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Old 02-16-2020, 09:37 AM   #21
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Instead think about what is most important to you. Is it weather, taxes, cost of living, being close to family?
good advice - plus Idaho is full lol
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Old 02-16-2020, 09:44 AM   #22
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I often come across those "25 best / worst states to retire" articles in money magazines. Or, sometimes an amateur hack with a website will take it upon themselves to attempt to mimic those articles, with their own spin.

One that I thought was particularly cute, that complained about Maryland, made a comment about getting stuck in traffic on your way to the beach and having to be worried about tornadoes or a freak winter snowstorm! Right on, because peak beach season just happens to coincide with tornado season, and blizzard season

They also tend to pick on Maryland because of its high crime rate. For instance, with homicides, I think we're around 8.0-8.5 per 100k of population, which usually puts us in the top five states. Makes Maryland sound scary, right? Well, the solution there is simple. Stay out of the bad neighborhoods in Baltimore, and to a lesser degree the southern parts of Prince George's County that are closer in to DC, and you'll get to experience a land with a homicide rate roughly on par with the best of Europe.

Also, when figuring the tax burden on retirees, many of these articles, to rank the states, use property taxes assuming you're living in the state capital. Which is fine, IF you're planning to live in the state capital! Annapolis, MD, has plenty of multi-million $ homes in its zipcode, and those no doubt sway the property tax bill compared to say, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. So, if you're weighing the advantages of living in Annapolis versus Harrisburg, it's a meaningful comparison. BUT, there's a lot more to a state, than its capital city.
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Old 02-16-2020, 10:08 AM   #23
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Though not yet retired, our goal is to winter somewhere, so we built criteria that looked like this:

Warm - This rules out almost everywhere since we are only concerned about Jan-March temperatures. We also, for the moment, only want to look in the states.
College or University nearby - A great way to take in a play, see a good bar band, or watch a game.
Water - We disagree on this one. I think a great golf course pool suffices. My wife would like to see a big body of water.
Hockey - Yes. We're from Minnesota
Seasonal Golf Memberships OR excellent social golf program - I'm already a member of a course up here. I don't want to be a member of two courses, but I do want the socialization that membership provides.
Hiking and Biking (The hiking one really hurts southern Florida's intrigue for me)
Not super crowded - I have friends in Ft Myers that never venture from their communities because of the insane traffic.
Price - Though not a huge concern, it's still on the list.

I'm missing a bunch, as it's not in front of me, but with WARM and not crowded being really important to the list, we narrowed it down to about 10 cities. This year, we have an extended trip to Tucson. It matched every criteria except water. Though it's a hair colder than Phoenix, it bordered on acceptable. They even have hockey (going to 4 games in March)!

The point of my post is that Tucson is barely listed in any of those "where to retire" articles. The only reason why I even looked at the city was because it popped up on my hockey criteria.
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Old 02-16-2020, 10:16 AM   #24
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We live in a big motorhome and follow the weather usually staying in an area for several months. I usually watch the local news on a website called ON news to see what part of town I want to stay in before we go. Crime and traffic patterns are easy to spot.
There are always bubbles in cities that have walking/bike trails, less traffic, and great parks. This is our 20th year on the road and canít say there is any one place that is the best. The central west coast is the best in summer and the southwest is the best in winter.
Good luck
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Old 02-16-2020, 10:36 AM   #25
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We made a list of what was important to us.
Staying in Colorado
Milder winters - as little snow as possible
Access to an airport with direct flights
Hospitals
Good restaurants
Lots and lots of outdoor recreation nearby and regionally
Good house pricing
Less traffic and big city hustle bustle
Art and music scene
College town, this is a big wild card. It changes the vibrancy of the town and stabilizes the local economy.

We considered out of state options in New Mexico, Arizona, California, but we always hit a major negative or two or three that knocked those out of contention.

We then visited out top two places for about five days each.

We took it further and engaged a realtor in our top choice and spent a day with him to get even more local knowledge. That was really helpful. We then used him as a buyer’s broker when we eventually bought a house. So it was worth his time.

We’ve been here now for about a year and it has only gotten better. We feel we made a good decision.
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Old 02-16-2020, 11:05 AM   #26
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I am a big believer in spending the bulk of your time where your posse is, whatever that posse may be.....Family, Friends, Kids, etc. You can always fly and rent longer term to avoid weather issues.....
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Old 02-16-2020, 11:22 AM   #27
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Sperling's Best Places has a quiz that might be useful. I say "might" because it's not very comprehensive but does give some ideas. Take it several times and change one of two parameters each time.

https://www.bestplaces.net/fybp/

You have to register in order to take it. Don't worry, they don't send many emails.


Another resource is City Data forum. Not a quiz for you to take but a discussion forum about communities.

https://www.city-data.com/forum/
Great post! Both websites mentioned are great resources. I love this idea of changing one or two parameters each time. When I first did bestplaces, many years ago, it gave me some cities I hadn't considered. It also made me really think about what I did care about.

Once you narrow that down I love city-data. I also like reading posts where people compare cities. I should say you need to read everything with a grain of salt as there can be a lot of bias in what people say. However, I look for patterns, sentiments repeated by several people, etc....
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Old 02-16-2020, 11:25 AM   #28
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Never had plans to relocate, we enjoy where we are. Relatively mild weather, close to a major city with good medical/hospitals, local colleges, arts, museums, etc.
1-4 hour drives can land you at the coast, mountains, or dessert area. Plus all of our siblings and kids are within a 30 minute drive. Perfect for us!
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Old 02-16-2020, 11:43 AM   #29
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CoCheesehead; Love the Mountains of Colorado too, but also like mild winters. If I can ask, where did you settle to in Colorado?
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Old 02-16-2020, 11:47 AM   #30
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Is anyone aware a of a survey, test, quiz, etc. that is worthwhile to do to help you decide on where you would be happy relocating to ? After pouring through Where to Retire magazines and websites of retirement & over 55 developments, it gets overwhelming on the choices out there. Most of the ones Iíve seen are skewed by the organization that is supporting it.
I would be interested in why you want to relocate.

I want to relocate because I just want to try living in another place. Been in the same state my whole life. Lots of great friends here but no friends we don't want I can't leave without. I worry that it's a bit of the grass is always greener mentality but I want to see. Can always come back. Always I figure we will have about 10 years from when the kids leave the house until they start to settle down somewhere. Can always move where they are then but for 10-15 years we can explore the world.
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Old 02-16-2020, 11:55 AM   #31
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Move anywhere except Florida. We're full.....and you wouldn't like it here anyway.
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Old 02-16-2020, 12:01 PM   #32
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CoCheesehead; Love the Mountains of Colorado too, but also like mild winters. If I can ask, where did you settle to in Colorado?
Redlands Mesa, just to the south of Grand Junction.
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Old 02-16-2020, 12:01 PM   #33
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Move anywhere except Florida. We're full.....and you wouldn't like it here anyway.
Same here with Texas....
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Old 02-16-2020, 01:35 PM   #34
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I would be interested in why you want to relocate.

I want to relocate because I just want to try living in another place. Been in the same state my whole life. Lots of great friends here but no friends we don't want I can't leave without. I worry that it's a bit of the grass is always greener mentality but I want to see. Can always come back. Always I figure we will have about 10 years from when the kids leave the house until they start to settle down somewhere. Can always move where they are then but for 10-15 years we can explore the world.
We are currently in CT. Taxes and cost of living being the main reasons. Our money can go a lot farther in other places. Weather being another factor. Although the winters have become much milder, a change from the grey skies & 20s & 30s would be a big boost, both mentally & physically. We have lived in NC and CA so we know how different, certain areas of country can be. A place with a slower pace of living would be nice as well. We have kind of narrowed it down to FL, Carolinas, TN & possibly KY.
There is a lot of great advice here, & ty for the responses.
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Old 02-16-2020, 02:01 PM   #35
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I do want to relocate, and have a few places in mind. DW says no way to all of them. Iíd like to be someplace somewhat remote out west in the mountain states.

DW has to be close to lots of amenities. The only amenity that I need is a big box home improvement store.

Iíve taken tests that suggest where to live. Boulder, Ft. Collins, Flagstaff, and Logan and St. George Utah. I could live in any of these, but would prefer somewhere less populated. And warmer. Tough to find a place that meets all my criteria.
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Old 02-16-2020, 02:11 PM   #36
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I do want to relocate, and have a few places in mind. DW says no way to all of them. Iíd like to be someplace somewhat remote out west in the mountain states.

DW has to be close to lots of amenities. The only amenity that I need is a big box home improvement store.

Iíve taken tests that suggest where to live. Boulder, Ft. Collins, Flagstaff, and Logan and St. George Utah. I could live in any of these, but would prefer somewhere less populated. And warmer. Tough to find a place that meets all my criteria.
Of those, the only one I have not been to is Logan. I would be hard pressed to call Boulder or Ft Collins remote. They are both anything but.
Flagstaff is cool, but they get snow. St George is an odd duck. It was on our list until we visited there. Desert boom town that looks like it has growing pains.

Have you looked at Prescott AZ? That was on our list too.
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Old 02-16-2020, 02:14 PM   #37
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If I could convince us to downsize considerably, such that we could move everything we need in our van plus a small trailer, I think it would be exciting to move to different parts of the USA for 1 or 2 years. Yes, a little bit of a pain to establish residency and get health insurance in each location but it could greatly improve your mental happiness for the stimulation of new places and sights.

If all you had to do was register 1 vehicle, sign up for ACA in the new state, and get a driver's license, I don't think it would be that expensive. You could try out Maine, Florida, Michigan, Texas, Washington, heck, even a year in Anchorage if you want. By renting a house or apartment, you would avoid the hefty bed tax that short term rentals get and you would have no problem proving residence for ACA (and not have to worry about being out of network as you would if you were trying to keep residency in a state far away).

We have too much stuff right now to do this....but if we could downsize at some point in the future....
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Old 02-16-2020, 02:18 PM   #38
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It has been my experience that the taxes and cost of living reflect how desirable a place is. Look at any real estate section in a newspaper (or Zillow). The priciest houses are always in the most desirable locations. I also live in CT. My money would go further almost anywhere in the country, but I don't think I would want to live there. I don't need a bigger house than we have already. For context, I've lived in 33 different places, in 14 different states, and 2 different countries. We like it here the best, and we planned our retirement to accommodate the taxes and cost of living.

Ultimately, you have to balance your own financial needs with your other desires, but I would keep in mind that the grass is not always greener, even if you do get the big house and large lot with lower taxes. I wish you well in whatever you decide.
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Old 02-16-2020, 02:26 PM   #39
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My grandfather, who was a very smart guy, told me when I was still a teenager that the only thing I needed to know about buying a house was to try to get the cheapest house in the best neighborhood. I still think that's excellent advice for anyone.

I've lived in nine states and spent at least some time (weeks or months) in all 50, as well as 20 other countries. There are at least a couple dozen places I could be happy. But DW has spent her entire life within a 15 mile radius of where we are, and wouldn't be happy moving anywhere else. So here we are. Fortunately, she still loves to travel like I do, so we make up for it by getting around quite a bit on our trips.
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Old 02-16-2020, 02:30 PM   #40
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We are currently in CT. Taxes and cost of living being the main reasons. Our money can go a lot farther in other places. Weather being another factor. Although the winters have become much milder, a change from the grey skies & 20s & 30s would be a big boost, both mentally & physically. We have lived in NC and CA so we know how different, certain areas of country can be. A place with a slower pace of living would be nice as well. We have kind of narrowed it down to FL, Carolinas, TN & possibly KY.
There is a lot of great advice here, & ty for the responses.
I hear ya on that. Warmer winters are very nice for sure! I have visited Scottsdale in January and it's 75+ and sunny. Of course the summer is about 175 and sunny so it balances out. Lol. I like all the areas you mention. Nashville has become so expensive you might research eastern TN. Knoxville and Chat areas seem pretty nice and very affordable. Not quite as sunny as Florida though. Good luck!
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