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How do you choose a place to retire? I've already made 1 mistake and don't want to make another.

 
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nyadrn, Bluffton is a small town with a small town attitude.  It actually isn't very small except for the actual town.  It is 9 miles to Hilton Head and many of the larger companies that along 278 consider themselves part of Hilton Head.  278 is the only way to get on the island.

 

Bluffton is about 30 minutes from Bluffton and has anything you want including a large airport.  We live in a small development with only 70 building plats and is gated.  There is a market every Thursday and you can't imagine something you would want that isn't there.  There is all kinds of fresh seafood available off the boats and all kinds of restaurants.  Believe it or not there is a Mexican restaurant that rivals those in San Antonio.  There are 2 Tanger Outlets but not in the town of Bluffton, more toward the island.  If you golf, there are hundreds of golf courses.  Tons of fishing places and boat docks.

 

The weather is great.  Right now we have a High that just won't move so we are having highs in the upper 90s but that is about 15 degrees above normal.  I remember last summer when we moved here and it was in the mid to upper 80s I though oh boy I can do this.  Winter was wonderful.  A couple days of cold weather.  No freezing.

 

I guess what I'm saying is it is perfect for us.

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Ooops, Bluffton is about 30 minutes from Savannah.

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Than you so much for all of the info. I am glad you found the perfect place for you.
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i had to retire early because of medical reasons and i never really gave much thought to moving away from my children and grandchildren but because of my costs of retirement i have been seriously thinking about it. I have heard many citizens of the US are moving to other countries in retirement because of the cost here.

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To me, there are some factors that are a ""absolute must"" when deciding where you want to live after you retire:

a. Confirm what your monthly income will be. Since all future financial planning should be based on that amount of money, rather than any money salted away. This would be at a minimum your monthly retirement check, plus Social Security at 70 if you can wait.

b. Assess the positives of where you are living when you retire. Items such as -- (a) Is the yearly weather something you and family enjoy? (b) Do you own or are buying your current home? (c) What are to prices for homes in any area you are considering, whether it is in state or in another state? (d) What would the maximum estmated cost of moving be? (e) What are any/all medical issues within your immediate family that must be considered?  (f) What would be the traveling factors to visit family not residing in your current area and your proposed new retirement living area?(g) If a decision is to move to another location either in state or to another State, what can I expect as costs to seel my home and how much money would be available to me after sale.

There are probably other questions that must be answered, but the above should enable anyone to get a decent handle on the issues that are involved when preparing to retire.

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All good questions to consider.  I would only add...  What are income taxes where you are and where you are going?  Do they have homestead and "senior" deferments?  Are there HOA fees?  Is there a Del Webb community close by?  What is your Medicare costs going to be and are you going to pay a penalty for income?  It isn't expensive to talk to a financial person to get a good view of what you income and expenses are going to be.

 

We did not consider family in our decision.  We DID consider climate and expenses.  Neither of us wanted a cold environment but we also didn't want a hot climate, moving from Texas.  We chose coastal South Carolina.  My Sister lives in Indianapolis, my Son lives in Alaska, my wife's Brothers live in Nothern Vermot and Southern New Hampshire.  So family was not an option.

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Periodic Contributor

As already stated, know what you want and do your homework.

 

Also, if you can afford it, a lot of the downsides of a location can be overcome by having two homes in retirement.  I live in NY for most of the year, but spend most of the winter in FL.  This works out pretty well for me, but in addition to the extra cost, there is the effort required to travel back and forth.

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srbatty,

 

Where do you stay in Florida?  A retirement community?  What city?

 

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My home in FL is in the Naples area, in a country-club golf course community.

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I have lived in Florida for nearly 40-years. But I would prefer not to retire here. As much as people talk about retiring here, you have to consider the overcrowded cities, heat & humidity, six months of hurricane season, every insect known to mankind, etc. I am researching the western US as well as a few other southern states.Will all depend upon cost of living, medical and, to a lesser degree, weather.
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I want to make sure the area has a good, large medical facility that accepts my insurance and Medicare.

I want to be near the child, niece or friend etc. that will assist me if I should need a ride to get a procedure done or pick up meds or just be there during a procedure so I'm not alone.  Support is important to me if I need it.

I want a lower traffic area but close to the expressways to get to all my friends and family when I want to go.

I want to be reasonably close to the grandchildren so I can be a part of their lives... seeing there games, attending graduations etc.

I want shopping reasonably close to where I live... My uncle had to go an hour away for groceries.

I want an area that has an older population.... some cities are known as great places for young families to live... I want one that is for the older population.

 

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No-I didn't move to Florida. I moved to Austin, Texas. All my research pointed to Austin being the right place-good job market, good weather, lots to do. It is a nice place-if you are under 40. I can't see being here forever and am starting to think about my next fpdestination.
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@faye1 wrote:
No-I didn't move to Florida. I moved to Austin, Texas. All my research pointed to Austin being the right place-good job market, good weather, lots to do. It is a nice place-if you are under 40. I can't see being here forever and am starting to think about my next fpdestination.

I'm native to central Texas, and lived in the city for about 30 years, so I can understand why this is probably not the place for you. There used to be a common expression: Welcome to Austin Taxes and road construction!

Because of the job market (mostly geared to younger tech savvy types or medical fields) many people move here everyday. Home prices have escalated, good rental property is expensive, and property taxes are high; state sales tax is 8.5% though no state income tax. Traffic is horrendous most of the day, not just at rush hour.

If cost of living is not a problem, then yes, entertainment abounds, many great parks, the lakes, great restaurants, museums, and lots of places to shop. Austin and the area have many good medical facilities.

All that said, we plan to move when my husband retires, but have not decided on a destination. On my list are - reasonable cost of living (taxes, utilities), convenient medical facilities, smaller town without traffic hassles, warm/moderate climate, and a good parish church. 

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@faye1 wrote:
No-I didn't move to Florida. I moved to Austin, Texas. All my research pointed to Austin being the right place-good job market, good weather, lots to do. It is a nice place-if you are under 40. I can't see being here forever and am starting to think about my next fpdestination.

     DW and I have good friends in Austin, so we're familiar with area. If you feel you made a mistake, you really need to try to spend some time in an area you're interested in. You did 'research', but did you really take a hard look at the town or just stats? You do realize (?) that crime rates in Austin are very high compared to U.S. stats. High ratio of sex offenders too. Lots to do? Depends on your definition. It's too dang hot for me to do much. It gets into the 90's in March, something you have already found out. Anyway, we all have our own ideas of a good place to live. Again, try to spend some time before moving. Take some weeks --- go to local library and find out everything you can about the area. Travel around the area. Walk neighborhoods. Take a look at what you think constitutes 'lots to do'. Think of all 4 seasons.  Social clubs of interest to you? Local papers give you a lot of info on social activities.


"...Why is everyone a victim? Take personal responsibility for your life..."
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"All my research pointed to Austin being the right place-good job market, good weather, lots to do. ....."

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Okay,  I'll bite,  faye.  

 

If you are looking for a retirement destination why would the local "job market" enter into consideration?   

 

Did you mean instead the general health of the local economy?  The job market would be a component of that piece,  but I would look for population growth as a better barometer of the economy.   If an area is flat,  or losing population,  that would be an indicator there are no jobs,  and people are moving away to find work. 

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Too broad a question. You would have to state what factors are of most interest to you (health care availability, universities nearby,  types of services/shopping you want, public trans, senior center, activities you want to participate in, crime rates, cost of living, how large/small a town you want, what you can afford, do you need to live by relatives, what kind of demographics do you want (age, education, religious affiliation, income), etc.).

 

   What was the 'mistake'?  

 

   Asking these questions answers yours. You have to determine what is important to you, then you can start researching areas.


"...Why is everyone a victim? Take personal responsibility for your life..."
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Pretty good list there,  ret- trav,  but you left out 1 Big One:    Climate. 

 

That should certainly be high up in the Top Ten List.  

 

Maybe the OP's mistake was she moved to Florida.  (?)   Then discovered Florida living is unbearable in the summer.   

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Climate isn't that important to me....

 

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"...Maybe the OP's mistake was she moved to Florida.  (?)   Then discovered Florida living is unbearable in the summer.....".
   Yeah. Did leave that off. But, I'm stuck here in the midwest as all the relations live here, so all of the factors are moot.
   I never did get that Florida thing. I'm not even particularly interested in visiting Florida. I probably will never get down there. But, we all have our own interests.  
    

"...Why is everyone a victim? Take personal responsibility for your life..."
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It's warm and a cheap place to retire.  You get more bang for your buck!

BENCH.jpg

 

 

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It's warm and a cheap place .....

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Simplegal,  not sure what you mean by a "cheap" place. 

 

Maybe for people who rent,  but for anyone who wishes to own their own home the H.O. insurance is sky high (if you can get it at all,  many companies have pulled out and you have to go to the state-run "risk pool". 

 

Even if you don't live in one of the hurricane-prone areas the enormous payouts the companies make every time a big one comes thru have to spread out among ALL the policy-holders in the state,  regardless of where they live.    We had a lively thread going on bogleheads on that very topic  not long ago.

 

Also,  have you checked rates for Medigap plans in the Sunshine State?  Some of the highest in the U.S.,  almost as bad as NY. 

 

And , even with no state income tax,  the combo of state and local sales taxes can make it as high as 7.5% in some Florida cities.   One reason Kiplinger's does not put Florida on its list of Top 10 tax-friendly states for retirees. 

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