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Warm Weather, Views and low taxes
Old 08-21-2011, 06:47 AM   #1
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Warm Weather, Views and low taxes

This is where I want to live when I retire. Any ideas? We've been looking at Asheville, NC, Santa Fe, NM, Maui - big reach.

Where do you recommend?
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:16 AM   #2
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Tough choices you have there! I'd say Maui first. Second is a toss-up. I like both Santa Fe and Asheville. I guess I'd lean a little toward Santa Fe, because I like the West. But I've only visited these places, so I can't say how it would be to live there. Good luck in your decision!
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:40 AM   #3
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I like Santa Fe as well & did live there 4 years. Serious dry cold in the winter that will crack skin. Prescott AZ is pretty and has fun big weather in the winter - but if you can make it out of town 20-40 miles you can be out of the snow and into the warm - or go toward Flagstaff and get seriously buried in snow! St George Utah has decent taxes and OMG views.
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:48 AM   #4
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This is where I want to live when I retire. Any ideas? We've been looking at Asheville, NC, Santa Fe, NM, Maui - big reach.

Where do you recommend?
Maybe you can help a little by telling us what you would like to have in a retirement location and why those towns.
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:49 AM   #5
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Some of my family live in Santa Fe, which gives us the best of both worlds- we can visit whenever we want, but don't have to live there. My relatives like it, but some things drive them crazy. Their homes are very nice and on the edge of town. They have their homes broken into 2-3 times a year. They have them heavily alarmed, but still it's upsetting to have a window broken and things grabbed before police arrive. The traffic can be bad and the prices for homes can be high. Otherwise, the weather is nice in summer, sunsets gorgeous and there is lots to do.
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:53 AM   #6
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I don't know about Asheville or Santa Fe, but Hawaii is a huge cultural transition. People either love the islands or hate them, but there's very little apathy.

If you go for the "cheaper" real estate in Upcountry Maui then you're going to rethink your image of "warm weather". It's one of the few areas in the islands where you see fireplace chimneys in nearly every house.

I should also point out that "low taxes" applies mainly to property and retirees. Hawaii workers carry the burden of some of the U.S.'s highest state income-tax rates.

The best advice for any location is to rent there for a few months during the worst times of the year and try to live like a local.

For Hawaii, I'd recommend posting your questions to HawaiiThreads.com. The members hear from a lot of people who'd like to move here but later realize it isn't what they thought.
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Old 08-21-2011, 09:33 AM   #7
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We live in Silver City, New Mexico. Weather is far milder than Santa Fe and views and hiking/biking far better, but it's remote and a small town so might not appeal. We love it though. Low cost of living too.
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Old 08-21-2011, 09:52 AM   #8
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We live in Silver City, New Mexico.
I thought you lived in Mexico? Why did you decide to move back to the US?

Silver City is a very nice town. We were there for a few days last month and really enjoyed our visit.
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Old 08-21-2011, 11:17 AM   #9
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Try Las Vegas. Low taxes, no state income tax, housing is really cheap right now and there is plenty available. Nice views of the Spring Mountains and Mount Charleston. Never really gets cold and for most of the years its very nice. A couple of months every summer it's over 100, but just about every house has a pool and A/C.

Plenty to do, see and eat. Even off the Strip, Vegas has a lot of really fine restaurants and lots of outdoor activities, not to mention all the headline entertainment. Its on our short list. Only issue is a lack of fishing opportunities, but in retirement I have the time to travel to fish.
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Old 08-21-2011, 01:06 PM   #10
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Another vote for the St George, Utah area, the town of Ivins is a real jewel. The people in Utah are very friendly..we have made a few friends there in our stays over the years.
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Old 08-21-2011, 01:13 PM   #11
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When we were looking for a place to retire, we devoted all but one of our vacations for the last four years of work to this search. We visited each of our three top locations, decided on one, and then visited it over a dozen times so that we would know more about it.

Personally I wouldn't pick a retirement location based on what an internet forum says, any more than I would pick one due to being #1 on a list of best retirement places on cnn.com or yahoo.com. The reason is that what I might like in a retirement location could be a little different than what someone else might like for their retirement. I don't think it's a "one size fits all" sort of decision.
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:58 PM   #12
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I thought you lived in Mexico? Why did you decide to move back to the US?

Silver City is a very nice town. We were there for a few days last month and really enjoyed our visit.
Thanks for asking. We still love Mexico and plan on frequent visits but have some part time w@!k opportunities here.
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Old 08-22-2011, 07:49 AM   #13
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Thanks for asking. We still love Mexico and plan on frequent visits but have some part time w@!k opportunities here.
Quite a change - from expat to repat and also back to work. Are you at least finding housing more affordable than when you left?
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:21 AM   #14
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Housing prices here in Silver City NM haven't taken a big hit - I'd say they're about where they were at the peak of the most recent run-up in 2005-2006, so no appreciation for 5 years but no depreciation either. You can buy a nice small Craftsman-style place in downtown for ~160K, a nicer Santa Fe-style faux adobe with views for 200-250.

Housing costs in the gringo-ized parts of highland Mexico we prefer (Lake Chapala, San Miguel de Allende) are at least as much as here but utilities are less due to the perfect climate, food is 30-40% less and of better quality for the same reason. Biggest wild card for us is health care and insurance costs - it's the $20 doctor and dentist visits and $300 a year for full coverage we really miss, and that may eventually drive us back to Mexico full time.
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Old 08-22-2011, 11:22 AM   #15
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Housing prices here in Silver City NM haven't taken a big hit - I'd say they're about where they were at the peak of the most recent run-up in 2005-2006, so no appreciation for 5 years but no depreciation either. You can buy a nice small Craftsman-style place in downtown for ~160K, a nicer Santa Fe-style faux adobe with views for 200-250.

Housing costs in the gringo-ized parts of highland Mexico we prefer (Lake Chapala, San Miguel de Allende) are at least as much as here but utilities are less due to the perfect climate, food is 30-40% less and of better quality for the same reason. Biggest wild card for us is health care and insurance costs - it's the $20 doctor and dentist visits and $300 a year for full coverage we really miss, and that may eventually drive us back to Mexico full time.
My SIL (DW sister & BIL) lived in Mexico for 5 years, thought they might like to retire there, so before leaving (moving back to China) they bought a house. They rent it now and haven't made a decision where they will settle. After a short trip late last year to do some paperwork she complained to DW that the cost of living there had appreciated substantially. They are euro based and that is Mexico City. I'm wondering if the people in the Lake Chapala area, being more US$ based, are also seeing the cost of living rise due to local inflation and exchange rate.
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Old 08-25-2011, 11:02 PM   #16
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Another vote for the St George, Utah area, the town of Ivins is a real jewel. The people in Utah are very friendly..we have made a few friends there in our stays over the years.
I second that vote! We must be neighbors.
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:13 AM   #17
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I second that vote! We must be neighbors.
Not yet, why do you think I'm reading a thread about second homes? We live on a farm now, so a town the size of Ivins is perfect for us. I have never seen a town with such peaceful,majestic beauty. My DH and I think it's very special. Snow Canyon State Park is national park quality.The productions your local high school stages outdoors, just amazing. The live Nativity they do every December is so spiritual, it's unforgettable.


Now that you are a "local" do you enjoy a lot of outdoor activity, or do you find that "everyday" life and it's details cut into the time you have to enjoy your special hometown?
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:32 AM   #18
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This is where I want to live when I retire. Any ideas? We've been looking at Asheville, NC, Santa Fe, NM, Maui - big reach.

Where do you recommend?
Have you been to these places yourself? Might be easier to start from your observations...

I'd consider NM & NC average tax burden states, 20th & 39th respectively according http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/10/pf/t...ates/index.htm and HI comes out 5th highest in the same table. But I can't find any two that agree, so I'd encourage you to do your own research.

I've been to Sante Fe and just returned from Asheville. Similar cost of living, a little above average, but not knowing your resources or where you are coming from...

Interesting Sante Fe and Asheville are both known for tourism and vibrant art communities. Both are culturally different from one another, and both are not mainstream US culturally (I like that frankly, but if you expect them to be like anytown USA, they aren't at all).

Sante Fe has the southwestern Indian population which adds an interesting dimension to living there I'd think. A lot of pueblo/adobe architecture. And the weather is not as hot as I expected due to the elevation. I visited in August a few years ago expecting it to be unbearable, and it wasn't at all. Very comfortable, especially mornings and evenings (dining al fresco).

Asheville seems like two worlds to me. There is a very wealthy crowd, has to be given the cost of real estate there. And there is also a homeless, hippy, street performer crowd. They seem to co-exist without issue, but if you're from anytown USA like me, it's different - but I really enjoyed it. If you like mountains, Asheville is just beautiful. A lot of classic architecture, I was surprised how many art deco, craftsman bungalows there were - lovely IMO.

So I can't pick one. I'd gladly visit either location anytime, but wouldn't live in either city, there are just better choices for what we're looking for. YMMV
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:12 AM   #19
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We're sort of dealing with this too, as we've decided we don't want to take any more hellish Texas summers than we have to. I work from home completely, and can go wherever there is a telephone and broadband Internet, but the problem I'm running into is the following:

Mild climate (with 4 seasons, a little snow is okay but no heavy snow or 100+ weather), moderate tax burden, scenic, affordable housing prices -- pick any three.
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:22 AM   #20
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All of those places would be way too hot for us, so check climate vs. your current climate. Also take the possibility of climate change into account.
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