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Old 01-09-2018, 03:55 PM
 
13,923 posts, read 7,416,674 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
I just don't understand the fascination with a lot of "retirement areas." Small towns in northeast TN are sort of trendy retirement areas, but no one thinks of retiring to suburban Iowa. To me, the quality of life is just a night and day difference, for retirees or otherwise.
Mathjak writes here occasionally about briefly retiring to the Poconos before bailing out back to NYC. I don't blame him. He has the net worth to afford to live there. An awful lot of people don't have the option to remain in a high cost of living place. They move to a cheap place in the sun belt because the economics work, not because they have a huge desire to live there. The "I hate winter" is partly a rationalization. Don't you hate hate 95F, 95% humidity with bugs & snakes?

I'm retiring to my home town. Some of it is because it's a nice place and where I'm grounded even though I lived my entire adult life elsewhere. A big chunk is the economics. I've lived in better places but when I took a realistic look at my numbers, I couldn't afford it. I can have 20% of my net worth tied up in housing, not 50%. I can have 10% of my projected cash flow dedicated to taxes, insurance, and utilities/cable, not 30%. I can rationalize it talking up all the good things but a huge chunk of it was an economic decision. Give me 10x the net worth and I'd buy a house down the block from my sister in Vancouver BC. Her house is worth $3 million as a teardown. Not possible.
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Old 01-09-2018, 06:21 PM
 
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
4,711 posts, read 2,549,517 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
I don't know about sight unseen, but I see a lot of limited research.

I'm from northeast Tennessee. We get a lot of attention from retirees, many of whom have clearly done next to no research about what it's like to live in the local area. They get this idea of some sort of cross between Andy Griffith and Dolly Parton, but the reality is that most of the folks here are uneducated, unhealthy, unproductive, and incapable of the jobs of today or tomorrow. Many have profound substance abuse problems....
I just checked* your crime rates and yes, you sure do have a large property crime rate at 56.3. (U.S. average is 38.1) That definitely indicates many drug users who steal in order to support their habit.

Johnson City, TN violent crime rate at 38.2 is also higher than the U.S. average of 31.1.

* Sperling's Best Places

Last edited by SFBayBoomer; 01-09-2018 at 06:35 PM..
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Old 01-09-2018, 07:16 PM
 
13,923 posts, read 7,416,674 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFBayBoomer View Post
I just checked* your crime rates and yes, you sure do have a large property crime rate at 56.3. (U.S. average is 38.1) That definitely indicates many drug users who steal in order to support their habit.

Johnson City, TN violent crime rate at 38.2 is also higher than the U.S. average of 31.1.

* Sperling's Best Places
Property crime is a funny number.

My home town and where I'm going to retire has a property crime rate of 40. If you look at the police logs, almost all of it is in "mall hell" with all the big box stores and shopping mall. The rest of the town has the property crime rate you'd expect in a fairly affluent leafy suburb. The property crime rate in my zip code which is 10 minutes from the main commercial shopping area in town is 29. Even that doesn't reflect my neighborhood since part of the zip code abuts a failed city with 1950-style housing projects right on the city line.

Would I leave valuables visible in my car parked in the Walmart parking lot in Mall Hell? Nope. At my house, I don't lock my doors unless I'm gone overnight and even then, I often leave things unlocked if I'm only gone for a night or two. I've never locked my garage.
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Old 01-09-2018, 08:33 PM
 
7,934 posts, read 5,045,305 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tijlover View Post
Doing too much research can make you frustratingly indecisive.
Thus, the motto below my handle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nightbird47 View Post
I lived in southern California. ... I was tired of the crowding, and the smog, and crush of people. ...
As I get [relatively] older, it occurs to me, that quietude and Walden-like placid composure are things to be endured, not things to be prized; and I say this as an introvert. Having lived in the Los Angeles and Washington DC areas, I found both to be a bit… provincial (admittedly, this was before DC’s tech/bureaucratic boom, and before LA found its footing in the modern real-estate boom). There’s something to be said for sharing the sidewalk with 20 other pedestrians walking abreast, all in frenetic hurry, in concerted activity, striving, going, attaining – rather than strolling, perambulating, pondering. I even found Singapore to be a bit too laid-back. Even if I know nobody, and have zero persons who’d be likely on any given evening to invite me for a cup of tea or a game of chess, I relish the vigor, the dynamism – if only vicariously, if only by osmosis.

Oh, but the costs! The real costs are in taxes. And the solution? If possible, declare residency somewhere that’s cheap. Then, caravan from place to place, where the living is more stimulating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
...A lot of prospective retirees from up north think that we have nearly no winter down here. Compared to the mountains of NH, for instance, no, we don't have a winter. Still, our average temperature (high+low/2 then that averaged for every day) for January has been 17 according to the news last night.
By my reckoning, it is outright amazing, how few areas there are in North America, where it is neither the case that summers are oppressively hot, and winters briskly frigid. Horrid climate, it seems, is one of the prices to pay, for calling oneself an American.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
There are tremendous variations area-to-area, and even block-to-block. But in a middling suburb of the anchor-city of my general locale, a house of this type would go for around $250K, and cost around $5000/year in property taxes. It often happens, that in an area that’s overall poor and rundown, there may be pockets of comparative affluence and comfort… and those pockets are going to be substantially more expensive, than their middling (or lower-tier) counterparts in an otherwise more affluent locale. Why? Because it requires taxes to run a place – any place. And if there isn’t much of a tax-base overall, taxes (and costs) have to rise, for the comparatively affluent.
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:23 PM
 
14,260 posts, read 24,000,210 times
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People complain about the costs to visit an area before uprooting your life and moving across country.

Here is a typical example of what happens when you do NOT do your planning.

Couple from Central Montana move to Southern Arizona. They sell their self described "dream home" in Montana and spend about $6k on hiring a mover to get their belongings to Arizona.

They spend a kings ransom to fix the house up and do a lot of the systems work. Despite spending all the money, the house still looked out-of-date and would be a hard sell.

After 14 months, the husband decides that he just can't handle the heat. Personally, I do not think that he left his house more than a couple of times a month.

Even though they spent a lot of money on the remodeling, the house sat vacant for eight months during a period when just about any property in the neighborhood was selling at good prices. The wife calls my wife asking why their house isn't selling and she is pretty blunt that 1) the Realtor's pictures were terrible and that the place in its current condition was overpriced. The women hung up on her and about five months later, they dropped the price and sold the place.

In two years, these people paid two commissions, spend $14k moving household goods, paid two mortgage payments for over a year, and incurred a significant loss on the Arizona house. They wasted about 40% of their nest egg because they made a poor decision to move to an area where they would be happy. If that was not enough stress, the husband incurred a significant illness about halfway through the process.

I wish that I could say that such a situation is extraordinary but I have seen similar occur several times.
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Old 01-09-2018, 10:52 PM
Status: "Support the Mining Law of 1872" (set 12 days ago)
 
Location: Cody, WY
9,582 posts, read 10,930,257 times
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If I wish to learn about a place, I visit its grocery stores. I'll see both the quality and the price (they are different) of the foods, the presence of ethnic of ingredients if any, and the sophistication of dining standards. I can also observe the level of cleanliness, always a response to the customer base, and the customers themselves. Everyone buys groceries. The customers reflect a cross section of the area's population.

It's easy enough to do more advanced research by visiting bakeries, delicatessens, and other specialty stores.
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Old 01-09-2018, 11:14 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,608 posts, read 39,974,527 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by volosong View Post
I've related my decision process here before, so I will be very brief this time.

Selecting my retirement location was an about twenty-year process, escalating in time/effort/intensity the closer the retirement date became. Many factors were considered, primary among them is a low-humidity climate with a relatively low cost-of-living. Involved multiple trips in all seasons. So far, I'm happy with my ultimate choice. The only difficult adjustment has been the short winter daylight hours.
Yes, I was just thinking about that last night (1 month after solstice and 5PM is pretty dark) need to start wrapping up outdoor projects by 4 - 4:30 and get the woodstove fired for the LONG night.

NZ and Australia are looking likely for winters (while able). Love those January 10PM sunsets and 5AM sunrises


Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffD View Post
Mathjak writes here occasionally about briefly retiring to the Poconos before bailing out back to NYC. I don't blame him. ... Don't you hate hate 95F, 95% humidity with bugs & snakes?

I'm retiring to my home town. Some of it is because it's a nice place and where I'm grounded even though I lived my entire adult life elsewhere. A big chunk is the economics. ... a huge chunk of it was an economic decision. ....
Yeah, humidity and having to use AC (even at NIGHT!) is counter to my culture, but works for 'most!' (worldwide)

When I quantified the costs and financial risks of other nominally better (?) locations I soon realized I have it pretty nice where I am at (but not my home town... that entire state has transformed (Colorado), and while it is excellent for climate and environment, I would be very disappointed in the negative influence of 'politics / Battleground State' (social unrest + an armed populace with unstable youth). As many have found... it is nearly impossible to 'return-home' (as you remembered it). Even Mayberry (Mt Airy, NC) looks to have lost a lot of it's charm! (and economy)

To be able to 'stay' in my current location... I needed to 'reposition' retirement assets for additional cashflows to sustain the Californication of our property taxes (from <$3 / day to $43/day, since retirement planning) (We are not blessed with Prop 13...)


Equity grown and resell value and perpetual 'hot-market' justified this painful choice.
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Old 01-10-2018, 06:20 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,592 posts, read 17,582,380 times
Reputation: 27682
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffD View Post
Mathjak writes here occasionally about briefly retiring to the Poconos before bailing out back to NYC. I don't blame him. He has the net worth to afford to live there. An awful lot of people don't have the option to remain in a high cost of living place. They move to a cheap place in the sun belt because the economics work, not because they have a huge desire to live there. The "I hate winter" is partly a rationalization. Don't you hate hate 95F, 95% humidity with bugs & snakes?

I'm retiring to my home town. Some of it is because it's a nice place and where I'm grounded even though I lived my entire adult life elsewhere. A big chunk is the economics. I've lived in better places but when I took a realistic look at my numbers, I couldn't afford it. I can have 20% of my net worth tied up in housing, not 50%. I can have 10% of my projected cash flow dedicated to taxes, insurance, and utilities/cable, not 30%. I can rationalize it talking up all the good things but a huge chunk of it was an economic decision. Give me 10x the net worth and I'd buy a house down the block from my sister in Vancouver BC. Her house is worth $3 million as a teardown. Not possible.
Most of us will never be able to afford that leafy Boston suburb at all, much less in retirement, but there are plenty of wonderful, leafy suburbs across the country at a fraction of the cost of somewhere like Boston, with a rich quality of life. The vast majority of folks are going to have make compromises in a number of areas.

I agree that a lot of the "bailing out of the big city" stems from simply not being able to afford it. While I doubt I would personally choose NYC, you'd have a hard time pulling me out of the suburbs of Charlotte, Raleigh, or Nashville. I don't want cold and snow. Honestly, I'd be fine if I never saw snow, brown grass, or a leafless tree ever again.

Around here, people generally don't make a lot and don't have a lot leftover to invest. There are, of course, exceptions. Many people end up with most of their net worth tied up in a house that might, might, if they are lucky, appreciate with inflation, but unlikely at a higher rate. It makes for some potentially dire situations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SFBayBoomer View Post
I just checked* your crime rates and yes, you sure do have a large property crime rate at 56.3. (U.S. average is 38.1) That definitely indicates many drug users who steal in order to support their habit.

Johnson City, TN violent crime rate at 38.2 is also higher than the U.S. average of 31.1.

* Sperling's Best Places
And Johnson City is, by far, the nicest place to live between Knoxville, TN, Asheville, NC, and Roanoke, VA. I've never liked Roanoke. The distance between Knoxville and Roanoke is roughly 260 miles.

According to those rates, the town I work in (Kingsport) has a 71 for property crime and a 62 for violent crime. There is a tremendous difference in the cities you'll notice by just driving through. Johnson City is newer, higher end, with more recent development, some gentrification, a university, and positive energy. Kingsport is full blown Rust Belt. Tiny little houses you see in founded manufacturing cities within the core city, significant air pollution from the factories, high crime, most of the more desirable retail has left for Johnson City or a development in Bristol, etc. I'm obviously not sold on the area, but if I didn't have to drive to Kingsport every day for work, I'm sure I wouldn't be as down on the area as I am. Kingsport is a depressing place. It didn't seem so bad when I was growing up twenty years ago, but maybe I just didn't know any better. My family, most of whom have never lived outside the area, like it.

Crossville, TN is a well known retirement community catering to golfers. Its rates are both around 90 on that site. On a similar website that ranks cities from 0 to 100, 0 being least safe, Crossville gets a zero. Newport, TN, around the intersection of I-81/I-40 at the start of the Smokies, gets an 85 violent and 96 property. Amusingly enough, much maligned Detroit gets a 66 on property and 96 on violence.

Crossville is relatively isolated. Very little shopping other than essentials. For anything more, it's 45-60 minutes back to Knoxville. Medical care is going to be a problem. Again, it's the better part of an hour back to Knoxville. I guess if you're affluent, you could just buy your way in to a secured, gated community to keep the meth'ed out locals away, and then go golfing all the time.

Sure, Crossville has some pretty views and a moderate climate, and supposedly great golfing, but I'd still take West Des Moines as a place to live every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Last edited by Serious Conversation; 01-10-2018 at 06:34 AM..
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Old 01-10-2018, 06:42 AM
 
653 posts, read 335,982 times
Reputation: 892
We have been fortunate to have lived and experienced ALL seasons contiguously in: The UK, Canada (All Over), Usa, (4 States), The Carribean (All Over) and a Few places in Europe.

At the end of the Day, I would rather be in a locale that is Hot and sunny Most of the time with no snow EVER, than dull and dreary (and cold) any of the time. One criteria I do have now is being within walking/cycling distance of a beach. That sort of limits things. We are in North East Florida at the moment, this fits the bill "most" of the time. However, we are planning to downsize a little, and I think I would prefer to move a little further south. Not too far South but.
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Old 01-10-2018, 06:52 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,592 posts, read 17,582,380 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffD View Post
Property crime is a funny number.

My home town and where I'm going to retire has a property crime rate of 40. If you look at the police logs, almost all of it is in "mall hell" with all the big box stores and shopping mall. The rest of the town has the property crime rate you'd expect in a fairly affluent leafy suburb. The property crime rate in my zip code which is 10 minutes from the main commercial shopping area in town is 29. Even that doesn't reflect my neighborhood since part of the zip code abuts a failed city with 1950-style housing projects right on the city line.

Would I leave valuables visible in my car parked in the Walmart parking lot in Mall Hell? Nope. At my house, I don't lock my doors unless I'm gone overnight and even then, I often leave things unlocked if I'm only gone for a night or two. I've never locked my garage.
Yep, you often have to probe deeper. Around here, an area is basically what it appears to be. If it looks dumpy, you see trailers, appliances on the porch, etc., it's best to move on. If it looks well kept, it probably is.

There are plenty of places in north Johnson City (the more affluent end of town) that look like suburban anywhere where you can leave the doors unlocked. Given that there is a fairly large university within biking distance of downtown also impacts the rates. I've never felt the least bit unsafe here.

I can't imagine someone from a nice suburb of a major city being at all content in some rural area with no amenities. With that said, I know quite a few retirees from larger metros outside the South who did retire to nicer areas around here and like it.

Let's say a Geoff clone sells his paid for home in the leafy Boston suburbs for $700,000. He comes down here and buys a bigger house for half that price.

https://www.trulia.com/property/3030...-City-TN-37615

We're within an hour of several ski resorts in the WNC mountains. All the hiking, freshwater fishing, and mountain biking you can shake a stick at. Outdoor activity, mild to wild, can be done virtually all year in temperatures that usually aren't too harsh.

https://www.yelp.com/search?cflt=ski...ty%2C+TN+37604

There's a sailing club on beautiful Watauga Lake. Numerous boating options.

I have an uncle who is a 1%er in this area, within a nose on either side of the 1% nationally, and owns his own business. He's single now and doesn't have a set schedule. For someone like him that isn't interested in large cities and likes boating and other outdoor activities, the place can be great. For someone earning $25,000/year and living in a violent, polluted neighborhood in core Kingsport, life is going to suck here.

Totally different situations for those two.
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