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Old 02-16-2020, 09:39 PM   #61
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Iíll wave to you when I pack up in 5 years, and retire somewhere else. I like NE, (lived here my whole life), but IMO CT is the armpit of NE.
I'm sure we'll miss you.
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:35 AM   #62
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I looked for an easy city finder quiz as well and never found anything very good. Instead, we had a spreadsheet where we listed as much data as possible regarding locations and where possible tried to use shortcuts.

Gumby, I also used the usda and sunset hardiness maps to narrow down parts of the country we were interested in, based on climate, which was our first screen.

Then we looked at state income and property taxes, proximity to top medical care/international airports, college towns, school rankings, food/dining options, aca, etc... We also looked at store locations as surrogates for population traits—so proximity to Whole Foods, Costco or an Apple store for example. I figured these huge corporations had much larger market research budgets than I did and they would be pretty good at picking locations where we would fit.

IMO, it’s important to have a large list of your ideal place qualities, with as much detail/thought as possible and think outside the box a bit. Then you can start to narrow down regions and towns and really do research and look for the intangibles that you may miss on an initial screen.

Ultimately, due to life circumstances, our choice wasn’t as logical as I would have liked, but the weather is good, which goes a long way. We could have picked a less expensive location and probably ended up with a similar lifestyle, which would have given us more flex in our budget.

Our ‘surprise’ has been the wildlife here. I grew up in the country, so wanted a more rural life, but the abundance of rattlesnakes and coyotes was unexpected. It’s made life with young kids and pets more complicated and stressful. In hindsight, I wish I’d understood how much the wildlife populations had changed. If we had done a test run this would have come out.
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Old 02-17-2020, 06:50 AM   #63
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My part of Connecticut is Zone 7a, which means that the coldest it got in those 30 years was between 0 and 5 deg. F. Other places in Zone 7a include Richmond VA, Asheville NC and Nashville TN. Virtually all of Kentucky is in Zone 6b, which is colder. Here's a map from USDA. https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/...rgb_300dpi.pdf
According to that map, I'm in 7b, so howdy, neighbor! The old house, which is less than 15 miles as the crow flies, is 7a.

FWIW, I don't think those charts mean the coldest it got was 0-5 deg F. I think what they did was took the lowest temp for each year, and averaged them. 2019-2020 has been a mild winter so far (and probably will finish that way since the bulk of it has passed, at least here in MD). But, low single digits are pretty common around here in the winter, and we've gone negative a few times (at least in 7a...haven't been here in 7b that long yet). The winter of '93-94 was about the worst I can remember for cold temps. We had a few nights where it got down to -12 or so!

I was curious about property taxes up there, so I pulled up some real estate listings on Zillow, for Milford. I found one house that was somewhat comparable to mine...similar vintage, similar square footage, and both have a pool. Similar price as well. Smaller lot in Milford, but out in the boonies, an extra large lot doesn't always command an extra-big price, unless you can subdivide...and I can't. Anyway, Zillow showed the Milford house's taxes at around $8800, for a house with a $640K asking price. My house, in Maryland, was $630K, and its taxes are around $4800. One notable difference is my house is on well/septic, whereas the Milford house is on city water/sewer, which is going to raise the property taxes.

So, while I always hear about areas up north hitting you up with high property tax bills, that actually doesn't sound *too* bad. I wouldn't be happy about paying an extra $4,000 per year in property taxes, but if I was living there, and happy otherwise, I wouldn't uproot my life just to save $4K (or even a bit more, since the typical CT transplant probably moves to a lower-cost state than MD!)

Just curious, how long is swimming pool season up there, do you know? In 2019, the earliest I went in was around mid-May, and I had it closed up on September 23. I probably could have kept it open a bit longer, but I wanted it closed up before the trees started dropping their leaves in full force. In 2018 I was late getting on a closing schedule with the pool company, and they weren't able to close it until October 31. I think the last time I actually went in it was early October, and it was really a hassle during that time, fishing all the leaves and crap out of it.
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Old 02-17-2020, 07:23 AM   #64
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In Connecticut, real property tax is based on assessed value, which is 70% of what the assessor thinks the market value is. The formula is: property tax = assessed value X mill rate (mill rate is in 1/1000ths). The mill rate is different for each of the 169 town and cities in the state and changes every year. In Milford, the mill rate is currently 27.71. So, for your Zillow example, if the house sells for its asking price of $640k, it will soon have an assessed value of $448k ($640 x .7) and the property taxes will be $12,414 (448 x 27.71). There is an add on for the sewer which is on a simple per house basis. This year, it is $323 per house. We pay the regional water authority for our water. In 2019, our bill was $652.

Three of my nearby neighbors had swimming pools when I moved here 30 years ago, but they have since filled them in, as the outdoor unheated swimming pool season is too short (generally Memorial Day to Labor Day, from what I can see) to be worth all the hassle of maintaining the pool. Although I do know people who have pools, use them every day in the summer and find it to be worthwhile.

P.S. - You are right about the averaging for the USDA zones; my writing was not very clear.

P.P.S - In comparing relative tax burden, it is important to note that we don't have any county government in CT. We pay property tax (on house and cars) to our town or city and income tax to the state. That's it. With rare exception in more rural areas, we don't have separate fire district, school district, library district taxes like they do in some places. Nor do we have any local income tax, as they did when I lived in the Midwest. One of the other effects of not having county government is that it makes comparisons of the state's bonded debt with other states difficult, since in many states, the county incurs the debt for many bonded projects.
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Old 02-17-2020, 07:54 AM   #65
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I have used the where to retire function on marketwatch.com under the retirement tab. You put in up to five must have and up to five would be nice to get some options. Some of the places I was already looking at would come up.

I'm starting the move process by interviewing real estate agents, purging more junk and some boxing. I hope to be done with the process by early summer. Staying in Colorado, just going west.
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Old 02-17-2020, 07:54 AM   #66
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Sorry if I missed it, but where is it that you decided to stay ?
Small town in Mississippi. People are friendly, there is a palpable sense of community, cost of living is low, it's uncrowded, and it has an active OLLI. The main downsides are the summer and the trad-con dominance, but everything is a trade-off.

I thought that I'd be leaving after I retired, but I discovered that the grass is not always greener, and I'd grown more roots here than I realized.
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Old 02-17-2020, 08:48 AM   #67
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I heard about that magical sounding place a few years ago and looked up the rainfall and sunny days numbers but didn't find it to be significantly better than Seattle or other areas around there. It sounds like a unicorn a bit. Plus it only gets like 132 sunny days a year according to one website I saw (compared to a place like Las Vegas with 294). Would be interesting to hear from someone that lives there if it really is different and for some reason the online stats I have seen are just wrong.
Doesn't Moses Lake or some place in eastern Washington get something like 300 sunny days a year?
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:28 AM   #68
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About 5 years out from retiring I started using the many websites and magazine articles about places to retire. I found them to be of minor help. So I sat down and started making up a long list of what I would like as well as not like in my ultimate retirement location (weather, climate, COL, taxes, outdoor activities, proximity to colleges/universities, proximity to military base, states and countries, size of the town/city, etc.) Then prioritized the quite extensive list. Then it became a search through the various city websites.
It took a few years of wading through it all but when I was finished it turned out I was already there. It seems like I made the right choice about 50 years earlier and had been enjoying a semi-retirement lifestyle for all those years.



Cheers!
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:39 AM   #69
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... Then prioritized the quite extensive list. Then it became a search through the various city websites.

It took a few years of wading through it all but when I was finished it turned out I was already there.
lol, same here.
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Old 02-17-2020, 02:24 PM   #70
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I've noticed that these "Where to Retire" articles always list the best cities.

I have no intention of living in a city. I'm on the fence about a suburb. Rural would be preferable, but that has to be balanced by availability of stores and services.
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Old 02-17-2020, 02:36 PM   #71
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When I joined this board, my DW, and I fully planned on finding a large acreage lot (25-100 acres) in Kentucky, or Tennessee, and building our dream homestead away from the bustle of a big city.

We ended up deciding to make the 10 acre farm where we have been for 25 years better, and turn it into our dream homestead. We already have horses, chickens, lots of equipment in two large barns (including an indoor riding arena). All of this would have been a monumental undertaking to set up infrastructure, and move 400 miles South from Northern Ohio.
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Old 02-17-2020, 03:01 PM   #72
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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.
...
Most desirable to whom, though? I have no interest at all in living in pricey places like NYC/SW CT, or LA. A big reason they are so pricey is for the job market there, which is of no importance to a retiree. I just don't think one should use taxes and COL at all as a criteria for desirability.
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Old 02-17-2020, 03:30 PM   #73
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Most desirable to whom, though? I have no interest at all in living in pricey places like NYC/SW CT, or LA. A big reason they are so pricey is for the job market there, which is of no importance to a retiree. I just don't think one should use taxes and COL at all as a criteria for desirability.
Isn't that precisely how economics works? If demand is high for something that has relatively limited supply (like houses), then price is high.

If I were driven solely by economics, I would spend my career in NYC (as I did for part of it), hoover up the associated high salary while living like a pauper to save my money, and then move to the Missouri Ozarks, where much of my family lives and I could live in riches on my retirement savings. Things are really inexpensive there, in large measure because there is no work and not much to do. The area has some natural beauty, but it is really hot in the summer and cold in the winter. And it's far from the airport.

I like to get good value for my money, but I never have and never will do something just because that is the most economical. I want to live a good life, not a cheap one.
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Old 02-17-2020, 04:30 PM   #74
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Isn't that precisely how economics works? If demand is high for something that has relatively limited supply (like houses), then price is high.

...

I like to get good value for my money, but I never have and never will do something just because that is the most economical. I want to live a good life, not a cheap one.
I know how economics works. Your post was just irrelevant relative to the OP.

OP was asking where to locate in retirement.

You replied that taxes and COL indicates desirability.

My point was intended to be: I just don't think one retirees should use high taxes and COL at all as a criteria for desirability.

The reason for this is that retirees would probably be paying a premium price to live in a place because of the demand primarily created by people still working.

That does not mean one should live in the most economical place. They should live in the place that most meets their retirement needs. If it's beyond their affordability they should keep looking.
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Old 02-17-2020, 04:40 PM   #75
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I know how economics works. Your post was just irrelevant relative to the OP.

OP was asking where to locate in retirement.

You replied that taxes and COL indicates desirability.

My point was intended to be: I just don't think one retirees should use high taxes and COL at all as a criteria for desirability.

The reason for this is that retirees would probably be paying a premium price to live in a place because of the demand primarily created by people still working.

That does not mean one should live in the most economical place. They should live in the place that most meets their retirement needs. If it's beyond their affordability they should keep looking.
And I think retirees who principally focus on moving somewhere "cheaper" may be setting themselves for disappointment. There's a lot more to life than just dollars in your pocket. I'm sure we've all had the experience of buying something cheap that turns out to disappoint us. Then we quickly forget how cheap it was.
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Old 02-17-2020, 04:43 PM   #76
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And I think retirees who principally focus on moving somewhere "cheaper" may be setting themselves for disappointment. There's a lot more to life than just dollars in your pocket. I'm sure we've all had the experience of buying something cheap that turns out to disappoint us. Then we quickly forget how cheap it was.
I'm certain I never said that retirees should focus on moving somewhere cheaper.

I'm also sure we've all had the experience of overpaying for something because others like it so much, and it turns out to disappoint us.
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Old 02-17-2020, 04:48 PM   #77
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We on this forum are probably as qualified as anyone to come up with a good survey. I'll start:
- What kind of weather do you like (warm year-round, experience all 4 seasons, hate heat and humidity, hate cold weather, etc)
- Are you healthy? How important is access to medical care?
- How much does cost of living matter?
- Do you like urban living? Rural living? Something in between? How important is access a wide variety of restaurants, shopping, etc?
- What about access to the great outdoors? What forms of recreation are important to you?
- What about diversity? Do you prefer to live with other retired types, or be surrounded by kids, working people, etc.
- Where are your friends and family located, and how important is it for you to be near them (or escape them)?
etc etc
Great post! You saved me the time, and did it better than I would have.
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Old 02-17-2020, 04:53 PM   #78
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I'm certain I never said that retirees should focus on moving somewhere cheaper.

I'm also sure we've all had the experience of overpaying for something because others like it so much, and it turns out to disappoint us.
No, you didn't say that. But I have seen many threads on here where "cheaper" appears to be the principal focus of the relocation discussion. I've heard it in my day to day life as well, and I always think to myself "Well, yeah, you could move to _______ and live cheaper, but that means you'd have to live in ________. No, thank you very much."


True enough. It is hard not to follow the crowd, although I hold out hope that most here would be better at avoiding that trap than other people.
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Old 02-17-2020, 05:25 PM   #79
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No, you didn't say that. But I have seen many threads on here where "cheaper" appears to be the principal focus of the relocation discussion. I've heard it in my day to day life as well, and I always think to myself "Well, yeah, you could move to _______ and live cheaper, but that means you'd have to live in ________. No, thank you very much."

You are very right about that.
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Old 02-17-2020, 09:08 PM   #80
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But I have seen many threads on here where "cheaper" appears to be the principal focus of the relocation discussion.
"Thin-FIRE" dreamers may be willing to sacrifice a great deal in terms of the "amenities" associated with high-COL areas in order to get off the corporate hamster wheel. It's a complex mental calculation that will vary from one person to the next. So, I do think that there is a place for such threads on this website.

Exceptionally high-COL areas like NYC or SF don't have anything to offer me, so whether "thin-FIRE" or "fat-FIRE" I wouldn't be considering them. I consider myself fortunate in that I don't have to live in the boonies to support my semi-R lifestyle (not that there's anything wrong with the boonies for folks who are wired that way ).
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