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Old 01-23-2016, 10:17 AM
 
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This is a question I have been thinking about for a few weeks, and I am sure people have different opinions.
My premise is that there is a compromise to be made between the attractions of a larger city, but the higher costs of real estate, greater congestion, traffic jams and crime, and the quiet life in a smaller community which may be more friendly but may lack some of the facilities you need or want.

Here are a few observations that occurred to me.

Towns under 10,000 population:

Typically no hospital, just a clinic.
No big box stores- you may have to go to the city to buy a dishwasher or tv set.
Poor choice of restaurants, just a few fast food franchises.
Often no car dealers, or just one or two. Prices may be high as no competition.
Small public library, or perhaps none.

On the plus side:

Housing prices typically lower as weak local job market.
No parking meters, or traffic jams.
Friendly neighbours and you get to know people in stores.

Towns 25,000 to 100,000 population:

A few independent and ethnic restaurants.
Churches of various faiths and denominations.
Fair sized hospital but probably not offering a specialized cancer or cardiac unit.
More entertainment options- movie theatre, festivals, sports teams.

Towns of 250,000 population or more:

Good highway access, but much more traffic.
Local theatre group, art gallery, wide range of book stores etc.
All major ethnic restaurants, a variety of pubs and bars.
Regional indoor shopping mall, big box sores, all major car dealers have franchises locally.

but:
Higher housing costs, property taxes, less friendly.

So what do you think is the ideal size town for retirement?
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Old 01-23-2016, 10:35 AM
 
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As a retiree, it seems important to be near a major metropolitan area with tertiary care hospitals. My wife recently ended a travel vacation because we were not going to be near a major hospital and she developed some worrisome symptoms. If you have ever needed major medical care, you will readily understand. If that has not happened yet, it will.
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Old 01-23-2016, 11:08 AM
 
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We retired to a town of just under 30,000 and I am finding that ideal for now. That may change in the future.


I cant think of anything I cannot get in this town other than some kinds of specialized health care, a mall which I rarely ever went to anyway and busy night life. It may not all be up to the standard I would like on some things, but I don't have to go elsewhere unless I want to.


What makes it work for me is that I am 20-45 minutes from a town of 70,000 and a large metropolitan city.
There is also a similar sized town 5 minutes away if I want a store, restaurant or routine medical care my town doesn't have.


Its still a very friendly town. Sometimes too friendly in that way that too many people know your business.


Having said all that, when we are older, one of us dies, we cant drive, or the support network we have of family/friends dwindles, I could see opting for a larger city or closer to one. But, maybe not as our town is constantly improving in the way of amenities. Since we have been here, a new state of art cancer treatment facility, significant improvements in cardiac care at local hospital, and there are planned updates to public transportation. So, its possible the town could grow with us and meet whatever needs we have in the future. Hard to say.
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Old 01-23-2016, 11:19 AM
 
6,351 posts, read 4,782,330 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blondy View Post
....

Having said all that, when we are older, one of us dies, we cant drive, or the support network we have of family/friends dwindles, I could see opting for a larger city or closer to one. ....
The problem is you might not have time, finances, or energy to relocate. My sister just had her husband die suddenly. That left a financial mess including max'd out credit cards. The stress aggravated previously hidden medical conditions. The expertise in the large tertiary care hospital nearby is insufficient and she faces trying to travel 1 1/2hr each way for appointments, hospitalization and eventual surgery and recovery. Trying to relocate near friends, relatives or better medical care is out of the question for the foreseeable future. That great small town and nearby city have turned into a nightmare.
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Old 01-23-2016, 11:27 AM
 
Location: in the miseries
3,302 posts, read 3,591,672 times
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I think 25 to 100k is ideal. Not too big or too small

Still offers services for seniors.
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Old 01-23-2016, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Arizona
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I live in a small area of a county with over 4 million people. I have a small town lifestyle but nothing is more than a few miles away. I am sure most major metro areas have similar areas.
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Old 01-23-2016, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Hayden
446 posts, read 555,387 times
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I moved to a small town three years ago. I've found that you'll almost never make friends with the locals. If you're not from there, and you're not family... you don't exist.

I'm moving to a city of half a million now.
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Old 01-23-2016, 11:55 AM
 
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
10,606 posts, read 14,394,633 times
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I'm in a small city of 50k, with two similar sized cities within a 20-40 minute drive.
The local hospital has specialized care for heart, cancer, stroke and diabetes.
No real traffic issues and hoping that doesn't change as the area becomes more popular. Plus I live on the bus route, so there is always that to fall back on if absolutely necessary.

The 'big city' things I miss are lack of a zoo/aquarium/botanical garden, not much in the way of ethnic restaurants, no big name concerts and the area university doesn't offer much in the way of 'fun' summer classes for adults like a lot of other places do. Other than that I think I can find most everything else I could want or need right here and those other things can be found in 2hrs away in Knoxville, or 5 hours away in Atlanta. I'm happy with it.
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Old 01-23-2016, 12:16 PM
 
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I understand how it could be a nightmare, because we dealt with some of that when my father needed cancer treatment and we felt his best bet was in the large city. It was definitely a hassle but I wouldn't call it a nightmare.


There are multiple hospitals I can choose from in the surrounding towns/major city. I am pretty sure they cover the span of most anything I would need and ambulance transport is available between them, as is lodging/temp quarters if I choose to stay near by for followup treatment, also rehab facilities if necessary for recovery, etc. I have resources to cover these things to the extent insurance doesn't so I am not overly concerned at this point.


The other thing I have discovered is that support networks are more helpful in towns this size than larger cities. For me part of that is that I already had a few family members here and they have a lot of connections. But, also, everyone else is in same or similar situation and we all realize we could need similar support and people tend to "bank" support chips they can call on.


But you really don't have to do a lot to connect to those support chains.........get to know some of your neighbors, join something..........church, some kind of civic or volunteer group, service club like Rotary, etc.


So not to minimize your sisters situation, but the same thing happened to my sister minus the indebtedness(although with other financial messiness), in addition to needing surgery not long after my BIL passed. Totally different outcome due to the support system she had from family and friends/acquaintances in this town......some of them people she barely knew.


My plan is to assess whether or not I am covered on those type situations as we go along and have enough sense to change directions if I feel I/we need to.
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Old 01-23-2016, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
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I'd think a town of 50-70k within an hour or so of a major metro would adequately provided for most daily needs.
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