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Where to move, and why?
Old 02-14-2014, 11:14 AM   #1
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Where to move, and why?

So many threads on the subject of relocating. Perhaps we can help, by offering up the positives of our own prejudiced opinions. A virtual sampling of where we have settled, or plan to settle... and WHY!

Think of convincing your best friends, neighbors or relatives to consider moving to a place that you think is a great place to retire. Just the positives, and not second guesses of others who would disagree. Ok to talk about the challenges... weather, cost, taxes, accessibility to culture, education, entertainment, weather, healthcare or terrain... mountains, lakes, ocean etc... No "perfect" places... but those things that affect your choice. Even if you're happy in your hometown... why?
.................................................. .................................................. ...........

So here's a start: My 24 years in Central Florida... because:

-less than 2 hours to either coast... Daytona east, Tampa St Pete west.
-40 miles to Orlando and Disney
-35 miles to Ocala
-no/low income taxes
-low housing costs, low house taxes
-mobile/manufactured homes... vehicle taxes instead of house taxes- singlewide tax $100, double wide $200 and that's it except for $200 fire tax.
-a unitary town... electric, water, sewer, trash, one stop services.
-gated community... no crime
-lower cost of lving than on the coasts... dining, entertainment..
-we live in a manufactured home senior village, 360 homes, but "TheVillages" are 13 miles away... a little more expensive but great for those who want big. 1000+ activities
-less traffic than the coastal areas, but growing.
-services less expensive... across the board. Lower average income area, and many services by retirees within the park... mowing trimming, basic carpentry and plumbing.
-we live on a lake, connected to 5 other lakes and the Ocklawaha River... Lakes alone, 212 miles of shoreline.
-Humidity, inland lower than on the coasts.
-Temperatures Florida Travel Vacation Guide - Accommodations,Â* Attractions and Retirement info and more!.
-In the year we lived there, no hurricanes hit our area, though some tornadoes skipped through nearby.... most damage usually comes on the coasts.
-half of homeowners have and use golfcarts insite the community.
-no golf course, but a twice weekly golf trip for those folk... Go to different courses, and get greens fee breaks. .. group of 12 to 24.

-annual activity fee $6
-home owner fee one time, lifetime fee per home... $20.
-best screened in large pool and spa in Florida... clean and water temp 84 degrees, so you can float around all day... as in the movie "Cocoon".
-55 slip marina, large clubhouse, 1/2 mile to mall and city.
-high level of activity... pot lucks, horseshoes, swimming, tai chi, aerobics, fishing, shuffleboard, bowling bocce ball, library, crafts, tours, cruises, groups for motor cycling, biking, convertible group (weekly adventures), cards, bingo, billiards, line dancing western dancing, ballroom dancing (sometimes).

... and parties... parties... parties... Pick yours... Every Holiday, separate party for each activity, bands at most parties or karaoke or talent shows. Cheap... $4 to $9 /person for a 7:30 to 12 party includes food, snacks, and all the beer or wine you could want... small parties 1 kegger, larger parties 2 kegger. From September through April... average a party a week. Usuall attendance from 75 to 200.

-you know everyone... and the names of their dogs.
-loving community of volunteers... free rides to medical services, shopping, running and hosting parties meetings and events.
-in 24 years... no harsh words

While I can't put an "average" on the income level of our Florida community, I'd cite a range of from $30K to $75K, ( a working man's retirement) but because of the friendliness and high activity level, we have numerous professionals and well to do folks who live there because it's more fun. About 1/2 snowbirds. Some "parks" age... and end up with mostly much older people. The turnover in our park keeps it young and we have a goodly share of those in their 50's.

That's my "pitch"... We'll eventually move back, Illinois in our continuous care community with the senior friendly home, the apartments, the assisted care, and the nursing home... as we slow down and as needed... also, closer to the kids.

So what are your plans? Travel? Snowbird? Texas? Arizona? ExPat? California? Washington? Maine? Or to stay where you're comfortable today? Just imagine... you probably couldn't imagine all these choices a while back. Retirement...What a great life!

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Old 02-14-2014, 11:25 AM   #2
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On my Costa Rica trip in Jan, I met a couple who lived in "the village" and I heard all about it. Sounds like a good place to retire.

Pura Vida
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Old 02-14-2014, 12:06 PM   #3
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This has been posted before, but for those who missed it... a very interesting read. A .pdf file of 100 facts about "The Villages"


We remember when it was the "Orange Blossom Gardens" a mobile home retirement village of 900 units, back in 1990, and considered buying in at the time. I'ts still there as the heart of that gigantic community. It was back when there was only one golf course, instead of the 40+ golf courses there today.
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Old 02-14-2014, 12:34 PM   #4
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For Canadians, finding a place in the sun is often an attractive winter option (just ask kcowan). However, it can complicate taxes, residency and healthcare eligibility unless properly planned....

The flip side of retirement in the sun? A tax headache - The Globe and Mail

As well, leaving Canada and severing residency ties would generate a significant tax liability as all tax sheltered accounts would be deemed disposed of. In my case the tax liability would be over $0.5m. So my compromise has been to choose a location with some of the mildest winters in Canada. I can travel to warmer climes whenever I feel like it. So far, I've taken short vacations, but I may try a long term rental at some point.
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Old 02-14-2014, 01:13 PM   #5
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Currently, I am living in Bay Area, CA where living expense is ridiculous. For a while, we considered moving to Reno, NV for tax and the expense reasons. But playing golf all year around became a hard requirement for us and we had to drop Reno idea.

Then, I considered snowbirding between Reno & Las Vegas. Dropped that too b/c I do not trust myself with gambling (LV makes it too easy ).

The next & current option is to stay in less expensive area in CA, e.g, Sacramento area until ....

I read the link provided by imolderthanu above. The village certainly will make me think hard (golf!). If we decide on it, I'd like to rent a house in the village and try it out for 6 months to a year. BTW, I just looked up housing price in the Villages and found that I can sell my current CA home and buy one in the village with cash. I.e, I won't have mortgage to pay. Other expenses will be much lower than staying in CA.
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Old 02-14-2014, 01:27 PM   #6
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We've bought a rural retreat, with 300' of the nicest creek around. Clean, clear, and kayakable, both upstream and down, with good sized bass that are ready to reel in. The water is warm enough that it is enjoyable to swim/tube in. Whether we are playing in our creek, or sitting on the deck watching and listening to it, we feel the stress pour off of us.

Next door to a National Forest, there are lots of hikes to enjoy, with the hikes to the waterfalls being our fave. The road is used by cyclists as a scenic byway, and our 3 acres of flat cleared land at the edge of mountains will host a killer garden when we finally get there year round. While there is a library right down the road, decent shopping is about 30 minutes away, and we are about 45 min from a small city.

And the people complete the picture. Though this Yankee is headed south, we have been so well welcomed, already forming some good friends. I have never felt so comfortable anywhere.

The negatives? Because of the rural nature of the property, we will probably just live here for a couple of decades, which will bring us to our early to mid 70's. However, in renovating the property we are putting in a second living area, with the idea that we may hire someone to take care of us when needed. Even if I can no longer power up the rapids in my kayak, I can watch them from the deck. The wildlife can be an issue, with packs of coyotes making solo trecks unwise. Many would find this place too rural, so stay away, please. I love kayaking for hours without seeing another person.
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Old 02-14-2014, 01:33 PM   #7
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Not sure I'll relocate from DFW, but would like to be able to escape the worst of summer (and winter, it seems) by taking some extended road trips.
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Old 02-14-2014, 01:49 PM   #8
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The Woodlands, Texas here, in a 55+ community (93 homes + community center, etc). There are ~100,000 people in The Woodlands, DW loves The Woodlands, but too much traffic for me and Exxon is moving their corporate offices here on almost 400 acres. They are building a corporate center with about 4,000,000 square feet (you heard right) and 8,000+ employees. I hear it's the largest commercial project in the U.S. right now! Scheduled completion is mid-2015. This is driving real estate prices nuts.

When the flood of people come, it will be *crowded* and commercialized beyond belief.

I will have a hard time convincing DW to move out of here to a slower pace that suits me better, if it comes to that.
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Old 02-14-2014, 02:28 PM   #9
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I lived in a prosperous small town in WA for a while. Plenty of people, men and women just grew old where they were. Often they had a child who might come around and help get in some firewood, and be sure no one was hungry or in trouble. There was also a nice asst. living/nursing home on the town, where it seemed to me on infrequent visits there that living conditions were ok, and one's family were mostly right around

I suppose it may be different now, but 15 years ago or so when my parents went into assisted living, I noticed that the place was full of old women, but few old men. Men don't often thrive in captivity.

As long as I have decent mental and physical health, and can handle one flight of stairs I should be ok where I am. No need to drive, or do any outside work. All services and most entertainments are no more than 1 mile away. If I were in a wheelchair or didn't know what day it was, maybe not. I think by the time most of us are getting truly old there will be signs advocating euthanasia all over everywhere. Not sure what I think of this; it may be good overall.

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Old 02-14-2014, 04:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
So what are your plans? Travel? Snowbird? Texas? Arizona? ExPat? California? Washington? Maine? Or to stay where you're comfortable today?
I love living in New Orleans; love the culture, the architecture, the music, the language, the people, the weather, the history, the low cost of living, and so much more. New Orleans feels like home. But, New Orleans has some pretty serious negatives too; hurricanes and very high crime come to mind.

I would never want to be a snowbird; having two homes is just too much fuss and hassle for my lifestyle. Also I am a homebody and have no desire to travel. Being an expat is out of the question for us, too.

But, we might decide to move elsewhere, at some point.

If we should decide to move, some of our criteria would be:
  • small town (population 50,000-200,000)
  • extremely low housing costs
  • low cost of living overall
  • low crime
  • No hurricanes (well, at least 200 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and from the Gulf of Mexico)
  • satisfactory hospital & medical facilities
  • climate as warm as possible given the above criteria
Springfield, Missouri, seems the closest to meeting our criteria of all the towns we have considered. We have spent quite a bit of time there and it feels right to us.

But then, we will probably just stay here. We are so happy here. Being burglarized last month was kind of a reality check, though. What will we decide? And when? I wish I knew.
"You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." - - - C. Columbus
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Old 02-14-2014, 05:22 PM   #11
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I have been in Ohio for ~35 years. Came here as a wife, long divorced; retired from WPAFB. I will be moving to Pine Island FL because that's where Gary is, and it's cheaper than assisted living. He is making house upgrades to meet my specs. Recently back from 6 weeks there, I got used to it. We have enough money to travel; might make a "grand tour" of Eastern USA when I turn 65.
"Knowin' no one nowhere's gonna miss us when we're gone..."
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Old 02-14-2014, 06:22 PM   #12
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I will be relocating in the not too distant future.
The specific micro-location is equally important to me as is the macro-destination. I need space between myself and my neighbors - the more the better. That rules out Apartments, Condos, and dense neighborhoods (long term)
I have a short list with select locations in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona and California. The final choice will come down to the place .
I also like perpetual domestic travel - i.e. RV, short term rentals, so am in no hurry to rush the decision.
How's it going to end..............
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:16 PM   #13
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We are in a similar situation to aja8888. The town we moved to in 2004 has grown to the point of it being far too busy and crowded for our liking. However, our son lives and works here so we will continue to live here.

But, now that we are retired we spend 6 months of the year away, during the hot summer months.

In a couple of years we plan on moving to Yorkshire, spending ~7 months / year there.

Our reasons for wanting to move are:

It's a small market town, bounded by National Park, so little or no population expansion since we last lived there '79 - '85

Our children were born and baptized there, in the same church as many generations of my family going back to 1648 when my 8 greats grandfather married a local lass.

It's on a major route with lots of buses, and we'll have free bus passes as over 60's

We still have plenty of friends there going back over 30 years.

It's Yorkshire, 30 minutes walk onto the Moors.

We rented a place for 7 months in 2011 and it felt like coming home.
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Old 02-15-2014, 07:55 AM   #14
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We live in PV and rent out our house in Vancouver for the winter. Other people who do the same are from California, Oregon, Seattle, Iowa, Wisconsin, Colorado, Illinois, Arkansas, Massachusetts, NY, Maryland as well as across Canada. It makes for an eclectic group. Seldom a dull moment.

We don't try to convince other friends to join us. Some come to visit and decide for themselves but others have family situations that prevent it.
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:20 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Alan View Post
It's Yorkshire, 30 minutes walk onto the Moors.
Luxury! We had to take a bus to airport and fly three times around the world to get to Moors.

[Note: "Yorkshire" can be a dangerous word to drop into a thread here.]
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:40 AM   #16
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Once are kids are launched and we sell the current house, we plan to move to a condo or maybe even a tiny house. We have a list of places to check out via slow travel for a few years. Where we settle eventually will depend a lot on where the kids end up. We might do something like Alan and split where we live.

Our short list includes checking out a few different countries in the Caribbean, the UK, Spain, Costa Rica, and Southern France.

I am not sure where we will end up. Part of the fun will be the journey while we decide. The big change for us will be a less stuff / low overhead / more free time lifestyle. I have sent DH enough treehugger links that he is actually warming up to the tiny house idea -
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Old 02-15-2014, 10:08 AM   #17
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We plan to stay right here in coastal Connecticut. After 22 years of effort, our big old house is just the way we like it. We live right in town, on the harbor. There are over a dozen restaurants within a quarter mile, the hospital is three blocks away, church is less than half a mile, and there is a large grocery less than one mile in each direction. If we want to go into NYC, we walk three blocks to the train station and ride in. And recent weeks notwithstanding, the weather is fairly decent. Not too hot in the summer, not too cold in the winter (for you gardeners, we are in Zone 7a). The downside is that it is expensive to live around here and the real property taxes are high, but we've taken that into account and our retirement budget will cover the cost.

I do expect that the time will come when we are physically unable or unwilling to maintain the house (many years in the future, I hope). At that point, I think we will likely sell the house and use the proceeds to move to one of those continuing care communities, but I don't know where.
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Old 02-15-2014, 11:26 AM   #18
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In another year or so, I plan on quitting the company I'm at (stock grant will be fully vested, so no financial reason to remain on board after that) and move back to Colorado, at least for a year or two while I decompress and get "back to nature".

I've desperately wanted to get back to hiking, camping, skiing, snowboarding, etc, and one of my goals is to be a ski bum for an entire season in Vail during a good snow season. Looks like they're having a good one this season, but alas I can't do anything about it right now.

I gave some thought to trying to live near the major ski resorts along I-70, but trying to actually live in Vail is preposterously expensive. So if I did that, I'd probably be in some place like Eagle instead.

But...although that would be a great location for the ski season, I'd prefer being closer to a big city (Denver) for the remainder of the year for when I felt like going into town and doing city stuff.

I think now, I'd probably rather be outside Denver, up in the Genesee or Evergreen area. That would put me within easy driving of Denver, I could still get a house on a couple acres for that more rural/mountain feel, and if I really wanted to ski bum it in Vail for a season, I could just rent something in/near town for the season. The rent would be obscene, but at least I wouldn't be forking over the kind of $$$ it would take to buy something up there.

I sure do enjoy dreaming about all that...good thing dreams are free
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Old 02-15-2014, 11:48 AM   #19
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Likely back to Yorkshire for us as well in a couple of years. Narrowed down to Harrogate (not likely, too expensive), Skipton, Otley, Scarborough and surprise a fast unexpected finish....Huddersfield. Going to miss having nice warm sunny summers though No way I want to live in Phoenix type climates....I like having weather. Rain, snow, sun, etc....wouldn't mind the winter here in the Spokane area being a couple of weeks shorter....but we like the cold weather as well as the warm weather.
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Old 02-15-2014, 12:13 PM   #20
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I am adding Livingston, Texas to my list for the hard to replicate services provided by the Escapees.
The ACA effectively removes South Dakota as a viable alternative for those western travelers needing a virtual presence.

How's it going to end..............
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