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WANTED: Great Retirement Location
Old 07-07-2007, 05:59 AM   #1
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WANTED: Great Retirement Location

Well, I feel better traveled than most and am thinking about locations for ER.

Stats: Age 40, Married no kids or plans for kids, Retirement income $70k/yr, Home equity avail to flip into new home $200k.

Past living locations & feelings:

Upstate NY - 10 Years, liked Adirondacks, lakes, access to NYC, Cooperstown, disliked Buffalo's grungy lifestyle

Boca Raton, FL - 10 years, loved 1st 8 years, became tired of old people and mean people, too many fakes, liked well manicured areas, accesss to ocean is fun, summers are hot

San fran - 2 years, great city, fun people, great weather, way too expensive, traffic can be a bummer

Seattle - 6 years, love the mountains and ocean access, great city, tad too liberal, weather amazing in summer and dreary for 9 months, gorgeous terrain

OK, so here is what I think is important and they are not all must haves, but closest possible is prefered:
- within 1 hour of a decent size city with entertainment, sports, restaurants
- affordable housing, nice 3 bedroom for $350k
- Woods to hike, Parks too
- Water preferably ocean or lake, river if needed
- Good restaurants availbale for dinner
- Not too liberal, avoid peirced, tatooed, weirdos
- Safe from crime
- Not horrible traffic
- Typical lots are 1 acre or more
- Weather not too extreme for snow or desert

My thoughts from traveling most of the US:
California is too expensive
AZ too hot
TX other than Austin was not impressive
WA is great but weather is a bummer for 8 months
FL too many old cynical people and summers are crazy hot

Places I like and only negatives are price:
Cooperstown, NY
Nantucket
Hilton Head
Carmel, CA

Current thoughts:
Colorado somewhere as I was impressed with Boulder
Utah because I like the parks and people seem nice
Ames, IA - never been but sounded interesting
Cour De lane - water, land
San Juan Islands, WA

I really would like some opinions based on the above. In many ways just starting this list is good. Am I missing a treasure? I feel like there is a great place and I am not afraid to move like many.

Seattle is super close with the mountains, lake, ocean, restaurants, accessible city, but not great affordability and the dark rainy weather is a bummer.

Looking forward to all thoughts.
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Old 07-07-2007, 06:53 AM   #2
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Check out Salida or Salada, Co. - cold winters but probably warmer than Boulder. I think Boulder might be on the high side for house prices.
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Old 07-07-2007, 07:57 AM   #3
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Madison, Wisconsin. Very environmentally friendly, lots of parks and trails, 10 farmer's markets. An hour and a half to Milwaukee and two hours to Chicago. You can get a nice 3 bedroom on the isthmus within a block or two of either lake for under 350k.

The main downsides based on your criteria:

- Not sure what counts as extreme weather. The winters are going to be a bit colder than Ames but the summers will be stellar.
- Madison is pretty left-wing. I didn't notice a lot of tattooed weirdos, but they definately fall on the environmental left.
- If you want to be in the city, you're going to get a typical city-size lot. You could get a country lot within 15 minutes of the city easily.

I like your list. In fact, ours was very similar. Here's what we found in our looking that you might want to consider.

Cour De lane - Beautiful. Isolated. Lots of extremists groups in the area.

Utah - I love this state; it's simply stunning. However, in talking to friends that have lived there or traveled there for business, I think the main issue is that if you're not LDS then you'll always feel like an outsider. Salt Lake City is probably the most cosmopolitan area, but it's still rather segregated (between LDS and non-LDS neighborhoods).
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Old 07-07-2007, 09:54 AM   #4
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Check out Summit County, Colorado - esp around Lake Dillon area. Beautiful, much cheaper than some others you mentioned, decent state cost of living indices and taxation policy. Close enough to Denver for access to medical care, airports, and a higher paying job if you needed one.

Downsides of CO are "its been discovered bigtime", a historically poor economy compared to the coasts (few to no corporate headquarters), and substantial cookie cutter style overbuilding in many areas. I'm assuming you can deal with the winters per some of the other choices you mentioned and your mention of having lived in upstate NY.
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Old 07-07-2007, 10:32 AM   #5
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If you are edgy about liberal ambiance, you won't like the San Juans. (I am assuming that you are thinking of the smaller ones.) It also rains more than in Seattle and health care is not just down the street.

You might consider "The Fabled Isle of Whidbey"-- Whidbey Island, north of Seattle. We consider it to be in the "banana belt".

Or Bellingham.
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Old 07-07-2007, 10:39 AM   #6
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You might want to take a look at Spokane and surrounding areas. Spokane has world class health care four seasons and not as much cloud cover as Seattle in the winter.
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Old 07-07-2007, 10:48 AM   #7
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I went to school in Madison....it gets kinda cold in the upper midwest...another good one is Rochester, MN...and I actually think housing is much cheaper there based on what I have seen...great health care, close enough to the Twin Cities and feel of a mid sized city...
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Old 07-07-2007, 10:49 AM   #8
 
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Here is a test that will result in suggestions as to the best places that fit your requirements: Best Places to Live: Compare the Best Cities & Small Towns for You!
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Old 07-07-2007, 10:50 AM   #9
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We recently retired and moved to Fort Collins, Colorado. We love it and it fits your criteria very well. Close to Boulder but much less expensive. About an hour north of Denver. CSU is here which adds some very good but inexpensive restaurants.
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:01 AM   #10
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Why not check out a city AARP suggests: Iowa City, Iowa. Home of U. of Iowa, top Ten Football (if you are into that sort of thing), friendly people and tons of diversity there (all sorts come from all over the world to teach or attend U. of Iowa), clean city, inexpensive living.
I was raised close to there, and, if I were considering Iowa, it would definitely be Iowa City. The University alone puts on tons of things for the community to attend, so you would have lots to do.
Tons of hunting, fishing and outdoor activities all year around.
Cold in winter, but certainly not the godawful winters Chicago gets at times. Close to the Mississippi River if that's your thing.
This is a GREAT area of the country, and a great city for those so inclined.
However, check the tax rates with retirementliving.com to make sure you can live with that particular State's taxes. Of course, it all depends on where your money is coming from, but, I gather, many people don't seem to factor in taxes when they decide to retire...much to my surprise, since that is a primary factor to me. Different strokes.
But do check out Iowa City, Iowa as it is better than Ames, I think.
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:21 AM   #11
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If you go west of the Cascades you will find sun all seasons.
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:26 AM   #12
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If you go west of the Cascades you will find sun all seasons.
West of the Cascades?
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:46 AM   #13
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West of the Cascades?
It's called Hawaii.

Ha
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:50 AM   #14
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OK, it is Texas, Watterwood. It is on Lake Livingston, at 65 both county and school taxes frozen, 1 acre with 2,700 sq.ft. house around $350,000. 1 hr to Houston. Two college teams in Houston, one in Huntsvile (30 min away) Houston, pro footbal, baseball, basketball, socker, and hocky (kinda)

Pluses: Large Lake, some of the best bass fishing in the state, heavy wooded, 18 hole golf course ($125 a month unlimited golf) Course use to be PGA qual. course. Conservative folks, (about 300 or the 3,000) lots have homes, Because it is a realitive unknown area, build out is about 2 homes a year.

Cons: warm summer's high humity.

Welcome to Waterwoodhomesites.com will give you some idea what it looks like. (lots and homes can be bought much cheaper than going through these folks, but a nice website) see Lake Livingston Waterwood Real Estate
I'm not associated with either.
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:59 AM   #15
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I'd recommend a bit east and north from Cooperstown: northern Warren and Washington counties in NY state. Mountains, lakes, great cities in any direction you travel. Some areas are much less expensive than others.
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Old 07-07-2007, 12:19 PM   #16
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Oops, I intended to say EAST of the Cascades - the sunny side. Stay away from the Columbia River Gorge.. the wind tunnel of the west.

West of the Cascades is wet, west of the Coast Range is wetter.
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Old 07-07-2007, 12:28 PM   #17
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Although I love Boulder, which I heard somewhere has more sunny days (on average) per year then San Diego, the housing prices are going to be pretty high because of growth moratoriums that they have in place.

If I were you, I would go take a look in/around Evergreen, Colorado. It's about 45 minutes from downtown Denver. There is amazing hiking, terrain and it's in the perfect direction to the ski resorts. It's still not overcrowded and there are plenty of dining options.

Another option would be on the other side of I-70 in Gilpin County near Black Hawk & Central City. Since there are casinos there, housing taxes are very low and the casinos provide lots of amenities (dining, entertainment, etc). That area is behind Boulder County and Jefferson County in development so there are less stores, etc but they will catch up. It's booming and housing appreciated should be very good there.
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Old 07-07-2007, 01:34 PM   #18
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I am recently retired and am scoping out the northern edge of the Olympic peninsula in
Washington for settling down. Sequim is in the center of the Olympic rain shadow and
only gets about 12" a year (same as Los Angeles). It is on the coast, so no temperature
extremes. Easier access than the San Juans, 1 hour to Seattle, meets all your other
listed requirements.
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Old 07-07-2007, 01:37 PM   #19
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I am recently retired and am scoping out the northern edge of the Olympic peninsula in
Washington for settling down. Sequim is in the center of the Olympic rain shadow and
only gets about 12" a year (same as Los Angeles). It is on the coast, so no temperature
extremes. Easier access than the San Juans, 1 hour to Seattle, meets all your other
listed requirements.
Why are you leaving LA? I suppose Sequim may meet your neds, but wow it's a long long way from LA in every imaginable sense. Though the rainfall is similar, it is delivered differently!

Ha
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Old 07-07-2007, 01:46 PM   #20
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Why are you leaving LA? I suppose Sequim may meet your neds, but wow it's a long long way from LA in every imaginable sense. Though the rainfall is similar, it is delivered differently!

Ha
I love the LA weather, but riding thru 50-100 miles of city to get to the great outdoors
is tiresome at times. I grew up in Oregon and have no trouble with the weather there.
Most of my high school / college friends now live in Portland or Seattle, and my mom
still lives in Oregon. On the few occasions when I drive, I hate the traffic here. No
state income tax would save me a bundle, and allow me to start converting my
smaller IRA into my Roth.

The only reasons to stay in LA for awhile is that my current friends live here, and
the grandfathered property tax base I have from buying my house 20 years ago.
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