63 Replies Latest reply on Oct 28, 2014 6:46 AM by TroutBum

    Going to Relocate?

    JerryD

      I was just wondering how many close to retirement or actually in retirement have actually thought seriously about relocating to a very different place than where you end the career. What are the factors? Family? Friends? Familiarity? Cost-of-living? Taxes? Life style? Access to things that you don't have now? Etc.?

       

      I just thought that this could form as a basis for others to consider and make their own personal decision.

        • Re: Going to Relocate?
          MyR Community Manager

          Great idea for a discussion. Thanks JerryD!

          • Re: Going to Relocate?
            TroutBum

            Wow, Jerry, you've hit on my situation exactly! My wife and I plan to relocate at some point after retirement and every single one of the factors you listed apply to the decision making process.

             

            Family: There are 3 family members (aside from the 2 of us) who play a big role in the decision. My wife's 85 year old mother who lives very near us, and would never consider moving, is the one that keep us from pulling up roots and moving right now. As long as she's alive we'll have to maintain a home somewhere around here.

             

            Our two adult kids have moved away and we would like to be within a reasonable driving distance from them. The good news is that they're both in the southeast states. The bad news there is that they're 8 hours away from one another and, while they both live in nice places, the area halfway between doesn't appeal to us. It is likely we'll end up within a few hour's drive of one, and substantially more from the other. Either way, it will closer to both than where we now live.

             

            Friends: My few very good friends will remain friends when we leave and I'm OK with only seeing them on occasion. More casual friends/acquaintances may fall by the wayside but that's just part of change. Many of those already left after their kids graduated from high school and they headed off on their own adventures. My wife's two best friends (she calls them her 2 Cathys although one is actually a Kathy) are tougher to address, especially the one she meets each day to run with, golf with, etc.

             

            Familiarity: That works both ways for us. We live in a very nice area that is well within our comfort zone, but we also are pretty familiar with each of the two other places we might consider. I think it would be harder to move if we were just moving somewhere we weren't familiar with. We're even made friends at both places which will make the transition even easier.

             

            Cost of living and taxes: I see those as part of the same. I studied the numbers and determined that, or the three places, the one where we currently live is the most expensive. The property taxes where we now live (in a small private college town with an outstanding public school system) are the driving force to the high cost of living here. I said earlier that we would have to keep a house somewhere near here. Taxes are the reason we won't stay in our current home. We can move 10 miles away, build a new house, and cut our taxes by 2/3.

             

            Lifestyle: Other than being nearer our kids, lifestyle is the greatest catalyst in our desire to relocate. My wife and I both love an outdoor lifestyle and Ohio simply isn't known as the best place for outdoor activities. The mountains of western NC and the seashore of the FL panhandle both have much more to offer.

              • Re: Going to Relocate?
                JerryD

                Very nice post, TroutBum. My decision was made much easier when the spouse answered my question "Do you want to move back home?" with something very close to "Not with me, you're not!".  :-)

                 

                Seriously, whether to relocate or not is a very tough question. Just the inertia of living somewhere for many years is hard enough but when you throw in all of the other facets, it may be easier to bury your head in the pillows. But a thoughtful look like you are taking, especially over a period of time, allows you to tone down the emotions and concentrate on the "facts" more.

                 

                In these days of vast mobility, it is difficult to "chase" the kids. They have to make decisions based on what's good for them and that is not always what you consider good for the parents. But that's why they call us "adults", right? Fortunately for us, all of the kids were where we chose or decided to relocate here for their own reasons. Older parents is a very hard one, especially if they have lived their entire lives where they call home. Our decision on this one was made much easier since all had passed and we both had left home long ago right after school. 

                 

                The cost of living and taxes questions are easier to attack as a logical decision unless you are living in the absolutely perfect place and possibly money is not a big issue. For us, the house and lot we could buy with taxes at just a fraction of our old RE taxes and then put money in our pocket made the decision much easier. That is except that the spouse has more inertia on these things than I do, so one has to be very sensitive while both become comfortable with the new life and environment. Again, time is a great healer.

                 

                TroutBum, I would appreciate it if you could continue providing insights as you move through your relocation decisions. I think that many will benefit from your thoughtful and well-described journey.  GOOD LUCK!!!

                  • Re: Going to Relocate?
                    TroutBum

                    I think the warm and fuzzy feeling of familiarity is what (aside from her mother) makes my wife hesitant to commit to a move, but she acknowledges that what was once familiar may be slipping away. Change happens, and our little village isn't like it was when we were growing up here. People come and go and lifestyles change. Tractors have been replaced by tour busses and hardware stores by antique shops. Instead of getting your vegetables from the garden you get them from the Farmer's Market. Not saying it's bad, just different, but since that comfort zone of familiarity is gone and there is a draw elsewhere, why not follow it?

                     

                    There's no doubt you can't chase kids. If I had done that with my daughter we would have lived everywhere from Vermont to California and Alaska to South Carolina, with places like Arizona, Illinois and Ohio tossed in for good measure. Funny thing is, though, that both kids have somewhat settled into places they've found that suits them. Both claim to be "livin' the life." Of course there's nothing to say that can't change but, at this point in life, I seem to have more wanderlust than they.

                     

                    Figuring cost of living and finances is relatively simple with a lot of research and a spreadsheet. Figuring contentment and quality of living is more than a bit tougher.

                  • Re: Going to Relocate?
                    jocee

                    We retired and moved FROM the mountains of western NC for exactly the reverse lifestyle you are looking for.  We are not outdoors people and didn't like the remoteness for retirement.  We had a very steep one acre lot that was dangerous to cut and couldn't get up to our house if it snowed.  Fortunately it doesn't snow much in those mountains but there was a 3 day stretch one year that was very trying.  People are always amazed that we left the mountains to retire but we felt 10 years was enough.

                     

                    This just points out that you have to be very honest with yourself when considering retirement relocation.  What do you like or not like to do?  Lifestyle was very important to us. 

                  • Re: Going to Relocate?
                    RobinH

                    My wife and I both retired early 2013 and we are beginning to engage seriously with relocation planning, although we've been thinking about it for years.

                     

                    for us, the biggest factor is that we live in a remote rural area in northern New York that made sense when we both had jobs here, but much less so in retirement.  We have two adult children, one 400 miles away, the other in England.  I'm originally from England.  We'd like to live in a city, for the museums, cultural life, public transport etc.  Another idea is to move to England.  Where we are now is thinking seriously of renting in New York City for a year, to test it out, and buying a small place in England.  Not sure which would come first.  Then, possibly, divide our time between UK home and US home, at least for a few years.

                     

                    Part of the issue is different interests and capabilities as we age.  For example, we have a large garden and wood lot.  We used to enjoy extensive gardening and yard work, woodland management, preparing firewood etc.  Now,  that is beginning to turn to frustration because we are no longer capable of physical exertion to the same degree.  So apartment or townhouse living begins to look attractive!

                      • Re: Going to Relocate?
                        taconner

                        I'm an Angolphile at heart & lived & worked in London in the 80's & went back there for a vacation in 2005. London was expensive in the 80's but you learn where to shop & save money; however when I went over in 2005 to spend a week with my son who was finishing a college semester in London I was absolutely flabbergasted with the prices. Paid $7 for a cup of coffee. The other factor that had greatly changed was the unbelievable large numbers of Middle Eastern folks who moved into London & the suburbs. We lived in Ruislip/Eastcote area which is 18 miles northwest of London & I saw signs only in Arabic in several cities close to our old townhouse. My son & I also travelled to Edinburgh, Dublin & Belfast & was much more taken with Ireland, particularly Northern Ireland, though it seems that the "troubles" will never totally go away. Anyway, good luck in your retirement as the possibilities sound exciting.

                          • Re: Going to Relocate?
                            RobinH

                            Yes, London can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be.  For instance, I could have a pint of bitter in a pub, or buy my picnic ingredients in a supermarket, and I feel both would be less money than the equivalent in the US.  Price comparisons are a bit meaningless because the exchange rate fluctuates quite widely, making the US or UK seem more or less expensive. 

                             

                            London is very international and multicultural which adds to it's interest and excitement!  Folks from Pakistan, India, and the Middle East have increased the variety of good restaurants and other cultural choices.  More recently, people from Poland and other east European countries have added to the mix..

                             

                            However, just as the US is not New York City and San Francisco, so Britain is not London.  Once you get more than about 90 minutes by train from London, you are far enough away that house prices are reasonable and the pace of life is less hectic.  I agree with you about Northern Ireland, it is a beautiful country and the people are super friendly and welcoming.  Again, in terms of housing, there are some gorgeous towns there and house prices are generally much lower than England.

                            • Re: Going to Relocate?
                              BoBraxton

                              neat to hear your thoughts, experiences and reflections

                            • Re: Going to Relocate?
                              BoBraxton

                              For suburban, our corner lot is "large" and I like to keep a "wild" corner - brush pile, huge compost pile, fireplace wood put up a year in advance (outdoor wood rack) and curing / drying for future. At age 70, I especially enjoy working with upper body muscles (manual saw, pruning saw, splitting with axe, wedges and maul).

                            • Re: Going to Relocate?
                              slhart

                              My husband and I have focused on this question for a couple years. We were born and raised in the same town, married after college and had the opportunity to live all over the U.S. for the first 15 years of marriage. Life and jobs brought us back home for the last 20 years. He has recently retired and I am 3 years away. We agreed long ago to relocate after retirement, and when he retired we knew it was decision time. We fell in love with some places we lived in, and we would never return to others. We looked at the taxes, health issues and even the weather in all those places we loved. (I have not seen anyone mention weather, but this is a factor for us.) We crossed off any town if we did not both agree was the place, which narrowed the list considerably. (Even after all these years, we can see the world very differently sometimes.) We have laughed at our friends who have retired to chase their children all over, and we agreed that was not for us, but we love our children dearly and want to be close, which also influenced our decision. My parents are in their 90's and I am their lifeline, which is an important consideration. We even researched the best places to retire lists. After this serious thought, research and many discussions, we made a decision. We bought a small house in a senior community 2 hours from our current home. It is perfect for us; close to the child that lives nearby, old friends and my parents, an hour from the other child who relocated years ago. This town met every requirement of our mutual list for livability, including being near the beach, a small town not too far from larger cities, and relatively affordable. Our home is maintenance free and just the right size for us. As we have shared our news with friends and family, I have been reminded that we all find our own happiness. Reactions have ranged from, "I would never live there," to "that sounds perfect and I love it there." We are now making the place ours and it will be ready to become our full-time home when I retire. We gave up on a wonderful place we really loved (the runner-up) because it was just too far away and just too cold (I said weather was an important factor). Good luck to all of you making this decision. I hope you feel as good about your choice as I feel about our new place.

                                • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                  JerryD

                                  I guess my post above: "Do you want to move back home?" with something very close to "Not with me, you're not!" failed to explain that probably at least 50% of that negative response was due to weather. You see, they had 340" of snow back home last winter and that's not in the mountains either. I must admit that my informal survey of the ladies rarely, if ever, finds one that enjoys long winters, lots of snow and the accompanying cold.   :-))))

                                  • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                    BoBraxton

                                    The process you and your spouse use shows great maturity and promise.

                                  • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                    WildColors

                                    It has been more than five years since I retired.  I had always lived in very cold places and dreamed of retirement in a warm one.  My hope was NEVER to live through a Winter again.  I said this to myself and to my friends for years!   I dreamed of life with no significant Winters.

                                     

                                    99% of my family lives in Venezuela, so being closer to them meant I had to move to Florida, which was a place I had visited occasionally, nothing more.  A year before retirement, I decided to look into it, and I visited different possibilities, thinking I would retire to a smaller community.  Well, I have never lived anywhere that was not a large city.  I am a totally urban person.  I even hated living in the suburbs the one time I tried it briefly .  Someone close to me pointed this out, and that did it for me.  She was right, and I decided it was best to heed her counsel.  I sold my condominium and rented an apartment in Miami Beach--thinking I would try it for a while and see what happened.  The cost of living is very similar to the place I was leaving, I wish it weren't, but that is the way it is.  I had a niece in Miami and a nephew, a little to the North, and that was the extent of my familiarity with the area.  I knew no one else in the area.

                                     

                                    A significant change was having to drive.  I have lived in cities with great transportation systems and had not owned a car for over 30, years prior to my retirement.   Driving is not a favorite activity, but I would cope.  Public transportation is wonderful in Miami Beach(MB), but going to Miami for almost anything, makes it mandatory that one drives.  So, I came to MB the week after my retirement, moved into an apartment on the beach and bought myself a car.

                                     

                                    I love life in this city!  After a couple of years, I bought a condominium very close to the one I had rented, and life is a dream.  I look up and see the ocean, even from bed, and that brings a tremendous sense of joy and peace to my life.  I took advantage of the housing burst a couple of years ago, and bought my condominium for less than half of what I had sold the previous one.  I have the beach, a swimming pool in the garden downstairs, a gym, and even a little restaurant in the building.  I am within walking distance of the supermarket, etc., and the buses go past my house with great regularity.  I can hop on a bus and go anywhere, walk or bike around here, and drive when I go longer distances.  The bus rides are free, because I am a senior. 

                                     

                                    The challenging part has been making new friends, and I have accomplished that through attending classes at the nearby universities and community centers, and through volunteer work, and by just being friendly.  I realized I had to actively seek new friends, and I am still doing it.  It is never the same as the friends I had before, but they come to visit and I visit them too.  Several of my friends from the North come down during the winter, some for extended periods, and that is an added benefit to my choice of residence.  There is also the telephone and the computer, and communication is easy. I feel lonely, I pick up the phone, and my old friends are right there.

                                     

                                    MB is an excellent community.  There are lots of opportunities for seniors.  The cultural activities are such, that I often have to choose between activities, and have had many a weekend when I attended three and four cultural activities.  We have concerts in the park, as well as free movies in the park, museums and galleries, and even alternative movie houses.  I venture into the City of Miami once in a while, but I don't really need to go there for the most part.  We have two large international airports nearby, so travel is not a big deal.  I am totally convinced that I made the right decision.

                                     

                                    Politics is sort of an issue in moving south, but MB is a very liberal city, and I have had no trouble fitting in.  My circle of friends and acquaintances is as liberal as it was before.  We are forced to be politically active, because Florida is an important state in terms of elections.

                                    That too adds to the fun of living here.

                                     

                                    Retirement is wonderful.  The only problem is finding the time to do all the things I want to do.  After more than five years, I feel totally at home here.  I am sure and thankful that I made the right decision to relocate.

                                    • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                      newlife10

                                      Before retiring 8 years ago as a widow, I simply made a list of things important to me. This included cost of living, selling or buying another home (the old one was going to be difficult to maintain), distance to an airport, library, church and pool locations, population density or part time employment opportunity. None of these were previously mentioned. The site selected has been a great quality of life for me.

                                        • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                          JerryD

                                          Sounds like an excellent approach to me. We all worry about the money, but you certainly do not want to lose sight of the quality of life issues. ENJOY!!!  

                                          • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                            RobinH

                                            This list of priorities is close to mine.  For me, having good public transport, buses and trains, within walking distance, is important.  Access to an airport, definitely.  Being able to walk to the library and shops.  I currently live 300 miles from the sea, and I would prefer to live right by the sea.  Of course, then environment issues and sea level rise issues can rear their head..

                                              • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                JerryD

                                                So, live by the sea, Robin. Just remember to pick a hilltop in case the sea rises a bit.  :-)))

                                                 

                                                The 2 posts here about London and England have raised my interest and curiosity. I would love to do a pub crawl (Oh, OK, a driving trip) across Ireland, Scotland, England and then cross the English Channel to Paris for some great food. Could do it in reverse too.

                                                 

                                                I have some relatives in Southern England and I am sure elsewhere in those islands. Those relatives are descendants of a man that was the game keeper of Lord Mount Baton from World War II military fame and the victim of an Northern Irish bombing as I understand. I believe that they lived on his estate when younger.

                                                 

                                                Does anybody have any advice about how two people might do such a trip in 2-3 weeks, see the sights and still contain the cost to a retirement budget. One issue comes to mind. At what age do these countries deny tourists the right to drive? I don't have any hankering for extended guided bus tours.

                                              • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                BoBraxton

                                                Good for you. I love reading about when things work out well.

                                              • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                jkom51

                                                For the time being we are happy with where we live. The San Francisco Bay Area is a beautiful place, just very expensive. A low six-figure income is middle-class here. Fortunately Prop 13 keeps our property taxes reasonable, although I can foresee that within 5-8 yrs I will want to sell our cottage with its large garden and get something maintenance-free.

                                                 

                                                We are in reasonable distance to my family, don't do much with spouse's relatives except his mom who we recently moved to a senior facility near our home. Some of my family has moved to the Boston area, although we hate flying so it's a pain to get there. We're not only urbanites, we're geeks and can't live (or even travel) without good broadband access. Our hobbies are time-consuming so we're always busy.

                                                 

                                                I love to cook but love to eat out even more, so we have spent much time and $$$$ eating around Northern CA on a regular basis. Nice to be retired and be able to travel off-season, mid-week, and stay for several days instead of just a half-day weekend jaunt! For instance, a friend wanted to take us to dinner for my birthday, and she picked a Napa restaurant. She's going to drive up and back in one day. We've reserved a hotel for two nights, so we'll drive up the day before by ourselves, then meet her the second night at the selected restaurant -- and then we go back to our hotel in 15 minutes, whereas otherwise it would be a 2-hr drive home for us.

                                                 

                                                We go to Sonoma Cty 4-5x/yr, Napa 1-2x/yr, and Monterey/Carmel 2x/yr. It's wonderful to be able to spend lots of time doing things that used to be crammed into a single weekend. As long as we can afford it, we'll be staying in this area -- and with my MIL having no one else on the West Coast, it's just as well since that ties us down here.

                                                  • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                    JerryD

                                                    As always, Jkom, it sounds like you have a good handle on  where you are going and what you value.

                                                     

                                                    Please set aside some time to get out there an water some of those drought-affected fruits and vegetables for the rest of us living to the right of you.   :-)))

                                                    • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                      taconner

                                                      We lived in Monterey in the late 70's & I can relate to your comments about what a neat place northern California is but also expensive. We actually went back to look at housing around San Francisco, one of our favorite cities, about ten years ago & thought otherwise of moving. We currently live in the Dallas area & find the people here to be very friendly but dislike two things - it is very congested & continuing to get more congested because the area is so strong economically. There is something like 5.5 million people living in the Dallas/Ft Worth Metroplex. The towns can't keep up with schools because of the heavy influx of families moving here. Secondly, I consider myself conservative but was not prepared for the ultra-conservative values which Texas represents. We've lived here 12 years & if I'm lucky will convice my wife once we retire to move back to New Mexico where we lived for ten years before coming here. We took a vacation in New Mexico this summer & I love those wide open spaces, the culture, the food & the people.

                                                      • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                        BoBraxton

                                                        A few years back I really enjoyed a reunion in Pacific Grove (we flew in through Oakland / San Francisco).

                                                        • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                          scpearse

                                                          My wife and I live in Marin County and are discussing the possiblity about moving out of state.  Really would like a piece of property so I can have a detached workshop.

                                                        • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                          TroutBum

                                                          I spent the past week visiting one of places we plan to live after retirement. The trip was about half vacation and half searching for a building lot that we hope to buy before prices rise much more.

                                                           

                                                          Although I've been in the maintenance and construction business all my life, I was somewhat surprised by how much I need to learn about their building codes, environmental concerns and construction practices, let alone select a contractor that I'll be dealing with from 900 miles away. But that's just a part of it. I found myself wondering how to pick a barber, and which doctors, dentists and optometrists were preferred providers. Auto repair shops? Appliance repair? These aren't things you're likely to learn while vacationing, regardless of how many times you do it.

                                                           

                                                          I haven't changed my mind in the least but I am coming to understand that there's more to it than when the Beverly Hillbillies "loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly." (and don't tell me you don't remember that!)

                                                            • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                              JerryD

                                                              TroutBum, did you bring the fly rod? 

                                                               

                                                              Although I love the house building adventure, we went against the grain when we relocated and bought an existing house. One of the upsides is certainly that you can look at the property and not just the house. It has been my experience that the early buyer/builders tend to suck up the pretty places. We were not at all interested in a subdivision. No golf course or pool for me. And I am not interested in acres of flat field where they just sold off the cows. Got a creek in a hilly river valley where it is unlikely that they will build a large subdivision, only acreage with nice houses. To tell the truth though there are a few cows around and turkey houses but farther away and some are being sold for larger estates as the older owners move on.

                                                               

                                                              You put your finger right on one of the things I just hate about moving. I just absolutely detest having to find new professional services that I can trust. Seems like one has to learn by paying out and then re-aiming to correct the poor choices. One thing that I find invaluable is to cozy up to neighbors and acquaintances and humbly ask them for recommendations. There are some down sides to this because some people tend to believe that their dentist, doctor, etc. is just the best one in the world. It may take a few recommendations and research to find your ideal provider but it is better than randomly picking one from the phone book. Internet reviews can be helpful as long as there are a few and not just the brother-in-law's review. I have found that people who have worked in a related area are excellent sources. One of our neighbors is an old gas company man that knows machines and who can fix them and his barber recommendation is cheap if not a stylist. Another did and still does work with shopping malls and buildings. He is an excellent source for tough choices like electricians, plumbers, etc.

                                                               

                                                              I kind of envy your new house building adventure, TroutBum. I am sure with your maintenance background you know how to find the good ones. GOOD LUCK!!!    :-))))

                                                              • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                BoBraxton

                                                                some bubblin' crude

                                                              • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                DRJJG

                                                                My wife and I have the financial means to relocate any where in the world. The problem is that we have a choice and can't agree on where to live. She wants to retire in Naples, Fla close to where many of her friends that retired from NY. I like the beach for 4 days then get tired, sunburn, seasick, and want to go home. I prefer the Colorado MTs, but she does not like cold weather. I would compramise on Ashville, NC. She likes the Biltmore Estate, but after 4 days she wants to come home. We live in a small inexpensive charming southern college town, so I guess we will stay put.       

                                                                  • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                    BoBraxton

                                                                    I have heard of (Presbyterian) ministers that "swap" situations for a time (such as a month or a vacation summer) - each preaching at the other location. We live 21 miles from the church we attend in Washington, D.C. - three blocks east of the White House - our place in Fairfax, VA. College town sounds wonderful. We have also been partial to city life, having lived eight years after marriage in New York, NY - first year (total of nine) before we got married. When we are in a "town" we like to walk around (Petersburg, VA - where my spouse attend Elementary public school), Philadelphia and so forth.

                                                                  • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                    TroutBum

                                                                    Jerry, no fly rod this time. I did manage to toss a spinning outfit a few times but spent more time snorkeling for scallops and paddling the 'yak. Building the house would be easy for me (I've built 150+) but my wife was involved with 3 of them and has developed an opinion!

                                                                     

                                                                    DRJJG, we have a similar situation. Our daughter lives near Asheville and I like it there but my wife doesn't care for mountains. We have a place on the FL panhandle (that's where we're trying to buy a lot) but I far prefer the mountains during the summer and fall. Contrary to common sense we may end up with two homes during retirement.

                                                                      • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                        CurtGufe

                                                                        Troutbum and DRJJG,

                                                                         

                                                                        My wife and I also love the beach and ocean and have always planned to retire to it. So we have purchased a perfect home in FL that is just 1000 feet from the beach for retirement. We also realized that I wilt in the heat (the wife loves it) and humidity of the Florida summers. Both of us also love the mountains but my wife can't tolerate cold. So we also purchased a log cabin place in the Colorado mountains and plan to snowbird in retirement. We haven't retired yet (still 2 or three years away from that), and the house purchases were timed to get a good deal with prices and financing in the housing bubble burst (we purchased in 2008 and 2010).

                                                                         

                                                                        A lot of people where I work (Midwestern state college town) have retired to a snowbirding situation where they keep their home here for the summer, and go to FL for 6 months. Snowbirding to FL for 6 mos + at least 1 day also helps on the state income taxes as well. While that tax savings is not enough to pay for the second house purchase, it offsets a large chunk of the operating costs of one of the two houses.

                                                                         

                                                                        We aren't that social or tied to kids, so we can retire anywhere we desire.  The 2 home retirement with snowbirding is financially well within our means even though our house operating costs (utilities, property tax, insurance) will more than double in retirement. However, since we will have been renting out both places for many years before we start using them, the tenants essentially will be paying for much of the equity we are building in the two retirement homes. When we retire and sell the original house in the midwest, it will more than pay off the mortgages on the other two properties. Renting out your dream homes in a remote state is a challenge and probably is not a good choice for everyone. But we have no regrets with our plan so far.

                                                                         

                                                                        MyRetirement forums should start a discussion thread on snowbirding. Last I looked at the list, there wasn't one specifically on it. There are a lot of issues with snowbirding, and I'm still looking for practical solutions to some of them. I may need a good way to transport the cats from one place to another. Renting an RV is one option for this that I've explored a little. Commercial pet transport is another. Home security while living at the other house is another issue I've yet to try to deal with.

                                                                          • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                            JerryD

                                                                            There are a number of college educators that I encounter on the T-C forum on morningstar.com that taught at Michigan State. One moved to AZ, one stayed and one is looking upon retirement. The Midwest can be a challenge for older folks during the winter. Then again the beaches in MI on Lake Michigan are beautiful and warm enough. We were raised in  another part of the Midwest very close to a Great Lake and one would be hard pressed to say that the water was ever warm except for a few weeks.

                                                                             

                                                                            Curt, go ahead and start that thread on snow-birding. Just throw out some of those issues or facets that you are curious about and let people tell you their experiences and thoughts.   :-)))

                                                                            • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                              MyR Community Manager

                                                                              CurtGufe, I second Jerry's request that you start the discussion thread about snowbirding. I think many others would have a lot to say about the topic. Thanks!

                                                                          • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                            jocee

                                                                            We relocated when we retired to a larger city after living in rural areas for 20 years.  We wanted to be closer to shopping, cultural activities, volunteering positions and an airport.  Our daughter was also here and planned to have children (they have had 2 since we moved).  We do pay higher taxes but get so many more services and opportunities that we think it is worth it.  There were also more housing choices here and we were able to find a smaller house with less land that suited us at the time.

                                                                             

                                                                            The hardest part of relocating was finding a smaller house that we thought would work for retirement but we did.  It has been 7 years and we are now moving again to a smaller house closer to our daughter to help with sitting while she works part time.  After 7 years we also felt our house needs had changed and we were lucky  builder was in filling some lots near her house with ranches we liked.

                                                                             

                                                                            We spend a lot of time volunteering with community organizations and also traveling.  It has helped that both my husband and I were on the same page about when to retire, where to retire and what we wanted to do in retirement.  My husband was a type A workaholic with no outside interests his working life.  We had talked about the need for him to volunteer once he retired or he would have a rough transition.  We bought a house that needed a lot of cosmetic fixing and I bought him an hand axe to work on the many small tree stumps left in the yard.  He removed about 12 stumps (broke the axe in the process), learned to love reading fiction and volunteers a lot.  It was amazing how he adapted.

                                                                              • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                                JerryD

                                                                                Jocee, we did just the opposite. We were raised in a very rural area, got educated, moved to a very large city and then ended up in a rural but growing area with an environment quite different from all of our past experiences. We did pick an area near a large state university and that adds a lot to "rural". But to our surprise and pleasure, the people are wonderful if not what we were "used to". We also have a couple of the largest US companies headquartered within a few miles so that adds a lot to the environment and depth.

                                                                                 

                                                                                Let's all  hope that we can feel that once we reach retirement that we can follow our hearts and interests.  GOOD LUCK!!!  :-)))

                                                                                  • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                                    DRJJG

                                                                                    Lots more going on in a large city. I missed the big name concerts and pro sporting events. Grew up in Philly and saw all the Heavies and Pros. Now living in a samll town only city see bars bands and college sports.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Joe

                                                                                      • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                                        JerryD

                                                                                        Not being from the big city, we were not heavily into entertainment or sports. My spouse likes football more than I do! Also, when one is in a state with no professional teams, college sports become huge in the minds of the locals. No matter what one's interest is in sports, it is hard to ignore, or if you prefer, avoid, the enthusiasm, especially when the big games hit.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        We did however really appreciate the variety and quality of the restaurants available in the big,big city. But, we have kind of adopted a city of a few 100,000 within a pleasant 2 hour or so drive. There are some excellent restaurants and even entertainment there (just saw Michael Bublé there recently and the spouse has been looking for him for several years).

                                                                                         

                                                                                        One kind of place seems to pick up many of the benefits of the big city while still maintaining many of the attributes of a modest town -  many college towns. Having a few very large companies close helps too due to the level of the people, frequently with big city tastes, they attract. We find enough restaurants to keep us busy. And the local arts center where we volunteer for 100's of hours a year offers more exposure to the the arts and entertainment than we have ever experienced. And of course, for the spouse, there is that d..n football. And basketball. And baseball. And track.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        And of special note, we have had such a pleasant experience related to the immense value people here seem to place on music. There are concerts in the parks, jam sessions on summer weekend evenings, fairs, festivals, etc. and they all seem to attract a very high quality of musicians. I guess it goes back to when music was the home entertainment. It seems to still exist here and we love it.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        DRJJG, retirement for many of us is a compromise, but that doesn't mean that we have to give up valued experiences. ENJOY!!! :-)))

                                                                                  • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                                    scpearse

                                                                                    My wife and I live just north of San Francisco in Marin County.  We are actively discussing about moving - possibly out of state.  According to Bankrate.com and Kiplingers Magazine, we want to look at Idaho and maybe Nevada due to the low comparative tax rate in those states.  We love parts of Oregon, but they really sock it to retirees tax wise.  So, should our decision be based solely on taxes?

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Another reason for moving is that I want a detached workshop for my wood and metal working projects - allowing the garage to be used as a garage....how novel!

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Although I grew up in the northeast and in Florida, my concern is how well my wife would handle snow and whether or not I really want to be dealing with snow once as I get older.  In as much as the San Francisco area provides some really ideal weather the cost of living here is really going to impact us.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Another aspect of moving is centered around "community" and how we would fit in to it.

                                                                                      • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                                        MyR Community Manager

                                                                                        scpearse, I saw you included some images of your wood and metal working projects in your profile. I recommend you start a discussion thread in the My Lifestyle topic and share some more images of your pieces. Others could respond by sharing images of their own creations.

                                                                                        • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                                          MyR Community Manager

                                                                                          scpearse, given your concerns regarding taxes, I wanted to direct your attention to the blog that was posted today, which outlines the best places to retire from a tax perspective: The 10 most tax-friendly states for retirees.

                                                                                          • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                                            JerryD

                                                                                            Your comment: "my concern is how well my wife would handle snow and whether or not I really want to be dealing with snow once as I get older." is an important one. My informal, long-term poll of females regarding snow and cold is a close to a resounding "Hate It!!" And having been raised along with my spouse in an area that got over 300" of snow last winter, I will confirm your concern over fighting the unrelenting snow gods. My suggestion that we migrate in the winter months went down in flames from the one of us who was actually born in snow country.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            I have a limited experience with Idaho in the potato regions. Although it is close to Yellowstone and the Tetons, it is pretty much desert with plantings sustained only by irrigation. Some friends that have a kid teaching in northern Idaho describe some very interesting trout fishing trips to extreme Oregon. I suspect that there are more mountains and water in this area. But the flight south during the winter might still need to be an option for those with little tolerance for snow and cold.

                                                                                              • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                                                jkom51

                                                                                                Here's the thing about bad weather, no matter how you define it (cold/snow, or just cold). As you age, it makes life more and more difficult.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                A long while back I posted about the "stages" of retirement. There is the "Active" stage, when you travel a lot, catch up on your hobbies or make new ones. Then there's the "Settling Down" stage, where you travel less - it's tiring - and start simplifying your life. Fewer, more meaningful activities. Friends and/or family members get sick, some pass away. You make excuses not to drive in bad weather.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                There's the third stage, let's call it "I'm Still Alive!" stage, where home is the most comfortable place to be, and travel drops to only short trips or necessity. More friends/family pass away. Maybe you give up driving altogether now...but how do you get around? Gotta think on that, serious problem depending on where you live. Public transit can suffer severe budget cuts, the buses don't run as often, the subway's tiring to maneuver and more expensive than you remember, and it feels like a longer walk to the doctor's office afterwards. If you still own your own home, can you pay for a new roof? Or shop for a new frig or stove?

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                The fourth stage can be extreme old age, dementia or physical debility. Without continual, regular assistance you just can't manage. Doesn't matter that your dentist is only a couple of miles away; you can't walk there or climb onto a bus any longer. Who does your laundry? Who buys you those adjustable width slippers for your swollen feet? Who pushes the wheelchair or washes your hair?

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                Planning for one's old age is just as difficult as it was doing your financial planning in getting ready for retirement. It requires just as much thought, and an honest look at what problems you're going to be facing. We did not stay 35 forever, nor 55 forever, and we will not remain 70 or 80 forever, either.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                My 86-yr old MIL hates it when I tell her she may live to be over 100. But the fact is, her genetics and US statistics bear this out. She has an extremely good chance of living another 14+ yrs in increasing dementia and physical frailness. So plan for where you are going to live in ALL phases of retirement - because you may be one of those lucky(!) ones.

                                                                                            • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                                              JoeW519

                                                                                              An EXCELLENT conversation! It's all very thought-provoking and I had to think on it overnight to make sure my own decision-making process was going to be as concise as you've all made yours!

                                                                                               

                                                                                              Forty years ago, at 30, I moved to a 10-acre wood plot with a 300-foot driveway on top of an ancient mountain in north-central Mass. I heated my house with oak I harvested from the land; and I shoveled the 100-inch snows by hand each winter for some time because I couldn't afford a plow truck. I loved winter.

                                                                                               

                                                                                              In my early Sixties I moved to the city that houses the University of Georgia and own a home on less than a half acre that is maintained (outside) by the local HOA. This is why/how I decided to make the move to Dixie --

                                                                                               

                                                                                              My body didn't like winter near so much, nor did it appreciate the physical burden of cordwood.

                                                                                              I'd been divorced; there wasn't much left where I was that didn't create unpleasant associations.

                                                                                              So, after 36 years in academics, I wanted to be in a community that was open to academics, culture, warm winters, and retired folk.

                                                                                              I did NOT want to be in a big city, but I DID want easy access to city life..

                                                                                              Process: I checked out (on line) a good number of university cities across the Southeast for these attributes:

                                                                                               

                                                                                              Size -- Athens GA was about 100000 people, nearly 40000 with the university

                                                                                              Medical -- Athens had two recognized hospitals and (at that time) the state medical school was moving to the city.

                                                                                              Big City -- Atlanta was 70 miles West

                                                                                              Climate -- what I wanted; 4 seasons, warm winters

                                                                                              Cost of living -- 66% of Mass home area

                                                                                               

                                                                                              I know there were risks with such a move, but mine worked out fine. As I sit at the desk, the sun is setting and the trees are just turning from green to gold. Tonight we have bible study at our church. Two days ago my wife and I enjoyed (understatement!) Cirque du Soleil in Atlanta and at Bonefish Grill on the way home. Tomorrow she goes back to work and I will take my cameras to the other side of town where the State Botanical Garden spreads across the hills. On the way home I'll probably have coffee at Walker's after I get tickets for Tab Benoit's Cajun blues when he visits town next time, visit the library and a friend who is ill in the hospital.

                                                                                               

                                                                                              Like I said, I'm very very thankful. (And thanks for letting me add on to y'alls thoughts!)

                                                                                                • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                                                  MyR Community Manager

                                                                                                  JoeW519, I didn't know you lived in Athens! Go Dawgs! (I went to UGA for graduate school)

                                                                                                  • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                                                    JerryD

                                                                                                    JoeW, thank you for the story of your conversion to the South. Although where I was raised last winter had 240 inches more than your MASS location (Yes, that's right, 340" of snow!), I can relate to your transition. Maybe the correct statement is that my spouse can even better relate since her response was "Not with me!" to my meek suggestion to move back home to this winter wonderland. Truthfully, I think she did me a favor since my idea of shoveling snow is to drive over it, but that doesn't work very long with that amount of snow.  :-)))

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    We too have the 4 seasons although Spring and Fall are greatly elongated. It is a pleasure when the A/C only runs every once in a while after 24/7 from May into October.

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    The university-town atmosphere has also been great. There are so many things here due to the university. We also thought that we might fit in better in this environment since we are so far "Northern" that we think that Wisconsin is a southern state.  :-)))

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    You touch on small town and music. We came from one of the largest US cities which was far removed from our small town upbringing. We now have a smaller locale with great features. One of those is the amazing relation with the people to music. Everybody loves music, but I think that Southerners have it still in their blood since they have not yet been citified. What a pleasant surprise and pleasure. (PS: Sadly, we missed Tab Benoit when he played a local music club.)

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    On the cost-of-living we never thought that we could get a bigger place that was cheaper than our big-city place. On top of that we live basically in the country, but "town", WalMart, the university, etc. are only minutes from the garage. Unfortunately the deer also like the neighborhood and have attacked us several times when we returned home late at night from volunteering at the arts center sponsored in part by the university.

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    JoeW, thank you for the post.

                                                                                                      • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                                                        JoeW519

                                                                                                        240 inches!

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        Yikes ... but ... but ... but aren't the polar caps melting?

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        And thanks for the reminder re the deer -- -- are we supposed to drive with an eye on traffic and pedestrians or wild life, really? My wife says that Bambi is owned by the devil.

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        Thanks for the comment, Jerry. Hope you get to hear Tab Benoit (on You Tube if you want a taste). He's a Southern treasure!

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        Joe

                                                                                                      • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                                                        TroutBum

                                                                                                        JoeW, that's an interesting post. I'm glad you shared it.

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        Last year, on a drive between Tallahassee and Asheville, I decided to avoid Atlanta and ended up driving through Athens. It's amazing the difference between Atlanta and the area between Athens and Greenville, and I can certainly see why you might choose to live there. It was well worth the extra 10 minutes it took to drive!

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        Our experience with changing needs is somewhat parallel to yours. After spending most of our adult lives on farms or larger lots (both with 700' driveways), and shoveling snow, we're almost ready to make the move to a place that requires less physical labor and offers a warmer climate. I plan to retire next year and my wife in '18, so our move will be gradual, but we took an initial step when we closed on a small lot in the Florida Panhandle two weeks ago. Living on a .26 acre lot is certainly going to be different than where we live now!

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        Unlike many others who have worked in an academic environment, living near a college isn't something that draws me. That's likely because my role here in the Facilities area is quite different than that of an instructor. My wife, who also works at the university but has more interaction with the students and faculty, does feel that draw. While the area where we plan to build doesn't offer the closeness to a college, it does offer some of the things one might experience on a college campus. For example, two weeks ago the area had it's annual Blast on the Bay where Nashville musician performed at various venues, and this past May we were able to observe as the Plenair artists set up in various locations. Although I prefer to think of myself as the rugged outdoorsman, there may be may be just a small part of me that appreciates the arts and other things in life. Just don't tell anybody!

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        There is one other thing I should probably mention. Regardless of where I live I will never yell, "Go Dawgs" unless they happen to be playing the Gators, who happen to be one of my two least favorite teams. The proper salute is "Go Bucks!"

                                                                                                          • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                                                            DRJJG

                                                                                                            TroutMum:

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            The best years of my life were spent in grad school at UGA. In the late 70s, streaking, sightings of Patty Hurst and Elvis Presley were common. I made a concoction of purple cool lad and 70% alcohol, which I got  from my lab. We called it "Purple Jesus:" I never saw any deity, however, my mantra after drinking a quart of it on the weekend was "They blinded me with science". Southern college towns have their own charm.. Places like Colombia, SC; Nashville, TN; Athens, GA; Auburn, Al; Jackson, MS; and Austin, TX are all great places to live where you can continue life long learning. They have cheap taxes, lovely weather, and four seasons  with deciduous trees that change color in the winter. If you go farther south there are mainly pine trees with needle leaves that never change, and they have year round bugs.

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            However, as soon as you go to a small southern town, they will ask you the following important questions: 1) what church do you go to; 2) what college football team do you rout for; and 3) are you a Republican or Democrat.  It is safest to respond with I go to whatever church you go, follow whatever team you do, and vote for whatever party you do. Then do whatever you want.    

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            I have spent my entire 38 year college career at Auburn, which is nearly over, so I have been a long time "Tiger" fan. On the 4th Saturday afternoon of November every year, it is the "Iron Bowl" football game. The whole state stops everything and gets to their TV sets, turn on their DVD recorders, or to the game. If Auburn just gets one more second this year, lighting may strick again as it did last year.

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            "War Eagle"

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            Joe

                                                                                                              • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                                                                MyR Community Manager

                                                                                                                Oh boy... I didn't realize we had some SEC rivalries on the community

                                                                                                                • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                                                                  TroutBum

                                                                                                                  OK, I'll have to concede that if I were to choose a retirement location based on streaking opportunities, I'd definitely chose Athens over Columbus. That comes from a guy who witnessed a 200 person streak down High Street in Columbus in '72 when the temperature was -8F. There is a reason they called it the Blue Streak and it has nothing to do with school colors. I'll also admit that seeing Elvis would have been preferred to meeting Larry Flint when he opened his original Hustler Club just half a block off of High. I'm still not yelling, Go Dawgs!

                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                  Anyone who understands the Buckeye allegiance also understands why I said the Gators were only one of my two least favorite teams. There's also that team up north.

                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                  BTW, it does get chilly in the Florida panhandle. Last winter we had to have a water line replaced after it froze and burst. Many days I've walked the beach in a parka.

                                                                                                                • Re: Going to Relocate?
                                                                                                                  MyR Community Manager

                                                                                                                  My sister was a Buckeye, so I understand that allegiance well!