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Picking a Retirement State

Posted 03-01-2021 at 12:29 PM by Igor Blevin

I had long wanted to live on the east coast, and specifically in the Commonwealth of Virginia, until Virginia flipped into a blue state. I am crushed that Virginia is no longer an option. But I get over it. Plenty of fish in the sea, so to speak.

So now I'm lost. Where to move?

It comes down to a simple process of elimination. I know I don't want to live in Alaska. Presto, I am down to 49 states.

I want to live in an eastern state, which means east of the Mississipi river, by definition, and preferrably east of the Appalachians. That eliminates 24 states right off the bat.

Snow. I hate snow. Oh, I love to see a snow-capped mountain. I love seeing it at a distance, or getting dusted with snow on Christmas that is gone the next day. I just don't want to live in it, drive in it, walk in it, slip and fall in it, or shovel it. It doesn't help that I am becoming less cold tolerant as I age. No aches and pains, just the blood circulation to the skin seems less effective and the "feeling" of cold is becoming more pronounced and annoying with age. So, I am stuck with heat.

So that means one of 11 states south of the Mason-Dixon line and east of the Mississip. How to pick from among them when none have ever been a consideration before? Hmm... A perplexing challenge.

The key here is that I am not looking for a place to retire, so much as a place to LOOK for a place to retire. This is my forward base camp, 2,400 miles closer than California from which to start my search for a city in which to spend my Golden Years.

So I don't have the pressure of seeking a forever home. This is just a place to spend the next 2-4 years traveling around the southeast in search of a permanent home.

It is only temporary, so why not be greedy and live in a "no income tax" state? That leaves Florida, Tennessee, Mississipi and Alabama. I wish South Carolina was a no-tax state.

The Final Four

Alabama -
401k withdrawals are taxed. No point in moving there. Eliminated.

Florida -
Brutally long, hot summers. Longest summers among my choices.
Gets lots of thunderstorms.
Ground zero for hurricanes.
The cost of living is going up.
A feeling of "no history".
Getting more crowded
Traffic is bad and getting worse
Too many old farts like me
Growing too fast

Mississippi -
I just don't know what to think of when I think of Mississippi.

Tennessee -
Shorter, milder summers
Beautiful state, lush and green
Low cost of living
Proximity to cities I want to check out for retirement
The state is still growing and attracting new people
Proximity to mountains
Ample history

So, Tennessee it is. Despite having spent no time there, and having been skunked out of living in my planned retirement state of Virgnia, I am picking the Volunteer State as the place to live while I spend the next 2 to 4 years visiting cities I am considering for permanent retirement, while still being somewhat central for vacation travel. I mean, living in Orlando is not exactly a centroid suitable for such purpose.

Tennesse it is. That decided... Where in Tennessee?? How do I pick a city? Nuts!
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