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Hi, I am Eddie
Old 07-09-2007, 01:34 AM   #1
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Hi, I am Eddie

Hello all. The wife and I are lucky enough to so be able to retire VERY soon (The sooner the better) We should be able to comfortably spend about 45,000 a year and make it last as long as we need it.

I am 42 and I've been pretty much working full time since I was an early teen(Along w/school until 19). Lots of 80 hour weeks! I'm sure glad that's over! The wife is closer to 50 something, but looks 42 (She didn't tell me her real age until I had already fallen in love, and by then it didn't matter).

We live in WI now, and the house is paid off, and we owe nothing to anyone. Kids are moving around the country soon, and we don't have a big social life here, so we want to explore living in different areas of the U.S. We like to travel, and we want to check out different areas in hopes of finding a couple great locations to live. Maybe splitting the year between a couple. Here's my main concerns right now:

Health insurance - any ideas on where to get good private health insurance rates? A couple of the usual pre-existings - hbp, family history, etc. We haven't quit our jobs yet, but we want to withing a month or so if possible. Any thoughts about COBRA vs private insurance? Any other things we might want to considere BEFORE quitting, so we don't regret not thinking of something important first?

Own or rent? - We have heard different ideas about renting vs buying. We're not into all the home maintainance chores like we used to be. We used to like all the yard work, etc, but now it's more of a chore than a pleasure. I would enjoy some gardening, but that's about all I enjoy doing around the house much any more. But, we wouldn't mind getting a rural place where we could ride 4 wheelers, raise some small animals, have a dog, do some gardening etc. I could probably hire someone to do the stuff I don't want to do, but I don't want our house to become a big drain on our time or budget.

TENNIS!!! - I love playing tennis. I just started a few years ago, but I'm decent and I love to keep improving. I could see myself playing a LOT for fun, as well as training for age appropriate tournaments, taking lessons, etc. We would like to find a community that offers a lot of opportunities to join tennis leagues, have plenty of available practice partners, etc. Any ideas from retirees who love tennis as much as I do would be appreciated. (Please no info about recent tournaments. I tape them all and I just finished wtching the Australian open from Jan!) I still have to watch the French and Wimbledon, so no spoilers please!!! The wife is not a big tennis junkie like me, but she likes to play for fun at a very beginner level. She would be more interested in more sedate, social activities, so I would like an area where she would have fun during the times I am doing the tennis thing. I will probably get into golf at some time also. I've never played, but my Dad was a golf lover, so maybe it's lying dormant like tennis was.

- Having said the whole tennis thing, we do not want to live in a big city. I grew up in Chicago, and we enjoy the rural life better. A rural area within a short commute of all the tennis stuff would be great.

Weather - We like warm, but not extremely hot and humid. We don't mind a little chilly, but we're sick of waiting out the long WI winters. Ideally, a place like parts of California where the weather is pretty moderate the majority of the year would be great, but I don't know if there are parts of Cal where the weather is nice, the rent or home prices aren't crazy, and there are lots of tennis opportunities. The same priorities in other states would be just as acceptable.

So basically, we are looking for affordable, nice weather most of the time, lots of tennis and other social activities, preferably in a rural area close to all of the above.

We are just beginning the process of making all these choices, so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance! Eddie
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Old 07-09-2007, 05:21 AM   #2
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Welcome aboard, Eddie.
Glad you found this board - it is a wealth of information, from searching previous threads and starting new ones. I am sure you will find it worthwhile.
I am about 8+ years from FIRE, so many of the questions you have I will be looking at in a few years, but one consideration is that if you have dental insurance (or also your medical insurance as well), that you take advantage of it now before you retire. Get full cleanings, any crowns, caps, whatever dental work that can be done. It is much more expensive later on. Just my $.02
I also like the idea of renting perhaps for at least the coldest months of the winter when I finally cut the chain. Arizona is tops of my list for now, but that may change. My Ohio winters are bad enough and I can't imagine surviving through Wisconsin or Minnesota winters during retirement.
Once again, welcome.
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Old 07-09-2007, 05:38 AM   #3
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Hi Eddie. Sounds like you have a pretty good idea of what you need to figure out. I think the health insurance question will be the toughest, since everything else will be a matter of preference. The annoying thing about health insurance is that every state is its own marketplace. You can start with state by state rules here: Health Insurance Consumer Guides

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Old 07-09-2007, 07:13 AM   #4
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I live in Florida close to where all the famous tennis players train.That said Florida is a haven for tennis & golf but I'd consider northern Florida for better climate & cheaper prices .My choice would be Gainesville ,Fl..A college town with decent home prices and lots of rural areas nearby .
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Old 07-09-2007, 09:53 AM   #5
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A very helpful booklet is found on the site that Brewer linked to. It tells you how to go about shopping for insurance and a bit about your rights.

If you find that you are not insurable on the private market, Wisconsin has a risk pool. Risk pool information is here: Health Insurance Risk Sharing Plan (HIRSP) of Wisconsin Wisconsin caps its risk pool premiums at 200% of the average cost on the private market. Even though this cap is high, I believe currently its rates are lower than that amount. Last I looked it was around 150%.

Are you planning on staying in Wisconsin year round? One issue with Wisconsin's risk pool, IIRC, is that getting coverage out of state is out of network and you end up paying quite a bit out of your own pocket for medical care.

No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

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Old 07-09-2007, 03:41 PM   #6
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Sperling's BestPlaces

Best Places to Live: Compare the Best Cities & Small Towns for You!

Here are a couple of web sites to play with. They may give you some ideas.
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Old 07-09-2007, 07:30 PM   #7
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Cat -

Great site (hotspot). Thanks for the link!
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Old 07-10-2007, 05:46 AM   #8
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Hi Eddie,

Try Best Places to Live: Compare the Best Cities & Small Towns for You! to get suggestions on places to look based on criteria you input. Also, Money Magazine does an annual "Best places to retire" which I'm sure is on their website.

Good luck!
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Old 07-10-2007, 08:09 PM   #9
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Did you say 'tennis'?

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I have outlived most of the people I don't like and I am working on the rest.
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