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Old 08-15-2008, 05:39 PM   #21
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.

I liked my time there in 74/75 but am still sticking with Missouri - aka north of KC.

heh heh heh -
I grew up in Parkville, and recently spent quite a bit of time there when my mother was dying of cancer. I hadn't been back for more than a few days at a time in 30 years, and after spending a few months there, interacting with the community, observing housing prices, cost of living, amenities, etc, came to the conclusion that it really would be a great place to live again. But, as they say- you can never go back.
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Old 08-15-2008, 08:07 PM   #22
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Houston would not be at the top of my list of places to move to for retirement, but then neither would Chicago, Miami, or Los Angeles. It is a big city, better than others, but still it's more a place for people to go to work in rather than retire.

Living near Houston, as in the case of many other cities, is something different. I did live in the city for a brief period after moving here, but for 25 years I've lived just outside Houston.

Although I think that we will look at other places once the youngest is off to college in a few years, there are a lot of things about the area that I like that would probably be on my "must have" lists for possible relocation spots:
  • Great medical facilities. - Houston has some great hospitals with a wide array of specializations, especially cancer. If one of us gets sick I would prefer to find good treatment close to home rather than a strange city.
  • Mild winters - When I first started playing golf I would be puzzled by articles that mentioned things like "off-season training". It drove me crazy, "there's a season for golf?", until I realized that not everyone can go play in February. I love to fly to places that have snow and ice so I can ski, sled and ride snowmobiles, but I don't want to live with the nasty white stuff all winter long.
  • Low cost of living - The cost of living is a good bit lower here than in many other cities. Housing costs are especially inexpensive. To duplicate my house in any of the other big cities in the country would cost me at least twice as much, and in some places close to 4 times as much.
  • Nightlife - Since I don't get paid to hang out in clubs anymore I've found that I don't miss it much at all. However, I do enjoy other aspects of nightlife: theaters, opera, symphony, comedy acts, great restaurants etc.
  • And while it might not appeal to others, I do appreciate the open all night amenities one finds in big cities like Houston. When it was slow at work I usual had no responsibility other than "being available", so on slow nights I would leave around 11 PM - midnight and have a late meal at my favorite Mexican, Vietnamese or Greek all-night restaurant. Afterwards I would go bowling, visit the bookstore, see a movie or play pool. I don't do that as much now, but every now and then when my sleep is messed up I'll go out for a game of pool and some spring rolls.
  • Friendly people - There are jerks, they come with big populations, but most of the people you come across smile and say things like "hello", "please", "thank you", "pardon me", etc.
To be honest and give full disclosure, there is a list of things I would not miss about Houston, but have learned to live with:
  • Traffic - If you're retired you should be able to miss most of this. But if you have an early morning or late afternoon appointment somewhere, you can run into the traffic from hell. It's not the freeways that are so bad anymore, but some of the surface roads that are heavily travelled still get overburdened. But the freeways still have their own special fun. There are a lot of people who drive way too fast as they dodge around the recent immigrants who drive way too slow. It might be nice to drive with people who knew how to drive and occasionally actually obeyed a traffic law.
  • Summer lasts forever - I would really love to have a longer spring and fall. It would be interesting to live someplace where you can turn off the AC and open the windows more than a couple of days each year. The best way to describe the Summers here is to say we get many immigrants from East Asia because our climate is so similar to their homeland - It's New, New Delhi baby!
  • Property Taxes - We don't have a state income tax, but the real estate taxes will hit you hard and make you wince in pain.
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Old 08-15-2008, 08:23 PM   #23
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LOL! Many of the retirees we run across in the Texas Hill Country came from Houston! LOL!

I lived and worked in the Houston metro area for a year in the late 70s. I certainly understand why people don't retire there! First is definitely the humidity - it's oppressive. Second is probably the "boom town" environment - fast wild city growth, traffic congestion, everyone in a hurry. It is definitely NOT a laid back environment. Austin, in spite of the years of city growth and now dominant high-tech yuppie culture still has managed to retain some semblance of its original laid back nature. Barely - but it's still there. Austin is so darn affluent now, it's shocking. I'm sure Janis Joplin would look around today and sing - WHAAAAaaaaat happened?!?!

But we, who attended college, lived and worked in Austin for 30 years, couldn't wait to escape Austin as soon as we retired. It was a great place to go to school and work. But it's just not that fun to live in a busy city when you are retired IMO. We couldn't wait to get out of the suburbs and out of the crowds of people.

Not many of the retirees I talk to consider medical care high on their list. Perhaps that's more an issue for much older retirees?

Frankly, I don't understand why retirees head for a major metropolitan area anyway. Seems better to choose a community 25 to 50 miles or more away where you are out of the commuter suburbs and "fast life". Larger cities are so impersonal - no one bothers to say hello. Small towns - people expect to see you more than once so they bother to make contact. What a difference.

I'm sure to each his own....

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Old 08-15-2008, 08:36 PM   #24
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Lived in Houston for 7 years. Add to the list
Snakes in the pool
Bugs in the pool
Frogs in the pool
Crayfish in the pool
Giant cockroaches coming out of the AC vents and eating all the spices
Semi-bad traffic (better than Washington, worse than Phoenix)
Brown haze
Hurricanes and flooding
Non-hurricane related flooding
Water pipes breaking when it goes below freezing
No cheap parking in the medical center
Getting run over by suburbans (known locally as Texas Station Wagons).

On the other hand, there were some good restaurants there (Taste of Texas, Pappas chain, Kolache Factory)
and no State Income Tax (they get you on Sales Tax and Property Tax)
You mean no gators in the pool?

Second on the Pappas chains of restaurants! We go out of our way to visit them. Fortunately they are spread out over Texas and some even occur out of state. For folks that don't know them: Pappadeaux - a really terrific seafood restaurant with a cajun/creole flair; Pappasitas - pretty decent Mexican with disgustingly huge portions; a barbeque chain which I haven't tried. The flagship Pappas Seafood House in southeast Houston is really terrific.

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Old 08-15-2008, 09:28 PM   #25
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Today, Frank and I traveled to Huntsville, Alabama again, for a long weekend and we will give it a second look. It is still our #2, but I do not know exactly why!!
I lived in Huntsville in 2006. Huntsville (or Hunfsville, as the natives call it) is dominated by the twin patriarchal, hierarchical power structures of the Christian Church and the U.S. Military. If you are comfortable in that kind of environment (and many people are), you'll love it. I was delighted to get the heck out of there ASAP. Of course, I had moved there from Denver, so there was really no comparison in terms of the kinds of things I like to do. Even Sarasota - where I am now - represents an immense improvement over Huntsville.

However, to each their own. Good luck!


P.S. If you do move to Alabama, any bigotries or prejudices you've been keeping under wraps for the sake of political correctness can be brought out into the open and displayed with pride.
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Old 08-15-2008, 09:31 PM   #26
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P.S. If you do move to Alabama, any bigotries or prejudices you've been keeping under wraps for the sake of political correctness can be brought out into the open and displayed with pride.
You mean it's the kind of place where you can openly admit you don't like annuities?
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Old 08-15-2008, 11:10 PM   #27
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Clear Lake City was a real nice place years ago. It also has the highest ground for 50 miles around. Usually has a breeze, too. We lived down the street from 'Pinky' Lee, the astronaut.

I remember driving into 'town' up the Gulf Freeway. All you could see for a long time was a fuzzy orange hemisphere at the end of the road. You had to get close to see the buildings in the haze.
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Old 08-15-2008, 11:19 PM   #28
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That is good season in November/December. And they speak in Texan.
Or rather - "Texican"
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Old 08-15-2008, 11:24 PM   #29
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I might go for Huntsville, but not Houston proper - Fed employee's get the 25%+ Houston locality pay in Huntsville, but don't have to live or work in Houston (I'm not sure why Huntsville is considered in the Houston locality pay area?)

As a soon to be ER'd fed, I just threw in for a transfer to a position in Huntsville precisely for the locality pay to bump up my hi-3 (& get the paid move). Have no idea if I'll get the job, but the locality pay bump & change of job scenery could inspire me to delay my ER by a couple of years.
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Old 08-15-2008, 11:31 PM   #30
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I might go for Huntsville, but not Houston proper - Fed employee's get the 25%+ Houston locality pay in Huntsville, but don't have to live or work in Houston.
There's Huntsville, TX, 70 miles north of Houston on I45, and Huntsville, AL. I think the prior posts were referring to Huntsville, AL.

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Old 08-15-2008, 11:44 PM   #31
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There's Huntsville, TX, 70 miles north of Houston on I45, and Huntsville, AL. I think the prior posts were referring to Huntsville, AL.

Audrey
Aaah. I see. Thanks for pointing it out. I heard some mention of Houston & Lake Livingston, so when I scanned quickly over posts talking about Huntsville I just naturally assumed......

We've some transfer positions in AL also I was looking at - no generous "locality" bump there though, but I understand pension income isn't taxed in AL? How's the property tax I wonder.
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Old 08-15-2008, 11:48 PM   #32
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I lived in Huntsville in 2006. Huntsville (or Hunfsville, as the natives call it) is dominated by the twin patriarchal, hierarchical power structures of the Christian Church and the U.S. Military. If you are comfortable in that kind of environment (and many people are), you'll love it. I was delighted to get the heck out of there ASAP. Of course, I had moved there from Denver, so there was really no comparison in terms of the kinds of things I like to do. Even Sarasota - where I am now - represents an immense improvement over Huntsville.

However, to each their own. Good luck!


P.S. If you do move to Alabama, any bigotries or prejudices you've been keeping under wraps for the sake of political correctness can be brought out into the open and displayed with pride.
Unless of course you have "bigotries or prejudices" towards the military or churches! Then you might want to stay away.
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Old 08-16-2008, 12:14 AM   #33
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LOL! Many of the retirees we run across in the Texas Hill Country came from Houston! LOL!
There was a time when the Hill Country was attractive for a weekend home and maybe even retirement. But I've traveled through there a lot over the last few years and there's too many people there now. It seems like whenever I stop off in little town like Kerrville that I'm stuck in traffic and standing in long lines in the stores.
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Not many of the retirees I talk to consider medical care high on their list. Perhaps that's more an issue for much older retirees?
I was of the same opinion until several years ago. Shortly after retiring to a rural area, my uncle has a minor routine medical procedure done before he and his wife started traveling. He had some complications while in another state and discovered that the original work had been done with outdated technology. The doctor thought my uncle had been living overseas in some backwater country, because he believed no doctor in America had done the procedure using that particular technology in at least 15 years.

He died about a year later from continued complications that they were never able to fix. That experience caused access to quality medical care to move up on my list.

Personally, I don't mind the suburbs. I was the king of sex, drugs, gambling and rock-n-roll in the city, and compared to that life out here seems sleepy and peaceful. But I'm still close enough that it's a quick trip into town for whatever I'm looking for. Maybe when I'm older this will all seem too much for me and then I'll move to the country.
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Old 08-16-2008, 03:55 AM   #34
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...do I just not have the latest on the Houston retirement scene?:confused:
Leonidas and others have hit the pros and cons of the city pretty throroughly, so I'll try to take another angle.

There's no real retirement "scene" in Houston that I'm aware of...it's a big, busy city, one definitely oriented toward commerce first. Nonetheless, there are leisure, cultural and recreational opportunities as abundant as in any region with 3 million people. They just tend to be of the man-made, indoor variety.

There are relatively few housing developments catering to retirees, e,g. suburban places with a 50+ requirement, a community activities center and a golf course. There are some senior apartments popping up, but they seem to be aiming at the older folks that want a van ride to the grocery store or a daily scrabble game. I think you would need to look pretty hard to find a concentration of active retirees inside the city or the nearby commuter suburbs.

As some of the posters suggest, a retiree looking to relocate to the Houston area (or a Houstonian moving away from the city) would likely pick an area 30-75 miles away with some visual appeal.

Ain't no hills 'round here, so that means finding water. Places like Galveston, Clear Lake (a yachting area connected to Galveston Bay), or the large man-made lakes at Lake Conroe or Lake Livingston. If you want land with enough terrain and trees to make for a semi-scenic country place, you'd likely settle in rural areas that begin about an hour's drive north or west of downtown.

That's not to say a retiree can't be happy in Houston. I live on a suburban-style street in town, near in the middle of a rectangle formed by downtown, the museum district, the Galleria area and the Med Center. Of 30 or so houses on my block, about 20% are owned by retirees. All are long-time residents who wear big smiles while waving at me as a drive to w%&k.

Here's a link to a moderated forum with lots of Houston information, written by locals who don't work for the chamber of commerce: Houston Architecture Info Forum - Houston's largest online community
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Old 08-16-2008, 05:37 AM   #35
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In some ways, Houston is like the greater DC area where area I live. Many good things here like great health care, super museums, restaurtants galore, etc. However, the DC summers are hot and humid, the traffic is a nighmare, and it's very expensive. Bottom line, places like Houston and the DC area are "working cities" - great places to build your nest egg but not such great places to retire.

Because DH and I have many ties to the area we don't plan to stray too far, but will leave the immediate DC area sometime after he retires. His mom is nearly 90 and in a nursing home, mine is 77 and lives on her own, so we want to be a reasonble distance from them. Culpeper and Charlottesville, Virginia are two possibilities for us - small towns with everything we need but with less of the negatives that come with a major metro area.
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Old 08-16-2008, 08:10 AM   #36
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I think I would feel stifled in a "small" town. I grew up in a town of about 4000; probably a good place to be a kid, except for a fairly mediocre school. But there wasn't much to do, besides high school sports, for entertainment. Still isn't. Of course, for a night out, one could drive to the nearest city, get the nightlife, then leave...

I've partaken in many of the assorted vices activities of Dallas, whether sports, concerts, museums, etc. It is a PITA to fight the traffic and the crowds, so I don't venture too far afield these days, because I've "been there, done that". But it's easy to hide in the "big city", with no one minding your business, and things are relatively close, if I choose to venture out. Granted, as with much of the South, it's hotter than a two-peckered billygoat during the summer. A good time to go visit some friends "up norte"...
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Old 08-16-2008, 08:16 AM   #37
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. Even Sarasota - where I am now - represents an immense improvement over Huntsville.

Since I also live in Sarasota I'm wondering what you find so wrong with Sarasota ? It is not as liberal as New Jersey but otherwise what's not to like about beaches ,great restaurants ,friendly people and decent weather ?
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Old 08-16-2008, 08:30 AM   #38
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Aaah. I see. Thanks for pointing it out. I heard some mention of Houston & Lake Livingston, so when I scanned quickly over posts talking about Huntsville I just naturally assumed......

We've some transfer positions in AL also I was looking at - no generous "locality" bump there though, but I understand pension income isn't taxed in AL? How's the property tax I wonder.
Naturally property tax depends on where in Alabama one is living. As for Huntsville, according to this webpage, al.com: Huntsville City Guide ,
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For residential property tax, figure your assessed value first. It should be 10 percent of market value. Then calculate your residential property tax at $5.80 for each $100 of assessed value. For more information, call the Tax Assessor at (256) 532-3350.
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Old 08-16-2008, 08:39 AM   #39
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I think I would feel stifled in a "small" town. I grew up in a town of about 4000; probably a good place to be a kid, except for a fairly mediocre school. But there wasn't much to do, besides high school sports, for entertainment. Still isn't. Of course, for a night out, one could drive to the nearest city, get the nightlife, then leave...

I've partaken in many of the assorted vices activities of Dallas, whether sports, concerts, museums, etc. It is a PITA to fight the traffic and the crowds, so I don't venture too far afield these days, because I've "been there, done that". But it's easy to hide in the "big city", with no one minding your business, and things are relatively close, if I choose to venture out. Granted, as with much of the South, it's hotter than a two-peckered billygoat during the summer. A good time to go visit some friends "up norte"...
Then there are towns between the extremes of 4000 and millions in population. Towns of 150,000 or so can be pleasant, and with less of the traffic and crowds that you mentioned, and yet not as stifling as a tiny town.
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Old 08-17-2008, 09:50 AM   #40
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Property taxes will go down. The one part of our tax that is not frozen is the Utility
District. It represents half of the tax. The bonds get paid off in two years, and that tax should be retired.
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