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Old 04-20-2015, 05:47 AM   #61
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After living in several very large cities (NYC, LA, others), I learned that traffic gridlock and jammed freeways are not something I tolerate, so that environment is out for me. This includes touristy areas, even if it's just part of the year.

After living in the St. Louis area for a few years, I learned that high humidity in the summer is not something I tolerate, so those parts of the country are out for me.

Snow is OK, as long as there isn't too much shoveling involved. High summer heat is not OK. Very high cost of living areas are not OK.

Those are all my hard criteria, and they leave huge regions of the country available for consideration. I've spent at least a little time visiting just about all of it (all 50 states), and I think I could be happy in much of it. Meanwhile, where we live now fits in the acceptable range so we have no plans to move. Happily, being retired gives us the freedom to travel whenever we like, whenever we feel the need for a change.
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Old 04-20-2015, 06:44 AM   #62
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^ You sound like an Asheville, NC candidate. The altitude takes the edge off the heat & humidity w/o much snow.
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Old 04-20-2015, 06:54 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by W2R View Post
+1

Excellent post! And so true. My dreams for a retirement location would suck for 99% of other ER Forum members, and vice versa.
Agreed - a dream retirement place is different among individuals, but the preferences are not that extreme as the factors used to select the location are very similar except for the importance or weight assigned for each factor. Common factors are: mild climate, scenery, high quality of health care, proximity to major hospital, low traffic congestion, low or no taxes, low cost of living, low crime rate, excellent amenities (restaurants, library, museum, botanical gardens, etc), recreation (biking, hiking, walking, fishing, tennis), people and culture and so on.

Obviously, we cannot have everything. Some compromise is needed.
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:58 AM   #64
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Old 04-20-2015, 12:07 PM   #65
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Just saw an article about AARP's new livability index.

According to the article in USA Today, these factors place less emphasis on weather and more on things like walkability, transportation, jobs (less a factor for retirement) and social engagement.
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Old 04-20-2015, 12:34 PM   #66
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My wife and I have been having this conversation for years. I want to get out of the midwest winters, but still want to have a change of seasons. Some of our candidates (and reason(s) for not choosing it):
  • Oregon/Washington (dreary weather; I need sunshine)
  • Florida (too warm & muggy)
  • NoCal (too expensive)
  • New Mexico (too warm in summer & too remote)
  • NC (muggy summers)

Current choice: Colorado, probably between Denver & Wyoming.
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Old 04-20-2015, 12:54 PM   #67
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I've been in the San Francisco Bay Area all of my life. I had what one would consider a high paying job - if I lived somewhere else...I have never and will never be able to buy a house here. The traffic is horrible, it's just chock a block of cars and pavement and buildings. I feel the attitude is definitely what one can buy and not quality of life.

I'm single, retired and feel stuck here. I do't want to move where I have no support system of friends and relatives but I'm longing to be somewhere less frantic. I'm considering Davis, CA, a wonderful little college town but the summer heat is awful and I really don't like the valley though the flatlands of farms can be relaxing. Near the wine country and not too far from the rest that Northern California has to offer. However, I can't buy a house there but am a waiting list for a townhouse co-op. One hour from the Bay Area so accessible enough to see friends and family and support system.

But the idea of living in the Pacific Northwest intrigues me for the mountains, the coastline, the affordable housing.
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Old 04-20-2015, 01:24 PM   #68
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We also lived in the Bay Area for all of my working career (and most of my wife's). We sold our house in San Jose when we fired last year due to cost of housing.

Our problem now is that we have too much choice, didn't have a chance to visit all of the places on our short list, and we seem to keep adding to the list instead of cutting it down. Maybe this means we should be perpetual renters/travelers.

So far the list includes:

Norcal (perhaps around Santa Rosa)
Santa Cruz
Long Beach / Orange County
San Diego Area
Boulder/Denver
Santa Fe
Oregon (Portland/Bend)
Washington DC area

Fortunately for us, all we want/need is a small condo so even though some of these places are expensive, they are still affordable for us.
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Old 04-20-2015, 01:43 PM   #69
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I've been in the San Francisco Bay Area all of my life. I had what one would consider a high paying job - if I lived somewhere else...I have never and will never be able to buy a house here. The traffic is horrible, it's just chock a block of cars and pavement and buildings. I feel the attitude is definitely what one can buy and not quality of life.
If you are 55 or older have you checked out retirement communities out in the 'burbs? When we sell our house eventually that is probably our next stop. The young tech workers and investors are not bidding up those prices so much (have to be over 55, renting restrictions).
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Old 04-20-2015, 01:48 PM   #70
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Daylate - yes, I've checked out the locals ones that are the least expensive, however they are in towns I would never live in. I just some out in Arizona but really don't want to live in Arizona. But Arizona has beautiful and exceedingly affordable 55+ housing.
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Old 04-20-2015, 01:49 PM   #71
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Photoguy:

If I had a home to sell in the Bay Area I would have too much choice as well! Lucky you. Im in the unenviable position of saving only $30k for a downpayment.
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Old 04-20-2015, 01:51 PM   #72
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Daylate - yes, I've checked out the locals ones that are the least expensive, however they are in towns I would never live in. I just some out in Arizona but really don't want to live in Arizona. But Arizona has beautiful and exceedingly affordable 55+ housing.

I PM'd you about our new area in SoCal. Housing is relatively affordable, and there are a couple of 55+ communities nearby. Not any hotter here than Davis, and much closer to the ocean. We were very pleasantly surprised by our new area
and are very happy here.
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Old 04-20-2015, 02:52 PM   #73
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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....
I guess that doesn't apply in Canada...they overrun this place in the winter...
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Old 04-20-2015, 03:05 PM   #74
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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
Wow! I've never disagreed with anyone so much...
Gas, you drive less as public transport or riding bikes is easy...
Income tax - ok, you got me on that one, but I made up for that in moving and negotiating.
Car registration - don't buy new and no problems...even fast service was my experience.
Housing - rent unless you get an awesome deal. We had a 2br condo for $1400...utilities are non-existent as the weather is so constant...
Fresh veggies were great; proteins were not as much as I thought they would be. Sprouts & Trader Joes were great on the pocketbook.
Commutes can suck, but I'd move closer to w*rk if I went back.

Our expenses were around $4k / month a couple years ago. $5k would put in some travel $$'s. Not that bad in my book. Lived from 2007-11, 2013. Would recommend it to anyone who likes dry, warm weather, year-around.

Would move back except DD is in Dallas and that'll be our next chapter coming soon.
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Old 04-20-2015, 03:21 PM   #75
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Look at central Florida for less traffic. Leesburg, Mt. Dora,Eustis, Tavares or The Villages. Chain of lakes for boating fishing. Not much in the way of hills in Florida.
For permanent living vs snobird, try a few weeks in the summer before taking the big step of permanent relocation.
We did the snowbird 6 and 6 for 24 years, but decided against year round becuase we're not happy with the heat, and would miss the changing seasons.
A neighbor just bought a year round home in Hot Springs Village Arkansas. Might be worth a look.
Visited Hot Springs Village last year. Not a bad place, just a little too remote for my taste. Grew up in AR and have a lot of love for north-central and Hot Springs area. Housing cost were really reasonable, for sure.
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Old 04-20-2015, 03:31 PM   #76
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Wow! I've never disagreed with anyone so much...
Gas, you drive less as public transport or riding bikes is easy...
Income tax - ok, you got me on that one, but I made up for that in moving and negotiating.
Car registration - don't buy new and no problems...even fast service was my experience.
Housing - rent unless you get an awesome deal. We had a 2br condo for $1400...utilities are non-existent as the weather is so constant...
Fresh veggies were great; proteins were not as much as I thought they would be. Sprouts & Trader Joes were great on the pocketbook.
Commutes can suck, but I'd move closer to w*rk if I went back.

Our expenses were around $4k / month a couple years ago. $5k would put in some travel $$'s. Not that bad in my book. Lived from 2007-11, 2013. Would recommend it to anyone who likes dry, warm weather, year-around.
One of our kids pays a tad more than that in rent and is able to walk to the beach, with school and work just 10 minutes from home. The total cost of living with a roommate is pretty low for a safe, trendy, walkable area.
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Old 04-20-2015, 07:31 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by photoguy View Post
We also lived in the Bay Area for all of my working career (and most of my wife's). We sold our house in San Jose when we fired last year due to cost of housing.

Our problem now is that we have too much choice, didn't have a chance to visit all of the places on our short list, and we seem to keep adding to the list instead of cutting it down. Maybe this means we should be perpetual renters/travelers.

So far the list includes:

Norcal (perhaps around Santa Rosa)
Santa Cruz
Long Beach / Orange County
San Diego Area
Boulder/Denver
Santa Fe
Oregon (Portland/Bend)
Washington DC area

Fortunately for us, all we want/need is a small condo so even though some of these places are expensive, they are still affordable for us.
A friend of mine lives in Orange County and loves the weather and health care. The traffic is not great but manageable. Just avoid the commute hours. My brother lives in the Boulder area and likes it there except for the weather.
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Old 04-20-2015, 08:02 PM   #78
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Wow! I've never disagreed with anyone so much...
Gas, you drive less as public transport or riding bikes is easy...
Income tax - ok, you got me on that one, but I made up for that in moving and negotiating.
Car registration - don't buy new and no problems...even fast service was my experience.
Housing - rent unless you get an awesome deal. We had a 2br condo for $1400...utilities are non-existent as the weather is so constant...
Fresh veggies were great; proteins were not as much as I thought they would be. Sprouts & Trader Joes were great on the pocketbook.
Commutes can suck, but I'd move closer to w*rk if I went back.

Our expenses were around $4k / month a couple years ago. $5k would put in some travel $$'s. Not that bad in my book. Lived from 2007-11, 2013. Would recommend it to anyone who likes dry, warm weather, year-around.

Would move back except DD is in Dallas and that'll be our next chapter coming soon.
I agree with the original poster. Left California in 2001 and would never move back. Currently I live in Georgia and I might stay if I move north of Atlanta.

About Cali vs Georgia
Gas.. 2.20/gallon here. I don't want to ride a bike.
Income tax - Yep, not going to Cali.
Car Registration - $20 in Georgia
Housing - $1400 a month and you will find a 3000-5000 sq McMansion on 10 acres.
Fresh Veggies - Uh, everywhere here.
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Old 04-20-2015, 08:17 PM   #79
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We like West Texas, but it's not for everyone. Low cost of living, friendly people, but you have to drive to mountains or oceans.


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Old 04-20-2015, 08:39 PM   #80
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I agree with the original poster. Left California in 2001 and would never move back. Currently I live in Georgia and I might stay if I move north of Atlanta.

About Cali vs Georgia
Gas.. 2.20/gallon here. I don't want to ride a bike.
Income tax - Yep, not going to Cali.
Car Registration - $20 in Georgia
Housing - $1400 a month and you will find a 3000-5000 sq McMansion on 10 acres.
Fresh Veggies - Uh, everywhere here.
In an urban hipster part of Georgia near a lot of high paying IT jobs and also near the beach with sunny 80 degree weather? Otherwise the rent comparison is apples to oranges. There are cheap rents parts of California, too, further away from the jobs, beaches, major colleges and cultural attractions but a lot of nice natural scenery and outdoorsy stuff to do.
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