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Tennessee
Old 04-28-2006, 09:50 AM   #1
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Tennessee

My latest obsession is the great state of Tennessee, and as I seem to recall that a number of people here are from there, I thought I'd solicit the low-down.

I'm interested in hearing about how suitable TN would be for a young adult (working, semi-ret., and FIRE), cost of living, jobs, climate, cities & towns, and anything else that helps describe the character of the place.

Or, will someone tell me how many armadillos and rattlesnakes there are in Tennessee?
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Re: Tennessee
Old 04-28-2006, 11:43 AM   #2
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Re: Tennessee

Dood,

First the bad news.

They have rattlesnakes, Cottonmouths and copperheads. All very nasty. They have black widow and Brown Recluse spiders everywhere. They are starting to get fire ants in some places. Termites are a big problem and mosquitoes are abundant. Otherwise, they just have a s$it-load of bugs.

Seriously, I lived in east TN most of my life. My family still does and we visit there frequently so it is not so bad.

If you like water (lakes, rivers etc.) this is heaven. Good property is still affordable on prime waterfront. RE taxes are still on the low side and the state has no wage income tax but does tax investments. Not sure about pensions being taxed.

We have considered moving back there when the kids all move away from us here but one major drawback for us is 1) Hot and humid summers and 2) the distance from DW's family in CA. Otherwise, a nice house on a lake would be heaven for us.

Schools are not so good in most places and many places are quite backward in many ways. Rednecks are the state bird.

East TN is where I would go. Mountains, lakes, and 4 full seasons but fairly mild winters. It is getting more crowded but not horrible yet (except Nashville), so you still have lots of options. Don't expect too much in the way of high culture and you won't be disappointed unless you are in the major cities.

Just my two cents (Confederate money )
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Re: Tennessee
Old 04-28-2006, 12:00 PM   #3
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Re: Tennessee

SteveR,

Thanks for the response!

How mild are the "mild" winters? I suppose it's too far north for there to be any winter-free areas.

I do like the sound of all that water. Also, so far Knoxville seemed like a nice place -- haven't read about any small towns yet.

Not looking for world-class opera or high culture, but maybe something out of a scene from Deliverance is a bit too redneck. Do most people speak with the beautiful Southern accent?

It's a shame about investments being taxed, but it sounds like the overall tax burden is relatively low, and with generally lower expenses than most of the country.

If you enjoy writing about TN, please do so, I'd be eager to read more about different aspects of it!
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Re: Tennessee
Old 04-28-2006, 12:25 PM   #4
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Re: Tennessee

Dood,

The state is essentially divided into three parts (geographically) Eastern TN where the mountains are located running up along the eastern border from south to north. (Chattanooga-southern border and Knoxville-eastern border). The middle section which is essentially on the Cumberland plateau. (Nashville). and West TN which is lowland area that borders the Miss. river and is lower in elevation and thus more hot and humid. (Memphis).

My favorite part of the state is from Chatta. to Knoxville along the TN river. Several hydro electric dams create huge lakes that are excellent for boating, fishing and other water recreation. House is still reasonable but is going up with people moving into the area. There are several areas with very nice communities along the river. East of Knoxville is a beautiful area with hundreds of mountain vallies around the Smokey Mtns.

Taxes are a pain and the state keeps talking about an income tax. Check out this link for more information. http://www.state.tn.us/revenue/tntaxes/indinc.htm

"The individual income tax is imposed only on individuals and other entities receiving interest from bonds and notes and dividends from stock.

Exemptions:
The first $1,250 in taxable income received by a single filer is exempt. The first $2,500 in taxable income received by a joint filer is exempt.

Persons over 65 with total income less than $16,200 for a single filer or $27,000 for a joint filer are exempt.

TAX RATE
6% of taxable income "


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Re: Tennessee
Old 04-28-2006, 12:29 PM   #5
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Re: Tennessee

We are 2 hours driving South from TN (Suburbs of Atlanta, GA).
If you need a city to live in, maybe Chattanooga, TN could be to your liking.
Never lived there, but visited many times.
Check their official site: http://www.chattanooga.gov/
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Re: Tennessee
Old 04-28-2006, 01:49 PM   #6
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Re: Tennessee

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailor
We are 2 hours driving South from TN (Suburbs of Atlanta, GA).
If you need a city to live in, maybe Chattanooga, TN could be to your liking.
Never lived there, but visited many times.
Check their official site: http://www.chattanooga.gov/
I lived in the Chattanooga-Knoxville area for 25 years and would move back in a minute were it not for my DW's family issues.

Send me a note if you want more specifics about this area.
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Re: Tennessee
Old 04-28-2006, 02:16 PM   #7
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Re: Tennessee

Reminds me of the traveling salesman joke. Shoe salesman was working in the hills of TN and came along a house way in the back woods. He knocks on the door and a little boy comes to the door and right at that moment the salesman heard a loud squealing noise behind the house. He takes a peek around back and sees a man* banging the heck out of a billy goat! The salesman is amazed and ask the child.......can you believe what is going on in your back yard? The boy responds.........yeeaaahhhhh...IIIIIIIII knowwwwwwwww.(In billy goat tone)

I know.....it's an old joke. I better be quite before the Mississippi jokes come my way.*

To answer your question, I have relatives near Knoxville. A very pretty area. Affordable too. So yes, not a bad area to live.
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Re: Tennessee
Old 04-28-2006, 07:18 PM   #8
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Re: Tennessee

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailor
We are 2 hours driving South from TN (Suburbs of Atlanta, GA).
If you need a city to live in, maybe Chattanooga, TN could be to your liking.
Never lived there, but visited many times.
Check their official site: http://www.chattanooga.gov/
I think that Chatt. will become more affordable since they opened the Altanta Aquiriam. The Chatt. Aquirium was what made the city center. Still Chatt. is a nice place.
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Re: Tennessee
Old 04-28-2006, 07:44 PM   #9
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Re: Tennessee

My only son and his wife live in Chattanooga and DW and I will be relocating there after selling our place in west central Ohio. Looking forward to the move, warmer winters, more scenic views and great motorcycle riding country, not to mention some pretty decent golf courses. Real estate is IMHO very reasonable in the Chat and N. Georgia area.

Oh and the primary reason for the move is, first grandchild (boy) is expected in mid July.
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Re: Tennessee
Old 04-29-2006, 05:23 AM   #10
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Re: Tennessee

My experiance, friendly relaxed people, beautiful scenery, proud of their State.
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Re: Tennessee
Old 05-07-2006, 10:08 PM   #11
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Re: Tennessee

I worked in Kingsport, TN, for a while.

For a town full of engineers, it was remarkably backwards. Full of religious nuts. (Nothing against religious nuts, mind, you. Just keep it to yourselves.)

A typical experience: In a grocery parking lot, a young lightly bearded youth came up to me with a crazy grin and handed me a pamplet. Having nothing better to do (please note), I took it and read it. It was a childish composite of anti-Catholic remarks and cartoons. The thrust was not at all clear; did they want to burn Catholic houses? Expell their children from school? Hang them from trees?

I also got bizarre polemics from a barber and the guy who fixed my computer monitors about atheists. I suspect that they were responding to my accent (something that gives me trouble today). I am the most inoffensive of visitors. I do not volunteer much and avoid anything that might be controversial or lead to controversy, but no way can I hide my accent. Sometimes I think that people take advantage of that to proffer uninvited their cockamaimy opinions. A colleague, an in-your-face Texan, doesn't get the same comments I do. Lesson: it is better to be feared than loved.

Two otherwise excellent chaps with whom I worked had personal agendas that indicated having been drinking the local water too long.

At length, I went to Johnson City, east of Kingsport. It has a medical school and a university and a variety of upscale businesses. I liked to hang around a computer store and talk with the couple who owned it, from Houston. Bein' as how I was also from Houston, we got along. The wife said she was Jewish, but was afraid to let it be known.

Many poor farmers still depend on growing tobacco and tobacco subsidies to subsist. Oh, yeah--they smoke there.

If you like good wine, your options are limited. Many places are dry.

There is much on the plus side, however.

I found a first-class Cajun restaurant between Kingsport and Johnson City run by a genuine expat Cajun, who was great fun to talk with. (This was the first thing that came to mind. I don't know why. : )

The countryside is very pretty, with low rolling hills. Correction: it is beautiful! For a boy from the Pacific Northwest who grew up with evergreens, the fall in TN is out of this world! Property is relatively cheap. (Just be V-E-R-Y careful about your neighbors.)

There is a terrific live music tradition there. It is coming out of the woodwork. Learn an instrument here or just enjoy the music.

The Lost State of Franklin is between Kingsport and Johnson City. A fascinating bit of US history. Look it up.

Eastern TN is not really isolated these days. It is what you make it. The music scene stretches north to DC (which, by the way, has an eclectic and vibrant music scene--ask Joan Baez).

If'n y'all go for car racing, you can fit right in. Dirt track, go-kart, drag racing, NASCAR. As an old west coast hot-rodder, this is the straight skinny.

The salad bars in the grocery stores in Kingsport are the best I have ever seen.

Bottom line:
I could live in or near Johnson City, keeping a low profile. I think I could find sympatico social connections without problems. Talk to people and listen to what they say. Take your time about choosing a permenent place to stay. The winters are not hard, but you do get snow from time to time. Dunno much about summers. Learn to fish. The pace of life is not fast. I think that when you find friends, they will be friends for life. Don't even think about making an enemy or showing up on redneck radar. Keep your antennae up and avoid negative karmic activities.

By the way, when asked, I have told folks that I am People's Temple. Death Squad.

You asked.

Ed The Gypsy
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Re: Tennessee
Old 05-08-2006, 11:05 AM   #12
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Re: Tennessee

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed_The_Gypsy
I worked in Kingsport, TN, for a while.

It was a childish composite of anti-Catholic remarks and cartoons.* The thrust was not at all clear; did they want to burn Catholic houses?* Expell their children from school? Hang them from trees?
Were you with Kodak?

Interesting comments and sounds like you're a pretty open minded person.

The burning, expelling, hanging words were actually in the pamphlet...........or released from the deep bowels of your mind?


Ref the people down there......* I lived in Murfreesboro for a while.* Folks had their own points of view but I didn't think they were any more intolerant of me than folks in some northern state would have been of them.* Folks are just different from place to place.* Even here in a major urban area, it's easy to step into situations where you just "don't fit."* Al Gore seems very fond of those Volunteers.
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Re: Tennessee
Old 05-08-2006, 07:43 PM   #13
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Re: Tennessee

Quote:
The burning, expelling, hanging words were actually in the pamphlet...........or released from the deep bowels of your mind?
Please re-read the post. The flyer was simply viciously hostile to Catholics. No actions were advocated in the flyer. It stopped short, which was the puzzle. I was speculating on what the author had in mind. He published it for a reason. What was the reason?

I haven't seen that kind of hostility against a group since I lived in a suburb of Chicago (in my experience, the most racist area in America--I hope it is different all these years later).

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Re: Tennessee
Old 05-09-2006, 05:07 AM   #14
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Re: Tennessee

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed_The_Gypsy
* I was speculating on what the author had in mind.*
OK, got it.* Glad to hear they stopped short of actually advocating violence in writing.......still........bad stuff!
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Re: Tennessee
Old 05-18-2006, 10:27 PM   #15
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Re: Tennessee

I grew up in Knoxville in East TN.* Nice rivers, lakes and mountains. I spent 25 years working in Memphis in West TN.* Awful, just awful, and getting worse. Now, I'm back in East TN in the "country" in retirement with nice rivers, lakes, mountains, and affordable acreage. If you like kayaking, whitewater rafting, hiking, motorcycling, lake cruising, or hunting/fishing, etc., this is a good place to live.* Chattanooga is probably better than Knoxville now because Chattanooga has done some smart things to develop their waterfront and downtown attractions and has various outdoorsy groups which are always planning outings.
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Re: Tennessee
Old 05-19-2006, 08:01 AM   #16
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Re: Tennessee

Thanks, 2dals,

It is always best to hear from a resident.

As I recall, TN also does not have an income tax.
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Re: Tennessee
Old 05-19-2006, 08:06 AM   #17
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Re: Tennessee

My Dad's side of the family comes from Tennessee originally. A little town called Erwin, which I think is somewhere in the Eastern part. Haven't been down there since I was a little kid though, so I don't remember much. Last time I went through Tennessee was on my way to Texas, back in early 2002. It was pretty country, as I recalled, although it rained the whole way through.

I thought it was interesting that the tower from the 1982 World's Fair was still standing. We went to that when I was a kid, as part of a big trip out West that my grandparents took me on. I coulda sworn that Bart Simpson knocked it down once!
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Re: Tennessee
Old 06-01-2006, 09:40 PM   #18
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Re: Tennessee

Taxes are a pain in TN?* Please.

Effectively no income tax (lots of exclusions), low property taxes, a bit higher sales tax, big deal.* Low cost of living, good quality homes, nice folks, temperate climate, and Nashville is great ... think Williamson County.* Real estate is appreciating, and my personal theory is that folks in CA, NV, AZ, the northeast and other high dollar residential real estate areas are going to begin realizing they are living in their retirement savings ... and they can sell, pocket the cash, and live comfortably in TN (and other SE states).

Nissan just moved corporate HQ to Nashville, and there will be more such announcements.* Great state ... greenest state in the land of the free because of 45" annual rainfall (Nashville).* And, having water is a good thing.* Also, this is not a result of weeks of cloudy skies, like the northeast.*

The uncultured, hick, overly conservative reputation is way over done, especially from what I see in Nashville.* Frankly, I have to laugh at the ignorant snobbishness of many re: TN.* We're crying all the way to the bank down here.*

Great state.* Undiscovered by most, and that is just fine.
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Re: Tennessee
Old 06-02-2006, 10:54 AM   #19
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Re: Tennessee

I have to agree with Charles.

I've lived in the Memphis area for most of the past 15 years and enjoy a high quality of life -- thanks to close-to-national wage scales and costs much below the national averages. Memphis is not where I will choose to retire, but there are many beautiful places in the state with low cost of living, good climate, and warm people. East Tennessee, as some have noted, can be ideal for many (too politically conservative for me, but that's not the issue). All told, though, it is a really underrated, highly desirable state for those with the good sense and financial ability to FIRE.

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Re: Tennessee
Old 06-02-2006, 11:14 AM   #20
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Re: Tennessee

Ya'll need to hush up that talk! Yuns are gonna have all them dang Carpetbaggers arunnin down thar from North of the Mason-Dixon line amessin thangs up fer the rest of ye.

Tennessee is a terrible awful place to live. It be hot and umid dang ner all the time and them local folks don't cotton much to outsiders nun. Best be moving on down to Floradie with the rest of them Damn Yankees.
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