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Old 04-19-2015, 10:36 AM   #41
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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.
Yes, the bond issue costs vary. Seems like Thousand Oaks, where we lived, was intent on spending lots of money on cultural and core improvements. I am worng on the Jarvis % as it is actually the 1 % you state. Somehow 1.25 % stuck in my memory.

On the other hand, controlled property tax (somewhat) and weather seems to be all that California has that would be appealing to a retiree, especially if you currently live there and have a low mortgage or paid up house. Other than that, it's a tax nightmare and fairly expensive for most living expenses.

After over a decade in California when I was working for Big Oil and commuting by bus, van, car, 60 miles each way to L.A. daily, and seeing Thousand Oaks go "off the charts expensive" and crime ridden, we enjoyed "cashing out" and settling in Texas.

Now, we don't encourage anyone to move here as Texas has enough retirees and job seekers who migrated this way........and we like our open spaces!
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Old 04-19-2015, 10:59 AM   #42
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Now, we don't encourage anyone to move here as Texas has enough retirees and job seekers who migrated this way........and we like our open spaces!
Which part of Texas, Austin or EL Paso?
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Old 04-19-2015, 11:05 AM   #43
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Wherever the grandkids are. That's what I see happening most often.
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Old 04-19-2015, 11:13 AM   #44
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Which part of Texas, Austin or EL Paso?
Many job seekers came to Austin in the last 15 years. Houston also with the energy boom. El Paso is more of a boarder town. We live north of Houston next to W. G. Jones State Forest and 10 miles south of Sam Houston National Forest.
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Old 04-19-2015, 11:19 AM   #45
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Many job seekers came to Austin in the last 15 years. Houston also with the energy boom. El Paso is more of a boarder town. We live north of Houston next to W. G. Jones State Forest and 10 miles south of Sam Houston National Forest.
Thanks. Does the heat and humidity bother you? I guess it's bearable.
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Old 04-19-2015, 11:33 AM   #46
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[...]So what are/were your priorities? Any suggestions as to where? [...]
[...]My priorities would certainly include crime, which to me is the biggest disadvantage of living in New Orleans. If it gets any worse, we still might move away even though we love this area. Hurricanes are a disadvantage here too, but one I have begrudgingly decided I can bear. Insurance is high here, which kind of absorbs all the savings from our outstandingly low property taxes.[...]
I dreamed about this thread last night, and the other priorities that I should add, so I'm posting to include them.

My priorities also include:

- availability of high speed internet. (You all KNEW this, didn't you? )
- city water and plenty of it for a reasonable price (sorry, southern California!)
- city sewer too, as I am too much of a city girl to deal with a septic system.
- near a good hospital that can handle the various medical crises that we may encounter as we age.
- no bigger community than New Orleans; probably a town of about 150,000 or so
- low overall COL (including taxes), and low housing costs
- low crime (mentioned in the quote above)

These are all priorities that I do not want to do without and any place that cannot provide all of them is simply not one I would ever consider as a new location. Of the several locations that meet all of these criteria, we'd prefer the warmest that doesn't have a high probability of hurricanes. Springfield, Missouri has been at the top of our list for quite some time but as I mentioned, so far inertia rules and we haven't moved.
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Old 04-19-2015, 11:35 AM   #47
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Thanks. Does the heat and humidity bother you? I guess it's bearable.
Hot and humid months are June - September. Some years are pretty bad, some pretty tolerable. Both of us are northerners having spent most of our lives in northern states (Connecticut, Wisconsin and Missouri) and really like the south. Yes, the summers can be hot/humid but the rest of the year is down right beautiful.

We have learned how to manage and live with the humidity. Some areas of Texas are not nearly as hot and humid. Austin area and the Hill Country (west of Austin) are very nice.
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Old 04-19-2015, 02:35 PM   #48
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Local culture counts for a lot, too, in picking where to live. A tea party advocate isn't likely to be happy living in Berkeley.

Here is a chart of conservative vs liberal big cities in the U.S.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank...ve-big-cities/
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Old 04-19-2015, 03:21 PM   #49
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After over a decade in California when I was working for Big Oil and commuting by bus, van, car, 60 miles each way to L.A. daily, and seeing Thousand Oaks go "off the charts expensive" and crime ridden, we enjoyed "cashing out" and settling in Texas.
Off the charts expensive I believe, but Thousand Oaks "crime ridden"? As recently as 2013 it was the 4th safest city over 100K in the country on the FBI list, and it pops up to number 1 occasionally. There's plenty of reasons not to love Thousand Oaks, but for almost everyone living here crime isn't one of them.
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Old 04-19-2015, 03:25 PM   #50
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Yes, the bond issue costs vary. Seems like Thousand Oaks, where we lived, was intent on spending lots of money on cultural and core improvements. I am worng on the Jarvis % as it is actually the 1 % you state. Somehow 1.25 % stuck in my memory.

On the other hand, controlled property tax (somewhat) and weather seems to be all that California has that would be appealing to a retiree, especially if you currently live there and have a low mortgage or paid up house. Other than that, it's a tax nightmare and fairly expensive for most living expenses.

After over a decade in California when I was working for Big Oil and commuting by bus, van, car, 60 miles each way to L.A. daily, and seeing Thousand Oaks go "off the charts expensive" and crime ridden, we enjoyed "cashing out" and settling in Texas.

Now, we don't encourage anyone to move here as Texas has enough retirees and job seekers who migrated this way........and we like our open spaces!
Agree that Southern California is generally pretty awful-we wouldn't touch it with a 100 foot poll. DH does drive down there for gigs (he plays drums in an original three piece instrumental rock band) and he always dreads it. Small town northern Calif is quite different. I would buy my house all over again. I would argue that if someone is in the 15% tax bracket, like us, you can buy a small place (1200-1500 sq ft) here and do just fine financially. Besides the weather and prop tax control, we live in a beautiful valley, have small town community feeling, can take a class at the local community college, can start a market garden, can take your boat on the lake, etc. etc. Oh, and we get hot in the summer, but humidity typically is about 15%-it's a dry heat!) And it cools down at night to the 50's. Open the windows for night air cooling! And don't worry about crime, because there isn't any to speak of! So retiring here is not only doable-it's an absolute pleasure!
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Old 04-19-2015, 03:33 PM   #51
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Wikipedia has a compilation of "best" retirement locations, "best" of course being very dependent on individual priorities. But it is a start -

Rankings of retirement destinations in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 04-19-2015, 06:29 PM   #52
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Off the charts expensive I believe, but Thousand Oaks "crime ridden"? As recently as 2013 it was the 4th safest city over 100K in the country on the FBI list, and it pops up to number 1 occasionally. There's plenty of reasons not to love Thousand Oaks, but for almost everyone living here crime isn't one of them.
When we left, the town had its first drive by shooting. Plus, home break ins were increasing. I'm sure it's cooled down and maybe the migration from the Valley has subsided. We moved to T.O. in 1980 and it was very safe then. Even though it appears to hold a low crime rate (according to your post), it's certainly not absent of the usual problems. When we left, the town was very concerned about the crime increases.
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Old 04-19-2015, 07:02 PM   #53
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We are mulling this question now. We live in San Diego. We want out. People say we are crazy, but there are too many people here and the cost of living is outrageous. New housing units are going up faster than the infrastructure can support. Crime in our particular area of San Diego is increasing seemingly exponentially. I know no place is perfect, but we are looking. Enjoying the dialogue here and considering Southern Oregon, despite the tax situation, but based on our interests, it is looking good.
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Old 04-19-2015, 07:20 PM   #54
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We are mulling this question now. We live in San Diego. We want out. People say we are crazy, but there are too many people here and the cost of living is outrageous. New housing units are going up faster than the infrastructure can support. Crime in our particular area of San Diego is increasing seemingly exponentially. I know no place is perfect, but we are looking. Enjoying the dialogue here and considering Southern Oregon, despite the tax situation, but based on our interests, it is looking good.
The same could be said for every California location south of Santa Rosa. The only thing you left out was the gangs and traffic. Was discussing SoCal traffic with a friend at dnner last night and she agreed that you don't drive in California, you battle your way to your destination. Traffic has gotten exponentially worse in the last three years since the "recovery".
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Old 04-19-2015, 07:43 PM   #55
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The same could be said for every California location south of Santa Rosa. The only thing you left out was the gangs and traffic. Was discussing SoCal traffic with a friend at dnner last night and she agreed that you don't drive in California, you battle your way to your destination. Traffic has gotten exponentially worse in the last three years since the "recovery".
This is so true. One of the things we complain about most is just driving around. Traffic is unbelievable. I only commute a few miles to w*rk and I am amazed I make it there or home without an accident. It is just a situation of overcrowding. If you put too many rats in the same cage, they start turning on each other. Also, I know homelessness is a problem everywhere, but it seems to have exploded here. There are people at every intersection (on the islands in the middle of the street) panhandling. They also hang out at ATMs and grocery stores. I am tired of being harassed. The gangs aren't much of a problem in my area, but certainly in greater San Diego they are. We are done.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:02 PM   #56
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Local culture counts for a lot, too, in picking where to live. A tea party advocate isn't likely to be happy living in Berkeley.

Here is a chart of conservative vs liberal big cities in the U.S.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank...ve-big-cities/

I'm not sure where I could move and not be annoyed by the politics...

DFW is growing like kudzu, and as such is under permanent construction, so even off-hour traffic sucks. But, there's a lot to do, and I have family in the area, so I'll likely stay here, and perhaps disappear for a while on occasion, say in July and August.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:24 PM   #57
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I'm a native San Diegan. I thought I'd always live here. But - I moved after a layoff, to Washington State, spent 3 years there. Learned that rain doesn't bother me and loved the beauty up there. Then moved for a better job to the Philly metro area. Loved the history and old houses (compared to the west coast). Didn't like the humidity in the summers, but enjoyed the snow in the winter. Moved to Atlanta.... hated everything about it. Moved back to Philly. Then my mom got sick and I'd just had my older son... so I moved back to San Diego so she could spend more time with her only grandson.

Having lived in several states for extended periods I found I could be happy in most places. (Didn't like the crime in Atlanta after having my car broken into twice in 3 months.)

That said - weather is a factor. Some people are really unhappy in constant drizzle like the NW. (I was ok). Some people really dislike humidity (that would be me). Some people hate snow (that's me.) San Diego has great weather... but has it's downsides, also. That said - I'm glad to be back after spending more than a decade away.

We all want different things - so it's kind of silly to pick a home based on advise from strangers on the internet. What works for one person would suck for another. And vice versa.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:29 PM   #58
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We all want different things - so it's kind of silly to pick a home based on advise from strangers on the internet. What works for one person would suck for another. And vice versa.
+1

Excellent post! And so true. My dreams for a retirement location would suck for 99% of other ER Forum members, and vice versa.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:51 PM   #59
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+1

Excellent post! And so true. My dreams for a retirement location would suck for 99% of other ER Forum members, and vice versa.
Maybe so, but isn't the whole point of this forum to have random strangers provide advice, information based on personal experience to try to help other random strangers consider their options and make an informed decision? Everyone has to know his own mind, but it helps (at least for me) to get outside the echo chamber to see what's out there by hearing from others. Take what you can and leave the rest, etc....
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Old 04-20-2015, 04:53 AM   #60
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I've been in the Ft. Lauderdale area for 16 years and started looking for a place to finish raising my kids. I agree on Sarasota - in addition to the traffic near the beach, it's not cheap (unless you're 5+ miles inland) and I didn't find it kid-friendly.

I settled on Northwest Florida (AKA - Gulf Coast/Panhandle/Redneck Riviera), specifically the area between Panama City Beach and Destin.

Great salt water fishing, plenty to catch in the huge bays just inland and many fresh water lakes within 100 miles. Housing prices and styles range from stupidly expensive on the beach to very affordable as you move inland just a few miles.

Shopping and services including health care are adequate, but don't have the range of choices I've been accustomed to.

Once you're 5-10 miles north of the beach, you're in the rural South, and that won't be to everyone's liking. Fine for me, though.

The major downside I found is the summers are crazy with tourists. Traffic moves slowly on the weekends and beach parking can be difficult. Both are manageable if you plan ahead though.

Plus - no state income tax

You're not kidding about the tourist issue there. My SIL's parents have a condo in Fort Walton Beach and my wife and I made the trek from Jacksonville to see visit them last year while they vacationed there with their kids during spring break. NEVER AGAIN........we couldn't even get into a restaurant to have dinner. I felt horrible for the people that lived there. (although, I'm sure it's different when the spring breakers finally go back up north). The Palm Coast area of Florida has been gaining a very positive reputation for retirement living. About 80 miles south of Jacksonville on east cost. Close to the ocean and not too far south that the summers are horribly hot.

Mike
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