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Old 05-08-2015, 10:18 AM   #21
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I didn't say that it should be free. I suggested that if someone posts a link to something that has eight pages of questions and then asks for contact info that a heads up would be nice. I will add now that you have mentioned it that a company that has one fill out eight pages of questions and then asks for my contact information is not going to get my business. If they had asked for it up front, I probably would have provided it. And I'm not on your lawn... this part is city property!
Midpack's original post included "YMMV", which pretty much covers it.
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Old 05-08-2015, 10:21 AM   #22
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Thanks for all the replies. Find your spot did not work so great for me. The more I think about it, I feel like the ocean is calling me. I don't have to live on the ocean, but near a coast is important to me. Also racial diversity is important for us. So I think it would have to be Florida or CA or perhaps somewhere like Portland, Oregon.
We used to have the same annual expenses and realized one day if we cut our expenses we could retire tomorrow. Check out the Consumer Expenditure Survey for ideas. With a mortgage free home and not working you would have $60K in rent and $20K in childcare freed up in your budget.

I think posters here focus a lot on warm, sunny weather but for us diversity and a liberal political climate were also important, so where we lived previously in the South did not work out and that pretty much left some place in California. We ended up in the Bay Area because of employment opportunities at the time, but I think we would have been happy in Southern California as well. Here is a chart on liberal vs. conservative big cities:

Chart of the Week: The most liberal and conservative big cities | Pew Research Center

With housing either paid for or funded, our other expenses are pretty reasonable. We don't pay much for heating and cooling, Prop 13 keeps property taxes from going up much, food is inexpensive at the ethnic and farmers markets, and there are always a lot of free and cheap things to do for fun.
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Old 05-08-2015, 10:31 AM   #23
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We have lived 7 years in a few places. Arkansas, Dallas TX & LA, CA. Based on your comments, I'd pick CA for sure.
Dallas has 2.5% property taxes but no income tax, diversity is good IMO... Outdoor activities are nil unless you like sailing or flying to Mexico... Gulf Coast is not that appealing until you get to Florida IMO.
CA is chock full of diversity. Outdoor activities are plentiful. Fresh vegetables are great. Traffic stinks in LA and most cities...
AR is pretty in the Northwest of the state, but diversity lacks. Small population towns are plentiful.

Our daughter did schooling in Dallas and turned out fine & lots of Asians in her school in Richardson.

Definitely check out city-data website and you can look at the maps with categories of diversity, demographics of all sorts. Even home costs. The info may be a little lagging, but it's interesting to see.
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Old 05-08-2015, 10:46 AM   #24
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How much vacation time do you have? I think travelling to prospective places to live would be a great/exciting way to spend vacation time.

I live in Portland, OR and absolutely love it here. It does lack in racial diversity and it does rain a lot, but those are about my only two complaints. The outdoor activities are phenomenal.
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Old 05-08-2015, 01:31 PM   #25
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I think you'd like San Diego. Great weather and coming from Manhattan real estate, you can afford to live close to the ocean. Very diverse population. Obviously you don't get the four seasons but I suspect that's not a big deal for you anyway.
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Old 05-08-2015, 01:48 PM   #26
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Pleasanton, CA may be worth a look for you. It's in NorCal, with good schools, a great climate, proximity to Livermore's wineries and plenty of other Bay Area attractions without being right in the middle of everything.
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Old 05-08-2015, 04:33 PM   #27
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You mention school being important. Different districts have different quirks and programs you can exploit to send your child to the best in the district. My son will be attending a high school ranked 88th in the nation and 12th in the state because I learned the system and used the magnet options. It's diverse but academically rigorous. We were able to live in our less expensive home and still seems him to San Diego international studies HS. Most of my sons classmates live in the school neighborhood in and around Balboa park. Housing in this neighborhood varies from 200k condos to 5 million dollar historic mansions.
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Old 05-09-2015, 03:36 AM   #28
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Your post sounds like I wrote it. We are not Asian, and plan on homeschooling, but have many of the same desires as you. No idea where to retire, so I'm anxious to follow this thread and see what happens for you. Please keep it updated as your situation changes. We have not been to Oregon either, but want somewhere where we can do some small-scale gardening/farming, and with good sun, in addition to all your other desires. We have thought much about San Diego, but don't think we can afford the housing/land for what we want. Perhaps if we lived out further it'd be possible.


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Old 06-23-2015, 08:07 PM   #29
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Boulder or that area would fit, save for the no harsh winters. Although Colorado is usually a dry cold.
We're retiring to Reno; DW is already there, but the diversity and schools probably would disqualify it. Not too far of a drive to San Francisco (well, I live in Houston and had a cabin in Colorado, so I'm used to driving a lot.)
We also considered Portland and the Mount Olympia peninsula outside Seattle.
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Old 06-24-2015, 07:59 AM   #30
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Your checklist,
  • good climate (warm with no harsh winters)
  • outdoor activities and access to nature (ocean, lakes, parks, mountains, trees),
  • good public schools
  • diverse demographics (we are Asian)
  • good food
  • low crime
  • good healthcare facilities
  • good universities in the area
  • an urban feel
  • Low income and RE taxes would be nice but not necessary
Sounds like a prescription for Heartland, Texas--on the southwest side of Houston.
It's a place where college professors and medical doctors abound. And it's so diverse that the public high schools' top 20% would be valedictorian at normal schools--high achieving families.
Food in Houston is really good--Tex Mex and Chicken Fried Steak.
You've got the U.S. #5 largest city at your back door, and the Gulf is close by.
The city's medical facilities and universities are second to none.
Houston housing is incredibly low priced--especially compared to NYC. The standard of living is also incredibly high.
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Old 06-24-2015, 08:13 AM   #31
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The standard of living is also incredibly high.
And so is the heat, humidity and traffic congestion...
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Old 06-24-2015, 08:16 AM   #32
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[/LIST] Sounds like a prescription for Heartland, Texas--on the southwest side of Houston.
Isn't Heartland outside Dallas, not Houston? I understand the locals--in both cities--think there's a big difference. I haven't spent much time in either city but Houston seems more vibrant.
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Old 06-24-2015, 08:21 AM   #33
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Isn't Heartland outside Dallas, not Houston?
+1

It is just east of Dallas. Bamaman may have been referring to Sugar Land (SW of Houston) instead.
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Old 06-24-2015, 09:03 AM   #34
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It is just east of Dallas. Bamaman may have been referring to Sugar Land (SW of Houston) instead.
Thanks, I'm sure that's it. And I don't want to sound like I'm holding Bamaman to a high standard of knowledge of TX suburbs; he knows a lot more than I do, his description intrigued me, so off to Wikipedia. Lord knows the actual Texans don't often point us towards interesting parts of Texas.
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Old 06-24-2015, 09:05 AM   #35
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TLord knows the actual Texans don't often point us towards interesting parts of Texas.
I have no idea why you'd say something like that...
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Old 06-24-2015, 09:18 AM   #36
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I got thinking about it, and thanks for correcting me. It's Sugarland. My cousin moved there for the incredible schools, and bought a second house in another school district close by for an investment and so his son could play football for "a winner"--and get a college football scholarship.

His oldest son placed about 80% in his high school class in Sugarland, but only got 1/2 academic scholarship due to his not being in the 90% of grades. He went on to university and is a 4.0 senior student majoring in electrical engineering.

The place is apparently a very healthful place to live. My cousin has a great business as an engineer specializing in mold and asbestos abatement.
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Old 06-24-2015, 02:26 PM   #37
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..

The place is apparently a very healthful place to live. My cousin has a great business as an engineer specializing in mold and asbestos abatement.
Really?
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Old 06-24-2015, 04:26 PM   #38
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Since work is not an issue, I'll throw in two wild cards: Toronto and Vancouver.

Both score very high on diversity, education, restaurants, health care, urbanity, safety.

Vancouver has better weather (mild winters and summers), scenery, access to nature, and is on the ocean. It is a very Asian city, and good access to travel in Asia.

Toronto has more diverse diversity, better cultural facilities, a lake, and slightly cheaper real estate, but less access to nature activities. But better travel connections to Europe. The winters are usually not harsh - the last two being cruel exceptions.
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Old 06-24-2015, 05:27 PM   #39
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Why don't you just move to the suburbs and keep what is very likely the best job you will ever have?? It sounds like you are trying to fix a hangnail with a chainsaw.

Ha
That's what I was thinking too. If the job is ok, why not ride it out a while longer but live in the suburbs?
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Old 06-24-2015, 06:25 PM   #40
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Lord knows the actual Texans don't often point us towards interesting parts of Texas.
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I have no idea why you'd say something like that...
Oh, I seem to remember someone trying to discourage new arrivals in Texas....

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OK...

Texas is infested with scorpions, rattlesnakes, fire ants, crazy raspberry ants, cockroaches on steroids, killer bees, mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, tarantulas, brown recluse spiders, love bugs, swarming crickets, copperheads, cottonmouths, rabid skunks, wild hogs, alligators, oppressive heat & humidity, bleak desolate scenery, dirty beaches, polluted air, dust storms, drought, wildfires, water shortages, recurring floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, rednecks, huge piles of flaming mulch, spontaneously combusting playgrounds, roads hot as flowing lava, the stench of natural and unnatural gasses, amoebic meningitis lurking in area lakes, recurring ebola virus outbreaks, flesh eating bacteria, staggering homeowner insurance rates, unbelievably high property taxes, mandatory death sentences for DUI convictions, polygamous religious sects, and, lest we forget, doesn't look kindly towards Yankees (per Orchidflower).

The towns mentioned are all located behind the Pine Curtain. You'll need to show your passport at the border crossing, but if you weigh 250 or more, wear well-worn bib overalls and a DeKalb Feed gimmie cap, you might be able to pass through without getting checked.
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