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Old 08-12-2014, 04:05 PM   #21
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DW is sentimentally attached to our place in the 'burbs, in spite of it being 3 miles to the nearest grocery store, and the stairs, and narrow doorways, and huge yards needing constant care, and generally having to drive to get to ANYTHING other than more 'burbs.

I'd love to move to a condo in an urban core. DW is not easily convinced. Meanwhile, I have visions of our being incapacitated in place in suburban isolation, until unpaid bills force someone to look in on our withered corpses draped over some lovely Pottery Barn pieces.

http://cdn.theatlanticcities.com/img...in/largest.jpg

Listen to your wife M, it looks nice and safe! You are retired what's 3 miles to you? . I live 2 miles from the nearest store, but my 'burb I live in is a town of 6,000, and 50 miles from a metro area. I am sure I am a creature of my upbringing as this is the biggest town I have ever lived in. Going to an urban core to me is a weekend getaway trip with head on a swivel for the entire weekend; then retreat back to calm and safety!


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Old 08-12-2014, 04:30 PM   #22
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Listen to your wife M, it looks nice and safe! You are retired what's 3 miles to you? . I live 2 miles from the nearest store, but my 'burb I live in is a town of 6,000, and 50 miles from a metro area. I am sure I am a creature of my upbringing as this is the biggest town I have ever lived in. Going to an urban core to me is a weekend getaway trip with head on a swivel for the entire weekend; then retreat back to calm and safety!
At some point we are likely to be unable to drive any more. That makes things interesting. The nearest (non-school) bus stop is about 2 miles. Taxis? Wazzat?

Life will become interesting, for unpleasant values of 'interesting.'

If I'm in a neighborhood where a major medical center is 3 blocks away, there's a grocery next door, a pharmacy down the street, and a dozen restaurants, coffee shops, and a book store within a 3 block radius, I can hobble along for a few years more. At least I can terrify pedestrians with a motorized scooter for entertainment...
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Old 08-12-2014, 04:42 PM   #23
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At least I can terrify pedestrians with a motorized scooter for entertainment...
That gave me an idea....
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Old 08-12-2014, 05:00 PM   #24
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At some point we are likely to be unable to drive any more. That makes things interesting. The nearest (non-school) bus stop is about 2 miles. Taxis? Wazzat?

Life will become interesting, for unpleasant values of 'interesting.'

If I'm in a neighborhood where a major medical center is 3 blocks away, there's a grocery next door, a pharmacy down the street, and a dozen restaurants, coffee shops, and a book store within a 3 block radius, I can hobble along for a few years more. At least I can terrify pedestrians with a motorized scooter for entertainment...

I imagine in metro suburbs driving may become stressful at a certain age. In small towns like where I live they just putt around town with no problem. I imagine when I can't drive that's when I am sent to the nursing home.


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Old 08-12-2014, 05:17 PM   #25
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One thing to consider is how much space your neighbors want in regards to distance from you. I know my neighbors are glad I have a 2 ac lot... lol
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Old 08-12-2014, 05:35 PM   #26
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Being close to everything is great...
In our small town (Peru, IL) of 10,000 souls, within a two mile radius of our home, almost every major company has a presence... except for The Outback restaurant.

While we still drive, the furthest location that we regularly visit is Walmart, and that's 1.8 miles. the Hospital is 3 minutes away, and Aldi's is 1/8 mile. We live in a CCRC senior community, (Liberty Village) in our own 1500 sf home (since 2004). If and when we can no longer drive, we'll move to "the apartments"... which will give us free transport to anywhere in the area, (not on call, but a daily schedule). This will likely happen within the next 10 years, sometime before we turn 90...

So, not urban, but facility rich. One of the things that happens as one ages, is the consideration of safety, not just for personal health and welfare, but the security of knowing that your immediate community is designed to be age-friendly.

The word is "comfortable".
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Old 08-12-2014, 06:17 PM   #27
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This is an issue that DH and I have debated.

Right now, we live in a subdivision where we have 1 acre which I really like. I love the house, love the fact that all the houses here are on at least 1 acre. Love looking out the window and seeing deer running across the yard.

And he aren't that far from stuff. When we were looking I wouldn't even consider a place that didn't have cable internet and didn't have a hospital within 30 minutes away (we have 3 within 25 minutes of -- closest is about 20 minutes).

But...I can see in that late old age, the place won't work. Right now DH is the oldest of us and he is 66 and this is totally fine. But, we are also almost 20 minutes away from the nearest grocery store. It actually takes us 5 minutes driving just to get out of the subdivision and then another 10 minutes or so to get anywhere else. I'm excited right now as there is a new gas station/convenience store being built that will be about 10 minutes away. And, that seems so close.

But, even now it is tedious at times to go anywhere since it is basically 20 minutes to get anywhere. It is 35 minutes to the closest mall.

Again, it is fine now but I could see it being an issue when we don't want to drive as much (or can't).

The problems of living close in are really twofold. First, it is way more expensive. We get a lot more bang for our buck living where we live. Second, we have pets. Right now we have several dogs and several cats. The dogs will eventually be gone (we don't plan to replace them), but we will always have cats. In most city subdivisions you are limited to only 2 pets and that doesn't seem like many for me. Of course, maybe I will feel differently in another 15 years or so.

When we were looking for this house we were going nuts at first trying to find something that would work well now, but also work well then. I finally realized that really wasn't possible and that this house doesn't necessarily have to be the "final" house (no matter how much DH says he will never move). I'm happy for this to be the final house.... as long as we can still easily drive and get around. I suspect there will come a time, though, when I just won't want to have every trip to the store involve driving 45 minutes round trip.
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Old 08-12-2014, 08:10 PM   #28
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Being close to everything is great...
In our small town (Peru, IL) of 10,000 souls, within a two mile radius of our home, almost every major company has a presence... except for The Outback restaurant.

While we still drive, the furthest location that we regularly visit is Walmart, and that's 1.8 miles. the Hospital is 3 minutes away, and Aldi's is 1/8 mile. We live in a CCRC senior community, (Liberty Village) in our own 1500 sf home (since 2004). If and when we can no longer drive, we'll move to "the apartments"... which will give us free transport to anywhere in the area, (not on call, but a daily schedule). This will likely happen within the next 10 years, sometime before we turn 90...

So, not urban, but facility rich. One of the things that happens as one ages, is the consideration of safety, not just for personal health and welfare, but the security of knowing that your immediate community is designed to be age-friendly.

The word is "comfortable".
That's great to hear! I am sure this provides peace of mind for both you and your adult children.

There is a very nice CCRC in a nice area of my town that I am aware of, I was checking it out for MIL. It is near a suburban shopping district with nice attractions within half mile walk. They do excursions and bring in entertainment also. It is a condo set up and seems like an expensive option. To be honest I also worry that at some point I might lose control over my own situation. I guess I'd have to understand how the progression from independent living to nursing facility is determined.

An a la carte/diy approach to assisted living might turn out to be just as or even more expensive, depending on how much assistance we needed.

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Old 08-12-2014, 08:41 PM   #29
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I also have a love/hate relationship with both the suburbs and urban areas.

Introverted by nature, cities wear me out quickly. But I do appreciate all they have to offer and the close proximity they offer to pretty much everything you need.

Suburbs on the other hand tend to give me a bit more space and allow me to connect with nature a bit more if I want. I really like that, and have struggled to do that when in an urban setting.

Rural areas are great for a weekend getaway, but I find myself with TOO much space.

So while I am a long way away from FIRE, I think if I were a betting man, I would find myself in a suburb close to major metro area with easy access to all the city has to offer. That, to me, is the perfect blend.
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:43 PM   #30
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Of course with respect to outside yard work if you have the resources it can be outsourced to a lawn service or if the neighbors have teenage kids to them, (teenagers can always use more money...) In addition for inside there are both cleaning services as well as handy man services.
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:20 PM   #31
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I grew up suburban, and lived in suburban settings when first on my own (mainly to be close to the office). I liked growing up suburban. In our neighborhood, all the kids played together and everyone knew each other (it seemed). However, as an adult, I began to prefer walkable neighborhoods, with more interesting things to do.

Our last house before retirement was in the arts district of Columbus, Ohio. It was definitely urban. I knew my neighbors, and there was a strong community spirit for those who wanted to get involved. We could walk nearly anywhere, although I drove for major shopping, as I wouldn't want to carry a 35 pound bag of dog food and all our other stuff Just a heads up: older folks moving to the cities for the first time might not feel comfortable around some of the variety of people they are likely to encounter in a thriving urban setting. There were aggressive panhandlers, homeless people, and we weren't that far from some sketchier neighborhoods. For us, we loved the neighborhood dearly, but did not consider it to be where we wanted to retire. There were a lot of reasons for this, but the cost of living was a factor (not just property taxes -- but lifestyle costs).

For retirement, we decided we still wanted a walkable neighborhood, but in a rural setting. So, I guess we're kinda urban-rural. We live on a hill overlooking a historic downtown (Hermann, MO). It's an old, walkable grid neighborhood, surrounded by farms --definitely rural. However, we can walk to parks, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, a farmers market, an amphitheater, pharmacy, doctors, 2 wineries, and a brewery, among other things. We're just the other side of the Missouri River from the Katy Trail. We can walk to the Amtrak station, and the town has OATS buses for elderly transportation. The hospital is just a few blocks away. Although there is a lot of winery tourism, the town is still developing. Homes are incredibly affordable, but it's pretty quiet in town in the evenings. It's not an urban lifestyle -- but then we're not that far from St. Louis for when we want to take in the city lights. Also, although we walk to all these places right now, we are at the top of a hill. It will keep us in great shape for now, but at some point will require us to stop walking sooner than in a flat area, because that hill will kick your butt. Then, we'll have to drive something into town, but it will be a short, easy drive. Well, and once we're really old, we'll mostly stay at home and just enjoy the view
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Old 08-13-2014, 06:41 AM   #32
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For retirement, we decided we still wanted a walkable neighborhood, but in a rural setting. So, I guess we're kinda urban-rural. We live on a hill overlooking a historic downtown (Hermann, MO). It's an old, walkable grid neighborhood, surrounded by farms --definitely rural. However, we can walk to parks, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, a farmers market, an amphitheater, pharmacy, doctors, 2 wineries, and a brewery, among other things. We're just the other side of the Missouri River from the Katy Trail. We can walk to the Amtrak station, and the town has OATS buses for elderly transportation. The hospital is just a few blocks away. Although there is a lot of winery tourism, the town is still developing. Homes are incredibly affordable, but it's pretty quiet in town in the evenings. It's not an urban lifestyle -- but then we're not that far from St. Louis for when we want to take in the city lights. Also, although we walk to all these places right now, we are at the top of a hill. It will keep us in great shape for now, but at some point will require us to stop walking sooner than in a flat area, because that hill will kick your butt. Then, we'll have to drive something into town, but it will be a short, easy drive. Well, and once we're really old, we'll mostly stay at home and just enjoy the view
DW and I used to live not too far from Hermann. We lived in Belleville and O'Fallon, IL a long time ago.
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:18 AM   #33
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I also have a love/hate relationship with both the suburbs and urban areas.

Introverted by nature, cities wear me out quickly. But I do appreciate all they have to offer and the close proximity they offer to pretty much everything you need.

Suburbs on the other hand tend to give me a bit more space and allow me to connect with nature a bit more if I want. I really like that, and have struggled to do that when in an urban setting.

Rural areas are great for a weekend getaway, but I find myself with TOO much space.
One good thing about DFW is the amount of "green" space available. I have bikes paths and nature trails close enough to walk or bike to, and many others within a reasonable drive. Other than my annoying next door neighbor, and the constant rumble of leaf blowers, it's relatively quiet and private, bit still about a mile from two major drug chains, and about two miles from Walmart, Lowe's, Costco, etc. It's not very walkable, per se, especially when it's 100+ degrees out, but if I get to where I can't comfortably drive 1-3 miles, it's time to go to assisted living...
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:33 AM   #34
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DW and I used to live not too far from Hermann. We lived in Belleville and O'Fallon, IL a long time ago.
I have family in Belleville, IL. In O'Fallon, too, but the O'Fallon in Missouri. Hope you were able to make it to Hermann when you lived nearby.
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Old 08-13-2014, 10:18 AM   #35
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I am increasingly attracted to a "walkable" lifestyle where owning a car isn't necessary. The problem is that nice walkable neighborhoods are very expensive, and then there is the noise issue. There are times when it seems like you might need a car or truck for specific trips or for hauling stuff, but you can rent a lot of cars and hire a lot of delivery services for the savings you achieve in not owning a car.
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:59 PM   #36
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I grew up suburban, and lived in suburban settings when first on my own (mainly to be close to the office). I liked growing up suburban. In our neighborhood, all the kids played together and everyone knew each other (it seemed). However, as an adult, I began to prefer walkable neighborhoods, with more interesting things to do.

Our last house before retirement was in the arts district of Columbus, Ohio. It was definitely urban. I knew my neighbors, and there was a strong community spirit for those who wanted to get involved. We could walk nearly anywhere, although I drove for major shopping, as I wouldn't want to carry a 35 pound bag of dog food and all our other stuff Just a heads up: older folks moving to the cities for the first time might not feel comfortable around some of the variety of people they are likely to encounter in a thriving urban setting. There were aggressive panhandlers, homeless people, and we weren't that far from some sketchier neighborhoods. For us, we loved the neighborhood dearly, but did not consider it to be where we wanted to retire. There were a lot of reasons for this, but the cost of living was a factor (not just property taxes -- but lifestyle costs).

For retirement, we decided we still wanted a walkable neighborhood, but in a rural setting. So, I guess we're kinda urban-rural. We live on a hill overlooking a historic downtown (Hermann, MO). It's an old, walkable grid neighborhood, surrounded by farms --definitely rural. However, we can walk to parks, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, a farmers market, an amphitheater, pharmacy, doctors, 2 wineries, and a brewery, among other things. We're just the other side of the Missouri River from the Katy Trail. We can walk to the Amtrak station, and the town has OATS buses for elderly transportation. The hospital is just a few blocks away. Although there is a lot of winery tourism, the town is still developing. Homes are incredibly affordable, but it's pretty quiet in town in the evenings. It's not an urban lifestyle -- but then we're not that far from St. Louis for when we want to take in the city lights. Also, although we walk to all these places right now, we are at the top of a hill. It will keep us in great shape for now, but at some point will require us to stop walking sooner than in a flat area, because that hill will kick your butt. Then, we'll have to drive something into town, but it will be a short, easy drive. Well, and once we're really old, we'll mostly stay at home and just enjoy the view

I have been to Hermann quit often. You certainly described it accurately but I never thought of it in that manner. Just a nice little rural town of about what 2-3,000 in the middle of nowhere. Except during Octoberfest huh? I remember a friend of mine about 20 years ago getting thrown through one of those heavy glass fronted buildings downtown by a bar and getting to visit their little hospital. I guess he shouldn't have got drunk and ran his mouth to the wrong person!


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Old 08-13-2014, 10:53 PM   #37
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Hmmmm. I hadn't thought of it that way.

I checked our area, and it seems there's not a tremendous $/SF difference to 'buy safety' in our downtown. It's just a couple of data points, and I'm sure it varies by region but, here's our data.

Median $/SF in one of the most popular suburbs: $141
Median $/SF for city as a whole: $104
Nice downtown condo in desirable & safe area: $148

As you can see from the $/SF, we are not in an expensive area on either of the coasts.
Huston55 - didn't you post you were moving to Marin sometime in the next year? It is going to be hard to leave those sq ft prices behind.
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Old 08-13-2014, 11:13 PM   #38
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I have been to Hermann quit often. You certainly described it accurately but I never thought of it in that manner. Just a nice little rural town of about what 2-3,000 in the middle of nowhere. Except during Octoberfest huh? I remember a friend of mine about 20 years ago getting thrown through one of those heavy glass fronted buildings downtown by a bar and getting to visit their little hospital. I guess he shouldn't have got drunk and ran his mouth to the wrong person!


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Yeah, there are a lot of other festivals and wine trails that attract crowds, but Octoberfest is the big one. DH and I are used to big festivals, as there were a lot in our urban neighborhood in Columbus, too. In both neighborhoods, we liked being able to just walk in and take in some music and walk back home to use the bathroom.

But Oh, No! -- you didn't say in the middle of NOWHERE, now did you? I'll give you, it's some winding roads to get us home, and we don't have the big box stores. But it's 30 minutes to Washington for big box shopping, and an hour radius to St. Charles, Columbia, and Jefferson City. And then there's Amtrak to Chicago...

But yeah...I think a lot of folks think of this as out in the middle of nowhere. I get it. When I finally decided to go ahead and retire in March, as we moved some final things from an apartment (consulting job), I played this song in the car several times in a row:

Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Country Home (Live at Farm Aid 2012) - YouTube
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Old 08-13-2014, 11:24 PM   #39
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Well, heck. Don't mean to get off topic, but I don't know how to embed a video so it plays in the thread. Tried a couple of things, but the best I can do is that link above. Tried searching and FAQ's, but couldn't find the way to do this here. I'm probably over thinking this. Any advice would be appreciated (don't want to keep editing to experiment further)
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Old 08-14-2014, 12:15 AM   #40
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I'm considering returning to the USA and I'm wresting with the where to live dilemma. Cities offer more public transportation and walk friendly neighborhoods. Smaller rural towns offer lower cost of living and (some times) less traffic.

I' haven't owned a car for so long that I don't miss it but I do love to ride my motorcycle. On the other hand much of the US is devoid of public transportation, so that can be an issue as well.

I think I need to wander around a bit and see what strikes my fancy
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