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Old 12-29-2013, 07:06 AM   #61
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Love Sequim and the surrounding Olympic peninsula. So beautiful! Nothing annoying about it. Tons of outdoor things to do and everyone is very active. Not nearly as crowded as living closer to Seattle, and Victoria BC just a 2 hour ferry ride away.

Winters are long and dark though like anyplace at that latitude, but not that cold at all.
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Old 12-29-2013, 10:44 AM   #62
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Seattle 38"/yr PA 25"/yr. Both places grey all winter. Seattle vibrant, everything to do, all services from multiple sources. PA a depressed industrial/fishing town with a beautiful Hurricane Ridge just behind it, and the Straits of Juan De Fuca out front. Seattle surrounded by high mountains, with Elliott Bay on the west and Lake Washington on the East. In the central city it is an easy walk between these two bodies of water. Seattle, nationally ranked hospitals, PA community hospital. To travel from PA to Seattle takes the Hood Canal Bridge, and the Winslow Ferry. (shortest trip) Very crowded in summer. Not fun if one has to commute for cancer treatment for example. If you want sun in WA, move to Tri-Cities. Truly sunny, warm in summer and not bad in winter, and the mighty Columbia rolling by. Plus, hydro races and famous nuclear contamination at Hanford. Regional center, not just a retirement spot. Sequim (pronounced Squim) is mostly annoying retirees from California, and zero to do. Give me a good storm to break the monotony any day. Everyone has different ideas, but I you are over 50, give some thought to how it might be if one of you gets sick, or dies. I once lived on an island that was mostly a retirement spot, and I have never seen a community with more real estate turnover. When I think of all the dumb decisions I almost made over the years, I am so glad I mostly decided not to act on these fantasies. It was pure luck. Like many young people, I ignored good advice all day long. Ha
Very pragmatic advise, Ha. But it sounds totally dreadful to me to base my dream retirement spot on where the good hospitals are at. Maybe it's my age of not quite 50 and still healthy along with my aversion to living in a big city clouds my view also.
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Old 12-29-2013, 12:46 PM   #63
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Very pragmatic advise, Ha. But it sounds totally dreadful to me to base my dream retirement spot on where the good hospitals are at. Maybe it's my age of not quite 50 and still healthy along with my aversion to living in a big city clouds my view also.
I totally see your point. However, after living out for years, including a few years on the Olympic Peninsula in a town way less populated then Sequim. I figured out that only a few people like to go elk hunting all fall, and steelheading every day. When I was on the streams, I met plenty people from Seattle, its not like they didn't have cars or trucks. I also figured out that it is fun to go on all the outdoor and indoor group activities that are found or at least organized in big cities with many like minded people. And man, this holds in spades if a married person finds him-herself single again.

It took me a long time to admit it, but unless you are living a true hermit existence, you encounter less traffic right in the center of Seattle than anywhere in the outskirts, which of course are getting very built up. Looking back, in Boston I lived in Back Bay, in East Bay downtown Berkeley, in LA Venice Beach, in Seattle downtown. Any of these places I would return to to live, although I prefer West Coast even to Boston. Density equals vibrancy equals fun, unless you are going moose hunting, then hire a guide and go to Alberta. I would never return to a less dense setting. It is reassuring to me to know that when I wake up, I don't have to do anything beyond my usual daily activities and I will encounter> 100 people before I go to bed.

Someone else might prefer a 4000 sq.ft house in the burbs to my one bedroom condo in the city center, but my vote is permanently cast on this issue. I recently talked to my ex, who was always kind of frightened of cities. Now, she lives in the heart of the beast too, for reasons very similar to mine.

A recent Seattle Times Headline was "29 homicides in 2013, 6 or them by cops". So I figure, if I always obey officers and say please and thank you sir and keep my hands in view, I am likely pretty safe here.

BTW, I did not base my decision on where the good hospitals were. So far, I never been hospitalized. But as I said, I sure saw a lot of unhappy people commuting from boonies at considerable expense to where they perceived they would get up to date care for a serious illness.

Even if Seattle were less attractive than it is, my life is here, my children, many old friends, etc. IF I didn't have the money to stay, I would more likely find a cheaper way to stay than to leave.

Ha
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:06 PM   #64
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I totally see your point. However, after living out for years, including a few years on the Olympic Peninsula in a town way less populated then Sequim. I figured out that only a few people like to go elk hunting all fall, and steelheading every day. When I was on the streams, I met plenty people from Seattle, its not like they didn't have cars or trucks. I also figured out that it is fun to go on all the outdoor and indoor group activities that are found or at least organized in big cities with many like minded people. And man, this holds in spades if a married person finds him-herself single again. It took me along time to admit it, but unless you are living a true hermit existence, you encounter less traffic right in the center of Seattle than anywhere in the outskirts, which of course are getting very built up. Looking back, in Boston I lived in Back Bay, in East Bay downtown Berkeley, in LA Venice Beach, in Seattle downtown. Any of these places I would return to to live, although I prefer West Coast even to Boston. Density equals vibrancy equals fun, unless you are going moose hunting, then hire a guide and go to Alberta. I would never return to a less dense setting. It is reassuring to me to know that when I wake up, I don't have to do anything beyond my usual daily activities and I will encounter> 100 people before I go to bed. Someone else might prefer a 4000 sq.ft house in the burbs to my one bedroom condo in the city center, but my vote is permanently cast on this issue. I recently talked to my ex, who was always kind of frightened of cities. Now, she lives in the heart of the beast too, for reasons very similar to mine. A recent Seattle Times Headline was "29 homicides in 2013, 6 or them by cops". So I figure, if I always obey officers and say please and thank you sir and keep my hands in view, I am likely pretty safe here. Ha
Good points and you are coming from the reference point of a proper city that is "classy". The ones that I frequent, my head is always on a swivel. The exception being downtown Minneapolis which I was very impressed with and didn't feel the need to clutch my wallet and have my eyes looking around the back of my head. Living in small towns my whole life though does affect my perception of "crowds" "traffic" and maybe false stereotypes of "crime infested cities".
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:11 PM   #65
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Love Sequim and the surrounding Olympic peninsula. So beautiful! Nothing annoying about it. Tons of outdoor things to do and everyone is very active. Not nearly as crowded as living closer to Seattle, and Victoria BC just a 2 hour ferry ride away.

Winters are long and dark though like anyplace at that latitude, but not that cold at all.
This was my impression after living there four years. It is isolated and clogged with traffic during the summer/fall months. An outdoor recreation focused individualist who does not mind a cold shoulder from the intrenched locals should do fine.
Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles is a better than average community hospital. With the understanding of the generalized nature of the ratings, Consumer Reports gives OMC the top spot for the state of Washington.
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:31 PM   #66
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It is reassuring to me to know that when I wake up, I don't have to do anything beyond my usual daily activities and I will encounter> 100 people before I go to bed.

Ha
Sounds exhausting to me. I will not miss the crowds encountered commuting to downtown, chowtime with 50+ people, being accosted by everything that walks (or sprawls on) the pedestrian mall around the work building, etc. If I never ran into 100 people in a single day ever again I would be a happy man.

But I guess it would be a strange world if we were all alike. Good that you have found what works for you.
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Old 12-29-2013, 02:03 PM   #67
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I am late to this discussion, but live here in NM. Let's bring the discussion back to NM for bit. I think NM has both good and bad points. Get out of the bigger city areas of Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces and it is pretty sparse. If you like small town and more rural it has lot of area for that outside the larger cities.

I live in the east mountains of Albuquerque. If you look at a map of ABQ, you see it has mountains on eastern border, Indian reservations to north and south, and open mesa to west. Only new building is to the west since no more open land in other directions. Rio Rancho mentioned earlier is NW of ABQ, and is essentially a suburb of ABQ now. Lot of building in that city, as it is more new and also about the only open land. The mountains are nice and not at all like the city of ABQ. Most houses in mountains are on larger land (1-5 acres). Some areas are more wooded than others, which is nice to have vs open desert in some areas. I am at around 7100 ft elevation and do get some winter weather, the nice thing is once the storm blows through the sun comes out and roads clear up and helps make it nicer. Lot of sun here, and while winter may have snow and cold, summer is absolutely perfect. No humidity most of the year.

Santa Fe is the artsy fartsy town. Think Berkeley or Boulder and you get the idea, except with a southwestern flair. Considerably liberal politics if that is your thing you will fit in there.

Taos, and the other small cities around the northern mountains is real pretty area, but has a lot more winter to deal with. If you like skiing, that area is good choice.

Southern NM is more desert, northern is more mountains. All of NM is fairly dry with total precipitation low and generally classified as high desert climate.

Las Cruces is NW of El Paso and is the big city in the south. Can be hot summers, and being close to Mexico border has some issues for that. The majority of NM agriculture is down near LC.

As for taxes and cost of living, NM does have state income tax and a gross receipts tax in lieu of sales tax (essentially close to same thing and amount approx 7-8%). Since I moved from San Francisco east bay area, to my perspective it is much lower costs and taxes. Housing is probably near national averages, but of course location and size of house make big differences. In my area of east mountains you can get nice houses for $200-500K, as an example.

I originally moved here for work, but am giving it serious consideration for staying as retirement. I could not live in city of ABQ, but here in mountains is away from the crime and city problems, but close enough (30 minutes drive, mostly freeway) for when you want the bigger city benefits. It really comes down to what you want: more space, less people, more wildlife around, more self-sufficient; or less space, more people, less wildlife and more things to do close by.

Anyone wanting more NM info or more details feel free to PM me.
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Old 12-29-2013, 02:27 PM   #68
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My wife and I spent close to two decades living in Boulder, and were frequent New Mexico visitors during that time. We also lived in Silver City, NM for a couple of years and may one day return (we're living in Mexico - Lake Chapala area - at the moment).

Northern New Mexico gets all of the attention....so much so that most folks really have no idea of what exists in the rest of the state. In their defense, it IS a lot of small towns.
Santa Fe anywhere near the plaza has the Disneyland-like feel of so many over-run tourist traps, but there are lots of wonderful areas there if you can afford it, tolerate the cold and the high altitude. Albuquerque feels much more "real," and there are some lovely neighborhoods. It's 1000 feet lower elevation makes a real difference in climate comfort in winter, at least for me, but it is a big, sprawling city that unlike the rest of the state continues to grow.

Silver City is for those who highly value being outdoors in nature (hiking, biking birding, etc.) and who don't mind being in seriously remote place in exchange for knowing it'll never be spoiled or over-run. Given the tiny (less than 10,000) population and the Gila watershed the drought plaguing the rest of the state is a non-issue there, and they have an excellent hospital right in town. Here's a blog post I did comparing it and Bisbee, Arizona:

Caffeinated Calm: High desert gems: Silver City & Bisbee

Both are quirky places that will make a few folks very happy while driving others out of town very quickly.

A summer cabin or RV in Silver City and a winter home in Tucson woudln't be a bad way to go.

BTW we also have lived in Port Angeles, WA and while it doesn't get a ton of rain it is gray and windy all winter and cool, cloudy and culture-less year round. IMHO it - and Sequim - are places people move to to retire, not to live.
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Old 12-29-2013, 02:41 PM   #69
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Old 12-29-2013, 03:21 PM   #70
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OP-

Suggest you visit Darrow Kirkpatrick's blog. He and his DW just relocated to Santa Fe, and he writes about it extensively in his blog. Might give you some insight from a recent relocatee. Try the 'moving west' posts.

Can I Retire Yet? - Save More - Invest Smarter - Retire Sooner
Thanks very much for sharing this wonderful blog and web site. Excellent travel and relocation notes aside, there's a treasure trove of great info here, including the clearest, most incisive "rent vs. own" guide I've seen and an equally well-written booklet ("Can I Retire Yet?") that gets to the heart of the crucial issues better than anything else I've read.
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:44 AM   #71
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Thanks very much for sharing this wonderful blog and web site. Excellent travel and relocation notes aside, there's a treasure trove of great info here, including the clearest, most incisive "rent vs. own" guide I've seen and an equally well-written booklet ("Can I Retire Yet?") that gets to the heart of the crucial issues better than anything else I've read.
Yep, Darrow's blog is a great source of info.
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Old 12-30-2013, 10:39 AM   #72
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We have visited Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, and Las Cruces in our RV trip. I was surprised to learn that Albuquerque has a higher than normal crime rate. It is a liveable city from what I saw. As in most cities, there will be nice and safe areas, and then there are hoodlum neighborhoods.

To find affluent areas, out of curiosity I looked up this Web site that Lsbcal posted a while back: Washington: A world apart. I then put the nicer Zip codes into Zillow, and saw that one could get nice homes for $300K-500K, that would cost 2X in some coastal areas. You cannot walk to the hospitals, but having to drive up to 20 miles should not be too bad.
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Old 01-17-2014, 01:54 PM   #73
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It might be hard to believe but CA is in a worse drought than AZ at the moment.

See this:

Just a follow up on this. California's governor just declared a state emergency. The Southwest has been spared this year. To get plenty of water, one has to go higher along the West coast, meaning north of San Francisco all the way to Canada.
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