59 Replies Latest reply on Mar 23, 2012 6:46 PM by Beachlover

    Relocation

    tr_rolemodel

      Have you relocated since your retirement? What hints do you have for someone thinking about relocating? Do you have some suggestions for places to consider--or not to consider?

        • Re: Relocation
          SingNBHappy
          Re relocation at retirement -- you might want to try a temporary stay in your target area, before going through all the hassle and headache of moving, to make sure you LIKE it there! I've heard of too many people that make a major change in location, only to find out they don't like the climate, don't like the neighborhood, don't know anyone, and are stuck because of the huge investment they made to do it.  On the other hand, change can be a good thing, so don't be afraid to try something just because you've never done it before!
            • Re: Relocation
              tr_rolemodel
              How long should one stay? A week? A month? Any suggestions as to print information or websites about relocation?
                • Re: Relocation
                  D1953

                  I'd suggest at least one year of living in an area before purchasing.  We moved 2 1/2 years ago, purchased a beautiful home in an active retirement community, but have never felt 'at home' and are now considering a move back to our pre-retirement area.  Think about how you'd deal with serious health related issues when you're far away from family, or how you feel about living alone in your later years - traveling  becomes more difficult.  And check out the quality of health care wherever you plan to move - our health plan covers very few highly rated physicians in our area, as opposed to where we moved from.

                    • Re: Relocation
                      vstewart

                      I have about 2 years before retiring and would like to re-locate. I'm considering the Pigeon Forge/Seveirville area but

                      am afraid to buy. I thought I would rent for awhile to see how I will like it. I'm up for any suggestions on places to

                      retire. There are alot of nice places in different states but I have not traveled alot to know of them.

                        • Re: Relocation
                          krotzmc
                          We've been looking hard at the Ozarks area for about 10 years now and have found some really nice 'planned' communities there.  I understand TN has pretty high taxes; recently learned KY doesn't tax state or federal pensions or social security.  However, we've never been to KY -- might have to take a trip to check it out.
                            • Re: Relocation
                              vstewart

                              Thanks for the information. If you find out anything all I would greatly appreciate it. This is all new to me, so I am up

                              for all options and help

                                • Re: Relocation
                                  TroutBum
                                  I'm interested in following this thread, too. My daughter lives near Asheville, NC, and my wife and I really like the area. Both of us enjoy the outdoor lifestyle but she is insisting on living near water while I like the low humidity and mild summer temperatures found at the higher elevations. We just need to find that lake in the mountains!
                                  Since Asheville, NC is somewhat near Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and South Carolina, it makes sense to me that we explore the tax benefits of each state. This can be difficult because taxes seem to balance out. A state with no income tax may have high sales taxes, property taxes or vehicle taxes. Any thoughts on the pros and cons of the various states would be appreciated.
                                    • Re: Relocation
                                      JerryD
                                      We were raised on Lake Superior and spent our entire married life in the Chicago area. One kid found the University of Arkansas and then chose to live there or in OK for a while. We used the 10+ years to travel to see them during holidays as an opportunity to look around. When it came time to decide on where to retire, I was for back to familiar territory on Lake Superior, but it was not a well thought out choice (wife didn't agree and too much snow).

                                      During our visits, we spent time just looking over the AR area to get a feel for it and the people. When we decided to move down we looked at less than a dozen houses. I just called all of the leading realty companies (only 3 of them) and asked for the sales manager. When I got him I asked to be connected to his best relocation agent. We told each our desires (no golf courses, no pools, no subdivisions, no pastures, etc.). It was amazing how attuned the Realtor we selected from the 2nd largest company was to our goals as reflected in her detailed questions. We ended up with a beautiful place that we thought would not have been possible.

                                      Take some time to check things out in desirable places. If you are comfortable over a variety of seasons and situations, it's probably a good choice.

                                      PS: TroutBum, if you really love trout fishing, why not consider NW Arkansas which has some of the best in the nation below the large dams like Bull Shoals, Beaver, Table Rock (really close by in MO), Northfork.


                                        • Re: Relocation
                                          vstewart

                                          Thanks for all the information. I'm just not sure where to start looking. I'm thinking the Tennessee area or maybe

                                          South Carolina area, but not sure of the taxes.

                                          • Re: Relocation
                                            krotzmc
                                            NW Arkansas is very very beautiful.  Definitely one of our possibilities; and frankly they had had such rapid growth and lots of new housing developments started several years back that it has been hit pretty hard by the current real estate downturn; making it a very affordable area to buy in right now.  When we first found the area (probably 10 years ago) we thought sure this was where we wanted to end up; but then the population started growing so fast that there was a huge demand for homes; and frankly within a few years we decided the area had priced itself out of our price range and we started looking at other areas.  At that time we stumbled across Fairfield Bay -- still in the Ozarks, but across the state (about 70 miles north of Little Rock), and frankly fell in love with it.  Absolutely gorgeous lake for boating and fishing, great golf courses, good motorcycle riding and friendly people.  It's kind of a like a miniature Bella Vista with a full-time population (not people staying at the resort or vacation home owners) of about 1,200.  It's more isolate and remote that Bella Vista but has a lot of the same charm and, amazingly, a lot of the same type of recreation facilities and amenities as Bella Vista.  It's location and remoteness would make it unappealing to a lot of people, but we kind of like the small town atmosphere and the idea that it's only an hour drive to cultural, sporting or shopping opportunities; so it, too, is on our short list.
                                              • Re: Relocation
                                                JerryD
                                                krotzmc said...

                                                     
                                                          NW Arkansas is very very beautiful.  Definitely one of our possibilities; and frankly they had had such rapid growth and lots of new housing developments started several years back that it has been hit pretty hard by the current real estate downturn; making it a very affordable area to buy in right now.  When we first found the area (probably 10 years ago) we thought sure this was where we wanted to end up; but then the population started growing so fast that there was a huge demand for homes; and frankly within a few years we decided the area had priced itself out of our price range and we started looking at other areas.  At that time we stumbled across Fairfield Bay -- still in the Ozarks, but across the state (about 70 miles north of Little Rock), and frankly fell in love with it.  Absolutely gorgeous lake for boating and fishing, great golf courses, good motorcycle riding and friendly people.  It's kind of a like a miniature Bella Vista with a full-time population (not people staying at the resort or vacation home owners) of about 1,200.  It's more isolate and remote that Bella Vista but has a lot of the same charm and, amazingly, a lot of the same type of recreation facilities and amenities as Bella Vista.  It's location and remoteness would make it unappealing to a lot of people, but we kind of like the small town atmosphere and the idea that it's only an hour drive to cultural, sporting or shopping opportunities; so it, too, is on our short list.
                                                     
                                                                

                                                Just a few comments on NW AR using your quote as a guide. I am sure that these comments and benefits apply to many areas away from large urban areas.

                                                - NW AR is indeed very beautiful, as is most of the Northern part from from Hot Springs and Fort Smith up which we have seen. Lots of hills and trees and some very large dam lakes. Try a trip to the lodge on Mount Magazine in early summer to see the 25-30 butterfly species as they commute by and stay in the most beautiful lodge I have ever seen in a state park right on the edge of the only real mountain in AR. Not sure about the southern part or over in the Delta around the Mississippi which we have never seen. Besides, much further south would be too hot for this transplant from Lake Superior. Nice breezes and cooling up here at night.

                                                - The population has grown quite a bit since the mid 1990's when we first came here. I kid the locals that if you took just Naperville, IL (136,000 when we left), Aurora (155,000) and one other suburb of Chicago around these two (one about 60,000) you would have the entire population of NW AR which I define as Washington and Benton Counties. I saw Naperville, an old farming town,  grow from about 25,000 in the 1960's to about 136,000 in 2004. Although NW AR is by no means densely populated, just remember that growth means more amenities like shopping, healthcare, etc. The largest town is Fayetteville which is only 68,000 and has the main UA campus.

                                                - It was true that the growth was unreal between 2004 and 2007, say, but that has slowed to a near stop. Very nice (new) homes up to maybe 2500 Square feet can be had for less than $100/square foot, some quite a bit below that now. We found an existing home on 3 acres and a nice smallmouth creek that was larger than our 2900 square foot Naperville home. We weren't looking for larger but the lot was to die for. I could have sold everything we owned in Chicago and might have been able to afford this lot there but then we would have been short to buy the house. We put quite a bit of money in our pocket from our smaller home in Chicago to buy this one (of course that was 2004). We live in the country amongst farms and horse owners. Our lot is one of the smaller ones with some going to 20+ acres. And that's an assessment of a lad who grew up in two towns totaling about 5,000.

                                                - Even though I would describe our home locale as very rural, we are about 10 minutes from the mall, the University of Arkansas and the Walton Arts Center and 10 minutes from the large regional hospital/medical facilities.

                                                - We are also about 2 hours from Branson where we have a small RV on Table Rock Lake in a pretty park. We pass through Eureka Springs, another nice tourist town about 1 hour away, on the way. If you have never experienced the musical orientation of AR and other southern states, it is a joy. These people really love music and are raised on it both as players and listeners. We spend the summers going to many free events. There is one right in our town that a church has put on for over 110 years.

                                                - If you haven't checked lately, Bella Vista is now a legal town as opposed to a "retirement" community as it was developed. Frankly, we looked at BV just 25 miles north but I didn't want to live in a community of just older folks (assessment may have been incorrect) or, the big one, right next to Wal-Mart/Sam's Club Headquarters. I would like to mix with locals, college types, and others that surround a large university. Don't want to hear one conversation about old folks concerns or WM stuff (our daughter works there - that's enough!).

                                                - On 1 hour to things of interest see above comments about 10 minute commute to these. By the way, if you have never seen sports fanatics (even baseball), which I am not but it's rubbing off on us, just come to the UA in Fayetteville. This also applies to local high schools and I have never seen so much coverage of female sports too.

                                                No need to take this as an endorsement for NW AR but these are the things that make the retirement experience so spend lots of time investigating and comparing to your wants and needs.

                                            • Re: Relocation
                                              cascedu
                                              Asheville is very expensive and so is western North Carolina in general. We started looking in that area 5 years ago and could not afford it. We ended up buying 5 acres in the southwestern VA area for a fraction of the NC prices. We are in the process of building and plan on moving in the summer of 2011. We have access to a small town with all amenities, a very good hospital and friendly neighbors. We are an hour away from a major city. Perfect!
                                                • Re: Relocation
                                                  Beachlover
                                                  That's a great place to live-lots of places to visit.  Floyd County is interesting and kinda funky. Gorgeous scenery; Hillsville is a good place to visit.  If you like old-timey music, you can find all kinds of events.  I lived in Blacksburg, home of VaTech, for about 10 years.  Great place, lots to do and see. Abington (sp?) has great B&B's and a great trail to walk along the railroad paths. Best to you.
                                                   
                                                  Beachlover
                                            • Re: Relocation
                                              Scorekeeper81
                                              When considering a state's taxes, you need to consider the entire tax burden.  This would include property taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, licenses, and special taxes on alcohol, insurance, utilities, etc.  When all taxes are considered you will have a better tool to compare states for relocation.  According to the Retirement Housing Guide, Tennessee is actually 47th (4th lowest).  I currently live in Ohio, 3rd highest.
                                                • Re: Relocation
                                                  krotzmc
                                                  Very interesting -- might have to check out TN more.  Just got an e-mail from a developer selling lake lots for under $10,000.  Might be a very nice lifestyle...
                                                    • Re: Relocation
                                                      Scorekeeper81
                                                      TN does have a higher sales tax, but no state income tax.  However, that could change as nothing lasts for ever.  It's one of the areas we're considering.  I wish you luck!
                                                      • Re: Relocation
                                                        jojeabcanoch
                                                        I grew up in East Tennessee, just outside Knoxville.  I can heartily recommend it.  My parents and my in-laws are still there, and more retirees are discovering the overall lower cost of living, pleasant year-round climates, natural beauty, and easy access to most of the rest of the country.  I suggest you take a look at Tellico Village, just outside Lenoir City, about 40 miles from Knoxville.  It's on the lake, has several golf courses, a recreation center, etc.  My in-laws moved there 15 years ago and love it.
                                                      • Re: Relocation
                                                        JerryD
                                                        Scorekeeper81 said...

                                                             
                                                                  When considering a state's taxes, you need to consider the entire tax burden.  ...
                                                             
                                                                        

                                                        Just for information, we were not aware until we moved to NW AR that each spouse is entitled to a $6000 exemption on retirement income. Also, the good news: "Social Security benefits, VA benefits, Workers’ Compensation, Unemployment Compensation, Railroad Retirement benefits and related supplemental benefits are exempt from tax."

                                                        Investigating the detailed way retirement income is handled would be a good thing to do before moving to a new state.

                                                          • Re: Relocation
                                                            Scorekeeper81
                                                            Thanks for the info.  I wasn't aware of that, and I love the Fayette/Springdale area.
                                                            • Re: Relocation
                                                              krotzmc
                                                              These tax breaks are in AR?  I wasn't aware of that -- very good news.
                                                                • Re: Relocation
                                                                  JerryD
                                                                  krotzmc said...

                                                                       
                                                                            These tax breaks are in AR?  I wasn't aware of that -- very good news.
                                                                       
                                                                                  

                                                                  Another very pleasant surprise was that our real estate taxes on a much larger house with acreage were reduced to about 1/3 of those on our nice but smaller house in Naperville, IL. Also, at 65 for one spouse, our RE assessment value is frozen for life.

                                                                  Check those tax implications very closely wherever you are planning to go.
                                                                • Re: Relocation
                                                                  krotzmc
                                                                  JerryD -- discussing this at home and wondering -- do you know if AR taxes military retirement pay?  Thanks.
                                                                    • Re: Relocation
                                                                      JerryD
                                                                      krotzmc said...

                                                                           
                                                                                JerryD -- discussing this at home and wondering -- do you know if AR taxes military retirement pay?  Thanks.
                                                                           
                                                                                      

                                                                      Are you starting to think more seriously about where you are going to retire?

                                                                      Don't know exactly but the tax instructions mention that AR excludes VA benefits and Social Security and also exclude the first $6000 per spouse of pension and they do talk about military retirement adjusted for Survivor's Benefit Payments. It seems that every year I call AR about some tax issue. Why not call them directly at 800-682-1100 or 501-682-9275 and ask?

                                                                      Good luck.

                                                                        • Re: Relocation
                                                                          Dayadevi
                                                                          Has anyone relocated abroad? Do you mind sharing your experiences and tips on what can make for a smooth transition? I've recently read Aarp's article on relocating. It was reasonably thorough.
                                                                          • Re: Relocation
                                                                            krotzmc
                                                                            thanks
                                                                              • Re: Relocation
                                                                                culrich
                                                                                What have you learned from experience or reliable sources about best places to retire? I'm not interested per se in retirement communities, just looking for an affordable, safe, warm location where purchasing real estate and/or renting an apartment/house aren't sky high. Anyone know anything about Tucson or Albuquerque in particular?
                                                                                  • Re: Relocation
                                                                                    JerryD
                                                                                    culrich said...

                                                                                         
                                                                                              ... I'm not interested per se in retirement communities, just looking for an affordable, safe, warm location where purchasing real estate and/or renting an apartment/house aren't sky high. Anyone know anything about Tucson or Albuquerque in particular?
                                                                                         
                                                                                                    

                                                                                    I have friends in both places that we visited last spring. The one in Albuquerque has a beautiful location above the city and near the Sandia Mountains tram. Don't think that that location is cheap. The other bought a small townhouse south of Tucson in Green Valley. Lots of retirees there but I wouldn't say that it is a formalized retirement community. The place is small but adequate for her winter stays. We looked at the prices of places for sale and they seemed fairly reasonable with the largest units are a bit over $100k. I think that she paid closer to half of that for a smaller 1-bedroom. They have shopping centers and Tucson isn't far. She did rent a similar place there for the winter to try it out so that is a possibility. 

                                                                                    I'm not a hot weather person so summer south of Tucson would not appeal to me. Albuquerque is elevated so winter is probably real there.
                                                                                    • Re: Relocation
                                                                                      SandyinDesert
                                                                                      I've decided on Las Cruces NM - 200 miles south of Albuquerque or 45 miles north of El Paso.  It has NMSUniversity, sunshine, golf, etc.  Housing prices are very affordable.  Some retirees - but not a retirement community as such.
                                                                                        • Re: Relocation
                                                                                          Squiffy
                                                                                          My wife and I have visited Las Cruces and consider it a good "snow birds" city.  A good local contact(s) would be very helpful.  Any suggestions?
                                                                                            • Re: Relocation
                                                                                              Beachlover
                                                                                              Hi,
                                                                                              I've lived in Santa Fe for the past 8 years; while I am not suggesting you move here-housing prices are ridiculous.  Las Cruces is a good choice, except for the humidity unless you're used to high humidity.  I don't have any personal contacts, sorry.  However, quite sometime ago I met a couple who retired there and they love it. There is a med school there so med care should be good.  Look at their Chamber of Commerce site; the city government site.You might find some contacts there. One nice thing about Las Cruces is that you can travel to lots of places from there; Mexico and Texas are near by. Best Wishes.
                                                                            • Re: Relocation
                                                                              carolnorman
                                                                              I've been living in TN since 1986 (after being born and raised and mostly living in NYC) and can recommend the state enthusiastically. Sevierville and Pigeon Forge however are both very commercial areas and I would hesitate relocating to a tourist area, but not far from either location are lovely smaller towns. The Ashville, NC area is lovely too, but higher priced than TN. Chattanooga manages to have both the mountains and the river and is about an hour and 1/2 from Atlanta....(in case you need a big city, large airport, etc) 2 from Nashville and about one1/2 from Knoxville. That is probably where I will go to retire.

                                                                              Many people like to retire in TN because we have (as yet) no state income tax, but it is compensated for by an almost 10% sales tax on everything, even food.
                                                                              • Re: Relocation
                                                                                Linda1012
                                                                                I also have 2 years till retirement.  I am looking into Ocean Isle Beach, NC and Wilmington<NC.  Important things for me are medical  and recreation.  I find any town that has Community Colleges and/or Univ. will have much to offer retired persons.  For both locations, it will cost around $240,000 to purchase a decent home.  The taxes are much cheaper than NJ,  and the weather is mild.  NO Snow.  Good Luck
                                                                                  • Re: Relocation
                                                                                    JerryD
                                                                                    In the Oct 2010 issue of "Money Magazine" they list the top places to retire that are deep into education for seniors - some with 200 cheap courses. As I recall, it discussed towns in NH, NC, AZ, WA, KY. The article mentions that the Bernard Osher Foundation finances 120 schools in 50 states for education for seniors. Might be worth contacting that organization or checking them on the Internet  if education is an important aspect of your retirement relocation. The article also briefly covers the environment, weather and medical aspects of the locations recommended.

                                                                                    One of our favorite magazines, and I get a few.

                                                                                    Just found this list of organizations sponsored by Osher: http://www.osherfoundation.org/index.php?olli_list


                                                                            • Re: Relocation
                                                                              bj_hopeful

                                                                              My Hubby and I hope to put the "try before you buy" theory to the test in the future.  Although we have not yet retired, he hopes to do so in two to three years.  Of course, like many, we both lost value in our funds last year.  We have seen some comeback, but not enough to completely compensate for the losses.  Anyway, we'd like to move south from NJ to Tennesee or even North Carolina.  We'd like to find a log home near a lake.   I will be happy to downsize from a house too big for the two of us, and too much lawn care ,to a more casual living.  I like the idea of trying it on for size though.  Being sure we can stand the distance from children and family, and the family support system.

                                                                              I'd love to hear from some who have done this, especially those who have found a small log community near lakes!

                                                                               

                                                                                • Re: Relocation

                                                                                  Hi, bj_hopeful.  We are in a similar situation:  Living in the north with unbearable winters, dreaming of a log home in the mountains of TN (still 4 seasons, but w/o the worst of snow and heat). 

                                                                                  We were so sure of this locale, we bought land down there many years ago.  Can't wait to retire and build!  However, because of the market, it looks like retirement (at least from my husband's current job) may be put off a few more years.

                                                                                  Seems to me that the "try it before you buy it" is a good strategy.  I've talked to several older folks who think that at least one month, and preferably two to even six months, is a good timeframe in which to decide if the community has potential.  Because that's not possible for us (work takes precedence!), we've taken over 30 trips (about 1 week each) to check out our surroundings down there - and everything within a 50-mile radius.  So far, so good.  We try to go down to twice-yearly HOA meetings, too, where we meet other residents -- including a couple who once lived just 10 miles away from us. 

                                                                                  Our land is not near a lake, so it wouldn't be right for you... but as you know, just doing a simple google search for "cabin for sale mountains lake TN NC" will bring a wealth of info.  Also, check with real estate agents who specialize in relocation.  Often they're not quite as busy as they used to be, so your "looking ahead" plan might be fine with them.  Again, once you "discover" a community or locale, try to get your foot in the door, so to speak, by talking with other residents, getting on mailing lists, subscribing to the local paper, etc.

                                                                                  Good luck!

                                                                                   

                                                                                   

                                                                                    • Re: Relocation
                                                                                      bj_hopeful

                                                                                      Thanks!  Your property looks lovely, and woodsie, which is what we like also.  Are there other Log Homes in the area? 

                                                                                      We are still a few years off retirement as well.  We made the mistake of getting into a large ranch home in place of a two story about 5 years ago.  Now the property is worth barely what we paid, but we hope by the time my Hubby retires, it will bounce back a bit.  We love the place, but the work it involves to care for it while working full time is just going to be too much, and the taxes in NJ are astronomical for property.  We want a log home with two BDROOMs and two Full baths, in case of company, but not anything too big, under 2000 SQft if possible.  If he retires and we sell the house, we may try a move to Tennesee for 6 months to see if we can manage and like being off on our own, (without our 5 grown kids nearby).

                                                                                       

                                                                                        • Re: Relocation

                                                                                          Oh, no - that's just a stock picture loaded in when I signed up for this forum!  Our land is on the top of a mountain, overlooking a panorama of mountains.  We'll have to load our bikes into the truck and take them elsewhere to ride!

                                                                                          There are a blue-zillion log homes in the Smoky Mountains area, as well as in NC, mostly in developments.  Some of the developments are decades old, some are new.  Right now, some cabin prices are waaaaaay down; maybe their owners can't afford more than one?  Or maybe they're not renting them out as frequently?  Those who are residents, though, are just like you -- they realize they have a good deal if they can hold on until the market returns, and it will!

                                                                                          Some of the developments include Smoky Cove, Waterstone, Smoky Mountain Retreat, The Homestead, Highland Bluffs (which is between Knoxville and Nashville, I think), and Rarity Communities.   That's just a fraction!  There's Headewaters, Catawba Falls, and Chinquapin in NC (again, just a minor sampling).  Developments such as these usually have several to plenty of land parcels for sale (some on flat land, some on mountainsides, some near water, etc.), as well as lists of homeowners who are either selling their land or have built and now want to sell their homes.  As you can imagine, some of the prices are reasonable; some are astronomical. 

                                                                                          We've never lived pretentiously (often frugal but definitely not cheap!), having saved for what we call our "Second Life" for many years.  Our goal is to live off of my husband's pension (government) and use my own pension for travel and any emergencies.  And hopefully never touch our investments (which would be for some unbelievable catastrophe or a nice parting gift for the kids!). 

                                                                                          Like you, we also don't want a McMansion or something that's too much trouble to take care of.  We're looking for quality over quantity, simplicity over complexity, a cabin that's "just right" for us.  Our land is rather "in the boonies" and we like it like that.  (We're both afraid of getting stuck in "Oldster" mentality, such as building our lives around proximity to the grocery, hospital, doctor, pharmacy -- egads!  Why invite old age closer??!!)

                                                                                          Last spring, when we were in TN for a visit, we ran into a nice couple from Florida (you will find that ALL folks are nicer once they come to TN/NC!!!) who were doing just what you said:  They'd come for a "trial run" for a few months, renting a cabin a few miles outside of Gatlinburg, to see if they liked the area, could make friends, maybe start up a small home business (I think he repaired driveways or something... ).  They were so excited just during their first month!  Even though they were about our age (early 50s), they had "had it" with being rats in the ratrace - and with Florida, too.  Now they were discovering new things about themselves and each other - and also figured the drive back "home" was about a day (for their grown kids). 

                                                                                          Our kids are also grown - one's across the country from us and one's in the Middle East.  Once he returns, it's likely he won't settle where his sibling is...  We're thinking of solving the "get-together" problem by living a good portion of the year in TN (not exactly central, but more so than the coasts!), then having an RV to criss-cross our beautiful country between the "kids."  (I'm not sure how I'll like that, but it's a dream of my husband's, so what the heck?)

                                                                                             

                                                                                           

                                                                                            • Re: Relocation
                                                                                              Ursa

                                                                                              My husband and I live on a lake in Tennessee.  We don't have a log house, but our neighbor across the road does.  We built our house when we were in our fifties, and planned it for retirement.  We have everything we use all the time on one level, with workshop and guest quarters downstairs.

                                                                                                Tennessee is a good place to retire.  We not far from Knoxville snd Oak Ridge where good health care is available.  When we were younger we enjoyed the plays and concerts in Knoxville.  We have a wooded lot with no grass, but there is still outside work that we can no longer do.  We have been able to hire someone to do housework very reasonably, and recently we have found someone to help with the outside work.

                                                                                                Be sure the garage or carport and the laundry are on the same level you will live on.  A lot of homes put the laundry in the basement. 

                                                                                              Good luck.  We love living where we do.

                                                                                                • Re: Relocation

                                                                                                  Sounds perfect, Ursa!  I love TN, including the tax benefits and COL, but especially the people and the mountains. 

                                                                                                  Your advice to consider having the laundry and garage on the main level is wise -- for anyone of any age!  Boy, how I would have loved not to climb three sets of stairs with clothes when the kids were little!  And I also like to have the garage connected to the house, so the groceries don't get wet.  :)

                                                                                                  We're so glad to hear you're happy with your decision to live there.  Hope to join you someday!

                                                                                                   

                                                                                                   

                                                                                            • Re: Relocation
                                                                                              thistledown

                                                                                              Agree with everyone re: try it before making a permanent move.  We have just had to address issues associated with this with my husband's uncle.  The short version is that he and his partner of many years retired and moved from their home area.  They had visited and liked the area they moved to. Unfortunately they didn't plan very well.  They bought a home in a bedroom community 20 minutes from the nearest service.  They made a few friends, but ended up fairly isolated and when Uncle's partner died it became even worse.  At 80 years old, in failing health and alone it became necessary for his only living relatives, (my husband and sister in law), to move him to a more supportive location.  As you can imagine, this was not a happy situation.

                                                                                              Observing all this from an 'in-law position' has given me the opportunity to understand and make notes about planning more thoroughly for my own retirement. 

                                                                                               

                                                                                                • Re: Relocation

                                                                                                  Yours are definitely words from the wise.   It's terribly sad about your uncle...  When one of my husband's relatives was 70, she was moved by her eldest child nearer to him -- but into a house that needed work, was situated on a terribly busy street, with a steep climb down to the sidewalk, no easy place to walk, laundry in the basement, and a kitchen that wasn't suitable.  (And yes, the clueless "child" - age 40 - did this without consulting any other family member!)

                                                                                                  Maybe what my husband and I are considering for our "Second Life" should be called "First Retirement":  what we'd like to do and where we'd like to live for the first 20 years after leaving the current rat-race (with an entirely different plan for the following 20 years - "god willin' and the creek don't rise"! 

                                                                                                  I can see why needing certain services very close by might not pertain to some of us at, say, ages 55 to 70 or even 75, while we're (hopefully) agile and active and healthy and probably still highly involved in the community, family, and likely another type of work...  But I have also learned how (by reading of situations like your own, and looking within my own family) the older we get, the more important it becomes to have Plan B at the ready (for the second 20 years - or earlier if necessary).

                                                                                                  Where we hope to "retire" is somewhat remote.  This currently sounds great to us, as we're sickened of the city and are craving nature and privacy.  However, we're still in our 50s, love to drive, can fend for ourselves, have no intentions of slowing down, etc.  Yet, what you write is absolutely true:  There's an excellent chance that we won't be living there when we're 80 (if only because we might get a little tired of mountaintop living by then - every living arrangement has its compromises and hassles).

                                                                                                  One of my concerns is that we'll make decisions at age 55 out of fear of what might happen when we're 80.  That's a 25 year span!  I hope we can "live young" and not live in fear during that time...

                                                                                                  In the end, maybe it's a matter of health, ability, and desire (to each their own).  And always having a workable Plan B!   

                                                                                                   

                                                                                                   

                                                                                                    • Re: Relocation
                                                                                                      thistledown

                                                                                                      Mountaingirl,

                                                                                                      I have come to the conclusion that the bravest and wisest make painful pro-active choices, ie , like moving into a retirement community before it's necessary.   I think this is very difficult to do as we always have a greater estimation of what we are capable of than is borne out in reality. 

                                                                                                        • Re: Relocation

                                                                                                          You reach a valid conclusion, and I agree - particularly for those who might feel they are getting up in years (so to speak).  Some people are old in heart and body when they're still young!  Some never seem to grow "old." 

                                                                                                          It pays to know oneself and one's limitations, along with realistic expectations, I think.  I'm sure we're not ready for a retirement community (in our 50s)!  And, given our health, lifestyle, and history, plus our parents' lengthy, healthy lives, we will no doubt tackle the first 20 years of retirement prior to taking the leap into "what if." 

                                                                                                          Best to all as we each look at and redefine our own personal "retirement"!

                                                                                                            • Re: Relocation
                                                                                                              krotzmc
                                                                                                              I absolutely agree with the Plan A and Plan B concept.  Our Ozark area that we are looking forward to is a bit remote as well, altho rich with things we're looking forward to doing (golf, lake activities, fishing, camping, motorcycle riding, and travel...).  They have the basic amenities there, altho little in the way of shopping -- and in the event of major medical it would be a bit of a drive.  However, we're both going into it with the realization that we may very, at some point in the future, need to move closer to the kids and to 'civilization'.  Still, if we can have 10-15 great years experiencing this lifestyle, why not go for it?
                                                                                                        • Re: Relocation
                                                                                                          Ursa

                                                                                                          It is good if you have a Plan A that can seague into Plan B.  Access to medical care can be of great importance if you have a heart attack at 60. It is possible to find wooded acreage in many places that has the feel of being remote without being too isolated.  You may need Plan B sooner than you think and reorganizing your life in a time of crisis is inconvenient to say the least.

                                                                                                      • Re: Relocation
                                                                                                        howyou

                                                                                                        Land-Between-the-Lakes (LBL) is in KY near the Tennessee border.  Many yankee retirees LOVE IT.  Withing easy driving distance of Nashville, TN and Vanderbilt University Hospital.  Top notch healthcare.

                                                                                                        Also, Kentucky Lake has many lakeside lots available.  Private living, but close enough to society.

                                                                                                        Many "vacation homes" now for sale.  

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                          • Re: Relocation
                                                                                                            Sensei2001

                                                                                                            I just want to find someplace I can afford to live in relative comfort and be reasonably close to my kids and grandkids.  I just don't think it's going to be possible.  My retirement assets are still 30% lower than they were in 2007.  My house is worth $10,000 less than what I owe on it.  I have $200 in the bank and $140,000 in student loans to pay off.

                                                                                                            Any ideas where I can buy a 2,000 square foot house, own a car no more than 5 years old, and still afford to EAT on Social Security income alone?

                                                                                                              • Re: Relocation
                                                                                                                DCR101
                                                                                                                check out Costa Rica. I have been getting every bit of info I can find about  this country & it looks better all the time. Very affordable, good medical & cheap too, safe, friendly & I.ve found flights roundtrip for $175 from Chicago to San Jose. I know it isn't close to family but I believe many seniors are in the same boat, & the only way they can retire is to a foriegn country or live very meager here. 
                                                                                                                  • Re: Relocation
                                                                                                                    jkom51
                                                                                                                    We have some friends who couldn't afford to retire in the US. Fortunately the wife was brought up in South America so speaks fluent Spanish. They traveled around Central America and chose Panama. Cost of living is low, people are nice, excellent medical, large ex-pat community. In fact they are renting a cottage (with a stunning mountain view) for almost nothing, on a coffee plantation owned by an American ex-attorney who decided he was tired of the rat race and moved down to Panama ten years ago. They came back a couple of weeks ago to tie up some loose ends, then flew back to Panama to live there permanently.
                                                                                                                    • Re: Relocation
                                                                                                                      MrBags
                                                                                                                      Where did yiou find $175.00 air the cheapest ive seen is approx$800.00 Thanks Mr Bags
                                                                                                                • Re: Relocation
                                                                                                                  krotzmc
                                                                                                                  I've been talking to a company developing lots 2.5 acres lots around Kentucky lake.  Haven't been there, haven't seen it, but the people I've been talking to are very nice.  They were running a special -- lot, log home kit and dock space on the lot for $79,000.  (Figure on another $125,000 or so to have the kit built unless you're really handy).  The e-mail address is kylandpartners.com if you want to check it out.  I've been talking to a Carolyn Dilitero (sp?).  Who knows -- might be what you're looking for...
                                                                                                                    • Re: Relocation
                                                                                                                      JerryD
                                                                                                                      krotzmc, viewed your profile and saw a few things there that might apply. There is some of the best trout fishing in the US below the dams in AR and around Branson in MO. Kind of hard to believe that you can fish right off of Branson and catch nice trout in Lake Taneycomo below Table Rock (it is the backwaters of Power Site Dam in MO which in turn feeds Bull Shoals in AR). Norfork Dam 20 or so miles below Bull Shoals Dam is also an exceptional trout area as is the Little Red River down around Greer's Ferry around Little Rock. Up until Michigan beat them by a few ounces (maybe 45 pounds!) in just the last year, the largest brown trout IN THE WORLD was caught in AR.

                                                                                                                      Now here is one that might surprise you. Fayetteville has one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the US in late September or early October. It's called "Bike, Blues and Barbecue". Not a biker but the crowd is very civilized with the locals being arrested more often than the bikers. They provide free music every night and some other venues with a reasonable cost. The bikers seem to really enjoy the long 100 mile-ish rides to surrounding towns through woods and hills. Go to their web site to see what they offer. Even though we are retired folks, we make it a point to go to this rally every year.
                                                                                                                        • Re: Relocation
                                                                                                                          krotzmc
                                                                                                                          Thanks for the info.  We do go to Branson every year and have done a bit of fishing, but don't think we've found those areas you're talking about.  Will have to give it a try.  The motorcycle ralley sounds great.  My brother-in-law, who has a place between Gravette and Bella Vista mentioned it as well.  Definitely have to take it in sometime.  I'll be honest -- for the things my wife and I enjoy, we can't think of a better place to retire than that Ozark area.  Haven't hammered out the exact location yet, but definitely know we're headed your direction.
                                                                                                                          • Re: Relocation
                                                                                                                            TroutBum
                                                                                                                            JerryD, thanks for the information on NW Arkansas. It sounds perfect for us except that it is too far from our kids. A mapquest search shows that we would actually be 2 hours farther from my daughter (in Asheville, NC) than we now are in Ohio. And you're correct, I do love to fish, trout and otherwise.

                                                                                                                            carolnorman, Chattanooga (sp?) sounds well worth some more research. I drive near there (on I-75) on a regular basis but never gave it much thought. Not sure why since we've enjoyed nearby areas such as Asheville NC, Sieverville TN, and Blueridge GA. Thanks for planting that thought.
                                                                                                                              • Re: Relocation
                                                                                                                                krotzmc
                                                                                                                                Have been doing more research on various areas and tax situations for different states -- and discovered an area that looks very promising.  It's a resort/retirement community (much like the ones we've been impressed with in AR), but is located in TN -- about 45 miles west of Knoxville and 1 1/2 hrs east of Nashville.  The community is called Fairfield Glade -- looks gorgeous from the pix, affordable, low property tax and of course no state income tax in TN.  While there is not an abundance of shopping malls and restaurants, they do seem to have the 'necessaries' within a short drive, and do have what purports to be a good medical clinic right on the grounds.  Might be something you'd want to check.  Of particular interest to me in addition to the cost of living and tax situation, was that it being situated up on the plateau evidently causes summer temps to be a bit cooler and winter temps to be a bit warmer than other parts of the south.  Also with a daughter and son-in-law that live in SW Florida, I was very pleasantly surprised (and delighted) to find that airfares from Ft. Myers to Knoxville can be very inexpensive (I noted several fly dates where the round trip could be made for less than $100).  That's probably something that would only catch our attention -- but combined with the rest of the package definitely makes this a place we think we want to check out.  Good luck with your search.
                                                                                                                                  • Re: Relocation
                                                                                                                                    JerryD
                                                                                                                                    When evaluating relocation spots always consider health care facilities and doctor/dentist access. We would have loved to live on a dam near us but when we considered a 45 minute trip to shop, docs/dentists, emergencies we moved in closer. Fortunately, in our state with lower development (this ain't Chicago), one can get to all of these in15 minutes and still live out in the country on a creek with horses and cows around.