Author Topic: To move or not to move after retirement  (Read 4622 times)

Roadrunner53

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To move or not to move after retirement
« on: March 15, 2018, 11:30:42 AM »
We live in CT and of course as everyone knows a high tax state. People seem to expect that when you retire you will automatically move. the first thing out of a persons mouth when they find out you are retired is "are you moving?". Trust me, we have considered it many times. Right now we are in a low tax bracket due to being on Obamacare and have kept below the 400% poverty level to get the subsidy for the insurance. August I go onto Medicare and 2019 no longer have to worry about falling off the income cliff.

Once we have to draw on our IRA's with the required minimum distribution is when we will get his hard with taxes. Right now I have an inherited IRA I have to pay 15% Fed tax and 5% CT tax. Because we are low income, we get it all back for now.

I am assuming that there is no way around the 15% Federal tax on RMD no matter what state you live in. Some states like GA waive taxes on up to $35,000 per person age 62-64 then $65,000 at age 65 and over. In certain counties in GA there is no school tax for seniors. Taxes on some homes with no school tax are like $1,300 compared to my town tax of $5,000+/- for cars and house.

When RMD occurs I will have to pull out around $35,000 (yr) with the 5% tax that would be $1,750 plus let's say a savings of $3,500 on house taxes. A total of $5,250 a year. Is there something else I am missing?

If I moved to GA I would save approx. $5,250. Is it worth moving if I am only saving $5,250 a year?

We have no children or close relatives here so no real ties but we have lived in our paid off house since 1975. Long time to never move. Also, do know a few people in GA but they are not very communicative so I can't seem to feel them out on things.

If we live 15 years while drawing RMD we would might save $100,000. Can't calculate that because RMD increases each year. Plus, taxes will increase each year.

I wonder if there are any kind of workbooks to help guide a person thru the 'what if, what do I do process'. And some kind of software that isn't too complicated to use?

6-Saturdays

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2018, 11:48:56 AM »
So to give you an example, I currently live in Galveston TX plan to FIRE in little over a year. I know that Galveston is not my forever home. While it's a LCOL to MCOL area it's not where I want to be long term. The summers are brutal and the threat of storm damage is too high. My wife and I have a home in Mexico that we plan to move to for fairly long term. We love the area, great weather, low cost of living, good community, etc. So in one way we are going to a lower cost of living area but that being said I would never recommend someone move just for the COL. I think you need to be moving to something you want and not just away from higher taxes. My advice: If you love where you are stay, if you are indifferent to where you are look around for something you like better if it comes with a lower COL bonus, if you don't like where you are make a change. That's the beauty of being FI, you have the INDEPENDENCE to change your situation to titrate your happiness level.

Roadrunner53

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2018, 12:56:42 PM »
Good points 6-Saturdays. I don't hate where I live but I am beginning to resent our school system here. We closed a whole school and that very year school taxes went up more. Less kids enrolled, one less school, less teachers but higher taxes. Not one year they could hold steady or lower the taxes. Our state is in dire straights as far as debt. They are withholding school tax money that has always gone to towns so the towns people have to make up millions that should have gone to the schools on top of the schools increasing the budget. We pay more school tax than town taxes. That is one reason GA is appealing to us. CT pays around $18,000 a kid per school year.

Yes, moving to something...lower taxes?

Starting over in somewhere new sounds appealing too.


seattlecyclone

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2018, 01:15:08 PM »
Once we have to draw on our IRA's with the required minimum distribution is when we will get his hard with taxes. Right now I have an inherited IRA I have to pay 15% Fed tax and 5% CT tax. Because we are low income, we get it all back for now.

I am assuming that there is no way around the 15% Federal tax on RMD no matter what state you live in. Some states like GA waive taxes on up to $35,000 per person age 62-64 then $65,000 at age 65 and over. In certain counties in GA there is no school tax for seniors. Taxes on some homes with no school tax are like $1,300 compared to my town tax of $5,000+/- for cars and house.

There is no "15% federal tax on RMDs." These withdrawals count as regular income and are taxed at your regular tax bracket that varies depending on income. Maybe you're having 15% withheld for some reason? But you state you're getting it all back anyway, so it's not as though you're actually paying 15% in the end, right? That alone doesn't seem like a strong reason to move; local taxes might if they are outrageously high compared to other areas and you don't have strong ties through friends or family that are keeping you where you are.

Roadrunner53

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2018, 02:07:03 PM »
When the financial advisor pulls out money for us each year she takes out 15% for Fed and 5% for State. I guess it is the tax bracket we are in is how it is based. When we filed our taxes, we got the money back. However, once RMD's kick in, then it will be more of an issue. If we were to move, I would like to move before age 70. We have no family ties here.

Trudie

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2018, 07:21:20 PM »
Lots of people wonder about moving after retirement, but I would also urge you to consider additional variables and not just the financial ones.  What kind of community do you want to be in?  What are your values?  Where can you best live those values?  Where can you connect easily with other people?  That's just a short list, but you get the drift.

With anything, of course, there are trade-offs and one person's heaven is another person's hell.

I would make a broader list, then visit a few places on a leisurely vacation to narrow them down, then maybe rent somewhere for awhile to "try before you buy" to make sure you're happy with the decision.

The tax issues are an important factor, but not everything...

Greystache

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2018, 07:59:53 PM »
You seem to be focused entirely on income tax.  Just be aware that the state and local government will get their money one way or another. If a state has low or no income tax, chances are they will have high property taxes and or sales taxes. You need to look at the total package.
Also have you run the numbers with the new tax brackets and personal exemptions? You might not be paying as much under the new tax rules.

Kyle B

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2018, 08:06:56 PM »
My wife and I have a home in Mexico that we plan to move to for fairly long term. We love the area, great weather, low cost of living, good community, etc. So in one way we are going to a lower cost of living area but that being said I would never recommend someone move just for the COL. I think you need to be moving to something you want and not just away from higher taxes.

May I ask where your house is in Mexico?

6-Saturdays

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2018, 07:24:54 AM »
HI Kyle,

We are in the Lake Chapala area in the Mexican State of Jalisco, about 45 min south of Guadalajara. 

Kyle B

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2018, 07:45:24 AM »
HI Kyle,

We are in the Lake Chapala area in the Mexican State of Jalisco, about 45 min south of Guadalajara.

Ah, awesome!

How do you think that area would work for a fifty-something who didn't speak a lick of Spanish?

pdxbator

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2018, 12:49:51 PM »
I've done a lot of research on that area. Google it in YouTube videos. There is this guy Jerry brown who had a lot of videos which address everything there. Health-care. Living. Etc

Kyle B

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2018, 01:34:16 PM »
I've done a lot of research on that area. Google it in YouTube videos. There is this guy Jerry brown who had a lot of videos which address everything there. Health-care. Living. Etc
Thank you!

6-Saturdays

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2018, 03:18:09 PM »
My general assessment is that without any Spanish at all it would be possible, but difficult. Around the lake the farther you go in either direction from Ajijic (the main expat town)  the more Spanish you would need. There are several places to take Spanish lessons in the area. One of my goals is to become fluent, part of the adventure of moving to a different country.  It also depends what you are into, lots of great weather, so outdoor activities are pretty easy to find golf, tennis, hiking, if you are looking for bars and nightlife not as much.   

freeat57

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2018, 07:39:30 AM »
Hey there Roadrunner!  It looks like this thread got hijacked a bit.  Let's get back to your topic.  I moved to GA a little over a year ago and am in full FIRE mode.  I do not yet qualify for the state tax discounts you mention, so I have not looked at the details.

I agree with some other posters here that you should look very carefully at the quality of life issues rather than focusing only on $.  I live in the ATL metro area, and so far really like it.  (I don't drive much.  ATL has some of the most congested roads in the nation!)  I am still in the process of exploring GA and there is a lot to see and enjoy.  But, and this is a big BUT, much of the state outside of ATL is the rural south.  As someone who has lived all over the nation, I can tell you that for anyone who has never lived in the rural south, it may not be a reasonable option.  Understand, I am not slamming the rural south.  I have family who are rural folks.  I am saying that it is a foreign culture to North easterners or West coasters. When I was I was in college in NJ, I spent a couple of wonderful Thanksgiving holidays in CT and really loved the area.  It was really lovely.

Please share with us what quality of life issues are important to you.  Outdoors/nature? Arts/high culture? Warm weather /winter sports? Etc.

Roadrunner53

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2018, 08:32:49 AM »
Freeat57, thank you for your post! First I do live in a nice town, good doctors and hospital and nearby other hospitals. My Hub and I are childless and really are not all that close to the few relatives he has in the area. I have no relatives here. We really need more social activities and my town really doesn't have much, in my opinion, for older adults. The senior center caters to mostly very old seniors and the activities are not my idea of fun. I am leaning towards a place that has walking trails and golf carts for transportation like Peach Tree City, GA. Not sure if that place appeals to me either. Seems like lots of traffic congestion.

Snow removal and lawn care are still done by the Hub for the most part but he had surgery in 2016 and radiation in 2017 and it has taken a bit of a toll on him. Plus, age is creeping up too (66).

I am not a fan of HOA communities due to the HOA constantly going up and special assessments. It makes it kind of difficult to prepare for the future with special assessments. I looked at Sun City in AZ and from what I read it was built mostly in the 1960's. They claim lots of houses have been renovated. It scares me to buy a home that is almost 60 years old! But HOA communities have activities, clubs, walking trails and a lot have the golf carts to go out to lunch, shop and just have some fun.

Since CT is the only State I have lived in since 5 years old, it is difficult to move. But I think it could be exhilarating too. We have vacationed all over the place and I had travelled extensively when I worked. We also used to own a timeshare in Aruba, went there 23 times and loved it. The hot weather in Aruba is a challenge but we loved vacationing there. Living in a place and vacationing are two different things.

We have a very pretty private park here in my town and it is perfect for walking. However, I have to drive around 7 miles to get there. I would like to walk out my front door and have a sidewalk and just go into my community and walk some trails. We have a lot of parks here but most are not really good for walking, they are more for hiking or picnicking and nothing paved.

Would like to be fairly close to a major airport. Right now it is about an hour and a half to a NY airport and one hour and 10 minutes to Bradley airport in CT. A 20 minute trip would be nice if we moved to a new location.

I am also concerned with driving in the future. I have glaucoma and find it difficult to drive at night. I am getting to the point I really don't like to drive much anyway with so many maniacs out there. That would be another consideration is a community that provided bus transportation to downtown, shopping, theaters, etc.

So with all of that, I guess I would boil it down to living in a place with an HOA with reasonable rates, fairly new, near doctors and a good hospital. Plenty of activities with walking trails, golf cart community near stores, restaurants, fun stuff. Near an airport and bus service to shopping.

LOL, am I asking too much!

What made you move to GA and what were your reasons freeat57?

 

LifeHappens

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2018, 09:19:54 AM »
So with all of that, I guess I would boil it down to living in a place with an HOA with reasonable rates, fairly new, near doctors and a good hospital. Plenty of activities with walking trails, golf cart community near stores, restaurants, fun stuff. Near an airport and bus service to shopping.

LOL, am I asking too much!
Have you looked at The Villages, FL? It has all the things you listed. I'm not sure what the HOA fees are, but it's all relatively new construction. There is a company testing a fleet of self-driving taxis there, which might address your future driving concerns.

freeat57

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2018, 12:17:51 PM »
My reasons for moving here are numerous.  I wrote a little about my story on another thread, but can't find it at the moment.  Briefly, I was already FI when my job ended in a downsizing.  I'm rather financially conservative, so I gladly took another job when I was talked into it.  That "opportunity" turned out to be not as advertised, so I eventually quit. It was in a location that was far from ideal for me. Before leaving there, I spent at least 18 months on the web searching for new place to live.  As I narrowed the list, I visited the places to check them out. 

Here are some of my major criteria; Reasonably large urban area with cultural institutions and diversity.  Limited winter weather.  Walkable neighborhoods. Mass transit was a nice plus.  Major airport nearby.  And here's the big limitation... within a day's drive of my elderly father.  If not for that last one, I may well have settled somewhere other than Atlanta.

Atlanta came a little late to the game, but there are major walkability and transit initiatives underway to make the city more livable.  The development here in the last several years is astounding.  It is really booming and real estate is getting very pricey, especially close to the focus areas of redevelopment. 

After having lived and traveled extensively in Europe, I have longed to get back to a car-less lifestyle.  In my current location, I have nearly achieved that.  The area that I live in is a work in progress, but the master plan for a walkable, transit oriented community is coming together quickly.  I have rail access to Midtown and Downtown, as well as the airport. All my basic needs are within a few blocks.

Roadrunner53

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2018, 12:48:05 PM »
freeat57, can you reveal the general vicinity of where you are living? It sounds pretty interesting! I live in a country atmosphere where we have to drive everywhere. The bus system is really bad and it takes forever to get from Point A to Point B. We have no trains unless you travel around 20 miles by car to get there. We had train service in my town till around 1970 but it is long gone. Not sure I would like living in a city but on the outskirts and live close by might be good.

I looked at some homes in 55+ communities in GA and WOW, expensive! Makes me wonder who is affording these places! A lot of the homes seem to start in the high $389,000 range and up!

LIfeHappens, I have looked a little at The Villages. Not a fan of FL and have heard that it is very crowded and getting doctor appointments is a chore. I also know a guy who lives there part of the year and he had to have his home reinforced with concrete due to sink hole problems! YIKES! I do like the concept of The Villages. Then there is Margaretville in FL.

freeat57

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2018, 01:07:18 PM »
I sent you a PM about the location.  BTW, after a little rain this morning, it is partly sunny, low 70's F and I have a geranium blooming on the balcony. 

Roadrunner53

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2018, 01:29:50 PM »
Nice weather! CT is windy and cold. Is in the 40's and the wind makes it feel much colder!

freeat57

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2018, 01:41:32 PM »
Have you considered renting for a while to see if you like a new location?  Maybe it would be possible to rent out your current home and let that help to pay for renting a place for you in a new location as a test run.  Actually, construction has just begun at the end of my block for a new mixed use building.  It will have retail/restaurant on the ground floor and 55+ "luxury" apartments on the floors above.

Roadrunner53

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2018, 04:11:45 AM »
Spartana, Nice location!

cripes7

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2018, 07:02:29 PM »
I live in north Georgia, and my husband received the 35,000 tax deduction this year. SS income is not taxed. We live in a small rural town with numerous festivals throughout the year, a small art scene, and a cool "downtown." In the 17 yrs we've lived here, there's been a lot of changes as new residents have moved in. We're 2 hours from Asheville, Atlanta, and Knoxville, and an hour from Chattanooga. We visit all of those towns for activities as well. The downside is we do a lot of driving. There's a daytime transport for older residents that's fairly inexpensive. I would suggest, as others did, to visit towns you're interested in and see what they have to offer.

Dragonswan

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2018, 07:14:45 AM »
So you've been to AZ and know that the dry heat is harsh but better than humidity (i.e. southeast).  If taxes irk you , you could try Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nevada.  No state taxes and the property taxes aren't outrageous.  This is a planned community and the homes are newer.  It's not just for seniors either.  They have lots of amenities and outdoor activities (if you're in to that sort of thing).  When you want splashy entertainment, there's the Vegas strip (but Summerlin is a normal residential community).  It's one of two places I'm considering for my retirement.  The other is Chandler, AZ.  I lived in the Phoenix burbs for 8 years and loved it.  It has a great network of community colleges if you're into life long learning like I am.  I'm also into classical music and Phoenix has an abundance between the symphony and two opera houses. AZ does have state taxes, but not too bad. So I would say decide what types of activities you prefer and look into those two spots. Both AZ and NV are a short inexpensive flight to various parts of the west coast so you could do many short trips for a reasonable price.

Malkynn

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2018, 08:00:19 AM »
I definitely donít understand the concept of it being a given that you will move for the sake of taxes when you retire, especially if you donít have a massive retirement income.

First, I would be looking into what those taxes are buying for you and if the cost might be worth it.
I know this is an extreme and bad example, but my mom plans on staying in her high-tax province here in Canada because her retirement income will be very low, so weíre talking at most a few extra thousand a year, but in her province her 25K/mo medications are free.

Again, I know thatís an extreme example, and not applicable to the US, but the point is that taxes pay for things. So investigate if you are getting value for your money or if as others have said, if you are just going to get taxed in other ways. You need all the info to make an informed decision on the cost of those taxes.

Beyond that, as others have said, there are so many factors that go into where you may want to live.
You will have to look at your finances to see what kinds of areas you can afford to live in and then decide from there whatís worth it.

Just because itís cheaper to live in Mexico doesnít mean you want to live there, and likewise, thereís nothing wrong with wanting to stay where you are if you like it there.

Simply put: donít base major life decisions on the norms and expectations of others.

jeroly

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #25 on: April 25, 2018, 08:07:43 AM »
We live in CT and of course as everyone knows a high tax state. People seem to expect that when you retire you will automatically move. the first thing out of a persons mouth when they find out you are retired is "are you moving?". Trust me, we have considered it many times. Right now we are in a low tax bracket due to being on Obamacare and have kept below the 400% poverty level to get the subsidy for the insurance. August I go onto Medicare and 2019 no longer have to worry about falling off the income cliff.
Once you start on Medicare you will still have income management issues to keep the cost of Medicare premiums (part B?) down.  I'm not well versed in this but know it's a thing.

Quote
Once we have to draw on our IRA's with the required minimum distribution is when we will get his hard with taxes. Right now I have an inherited IRA I have to pay 15% Fed tax and 5% CT tax. Because we are low income, we get it all back for now.
If you actually 'get it all back' you don't have to pay it in the first place if you don't want to - there is no mandatory withholding on inherited IRA distributions.
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I am assuming that there is no way around the 15% Federal tax on RMD no matter what state you live in. Some states like GA waive taxes on up to $35,000 per person age 62-64 then $65,000 at age 65 and over. In certain counties in GA there is no school tax for seniors. Taxes on some homes with no school tax are like $1,300 compared to my town tax of $5,000+/- for cars and house.
Once you hit 65 you do get an extra deduction of $1,300 each under the current tax code.  The standard deduction has also risen to $24,000 for a couple, so that will shield a total of $26,600 from any taxes.
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When RMD occurs I will have to pull out around $35,000 (yr) with the 5% tax that would be $1,750 plus let's say a savings of $3,500 on house taxes. A total of $5,250 a year. Is there something else I am missing?

If I moved to GA I would save approx. $5,250. Is it worth moving if I am only saving $5,250 a year?
1. As I mentioned above, you'd only be paying Federal income taxes on $35,000-26,600=$8,400.  Your CT taxes would only be $330 - remember that the 5% rate is a MARGINAL rate - the first $10K of taxable income are taxed at 3%, and the total subject to taxes is after deductions/exemptions.

In either case, I think that moving just to save on taxes is a terrible idea unless you find it a financial necessity.  There are lots of other reasons to leave CT - such as the weather and the annoying rich people - but if you move to a place that has low taxes but also has less of the things you want, you'll be unhappy.
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We have no children or close relatives here so no real ties but we have lived in our paid off house since 1975. Long time to never move. Also, do know a few people in GA but they are not very communicative so I can't seem to feel them out on things.

If we live 15 years while drawing RMD we would might save $100,000. Can't calculate that because RMD increases each year. Plus, taxes will increase each year.

I wonder if there are any kind of workbooks to help guide a person thru the 'what if, what do I do process'. And some kind of software that isn't too complicated to use?
http://www.cfiresim.com/ is a decent site for calculating withdrawal strategies.

Remember that you are currently in a low tax bracket and it may behoove you to start a series of Roth conversions between now and your mandatory RMD start date - that will have the effect of reducing the RMD amounts down the road. 

Moreover, if you have both taxable and nontaxable accounts, putting the likely-to-be-slower-growing fixed income investments into the accounts with RMDs will also have the effect of reducing your RMDs.

evanc

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #26 on: May 03, 2018, 04:01:19 PM »
So investigate if you are getting value for your money or if as others have said, if you are just going to get taxed in other ways. You need all the info to make an informed decision on the cost of those taxes.


+1

Another example, people laud Washington state for having "no income tax," but often fail to realize that the high sales tax and property taxes combine to create one of the most regressive systems in the country.

Do your research.

powskier

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #27 on: May 19, 2018, 11:38:15 PM »
My parents sold their  suburban home for a smaller place in a small seasonal beach town. While they obviously enjoy the long beach walks and clean air, the kids and grandkids no longer just stop by for lunch or dinner because it's a 4 or 5 hr trip instead of 1hr. When we/they visit it has to be at least an overnight, which just changes many things.
 They discovered that it is hard to replace relationships built up over 30 years with multiple generations with neighbors. They also discovered that they preferred the doctors and dentists they are used to , so  now they try to group their appointments and make a long journey and hotel stay to see their old docs.
 
Folks are smart to point out that just focusing on the money misses a lot of intangible positive things that come with what is familiar.

Seems to me that possibly taking a little time to first see what the place you know is like as a retiree....maybe a totally different experience than it was as a stressed out wage slave?

Maybe travel to some of these "dream retirement spots " and long term rent first?

MarciaB

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #28 on: May 20, 2018, 01:58:30 PM »
Seems to me you would be well off to create a list of maybe 8-10 potential places, and then go to those places for a few months (or even a month) and "live" there and talk to as many folks as you can. Rent a house from AirBnB in the area you might want to target. This would help you refine what you are really looking for (and help with the "no-way!" list as well).

Linda_Norway

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Re: To move or not to move after retirement
« Reply #29 on: June 13, 2018, 06:44:18 AM »
Seems to me you would be well off to create a list of maybe 8-10 potential places, and then go to those places for a few months (or even a month) and "live" there and talk to as many folks as you can. Rent a house from AirBnB in the area you might want to target. This would help you refine what you are really looking for (and help with the "no-way!" list as well).

This is what we plan to do. Especially spend a winter further up north (much shorter days in winter), just checking out how things work. And then take a decision on where to live.