Author Topic: Help me find a place to retire  (Read 15061 times)

TheOldestYoungMan

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Help me find a place to retire
« on: November 25, 2015, 10:52:03 PM »
It is T minus 20 months or so until I pull the trigger and FIRE.  As I torque my lifestyle to reduce costs I'm realizing my current location is not ideal.  I've lived in a few places and liked various things about them, but no place ever really struck me as perfect.  The only thing about my current situation is proximity to relatives, but I hardly see them, and actually saw more of them when I lived further away.

So with that said, I am looking for:

1.  Low cost of living.  Homes under 200k as an example.
2.  Possibility of completely car-free (negotiable).
3.  I don't handle cold particularly well, but heat is no problem.  And cold might be an adventure I could handle once I'm FIRE.
4.  My house can't share walls with other buildings.  I need the freedom to get loud, and to be free from others getting loud.
5.  Favorable retirement tax situation.
6.  Volunteer Fire Department.
7.  Comcast free zone.

I'd like to be within an hour of an int'l airport as well, but that is more like a perk, I'm not one of you "must travel" folks.  A little bit of land would be cool as well, as I like to grow things, but I can do that indoors too.

I'm leaning towards PNW, Oregon and things like that.

Shane

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2015, 11:26:05 PM »
How about Chiang Mai, Thailand? Go Curry Cracker just moved there. It sounds super cheap and looks like an awesome place to explore for awhile. Chiang Mai costs so much less than the PNW and Oregon that you could just FIRE now instead of waiting 20 months. Your living expenses in Thailand will be so much less than if you were in the U.S., that your stashe will continue growing on its own. Why continue working if you don't have to?
« Last Edit: November 25, 2015, 11:30:11 PM by Shane »

Exflyboy

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2015, 11:39:59 PM »
Oregon is not a tax friendly state unless you like paying 9% income tax.. I live here and that bites, but there is not sales tax

The other thing you get is opposite ends of the political spectrum where people yell at each other.. I'm personally getting real tired of this. The PNW also lives under the threat of the massive earthquake.. could be now, could be in 100 years but it will happen and its likely to be devastating.

Its a beautiful place otherwise.

Idaho or Wyoming I think are better from a tax/COI perspective.. and NO earthquake threat.

We will also explore the idea of living overseas.. Thailand/Vietnam maybe too hot and humid. Ecuador or Las Tablas in Panama are also great options.

BigBangWeary

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2015, 02:57:06 AM »
My wife and I are currently undergoing similar research with an oddly similar timeframe. For us, it was key to be one flight away from family on the East coast, but we are more open to international destinations since we have been expats on and off for a long time.

Check out Ecuador, Panama (outside of Panama city) and Portugal if you are interested. There are some big incentives in Ecuador and Panama in particular. Real estate in Portugal is yet to recover and you have a developed economy (although old-Europe in feel). I would second Thailand, and Chaing Mai is great if you are a younger entrepreneur.

brianw

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2015, 03:37:52 AM »
subscribed

FrugalFan

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2015, 12:04:33 PM »
Following for ideas.

orangewarner

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2015, 12:24:19 PM »
I currently live in paradise in st George Utah and cost of living is low. It fits most of your criteria...

I've also lived in Portugal (as mentioned in a previous comment) and it was ridiculously inexpensive to live there, but I missed the USA

Cassie

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2015, 12:27:24 PM »
I would definitely visit somewhere before deciding to move. Whenever I see people raving about Thailand all I can think is really?  I was there in 1998.  Winter is 90's & high humidity.   Air & water very polluted. It is beautiful but are you kidding me.  It would be on my list of worst places to live.

DividendMoney

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2015, 12:40:10 PM »
My wife and I are currently undergoing similar research with an oddly similar timeframe. For us, it was key to be one flight away from family on the East coast, but we are more open to international destinations since we have been expats on and off for a long time.

Check out Ecuador, Panama (outside of Panama city) and Portugal if you are interested. There are some big incentives in Ecuador and Panama in particular. Real estate in Portugal is yet to recover and you have a developed economy (although old-Europe in feel). I would second Thailand, and Chaing Mai is great if you are a younger entrepreneur.

I've seen Ecuador popping up more and more on these lists.  What are the biggest incentives/benefits ?

expatartist

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2015, 11:05:48 PM »
I would definitely visit somewhere before deciding to move. Whenever I see people raving about Thailand all I can think is really?  I was there in 1998.  Winter is 90's & high humidity.   Air & water very polluted. It is beautiful but are you kidding me.  It would be on my list of worst places to live.

Where were you, Bangkok or the southern beaches? Thailand's hottest time of year is Feb/March. In the northern hills in December, winter temps get down into the 50s, and Chiang Mai is quite pleasant. Its climate is much more moderate than the south, and is a popular city for retirees. Every Christmas, I commission a year's worth of art papers and meet my mom in Chiang Mai. Air pollution's a concern in northern areas during March when hill tribes burn fields for clearing/fertilizing.

Edited to add: water pollution is less a problem there than water scarcity/flooding. We were based in Bangkok during the terrible floods of 2011. The country's water management - or lack of it - is a huge problem. As is their junta and royal family - there's an entirely different post sometime.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2015, 11:08:49 PM by expatartist »

AlexK

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2015, 11:09:28 PM »
Las Vegas. The airport is super cheap to fly anywhere, low taxes, not cold. Don't know about Comcast though.

A blog post about Vegas:
http://tynan.com/retire

brianw

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2015, 11:37:54 PM »
"Home Is Where The Heart Is"

I felt I was spinning my wheels
Before too long the road was calling
I packed everything I own
So sure that I was leaving this small town life behind for good
And not a single tear was falling
It took leaving for me to understand
Sometimes your dreams just aren't what life has planned

[Chorus]
Mama said home is where the heart is
When I left that town
I made it all the way to West Virginia
And that's where my heart found
Exactly where I'm supposed to be
It didn't take much time
It's just south of the Mason Dixon line
It's just south of the Mason Dixon line

I worked third shift at an all night diner
Only stayed to save a little money for
Enough gas to make it to the east coast
That's when I saw the brightest pair of
Deep blue eyes walking straight into my life
And every night we talked till it became so clear
And I could feel those dreams inside shifting gears
Cause love brought me here

[Repeat Chorus]

And I'm standing in my veil about to say I do
As mama smiles with tear drops in her eyes
And then I realize there's something mama always knew
Love is what I really left to find

[Repeat Chorus]
Lady Antebellem

GuitarBrian

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2015, 12:54:03 AM »
Pueblo, CO

Pros; Lower cost of living that other areas of the state. Low property tax. Colorado Springs is less than an hour for an airport. And Denver is another hour for a serious airport. Lots of mountains close by for tons of rec opportunities. Housing is very cheap compared to most of Colorado. Climate, good 7 months of the year.
Cons; Might be comcast. Climate, winters are cold, but sunny. Probably need a car.


Prescott Valley, AZ

Pros; 1.5 hrs from Phoenix Sky Harbor. Better weather than Pueblo. Warmer winters and slightly cooler summers. Housing is available in your price range. Close to lots of outdoor rec opportunities. Might not be Comcast area. Low property taxes.
Cons; Gets cool in the winter with lots of sun. Relatively high tax load Sales+Income. Probably need a car.


I have visited the PNW many times. It isn't what I am looking for. I will think of more places to add and post then.

JJNL

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2015, 01:30:06 AM »
Non-American chipping in here: based on my travels of the western US, I've been wondering why Wyoming doesn't pop up more often as a FIRE destination. Why?
- relatively nice weather, not a lot of rain (that would be a big plus for me)
- close to the Rockies and lots of other outdoor adventures
- most cities are flat and relatively small, so you can use your bike a lot
- essentially 0 taxes
- I would say LCOL: things were cheap there, much cheaper than in Colorado for example.

If I were looking for a place to retire in Wyoming, I'd probably start with Laramie. It has a university, which means that it also has places in which to get good coffee and craft beer (why those are not on your list beats me, really), a more diverse population and a bit more culture than other places, while still having a small-town feel. If Wikipedia is to be believed, Laramie has been voted one of the best places to retire to at some point: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laramie,_Wyoming

Axecleaver

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2015, 06:53:20 AM »
Following. Whenever Mrs Axe and I talk about this, we focus on the places that don't work, rather than the places that do. Would be great to bring some positive ideas to the table.

KaizenSoze

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2015, 07:21:24 AM »
We have been focusing on college towns.

Pros:
More liberal. Usually more walking friendly. More social events. Good hospitals.

Cons:
More expensive.

Current list under consideration:
Blacksburg, VA
Fort Collins, CO
Burlington, VT
Winston-Salem, NC

begood

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2015, 07:44:31 AM »
We have been focusing on college towns.

Pros:
More liberal. Usually more walking friendly. More social events. Good hospitals.

Cons:
More expensive.

Current list under consideration:
Blacksburg, VA
Fort Collins, CO
Burlington, VT
Winston-Salem, NC

If those are on your list, KaizenSoze, then you might also consider Asheville, NC, Nashville, TN, Chattanooga, TN, Davidson, NC (outside Charlotte). Those are all on my list and I seem to be looking for some of the same things you are.

smalllife

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2015, 07:47:28 AM »
We have been focusing on college towns.

Pros:
More liberal. Usually more walking friendly. More social events. Good hospitals.

Cons:
More expensive.

Current list under consideration:
Blacksburg, VA
Fort Collins, CO
Burlington, VT
Winston-Salem, NC

If those are on your list, KaizenSoze, then you might also consider Asheville, NC, Nashville, TN, Chattanooga, TN, Davidson, NC (outside Charlotte). Those are all on my list and I seem to be looking for some of the same things you are.

I'dd add Charlottesville, VA as well.

Exflyboy

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2015, 11:17:53 AM »
We have been focusing on college towns.

Pros:
More liberal. Usually more walking friendly. More social events. Good hospitals.

Cons:
More expensive.

Current list under consideration:
Blacksburg, VA
Fort Collins, CO
Burlington, VT
Winston-Salem, NC

If those are on your list, KaizenSoze, then you might also consider Asheville, NC, Nashville, TN, Chattanooga, TN, Davidson, NC (outside Charlotte). Those are all on my list and I seem to be looking for some of the same things you are.

I'dd add Charlottesville, VA as well.

And Corvallis/Eugene in Oregon.

The problem with the PNW is.. Allergies. This issue is not mentioned enough. This is the grass seed capital of the World, and if you suffer from allergies or asthma you can have a very hard time here.

In fact we are going to have to move away from Corvallis because of this problem. As soon as the horse dies and we don't need the farm anymore.. Oh and the Wife quits work of course..:)

The other problem is 9% income tax!!!

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2015, 11:32:05 AM »
We have been focusing on college towns.

Pros:
More liberal. Usually more walking friendly. More social events. Good hospitals.

Cons:
More expensive.

Current list under consideration:
Blacksburg, VA
Fort Collins, CO
Burlington, VT
Winston-Salem, NC

If those are on your list, KaizenSoze, then you might also consider Asheville, NC, Nashville, TN, Chattanooga, TN, Davidson, NC (outside Charlotte). Those are all on my list and I seem to be looking for some of the same things you are.

I'dd add Charlottesville, VA as well.

And Corvallis/Eugene in Oregon.

The problem with the PNW is.. Allergies. This issue is not mentioned enough. This is the grass seed capital of the World, and if you suffer from allergies or asthma you can have a very hard time here.

In fact we are going to have to move away from Corvallis because of this problem. As soon as the horse dies and we don't need the farm anymore.. Oh and the Wife quits work of course..:)

The other problem is 9% income tax!!!

Yeah, the allergies can't be highlighted enough. Highest. Pollen Count. ON EARTH. Lots of people move here "with no allergies". HA. Grass pollen always wins out of sheer mechanical abuse. Enjoy your Zyrtec ;)

I didn't see OP mention anything about hobbies/recreation. If not an outdoors fan, a lot of the benefits of the PNW might not apply.

If you do consider Oregon, I recommend avoiding Portland honestly. It's expensive relative to the rest of the state, hard to buy a house right now, and most of it is Comcast... well, most of Oregon is, I had comcast in both Eugene and Corvallis. Parts of Portland are centurylink though. Oh, and re: AZ. My understanding is that Cox is basically just Comcast. Correct me if I'm wrong on that.

You can absolutely be car free in Portland, Eugene, or Corvallis. Other cities here not so much. And you can't get to hiking, coasts, mountains, etc, without a car.

I love talking about Oregon, so feel free to ask any specific questions. My people are all over the state, and I grew up living with various relatives, plus moved all over as an adult. So I've lived in quite a few areas (cities and rural both).

Exflyboy

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2015, 11:42:14 AM »
Yup.. I was told that after living in Corvallis for 4 years I would get allergies. I have been here since 1996 and no allergies yet thankfully, but more poor Wife (a redhead with sensitive skin/asthma/allergies) is just miserable.. and its getting worse year by year.

I am think within 5 years we will be out of here.

Exflyboy

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2015, 11:44:56 AM »
Oh in Corvallis/Albany area you can get over the air internet from Alyrica.. $30 a month (1.4MBs) and they always answer the phone personally.

Great company, free install with a 2 year contract.

Centurylink and Comcast SUCK!

TheOldestYoungMan

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2015, 02:05:02 PM »
Thanks for the good infos.  College towns are definitely a plus for all the reasons mentioned, but also because I find it much easier to find temporary roommates in a college town.

Exflyboy

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #23 on: November 28, 2015, 02:43:25 PM »
My wife and I are currently undergoing similar research with an oddly similar timeframe. For us, it was key to be one flight away from family on the East coast, but we are more open to international destinations since we have been expats on and off for a long time.

Check out Ecuador, Panama (outside of Panama city) and Portugal if you are interested. There are some big incentives in Ecuador and Panama in particular. Real estate in Portugal is yet to recover and you have a developed economy (although old-Europe in feel). I would second Thailand, and Chaing Mai is great if you are a younger entrepreneur.

I've seen Ecuador popping up more and more on these lists.  What are the biggest incentives/benefits ?

Lots of financial bennies, but the more I read about roving gangs that target rich Gringo's.. even kidnappings, well personally that outweighs any financial benefit to me.

Of course International Living want to sell your their magazines and expensive workshops.. Funny they don't even mention the violent crime directed towards the white skinned.

Spain/Portugal apparently have much lower crime rates













Rubic

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #24 on: November 28, 2015, 06:31:40 PM »
Non-American chipping in here: based on my travels of the western US, I've been wondering why Wyoming doesn't pop up more often as a FIRE destination. Why?

Because it's too fucking cold!  :-)

I've rode my bike over Snowy Pass (in July!) and froze my butt off.

BigBangWeary

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #25 on: November 28, 2015, 11:51:06 PM »
I agree that publications like International Living, etc. will only show the positive, but be aware that a lot of people who move to these places have never stepped outside of the US, Canada etc. They may not be used to many of the things they experience, and go believing that it will be 100% wonderful all of the time.

My wife and I lived in a part of the world that regularly got slated in the media, but the truth is, things are local, and you often learn and adapt in ways that others just can't. It really depends on the person and your level of expectation. We had some of our happiest years in this place, and never once had any issues. But go online or ask your mother-in-law and it was apparently danger-city. Anyways, always go and see for yourself, and rent first. But honestly, the world is a big place with many options.

I would love to hear more from anyone who has spent time in Portugal. We have vacationed in the Algarve, but we were eyeballing Porto. I have lived overseas a long time so 'missing home' is not really a factor.

By the way, I would warn against eliminating places based on what you don't want. If you look at your current location, and you were not from there, could you honestly say you wouldn't have a long list of things that aren't perfect about the present location? I think we can always see the bad if we look for it.

My two cents.

dilinger

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #26 on: November 29, 2015, 01:56:37 AM »
Portugal was a wonderful place to visit (we spent 2 months there). Incredibly walkable, not too expensive, great organic produce everywhere, and the winter was nice and mild (I'm a former east-coaster currently living in the PNW; the winter there feels like PNW).  City streets had the standard European too-much-cobblestone-and-not-enough-trees feel.

Steer clear if you don't like christmas music. Holy cow, they go all out, with stores all blaring it into the streets, their airlines playing it during flights, etc.

I could easily see retiring there.

Ecuador is completely different.  I lived there for a number of years.  It's cheap, but poor.  Outside of the mountains, it's insanely hot (but I also have a low tolerance for heat).  It's not very walkable.  Beautiful beaches and good surfing, though.  If you want to retire somewhere cheap and live on an ocean paradise, Ecuador could work.  Though I hear Quito has built protected bike lanes, so maybe things are vastly different now on the walkability/bikability front!

If you want access to fancy (but inexpensive) cheeses and chocolate, walkable streets/parks, a decent public safety net, and cockroaches that are smaller than your hand, Portugal would be  a fine choice.

deborah

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #27 on: November 29, 2015, 02:35:21 AM »
In Australia we are often told that we are one of the highest Asthma places in the world, so I looked in Google for the worst asthma cities in the world. Unfortunately, there are a lot of US based artices only looking at US cities, but http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/background_briefings/international/233287.stm says that the worst countries in the world are Ireland, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Evidently Islamabad is the worst in the world - see http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-05-01/hayfever-sufferers-be-warned-avoid-all-costs-allergy-capital-world

Shane

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #28 on: November 29, 2015, 08:05:10 AM »
I would definitely visit somewhere before deciding to move. Whenever I see people raving about Thailand all I can think is really?  I was there in 1998.  Winter is 90's & high humidity.   Air & water very polluted. It is beautiful but are you kidding me.  It would be on my list of worst places to live.

Everyone's different.

Many people appear to like places with dry, desert-like climates. My wife and I prefer a little more green, lush, jungly-type places. Where we live now it rains around 150"/year, and generally we love it. There are several beautiful waterfalls with nice swimming holes within 5 minutes' walking distance from the back door of our house.

If I had to live in Thailand and was never allowed to leave, it might kinda suck after awhile, but we're really looking forward to going there to visit for a month, maybe even a year or two, some day soon. The food there is amazing and cheap, and it's just a whole completely different culture from where we live now. We love experiencing new cultures and learning new languages.

Friends of ours go to Thailand for around 2 months every winter. They usually rent a nice apartment in Bangkok on Airbnb, and just spend their time there exploring the markets, riding boats/ferries around, eating out in nice restaurants, meeting new people. To me, something like that sounds pretty appealing.

Shane

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #29 on: November 29, 2015, 08:34:02 AM »
Non-American chipping in here: based on my travels of the western US, I've been wondering why Wyoming doesn't pop up more often as a FIRE destination. Why?
- relatively nice weather, not a lot of rain (that would be a big plus for me)
- close to the Rockies and lots of other outdoor adventures
- most cities are flat and relatively small, so you can use your bike a lot
- essentially 0 taxes
- I would say LCOL: things were cheap there, much cheaper than in Colorado for example.

If I were looking for a place to retire in Wyoming, I'd probably start with Laramie. It has a university, which means that it also has places in which to get good coffee and craft beer (why those are not on your list beats me, really), a more diverse population and a bit more culture than other places, while still having a small-town feel. If Wikipedia is to be believed, Laramie has been voted one of the best places to retire to at some point: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laramie,_Wyoming

When I hear about Laramie, WY, the first thing that comes to my mind is the name Matthew Shepard. It may be different there, now, but I would be hesitant to move there especially if I were not white and not straight. My wife and I tend to prefer places that are a little less red than Wyoming. After all, it's where Chick Deney is from.

Of course, the mountains in Wyoming are world class, amazingly beautiful, and definitely worth a visit, but to live there, I'm not so sure we would feel comfortable. I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut. I might end up like Matt Sheperd, dead on the side of the road, if the people in Laramie found out I was a socialist.

For someone like you, @JJNL, coming from the Netherlands, which I always think of as one of the most liberal places on earth, Wyoming might be a bit of culture shock for you...

Exflyboy

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #30 on: November 29, 2015, 10:44:33 AM »
Like Shane I have the same issue. I grew up in the UK and considered my politics to be a little right of center. After a while in the US I find I am a raging Communist!

I too have a hard time not debating issues like a better way to do healthcare for example. This invariably leads to a verbal attack with helpful suggestions about going back to where I came from!

The US has some wonderful qualities but the polarized politics is really getting to me now.. Maybe it will settle down after the elections.

Exflyboy

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #31 on: November 29, 2015, 10:53:43 AM »
Portugal was a wonderful place to visit (we spent 2 months there). Incredibly walkable, not too expensive, great organic produce everywhere, and the winter was nice and mild (I'm a former east-coaster currently living in the PNW; the winter there feels like PNW).  City streets had the standard European too-much-cobblestone-and-not-enough-trees feel.

Steer clear if you don't like christmas music. Holy cow, they go all out, with stores all blaring it into the streets, their airlines playing it during flights, etc.

I could easily see retiring there.

Ecuador is completely different.  I lived there for a number of years.  It's cheap, but poor.  Outside of the mountains, it's insanely hot (but I also have a low tolerance for heat).  It's not very walkable.  Beautiful beaches and good surfing, though.  If you want to retire somewhere cheap and live on an ocean paradise, Ecuador could work.  Though I hear Quito has built protected bike lanes, so maybe things are vastly different now on the walkability/bikability front!

If you want access to fancy (but inexpensive) cheeses and chocolate, walkable streets/parks, a decent public safety net, and cockroaches that are smaller than your hand, Portugal would be  a fine choice.

Where in Portugal did you stay and how did you get on with language?

I have spent a few vacations in Spain which I like a lot, but /I don't speak Spanish, but I would learn some.

I have been in Brazil twice and Portuguese is apparently hard to learn.. although /I knew 12 words after a week..:)


hybrid

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #32 on: November 29, 2015, 05:03:10 PM »
We vacation in North Myrtle Beach and have talked to a lot of retirees there over the years. The COL is low for residents and unlike Florida you still get four seasons, but winter is blessedly brief while summer lasts longer.

If is humid though. Damned humid. That is the price you pay for more moderate summers.

BigBangWeary

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #33 on: November 29, 2015, 09:40:11 PM »
Thanks dilinger, that is helpful. The other concern we have is internet speed. As long-time expats we have found that using Skype/Facetime and other social media helps us stay close with family spread across the world. We also have a number of smaller business projects we want to keep running. From what I have gleaned, this would be better in Portugal compared to Ecuador/Panama (outside of the main cities).

We have young children, so that is also another consideration. Again, thanks for the input.

As for weather, yes, we all have our preferences. Having grown up in Canada (and visiting off and on in February for a number of years) I am pretty interested in a less-intense winter experience. I would at least like the option to exit stage right for a few months at a time ...

deborah

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #34 on: November 29, 2015, 09:56:56 PM »
I have just come back from a month and a half in Ecuador, and I used Skype everywhere except the Amazon where there was no internet. I did have trouble connecting at some places where there were lots of people trying to use the internet at once, but Skype certainly worked everywhere, and I was happy with it as an alternative to taking a phone.

In Quito on Sundays they close a number of the roads to cars and have them as bicycle zones - it makes a huge loop, that is used by a lot of people. I didn't see anyone on a bike during the week except for the bicycles that have an enormous bin on the front that are ubiquitous as carriers.

I met an American who had lived in a small town outside Cuenca for more than three years, and he was very happy where he was and won't be going back to the US. He said there are a lot of exPats in his town - for instance his street which is all new buildings is full of exPats. The area around Cuenca appears to have less petty theft than other parts of Ecuador, as the area is one of the richer parts of the country. As it is in the highlands, the temperatures are also good.

Seppia

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #35 on: November 29, 2015, 10:31:52 PM »
In the USA I would add somewhere in Utah if you are outdoorsy, or west coast Florida.
In Europe, I think Sicily would be a 2.0 version of Portugal: even better food (and that's hard, in Portugal you eat amazing), even lower cost of living (except for the touristy areas), clearly superior art and history to discover.
Sicily was influenced by the Greeks, the Romans and the Arabs, so the architecture is very unique.
Plus, you are on the Mediterranean and not on the Atlantic, which means you can comfortably swim for a much longer part of the year (April to late September at least).
Schools in Italy, especially till high school, are basically free and surprisingly decent.
For college, you'll have to send the kids to Rome or the north of the Country if you want them to receive good education though, and rents there are very punitive compared to the general cost of living.
In Rome and Milan rents are more or less equal to NYC's, adjusted for purchasing power.

(I am Italian from Lake Como, studied in Milan and lived in NYC for the last 5 years FYI)

dilinger

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #36 on: November 30, 2015, 01:09:20 AM »
Where in Portugal did you stay and how did you get on with language?

I have spent a few vacations in Spain which I like a lot, but /I don't speak Spanish, but I would learn some.

I have been in Brazil twice and Portuguese is apparently hard to learn.. although /I knew 12 words after a week..:)

I speak spanish, but latin american spanish.  I actually had more trouble understanding people in Spain (that lisp!) than Portuguese.   I also did some language tapes before the trip.  I rented a room from someone in Lisbon, close to the Avenida subway stop.


Thanks dilinger, that is helpful. The other concern we have is internet speed. As long-time expats we have found that using Skype/Facetime and other social media helps us stay close with family spread across the world. We also have a number of smaller business projects we want to keep running. From what I have gleaned, this would be better in Portugal compared to Ecuador/Panama (outside of the main cities).

Internet in Portugal was better than my internet at home in the US at the time (this was 5 or so years ago).  It's been too long since I last visited Ecuador to know what the internet is like now.

Seppia

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #37 on: November 30, 2015, 05:25:59 AM »

I speak spanish, but latin american spanish.  I actually had more trouble understanding people in Spain (that lisp!) than Portuguese.

Where are you from originally?
I'm bilingual in Spanish, learnt in Valencia (so Spanish Spanish), and except from a few words here and there I've never had any trouble understanding central and South American people.

KaizenSoze

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #38 on: November 30, 2015, 06:03:46 AM »
We have been focusing on college towns.

Pros:
More liberal. Usually more walking friendly. More social events. Good hospitals.

Cons:
More expensive.

Current list under consideration:
Blacksburg, VA
Fort Collins, CO
Burlington, VT
Winston-Salem, NC

If those are on your list, KaizenSoze, then you might also consider Asheville, NC, Nashville, TN, Chattanooga, TN, Davidson, NC (outside Charlotte). Those are all on my list and I seem to be looking for some of the same things you are.

Simplest way to describe what we are looking for:
College town. Cultural events.
More sunny days than the US average. 200 hundred days is average.
Not too dry, must have greenery. Wife suffers from dry skin.
Not a red state. NC is purple in my book right now. VA is bluish purple. TN is deep red. I'm sure there are some lovely crunchy areas though.
Not too harsh a winter. Snow is fine as long as there is enough sun. Burlington will probably taken off the list because of this.

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #39 on: November 30, 2015, 07:45:12 AM »
I don't know if it's the most mustachian of choices due to pretty low bikeability, but Ft. Myers, FL is neither cold nor dry, pretty sunny but incredibly humid, and has an airport. You've also got zero individual income taxes in the state, but possibly higher property/sales taxes. Houses under 200k are available, but pretty small.

JJNL

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #40 on: November 30, 2015, 10:31:44 AM »
Non-American chipping in here: based on my travels of the western US, I've been wondering why Wyoming doesn't pop up more often as a FIRE destination. Why?
- relatively nice weather, not a lot of rain (that would be a big plus for me)
- close to the Rockies and lots of other outdoor adventures
- most cities are flat and relatively small, so you can use your bike a lot
- essentially 0 taxes
- I would say LCOL: things were cheap there, much cheaper than in Colorado for example.

If I were looking for a place to retire in Wyoming, I'd probably start with Laramie. It has a university, which means that it also has places in which to get good coffee and craft beer (why those are not on your list beats me, really), a more diverse population and a bit more culture than other places, while still having a small-town feel. If Wikipedia is to be believed, Laramie has been voted one of the best places to retire to at some point: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laramie,_Wyoming

When I hear about Laramie, WY, the first thing that comes to my mind is the name Matthew Shepard. It may be different there, now, but I would be hesitant to move there especially if I were not white and not straight. My wife and I tend to prefer places that are a little less red than Wyoming. After all, it's where Chick Deney is from.

Of course, the mountains in Wyoming are world class, amazingly beautiful, and definitely worth a visit, but to live there, I'm not so sure we would feel comfortable. I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut. I might end up like Matt Sheperd, dead on the side of the road, if the people in Laramie found out I was a socialist.

For someone like you, @JJNL, coming from the Netherlands, which I always think of as one of the most liberal places on earth, Wyoming might be a bit of culture shock for you...

Well, like I said, I'm not an American and I only spent a few days in Laramie (and couple of weeks in Wyoming and surrounds in total), so I may be horribly wrong. But here's my 2 cents about this:

- Yes, Wyoming is a red state. I am not only Dutch, but also a social democrat - what you would call an actual socialist, not just a perceived one. And I have 2 sets of married gay uncles, while one half of each couple is active in a church (protestant and what we call Old-Catholic respectively). I have not kept this under wraps. Maybe I haven't spent enough time there, but I would say people in Wyoming are no more or less liberal than people in a lot of small towns in Colorado, or Montana, or inland Washington state for that matter. I've met rather a lot of people who didn't agree with me politically, but nobody has threatened violence. Of course, I've never had the delight of meeting a drunk Republican uncle for Thanksgiving dinner, but the prevailing attitude to me seemed to be more along the lines of 'live and let live'.
- I know about Matthew Shepard. However, that happened more than 15 years ago - and only once. Laramie has actually put some effort in preventing a reoccurrence, I understand. Also, there seem to be reasons to have some doubts about whether this was purely a hate crime or not - we may never know for sure, I reckon. And assuming it was a hate crime, I think it would be wrong to assume that this could not have happened anywhere else in the USA - I know attitudes are evolving, but I am willing to bet there are also more than enough gay-fearing bastards in towns like Fort Collins, CO. My opinion - which of course you may discount as I don't live in the US - is that Laramie was unlucky in this respect.
- Lastly: imho, what turned Colorado blue is an influx of liberals from elsewhere. This is already happening around Jackson Hole (WY). Why not the whole state, in due course?

About the culture shock: not especially - at least not unexpectedly so. Let's say the whole of the US is in some respects weird when viewed through Dutch eyes. Also, the Netherlands is not the 100% tolerant liberal paradise progressive Americans tend to think it is. Sadly, anti-gay violence also happens right around the corner from where I live in Amsterdam.

russianswinga

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #41 on: November 30, 2015, 10:51:30 AM »

SunshineAZ

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #42 on: November 30, 2015, 12:24:20 PM »
I lived in Portugal for 2 1/2 years, it is an amazing place.  The people are very friendly and the food and wine are awesome.  I had never lived outside of the US when I moved there and I had a wonderful time and, even now, I only speak a little Portuguese.  The younger Portuguese people all speak English and the radio stations play mostly English music, with a few Brazilian dance songs mixed in. 

I lived in a small town about 20 minutes from Lisbon called Cascais, that whole coastal area is a great place to live and you can get to most other European countries via a 2 hour flight.  If I could get another job assignment there, I would go back in a heartbeat. 

If you like the beach and golfing, the Algarve area is very nice, but can get crowded in the summer. 

Exflyboy

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #43 on: November 30, 2015, 06:22:14 PM »
I lived in Portugal for 2 1/2 years, it is an amazing place.  The people are very friendly and the food and wine are awesome.  I had never lived outside of the US when I moved there and I had a wonderful time and, even now, I only speak a little Portuguese.  The younger Portuguese people all speak English and the radio stations play mostly English music, with a few Brazilian dance songs mixed in. 

I lived in a small town about 20 minutes from Lisbon called Cascais, that whole coastal area is a great place to live and you can get to most other European countries via a 2 hour flight.  If I could get another job assignment there, I would go back in a heartbeat. 

If you like the beach and golfing, the Algarve area is very nice, but can get crowded in the summer.

Good to know Sunshine!.. I was looking at the UK again (I'm a UK expat) so if I intend to live in the UK I can get free access to the National Healthcare system. It looks like my US Wife could also get her citizenship in about 5 years.

The wait may or may not be worth it for free healthcare but it does open the door to the whole of Europe.

Spain and Portugal are of the most interest right now.

MgoSam

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #44 on: November 30, 2015, 06:57:13 PM »
Anyone live in Eugene or anywhere in Oregon? How has their winters been and how is the cost of living? I might not be working so income tax isn't something that concerns me right now.

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #45 on: November 30, 2015, 07:03:33 PM »
I live in Corvallis.

State income tax is 9%.. and from what I can gather there are no breaks as you go down in income like there is for Federal.

Winters are OK.. its below freezing right now and that doesn't happen very often.

Beautiful place if you like trees and don't suffer from allergies.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #46 on: November 30, 2015, 07:26:11 PM »
Anyone live in Eugene or anywhere in Oregon? How has their winters been and how is the cost of living? I might not be working so income tax isn't something that concerns me right now.

Yep. I lived many years in both Eugene and Corvallis. Feel free to ask specifics- I know both towns quite well.

Winters- traditionally, high-40s to mid-50s and drizzling is the norm- see the sunshine rarely from October-May, except for two incredible weeks of happy sun in February. The last ~3-4 years have been much colder and more clear, much more like central OR weather. Much less snow in the mountains as a result as well, which stinks for winter sports. This winter is shaping up oddly- a few episodes of heavy downpours, and right now, we're coldcoldcold. Not sure how it'll shake out, but at least it's more precipitation than we've had. Got to stay green!

COL- highest in Portland and Bend, lower elsewhere by and large. Eugene and Corvallis can both be pretty cheap to live in, although Corvallis has a tighter real estate market. If you're considering Eugene, don't rule out Springfield- it's on the up and up and is much more tax accommodating than Eugene, which has pretty high property taxes compared to a lot of other towns.

BigBangWeary

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #47 on: November 30, 2015, 11:36:21 PM »
russianswinga Montenegro has a lot going for it. We were just in Split and Dubrovnik and it felt like that entire region had a lot of untapped potential for those interested in ER.

Shane

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #48 on: December 01, 2015, 12:09:19 AM »
Non-American chipping in here: based on my travels of the western US, I've been wondering why Wyoming doesn't pop up more often as a FIRE destination. Why?
- relatively nice weather, not a lot of rain (that would be a big plus for me)
- close to the Rockies and lots of other outdoor adventures
- most cities are flat and relatively small, so you can use your bike a lot
- essentially 0 taxes
- I would say LCOL: things were cheap there, much cheaper than in Colorado for example.

If I were looking for a place to retire in Wyoming, I'd probably start with Laramie. It has a university, which means that it also has places in which to get good coffee and craft beer (why those are not on your list beats me, really), a more diverse population and a bit more culture than other places, while still having a small-town feel. If Wikipedia is to be believed, Laramie has been voted one of the best places to retire to at some point: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laramie,_Wyoming

When I hear about Laramie, WY, the first thing that comes to my mind is the name Matthew Shepard. It may be different there, now, but I would be hesitant to move there especially if I were not white and not straight. My wife and I tend to prefer places that are a little less red than Wyoming. After all, it's where Chick Deney is from.

Of course, the mountains in Wyoming are world class, amazingly beautiful, and definitely worth a visit, but to live there, I'm not so sure we would feel comfortable. I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut. I might end up like Matt Sheperd, dead on the side of the road, if the people in Laramie found out I was a socialist.

For someone like you, @JJNL, coming from the Netherlands, which I always think of as one of the most liberal places on earth, Wyoming might be a bit of culture shock for you...

Well, like I said, I'm not an American and I only spent a few days in Laramie (and couple of weeks in Wyoming and surrounds in total), so I may be horribly wrong. But here's my 2 cents about this:

- Yes, Wyoming is a red state. I am not only Dutch, but also a social democrat - what you would call an actual socialist, not just a perceived one. And I have 2 sets of married gay uncles, while one half of each couple is active in a church (protestant and what we call Old-Catholic respectively). I have not kept this under wraps. Maybe I haven't spent enough time there, but I would say people in Wyoming are no more or less liberal than people in a lot of small towns in Colorado, or Montana, or inland Washington state for that matter. I've met rather a lot of people who didn't agree with me politically, but nobody has threatened violence. Of course, I've never had the delight of meeting a drunk Republican uncle for Thanksgiving dinner, but the prevailing attitude to me seemed to be more along the lines of 'live and let live'.
- I know about Matthew Shepard. However, that happened more than 15 years ago - and only once. Laramie has actually put some effort in preventing a reoccurrence, I understand. Also, there seem to be reasons to have some doubts about whether this was purely a hate crime or not - we may never know for sure, I reckon. And assuming it was a hate crime, I think it would be wrong to assume that this could not have happened anywhere else in the USA - I know attitudes are evolving, but I am willing to bet there are also more than enough gay-fearing bastards in towns like Fort Collins, CO. My opinion - which of course you may discount as I don't live in the US - is that Laramie was unlucky in this respect.
- Lastly: imho, what turned Colorado blue is an influx of liberals from elsewhere. This is already happening around Jackson Hole (WY). Why not the whole state, in due course?

About the culture shock: not especially - at least not unexpectedly so. Let's say the whole of the US is in some respects weird when viewed through Dutch eyes. Also, the Netherlands is not the 100% tolerant liberal paradise progressive Americans tend to think it is. Sadly, anti-gay violence also happens right around the corner from where I live in Amsterdam.

You're right. Laramie is probably no more likely than any other place to have hate crimes. Unfortunately, the same thing could've happened in many other parts of the country and world, including probably Amsterdam, as well.

Our next door neighbor lived near Laramie for over 20 years, and he loved it there, and he was horrified and ashamed by what happened to Matthew Shepard. I'm not saying the people there are all bad, by any means. It's just that when I hear the name Laramie it reminds me of that negative thing that happened a long time ago and would make me think twice about living there.

As you said, though, places change and evolve over time, so Laramie may be fine now.

Pancake

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Re: Help me find a place to retire
« Reply #49 on: December 01, 2015, 12:34:14 AM »

The problem with the PNW is.. Allergies. This issue is not mentioned enough. This is the grass seed capital of the World, and if you suffer from allergies or asthma you can have a very hard time here.


Exflyboy, I also live in the PNW and in my mid 20s developed a major grass allergy. It got so bad it felt as though someone jammed two corks as far as they could up my nose for all of mid May-July. I was miserable. I used to wear a respirator mask to mow my lawn and I was getting sick constantly. Then I discovered tinospora cordifolia (guduchi) and spirulina and it was like a miracle. Check out the research:
http://examine.com/supplements/tinospora-cordifolia/
http://examine.com/supplements/Spirulina/

Guduchi alone was a lifesaver and you can order it very cheap directly from India on ebay from a reputable producer (Himalaya).  Spirulina tastes gross, but is very healthy. Anyway, something to maybe try as it keeps you off the hazy head allergy pills and they both come with great additional health benefits.