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Don't count Utah out as retirement location
Old 03-12-2007, 10:50 PM   #1
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Don't count Utah out as retirement location

We will retire in 5-8 years. I am 57, wife 54. living in California. The state has been good to us in many ways, but it will be time to go. Why?: high taxes, congestion, liberal politics,etc. We have scouted out various spots in western US. Two areas of interest were Oregon and Utah. We decided on Utah. Why?: moderate taxes, fairly clean air, still very "rural" feeling in parts, relatively affordable real estate, good fishing, and beautiful scenery (in certain parts). And no, I haven't been paid for the recommendation!!! It may not be for everyone. The politics are the exact opposite of California...maybe a bit too far right. Yes, there are a ton of Mormons. But they didn't appear to want to eat us. The ones we met and dealt with seemed to be friendly and fair, and nothing was pushed on us. The most liberal area seems to be Salt Lake itself. We bought property in two places, in a small mountain town called Midway, near Redford's Ski Resort. We purchased an acre with a view for $89,000. Elevation there about 6,000 feet.To hedge our bet, we also purchased a lot in the south part of the state, St. George. It is a low desert town.The winters are mild there and real estate was a bit pricier. Maybe we will build on both and live in the mountains in the summer and in the valley in the winter. Oregon also is very appealing, but property values seems to have had a tremendous "run-up" there lately.
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location
Old 03-12-2007, 11:21 PM   #2
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location

You are right - housing is quite affordable (http://www.chapmanrichards.com/). A new 6-BR, 4300 sq ft house is only in the $350K - $450K range.
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location
Old 03-12-2007, 11:43 PM   #3
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location

Jeff, Portland and Eugene are liberal politically, the rest middle of the road except for Roseburg/Medford and NE Oregon (where the scenery is magnificent, the fishing is great but the winters chilly). Housing costs increased significantly in Portland, Bend and Ashland - maybe Eugene, where 'liberals' seem to cluster.

Many parts of Utah are a different socially, and I don't mean just conservative. If you want to move to St. George live there a while in a rental.
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location
Old 03-12-2007, 11:50 PM   #4
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location

Utah is GORGEOUS in places. St. George provides easy access to Zion and Bryce, and is within striking distance of the Grand Canyon, Grand Staircase - Escalante, etc. etc. A hiker's paradise.

I also like the fact that Las Vegas is three or so hours from St. George, (if failing memory serves), so you can get a reasonable flight out when the desert becomes oppressive.

One thing I'd wonder about is my intellectual life. I really want access to GOOD college-level classes once I'm retired. Does Utah have low-cost and academically solid Jr. or State college systems, do you know?

Also, while I know that Mormons are good people and quite accepting (I have friends in SLC) I'd still worry a bit about finding folks to relate too. The same is true of my mother's hometown in Ireland -- my cousins are all Catholics, I no longer am, and it is very subtly distancing sometimes...

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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location
Old 03-12-2007, 11:50 PM   #5
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location

The state is indeed full of Mormans; they were here first but I have yet to have any real "issues" with them. The politics of most of the state is very LEFT but in SLC; the city especially the politics are much more to the right. Orin Hatch is a life-long senator from the state and very few Democrats make it very far into state politics. Not really all that different from many Southern states.

St. George is the retirement capitol of Utah. It is filled with condos and golf courses. The realestate is higher there because of the weather. Summers are very hot. It is not high desert is is low desert which is why it is almost as hot as Las Vegas. Overall, not a bad place to retire if you enjoy golf and lots of old Mormans.

Midway is...well...mid-way from Salt Lake City to Park City (going the backway through the mountain passes). It is fairly isolated which is why the realestate prices are lower there but it is gaining ground as more and more folks move there to escape the cities. Expect a lot of snow and cold weather from late October through March. If you have a house there and you leave for St. George for the winter plan on someone making sure your driveways and sidewalks are plowed and to have someone check on your house to make sure the snow and ice have not gotten inside to ruin things. Winters are rough but not as bad as those further North; but worse than CA for sure.

Utah is not a tax friendly state nor are there many breaks for retired folks. Pensions are taxed regardless of the source. The tax rate is around 7% for most folks and there is sales tax, car use taxes, realestate taxes, and high sin taxes on liquor and other alcohol. Oh, the beer is 3.2 unless you go to a State store to buy it.

Otherwise, it is a great place to live. 4 national parks and within a days drive to several others. Some of the most rugged and beautiful scenery in the world.

We are going to St. George this weekend for a RV trip. The highs are expected to be in the mid-80s and sunny. That is great after being buried in snow all winter.

Either location you picked has good and bad points to them. Just like anywhere else.

BTW, the current unemployment rate in SLC is now 1.7%. Need a job?
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location
Old 03-13-2007, 08:02 AM   #6
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveR
Oh, the beer is 3.2 unless you go to a State store to buy it.
Well, no need to open and read anything further on this thread! Utah is out.
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location
Old 03-13-2007, 09:20 AM   #7
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location

The last time I was in SLC, it had 'the brown cloud' common to LA and Denver.
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location
Old 03-13-2007, 09:36 AM   #8
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location

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Originally Posted by Khan
The last time I was in SLC, it had 'the brown cloud' common to LA and Denver.
The brown cloud is a feature in the valley most of the winter due to inversions that form in the valley; especially where there is snow on the ground. It can hang on for a while and it gets colder in the valley than it does at higher elevations.

Midway and St. George do not have this issue due to their location.

You can escape the cloud by going up into the mountains where the sky is blue and the sun is shining.
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location
Old 03-13-2007, 10:22 AM   #9
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveR
<snip>

Utah is not a tax friendly state nor are there many breaks for retired folks. Pensions are taxed regardless of the source. The tax rate is around 7% for most folks and there is sales tax, car use taxes, realestate taxes, and high sin taxes on liquor and other alcohol. Oh, the beer is 3.2 unless you go to a State store to buy it.

Otherwise, it is a great place to live.

<snip>
Well, which is it? Those two paragraphs are almost opposite statements. :

And as far as the alcohol, "I wish I had more hands - so I could give Utah four thumbs down!"

Thanks to Dave Chappell for that phrase/line of thinking.

-CC
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location
Old 03-13-2007, 01:06 PM   #10
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location

There are a lot of places in the US that still have dry counties and where 3.2 beer is all you can get in the grocery stores. In Utah, you can get the "high test" beer but you just have to get it at a State store just like you do for wine and liquor.

No place it perfect. Sure it is a pain to have to find a State store for booze but it also keeps the "junky liquor stores on every corner" look to a minimum. The liquor laws are restrictive but not unworkable. You just have to learn the system and get used to the nutty restrictions.
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location
Old 03-13-2007, 01:11 PM   #11
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location

Is it legal to brew your own beer in Utah?
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location
Old 03-13-2007, 01:17 PM   #12
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location

Quote:
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Is it legal to brew your own beer in Utah?
Yes it is and there is at least on beer ingredient store here. I have not had the time to start back up but plan to do some in the fall.
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location
Old 03-13-2007, 03:28 PM   #13
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanky
Is it legal to brew your own beer in Utah?
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveR
Yes it is and there is at least on beer ingredient store here. I have not had the time to start back up but plan to do some in the fall.
Pffft. In that case, if I lived in Utah, and you were inside my house, you'd think it would say Budweiser on the outside.

Maybe my drinking is out of control. Nah. I've been to WI.

I apologize, I'll stop hijacking now.

-CC
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location
Old 03-13-2007, 04:00 PM   #14
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location

Quote:
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Is it legal to brew your own beer in Utah?
Yes, but no more than one gallon per individual, including each of your wives.

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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location
Old 03-13-2007, 06:04 PM   #15
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location


Interesting thread. The pictures I've seen of Utah are gorgeous. When Elizabeth Smart disappeared, all of the cable outlets were broadcasting stories from Utah.

I was more interested in the scenery ......... than the kidnapping story....


I've heard that it is difficult to make a living in Utah if you are not LDS since there is such a tight community. I've also heard that there are many Ivy league graduates (a flood) that reside in the area since Mormans are so big on education. These could be urban myths.
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location
Old 03-13-2007, 07:30 PM   #16
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location

I have heard that LDS members are now less than 50% of the Utah population, but I doubt that this has changed the power structure much. By in large they are hard working folks who value education. However, they can be very insular.
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location
Old 03-13-2007, 07:48 PM   #17
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location

Southern Utah is high on my places to visit when I retire.(just 3 weeks ) When is the best time to visit? I want to do some hiking and play golf. I was thinking about heading out that way in the fall.
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location
Old 03-14-2007, 12:00 AM   #18
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location

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Originally Posted by DOG52
Southern Utah is high on my places to visit when I retire.(just 3 weeks ) When is the best time to visit? I want to do some hiking and play golf. I was thinking about heading out that way in the fall.
The Fall is a good time although it depends a bit on where you are going. Extreme examples are St George and Bryce Canyon. St George (southern Utah's golf mecca) is about 2000' and had mild winters and hot, Las Vegas-type summers. Bryce Canyon (great hiking) National Park which is only 50-100 miles away is at 9000' and is cold in the winter and snow is possible although not likely as early as Sept or Oct. Fall is a good compromise and you will avoid the summer hordes.
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location
Old 03-14-2007, 12:15 AM   #19
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location

Driven through it twice.

Only advice I can offer is that the great salt lake smells a lot better in november than it does in august.

Cute that they offer little leg-washer-offers in the parking lots of the rest areas for those like myself that cant help but wallow into it a few feet.
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location
Old 03-14-2007, 10:19 AM   #20
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Re: Don't count Utah out as retirement location

Visited Utah last September - weather was outstanding. Went to Zion (hiked the narrows), Bryce, and attended a conference in Park City - trees were turned.

Every place I visit I examine as a potential retirement site. For Utah, I definately want to visit again; need more time in Zion and Bryce, didn't get to Escalante, would like more summer time up north, but not my retirement option. Politics and associated restrictions aside, I prefer a treed environoment (like north) to a desert one, but don't care for snow.
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