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Thoughts on NM?
Old 04-21-2020, 04:46 PM   #1
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Thoughts on NM?

Anybody here spent significant time living in New Mexico? My preference for retirement location has been the west coast for a variety of reasons (grew up there/family there, miss the ocean, and personal beliefs, for lack of a better term, are a good fit for the west coast). But it is expensive out there, and I need to prepare for a likely downturn in the economy that may last a while.

I have been reading about New Mexico as a possible retirement destination. While it obviously is missing an ocean , it does have a lower cost of living and I donít mind a dry heat. I didnít mind the heat in TX and I would imagine TX is more humid than NM. It also appears that N.M. has passed laws to protect pre-existing conditions should ACA go away (not trying to be political, just a statement of fact, and I would need to rely on ACA to get coverage, unfortunately).

For those who live(d) there, how did you like it? Were there good part-time employment opportunities? How bad was the lightning (Iím petrified of lightning: another reason I want to live on the west coast). Was there a good tennis scene? Are residents welcoming to newcomers? Is it relatively easy to meet people and make friends? Thanks!

PS - probably would be considering Albuquerque, but am open-minded about location.
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Old 04-21-2020, 07:22 PM   #2
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Spent college years in NM in Santa Fe and remember them fondly. But those were college years, so probably colored favorably. Santa Fe is 7000' up in the air and has a dry cold in winter that cracks skin. Snow that blows like ice dust and won't compact into snowballs. High desert is attractive to me and the culture was pretty simpatico through the Santa Fe/Los Alamos/Taos artsy-fartsy cosmic/Navajo blend. Lots of poverty, maybe higher theft rates, but in the countryside people had to be somewhat competent just to survive. Beautiful land. Can't speak to the tennis culture. Think there was some big weather, but I like that, so don't really remember the lightning.
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Old 04-21-2020, 07:43 PM   #3
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Stay on the coast.
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Old 04-21-2020, 07:46 PM   #4
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Old 04-21-2020, 07:56 PM   #5
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Stay on the coast.
+1 I am trying to get the OP to my area, but she is not 55 yet
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Old 04-21-2020, 07:56 PM   #6
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Anybody here spent significant time living in New Mexico? My preference for retirement location has been the west coast for a variety of reasons (grew up there/family there, miss the ocean, and personal beliefs, for lack of a better term, are a good fit for the west coast). But it is expensive out there, and I need to prepare for a likely downturn in the economy that may last a while.



I have been reading about New Mexico as a possible retirement destination. While it obviously is missing an ocean , it does have a lower cost of living and I donít mind a dry heat. I didnít mind the heat in TX and I would imagine TX is more humid than NM. It also appears that N.M. has passed laws to protect pre-existing conditions should ACA go away (not trying to be political, just a statement of fact, and I would need to rely on ACA to get coverage, unfortunately).



For those who live(d) there, how did you like it? Were there good part-time employment opportunities? How bad was the lightning (Iím petrified of lightning: another reason I want to live on the west coast). Was there a good tennis scene? Are residents welcoming to newcomers? Is it relatively easy to meet people and make friends? Thanks!



PS - probably would be considering Albuquerque, but am open-minded about location.


I lived in Albuquerque from 1987-91. My son lived there and Santa Fe until three years ago. He and his wife (native New Mexican) chose your move to Seattle three years ago because of the increased crime. My DIL was robbed at gunpoint three times as a manager of a coffee shop. I enjoyed my time there, but crime has always been a problem in parts of the city and is spreading. I was happy my son moved away and wish my ex would too.
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Old 04-21-2020, 07:56 PM   #7
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I did a quick check of real estate the other day in Santa Fe. It looks very expensive compared to other places around the country. Better check Zillow if you're considering the Los Alamos/Santa Fe area.
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Old 04-21-2020, 08:00 PM   #8
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I'll reply later, used to live in Albuquerque east mountains.
Quick answer- I'm glad I left.
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Thoughts on NM?
Old 04-21-2020, 08:29 PM   #9
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Thoughts on NM?

I lived in NM for 40 years and loved it (looks like Iím in the minority based on other responses). Started out in Albuquerque and then moved about 30 miles south to a couple of acres along the Rio Grande where we kept horses and raised chickens while working at high tech, well paying jobs in Abq. Weather is fabulous with little humidity and the elevation (about 4800 ft) means even during the summer it cools off nicely at night. Thereís great skiing in Taos in the winter, great scenery and good roads for motorcycle/bicycle riding (mountain biking is popular as well) and lots of nice hiking in the mountains. There are plenty of cultural activities if you enjoy art, theater and music. The annual hot air balloon fiesta is not to be missed. If you like outdoor activities and lots of sunshine, youíll find all of that.

Cost of living is reasonable and the people are very friendly. I often find people who never lived there sometimes view it as a bit of a backwater and thereís a running joke in the state about people regularly inquiring what the rate of exchange is thinking, I guess, that Arizona and Texas must share a border.

That being said, DH (who was from Washington) didnít care much for it and when it came time to retire preferred Utah, red rock and water. This was fine with me as long as there was that giant southwestern sky. Although I must say, DH still misses a real breakfast burrito and fabulous Mexican food.

Hereís the hard part when moving to a new place - every place has a culture, traditions and history and itís hard to really understand whether or not you are simpatico without spending some time in a place. You may wish to rent first to see what you think.

Opps - forgot to mention lightening. There is a late summer thunderstorm season with lightening but I think this is present whenever you have a relatively dry climate and thunderstorms.

I donít know what kinds of part time work youíre interested in so itís hard to say what sort of opportunities you might find - might want to check some online job sites to see whether something matches your interest.
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Old 04-21-2020, 08:51 PM   #10
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Look at western Colorado too. Similar, but just better.

If you like or want water, anything not on the coast is going to be very different. The desert/high desert is beautiful, but people either love it or hate it. Don’t fight your feelings.

Almost all the nice places are already expensive, except the ones that people haven’t discovered yet. Hehe.
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Old 04-21-2020, 09:05 PM   #11
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Stay on the coast.
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Old 04-22-2020, 12:03 AM   #12
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Stay on the coast.
Actually it doesn't sound like he lives on the coast rather would be moving back to the west coast. For a nice climate, could consider northern Arizona above 4000'. Love it here Red Rock Country (Sedona.)
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Old 04-22-2020, 06:11 AM   #13
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Haven't lived in NM but have visited Las Cruces many times and like it. Smaller college town compared to Albuquerque, not sure about crime but always felt safe there, real estate prices are reasonable.
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Old 04-22-2020, 06:28 AM   #14
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Old 04-22-2020, 06:48 AM   #15
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Ok yeah this, I have seen enough Breaking Bad and BTS to rule out NM (sorry everyone that loves it.) I love AZ though which is similar, but my sinuses and skin can only take a few days of it before both are in pain.

OP, in your shoes I wouldn't go making changes. You already have a plan to move to a place with friends that you were very excited for, just a few weeks ago. Yes there's a different world now, but the whole country is getting a similar slump, so, down here, down there?

Either way, if you end up picking somewhere that's not been your plan - visit, then rent, before you buy.
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Old 04-22-2020, 07:37 AM   #16
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Ok yeah this, I have seen enough Breaking Bad and BTS to rule out NM (sorry everyone that loves it.) I love AZ though which is similar, but my sinuses and skin can only take a few days of it before both are in pain.

OP, in your shoes I wouldn't go making changes. You already have a plan to move to a place with friends that you were very excited for, just a few weeks ago. Yes there's a different world now, but the whole country is getting a similar slump, so, down here, down there?

Either way, if you end up picking somewhere that's not been your plan - visit, then rent, before you buy.

I have preferred plans, but I also have to be realistic about whether such plans are affordable. And since we are all stuck inside for the foreseeable future, it doesnít hurt to explore other options.

I am not planning to purchase anything for at least a year. Now is not the right time to buy, IMO. I intend to rent, probably in TX where I used to live, since rents are half what they are in most parts of CA. I can reconnect with friends and see if I still enjoy that area. When the pandemic is over, I plan to drive out to the west coast and do a long road trip to check out all of the places that have caught my interest. Then Iíll make decisions, either to stay put, if I can get health coverage; or to check out another area. Iíd probably rent in the new area too unless I knew it well and got a good deal.

So yes, I have an initial plan, but I donít want my life to be set in stone because then I might miss a better opportunity if I have blinders on.
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Old 04-22-2020, 09:39 AM   #17
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OK, have some time now to add in my comments.

NM is a beautiful state and has a generally nice climate. Low humidity and is mostly higher elevation. North has more cold and mountains, south has more desert. Most of the oil and natural gas resources are in the south. There are not as much natural resources besides oil and nat gas.

I lived there for 7 years. I lived in the mountains east of Albuquerque at 7100 ft. Absolutely great summers and fall. Spring has the wind which gets very tiring. Winter was cold, with snow at my elevation; but would melt off pretty quick since most days would have sun except the storm days. Not super cold, but lows in single digits and teens typical. Being clean air, low humidity and high elevation, the temps would swing 30-40 degrees in a day, so a winter day high temp would usually get above freezing. With the low humidity, my house only had an evaporative cooler (aka swamp cooler) which was plenty effective at single digit relative humidity for summer cooling. Only time it may have been limiting was in summer thunderstorms. Called monsoon season, it is generally from early July to late Sept. Not much lightning, but definitely thunder. Most cloud to cloud lightning. Some cloud to ground. It rains hard and then is over, so not the light rain all day type like the west coast gets. Funny comment, in NM if you have traditional A/C, they call that refrigerated air.

Great restaurants, as long as you like NM style mexican food. Not much for other types beyond std fare you can get in any city. I love the NM style food, so not an issue for me.

If you read above it seems that I am describing an overall OK place to live. Here are the bad points. NM has very high crime, mostly robberies. When I left it was number 1 per capita car theft in USA. Number 2 per capita in property crime (breaking into house, car, etc). State has bad poverty, especially on the reservations. But also once you get outside the bigger cities (Albuquerque metro is 2/3 of the state population, Las Cruces, and Santa Fe) there is just not much for good jobs. NM has the number one highest per capita gov't spending of any state. Without all the gov't spending the state would be near third world. Gov't spending is mostly defense related military bases and nuclear labs.

One big problem is that there is a real undercurrent of feeling the state was taken from Mexico. If you are white, it is OK and you are tolerated. But there is that feeling of it being a Hispanic Mexican land. I know that sounds bad, and it does not help the state. You can really feel the allowed visitor vibe if you go onto the reservations beyond the casinos. Best to have a reservation friend with you, then you are accepted much easier.

Balloon Fiesta is a huge event, biggest in the state. If you like huge crowds and high costs, to get a few pictures of the balloons it is what it is. I personally went only couple days and that was plenty for me. Traffic was awful, parking a pain, long walk, fighting crowds, and just not that exciting to me seeing the balloons. I like powered stuff better than balloons that just float around.


Both my house and car insurance dropped by about half moving from NM to OH. Yes that is right, 50% less cost. Thanks to the high crime in NM and so many uninsured drivers. Lot of illegal aliens being a border state. Also brings a lot of drugs in and through the state. Politics wise, southern is more conservative. But overall the state leans blue for sure. Since ABQ is 2/3 of the state population, that is where most of the dominant voting is. Santa Fe is the capital, but is really only like 75K population. Pretty small for a state capital. Santa Fe is also kind of like Berkeley NM if you get the analogy.

Once I retired, I left and don't miss it at all. I liked the climate and the natural beauty. Clean air and clear skies, you could see so many stars since I lived out away from much of the city lights. Have good friends back there still maintain contact with. In summary, I am glad to have lived there and had the experience, but I like it better elsewhere. I have lived in 6 states, NM is definitely in the bottom part on my list.

For OP, I would rent there for a while and get more familiar than just a week vacation or so. Really get into it and see more of the state. Make your own decisions, we all have different things we value and prefer.
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Old 04-22-2020, 12:40 PM   #18
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I seriously looked at NM when I was looking to get out of the Denver area. I originally moved to Colorado in 1980 and there is a lot to like. The crime in NM was definitely a deterrent. Also, by staying in Colorado it is so much closer to familiar things for me. I relocated to western Colorado.
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Old 04-22-2020, 01:35 PM   #19
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I also agree with a lot of 38Chevy454's comments on the dark side of NM (Mr. Blueskyk is in total agreement...). IIRC, it regularly was ranked the 48th poorest state in the nation. Personally, the only crime I experienced there was a burglary in 1983 but when we moved to Utah all of our insurances (car, home, medical) were a LOT cheaper.

The outdoor sports, climate and beauty and lifestyle (living rural with a well paying job) were the big draw for me. It's the place I learned to rock climb, hangglide, fly sailplanes, skydive, and do endurance riding with my horse. The land filled my soul.

So, now you have a pretty darn good picture of the state!
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Old 04-22-2020, 01:44 PM   #20
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Actually it doesn't sound like he lives on the coast rather would be moving back to the west coast. For a nice climate, could consider northern Arizona above 4000'. Love it here Red Rock Country (Sedona.)
Sedona is lovely.
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