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Where do we live?
Old 11-26-2017, 11:27 AM   #1
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Where do we live?

It would be nice to know, where people live after taking early retirement? I mean those who live in US. There is some info here and there, but I thought it would be great if we can share where do we live and how happy we are with our choice.
I'm not retired yet, and living in SF Bay Area. This is a nice but very expensive place, and I most likely will move somewhere else. I consider to retire during the next few years and eager to see which areas works better for other folks in terms of cost of living, climate, health insurance and other factors.
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Old 11-26-2017, 11:58 AM   #2
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It would be nice to know, where people live after taking early retirement? I mean those who live in US. There is some info here and there, but I thought it would be great if we can share where do we live and how happy we are with our choice.
I'm not retired yet, and living in SF Bay Area. This is a nice but very expensive place, and I most likely will move somewhere else. I consider to retire during the next few years and eager to see which areas works better for other folks in terms of cost of living, climate, health insurance and other factors.
Many of us list our location in our profile, so that it shows up on each post. As you can easily see, I live in New Orleans.

When we first retired, we had planned to move to southern Missouri to get away from the crime and hurricanes. But, at the last minute we decided to stay put. We do love it here.

As for the factors you mentioned - -

1. Cost of living is moderate to low here.
2. Climate - - most people HATE the hot, humid climate here, but I love it. It's good for my skin, and I have a nice new HVAC system for times when it is just too hot outside.
3. Health insurance: the insurance situation in Louisiana is apparently awful. I have federal retiree health insurance and do not rely upon ACA insurance.
4. Other factors: the entire town is in deadlock during Mardi Gras. We used to leave, like most locals, but lately we have just been staying at home and not going out. We live 1/2 block from a major parade route so we are in the middle of all of it.

One of the interesting things about living here, is that there are almost no new planned communities since the population has not been increasing. No HOA's, no uniform housing with uniform people doing uniform things, and so on. Instead we have a lot of historic housing that is hundreds of years old and has not had any but the most minimal updating. Living here we are surrounded by history and to me that is fascinating. We have more than our share of unique, creative, and unusual residents, too; lots of artists and musicians, for example. Another nice thing about New Orleans is the antiquing (if you like that sort of thing). The antique shops here are better than anywhere I have ever lived. Some of them are very expensive, but we go to the lower end ones.

There is always something to do in New Orleans. There are lots of festivals, and lots of tourist attractions here. We don't drink and haven't been down to Bourbon St. in many years, but we are still never bored.
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Old 11-26-2017, 12:30 PM   #3
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I had the same question a couple of years ago, so this thread might give you some information.

Poll: Where do you live?

Basically, I think it can be said that we live pretty much everywhere, so it all depends on your personal preferences.
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Old 11-26-2017, 01:27 PM   #4
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I lived in the Atlanta suburbs in a big house in a swim/tennis neighborhood. First, Megacorp closed the 300,000 square ft. office/warehouse and laid off 50 workers. We moved into an office complex, and in 3 years everyone was working from home. The writing was on the wall that no one would be around to full retirement age.

My wife and I sold our house in 2 wks. and moved to NW Alabama to my family's lake house. Then we bought a medium size house for a good price and paid cash--going for a very low COL.

Sure enough, Megacorp overreacted to the 2008 downturn and retired everyone 55 years old+. And they paid dearly to make the change. And we loved our new ER, even if we left on their terms.

Many people climb the corporate ladder by moving from p!ace to place. And seldom does a move end up profitable in living costs. Fortunately, my moves have always been in the South.

We sold our house last year and moved into a 5000+ square ft. house in town. It was a foreclosure I paid cash for, and we made a great buy. Because my wife is disabled, we have no property taxes--only available in Alabama. And we split our time in the lake house inherited from my parents across town.

It is our low cost of living that has allowed us not to have to get into our IRA Rollover accounts. Without those withdrawals, no state income tax is paid. And our biggest expenses are auto and homeowners insurance. It is also great being debt free.
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Old 11-26-2017, 01:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
I had the same question a couple of years ago, so this thread might give you some information.

Poll: Where do you live?

Basically, I think it can be said that we live pretty much everywhere, so it all depends on your personal preferences.
braumeister, thank you so much for the link: I find it extremely useful! But still not clear, what those single digits mean: 0, 1, 2, ... 9? On the map, I can see zip codes: how do they translate to those digits in the poll?
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Old 11-26-2017, 01:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Alex The Great View Post
It would be nice to know, where people live after taking early retirement? I mean those who live in US. There is some info here and there, but I thought it would be great if we can share where do we live and how happy we are with our choice.
I'm not retired yet, and living in SF Bay Area. This is a nice but very expensive place, and I most likely will move somewhere else. I consider to retire during the next few years and eager to see which areas works better for other folks in terms of cost of living, climate, health insurance and other factors.
We discussed retirement locations for years, from Maui to Maine to the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The major consideration wasn't expense, but community. We ended up a hundred miles from where we spent the last quarter-century, in a place where people share our values (flaming godless liberals), in the crook of the elbow of the strong right arm of Massachusetts, Cape Cod.
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Old 11-26-2017, 01:41 PM   #7
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OK, I think I got: the areas are built by using different colors. Although colors for 3 and 9 are fairly close, not sure how to differentiate them. Apparently most of us are living in south east (TX, FL and around).
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Old 11-26-2017, 01:44 PM   #8
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We discussed retirement locations for years, from Maui to Maine to the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The major consideration wasn't expense, but community. We ended up a hundred miles from where we spent the last quarter-century, in a place where people share our values (flaming godless liberals), in the crook of the elbow of the strong right arm of Massachusetts, Cape Cod.
Yes I agree the sense of community and people living around is very important. I feel very nice people are living in Austin TX and Portland, OR. But both places are getting more and more expensive to live, due to high tech and other factors.
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Old 11-26-2017, 01:54 PM   #9
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We moved from a county bordering Washington, D.C. to the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. It's a distance of less than 100 miles but a world apart in traffic, culture, and cost of living. This is the wealthy part of a relatively poor state. Where we used to live a house like we're living in would be many millions - here the market value is ~$250k.

In moving we left a lot of cash on the table, I could easily have found well-paying work with one of the "beltway bandits" (federal contractors) and DW left her federal job at FDA. She'd easily be a GS 12 or above by now. Both of us did intend to find jobs after the move but only I found one, despite repeated applications and a sterling work history she never did find another job. But we later realized that was a good thing, because she had all the time she wanted to look after her father as his health began to fail without the stress of having to keep a full-time job as well. But of course after the move we often wondered if we'd been wise in leaving the D.C. area.

About six months after we moved we went to see my younger sister, then living in Northern VA. When she saw us the first thing she said was "I haven't seen you two looking so relaxed in years". Then we knew for certain that we'd made the right choice.
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Old 11-26-2017, 01:57 PM   #10
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Live in the hinterlands of the far southwest suburbs of Chicagoland.

Cost of living: high real estate taxes
Climate: ok May through October
Health insurance: on DW's megacorp retirement health insurance
Other factors: mil still lives here, so DW will not move. Snowbird to northeast valley of Phoenix where winter climate is superb
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Old 11-26-2017, 02:28 PM   #11
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We did a lot of research, identified criteria we needed, and traveled to several places to help us decide. In the end, we decided we loved So CA the best and would just work a few more years to enable us to live where we wanted to be. The most valuable attributes here are our social network and the weather. Plus we enjoy the huge diversity of activities and cultures here. ER'd a year ago and no plans to move.

Our "Plan B" destinations include TX & FL. We think we'd be ok with either if the COL ever gets to be more than we can deal with here. "Plan C" would be any warm tropical island.
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Old 11-26-2017, 02:34 PM   #12
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braumeister, thank you so much for the link: I find it extremely useful! But still not clear, what those single digits mean: 0, 1, 2, ... 9? On the map, I can see zip codes: how do they translate to those digits in the poll?
The single digits are merely the first digit of the 5-digit zip code.
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Old 11-26-2017, 02:53 PM   #13
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The single digits are merely the first digit of the 5-digit zip code.
Thanks! Sorry for confusion. It make sense then: the highest number of us are living in areas with zip codes starting with 9, which are west coast states including CA. Next are south east states where zip code start with 3 like FL, GA, closely followed by 2 (east coast states SC, NC, VA). This pole makes me think it may be better to find some less expensive area in CA, rather than moving somewhere else.
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Old 11-26-2017, 03:14 PM   #14
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Many of us list our location in our profile, so that it shows up on each post. As you can easily see, I live in New Orleans.

When we first retired, we had planned to move to southern Missouri to get away from the crime and hurricanes. But, at the last minute we decided to stay put. We do love it here.

As for the factors you mentioned - -

1. Cost of living is moderate to low here.
2. Climate - - most people HATE the hot, humid climate here, but I love it. It's good for my skin, and I have a nice new HVAC system for times when it is just too hot outside.
3. Health insurance: the insurance situation in Louisiana is apparently awful. I have federal retiree health insurance and do not rely upon ACA insurance.
4. Other factors: the entire town is in deadlock during Mardi Gras. We used to leave, like most locals, but lately we have just been staying at home and not going out. We live 1/2 block from a major parade route so we are in the middle of all of it.

One of the interesting things about living here, is that there are almost no new planned communities since the population has not been increasing. No HOA's, no uniform housing with uniform people doing uniform things, and so on. Instead we have a lot of historic housing that is hundreds of years old and has not had any but the most minimal updating. Living here we are surrounded by history and to me that is fascinating. We have more than our share of unique, creative, and unusual residents, too; lots of artists and musicians, for example. Another nice thing about New Orleans is the antiquing (if you like that sort of thing). The antique shops here are better than anywhere I have ever lived. Some of them are very expensive, but we go to the lower end ones.

There is always something to do in New Orleans. There are lots of festivals, and lots of tourist attractions here. We don't drink and haven't been down to Bourbon St. in many years, but we are still never bored.
Due to geography did the new planned developments just move north of the Lake? I recall Chevron moved its office north of the lake for example
(Slidell and Hammond for example).
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Old 11-26-2017, 03:49 PM   #15
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Thanks! Sorry for confusion. It make sense then: the highest number of us are living in areas with zip codes starting with 9, which are west coast states including CA. Next are south east states where zip code start with 3 like FL, GA, closely followed by 2 (east coast states SC, NC, VA). This pole makes me think it may be better to find some less expensive area in CA, rather than moving somewhere else.
One thing I would say is to figure out what your COL would be if you don't relocate, assuming you are otherwise happy where you are. You may be find that it's not much cheaper to move, whether in or out of the state.

- If you own your home in CA and have for a while, your property taxes will likely be higher if you move.
- If you won't have much income in early retirement, your CA state income taxes will decrease from what you pay while working.
- If you stay in coastal CA, you have less need for home heating and cooling, and therefore lower energy costs than in most other places.
- Commuting costs disappear when you retire.
- You already have the appropriate summer and winter clothing, but you may have to make an investment in that if you move. Likewise, you may have annual costs for winterizing homes and vehicles in other locations that you don't have in CA.
- Overall grocery costs don't seem to vary that much within the continental U.S. Some foods are cheaper here, some more expensive, but the totals seem to be about the same no matter where we travel. (Hawaii excepted.)
- The health care situation in urban areas of CA, both by price and quality, is better than in a lot of other places.
- Travel costs increase when you move somewhere more remote.
- The main thing that I find we spend more on at home than in other states is restaurant meals. Minimum wages here are high, which drives up costs, and more restaurants are also passing along surcharges instead of rolling them into their pricing.

This is an individual analysis that is going to vary a lot depending on your own expenses and priorities, but I think it's worth doing it in order to have a real idea of the costs or savings you would get from relocating.
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Old 11-26-2017, 04:38 PM   #16
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WE live on the West coast in a mild 4 seasons which we love. I moved here 20 years ago for a job and met DH who has always lived here. The COL is medium although housing is really going up but that does not matter since we own a home. We have a lot of friends and there is something to do all the time.
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Old 11-26-2017, 04:40 PM   #17
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Texas.......as soon as I head about the place I left New England and never looked back.
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Old 11-26-2017, 04:55 PM   #18
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I live in Southern Maryland. It is rural living, yet only 20 miles south of Washington DC.
We live on 8 acres, and have worked hard to make this a very nice place to live. We have a lot of family near by, and friends also. So at this point, we plan to stay here.
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Old 11-26-2017, 05:05 PM   #19
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We are in Northeast Ohio, in a suburb outside of Akron. Our neighborhood is all houses from the 1950's. One of our sons calls it "rotting 50's suburbia" but we have been happy here for over 30 years.

The cost of living is very reasonable. Having no mortgage and taxes of about $200/mo means our cost of living is very low.

Health insurance wise, we still have five insurers through the Marketplace, plenty of doctors and hospitals (in the local area with Akron nearby) if you are careful in checking the network. Cleveland and the Cleveland Clinic are about 45 minutes away if you need them. We have a local highway that connects to the major interstate freeways so it's easy to get to Cleveland or Columbus or Pittsburgh.

Our weather has all four seasons. The summer is a little short, the winter a little long but spring and fall are beautiful. We have great local parks and a National Park too, Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

We were here before DH retired and we stay because our sons and my sister are in the area. If we were to consider moving we would probably consider Parker, CO where some of DHs family lives. Or I would love to be closer to an ocean. Both of those options have a much higher cost of living. DH has a brother and a sister in the Morristown, NJ and Summit, NJ area. We may visit but would never move there!

For now, we are staying right where we are.
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Old 11-26-2017, 07:15 PM   #20
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Due to geography did the new planned developments just move north of the Lake? I recall Chevron moved its office north of the lake for example
(Slidell and Hammond for example).
I don't know what "new planned developments" you mean, for New Orleans. The only ones I ever heard of were some pie-in-the-sky projects for massive re-building after Katrina, and none of the ones I heard of ever happened. At any rate, they aren't here.

I don't know much at all about what goes on north of Lake Ponchartrain. I have almost never been there and have not gone there at all during the past ten years. Lake Ponchartrain is huge, more than 24 miles across it for example, and then you have to drive to wherever you are going once you get over there. New Orleans is south of the lake. I think there are new planned communities in several other towns in various parts of Louisiana like that, for sure in Baton Rouge, but that's not where we live.
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