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Delaware Retirement?
Old 08-29-2016, 12:56 PM   #1
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Delaware Retirement?

As we continue our lazy search for where to live next (and probably last move), Delaware keeps coming up on DW's radar. The state appears to be pretty retiree friendly, with cost of living and real estate costs (aside from the coast) that appear to be considerably less than any other state/metro area nearby - DC, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, etc. But you usually get what you pay for, so why is Delaware seemingly a relative bargain? We're thinking of taking a trip in a few months to scope out a few cities.

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Old 08-29-2016, 01:36 PM   #2
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I have had my eye on Smyrna Delaware, 15 min to the beach is a plus for me.

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Old 08-29-2016, 01:43 PM   #3
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I lived in Delaware for 6 years. You couldn't PAY me to live there. BUT...I do know a lot of AF retirees that *do* live there, and they seem to enjoy it. SO...YMMV.

I hated the beach traffic that made it an absolute nightmare to get around every Friday evening through late Sunday in most areas of the state in the Summer. And 15 minutes to the beach from Smyrna? Yeah...not during "beach season rush hour." I would say that if you aren't too keen on the big city amenities, then the farther south you go...the better. One thing that did surprise me was how COUNTRY it was there. Coming from the South, I was expecting to see the picturesque "Northern Town" (you know, leaves in the fall, postcard perfect kind of picture) but my first house was surrounded by corn fields.

One other thing that isn't talked about is the crime. Dover and points north have some pockets that are NOT friendly, so I would definitely dig deep on that angle.
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Old 08-29-2016, 03:21 PM   #4
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I lived in northern DE twice when in my 20s & 30s and loved it. I think southern DE is more retiree-friendly, though, especially if you like being near water. There are lots of advantages to living in a small state - you can really know your elected officials (even senators and governors), and of course, no sales tax is nice. You're close enough to Philly and Baltimore for day trips, and lots of other cities for weekends.

That said, I grew up in a small town in western MD so smaller and slower is my comfort zone. YMMV.
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Old 08-29-2016, 03:53 PM   #5
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I looked into Delaware also as I "needed" to stay in the NE with my in-laws living in central Jersey. Since I'm not a beach person at all, I checked out more of the inland options and found nothing that interested me. I ended up in Eastern PA. The real estate taxes are lower than NY/NJ (where we started from) and the retirement income is not taxed. Quality of life with restaurants/Concerts/Minor League sport clubs was much more available here. After 3 years I am still happy on the decision.
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Old 08-29-2016, 08:03 PM   #6
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From Chicago area to Delaware? They're both too cold in winter.

Checkout NE Tennessee, Western NC, NE Georgia Mountains and NW South Carolina. Houses and taxation is half what you're used to paying.
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Old 08-30-2016, 05:23 AM   #7
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I have a few friends who have bought retirement homes in developments on the west side of the bays behind Bethany Beach, about 10 minutes to the beach. They are very happy there. One couple, bought in a place with a community pool and a lot of activities and are livin the life (as they see it). The wife's brother who is less social built a house nearby but not in a development. Note - most people in these areas rarely visit the beach in season because of crowds but between Dewey and Bethany there are some very nice public beaches with ample parking that are accessible, both on the ocean and the sound. I used to windsurf on one of the sound side beaches. The prices seem good to me but I am in DC so anything would seem good to me.
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Delaware Retirement?
Old 08-30-2016, 12:03 PM   #8
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Delaware Retirement?

I lived in Delaware from 1993-1997. I'd avoid most of the northern part of the state. Either too high crime or too expensive. Dover, where I lived, was nice. The "bad" areas were minor compared to bigger cities. People were friendly and the economy stable with the Air Force Base and state government. Southern Delaware is much more poor away from the beaches, but not unfriendly or dangerous. There are still plenty of places to live reasonably close to the beach but far enough away to avoid tourists during high season. I still visit a lot since I live just outside Philadelphia. Just be aware their income tax taxes everything. No retirement breaks. But no sales tax.

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Old 08-30-2016, 03:54 PM   #9
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I lived in northern DE twice for a couple years each. There is no sales tax but the income tax was high. It was a fairly cosmopolitan place for the east coast due to a lot of corporate transfers in and out. It had a midwestern feel to me.
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Old 08-30-2016, 05:52 PM   #10
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Southern Delaware is a magnet for retirees. As mentioned by others, there is no real attraction in the northern part of DE. It is the only northern state we're considering. I grew up in the Delaware Valley, and know a bunch of people from DE. I would stay clear of the beaches as the traffic is horrendous in the summer. Driving south out of DE is something we really enjoy. Salisbury, Chincoteague, etc. Then over the bridge and to other points.

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