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Old 02-21-2016, 12:43 AM
 
Location: Florida Gulf Coast
4,406 posts, read 5,926,580 times
Reputation: 7121

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjm1cc View Post
The answer to your question is No.

I would divide the country (assuming you are staying in the US) into 6 segments. Then pick one. Then try and pick one or two states. Within the states try and pick a few areas and then start doing the detail analysis. What you have done is select climate, cost of living, and general location - mountains, lake, ocean.

Then figure out what you want - convient to shopping, medical, airports etc. etc. These will be the same for any location.

If you try and do the whole country at the same time it is too big. The problem is there are probably a couple of dozen places you would be happy and you won't be able to find them all. So work in small pieces.
I agree. Some of these detailed criteria lists will end up in analysis paralysis. Start with climate, because that will really help narrow it down.

And you know, I'm all about facts and analysis, but sometimes, they can be misleading. For example, if you look at humidity in FL, obviously it's going to be high....but yet, I find living near the Gulf of Mexico is not the same type of unbearable humidity as "up North". Also, crime rates: Most of the time, the crime is concentrated in your seedy areas of a town -- gang areas and the like -- but the crime stats paint the whole town in a bad light. So don't make your decision all "data-driven".

Most importantly and I've said this before, none of you have mentioned culture, politics and religion, and to me those are the factors that can make or break your retirement location. You might be moving from an urban area with its "big-city values" (LOL) and ethnic diversity to a small-town close-knit community that maybe doesn't feel all that welcoming to strangers. Or you're Catholic and moving to a primarily Protestant area. Not to mention moving from a liberal to a highly conservative state. Even where I am, I feel like a fish out of water being around so many Midwesterners -- I sure miss hearing those harsh but warmly familiar Philly accents. So check that stuff out!!! Areas lots of transients can make it easier to fit in, but if the transients are from a whole 'nother area of the country, you're back to the same issues.

I would get on each location's sub-forum, tell them where you're moving from and see if there are any posters who have also moved from that location -- you will usually get help that way. Good luck!
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Old 02-21-2016, 04:21 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
34,689 posts, read 33,695,295 times
Reputation: 51900
Posted this in 2012 (now modified).

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.)

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 a few months after you are settled in 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. 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.

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). 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? 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: 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? 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 up and down 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, for example?

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 outer 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. Use YouTube and Google Images to see videos and images of the towns you are considering.

16. 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 02-21-2016, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Florida Gulf Coast
4,406 posts, read 5,926,580 times
Reputation: 7121
I had a co-worker, kind of grizzled Willie Nelson type, who had moved to somewhere like South Dakota (I forget the exact state) but when I asked him why he came back, he said "wind". I was like, "Huh???". He said it was too windy. I said didn't you know that when you moved there? He said he knew it was windy in the general area, but the location where they built their home was in a SUPER-windy area -- so windy that even the dog wouldn't go outside. So there's something you might not think about!
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Old 02-21-2016, 10:05 AM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
86,093 posts, read 72,515,954 times
Reputation: 27565
Quote:
Originally Posted by bodyforlife99 View Post
So for the last year, I have been attempting to research good locations for me and my wife to retire to. Unfortunately, I'm finding the experience to be annoying and very inefficient. Often times when you visit a specific city forum and ask for advice, all you get are opinions which simply lead to one argument after another (usually led by trolls who feel they're the King of the Hill and no one's opinion matter except for theirs). I was thinking how much easier it would be if you could just check off a bunch of boxes and have a computer populate areas to narrow it down for you. Perhaps they could have categories like COL (or tax advantageous), median weather, outdoor vs city, etc. Does anyone know if there are any good sites that would let you pinpoint a location in this fashion?

Grumpy moderator reminder: Links to competing sites are not permitted. Thanks!
Go back through your vacations over the years. Which places did you like enough to want to live there ?
Now go back to them for extended periods to see if they meet your expectations.

There's a lot more to living in a place then the numbers.
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Old 02-21-2016, 02:07 PM
 
Location: New England
107 posts, read 72,323 times
Reputation: 108
This may sound silly, but if you go to Google Maps, look at the street view and move the yellow little man around the town. Many of the above suggestions, of course, were great. This is just an observation that will reveal a few things on the surface.
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Old 02-23-2016, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Columbia SC
8,969 posts, read 7,741,639 times
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Speaking for myself the fact that I wanted year round golf pretty well eliminated 80% of the US from the get go. We eliminated the far west as it would be much further away from family. Not that we wanted to be close to family but we did not want to be more than a few hours flight time (say 1200 miles or so). The fact that my wife had family in SC meant we had visited SC many times so we knew it quite well. The rest fell in place so SC it became.

My advice is when you narrow it down to a few places than spend as much time there as you can. Get to know the place(s) before committing.
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Old 02-23-2016, 09:04 AM
 
6,573 posts, read 1,355,446 times
Reputation: 16651
If you have NO idea about where you would like to live, the following link is a very helpful and fun way to help you choose (or at least narrow down). It is a very extensive questionnaire that takes about 20 minutes or so and asks you "everything" from what kind of climate you like to the organizations you are interested in to what kind of weather you like. (I am having trouble with the link, but if you Google Find Your Spot or Find My Spot, you should be able to get to it.)

http://www.****.com/best-places
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Old 02-23-2016, 10:11 AM
 
Location: Columbia SC
8,969 posts, read 7,741,639 times
Reputation: 12182
Quote:
Originally Posted by whocares811 View Post
If you have NO idea about where you would like to live, the following link is a very helpful and fun way to help you choose (or at least narrow down). It is a very extensive questionnaire that takes about 20 minutes or so and asks you "everything" from what kind of climate you like to the organizations you are interested in to what kind of weather you like. (I am having trouble with the link, but if you Google Find Your Spot or Find My Spot, you should be able to get to it.)

http://www.****.com/best-places
I took the quiz. 90% of the places listed were in southern CA. Two or so in NV and two in LA. I am not trusting it.
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Old 02-23-2016, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Central Massachusetts
4,800 posts, read 4,847,776 times
Reputation: 6379
Quote:
Originally Posted by johngolf View Post
I took the quiz. 90% of the places listed were in southern CA. Two or so in NV and two in LA. I am not trusting it.


You're already in a wonderful place. It is surprising that the quiz didn't pick that location. Did you pick you wanted a dry climate?




Somehow I don't think so.
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Old 02-24-2016, 12:13 AM
 
Location: Florida Gulf Coast
4,406 posts, read 5,926,580 times
Reputation: 7121
That quiz is crazy. A lot of the spots they gave me were in TX, OK, LA (Louisiana, not LA!), one was even Arkansas! None were in Southern CA, my favorite place climate-wise. I have no idea what answers I would have given that would have resulted in those spots. Well, now that I think of it, it was probably the price range I gave, which was one of the lowest.
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