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Thread summary:

Retirement: cost of living, taxes, renting a home, housing, traffic.

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Old 02-11-2008, 07:47 AM
 
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For those of you who moved upon retiring, how did you decide to go where you did? I understand those who choose their destination because they have family or friends already there, but what about those of you who went somewhere in which you didn't know a soul? In other words, take family and friends out of the equation and what made 'your' town 'the' town for you?

Every time I think I've narrowed down my choices, I read something on one of the state forums or an article in a magazine and add another location to my list. I'm currently at about 7 cities, and 'the' city changes every few weeks.

I know I should visit them as much as possible, and I have quite a bit, but I still can't settle on one. I should state that I'm one of those annoying types who analyze everything beyond whats reasonable and at some point I have to just decide. I'll probably move and rent for a year anyway, but I still want my choice to be the best bet. So what did you all do? Gut feeling? Long time vacation destination? Analysis of cost of living, climate, scenery, hospitals, etc? Was it a big stress decision for you or did you just 'always' want to go there? And perhaps most interesting question to me... did you feel confident when you finally decided or were you packing for you move and still questioning your decision?
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Old 02-11-2008, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
65 posts, read 182,169 times
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Your post strikes a chord with me! My husband and I are both analytical types, too. We knew we wanted fairly mild seasonal weather, so we looked at climate charts and narrowed it down to TN, SC, NC and possibly northern AL. Thinking that we'd like to live on a lake, we made a few scouting trips to various areas in addition to researching them on the internet. You should have seen the matrices we developed to rate each place! We didn't find anything we really loved and had second thoughts about living on a lake, since the homes are often more remote to town and don't normally have a lot of good walking spaces around them. Since TN has some tax advantages, we then spent time around Nashville and Chattanooga. We liked Franklin (near Nashville) but it's fairly expensive; we also liked Signal Mountain (near Chatt.) and almost bought a house there, but it didn't work out. We ended up renting a home in Cookeville, TN because it's a safe, smallish, attractive town and we thought it was fairly central to the areas under consideration. We've only been here 4 months and still aren't sure where to retire...but that decision will be put on hold for a few years since my husband decided to return to work. Strange the way things turn out. Anyway, I understand your confusion! Unless you fall in love with a certain place, you can only choose the most favorable and then live there for awhile. It will probably grow on you as you participate in the community and make friends, which will turn it into a comfortable home.

Good luck! What towns are you considering?
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Old 02-11-2008, 08:32 AM
Status: "The nicest curve on a woman's body is her smile" (set 13 days ago)
 
Location: Florida/Tennessee
2,360 posts, read 4,302,446 times
Reputation: 1255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Counting Down View Post
For those of you who moved upon retiring, how did you decide to go where you did? I understand those who choose their destination because they have family or friends already there, but what about those of you who went somewhere in which you didn't know a soul? In other words, take family and friends out of the equation and what made 'your' town 'the' town for you?

Every time I think I've narrowed down my choices, I read something on one of the state forums or an article in a magazine and add another location to my list. I'm currently at about 7 cities, and 'the' city changes every few weeks.

I know I should visit them as much as possible, and I have quite a bit, but I still can't settle on one. I should state that I'm one of those annoying types who analyze everything beyond whats reasonable and at some point I have to just decide. I'll probably move and rent for a year anyway, but I still want my choice to be the best bet. So what did you all do? Gut feeling? Long time vacation destination? Analysis of cost of living, climate, scenery, hospitals, etc? Was it a big stress decision for you or did you just 'always' want to go there? And perhaps most interesting question to me... did you feel confident when you finally decided or were you packing for you move and still questioning your decision?
What worked for my wife and I was ... we built a matrix.

Initially we visited area's we knew and liked but seemed to bounce all over. I'm the get it done type and my wife is the examine it to death type. So.... we knew there would be conflict. We agreed ( another matix) that the top priority would be location (geographically speaking) ... so we decided "some where on the Blue Ridge" area , which was for us...... from West Virgina to North Georgia.
We decided it would be best to have a list of priorities..... so...... We then "individually" built our lists, and then from the two.... we created a master list of priorities based on a weighted system from 1-10. Then we discovered we had commonalities and conflicts. The two highest common items, became our first priority. Example;

1) mine was seclusion... 10
1) wife had mountain view... 10

2) mine was heavily wooded... 9
2) wife had conveniences... 9

3) mine was mountains... 8
3) wife had seclusion....... 8

OK.... we have a winner seclusion/mountain view became our Highest priorities.... and so on. We then had to make sure our thoughts were the same so we jointly wrote what that was... and stuck to it. We did lots of research and visited area's for 2 1/2 yrs. Some of our priorities changed a bit but most stayed the same. For instance... in my mind seclusion meant acreage, but later I discovered it did not. Seclusion actually meant something very different. We choose a 1 1/2 acre location surrounded by wooded preserved area, inside a sub-division, with an incredible mountain view. I never thought I'd see my self in a planned/gated community... but it fit perfectly. I just had to get over my "conditioning".

I don't want you to think this was done over night... but it worked for us. We are now happy owners of a Log Home in Townsend, Tennessee. The key is ..........the art of compromise.
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Old 02-11-2008, 09:46 AM
 
5,822 posts, read 13,310,108 times
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We visited various states and found although cost of living/financial was an important consideration, we found we needed to decide what activities and hobbies were available for us in each area. If we were bored to death, it wouldn't matter how reasonable living expenses were.
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Old 02-11-2008, 10:26 AM
 
Location: WA
5,392 posts, read 21,385,099 times
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We made a list of all the things we wanted and needed and visited locations that worked for us. There are lists posted in a number of threads that probably will show in a search. The items we looked at were climate, taxes, housing, congestion, proximity to airport and health care, and of course a place we really liked.

It took only a brief vacation to real seclusion that helped us decide we wanted to be closer to city services and avoid the issues of extended drives for shopping and the doctor and the issues that can go with well water and septic systems.

We are very happy with our move and only miss the easy of family visits, but not enough to move back (have taken advantage of air miles more).
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Old 02-11-2008, 10:34 AM
Status: "0-0-2 start!" (set 13 days ago)
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
7,287 posts, read 15,339,626 times
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I knew I wanted to stay in the west (having lived on the east coast before, and my husband is from the south - they're both nice places to visit, but I hate the humidity and I prefer the independent spirit in the west). We looked in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and California.

What we wanted was:
Sun
A bit of space
An "outdoor" lifestyle
A view
Mountains and hills, ie: not flat
A reasonable collection of amenities
A place not dependent on tourism or just a rest stop on a major highway
Somewhere that could be relatively self-sustainable in economic hard times - so an agriculture and ranching community
Temps over 100 a rarity, but winter lows in the positive digits. Some snow is OK
A town with a university or large college
A town under 75,000

We knew that not all of those were going to be achievable. We ended up in Southern Oregon, on the east side of the Cascades, about 30 miles north of Klamath Falls. We're a little further out of town than I'd like, but it's quiet and I have beautiful views of the lake and mounains.

Last edited by PNW-type-gal; 02-11-2008 at 11:31 AM.. Reason: TMI
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Old 02-11-2008, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
34,670 posts, read 33,671,635 times
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It's easier to do without a spouse because you don't have to compromise. But here's what I did. I read all of the non-financial books I could about retirement. Excluding people who are forced to retire because they physically no longer can work, I realized that miserable retirements are had by people who are bored in retirement. They wind up depressed. They go back to work full or part time (not because of money but just to keep busy). They sit in front of the TV all day. I went to a retirement seminar and heard the same thing.

So, if you have the ability to relocate in retirement make two lists:

1. List 1 - The things you enjoy doing on a fairly regular basis.
List 2 - All of your other requirements/desires

2. List One is first. Find/Research some towns where you can do those activities, keeping in mind:

a. frequency (can do them through at least several months of the year)
b. quality (what you are used to)
c. availability (enough choices related to the activities to satisfy you)


Try to come up with at least 10 places.

3. Apply your List 2 criteria to the list of towns you created and reprioritize the list of towns.

4. Find out everything you can about the Top 5 towns on your list by:

a) Reading the local newspaper online daily for a few months. Pay attention to town events. What are they? Who goes to them? Do they sound like things you like to do? Do the people seem like your kind of people? If there are photos, do the people look like your kind of people (age, dress, etc.) whatever that may be? What kind of crime is reported? Most importantly, pay attention to what issues are reported at town meetings. Pay attention to town planning meetings.

b) Going to an online yellow pages and find out specifically what's in the town (example: restaurants, retail stores, churches).

c) Visiting - But don't just do a drive by - tourist-type look-see. Go into the supermarkets. Do they carry brands you like? Go into the library - do they have the kind of books you like (latest ones). If you are religious, attend a service. If the town is holding a fair/show/festival/concert/parade during your visit, attend it. Too slick for you? Too small town for you? Do the people look and act like your kind of people whatever that may be? How is the town laid out? Is parking a pain? Is driving a pain? How do people keep up their properties/stores? Do you hear a lot of sirens? What are the restaurants like? Go to the park. Visit places where you will do the activities you like to do. (Example: If you like to fish, check out the lakes/rivers/marinas/banks. If you like to bowl, visit the bowling alley. If you like to hike, check out the trails. If you like to take classes, pop in as a visitor to check them out.) If the town is a tourist town, visit both in season and out of season. Talk to people who are not real estate agents. You may discover some things you took for granted in your former town are really important to you.

d) Housing - Can you afford to live there?


4) Lastly, live near the things you like to do on a regular basis. For example: If you like to golf, fish, take classes and go to the symphony but you golf, take classes and fish every week and only go to the symphony 3 times a year, live in the town with the golf course, school and the lake. The concert hall can be 3 - 4 towns away.

Don't pick your location by a primary criteria of cheap and pretty. Make activity the primary criteria.

I visited a town that was VERY wrong for me before finding the right one. I found the right one subsequent to that visit by doing the above.
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Old 02-11-2008, 07:10 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
30,671 posts, read 49,423,020 times
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Hmm.

We have no family here.

We did not know anyone living in this state.

Neither of us had ever visited this state previous to deciding to move here.

My wife is from New England, and wanted to find a home in New England.
We both wanted rural.
We both wanted to be near the ocean.
We both wanted a waterfront property.
We both wanted to be in an area that encouraged hunting and fishing.

We studied what we could find about the cost of living, taxes, home costs in Maine.

We had children still at home, so schools and colleges were important. I located all universities and highlighted each on a map of the state.

Then I came up here and shopped.

I found an area where homes commonly have an annual tax of under $100.

Close to the I-95 freeway, and then access to hospitals, airports, and shopping.
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Old 02-11-2008, 09:24 PM
 
Location: Lovelock, NV - Anchorage, AK
1,195 posts, read 4,992,638 times
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My husband and I have lived in Alaska for the past 35 years although he wasborn here he lived in California for a few year and where we met and married. Initially we were going to retire in Sonora CA as we both spent time there in high school. After visitng again we decided it was way to crowded for us the traffice was a nightmare in the small little town of Sonora.

Seems that a great deal of folks from Alaska enjoy the high desert, as we were traveling from southern to eastern Oregon we looked at Klamath falls but was discourage with the amount of snow recevied annually, we are trying to escape the snow. We traveled down hwy 80 to Reno and fell for the wide open area around Lovelock Nevada, the folks were very inviting and land was 100% usable and they have an average of 300 days of sunshine a year. We found a 5 acre parcel our first trip through, bought it the very same day and have been pleased with our purchase, we move down there this year with our final move of our motor home out of Alaska in July 2008
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Old 02-11-2008, 10:36 PM
 
42 posts, read 128,181 times
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Some great ideas! I especially love those of you who literally had a formal process... that's just the way I'm approaching it, but your ideas really help. Dave_n_Tenn, love your matrix idea for merging your priorities with your wife's, and LauraC... the two lists seems promising too! Might be a good idea for someone with the time to create a Retirement Location Selection guide using these ideas. Throw in the fact that with so many people vocalizing the items they thought were important considerations a master list of 'factors' could be developed to help. Hmmmm... sounds like a good shareware computer program eh?

Keep those ideas comming... I love hearing your methods!
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