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Old 01-30-2018, 10:56 AM   #61
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The Bay area has so much to offer! If money were no object, it would be on our short list. It is one of two major centers for Baroque music in the US, it has incredibly strong universities, SF is a beautiful city, I could go on and on about the things I like. However, it is one of a very small handful of places in the US that I can't see the numbers working out. I would love to hear that there is reasonably priced (even DC metro reasonable) real estate within range of the Bay, but I'm still looking for that info.

Oh, and DW is not convinced of the weather - she likes warm and sunny.
Is it more expensive than Hawaii? I brought it up because you were considering Hawaii. It is not as warm as Hawaii but many of the suburbs are usually much warmer than the city. The East Bay has been in the 60s and sunny lately during the day. Co-op apartments in Rossmoor in Walnut Creek start in the 200Ks, though the HOA fees are pretty high:

About Rossmoor Homes | Rossmoor

They have lots of activities, their own bus service and I think bus service to BART, so it would be easy to get around without being able to drive. We know people who have moved there and they seem to really like it.
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Old 01-30-2018, 11:04 AM   #62
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Keep in mind the fact that a co-op is shared ownership in an apartment building. It includes property taxes for example. I live in the only co-op in Oregon.

The city of Walnut Creek has many advantages.
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Old 01-30-2018, 11:26 AM   #63
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Have not personally lived in either of this cities but, have friends who have and loved them both. I heartily recommend that part of the country (Southeast); there’s a lot of variety, it’s inexpensive, mild 4-season climate, and more diversity (cultural, political, etc.) than you might expect if you’re in a university town. Other locations you might want to check out are Knoxville, TN; Nashville, TN; Greenville, SC; Asheville, NC.

I listed only ‘inland’ places but, there are also lots of great locations on/near the ocean in that area if that appeals.
Yep, college towns here in the south are popular for retirement given the decent weather and culture.

Grandmother lived in her CCRC here from age 75-95 but still regularly attended events at our local university.
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Old 01-30-2018, 11:28 AM   #64
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Is it more expensive than Hawaii? I brought it up because you were considering Hawaii. It is not as warm as Hawaii but many of the suburbs are usually much warmer than the city. The East Bay has been in the 60s and sunny lately during the day. Co-op apartments in Rossmoor in Walnut Creek start in the 200Ks, though the HOA fees are pretty high:

About Rossmoor Homes | Rossmoor

They have lots of activities, their own bus service and I think bus service to BART, so it would be easy to get around without being able to drive. We know people who have moved there and they seem to really like it.
Great link, thanks. The community looks like it would hit many of our needs. I'll share with DW. However, it does look like it is more expensive than Hawaii, at least the Big Island. Looks like Rossmoor housing is still running in the neighborhood of $400+ per square foot, which is about the best I've been able to find in the Bay Area. Our neighborhood in Northern VA currently runs about $200/sqft and there are nice places, accessible to DC, that run closer to $150. In Hawaii we were seeing SFHs starting at $300/sqft and condos in the neighborhood of $200 - $250 in areas that provided reasonable walking access to things. Given that we really need a well thought out 1200 sq ft or, more realistically, 1500 sq ft, I think that we are just priced out of the Bay Area.
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Old 01-30-2018, 11:39 AM   #65
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Great link, thanks. The community looks like it would hit many of our needs. I'll share with DW. However, it does look like it is more expensive than Hawaii, at least the Big Island. Looks like Rossmoor housing is still running in the neighborhood of $400+ per square foot, which is about the best I've been able to find in the Bay Area. Our neighborhood in Northern VA currently runs about $200/sqft and there are nice places, accessible to DC, that run closer to $150. In Hawaii we were seeing SFHs starting at $300/sqft and condos in the neighborhood of $200 - $250 in areas that provided reasonable walking access to things. Given that we really need a well thought out 1200 sq ft or, more realistically, 1500 sq ft, I think that we are just priced out of the Bay Area.
FYI - There is another Rossmoor called Laguna Woods in Orange County that is much less expensive, though I don't know if it would meet your music and astronomy needs.
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Old 01-30-2018, 11:44 AM   #66
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WE live 3 hours from the Bay area and 20 years ago I loved it when we would visit. Every time we go now I see more garbage everywhere, more homeless people, etc. Also since your wife likes it warm remember what Mark Twain said "The coldest winter I ever spent was the summer in San Francisco."
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Old 01-30-2018, 11:59 AM   #67
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WE live 3 hours from the Bay area and 20 years ago I loved it when we would visit. Every time we go now I see more garbage everywhere, more homeless people, etc. Also since your wife likes it warm remember what Mark Twain said "The coldest winter I ever spent was the summer in San Francisco."
The pleasant weather chart posted above is probably a more accurate depiction of the current climate and temps than a Mark Twain quote. The city of San Francisco is only 47 square miles and right on the coast, so the weather there is not indicative of the entire metro area. There are many different microclimates throughout the Bay Area. Most of the inland suburbs tend to be warmer and sunnier the majority of the year compared to SF and other the peninsula cities.

Homelessness is a problem but concentrated more in the urban areas in places like SF and Oakland, not so much in the white collar, commuter type suburbs.
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Old 01-30-2018, 12:00 PM   #68
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WE live 3 hours from the Bay area and 20 years ago I loved it when we would visit. Every time we go now I see more garbage everywhere, more homeless people, etc. Also since your wife likes it warm remember what Mark Twain said "The coldest winter I ever spent was the summer in San Francisco."
Oh wow! I didn't know he said that too. I have never been colder in my life than when I live in the city of SF for a few years, almost half a century ago. Due to the foggy nature of the climate in SF, it was utterly bonechilling, and being a near penniless student I had no coat. BRRRR. Seemed like the summers were never warm enough for me to feel very warmed up, before the winters would start again. I was more accustomed to weather at home in Hawaii so that didn't help either.

My Dream Home here in a suburb of New Orleans cost less than $147 per square foot, in a walkable neighborhood with everything one could want or need being no more than a mile or two away. But, prices in my neighborhood have gone up in the 2.5 years since I bought it and it might sell for over $210 per square foot at present. I think $200-$300 per square foot in Hawaii sounds like a phenomenal deal, perhaps even on the Big Island (although I do not know Big Island real estate at all). Anyway I would look closely for any unknown issues before buying such a property..
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Old 01-30-2018, 01:09 PM   #69
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Life long dc resident here. Not involved in politics and neither are my family and friends. The poster who dissed dc doesn’t get what imho is the number one criteria.

Your tribe

Lots of considerations that are of various importance to ones needs. But as humans
We all have some need for emotional connections to people. This is best accomplished when you live near those people.

Your two locations idea is a great one. I would encourage a winter seasonal rental perhaps multiple years in the same or different locations. You may find a 3-4 month stint outside dc each year gives you just what you are looking for. And renting reduces the financial risk
We discovered a strong need of tribe. Plans to retire to Maui died a-borning when we realized we'd be strangers in a strange land, alien haoles attempting to adapt to a completely different culture. Nice place to visit, but we ended up retiring to a place with our same liberal Yankee culture. It was easy to make friends here. It was easy to get involved in the community. We're among our people.
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Old 01-30-2018, 01:24 PM   #70
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WE live 3 hours from the Bay area and 20 years ago I loved it when we would visit. Every time we go now I see more garbage everywhere, more homeless people, etc. Also since your wife likes it warm remember what Mark Twain said "The coldest winter I ever spent was the summer in San Francisco."

I love the quote too. But it seems it’s actually urban legend rather than factual. Still, that doesn’t bother me. The point is made either way.
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Old 01-30-2018, 01:28 PM   #71
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My parents had a condo in Honolulu, they loved it. We kids not so much as the cost of airfare and hotel for the family to visit was high. Off season wasn't an option as the kids were still in school and parents summered in Portland.
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Old 01-30-2018, 01:42 PM   #72
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Bumping this thread because we DID survive the missile attack and just made it back to the mainland. This may be long, sorry.

Thanks again to everyone for the comments - they really helped to shape the way that I looked at things when I was on the Big Island.

There is no doubt that this location remains on our list of possible relocation destinations. Most importantly for DW, she absolutely LOVES the weather. Her sweet spot for comfortable outdoor temps is about 82-85 degrees.

Reviewing some things after the stay.
1) Hobbies - no doubt that this is a #1 destination for the astronomy hobby. Golf looks like it would be adequate (played with a men's group twice and there was a good contingent of walkers) and the music situation is also OK. We visited with a singing group and talked to people briefly about the Early Music group in Hawaii. Although not quite the environment we have in DC, we didn't expect it to be.
2) Housing - Single family homes were somewhat more expensive than we expected, although not out of sight. We would definitely reconsider the possibility of condo living. That seems to be much more reasonably priced. Real Estate taxes are low compared to the East Coast so that's a positive although HOA fees range from reasonable to "You've got to be kidding!"
3) COL (excluding housing) - Yes, everything is expensive, but looking at the impact on our budget it's just not a big deal. It looks like groceries would be about 25% higher (so, for us, that's an extra $100/month) and gas is essentially a buck a gallon more expensive. But even if I double the number of miles we drive in a year, that only amounts to about $500 per year extra. Eating out was the biggest surprise - it's really difficult to find a reasonably priced place. But I don't like eating out anyway and, again, the maximum impact would likely be a couple hundred per month. Although housing is expensive, there would still be a reduction in housing costs that would more than offset these expenses. Also, Hawaii has a good tax environment for retirees.
4) Access issues - DW no longer drives and we would need to choose our location carefully to make sure that she had walking access to recreational activities. There are possibilities on this front, but the right location would be vital.

We had several great discussions during the trip. No conclusions reached, but several interesting thoughts emerged. DW realized that perhaps being located in a city with MLB might not be as important as she thought and I am thinking that optimizing golf might not be as essential as optimizing my other two main hobbies. DW also was strongly inclined to think of Hawaii as the primary residence (maybe 10 months/year) with "travel" during the summer instead of maintaining two homes. She also clearly has started to think more seriously about what transitioning into retirement might look like for her. We are both agreed that, despite how attractive Hawaii is, we need to look at some other locations to help us see things a little more critically.

Anyway, thanks again to everyone. I'm sure that you will raise questions and make comments that remind me of other things that I wanted to share.
I lived on Maui. Big Island is where folks from Oahu and Maui go to vacation. I am going to Big Island on vacation next Friday.

The move to an island is interesting, and not for everyone. But if you are prepared its not bad. Be prepared to go a little stir crazy if you can't fly back to the mainland once or twice a year.


Finding housing was competitive and challenging. If you are solo or just two of you wihtout any pets will have much easier time. Of course if you purchase, its a little less expensive on big island.

Major medical is an issue on an island. On maui, we flew over the coroner from oahu when a roadway fatality occurred...because Maui doesn't have one. and we all sat and waited for him to fly over as the road remained closed. If you need a specialist, you are flying to Oahu. If you need any special medical be prepared to take a flight.
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Old 01-30-2018, 02:26 PM   #73
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I lived in twin cities (Minneapolis/St Paul) many years ago. It was surprised to see lots of elderly there. Very nice people... but yes... COLD & SNOW in winter. But makes a great place to be in Spring, Summer, and Fall.
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Old 01-30-2018, 08:21 PM   #74
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Has anyone retired to (or at least visited), the Athens GA or Aiken SC areas ? I have repeatedly ready very good things about both these locations
My agency had a large plant near Aiken, a major area employer, so I visited several times for work. Aiken and nearby Augusta GA both have a nice historic downtown and there are some good restaurants and a good vibe. Aiken is considered horse country and there are occasional equestrian events. The government facility employs many highly educated professionals, often from other parts of the country, which makes the town less provincial. I became friends with several such people and all enjoyed living in the area. My only concerns would be the hot humid summer weather and that it may be a little too much of a company town.

Augusta GA is larger and has a medical school and a dental school. Given that population and the wealthy golfing crowd, I would assume that Augusta offers many cultural events. However if you like upscale shopping, the malls in both cities were terrible – I would have to go to Atlanta or Charleston for my shopping fix. The Aiken area is probably more conservative than Athens (e.g., college town).
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Old 01-31-2018, 02:21 PM   #75
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JJ-

If you’re interested in the Bay Area @ close to DC prices, you’ll have to go out 1+hr from SF. If it was us, we’d go north (north Marin or Sonoma counties; downtown Petaluma is a vibrant place, Santa Rosa is bigger & a bit further north). I think the next best choice is East (east of Walnut Creek; check out Brentwood & Discovery Bay).

On the weather front, if your DW really likes the warm Hawaiian weather, she might not be satisfied with the SF Bay Area. Ours is great weather but, not tropical paradise weather.
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Old 02-01-2018, 01:59 PM   #76
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We visited Big Island a couple of times and decided we could not live there. It's a great visit and we loved the diversity of climate and natural wonders and beauty. It's also nice to have some space to just DRIVE. Still, we ended up on Oahu because it has virtually everything that you find on the mainland (in good and bad ways, of course.) Culturally, it's also more diverse on Oahu. No one is a majority so no one is a minority either. We seemed to fit right in.

I can't comment on the housing prices on Big Island although they were once considered quite affordable. Condo living isn't bad once you realize you really don't need too much "stuff" anymore. As always, I'd recommend you rent a place for 3 months or so to see if you will fit in and if you will still like it after a period of time. DW and I did a 6 week "trial run" but we'd visited Oahu enough times to be reasonably sure it's what we wanted.

Now that both DW and I have had a "health scare", I don't think I'd want to be on BI and need air-trans for most major procedures and many diagnostics. Having a heart attack on BI might be an expensive proposition (air ambulances are pricey and not sure what MC covers - you'll want to check out such things if BI is in your future.)

We've never gotten Island Fever (aka Rock Fever) probably because we travel to the mainland once year. Oahu is twice the size of the county we left behind and we only traveled outside that county half a dozen times a year.

I have to agree with Teacher Terry that most folks moving to Hawaii only last a few years. We (DW and I) are the only couple we know still here after 10 years. We've seen lots of folks come and go. Lots of reasons for the turn-over, I'm sure. Culture shock, prices, rock fever, distance to family, w*rk opportunities, weather-boredom, etc.) Our yearly "fix" of mainland living seems to re-energise us and convince us we made the right decision. By the way, the excellent tax benefits afforded to Islanders is only if you live here at least 6 months per year.

Other than renting, I can't think of any advice. Hope your stay helped you gel your ideas, yea or nay. Remember, YMMV.
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Old 05-02-2018, 12:09 PM   #77
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Has anyone retired to (or at least visited), the Athens GA or Aiken SC areas ? I have repeatedly ready very good things about both these locations









Have not personally lived in either of this cities but, have friends who have and loved them both. I heartily recommend that part of the country (Southeast); there’s a lot of geographic variety, it’s inexpensive, mild 4-season climate, and more diversity (cultural, political, etc.) than you might expect if you’re in a university town. Other locations you might want to check out are: Knoxville, TN; Nashville, TN; Greenville, SC; Asheville, NC.

I listed only ‘inland’ places but, there are also lots of great locations on/near the ocean in that area, if that appeals.
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We moved to Hoschton, GA 2 years ago, couldn't wait to get out of California. We love going to Athens - half hour or so away, lots going on, good restaurants, shopping, great college town. I love how rural it is here. 10 to 15 min drive to grocery, a little further to nicer restaurants. Atlanta is getting to be a nightmare - traffic, crime, always a crap shoot driving to the airport. And it gets pretty hot and muggy. But North and South Carolina are just 2 hours drive, Tennessee and Alabama have lots going on and there's always Florida. Love living where we can drive to places.
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