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Old 01-05-2021, 05:17 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by califgirl View Post
Thinking about the sage advice to test drive a potential retirement location for a couple of months. Can I ask those who have done this about the practical aspects? Is it easy to find a short term rental that would have most things set up (e.g. furniture, dishes, internet, cable)? If in a 55+ community, would it be possible to have access to the clubhouse or activities (though it may be severely curtailed right now)?
Extended Stay Hotels or VRBO would work.
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Carlsbad CA to Greenville SC
Old 01-05-2021, 05:18 PM   #62
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Carlsbad CA to Greenville SC

I retired on Dec 31 and Jan 1 we moved from Carlsbad CA (we also lived in SF) to SC. That was 10 years ago. We said we’d give it five and decide. No looking back. We left CA because of COL, crowding, fires. CA the COL was +30% and SC it was -30%. That’s a 60% diff! We came to SC for two reasons. First a better year round climate than FL and lower COL which more than makes up for state taxes in our case. The cost of property is much lower than FL. A lot of our neighbors call themselves 1/2 backs. Half way back from FL. Check it out.
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Old 01-05-2021, 05:27 PM   #63
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Lived in FL all my life. I have to say FL is great 8 months of the year. During the other months you probably will want to buzz off to Canada ,Maine or Argentina.
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Old 01-05-2021, 05:35 PM   #64
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We moved from our acreage property into the little country town nearby. We now live in a small easy to maintain cottage on quarter of an acre, a stones throw away from the main street.

We were aged 61 and 58 when we made the move, we don't anticipate moving again anytime soon. This house is one we can age in which is important as my DH has chronic health issues that he will never get rid of. The house we have is in a nice area with good neighbours.

We can easily lock up and leave should we want to go on holidays or if my husband has an extended stay in hospital. The neighbours will keep an eye on things for us while we are away.
Doesn't even own a dryer.
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Old 01-05-2021, 05:40 PM   #65
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I moved a year after I retired from the San Francisco area to South Carolina.

Pluses - was able to sell my CA home and pay cash for a new house and car.
The house has space for a fenced yard (3 French Bulldogs) and a garden. Two things that were important to me. Cost of living is much lower due to lower property taxes and state income tax breaks for seniors. Summers are cooler than Florida and I enjoy the rare snow we get in the winter. Summer rain is wonderful.

Cons - I am a true liberal and live in a red state. 🤣🤣
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Old 01-05-2021, 05:41 PM   #66
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I was on a long term assignment in Tokyo that started with a one year commitment and eventually stretched out to 14 years. So we moved back to CA to a home we had built while living in Japan. We enjoyed being there for a while and then the craziness and high taxes started bringing on us (with a deferred comp payout starting, it was getting to be ridiculous). So we bought a home in NV and went to stay there a few times a month for a few days each time. We ended up liking the home, the neighborhood we bought in, but not the Reno/Sparks area itself. In 2017, we visited the east valley of the Phoenix area and really liked it. It was winter, and we attended an outdoor wedding, in December. We still like it here, but this past summer was a record-breaker as far as the brutal heat. I have a sister here, and my aging parents decided to come here as now we are king of locked in. But we may buy a second home or a summer home to which we can escape during the most brutal months. I say “may” because while my wife doesn’t like the heat, she really likes having a warm pool...which we have during the brutal summer, but could not have in the locations she considers she likes. But the way I see it, we probably still have a move or two ahead of us.
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Old 01-05-2021, 05:44 PM   #67
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Made a bigger move than most. From Los Angeles to A beach town in Uruguay! Rented for about a year before I bought a house. Just The savings in property tax, home owners insurance and utilities from my house in LA pays all of my costs for the year here, including food, medical, travel. After 5-6 years of market gains on investments and proceeds of selling the house, and no CA state tax burden I doubled my portfolio.

Oh and quality of life is much much better. Eat healthy, air is clean, stress is low, traffic almost unheard of. I highly recommend moving in forces you to learn new things and push ourselves out of our cocoon of complacency. If another language is involved it is even better for brain health...

Of course now during the pandemic not being able to travel back to the states is tough, but my chance of dying here from COVID or even getting sick was so much less... and I could walk on the beach any time.. no crowds
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Old 01-05-2021, 05:59 PM   #68
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Last December, 2 yrs after retirement, we bought some land on Hawaii Island, hoping to build there. We are avid scuba divers and have been dreaming for years of being able to wake up in the morning, and spur of the moment, grab our tanks and jump into WARM water (water temps where we currently live in NorCal are 55 degrees F year round! ). I was raised in S. Florida and would never go back, so our only real choices for diving were either Hawaii, or to expat in Mexico/Central America or the Caribbean.

We know that eventually we may have to move back to the mainland for medical or other reasons, but we are hoping to get 10-15 good dive years on the Big Island. I find it ironic that we are planning to move from one of the highest COLs in the country to an even more expensive place, but YOLO.
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Old 01-05-2021, 06:13 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by HI Bill View Post
+1. We do have specialists who fly over from Oahu for routine visits. But my retinal specialist doesn't, because he doesn't have his lasers and other equipment here. So I'm having to fly to Oahu twice a year, just to see him! Definitely makes me think that I'll need to move somewhere besides Hawaii Island by the time I turn 70+ or 75. We'll have to wait to see how the health is by then. Fortunately, I have 15-20 years before then if no new major health problems arise.
I'm sure you save enough vs Oahu living on Hawaii to afford the trip. Emergencies would be the big issue. I had a torn retina once (on mainland) and doc got me in a couple of hours. Hope it works out for you.
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Old 01-05-2021, 06:28 PM   #70
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To those who want to test drive a retirement destination by renting 6 months to a year, what do you do with the primary residence? Keep it empty or sell and store household belongings? Rent it out short term? I retired in 2018 and DW will retire this year. We are considering moving out of state.
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Old 01-05-2021, 06:43 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by melijov View Post
How is the cost of living? Is it expensive?
This question comes up occasionally (not just Hawaii, of course). One place to start (but not too much on COL IIRC) is by our own Hawaii expert Nords:

If you can figure how to search, there are other threads - have fun if you're really interested.

vs. average USA mainland, I've seen figures like 65% higher COL. vs where I lived in the heartland, I'd guess that's about right (maybe a bit worse.) BUT (always a big BUT) vs Bay Area, maybe LA (the nice parts), NYC, Boston, and other BIG cities especially on the east coast, COL probably isn't much different.

As always, a lot of your COL is under your control. I always joke (well, it's not really a joke) I've not eaten a fresh blueberry on Oahu - only frozen. Back where I used to live, in season, blueberries would go as cheap as a dollar a pint box (in season). Here, it's more like a dollar an ounce for fresh. IF you don't mind riding a really good bus system on Oahu, you can save a TON by not owning a car (we own two, so stupid us.) You learn where to shop. Now that Sams, Costco, Home Depot, etc. etc., are almost everywhere in the Islands, you can save a lot.

Housing on, for instance the Big Island of Hawaii is much cheaper than on Oahu. Of course, we don't have numbered volcano zones here on Oahu, so there's that. As mentioned by HI Bill, you might have to budget air travel to Oahu for specialists (and especially for emergencies - imagine an air ambulance from Big Island to Oahu. If you have to ask the cost, you can't afford it. )

We visited a dozen times and did a several week trial run to see if we could manage. It worked out well and we hope to stay put. BUT we do have a back up plan. By the way, prices of RE are just a bit soft right now due to Covid, so...
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Old 01-05-2021, 06:50 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by sofarsogood View Post
To those who want to test drive a retirement destination by renting 6 months to a year, what do you do with the primary residence? Keep it empty or sell and store household belongings? Rent it out short term? I retired in 2018 and DW will retire this year. We are considering moving out of state.
The possibilities are endless. BEST solution may be to have someone you trust (close friend, relative, etc.) manage the place - whether that's just checking the heat in the winter or keeping it short-term rented for you. In anticipation of our move, we sold our house FIRST and then rented a place near by - just in case it didn't work out. We'd lived in the rental many times, so it was a no brainer. It doesn't always work out that well, so you may need to scratch your head to come up with a solution. IF any doubt, I'd recommend NOT selling first but YMMV.
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Old 01-05-2021, 07:04 PM   #73
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We moved from northern Wisconsin(brrr!) to the east side of Phoenix 4 days after we retired in the latter part of 2019. Our daughter and 3 grandkids live here. We bought a trailer in a 55+ park. While there we had a new house built in a new subdivision near our daughter. We just moved in the end of November. Housing prices are going up here. So far we like it, but doubt it’ll be our last move. My parents also snowbirded here for many years, so we were familiar with the area. We do not miss the northern Wisconsin weather, which played a big factor in our move. It’s hot in Phoenix in the summers, but the pool is great!
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Old 01-05-2021, 07:43 PM   #74
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We moved to New Hampshire last February after closing on our new home and my husband retired 12/31. I quit my job Sept. 2018.

We didn’t know anyone here except our son- only child. It’s great we can see him more often now.

We had vacationed in the state quite a number of times and we actually have a timeshare here.

I did connect with a political group in NH 14 years ago
thinking it was a possibility to be with like minded people and I did somewhat friend a woman that was part of that group and moved a year before we did.

Once here - since we are in a development that is like a 55+ community - we put ourselves out there despite the pandemic. Via the community Facebook
Page we joined a small walking group each day in the spring.

We have had some get togethers, boat rides with one couple that owns a boat, restaurant meals with them, etc.

Since a few more new homes are still being constructed near ours we have become friendly with some nice couples who moved right next to us as well.

Once settled we started attending the political groups monthly luncheons.

My husband joined a local sportsmen’s club which he enjoys.

We are in a vacation area so even with the pandemic we found lots to do. Our state is fairly open and we even attended a live comedy show.

And- we finally attended our parish at Christmas and I anticipate doing so more often now.

Once this pandemic stuff subsided there will be more activities going on in our development. We have a clubhouse. We at least were able to use the pool over the summer. And where we live I could walk to the lake and I could go to the beach there.

We can walk to the Cumbies also, and that’s where we get our gas as well. We can easily age here and it’s great to have neighbors who look out for and help one another. That was something we did not have back in NY living in seclusion.

We have plenty of stores round and also restaurants, golf and other activities. Mountains for hiking. Beautiful views when out and about. Healthcare is accessible.

Most transplants are from Massachusetts so a bit of a culture shock for us rural New Yorkers. We actually relate more to the genuine locals. But everyone is very nice.

We did not choose Florida because we like Mountains and cool lakes. I hate reptiles and large bugs. And mostly we hate e trend heat and humidity. We also like the 4 seasons. Fall here is spectacular!

All this said- we staying on the east coast enables us to travel to NY and PA (once this virus thing subsided) by car easily to visit friends and family if we do choose to in the future. Also we have some family/ friends in Florida so could drive or fly easily if we even would ever want to.

BYW- we downsized from a 2600 square foot colonial in 10 1/2 acres to an 1100 square foot one level cottage on a postage stamp sized lot. HOA takes care of the little grass there is, garbage,, clubhouse and pool and plows the road in the development.

There are some things we don’t like about it and the area- such as too many summer and Fall tourists and second home owners - Especially worse in this pandemic- and lots of noise from camps that surround us. Fireworks every weekend! People up all hours of the night! Motorcycles!

I do miss my other house- the space and having lots of land and windows to look out at it and the privacy and quiet.

But everything is a compromise. There’s no perfect place or house.

PS we left NY due politics, property taxes ( though they are high in NH also), etc. NH has no income tax and no sales tax ( a bigger savings than you can imagine). All insurances are much less here as well.

One more thing: housing is expensive here and we barely broke even with buying this little house with the proceeds from our big house. Where our former house was located it was not a hot market like it is in other areas so it did not appreciate like you would think on the 32 years we owned it. And it was totally updated.
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Old 01-05-2021, 08:59 PM   #75
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I'm a proponent of snow-birding and having a couple homes. I have a cabin on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska and a house in Tucson, Arizona. I wouldn't like to be stuck in either location year round, but taking the best and avoiding the rest results in better year round living conditions than any single place. I have lived in Alaska for 35 years, although I was expat for 10 years of that and have owned my Tucson home for 10 years, so I'm pretty well past "honeymoon" phase. I have family in Florida and would consider the Orlando area as a suitable substitute for Tucson, but it's a god awful place to be stuck year round. That's sort of the point with multiple homes, there are beautiful gems with big flaws like the desert in Arizona or the mountains in Alaska.

So in direct answer to the thread question, I would consider a second home elsewhere as an alternative to totally moving.
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Old 01-05-2021, 09:08 PM   #76
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I finally bit the bullet after over a decade in retirement, and moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Portland suburbs. Lower cost of living, better overall living situation for us. Yes, income tax is roughly similar to California, but there’s no sales tax, and overall cost of living is lower. I jumped from a 2 bedroom condo to a 4 bed, three bath home in the woods, and pocketed the difference.

The larger home let us do a few things, including a better office space for me, space for our hobbies, and the ability to set up an ‘in-law suite’ for my sister-in-law.
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Old 01-05-2021, 09:57 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
We only moved about 80 miles from the Washington, D.C. area to WV but it is a world away in terms of culture, traffic levels, and housing costs. Other costs are fractionally lower but not near enough to make a move worthwhile. The big issue was traffic, as in having to plan one's life around it.
We made a similar move from the DC area in 2019, about 120 miles. Life is much easier, and costs are lower, but the jury is out on our success in making friends because of COVID.

Like Walt, we simply moved and bought a house. Our requirements for a fairly large, close-in one-story house, but not a 55+ community, limited our choices.

My concern after getting here is that a tax-averse local government may choose to let older suburbs such as ours decay rather than pay the huge bills for rebuilding infrastructure.
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Old 01-06-2021, 06:41 AM   #78
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We retired close to 7 years ago, moved from Wichita KS, to Lake of the Ozarks 3 months before my final day....after one winter in the Ozarks, we purchased a place in Ft Myers FL, became FL residents..... Great for taxes, weather, things to do. We spend 8 months in Ft Myers, and 4 months at Lake of the Ozarks...... As well we travel minimum of 60 days per year ......
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Old 01-06-2021, 09:48 AM   #79
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In 2013 my company was bought out and all the management team let out, I was based in Shanghai China and was, with plenty of warning, let go. I decided at that point it was time to end my time in China (17 years) and retire too! I went back to Calif for 2-3 years but quickly realized that wasn't for me. After 17 years away, CA wasn't for me anymore.

I decided to travel a bit and took a trip around Europe, Turkey and Asia. I finally settled in Vietnam and had been pretty happy there until a year ago when me and my fiancee decided to take a trip to S. America. Now we have been trapped here for over a year as we wait out the pandemic.

So in my short 7 years of retirement I have lived in multiple countries, visited many more and gotten to meet dozens of retirees living abroad. As I type I am in David, Panama in a lovely condo complex with mostly N. Americans waiting out the virus.

My recommendation is get out and enjoy your freedom! Once you hit the road you will wonder why you had so many worries and wish you had done it sooner. You'll make new friends everywhere and experience things you never thought possible!

Florida is certainly a possibility but maybe think even bigger
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Old 01-06-2021, 12:40 PM   #80
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We sold then moved from our home in Md. to Delaware 3 miles from the beach. Much lower COL, 3 of our 4 children and 7 of our 10 grands within 3 hours of us in De. Son and 3 grands in Charleston, SC. So is a (7) hour drive to go visit them. The close by come frequently May-September for weeks at a time. Who doesn't like a free place to stay at the beach? The move has worked well for us once we worked out the health insurance during retirement and the move out of Maryland.
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