.) Sometimes you don't discover what's important to you until you visit a place that's not suitable.

2. For the things you like to do and the things you like to have, the new place should offer those things in the abundance, variety and quality that you are used to having. (Example: Let's say you like hunting and fishing and bowling. Your spouse likes scrapbooking and singing in the church choir. You both enjoy going to "all you can eat" buffets, going to the movies and volunteering at the annual town fair where you help with the set-up and your wife works the information booth. You move to a highly touted retirement location that is also affordable, pretty and has nice weather. The new town has everything you want on paper. But, when you get there you find that although there is a big lake there are no fishing clubs in town and bank fishing is restricted to a particular area of the lake. There are large wooded areas but hunting is frowned upon as evidenced by every other article in the town newspaper. There’s a nice church with nice people but it has no choir. There's a craft store but it has limited variety of the items your wife needs for scrapbooking and there are no scrapbooking groups in town that she could join. There's an annual town fair but it is controlled by a business who hires people to do the set-up and booth work. Your services are not wanted/needed. There are a slew of restaurants but no buffets, the nearest bowling alley is 4 towns away in a traffic congested area and the movie theater in town is not a multiplex. You assumed because it had everything you have in your current town, you’d be happy. You were wrong.)

3. When doing research, do a “City Compare” (Google it) and compare where you live now to the places you are considering because you know what it feels like where you live now. Data is good to figure out if the potential new place is better/worse or has more/less or is less expensive/more expensive than what you are used to. Use research to make your visits to potential new retirement locations more productive. Instead of driving around from town to town like a chicken without its head, on a one week visit, use research to rule out towns that are absolutely not right for you before you visit, so you can spend more time in the towns that have a better potential to be right for you.

4. When you ask questions in a forum like City Data’s state forums, ask specific question that won’t elicit a feelings response. “Do you get a lot of snow?” is not a good question. A responder formerly from Florida may think 6 inches is a lot of snow and a responder formerly from Minnesota might think 2 feet of snow isn’t much. Instead ask something like, “How many inches of snow do you get a year?” so you are the one deciding if it’s too much snow, not the responder. “Is the town overcrowded?” may get a different response from a person formerly from Chicago versus a person formerly from Smalltown, USA. So ask, “What’s the population density (population divided by square miles) of town XYZ?” so you can decide if it’s overcrowded or not instead of the responder.

5. Subscribe to the local newspaper or read it on line for at least 6 months. Specifically read the local/community news, the community calendar of events and the town planning information. What do people do in the town for fun? Does it sound like your idea of fun? What's important to the people in the town? Are they the same things that are important to you? Does the town celebrate traditional holidays or are their fairs/festivals generic? Is either important to you? What kind of crime is in the town and where is it? Mark the street map you picked up from your visit (see item 8). Take a look at the letters to the editor. See any patterns over a period of months that may spell out this town is not for you/for you? Are they planning to widen the road or build a new school or hotel around the corner from that house you were considering? (If you are considering a big city for your new location, skip this tip.)

6. If you want to know what’s in a town, check the online yellow pages for that town.

7. If you are relocating to escape some intolerable condition don't overcompensate. Just because you can't stand traffic, rude people and crowded conditions in your current city of 800,000 it doesn't mean you are well-suited to ABC Mountain Town, population 2,000. It will feel like paradise for the first 3 weeks then what do you do with yourself? Consider a smaller city. Just because you are trying to escape shoveling snow, doesn’t mean you’ll be happy with 6 months of 90 to 100 degree temperatures.

8. When you visit, don't visit like a tourist, visit like a potential future resident. Visit the supermarkets and clothing stores. Do they have what you like (products, brands)? If you are religious, attend a service. If you like to golf, play while you are visiting. When you are in your hotel room, watch the local nightly news show. If you can attend a local event do it and take a look at the people. Do they look/act like your type of people? You know, if you are all duded up in designer fashions with sprayed hair and make-up, hoping for wine and cheese and an orchestra, and you get there and there are a lot of plain people in jeans drinking beer and listening to bluegrass (or vice versa), then you might not be in the town that's right for you. If it's an outdoor event and groups have their booths are you looking for the boy/girl scouts, NRA, Disabled Veterans, some ATV sales booth and corndogs, but if the booths are Stop The Nukes, $2000 Antiques, Save the Squids, frozen yogurt and the local yacht dealer (or vice versa), it might be a clue that the place isn’t right for you. If you like to garden, visit the local nursery and look around. If you like to read, visit the library and bookstores. Do they have the variety of the type of books you like? Are the books new enough to suit you? Buy a street map at the local gas station convenience store and mark it with your observations while you are driving around. (example: like the run down part of town). Bring a camera.

9. Going on vacation to a town is not the same as living in that town no matter how many years you've visited. Driving 30 miles down a mountain road in July to go to an annual fair is not the same as driving down the same icy mountain road in January to go to the supermarket every week. What time of the day are you most likely to be out doing things? You know, if you are a night person and the town shuts down at 6PM in the off-season maybe the town isn't right for you even though you spent the last 10 years vacationing there for 2 weeks in July. That pretty beach place in July may have roads prone to flooding in September.

10. If you see a house or apartment you might consider, go sit in your car and observe the area at night when kids are home from school and adults are home from work. Maybe, after people get home from work and kids get home from school, the nice quiet place is really noisy.

11. Assess your potential town and home in terms of the impact of escalating fuel prices. Maybe living 20 miles from the things you like to do often, is not such a good idea these days. Maybe oil is a bad heating choice. Maybe unloading a home heated that way will be difficult 5 - 10 years from now. Maybe you can afford a McMansion after you sell your house up north but will you be able to unload it when you're ready to leave if it's oil heated?

12. If you are close to your family ask yourself, "If I move to be near my children, am I sure they are staying put?" If you plan to return "home" for frequent visits, where's the airport? How close are you to the Interstates? How long is the drive?

13. Don't be discouraged about retirement based on what you see in retirement destination magazines. They are trying to sell things to upper middle class people (by their advertisers). Ask yourself when was the last time you read a retirement magazine that told you how great the hunting was in Town X or how many baseball diamonds there were in town, how the bass fishing is, or where you can see bluegrass and country bands play in the park? If you came from out of space and read retirement magazines you'd think the only things important to all retirees are museums, marinas, the theater, shopping and golf. There are plenty of both kind of places but the magazines only address one kind of retirement. Also, consider that a lot of retirement book authors live in big cities. What you consider to be a great retirement may never have even occurred to them to address in their books.

14. How hard is it to get a doctor to take you as a new patient? Specialists for a condition you might have? Find out before you move.

15. Lastly, you are a planet in the solar system. The sun doesn’t revolve around you. It’s your job to fit in not have the new town accommodate you. Don’t complain about dumb local people, what you don’t have or how you did it better in the place you are from and expect everyone else to be awed by your wisdom. The people in your new town aren’t the stupid ones if you spent a lot of money to move to a place for which you were so ill-suited.
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Old 07-04-2012, 08:04 PM
 
833 posts, read 1,471,240 times
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Laura made an excellent list.

I especially like to stress the part about not taking for granted the things you have/enjoy where you now are living.

One has to be carefull not to move to eliminate problems and discover you now miss the things you had and took for granted.
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Old 07-05-2012, 01:31 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,545 posts, read 39,924,861 times
Reputation: 23658
Quote:
Originally Posted by redwolf fan View Post
Laura made an excellent list.

...
One has to be careful not to move to eliminate problems ....
Problems seem to FOLLOW YOU.

I would add, that I stay with locals when I visit a place to research, and I house-sit as well (for extended stay).

I talk to EVERYONE and attend events that I would do If I were living there.

AND be sure to visit during the WORST time of the yr.

(And RENT, don't buy)

To add to the 2012 theme...

(and if you are not stuck on Dial-up...) Use many internet benefits such as crime / tax / school rankings AND GOOGLE street view (I use it all the time when hunting for investment property.) (when I find High Speed connection ) Such as when I was in Thailand last week,,, which was much better connection speed than @ home in USA.

SO.... ALSO validate connection speed and choice of carriers!!!

And as always... VISIT the tax Assessor office BEFORE you buy any property anywhere. (look at voting record / special levies too.

Last edited by StealthRabbit; 07-05-2012 at 01:41 AM..
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Old 07-05-2012, 04:01 AM
 
13,314 posts, read 25,550,246 times
Reputation: 20487
I'd add consider car dependence/public transport or whether you expect to move again if/when more frail or having eyesight problems.

Also, consider if you are moving as a couple, how it would be if one of you dies first or becomes diminished by illness? Is there a backup plan for the not-so-wonderful aspects of getting older?
(Maybe I'm doom n' gloom, but I do consider these things- maybe more so because I'm not in a couple).

Laura's list should be carved in stone for C-D!
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Old 07-05-2012, 05:59 AM
 
4,343 posts, read 6,054,558 times
Reputation: 10428
This is an excellent list. I've nothing to add but I always do visit the local supermarket. Everyone eats. You'll get a good idea of who your neighbors will be.
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Old 07-05-2012, 07:36 AM
 
Location: Oxygen Ln. AZ
9,321 posts, read 16,575,490 times
Reputation: 5692
Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraC View Post
A lot of people ask, where should I move (in the state forums). Instead of making town/city suggestions I have offered suggestions over the last 5 years on how to research relocation places based on my experience. So, I took all of my old relocation posts and combined them. These are just suggestions for how to research retirement relocation. Maybe they can be helpful. Some of these items may not apply to retirees looking to move to big cities.

How to Research Retirement Relocation

Moving in retirement is not just about fleeing the perceived intolerable conditions (examples: snow, taxes, high cost of living, traffic, etc.) in the town you are leaving. It’s also not just about pretty, cheap and good weather in the new town. It’s about moving to a new place that offers you things to do when you will be home now for a big chunk of time. Know what it is you want to do in retirement (how you are going to fill up a 40 hour former work week with other daytime activities?). Don't compromise because of cheap and pretty. Examples: If you like to go to plays and ethnic restaurants, don't move near the ocean or to the mountains just because it's pretty there or it's cheap, if you have to drive 30 - 50 miles to do the things you like to do. If you enjoy museums, don't move to some place where the taxes are cheap and the trees are pretty but there are no big museums for 50 miles.

1. The very first thing you should figure out is what’s important to you. It shouldn’t just be the anti-intolerable condition because after a few months after you are settled in to the new place, you’ll be asking yourself, “Is that all there is?” You may take some things for granted and not realize they are important to you because you’ve always had them. (Example: You like to walk. You can do that anywhere, right? But the new town doesn’t have sidewalks and you never thought to check because you’ve always lived in a place with sidewalks. You moved and now you find you have to walk in the street and you aren’t happy.) Sometimes you don't discover what's important to you until you visit a place that's not suitable.

2. For the things you like to do and the things you like to have, the new place should offer those things in the abundance, variety and quality that you are used to having. (Example: Let's say you like hunting and fishing and bowling. Your spouse likes scrapbooking and singing in the church choir. You both enjoy going to "all you can eat" buffets, going to the movies and volunteering at the annual town fair where you help with the set-up and your wife works the information booth. You move to a highly touted retirement location that is also affordable, pretty and has nice weather. The new town has everything you want on paper. But, when you get there you find that although there is a big lake there are no fishing clubs in town and bank fishing is restricted to a particular area of the lake. There are large wooded areas but hunting is frowned upon as evidenced by every other article in the town newspaper. There’s a nice church with nice people but it has no choir. There's a craft store but it has limited variety of the items your wife needs for scrapbooking and there are no scrapbooking groups in town that she could join. There's an annual town fair but it is controlled by a business who hires people to do the set-up and booth work. Your services are not wanted/needed. There are a slew of restaurants but no buffets, the nearest bowling alley is 4 towns away in a traffic congested area and the movie theater in town is not a multiplex. You assumed because it had everything you have in your current town, you’d be happy. You were wrong.)

3. When doing research, do a “City Compare” (Google it) and compare where you live now to the places you are considering because you know what it feels like where you live now. Data is good to figure out if the potential new place is better/worse or has more/less or is less expensive/more expensive than what you are used to. Use research to make your visits to potential new retirement locations more productive. Instead of driving around from town to town like a chicken without its head, on a one week visit, use research to rule out towns that are absolutely not right for you before you visit, so you can spend more time in the towns that have a better potential to be right for you.

4. When you ask questions in a forum like City Data’s state forums, ask specific question that won’t elicit a feelings response. “Do you get a lot of snow?” is not a good question. A responder formerly from Florida may think 6 inches is a lot of snow and a responder formerly from Minnesota might think 2 feet of snow isn’t much. Instead ask something like, “How many inches of snow do you get a year?” so you are the one deciding if it’s too much snow, not the responder. “Is the town overcrowded?” may get a different response from a person formerly from Chicago versus a person formerly from Smalltown, USA. So ask, “What’s the population density (population divided by square miles) of town XYZ?” so you can decide if it’s overcrowded or not instead of the responder.

5. Subscribe to the local newspaper or read it on line for at least 6 months. Specifically read the local/community news, the community calendar of events and the town planning information. What do people do in the town for fun? Does it sound like your idea of fun? What's important to the people in the town? Are they the same things that are important to you? Does the town celebrate traditional holidays or are their fairs/festivals generic? Is either important to you? What kind of crime is in the town and where is it? Mark the street map you picked up from your visit (see item 8). Take a look at the letters to the editor. See any patterns over a period of months that may spell out this town is not for you/for you? Are they planning to widen the road or build a new school or hotel around the corner from that house you were considering? (If you are considering a big city for your new location, skip this tip.)

6. If you want to know what’s in a town, check the online yellow pages for that town.

7. If you are relocating to escape some intolerable condition don't overcompensate. Just because you can't stand traffic, rude people and crowded conditions in your current city of 800,000 it doesn't mean you are well-suited to ABC Mountain Town, population 2,000. It will feel like paradise for the first 3 weeks then what do you do with yourself? Consider a smaller city. Just because you are trying to escape shoveling snow, doesn’t mean you’ll be happy with 6 months of 90 to 100 degree temperatures.

8. When you visit, don't visit like a tourist, visit like a potential future resident. Visit the supermarkets and clothing stores. Do they have what you like (products, brands)? If you are religious, attend a service. If you like to golf, play while you are visiting. When you are in your hotel room, watch the local nightly news show. If you can attend a local event do it and take a look at the people. Do they look/act like your type of people? You know, if you are all duded up in designer fashions with sprayed hair and make-up, hoping for wine and cheese and an orchestra, and you get there and there are a lot of plain people in jeans drinking beer and listening to bluegrass (or vice versa), then you might not be in the town that's right for you. If it's an outdoor event and groups have their booths are you looking for the boy/girl scouts, NRA, Disabled Veterans, some ATV sales booth and corndogs, but if the booths are Stop The Nukes, $2000 Antiques, Save the Squids, frozen yogurt and the local yacht dealer (or vice versa), it might be a clue that the place isn’t right for you. If you like to garden, visit the local nursery and look around. If you like to read, visit the library and bookstores. Do they have the variety of the type of books you like? Are the books new enough to suit you? Buy a street map at the local gas station convenience store and mark it with your observations while you are driving around. (example: like the run down part of town). Bring a camera.

9. Going on vacation to a town is not the same as living in that town no matter how many years you've visited. Driving 30 miles down a mountain road in July to go to an annual fair is not the same as driving down the same icy mountain road in January to go to the supermarket every week. What time of the day are you most likely to be out doing things? You know, if you are a night person and the town shuts down at 6PM in the off-season maybe the town isn't right for you even though you spent the last 10 years vacationing there for 2 weeks in July. That pretty beach place in July may have roads prone to flooding in September.

10. If you see a house or apartment you might consider, go sit in your car and observe the area at night when kids are home from school and adults are home from work. Maybe, after people get home from work and kids get home from school, the nice quiet place is really noisy.

11. Assess your potential town and home in terms of the impact of escalating fuel prices. Maybe living 20 miles from the things you like to do often, is not such a good idea these days. Maybe oil is a bad heating choice. Maybe unloading a home heated that way will be difficult 5 - 10 years from now. Maybe you can afford a McMansion after you sell your house up north but will you be able to unload it when you're ready to leave if it's oil heated?

12. If you are close to your family ask yourself, "If I move to be near my children, am I sure they are staying put?" If you plan to return "home" for frequent visits, where's the airport? How close are you to the Interstates? How long is the drive?

13. Don't be discouraged about retirement based on what you see in retirement destination magazines. They are trying to sell things to upper middle class people (by their advertisers). Ask yourself when was the last time you read a retirement magazine that told you how great the hunting was in Town X or how many baseball diamonds there were in town, how the bass fishing is, or where you can see bluegrass and country bands play in the park? If you came from out of space and read retirement magazines you'd think the only things important to all retirees are museums, marinas, the theater, shopping and golf. There are plenty of both kind of places but the magazines only address one kind of retirement. Also, consider that a lot of retirement book authors live in big cities. What you consider to be a great retirement may never have even occurred to them to address in their books.

14. How hard is it to get a doctor to take you as a new patient? Specialists for a condition you might have? Find out before you move.

15. Lastly, you are a planet in the solar system. The sun doesn’t revolve around you. It’s your job to fit in not have the new town accommodate you. Don’t complain about dumb local people, what you don’t have or how you did it better in the place you are from and expect everyone else to be awed by your wisdom. The people in your new town aren’t the stupid ones if you spent a lot of money to move to a place for which you were so ill-suited.
This is excellent.

When we were moving from southern CA decades ago we would go and visit areas of interest and sit in front of the local grocery store. What an eyefull that was when seniors would come out in mass and fill the carts with gallons of hard liquor. Not our cup of tea so we moved on, lol.
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Old 07-05-2012, 04:19 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,545 posts, read 39,924,861 times
Reputation: 23658
Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdoglover View Post
I'd add consider car dependence/public transport or whether you expect to move again if/when more frail or having eyesight problems.....
Laura's list should be carved in stone for C-D!
It would be nice to have a data-base archive or a way to keep these gems available to new searchers / users
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Old 07-05-2012, 05:43 PM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,902,275 times
Reputation: 42861
Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
It would be nice to have a data-base archive or a way to keep these gems available to new searchers / users
Great list, Laura.

Regarding the above suggestion--I totally agree. The only problem is it may be a little time consuming to create. In somewhat of the same vein (but easier) I volunteer to create a master list with links tor 10-20 especially helpful threads.The first step would be to start a tentative list for discussion, since you guys would probably have even better suggestions for additional links. After we discuss it for a week or two I think we'd come up with a really helpful master list, which I would then be happy to make.

Would you guys like me to do this? If so, it's something I could tackle next week when we get back from this trip. Maybe we could even get it stickied. I would be willing to put the announcement of where the medicare threads are if that would free up one of the stickies.
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:56 AM
 
10,321 posts, read 9,372,412 times
Reputation: 15911
It is a great list and an excellent starting point.

Health Insurance must be researched before moving to a new area. If you are on Medicare and have either a Supplemental Plan or an Advantage Plan you need to know what is available in the new location.

At Medicare's website, Medicare.gov you can Compare Drug and Health Plans by zip code; thereby being able to make sound judgement on the plan you will sign up with. Many plans are not portable.

If a person has any particular health issues that require a specialist, one needs to know what is available in the new location; and what insurance the providers will accept.

Same with a primary physician: Will they accept new patients? If so, what insurance plans do they accept?
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:47 AM
 
833 posts, read 1,471,240 times
Reputation: 764
I only visited the few that made the cut.

I am thankfull for city-data ( the state forum) for saving me the time and expense of visiting places I had planned on.

Desp[ite the Chamber of Commerce mailing me glossy literatiure that praised their town, despite many realtors mailing me glossy literature on nice houses......................when the responses of city-data posters are over 10-1 against considering a specific city, I won't waste my time and money to go there to check it out.

You will always have a few "diss" any place, but when it about 10-1 against, why waste the time and money checking it out ?
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