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Living in Tennessee? Pros and Cons?
Old 06-29-2018, 12:11 PM   #1
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Living in Tennessee? Pros and Cons?

I'm thinking of moving to TN when I retire, in a couple years. I live in MS now and I like it. I've lived here 20 years and really appreciate the southern hospitality. I lived in CA before that, and it's very different there.

Anyone here live in TN? What would you say are the pros and cons?

If you're wondering, here are my reasons for moving to TN:

1. The mountains. I miss mountains.
2. The people are friendly (similar to MS).
3. Better hiking.
4. Maybe a couple degrees cooler.

I'm single. I don't like living in big cities or the suburbs of big cities. I like smaller towns, like 30-50K. I'm thinking I'll end up in the eastern part. Of course, I may end up staying in MS, who knows. I just thought I'd get some opinions.
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Old 06-29-2018, 12:49 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by ER Eddie View Post
I'm thinking of moving to TN when I retire, in a couple years. I live in MS now and I like it. I've lived here 20 years and really appreciate the southern hospitality. I lived in CA before that, and it's very different there.

Anyone here live in TN? What would you say are the pros and cons?

If you're wondering, here are my reasons for moving to TN:

1. The mountains. I miss mountains.
2. The people are friendly (similar to MS).
3. Better hiking.
4. Maybe a couple degrees cooler.

I'm single. I don't like living in big cities or the suburbs of big cities. I like smaller towns, like 30-50K. I'm thinking I'll end up in the eastern part. Of course, I may end up staying in MS, who knows. I just thought I'd get some opinions.
I'm also interested in moving to Tennessee and have been actively visiting several areas. I am still working on DW to approve the move, but I think she is coming around. I am interested in the Dyersburg area west of Nashville and north of Memphis.

I am interested to see what kind of reports your thread gets.

I would give you my reasons, but living in Illinois is reason enough I think.

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Old 06-29-2018, 12:56 PM   #3
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No direct experience, but it looks like TN has no state income tax, vs a 5% rate in AL. Higher property taxes in TN could make it a wash financially, though.

As a west coaster, I could probably accelerate FIRE by a couple of years by moving to the South, but Iím not sure I could stand the humidity! Maybe the mountains of TN arenít too bad in that regard?
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Old 06-29-2018, 12:58 PM   #4
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Eastern TN is like western NC; beautiful, wild, and, in many places, remote. Great towns like Nashville, Gatlinburg, Chattanooga, etc.
I've done extensive work in western TN (Memphis area) - you're welcome to it. I'll pass, thank you. It's too hot, flat, and in many parts of Memphis, too mean.
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Old 06-29-2018, 01:01 PM   #5
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No experience actually living in TN, but I live only 20 minutes away from the TN border (Huntsville, AL area). Beautiful state and seemingly well run.
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Old 06-29-2018, 01:13 PM   #6
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I went to school(3 months that seemed like a decade) in Memphis in 1978. I wouldn't go back if they paid me!

That said TN is beautiful and very friendly. I'd certainly consider it if you're familiar with the area and culture. We did enjoy the Knoxville area.
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Old 06-29-2018, 03:12 PM   #7
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Love east TN, but I'd consider the Tri-Cities east TN.

Not Nashville, (I think Red Badger meant Knoxville)
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Old 06-29-2018, 03:39 PM   #8
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I lived in Knoxville for 15 years and liked it. East TN is nice, especially if you live on one of the TVA lakes. No income tax, they are phasing out their dividends tax, IMO property taxes are low, low real estate prices, low COL all around except for sales tax which is north of 9%. COL may not be lower than MS though.

Knoxville and Nashville are substantial cities and have most modern amenities - universities, multiple hospitals, spectator sports, music/concerts, etc.

Weather in East TN is not the greatest - hot and humid in the summer and it does not cool down very much at night. That's why the lakes and mountains are so popular. But you are used to that in MS. September/October is amazingly good. Then it starts raining. It is usually gray and rainy from November through July. Knoxville gets 50 inches of rain a year. If it snows, stay home!
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Old 06-29-2018, 03:39 PM   #9
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That said TN is beautiful and very friendly. I'd certainly consider it if you're familiar with the area and culture. We did enjoy the Knoxville area.
I'm familiar with the southern culture, so hopefully most of that will translate to TN culture. I'm not big on country music or bourbon, but I think I'll be able to mesh with the culture pretty well. As well as I do in MS, anyhow. Some sectors, I just don't fit, and that's fine. The main thing I like about places like TN and MS is that they'll just welcome you. If you want to join a club or school or church, they'll be very friendly and inviting. And you can have neighbors in the old-fashioned sense. Generally speaking, of course.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the cost of living is a big reason I'm moving there. Same as MS, roughly.

I'd like adult education opportunities, too, so maybe being close to a bigger city like Knoxville (pop 186K) would be a good idea.

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I lived in Knoxville for 15 years and liked it. East TN is nice, especially if you live on one of the TVA lakes. No income tax, they are phasing out their dividends tax, IMO property taxes are low, low real estate prices, low COL all around except for sales tax which is north of 9%. COL may not be lower than MS though.
Our sales tax is 7.25%, so that's a couple points higher, but all those other breaks offset it.

Quote:
Weather in East TN is not the greatest - hot and humid in the summer and it does not cool down very much at night. That's why the lakes and mountains are so popular. But you are used to that in MS. September/October is amazingly good. Then it starts raining. It is usually gray and rainy from November through July. Knoxville gets 50 inches of rain a year. If it snows, stay home!
We get 61 inches of rain a year where I am now. That's fine. I love the rain. Not a fan of the heat and humidity, but that's the trade-off, I suppose. I can't go too far north or I get SAD.
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Old 06-29-2018, 03:39 PM   #10
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No direct experience, but it looks like TN has no state income tax, vs a 5% rate in AL. Higher property taxes in TN could make it a wash financially, though.

As a west coaster, I could probably accelerate FIRE by a couple of years by moving to the South, but Iím not sure I could stand the humidity! Maybe the mountains of TN arenít too bad in that regard?
TN does tax interest and dividends at 5%, so its not quite income tax free.

The property taxes are low, according to my relatives.
We have enjoyed visiting, it's a gun friendly state, including State run shooting ranges that are cheap.
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Old 06-29-2018, 03:40 PM   #11
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I'm familiar with the southern culture, so hopefully most of that will translate to TN culture. I'm not big on country music or bourbon, but I think I'll be able to mesh with the culture pretty well. As well as I do in MS, anyhow. Some sectors, I just don't fit, and that's fine.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the cost of living is a big reason I'm moving there. I only need a small 2 bedroom, 1 bath house. I can probably get one of those for 100K, maybe a little more.

I'd like adult education opportunities, too, so maybe being close to a bigger city like Knoxville (pop 186K) would be a good idea.
Knoxville has twice the USA rate for violent crime and property crime. So watch your back.
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Old 06-29-2018, 03:52 PM   #12
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I understand the desire to move for a change of scene and maybe better weather in the mountains, but it's unlikely it will be cheaper than MS. Although MS does have an income tax it excludes SS, government pensions, IRA and 401k income. It's hard to pay much tax as a retiree there (unless your funds are all after tax - dividends and capital gains are taxed).
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:04 PM   #13
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Eastern TN is like western NC; beautiful, wild, and, in many places, remote. Great towns like Nashville, Gatlinburg, Chattanooga, etc.
I've done extensive work in western TN (Memphis area) - you're welcome to it. I'll pass, thank you. It's too hot, flat, and in many parts of Memphis, too mean.
Yeah, I've heard bad things about Memphis. Gangs, etc.

Chattanooga looks nice. Gatlinburg would be too touristy. Knoxville, maybe.

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Knoxville has twice the USA rate for violent crime and property crime. So watch your back.
Oh, no sh1t, really? Damn. Thanks for the heads up. Better avoid Knoxville then. Or maybe there are safe sections.
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:12 PM   #14
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I understand the desire to move for a change of scene and maybe better weather in the mountains, but it's unlikely it will be cheaper than MS. Although MS does have an income tax it excludes SS, government pensions, IRA and 401k income. It's hard to pay much tax as a retiree there (unless your funds are all after tax - dividends and capital gains are taxed).
Good point. I didn't mean for it to sound like I was expecting it to be equivalent. I understand that it will be a little more expensive.

Thanks for pointing out the advantages of MS, tax-wise. I do have a pension, but it's not government. I have 403b and IRA, not much. I'll probably draw SS at 62, so no taxes on that would be nice. There are good reasons to remain in MS. Most of my money is in mutual funds, so I'm taxed on that regardless.

I think average home value in TN is like 150K. I looked it up -- 141K in Chattanooga, 160K in Knoxville. 156 in Gatlinburg. Where I live now, average home value is 147K. So, pretty similar.

Is there anything screwy about the TN health insurance market? I'll probably have to get Obamacare.

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TN does tax interest and dividends at 5%, so its not quite income tax free.
Thanks for the clarification!
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:23 PM   #15
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I would give you my reasons, but living in Illinois is reason enough I think. VW
I would strongly agree!
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:24 PM   #16
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I understand the desire to move for a change of scene and maybe better weather in the mountains, but it's unlikely it will be cheaper than MS.
Just to clarify, my desire to be in the mountains is not just a desire for a change of scene or nice scenery or better weather.

It's mainly two things:

1) my desire to pursue hobbies in retirement, and hiking and backpacking used to be a big hobby of mine; and

2) If I live in a place with a lot of mountains and hiking trails, I'm going to get outdoors more and get more physical activity. That will help me feel better. I love being out in nature. Hiking in MS is not very interesting.
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:24 PM   #17
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TN does tax interest and dividends at 5%, so its not quite income tax free.

The property taxes are low, according to my relatives.
We have enjoyed visiting, it's a gun friendly state, including State run shooting ranges that are cheap.
The Hall income tax on interest and dividends is being phased out. From Wikipedia:

Effective Dates for Tax Rates
4% for tax years beginning January 1, 2017, and prior to January 1, 2018
3% for tax years beginning January 1, 2018, and prior to January 1, 2019
2% for tax years beginning January 1, 2019, and prior to January 1, 2020
1% for tax years beginning January 1, 2020, and prior to January 1, 2021
Full repeal for tax years beginning January 1, 2021

TN has no other income tax so OP should have no liability after 2020.
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:32 PM   #18
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Knoxville has twice the USA rate for violent crime and property crime. So watch your back.
Knoxville crime rates seemed pretty normal, a quick look shows it lower than Jackson MS. But I lived in the burbs so who knows. Downtown has a few bad areas but nothing like say Baltimore.
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:43 PM   #19
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Knoxville has twice the USA rate for violent crime and property crime. So watch your back.
My city has a violent crime rate which is about twice the national average too. But the statistics gloss over the fact that crime is very unevenly distributed throughout the city. Avoid the bad parts of town (everybody knows where they are) and youíd never know that this is a ďdangerousĒ place to live. I suspect it is the same in Knoxville.

About the TN healthcare market, I seem to remember that the Knoxville area was at risk of having no Obamacare insurer for 2018 but I think that BCBS stepped in at the last minute.
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:46 PM   #20
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Spent my life in the state and lived at some time in all four major cities. My experience is the further I went west in the state, the less I liked it. IMO, Nashville just passed Memphis in size and is now too large for me. If I could start fresh over today, I'd head off into one of the small towns off I-81 in east TN. The weather tends not to be too hot and you can really have a nice winter with snow.
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