5 Replies Latest reply on Apr 14, 2012 6:56 PM by Carlos

    Best place to live in retirement

    MyR Community Manager
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        • Re: Best place to live in retirement
          cairncarer
          Best to live in retirement depends on the person. Before relocating we looked into a lot of things and places. The five factors that drive these decisions are: cost of living; relationships; personal interests; security; and health. How you weight those factors will drive your decision. That is, if you don't like where you are living now.
           
          As for cost of living, two major factors are taxes and housing costs. No matter where you live in the US, your federal taxes will be about the same, but if you have the income necessary to live a reasonable life in a place like Manhattan, expect to pay high federal taxes.
           
          I look on state and local taxes as living expenses. You should get what you pay for. If you want low state and local taxes expect poor services. It is as simple as that. We chose to live in Maine, which has high taxes due to climate and location and those high taxes provide the services necessary to make it in this climate and location.
           
          it is the same with housing costs. You could pay for a house in a place with a good climate and lots of the activities that you enjoy, but you'll pay for it, or you could live cheaply in a dead-end area. You get what you pay for. Shop wisely.
           
          Relationships are a critical factor. Do you need to be near relatives? What is the transportation like, and how often do you need to or want to travel? We live way down east in Maine where the unofficial motto is "You cahn't get theah from heah?" Boston, the nearest metropolis, requires an overnight stay. Even Portland, beloved by the media, is at least 3 hours away, a little too much for a day trip. Still, we love it here because of friends we have made. A lot of people have retired here. Most are from the northeast. Maine is rural, but attitudes, etc., are similar to the rest of the northeast. For me, a native New Englander, living in the south, or even the west coast would be too much of a change in attitude and make it more difficult to make friends. We were willing to overlook Maine's high taxes, climate, and remoteness because of other things. We found that people who chose to live here have similar interests. It has been easy to make and keep good friends.
           
          Personal interests are what makes people talk so much about climate when thinking of a place to live. Some people who live in Maine don't like the winters and they compromise by going to the expense of spending 6 months in Florida or wandering the south in an RV. We miss them during the winter and welcome them back in the summer. Coastal Maine is terribly crowded during summer with people who come here to escape the heat and humidity. In winter, when the summer people are gone away, we have more room to play outside and being outside in winter can be fun if you dress appropriately. The lack of crowds is a pleasant bonus. If you like being outdoors winter expands your opportunities into things like skiing or snowshoeing or even ice fishing. If it is too cold to be outside, you and your friends can have a great time doing indoor things. High taxes mean that roads are usually free of snow within a few hours after a snow storm and that there is a good public library or museum or theater to go to for fun with friends who share your interests. if you like to read or do things in a workshop, you can stay at home and do that.
           
          Security has got to be a factor. it is not just about crime rate. it is also about being able to depend on others. Are local trades people dependable? Does the community care for those who are less fortunate? Financial security is also a consideration and that gets back to cost of living. Could you continue to live where you are if something happened to your income or savings? As for crime, would you feel comfortable living in a gated development isolated from the rest of your community? On the other hand, would you be afraid to go out at night to a concert?
           
          Health is the biggest factor of all. If you need the care of specialists, a remote location with low crime and plenty of outdoor activities is likely to be far from teaching hospitals and the skilled specialists that they attract. On the other hand, lower level caregivers such as nurses and technicians and clerks are usually friendlier and treat you like a person with needs.
           
          it is all about you and what you need and want. At this point, I'm tempted to make the case for our choice of Maine with all its remoteness and cold winters, but I will not do that. The Pacific coast also has cool summers and the winters are mild, but for us it is far from where we grew up. To each their own.  
            • Re: Best place to live in retirement
              BRIC
              Good discussion with lots of factors.  We have looked several places and not found "the spot."  We have lived in Iowa our entire lives and have been looking south for warm winters.
               
              You mention that you would not consider the west coast because it is too far from where you lived.  Did you spend most of your lives in New England?
               
              First we heard it was cheap outside the US, but when we visited Belize, they had poor roads and $6 gasoline.
               
              Mesa, AZ was really nice with 55+ gated communities, but it is a large metropolitan area.
               
              Sarasota, FL is nice and we had some friends retire there.  Next week we are going to Miami for business and will visit Naples, FL to see what that area is like.
               
              Our children are still in the midwest, so air travel connections will play into our decision.  We could consider the 6 months south solution if we get a decent place in the south that we could leave vacant half the year.
               
              We already live in a condo now and have other pensions and real estate investments, so our plan is to have mortgage free housing upon retirement, whether that is a home in the midwest only or two condos in Iowa and somewhere south.
               
              From your answers and decision, we should probably consider a more midwest location to stay close to our "culture".  I thank you for the insight.
                • Re: Best place to live in retirement
                  JerryD
                  BRIC said...
                  Good discussion with lots of factors.  ... We have lived in Iowa our entire lives and have been looking south for warm winters.
                   
                  ...
                   
                  Our children are still in the midwest, so air travel connections will play into our decision.  We could consider the 6 months south solution if we get a decent place in the south that we could leave vacant half the year.
                   
                  ...
                   
                  From your answers and decision, we should probably consider a more midwest location to stay close to our \"culture\".  ...
                   
                  Sounds like you are doing the right thing by visiting prospects and doing your research. I didn't realize how nasty weather can get in Iowa (straight up through Des Moines to Clear Lake)  but experienced it a number times as we traveled through in the summer and fall. And we were raised in snow country up on Lake Superior.
                   
                  Have you considered Northwest Arkansas? It has a winter that we say is less than 2 months and not very severe. Some very nice homes at a good price these days with low real estate taxes and a major university near. On top of that the travel time to Iowa and presumably the kids is less than a day. There are probably other areas close in to Iowa with similar attributes that address some of the weather and other issues you want to solve. Not always necessary to go too far to find the right place.
              • Re: Best place to live in retirement
                Carlos

                Whenever my wife and I travel we look at places as potential retiring spots. Although I have 9 years until retirement, I look at the future in an attempt to prepare and be ready.  I vacation at a lot of places and many of them seem like great places to retire. I am from New York City originally, but moved to southern California nearly 30 years ago.  I love the weather and the environment. However, the taxes here are really high and the cost of living is high too. I consider moving to other places for a cheaper cost of living.  I can probably sell my  house and buy another outright in other states.

                The problem is that I am really engrained here.  I would like to do a little part time work when I retire. I don't want anything on a large scale, but something fun. I can find that easily here.  I have lots of relationships with people that will make that very easy.  The other issue is that my wife is from California. Her family is only 45 minutes away and she is pretty close to them. I don't believe she would be happy if the two of us moved permanently to Florida, Arizona or South Carolina.  She says she would be okay, but I believe she will miss her family too much. Since we have a bit of an age difference of about 14 years, it would really force her to move back to California so that she could be closer to family. We don't have any kids.

                Although I would like to move some place that would be cheaper, it seems that I am going to have to stay here regardless of taxes and cost of living.  What seems to trump everything is the darn great weather.  I love the weather here.  I live within a five minute walk to a mall with several restaurants and movie theatres.  The beach is a ten minute street drive. A major hospital is a two minute drive and every conceivable medical doctor and/or specialist is within walking distance.  In addition, there are about four major universities within 45 minutes of me and lots of arts events near by.  A lot of senior communities are within my area as well and our city has many activities for seniors. 

                Am I crazy for considering moving?  I will have a good pension that should cover my expenses.  I can afford it, but am thinking I could really never have a financial worry at all if I moved someplace a lot cheaper.  Also, if I moved somplace cheaper, my wife could retire with me and we could travel together.  I live in Mission Viejo, California, but wonder if it''s a truly great place to retire. Any thoughts?