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hi, i am sherm from santa cruz, retired @ 50
Old 08-12-2009, 10:33 AM   #1
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hi, i am sherm from santa cruz, retired @ 50

hi everyone,

my name is sherman, and i live just outside santa cruz, california, in the beautiful redwood forests of the santa cruz mountains. i retired 2 years ago at age 50, along with my sweetheart of 17 years. she lives in los gatos, california. we're about 25 miles apart, and spend about 1/2 of our time with each other. we take most of our vacations together, but some places we visit alone.

we both own our own homes, free and clear. we wouldn't have even considered retirement if we had mortgages, or owed any money. being debt-free is an essential part of retirement.

during our careers, we both saved as much as we could, and invested it through a trusted advisor. even with the economic meltdown, we're still afloat. we both have simple lifestyles, which allowed us to retire in the same manner as before retiring. neither of us enjoy travel, saving a huge amount of the normal retirement budget. our homes are literally in resort areas, so we can finally take advantage of where we both live without having to travel first.

i'm more adamant than diane (my sweetheart) that working for a living is actually a death wish, not a way to enjoy life. if there were more of a balance between the needs of employers, and the needs of employees, i'd probably still be working. but, when the score becomes employers, ALL, and employees, NONE, it's time to check out of the system completely, and live your life as you see fit.

-sherman and diane
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Old 08-12-2009, 11:00 AM   #2
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Hi Sherm. Beautiful spots where you and Diane live.

Ha
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Old 08-12-2009, 03:17 PM   #3
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Hi...welcome to the forum. It sounds like you're really enjoying your life...good for you.
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Old 08-12-2009, 06:00 PM   #4
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Hi Sherm. Beautiful spots where you and Diane live.
hi haha,

YES, they truly are! the goddess was definitely smiling on us when we found our homes. we're both very thankful for our good fortune, and hope to enjoy it as long as we can. good thing we're retired, huh? :-)

-sherm
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Old 08-12-2009, 06:01 PM   #5
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Hi...welcome to the forum. It sounds like you're really enjoying your life...good for you.
thanks bbbami, it's very good to be here. i just stumbled on this website, and i am very happy i did. it seems a warm place to share the joys of the leisurely lifestyle. :-)

-sherm
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Old 08-12-2009, 06:04 PM   #6
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Welcome Sherman (and the mysterious Diane)....we should introduce you to our other live in separate places couple, Want2Retire and her beau Frank......
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Old 08-12-2009, 07:56 PM   #7
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Hi Sherman and Diane. As Meadbh mentioned, my companion Frank and I choose to live separately as well. Our houses are close to one another, unlike your houses. We like living separately, and we get together when that appeals to both of us. We both appreciate having plenty of time alone as well. Most of the couples in this forum live together, which is fine too if that is what they prefer.

Nice to "meet" you.
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Old 08-13-2009, 08:32 AM   #8
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Hi Sherman and Diane. As Meadbh mentioned, my companion Frank and I choose to live separately as well. Our houses are close to one another, unlike your houses. We like living separately, and we get together when that appeals to both of us. We both appreciate having plenty of time alone as well. Most of the couples in this forum live together, which is fine too if that is what they prefer.

Nice to "meet" you.
very nice to meet you, too! i hope the next 88 days till your retirement pass very quickly.

isn't it so nice to have a place of your own, AND be able to spend time with your loved one? the proverbial "best of both worlds". most couples we know live together - but that would drive diane and i nuts! we're both independent types, but enjoy companionship as well.

have breakfast in bed on your first retired day. it'll start the rest of your life out on a very positive note!

-sherm
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Old 08-13-2009, 08:46 AM   #9
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Thank you so much!

On a more somber note, I hope the wildfires in the Santa Cruz area this morning are not threatening either of your homes (yours or Diane's).
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:13 AM   #10
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Thank you so much!

On a more somber note, I hope the wildfires in the Santa Cruz area this morning are not threatening either of your homes (yours or Diane's).
you're welcome! i hope the daze pass quickly ... !

i'm actually at diane's at the moment - in los gatos, over the santa cruz mountains. so, i'm watching the news, hoping the fire doesn't turn south and head into my area (the san lorenzo valley).

there was a similar scare last year with a fire in bonny doon. my fingers still have indentations in them from keeping them crossed so hard. one of the downsides to forest living is forest fires! i'm hopeful we're getting this season's fire out of the way early this year.

-sherm
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:30 AM   #11
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Sherm, what's it like living in Santa Cruz? I have visited briefly and my kids in San Mateo seem to like the Santa Cruz area. Have you been hit by the California congestion, crowds, high cost housing and all that, or is it "saner" than the Bay area?
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Old 08-13-2009, 10:34 AM   #12
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Sherm, what's it like living in Santa Cruz? I have visited briefly and my kids in San Mateo seem to like the Santa Cruz area. Have you been hit by the California congestion, crowds, high cost housing and all that, or is it "saner" than the Bay area?
hi rich,

living in santa cruz is an exercise in patience. i live in the mountains outside the city limits, and would NOT recommend living in santa cruz itself. the mountains are gorgeous, and the surrounding areas and small communities are all very beautiful too.

santa cruz itself is a bastion of left-over hippies and losers from the 60's. people, uh, "choose to be homeless" in the downtown shopping area. yeah, right! it's more likely that most of the indigents downtown have zero capability to earn a living. but you don't have to in santa cruz! the indigents believe it's society's responsibility to take care of them, and evidently, santa cruz thinks so too. you can live a good, homeless life FOREVER in santa cruz because of the seriously flawed politics of the town. some homeless people literally move to santa cruz from other cities, because santa cruz is more generous than the cities they came from.

i've lived here for 25 years, and have seen the very sad decline. when i bought my house, housing was very reasonable - but not anymore. prices are just like everywhere else now. 25 years ago, you could walk downtown and shop, without smelling human feces, urine, stepping over drugged-out people, or being aggressively pan handled. i go to other cities to do my shopping now. there is not one decent restaurant in santa cruz anymore, only fast food. good restaurants have all moved to other cities, where the homeless do not have the right to use the restrooms, or bother patrons while they're trying to enjoy their meal.

santa cruz steadfastly refuses to join the modern world. they live in a hippie fantasy world instead, where all capitalism is bad, where all objects in the Universe belong to The People so everyone should have free use of everything, and where those with means are despised. every summer, the single 2-lane highway into and out of santa cruz becomes non-navigable as cars form bumper-to-bumper traffic both directions. santa cruz residents have consistently voted down all road widening initiatives, even though santa cruz's economy depends on tourism dollars. why? because people shouldn't be driving cars at all - bad for the environment - and widening the road to and from santa cruz sends the wrong message.

so, why do i still live here? well, my house is paid off, and i live far enough away from the city itself that it's all mountains to me. plus, diane lives in los gatos, over the mountains, so i can do my shopping here rather than there.

apologies for sounding so negative! i'm really very optimistic about everything, usually. i'm frustrated with santa cruz, despite its beauty and resort status. i guess i'd sum it up by saying "it's a nice place to visit but i wouldn't want to live there." good thing i'm away from the parts of the city that have never evolved from the 60's.

-sherm
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Old 08-13-2009, 11:12 AM   #13
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living in santa cruz is an exercise in patience.
Wow. I picked up a little of that when we drove through but just assumed it was a particular neighborhood, not an ingrained culture of the area.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:51 PM   #14
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Welcome sherm - we also live in the Santa Cruz area, and have retired, though not as early as you. You are very correct that living in Santa Cruz requires much patience. We are down in the Soquel area of the county.
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Old 08-15-2009, 02:34 PM   #15
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Hi Sherm,

Welcome to the board!

Billy and I lived in Santa Cruz for almost 2 decades beginning in the mid ‘70’s. It was a quiet beach town then and reasonably affordable. I remember being able to park our van and camp overnight at Capitola’s beach which used to be an empty little town. This was long before Capitola became so upscale and yuppie, before the public bathrooms were built, before the sidewalks there were redone, etc.

We owned a restaurant near the yacht harbor for a decade and it was so difficult to be in business there with the anti-capitalism, anti-tourist, anti-business attitude of not only many of the residents but the city council as well.

My folks owned a wine and cheese shop across the street from our restaurant, and when the city put in 20 minute parking meters on the street for revenue purposes, all the businesses in our area just howled. How could one eat a full meal in a restaurant, stand in line to order a sandwich or browse through a wine and cheese shop in 20 minutes? How could they get a haircut in 20 minutes? How could they get their boat computer equipment in 20 minutes? How could they enjoy the local beer brewery and watch the game in 20 minutes?

DUH…

We eventually left Santa Cruz due to the over-the-top politics, the anti-tourist attitude (but many of us made money from tourism since the town didn‘t want industry pollution…) the anti-business nature of the town, the increasing cost of living, the traffic congestion, and everything else you already described. The homeless and the city council wanted our money but they hated the idea that we owned a business to make it.

It is a gorgeous town but in many ways it seems bent on self-destruction. The artsy fartsy shops are great. The beaches are lovely, the mountains are wonderful, and access to local wines is good.

You gave a very apt description of Santa Cruz. I still have family and friends there whom I visit, and I miss ‘the way it was’… But we certainly made the right business decision 20 years ago when we retired.

Enjoy your homes there, and I hope you don't have to worry about those fires!

Best,

Akaisha
Author, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement
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