Author Topic: Where to relocate for younger retirement?  (Read 10269 times)

Grain

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Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« on: June 07, 2014, 11:07:13 PM »
My partner and I are in our 30s and are have saved enough from our jobs that we’re going to try out early retirement by living frugally in another city. We currently live in the bay area and want to move to a city with a lower cost of life and higher quality of life.

Attributes we are looking for in a new place:
  • decent amount of sun and warmth
  • no snow or harsh winters
  • bicycle friendly streets and drivers
  • access to good quality food (produce, meats)
  • access to beautiful outdoors (hiking, cycling, camping)
  • weather appropriate for backyard gardening
  • community / city vibe, so that we don’t feel too isolated
  • other people our age around (late 20s, early 30s)
  • low/no state income tax so that we can do consultation side jobs and economize
Some places we’re currently considering:
  • Reno-Sparks area, NV
  • Austin, TX
  • Vancouver, WA
  • Seattle area, WA
  • Possibly areas of Colorado…? (we don’t know much about it)
We’re curious to hear your suggestions and thoughts. Thank you.

windypig

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2014, 11:37:21 PM »
Consider Santa Fe, NM I think it qualifies in all regards to your list.

MDM

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2014, 11:50:02 PM »
You could try www.findyourspot.com, if you don't mind entering an e-mail address to get the results.

penguin456

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2014, 11:56:37 PM »
I would consider college towns ( preferably where the flagship university is) in southern states with fairly low tax burdens.

climber1

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2014, 12:10:46 AM »
Have you considered going internationally? For instance, there are plenty of great places in South and Central America where you could live on a much cheaper budget than any US city (or live a more extravagant lifestyle on the same budget). Obviously, there would be a language barrier that you would need to surmount, but if you are looking to make a big move, it shouldn't be a deal breaker.

Of course, this may not be a viable option depending on your line of work. However, given the freedom you are expressing in choice of location, it sounds like a pretty location independent career.

If you do choose to go internationally, one thing to consider in choosing a place is that South and Central America are in the same time zones as the US. Probably helpful for maintaining business relations with the US.

DollarBill

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2014, 01:21:15 AM »
This has been helpful for me. You can create map layers for the things that are important to you.
http://www.nationalatlas.gov/mapmaker
« Last Edit: June 08, 2014, 01:24:04 AM by DollarBill »

johnintaiwan

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2014, 03:13:06 AM »
Reno/sparks is very cool, I used to go there every year for a superbowl party. But is has pretty cold winters with a lot of snow.

MayDay

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2014, 05:39:29 AM »
I grew up in Norman.  There isn't a ton of outdoor stuff that holds much appeal.  And the summers are pretty miserable unless you plan to spend them in a pool.  BUT I am not a southern girl, culturally or thermally, so take my advice with a grain of salt!  Norman is better, culturally, than the rest of OK, but that isn't saying much. 

boarder42

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2014, 05:53:28 AM »
have you considered costa rica.  beautiful weather and climate.  we are going there next year to check it out and see if we could live there for 6 months of the year.  spend the other six in the mountain state area of america.  splitting time between a low COL foreign country and the states allows you to see more and lower your overall COL for the year

ch12

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2014, 06:01:24 AM »
Attributes we are looking for in a new place:
  • decent amount of sun and warmth
  • no snow or harsh winters
  • bicycle friendly streets and drivers
  • access to good quality food (produce, meats)
  • access to beautiful outdoors (hiking, cycling, camping)
  • weather appropriate for backyard gardening
  • community / city vibe, so that we don’t feel too isolated
  • other people our age around (late 20s, early 30s)
  • low/no state income tax so that we can do consultation side jobs and economize
Some places we’re currently considering:
  • Reno-Sparks area, NV
  • Austin, TX
  • Vancouver, WA
  • Seattle area, WA
  • Possibly areas of Colorado…? (we don’t know much about it)
We’re curious to hear your suggestions and thoughts. Thank you.

Your list is very close to my list. I'm currently trying to move to the Seattle area out of Madison, WI. Vancouver, WA would be great, too, except one of my closest buddies lives in Seattle.

If you're serious about no snow, then Colorado and Reno aren't good choices (although you can go some places in Colorado that I think don't have snow. Denver-Boulder will, though, and I imagine that's more where you're headed if you want the city vibe)

I've thought of moving to Austin, but the current influx of people has resulted in a number of problems. It is a cool place, but there's a tongue-in-cheek infographic on why not to move to Austin by someone who lives there.

Roots&Wings

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2014, 08:21:01 AM »
Do you have friends/family in any of the cities you are considering?  That can be a great way to check things out and get a better feel for the area (I was able to rule out Austin and Seattle for myself this way).

My early retirement plan is Florida as a home base and travel in summer (when it’s miserably hot/humid).  I have family in Florida though which makes a big difference for me. 

Villanelle

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2014, 08:29:10 AM »
Perhaps the Las Vegas/Summerlin area might be a good fit.  Low COL, no state income tax, beautiful nature for hiking (the Red Rock Canyon area), not isolated, generally no snow (though it can get below freezing a few days each winter, so technically you might get a sprinkle every once in a while), tons of interesting stuff to do nearby, big city amenities if you want them but without feeling like you are living in a big city.

My parents live there and I'm surprised at how much they are able to grow in their garden, given that it is dessert.  Not sure about bike-friendliness. 

hexdexorex

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2014, 08:35:08 AM »
From that list I prefer Seattle.
Vancouver WA seems to have the tax advantage (buying stuff in portland and living/working in Vancouver.) But I havent lived there.

Overall it might be about the culture/people of the city more than the cheapest place to live. I would think of which city in america fits you. As someone posted earlier college towns are a good consideration. I lived in Madison WI and liked the people/culture there ...but the weather wasnt to my liking :)

CarDude

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2014, 08:40:00 AM »
Anywhere in the Pacific northwest would get my vote.

zataks

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2014, 09:18:54 AM »
A little over a year ago I moved to the Bay area from the Reno, NV area. 
Some good things about Reno:
  • No state income tax-this is nice
  • Bay is only a couple hours drive or very brief flight away
  • All sorts of outdoor activities year-round.  However, in the winter, those activities need extra clothing
  • 300 or so days of sunshine every year
  • The revitalization of the downtown and river walk areas is very nice
  • The university situated at the north end of downtown adds a lot of youth to the mix
  • Compared to Bay, rent is dirt cheap; home prices are too!
  • Tahoe is 30-45 minutes away

And some things less desirable:
  • Gardening is limited to the late spring-early fall
  • Produce seems more expensive and is typically trucked in from farther away
  • Public transit is not great and not tons of cycle lanes but getting better.  But the city is small enough cycling is easy
  • Snow and cold.
  • Wages drastically lower than Bay but if you're FIRE, that shouldn't matter =)
  • I had trouble finding a large amount of late 20s/early 30s folks.  They're there but it's just a much smaller pool of people in general.

All in all there is much to love about Northern NV; I liked the area and still own a home 30 minutes from Reno.  But there's no surfing in Nevada and as a single professional in my late 20s, the scene was not for me. 

brewer12345

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2014, 09:33:13 AM »
Cross Colorado off your list.  Winters are far colder than you are used to dealing with (and we already have way too many Californians).

New Mexico?  South Carolina?

ch12

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2014, 09:44:08 AM »
From that list I prefer Seattle.
Vancouver WA seems to have the tax advantage (buying stuff in portland and living/working in Vancouver.) But I havent lived there.

Overall it might be about the culture/people of the city more than the cheapest place to live. I would think of which city in america fits you. As someone posted earlier college towns are a good consideration. I lived in Madison WI and liked the people/culture there ...but the weather wasnt to my liking :)

The people/culture are great. I just prefer not to pump my gas in the hottest part of the day at -3 F (-19.4 C).

Suit

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2014, 09:53:01 AM »
I live in Portland and just wanted to put in my two cents about Vancouver and Seattle, neither are known for sun and warmth in the winters (which usually means a chilly, drizzly and cloudy, with occasional snow, October-June).

Fuzz

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2014, 11:20:08 AM »
Take up skiing and move somewhere with a winter. Driggs, Idaho (ski pow at Targhee) is cheap. Also, Boise, Spokane, Tri-Cities would all be interesting plays. Not sure where you fall on your need for culture--it seems like you're only considering expensive cities, i.e. Seattle. Bellingham if you can stomach the rain is one option. Vancouver, Washington is close to Portland (no sales tax) but in Washington (no income tax). Cold and sunny is better than the PNW gray for a lot of folks. Wenatchee has a nice cultural atmosphere. I'd considering smaller towns in an area with a seasonal tourist draw to avoid the second-home price inflation. For example, Driggs, Idaho but not Jackson Hole.   

Jamesqf

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2014, 11:33:00 AM »
Re Reno/Sparks (and surrounding area) and cold winters, has anyone ever mentioned pogonip to you?  If not, see here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_fog - but don't believe what it says about "occurs very rarely".

There's also the Washoe Zephyr, occasional wildfires driven by it, floods if you live near the river...

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2014, 12:44:12 PM »
Only compared to the Bay Area and equivalent cities (NY, DC, etc.) would Seattle be considered a cheap place to move. Just consider that it's not all that cheap up here. According to this:

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/01/robert-wenzel/do-you-live-in-one

Seattle is the 7th most expensive city in the US. Vancouver, WA, from a cost of living standpoint, is a suburb of Portland.

I can speak to the general climate of the Maritime Washington from Bellingham to Vancouver WA.

Attributes we are looking for in a new place:
  • decent amount of sun and warmth
  • no snow or harsh winters
Maritime Washington has very mild, dry summers, with brief and unusual forays into the high 80s or above and overnight lows rarely above 65 even in the height of summer. Winters are cloudy, grey and damp. The reputation is that it rains a lot in Seattle. This is only half true. We don't actually get a shocking amount of precipitation, but we tend to get drizzle every day for weeks at a time from about October to March. Inland from the water and as you move into the Cascade foothills you will see higher highs and lower lows. Compared to the Bay area (where my husband grew up), you'll get less morning fog and you'll get cooler evenings in the summer. Spring will last a bit longer, summer will come later, winters will be colder. But generally the climate is very similar - mild, maritime and moderated by large bodies of water. Climate and tech opportunities explain why so many bay area folks come up here, I think.
  • bicycle friendly streets and drivers
- generally, yes. Portland (your "big city" from Vancouver) is certainly one of the most bike friendly towns in the US. Seattle itself is good from a driver standpoint, but like SF the city itself is quite hilly in areas. There are many major bike paths in Seattle and an active community of cyclists that advocate for bike path and bike lane improvements.
  • access to good quality food (produce, meats)
- Absolutely. I think you'd find an equivalent to the Bay Area here, though SF itself probably has more world class restaurants. I dare say Seattle is one of the better foodie towns in the country right now, though, with excellent homegrown restaurateurs and a consistent focus on "local, sustainable, organic" type buzzwords. Seattle is a major fishing port so we get great seafood, Pac NW local and artisan suppliers of cheese, wine, microbrew, etc. are world-class, and Washington state boasts a native agricultural industry that is diverse and excellent and probably somewhat less mega-corp than what you might see in Central California. Many in Western WA think Starbucks and Microsoft and Boeing are our major industries here, but Washington state as a whole is one of the leading agricultural regions in the country. Our farmers basically kick ass. :)
  • access to beautiful outdoors (hiking, cycling, camping)
- yes. 90 minutes to the coast, 90 minutes to skiing, as locals like to say.
  • weather appropriate for backyard gardening
- yes. Ask me anything about Maritime Washington gardening. It's what I live for.
  • community / city vibe, so that we don’t feel too isolated
- yes, but Vancouver and Seattle have very different vibes. Vancouver isn't a city from a "feel" standpoint, Seattle is (albeit a small one). The "Seattle Freeze" is a phenomenon you might look at before moving up here. I don't know that it's real, but then I've lived here nearly my whole life and am an introvert, so it's not a problem that would target me. But many people who move here seem to complain the Seattleites just aren't very open, friendly or welcoming compared to other parts of the country, and that it's hard to make friends. YMMV.
  • other people our age around (late 20s, early 30s)
- yes. In fact when I go into the city (Seattle) from my nice suburb I'm shocked at how young everyone seems. I think this is because I am now old (I'm 35 with two kids). Vancouver you'll probably have a slightly older more settled feeling, but I might be wrong.
  • low/no state income tax so that we can do consultation side jobs and economize
- yes. Washington has no personal income tax and Washington State voters consistently keep it that way. Sales tax in Washington is 6.5% plus whatever the city and county adds. That means in Seattle it's 9.5% while Vancouver WA is 8.4% (I think! these numbers change). The small business climate in Washington isn't great because of how small businesses are taxed but Washington state makes it SUPER easy to start a small sole proprietorship, Corp, or LLC. Filing state business taxes, etc. is all online. In fact, in general the mentality in urban Western Washington is that if something can't be done online it does not exist. Probably the Bay Area is the same.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2014, 12:46:58 PM by Erica/NWEdible »

CanuckExpat

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2014, 11:20:21 AM »
Grain, I was curious if you ever checked out these locations or made a decisions. Your list of attributes looks surprisingly similar to our own, and there is some great cities and discussion on this tread. Did you pull the trigger?

forummm

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2014, 11:20:43 AM »
State income tax rates are really not that big an issue for retirees who want some side income. Even in "high tax" states like CA, the rate for lower income folks is 1/3 or 1/4 of the rate for the top brackets--and even lower once deductions and exemptions are factored in. And the "high tax" states are really not that much different from many other states when you factor in property and sales taxes. They get the revenue somehow. The exception would be AK where they have a small population and huge oil revenue.

For example, in CA you might pay a 1-3% for income tax (after deductions, etc) for small income, and only 1 percent or less for property tax (1% is the legal cap--if you've had your property a long time, it can be as low as 0.1%). In GA low income earners pay a 6% income tax, and property taxes are around 2-4%. NH has no income tax but something like 5% property tax. The money comes from you one way or another. If you're going to be a low-earner, the property tax could easily be the bigger bill.

Sid Hoffman

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2014, 11:47:55 AM »
Anywhere in the Pacific northwest would get my vote.

Yeah I have an aunt that lived in Salem, Oregon for a while.  It's a real city, but smaller and less crazy-busy than Portland, but close enough to Portland that you can hitch a ride or drive up there to the airport if you need to do major travel.  It gets 4 real seasons and is an overall nice place to be.  You can choose between living in the more hip and thriving downtown area, or head out to the outskirts so that you're still near town, but with lower costs for large open spaces and more quiet.

Pretty much everything above that was said about Vancouver, Washington applies to Salem, Oregon albeit with the exception of different taxation and of course distance from ocean & Portland.  Vancouver, WA is way closer to Portland, but I would say Salem, especially west Salem, gets you a good deal closer to the ocean.  With Vancouver, you need to cross the bridge (nightmare traffic!!) and go through Portland before you can even be on the highway to head towards somewhere like Seaside.  Maybe you'll get there in 1.5 hours, but plan on more like 2.  If there's a wreck on the bridge, forget about, just stay home.  From Salem, it's 60 minutes to Lincoln City and you have no major choke points to get to the ocean.

As for taxation, the two states complement each other, but in different ways.  Honestly, I think Washington is better for workers but Oregon is better for retirees.  Washington has no state income tax, but high sales taxes.  Oregon has modest property and income taxes, but no sales tax.  If you're retired or working with low income from that consulting business, you'll be in a very low income tax bracket, so you'll still pay very little in income taxes.  Meanwhile you'll have that investment money that you are still spending at a level equal to or above your ordinary income level.  That's where the "no sales tax" part in Oregon is awesome, hence why I say that Oregon could be more appropriate for retirees, since you generally have very low income, but still spend money locally.

magnuminator

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2014, 01:06:30 PM »
Seattle is pretty, has good access to outdoor activities (note that the trails are increasingly crowded on weekends, though), and has gray but mild winters.  It's probably a better place to avoid the heat than to soak up the sun, but the summers can be wonderful.  UW is a big force in the city. 

On the other hand, while the is a fairly large cycling community, the drivers and cyclists don't get along very well.  I mostly walk and don't think much of the skill or behavior or either group.  In my opinion (to be taken with a grain of salt as I am a grumpy native of the city) this place has less and less character by the day as more buildings get torn down and old businesses are replaced by newer, more trendy places.  "General stores" with very specific product lines, bars and restaurants named after the things they've replaced, you get the idea. 

Moving from the Bay Area, Seattle may seem cheap.  By national standards it is certainly not inexpensive.  It's only going to get more expensive as the money and people keep rolling in.

So...pros and cons.  I'd suggest Everett or Tacoma as more liveable alternatives if you want to move to the region and are okay with living near instead of inside the regional hub.  Or Reno, though I don't have a lot of input on that place.  It just seems like it might be nice.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2014, 01:29:39 PM by magnuminator »

iamadummy

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2014, 01:32:18 PM »
Reno/Sparks is great choice.  Reno is really trying to revitalize downtown/mid town are so lots of cool bars, breweries, restaurants, etc.
Even when it does snow, it's usually just a few inches and melts later in the day.

The Architect

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #26 on: October 20, 2014, 03:22:27 PM »
Only compared to the Bay Area and equivalent cities (NY, DC, etc.) would Seattle be considered a cheap place to move. Just consider that it's not all that cheap up here. ...

But many of the suburbs of Seattle are reasonably priced places to live. Maybe check out Pierce county (Tacoma) or Olympia (The Capital) instead of King county (Where Seattle is). Usually better weather than Seattle, way cheaper. Tacoma has a train station you can use to get to Seattle pretty reliably so you don't need to fight traffic (which is pretty bad and apparently getting worse).

Western WA has a nasty depressing winter for those not accustomed though - we had rain for a whole month straight a few years ago.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #27 on: October 20, 2014, 08:29:55 PM »
What about Pensacola, FL? I live in south florida and 3-4 months are too hot. However, I think northern Florida is more mild throughout the entire year.

retired?

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #28 on: October 20, 2014, 08:40:23 PM »
Florida and Texas. 

You might want to keep a place in the NW b/c it is so scenic and lots of outdoorsy sheee to do.  My goal would be one place in FL (main residence.....no state income tax, low....as in lower than TX prop taxes) and one in the NW, which would not be the main residence since the income tax is ridonculous.


clarkfan1979

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Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Reply #29 on: October 21, 2014, 06:24:26 PM »
I agree with retired? My plan is to keep the main house in Florida and live in Colorado during the summer.