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Old 04-18-2015, 02:53 PM   #21
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I'd encourage you to take a look at the Santa Rosa, CA, area, about 60 miles north of San Fran. It meets all your priorities, but I would especially mention its proximity to great fishing area - lakes, rivers, and just 30 miles from the Bodega Bay / Jenner coast. Oh, and Santa Rosa has three Home Depots within 25 miles. I, also a former PA guy, love it here.
Traffic can become congested, but typically only during commuting hours on the main thoroughfares (US 101), which a retired person can avoid!
Agree with this-there are also some smaller towns north of Santa Rosa, like Cloverdale, and Ukiah. Ukiah has a Home Depot and another great home improvement store as well. Plus, Ukiah is getting a Costco soon. Climate is fabulous for gardening, boating, and about an hour to the coast. Good luck in the search for your forever after place!
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Old 04-18-2015, 03:39 PM   #22
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OMY = One More Year -- As in waiting just one more year before feeling really comfortable enough (often financially) to retire.
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Old 04-18-2015, 04:51 PM   #23
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Yea I know some very nice places that will make your list. But they are very expensive.

Like Mill Valley CA
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Old 04-18-2015, 04:53 PM   #24
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Good question. I actually grew up not far from New Orleans near the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Still have family there and have often thought it might be a place to retire. DW is from Mississippi and doesn't really want to move back to that part of the U.S., however, for lots of reasons so probably not in the cards. Anyway, outside of that, it has what I'd be looking for
- low cost of living
- medical care in abundance
- N.O. Airport is about 30-40 minutes away
- good food and access to culture
- far enough inland that you don't get the brunt of the occasional Hurricane


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Old 04-18-2015, 05:15 PM   #25
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Visited relatives in Sarasota recently beautiful, nice weather but pretty crowded.
2) We've had it with New England winters - even here in southern Pennsylvania gloomy gray skies for 3 months and 2 degrees - no thank you.
Yea but come to Boston now. We have fantastic spring and lovely fall.

Winter can be long but living in high humidity mosquito infested Florida in summer is no fun.

We always want what we do not have. It is not easy to find nice place...at the end being close to your family, friends and kids may matter the most.
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Old 04-18-2015, 05:27 PM   #26
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...at the end being close to your family, friends and kids may matter the most.
Which is why despite the weather we will most likely end up in southern PA. Having just read "Thinking, Fast and Slow" again I noticed there is a section on how location affects one's overall happiness. Turns out that it doesn't.

According to the book, while people in southern CA believe they are happier than people in Michigan, and vice versa, the fact is that both are the same. While people from Michigan believe that they will be happier in CA, the fact is that after the initial elation at the weather wears off they adapt, and their happiness level returns to the same as it was. The reverse is also true. Yes the northerners hate the harsh winters but it doesn't affect their overall happiness.

But I still think I'd be happier in NC....
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Old 04-18-2015, 05:28 PM   #27
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OP topic has been much on the mind, since I'm about to semi-retire and move to Reno, NV with DW in 10 weeks.

We considered greater Seattle, Colorado Springs (have a cabin about 75 minutes from the city), and finally Reno
Factors:

1. Climate-- can be hot in summer but dry and has a moderate winter. Huge change from Houston, where the summer heat and humidity have become a bit old, after 25 years. I like a dry heat, particularly if it cools down at night. Went to grad school in Riverside, CA, so I'm familiar with the high desert climate; Colorado can be similar in summer.
2. Fly Fishing. New house is 1/8 mile from the Truckee River and about 4 miles from the City Center. I can walk to the river and there are multiple places in Tahoe, Sierra Valley and Southwest within a 90 minute drive.
3. Access to mountain skiing/snowshoing & hiking. Tahoe is 45 minutes away with several areas closer in Nevada. Assuming there is snow. Looks to be an El Nino developing, so there is a change this coming winter will be very good for skiing. DW is a big hiker, so I'm prepared to get back into backpacking.
4. Congestion. After working in Houston for 25 with a suburban commute, the commute (which is one of the better in Houston) is increasingly grating. While Reno has some traffic, it offers the advantages of an urban town without the huge congestion. DW will continue working for 4-5 years; I can semi-work from home about 15 hours/week.
5. (Huge) Oldest son is a winemaker in California and bought a house in February only a 4 hour drive away. Youngest is in Seattle, but it's a cheap flight to/from Sacramento or Reno, so we'll see them more than once a week at Christmas at the Colorado cabin.
6. San Francisco and Napa/Sonoma are not too far away for weekend trips.
7. Minor league baseball team, probably about on par with the Astros the last 5 years.
8. UNR; I like having a university library close.
9. No income taxes; we considered Oregon and NOrthern California, but this was a factor.
10. Housing is reasonable although more expensive than Houston. We'll take on a small mortgage after we sell the Houston home; almost the same size and newer but about 25% more expensive.
11. Put the Colorado cabin up for sale since Reno checks off most of the reasons we bought it, but I won't mind if it doesn't sell.
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Old 04-18-2015, 07:09 PM   #28
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I'd encourage you to take a look at the Santa Rosa, CA, area, about 60 miles north of San Fran. It meets all your priorities, but I would especially mention its proximity to great fishing area - lakes, rivers, and just 30 miles from the Bodega Bay / Jenner coast. Oh, and Santa Rosa has three Home Depots within 25 miles. I, also a former PA guy, love it here.
Traffic can become congested, but typically only during commuting hours on the main thoroughfares (US 101), which a retired person can avoid!
The thing in these discussions about moving to California is that the only people that recommend it are those that have been there for 15-20+ years. Anyone who lived there and left will tell you to avoid it. I bailed in 1998 and declined several opportunities to move back in the early 2000's.

It's an incredibly expensive place to move to - gasoline, state income taxes, car registration, housing, car insurance (unless you're moving from Florida) all come to mind. I'll skip over the state's fiscal mess and long term implications for taxes on anyone who isn't on the dole.

The only thing I found that was cheaper there was fresh food, and it's the best in the U.S. Can't beat the climate, though - you can find what you like in that state, but you may not be able to afford it

Oh, and forget about good fresh water fishing in CA - it's all reservoirs and stocked
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Old 04-18-2015, 07:18 PM   #29
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I live in Sarsaota and during the snowbird season the traffic is awful and each year it is worse . Other than the snowbird season it is a nice place to live . Tons of restaurants , cute downtown , activities to fit every personality & great beaches plus access to two airports . The absolute best months are October , November , April & May . I do agree with W2R I would never be a snowbird too much work . If I lived up North I would rent for a month to break up the winter .
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Old 04-18-2015, 07:36 PM   #30
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OMY?
One More Year
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Old 04-18-2015, 07:42 PM   #31
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Agree with this-there are also some smaller towns north of Santa Rosa, like Cloverdale, and Ukiah. Ukiah has a Home Depot and another great home improvement store as well. Plus, Ukiah is getting a Costco soon. Climate is fabulous for gardening, boating, and about an hour to the coast. Good luck in the search for your forever after place!
+2. We really like it here in Northern Cal. There is a lot to do North of SF and if you can find affordable housing, the COL beyond that is not too much more than the rest of the U.S. I have retired friends with mortgage free homes who live well on modest budgets. Here is a chart comparing Ukiah to Tulsa. Most of the COL difference is in housing:

Cost of Living Comparison: compare Ukiah, California to Tulsa, Oklahoma

Here is a chart on pleasant weather to help with the decision:

kelly norton: The Pleasant Places to Live
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Old 04-18-2015, 09:07 PM   #32
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+2. We really like it here in Northern Cal. There is a lot to do North of SF and if you can find affordable housing, the COL beyond that is not too much more than the rest of the U.S. I have retired friends with mortgage free homes who live well on modest budgets. Here is a chart comparing Ukiah to Tulsa. Most of the COL difference is in housing:

Cost of Living Comparison: compare Ukiah, California to Tulsa, Oklahoma

Here is a chart on pleasant weather to help with the decision:

kelly norton: The Pleasant Places to Live
+3 You can get a nice small house in Ukiah for 325K. And your property taxes will be controlled because of Prop 13. 1% of the property price. Something to think about!
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Old 04-18-2015, 09:19 PM   #33
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I live in Sarsaota and during the snowbird season the traffic is awful and each year it is worse . Other than the snowbird season it is a nice place to live . Tons of restaurants , cute downtown , activities to fit every personality & great beaches plus access to two airports . The absolute best months are October , November , April & May . I do agree with W2R I would never be a snowbird too much work . If I lived up North I would rent for a month to break up the winter .
I lived in FL for 4 years. Living full year among snowbirds was very tough, especially as a young person. Summers were great when the snowbirds were gone. But winters were brutal when everything became crowded overnight. I was happy to leave. I will get my revenge some day, likely by renting during the peak of snowbird season.
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Old 04-18-2015, 09:24 PM   #34
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My wish list...
1) I really don't want too much congestion. But 30 min to Home Depot max.

Damn, I thought my desire to be near a Costco was weird (maybe even slightly pathetic), but you've made me feel better! Thanks.
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Old 04-18-2015, 09:57 PM   #35
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+3 You can get a nice small house in Ukiah for 325K. And your property taxes will be controlled because of Prop 13. 1% of the property price. Something to think about!
I believe the Jarvis proposition specified property tax as 1.25% of the purchase price of the real estate. But then the towns and cities can add on bond issues, etc.

When we lived in Ventura County, Ca, our property tax was doubled because the town bond issues for improvements for schools, cultural stuff, etc were to be paid back by the property owners. Not necessarily a great deal.
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Old 04-19-2015, 05:35 AM   #36
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Where to retire

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My revised wish list...
1) I really don't want too much congestion. 30 min to Home Depot max.
2) We've had it with New England winters - even here in southern Pennsylvania gloomy gray skies for 3 months and 2 degrees - no thank you.
3) single story living
4) love to fish fresh or salt
5) love growing lettuce, tomatoes etc. but I could do it in pots I'm easy
6) hills NC - cool nights? A touch of winter?
7) buy out the relatives keep the florida condo and do the summer/winter migration?
8) east coast: daughter 20 college junior in September .. She will no doubt end up near here.
Rest of relatives will be in Florida.
9) not a high crime rate

Crime: We live a few minutes away from Wilmington Delaware where I work. It is referred to by the media the Small City Murder Capital. I subscribe to the police alerts and frankly it is unbelievable and scary. Shootings nearly every day sometimes twice a day.. Guns, guns and more guns. You know that saying if they outlaw guns only the outlaws will have guns - well they already have them. That and 50 or 75 bags of heroin. I tease my buddy who lives there - "They'll have a monthly lottery around social security time to see who gets to mug you.." I don't want to be a part of that kind of lottery. I am on the road to knee replacement and walk with a limp and am slow - I feel like the slowest fish in the school - you know what that means, Oh the police are trying but it's just a matter of time before they too are shot or taken hostage... Yeah I make 'light of it' because that's the way ideal with it.

http://www.wilmingtonde.gov/news/news.php?c=6


Oh did I mention running the gauntlet through the hood every night to get home. Don't pull to close to the car in front of you! You may need a way to get out of there.

No not a high crime area...


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Old 04-19-2015, 06:23 AM   #37
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We went through all of this for 5-6 years before retiring. I had a loooong prioritized list of what was important to us. I have traveled most of the country in the last 60+ years, lived in quite a few states, and used every website I could find devoted to rating and describing states, cities, and towns in the country. What we were lucky to discover was for us there was "no place like home". It had almost everything we wanted that was important for our retirement years. We would like to live in the mountains of NC, Ga, or Al but not to the exclusion of other priorities and besides we are only 2 blocks from what could be considered a semi-private beach in northeast Florida.

It sounds like you might want to:
1. Make a comprehensive and prioritized list of what you want in a retirement area
2. Google search for websites describing/rating cities/towns around the country
3. Follow up with websites on those areas that look promising
4. Make plans for a trip to those areas and enlist welcome centers and realtors to check out the homes and neighborhoods while you visit. I would suggest driving instead of flying if at all possible so you can see the surrounding countryside.
5. Return to those most promising at different times of the year.

Keep in mind that where ever you decide it is not necessarily a permanent location and you can always move if it doesn't fulfill your needs. That's one of the beauties of not being tied down to a location because of a job.

Good Luck finding your Shangri-La.

Cheers!
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Old 04-19-2015, 08:05 AM   #38
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The thing in these discussions about moving to California is that the only people that recommend it are those that have been there for 15-20+ years. Anyone who lived there and left will tell you to avoid it. I bailed in 1998 and declined several opportunities to move back in the early 2000's.

It's an incredibly expensive place to move to - gasoline, state income taxes, car registration, housing, car insurance (unless you're moving from Florida) all come to mind. I'll skip over the state's fiscal mess and long term implications for taxes on anyone who isn't on the dole.

The only thing I found that was cheaper there was fresh food, and it's the best in the U.S. Can't beat the climate, though - you can find what you like in that state, but you may not be able to afford it

Oh, and forget about good fresh water fishing in CA - it's all reservoirs and stocked
+1

I enjoyed living in California as a young professional in silicon valley. But eventually I didn't really enjoy it any more. The horrible traffic, terrible schools, and high cost of living wore me down. I am much happier elsewhere, though I still like to visit on occasion.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:50 AM   #39
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I believe the Jarvis proposition specified property tax as 1.25% of the purchase price of the real estate. But then the towns and cities can add on bond issues, etc.

When we lived in Ventura County, Ca, our property tax was doubled because the town bond issues for improvements for schools, cultural stuff, etc were to be paid back by the property owners. Not necessarily a great deal.
I can only speak for our norcal property taxes, but we pay 1% as a base rate (as do people who newly purchase here) and bond issues add another .21 percent. Our total tax bill for 14/15 was 2169.42. 1780.56 base rate plus 388.44 for various bond measures for schools, & fire. So in larger metro areas like Ventura County, it appears very much higher. In our largely rural area, with fewer services, not so bad.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:59 AM   #40
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Having just read "Thinking, Fast and Slow" again I noticed there is a section on how location affects one's overall happiness. Turns out that it doesn't.

This is commonly said, but I find it very hard to believe. Imagine trying to design the study that could accurately reflect this.

Who would believe that any SO would be equally satisfying? Nobody, and I think they would be correct. But while an SO can affect lot of things, is she as all enveloping as weather for example? Or sunshine?

I loved my parents and friends, but when I left home state it didn't take long to figure out that although every place has its charms, some of them are just more compelling than others.

Ha
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