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Lower cost of living areas
Old 03-02-2008, 09:11 AM   #1
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Lower cost of living areas

I just returned from two weeks near Jamestown,NY and it got me thinking . Housing prices in Jamestown and the surrounding area are definetely inexpensive but the cost of a restaurant meal is higher than Sarasota ,Fl. plus the ride from the airport cost three times as much as the ride to Tampa airport ( same distance ) . Movies were also more money than I'm used to . So my question is when you look at less expensive areas do you look at all the costs plus do any of the really inexpensive places to live have decent restaurants ,shows ,music and shopping beyond Walmart ?
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Old 03-02-2008, 09:14 AM   #2
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You need to look at the cost of living where things you want to do are concerned. The cost of eating at restaurants is pretty irrelevant to someone who rarely eats out, for example.

I think some inexpensive places do have some of these "cultural" things, but they will be limited in smaller towns. Usually places with the most "culture" are college towns but they tend to be a little more expensive (relative to their region).
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Old 03-02-2008, 09:40 AM   #3
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My experience is similar to Ziggy's. It is easy to move to smaller cities which by all standard scales are much cheaper to live in. But what is often overlooked is that if you really want to capitalize on the savings, you will be changing your lifestyle accordingly.

Best case is if you embrace the lifestyle in your new, cheap home town and enjoy the same QOL at 20% lower cost. Worst is if you add on so many costs to try and reproduce your "big city" lifestyle that the savings get eaten up and you're unhappy living in a small town which you never get used to.
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Old 03-02-2008, 09:45 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
I just returned from two weeks near Jamestown,NY and it got me thinking . Housing prices in Jamestown and the surrounding area are definetely inexpensive but the cost of a restaurant meal is higher than Sarasota ,Fl. plus the ride from the airport cost three times as much as the ride to Tampa airport ( same distance ) . Movies were also more money than I'm used to . So my question is when you look at less expensive areas do you look at all the costs plus do any of the really inexpensive places to live have decent restaurants ,shows ,music and shopping beyond Walmart ?
In answer to your first question ("when you look at less expensive areas do you look at all the costs"), I think is extremely easy to research overall cost of living, online. So why not go ahead and do just that, as a starting point? Then, many of us think it is wise to visit a potential ER location a number of times before moving there. During these visits, one can get a sense as to whether their personal expenses would be higher or not. Researching things like costs of some individual items like cable TV can be done online. That way you can rough out an ER budget specific to that location, according to what you think you will be spending on various items.

In answer to your second question ("do any of the really inexpensive places to live have decent restaurants, shows, music, and shopping beyond Walmart") I think that the availability of amenities is something else that most of us are very capable of researching online. As a generalization, I would expect big coastal cities to have a bigger variety of cultural activities, because they are entry points and often have a greater ethnic diversity, and I would also expect many to be fairly expensive. But you know how generalizations are - - they don't always apply and I believe they are a poor basis for selection of ER location. So in my opinion, the best way to find out about a particular location is to go ahead and actually do your homework.

It is easy to fall into the "trap" of thinking that everyone needs and wants exactly what you or I need and want in a place, but obviously that is not the case. Some of those posting here would feel deprived and lost if they were far from urban advantages (and disadvantages), while others need nothing more than their septic tanks, compost heaps, and a bright sunny day to be happy, not that there is anything wrong with that either. What I want falls somewhere in between. Thank goodness, what is a good ER location for some is not what everyone wants.

Are you thinking of moving from Florida? I thought you planned to stay there.
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Old 03-02-2008, 10:00 AM   #5
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My experience is similar to Ziggy's. It is easy to move to smaller cities which by all standard scales are much cheaper to live in. But what is often overlooked is that if you really want to capitalize on the savings, you will be changing your lifestyle accordingly.

Best case is if you embrace the lifestyle in your new, cheap home town and enjoy the same QOL at 20% lower cost. Worst is if you add on so many costs to try and reproduce your "big city" lifestyle that the savings get eaten up and you're unhappy living in a small town which you never get used to.
Exactly - - part of a truly successful move is adjusting to the new location, and its own particular set of advantages and disadvantages. Those that suspect they may be unable to do that in a particular ER location, might be happier just tightening the belt where they are.
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Old 03-02-2008, 10:13 AM   #6
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Don't overlook property taxes (home and personal property) when you assess COL. I know I've found a few places with otherwise low COL, but the taxes were very high. My fear is that what I look for in a place to live will be very different in retirement than in my current life chapter, but hopefully being conscious of it and careful research will provide answers.
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Old 03-02-2008, 10:26 AM   #7
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Don't overlook property taxes (home and personal property) when you assess COL. I know I've found a few places with otherwise low COL, but the taxes were very high. My fear is that what I look for in a place to live will be very different in retirement than in my current life chapter, but hopefully being conscious of it and careful research will provide answers.
At first, I thought that an area of high unemployment and consequently extremely low cost of living might be a great place to retire, since I wouldn't need a job anyway. However, the local economy may suffer with high unemployment. I prefer a location with only moderate unemployment and a healthy economy.

Orchidflower has a particular interest in taxes in different locations and if you do a search, you can find her posts that include some relevant websites.
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Old 03-02-2008, 11:10 AM   #8
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I just returned from two weeks near Jamestown,NY and it got me thinking . Housing prices in Jamestown and the surrounding area are definetely inexpensive but the cost of a restaurant meal is higher than Sarasota ,Fl. plus the ride from the airport cost three times as much as the ride to Tampa airport ( same distance ) . Movies were also more money than I'm used to . So my question is when you look at less expensive areas do you look at all the costs plus do any of the really inexpensive places to live have decent restaurants ,shows ,music and shopping beyond Walmart ?
Nope dw and I are homebodies. When we go on vacation thats when we get our fill of nice restaurants shows and "culture". Its not that we do not enjoy those things it just that they are not a priority.
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Old 03-02-2008, 01:39 PM   #9
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i live in an area of such convenience that on first sight it is hard to imagine not being spoiled here. beaches, boating, restaurants & for me, gay life galore. i've a playhouse within walking distance and a major theater in a good-sized downtown within a ten minute drive, a busy international airport just a $20 cab ride away, including generous tip. within blocks of here we even have a lightbulb store. how convenient is that!

as my mom didn't care to cook, i probably ate at restaurants as much as i had home made meals. i went through my theater stage, hanging with that crowd for about 20 years, i never even paid for some of the best seats in the house. i was friends with the director of the playhouse near the inherited house & friends with some of the actors at my local playhouse. i had a friend who did promotions for some of the bigger venues. and that was just the local people.

within walking distance to my house are at least five of the most popular gay bars in south florida. where 100 is the national index of gay resident population, daytona beach comes in at 100, nyc 152, tampa 166, miami beach 295, fort lauderdale (in general) 368, san francisco 479, key west 553, west hollywood 748, with my immediate area indexed at 963, likely topped only by p-town which is indexed at 2,272.

when i was younger it was wonderful. now that i'm over 50, well, 960 of those 963 couldn't care less that i exist. i have gone from turning heads to turning invisible. so what once was important to me just doesn't matter anymore. later, when i am in my 60s & 70s, it will matter even less. the restaurants will matter less, the theater lkely less. the convenience? it is just a lightbulb.

so i find myself with this amazing abundance of convenience which i do not use. so when i consider resettling, i don't just look at current conveniences or just costs but also of diminishing returns. it isn't entirely what do i want now (when i plan to travel for most if not all of the year anyway) but what might i want in my life 20 years from now when i might not have the energy to travel as much or the wherewithall to pick-up and move again.

so, for example, for me, i'm considering a few places: tampa or daytona beach or maybe gainesville. all have a much lower costs of living than south florida in terms of housing as well as living costs. food would be less, restaurants, much less as they pay less overhead than do places here. insurance less (both housing & medical). but while tampa likely would afford me chances for a better social life, in daytona i could get myself a little place within walking distance to a very user-friendly beach. and while for 20 years i can drive 2 hours to play in tampa, in 20 years, that little beach house might become out of my price range. so i might sacrifice some current convenience for some comfort later when i am in my 80s, enjoying a stroll along the beach before dinner.
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Old 03-02-2008, 02:53 PM   #10
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You need to look at the cost of living where things you want to do are concerned. The cost of eating at restaurants is pretty irrelevant to someone who rarely eats out, for example.
That was one of the issues for us. We're homebodies so most of the cultural things that are so important to many others are pretty much irrelevant to us. For example, while there is a live theater within 15 minutes we've never been to it. But we have been to a dinner theater in Frederick, MD and intend to go back. Someday. We go to restaurants maybe once or twice a month and I'd be happy skipping that. Although Washington, D.C. is an hour and a half away, there is NOTHING there that is worth the torture of the trip. To us.

The major criteria for me were not having to plan daily life around traffic jams and the major criteria for DW was to be within an hour of her father and niece. Secondary criteria were less traffic, lower taxes, availability of health care, quiet neighborhood, and an English-speaking population so we didn't have to pantomime to communicate with store clerks, which got to be an irritation before moving. That last we weren't looking for but appreciated a lot after the move.
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Old 03-02-2008, 03:02 PM   #11
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So has anybody found a low cost of living area with a number of good restaurants ,some theater , a moderate amount of shops and cultural activities ? I tend to think most of the really low cost of living areas are pretty basic but am I wrong ?
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Old 03-02-2008, 03:13 PM   #12
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I just returned from two weeks near Jamestown,NY and it got me thinking . Housing prices in Jamestown and the surrounding area are definetely inexpensive but the cost of a restaurant meal is higher than Sarasota ,Fl. plus the ride from the airport cost three times as much as the ride to Tampa airport ( same distance ) . Movies were also more money than I'm used to . So my question is when you look at less expensive areas do you look at all the costs plus do any of the really inexpensive places to live have decent restaurants ,shows ,music and shopping beyond Walmart ?
I think that you get what you pay for!

(I have to say that because I live in northern California.)

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Old 03-02-2008, 03:49 PM   #13
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So has anybody found a low cost of living area with a number of good restaurants ,some theater , a moderate amount of shops and cultural activities ? I tend to think most of the really low cost of living areas are pretty basic but am I wrong ?
Unfortunately, we are each on our own in looking for a great retirement location!

Your "good" restaurants, might not be very good at all to someone else, and vice versa. Frank (whose family has been in New Orleans for 6+ generations, and who knows good New Orleans Sicilian cuisine), thinks the Italian food in what are supposed to be great Italian restaurants in Manhattan is terrible, and tastes as bad as if it came out of a can. (I have never tried it). He lived up there for several years and that was his conclusion, though. Yet many rave about the restaurants in Manhattan: he doesn't. He said the passable, but not wonderful Sicilian food we had at a restaurant in Springfield was no worse than that in Manhattan. I was surprised, since that is not the reputation of Manhattan, but then who am I to say. I am only mentioning it to illustrate that what constitutes a "good" restaurant may differ between people.

"Some" theater is often available in areas with low cost of living, especially if there is a local community college or high school theater production. Often the great cultural productions visit small towns during the off season (my daughter was able to see the Bolshoi Ballet in College Station, Texas, for example, when she was 11; no admission was charged, and it was televised on local channels). A "moderate" amount of cultural activities really depends on what YOU individually want, and what you deem to be a cultural activity. Horse shoes and cow tipping (whatever that is) don't float my boat, culturally speaking, but some people disagree and would consider such activities to be more typical of American culture than, say, the opera.

There really are no shortcuts if you want to find a place that you personally like, in my opinion. Do your best due diligence online, and then visit a handful of places that sound like you may like them! Browse through the Yahoo yellow pages, the local daily paper online, local television websites, and so on, to get an idea of what businesses might be there and what life may be like in the areas you are considering. If a place interests you, google it to death and check the local newspaper website daily. Visit. Eat at some restaurants. Read the newspaper.

Again, are you considering moving away from Florida at all? Or did you want validation for not moving? We can give you plenty of that, too, if that is what you want!

If you were considering Jamestown, NY as a potential ER location, then I am sorry it didn't work out! At least you know now.
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Old 03-02-2008, 05:57 PM   #14
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All I wanted is the name of a few low cost locations that have the amenities I find reasonable . No one seems to be able to come up with one . The only reason I mentioned Jamestown is that's where my daughter lives and being there got me thinking about the lack of the amenities in lower cost locations . I do not need great restaurants but I need a few good ones and a local theater group and an airport and shopping that's not Walmart . So come on board members all I want is the name of a few low cost areas with amenities I'm probably not going to move there but I might visit .
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Old 03-02-2008, 06:02 PM   #15
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if you like greek food you might consider checking out tarpon springs and north to new port richey. small towns, easy living. i spent a few days there--i think that was last year--and was surprised at how much i enjoyed it.

you might considering going this year to ChascoFiesta.net - Welcome To The Chasco Fiesta Home Page and see what you think. best small town parade i ever had the pleasure to enjoy.

and like want2 suggests, if you consider nascar culture, you'll just love daytona. if you leave now you'll be just in time to check out BikeWeek.com featuring a pig roast through march 9th and cole slaw wrestling on march 5-8. good food and culture all in one event!

maybe this is helpful: Cost of Living comparison calculator
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Old 03-02-2008, 06:12 PM   #16
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All I wanted is the name of a few low cost locations that have the amenities I find reasonable . No one seems to be able to come up with one . The only reason I mentioned Jamestown is that's where my daughter lives and being there got me thinking about the lack of the amenities in lower cost locations . I do not need great restaurants but I need a few good ones and a local theater group and an airport and shopping that's not Walmart . So come on board members all I want is the name of a few low cost areas with amenities I'm probably not going to move there but I might visit .
Are we playing "Give me a location so I can shoot it down"? Sort of like "Duck Hunter" on my old Sega Genesis. How about Pittsburgh? (ducking)

(Promised validation): No, Moemg.... there is NOPLACE that is nearly as perfect as your home. Out of all the people that read this board, not one person could come up with a single place that is any better. Really, you have a great deal! In fact, we are ALL going to show up at your place around dinnertime....
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Old 03-02-2008, 06:13 PM   #17
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Marquette, Michigan (MI) Detailed Profile - relocation, real estate, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, news, sex offenders

Northfield, Minnesota (MN) Detailed Profile - relocation, real estate, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, news, sex offenders

Fargo, North Dakota (ND) Detailed Profile - relocation, real estate, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, news, sex offenders

Omaha, Nebraska (NE) Detailed Profile - relocation, real estate, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, news, sex offenders

St. Paul, Minnesota (MN) Detailed Profile - relocation, real estate, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, news, sex offenders

Duluth, Minnesota (MN) Detailed Profile - relocation, real estate, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, news, sex offenders

i guess it depends what you want for activities and such. Marquette has a local theatre courtesy of the university, which has it's ups and downs. Diversified local shops, some great little restaurants (but you'd get tired of them if you ate out abundantly), and more outdoor activities than you can shake a stick at (I would bet a month's salary that I'd be able to get you on a public beach within 20 minutes of the city on the best day in the summer and you'd be one of, maybe, four people there). Plus, if you like winter activities, a seasonal average of multiple feet of snowfall make skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling enjoyable.

Fargo has some great restaurants, it's easy to get around, a nice art gallery, and it's cheap. It's in the middle of nowhere though and gets down to temperatures in the winter that even I can't fathom.

Omaha is cheap, it's big enough to have a lot to do, but it gets really hot or really cold.

St Paul is the affordable twin to Minneapolis. We've got theatres coming out our ears, a decent selection of art galleries and we get some decent music acts through here. Every resident is assigned their own lake, which is nice if you like to get out on the water in the summer. It's either too hot or too cold, though.

Martha can fill you in on Duluth better than I could, but Duluth is one of the places I've often thought about moving. Great restautants, some nice little art galleries, and enough lakeshore to get lost on.

Northfield is a nice little college town. I've heard that one of the colleges there was working on a 55+ student for life program... buy a condo in their development and attend classes for free for as long as you want / are able.

Note. I'm not sure if any of these are the perfect place.. I'd probably move if I could find a spot better than where I'm at now.
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Old 03-02-2008, 06:18 PM   #18
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cole slaw wrestling on march 5-8. good food and culture all in one event!
Is that sort of like mud wrestling, in lettuce/cabbage? Maybe with some bacon thrown in?
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Old 03-02-2008, 06:36 PM   #19
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Hmmm - Lawrence Kansas shows 10.98% cheaper than Sarasota on the calculator posted earlier this thread. Plus 38 minute or so drive to the Big City - Kansas City if you want to catch a cuturally uplifting Chiefs game in season.

I also hear rumors some people think they are close to rediscovering the Yellow Brick Road.

heh heh heh - Thinking about it - I have never picked a spot - I've always made do in the place I ended up by emulating what the locals did. There seemed to be a wide enough range to pick and choose somewhat. I will admit I left my ski's in Denver(74) and never joined a New Orlean's ski club so there are a few limits - I do have a real fondness for high ground post Katrina but that may wear off in a few years and I may boogey off somewhere else - nobody says you have to stay in one place your whole ER.
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Old 03-02-2008, 07:26 PM   #20
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Marquette, Michigan (MI) Detailed Profile - relocation, real estate, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, news, sex offenders

Northfield, Minnesota (MN) Detailed Profile - relocation, real estate, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, news, sex offenders

Fargo, North Dakota (ND) Detailed Profile - relocation, real estate, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, news, sex offenders

Omaha, Nebraska (NE) Detailed Profile - relocation, real estate, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, news, sex offenders

St. Paul, Minnesota (MN) Detailed Profile - relocation, real estate, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, news, sex offenders

Duluth, Minnesota (MN) Detailed Profile - relocation, real estate, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, news, sex offenders

i guess it depends what you want for activities and such. Marquette has a local theatre courtesy of the university, which has it's ups and downs. Diversified local shops, some great little restaurants (but you'd get tired of them if you ate out abundantly), and more outdoor activities than you can shake a stick at (I would bet a month's salary that I'd be able to get you on a public beach within 20 minutes of the city on the best day in the summer and you'd be one of, maybe, four people there). Plus, if you like winter activities, a seasonal average of multiple feet of snowfall make skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling enjoyable.

Fargo has some great restaurants, it's easy to get around, a nice art gallery, and it's cheap. It's in the middle of nowhere though and gets down to temperatures in the winter that even I can't fathom.

Omaha is cheap, it's big enough to have a lot to do, but it gets really hot or really cold.

St Paul is the affordable twin to Minneapolis. We've got theatres coming out our ears, a decent selection of art galleries and we get some decent music acts through here. Every resident is assigned their own lake, which is nice if you like to get out on the water in the summer. It's either too hot or too cold, though.

Martha can fill you in on Duluth better than I could, but Duluth is one of the places I've often thought about moving. Great restautants, some nice little art galleries, and enough lakeshore to get lost on.

Northfield is a nice little college town. I've heard that one of the colleges there was working on a 55+ student for life program... buy a condo in their development and attend classes for free for as long as you want / are able.

Note. I'm not sure if any of these are the perfect place.. I'd probably move if I could find a spot better than where I'm at now.

Thanks , the only one of those towns I've been to is St.Paul and I thought it was pretty nice . I knew there were good towns out there I just did not know where .
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Diversifying Doesn't Lower Risk, But It Does Lower Potential Gain justin FIRE and Money 44 11-05-2005 05:16 PM

 

 
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