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Retirement Relocation scouting
Old 12-01-2017, 09:10 AM   #1
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Retirement Relocation scouting

DW and I have been discussing where we might want to settle when she finally decides to retire. She came up with the idea of splitting our time between the Big Island of Hawaii (winters) and somewhere on the mainland.* Since we have a 3 week trip to the Big Island coming up (our 3rd trip there), what are some things that we might do to help us evaluate this as a retirement location rather than a vacation spot?

We have already done the following:
1) We are renting a condo in a location that seems like it would be where we would want to settle.
2) We have agreed to spend a few days trying to "act retired" instead of "playing tourist". Hang around the house, go for walks in the neighborhood, etc.
3) I have contacted the Astronomy club and two singing groups to arrange meetings to discuss our major hobby interests. We will also raise more general issues in our discussions with individuals in these groups.
4) We plan on doing much of our own cooking and eat out only slightly more than we currently do.

If this visit reinforces our thoughts that the location is right, then our current timetable would likely involve a slightly longer return trip in 2019. Then I hope that I can convince DW to retire in spring 2020 with relocation that winter.

Thoughts?

*Bonus points for anyone who can tell why DW's short list of mainland cities is limited to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Chicago and St. Louis.
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Old 12-01-2017, 09:32 AM   #2
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*Bonus points for anyone who can tell why DW's short list of mainland cities is limited to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Chicago and St. Louis.
National League Central Division, obviously.
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Old 12-01-2017, 09:48 AM   #3
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National League Central Division, obviously.
I didn't say it was hard. DW is a Cubs fanatic and just a baseball fan in general. She has been a partial season ticket holder here in DC for the last several years. One of her very highest priorities in retirement is that there must be National League baseball and, as long as we are considering relocating, why not have a chance to see the Cubs multiple times each year.
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:04 AM   #4
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Thoughts?

*Bonus points for anyone who can tell why DW's short list of mainland cities is limited to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Chicago and St. Louis.

Just make sure you visit during the less popular times of year. I live in an area that has wonderful summers when the tourists mob the place. but October through May is dull, damp and dark.

I must admit I have never understood the allure of Hawaii as a place to live. My thoughts on it are that it is warm, humid, and everything looks the same after about a week. Worst, to get away you either need to own a very nice boat or fly. I am sure there are loads of long time Hawaii residents who think more people should see Hawaii like I do.
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:18 AM   #5
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I didn't say it was hard. DW is a Cubs fanatic and just a baseball fan in general. She has been a partial season ticket holder here in DC for the last several years. One of her very highest priorities in retirement is that there must be National League baseball and, as long as we are considering relocating, why not have a chance to see the Cubs multiple times each year.
LOL, she should come to San Diego some time. When the Cubs play the Padres, there are so many ex-Chicagoans in the crowd that it looks like it's a Cubs home game.
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:26 AM   #6
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OP - I think you have a good plan, although it would be better if you were renting for 3 months or longer and not 3 weeks.
You are probably limited by her work right now. But if the island life is still on your radar after this trip, perhaps you would do a many month rental right after retirement to truly experience the place after the glow has worn off.

I was once in a place and thought I'd like to buy a house and live here, after 6 months I was thinking "Why does anyone want to live here"
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:36 AM   #7
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OP - I think you have a good plan, although it would be better if you were renting for 3 months or longer and not 3 weeks.
You are probably limited by her work right now. But if the island life is still on your radar after this trip, perhaps you would do a many month rental right after retirement to truly experience the place after the glow has worn off.

I was once in a place and thought I'd like to buy a house and live here, after 6 months I was thinking "Why does anyone want to live here"
That's exactly the longer term plan - no matter where we decide we will end up. A long term rental starting 6-8 months after she retires. We've been vacationing in many "retirement destinations" over the last several years and I really think that you can often rule places out after a few weeks, but it takes longer than that to make sure it's a place you want to stay.
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:57 AM   #8
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We went back to Hawaii to see a college buddy 2 years ago. He moved there in 1977, never came back to the mainland and last wore shoes in 1977.

My friend's condo was $325k inland on Oahu and it was a tiny flat without HVAC. Homes I would be proud to live in would exceed $1 million and be 1/3 the size of our current home.

We are somewhat frugal and find the cost of everything there out of sight--including food.

You are coming from the center of everything. I would find it difficult to move to the edge of the world.
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Old 12-01-2017, 11:45 AM   #9
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We went back to Hawaii to see a college buddy 2 years ago. He moved there in 1977, never came back to the mainland and last wore shoes in 1977.

My friend's condo was $325k inland on Oahu and it was a tiny flat without HVAC. Homes I would be proud to live in would exceed $1 million and be 1/3 the size of our current home.

We are somewhat frugal and find the cost of everything there out of sight--including food.

You are coming from the center of everything. I would find it difficult to move to the edge of the world.
Good points. The Big Island is somewhat less expensive than Oahu, but housing is still pricey. One of the things that we will look at closely while we are out there is the prices for food and other stuff. The reality of our budget, however, is that if the housing works, then the rest of the stuff will work. It may be a mental adjustment to see the higher costs, but the dollars work out.

As far as the center of everything. That is a concern - we enjoy much about living in the DC metro area. However, we spent 20 years in Iowa where we were also quite happy. Our lives were just different there.

We MAY be ready for different again. But we won't know until we do some more gathering of facts and experiences.
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Old 12-01-2017, 12:37 PM   #10
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After having visited and scouted the Big Island for the past 25 years or so, we finally bought a winter place in a resort on the Kohala Coast about 2-1/2 years ago. We've been all over the world, but this is the one place that we really hate to leave even after we've been there for months. Food is pricy, but there is a Costco, Walmart and Target in town. Feel free to PM me if you have any detailed questions on our experience.
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Old 12-01-2017, 01:23 PM   #11
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Redshift - thanks for the offer, I will follow up.

Bamaman - DW and I were talking and discussing some of the issues you raised. DW and I have split our married life almost equally between a rural setting (Iowa) and urban settings (New Orleans and DC metro). I think that what we are trying to work out is a way to have the best of both - a place where we can kick back and enjoy a slow pace, peace and quiet, dark skies for astronomy, warm winters AND a place where we can have access to the very specific niche cultural interests we have (Cubs baseball, 18th century music on period instruments).

Right now I don't see the numbers working if we try to maintain a year round house in the DC metro and then have an extended stay (4-6 months) each year in Hawaii. But if I could use the current equity in our home to pay cash for a place in a suburb of Milwaukee (just making things up here) then the money easily works for wintering in Hawaii.

Lots of moving pieces and it is essential to ME that we figure out how to have a harpsichord in each location. First world problems!
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Old 12-01-2017, 02:35 PM   #12
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IMO, the big island is nice to visit, but I would not want to live there. I once though about moving to New Zealand, but there was no heavy industry there. The same applies to Hawaii. Appliances, autos, etc all have to be imported which raises their price. Also there is less competition among dealers.
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Old 12-01-2017, 03:21 PM   #13
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Pick the Phoenix area.

Cactus League spring training, see the NL Central teams when they play the Diamondbacks.

:-)
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Old 12-01-2017, 03:49 PM   #14
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Pick the Phoenix area.

Cactus League spring training, see the NL Central teams when they play the Diamondbacks.

:-)
We've made a couple of trips to Phoenix for spring training and a separate trip to see the geology and Native American sites. Although we enjoyed being tourists there, the Southwest definitely fits into the "nice to visit but I wouldn't want to live there" category for us.
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Old 12-01-2017, 05:05 PM   #15
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I have only been to Oahu and I'd like to go back to visit.
However I realized after a few days, that to see anything else other than the island would be a very long flight, hotels, rent a car, etc.
It made me think I would feel trapped/stuck on the island.

The price of milk also blew me away $10.39 on sale for a gallon 5 years ago...
Here I pay $1.79
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Old 12-01-2017, 08:34 PM   #16
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I too once lived in the Midwest and found it too quiet. It was a sea of corn and winter weather was simply miserable. Although you are Cubbie fans, Chicago is far down the list for livable places.

I worked in Louisiana for a couple of years, and found N/O anything but boring. But there were too many druggies there. I liked Lafayette area better.

I traveled Virginia extensively for work, but found the closer you get to DC, the more unaffordable it is for retirees. Virginia is for lovers--high income lovers.

But finding major league baseball and baroque music is going to be next to impossible except in New York City. And NY and NJ are not retiree friendly.

I have found the suburbs of Atlanta and Houston to have the nicest and most affordable housing of all large U.S. cities. And they both have culture and major league sports. Weather is good and taxes moderate--except for Texas property taxes.

We keep a RV in the North GA mountains, and Atlanta is just 75 miles away--just far enough. About every third car has Florida license plates. The Blue Ridge Mountains are a great retirement region.
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Old 12-01-2017, 09:47 PM   #17
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I too once lived in the Midwest and found it too quiet. It was a sea of corn and winter weather was simply miserable. Although you are Cubbie fans, Chicago is far down the list for livable places.

I worked in Louisiana for a couple of years, and found N/O anything but boring. But there were too many druggies there. I liked Lafayette area better.

I traveled Virginia extensively for work, but found the closer you get to DC, the more unaffordable it is for retirees. Virginia is for lovers--high income lovers.

But finding major league baseball and baroque music is going to be next to impossible except in New York City. And NY and NJ are not retiree friendly.

I have found the suburbs of Atlanta and Houston to have the nicest and most affordable housing of all large U.S. cities. And they both have culture and major league sports. Weather is good and taxes moderate--except for Texas property taxes.

We keep a RV in the North GA mountains, and Atlanta is just 75 miles away--just far enough. About every third car has Florida license plates. The Blue Ridge Mountains are a great retirement region.
Baroque Music + Major League baseball = HCOL

My short list of places in the US for Baroque music with Major League Baseball

Top tier for music:
Boston
San Francisco
New York City
Chicago

2nd tier for music:
Minneapolis/St. Paul
Seattle
Washington, DC

Other possibilities for music but no MLB:
Madison, WI
Bloomington, IN
Portland. OR

Obviously, not a LCOL of living place on the first two lists, although the Twin Cities are not obscene. I recognize that a niche interest requires a large number of people to provide enough support for the activity.

We actually ARE going to investigate Milwaukee because we have friends there, it has MLB, and it is close to both Chicago and Madison for additional access to music and the arts (and baseball). However, Milwaukee would definitely need to be low enough cost wise to let us spend several months in Hawaii every winter.
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:26 PM   #18
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LOL, she should come to San Diego some time. When the Cubs play the Padres, there are so many ex-Chicagoans in the crowd that it looks like it's a Cubs home game.

Same here when the Yankees play the Rangers.
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:44 AM   #19
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We started out by looking for a location to buy a vacation home-for five or six months a year. Only area in the US that we really considered for more than a minute was South Carolina. We also looked at Costa Rica. Decided not to buy for various reasons. Puerta Vallarta is still on that list. We have been there two years in a row. Next year we may rent for several months. One month each at two or three different locations.

Looked at moving our primary residence to another city as well. I want to be close to an airport and a Costco nearby is a must. We like where we live-winters are the only challenge and we have found a way to deal with them.

We decided to stay put. Travel to warm climates in the winter, and see what the future will bring. No reason to rush. We did downsize though. Very happy with that decision.
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Old 12-03-2017, 01:03 PM   #20
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I was once in a place and thought I'd like to buy a house and live here, after 6 months I was thinking "Why does anyone want to live here"
+1

A good friend built a house in Mazatlan bc he loves the beach but after a few months can't wait to return to Concord Ca
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