What does YOUR retirement community need to have? - Page 2
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  1. #16
    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    I'm hoping for more input, too. I know there are lots of questions I haven't even thought about yet, and that's where it helps to hear from people like ForHisGlory who have done it, and what they learned.

    We're in the early stages here, but have so far narrowed it to two states, Wyoming and South Dakota, and about six communities within those two states. There are some things we know we can't compromise on. We can't tolerate hot, humid weather, so that automatically eliminates anything in the southeast US. Even dry heat would make us crazy, so we're not wild about the desert southwest either.

    One town we're looking at would be perfect in many ways, but its location is on the plains in farm country. No scenery and not much wildlife. We've also lived there before and hated it. OTOH, it has good health care and is small enough to be easy to get around in, and real estate prices are favorable.

    We're very interested in Cody, Wyoming. We tried to move there in the 1970's but couldn't find work then. So we're trying to decide if it would meet our needs at retirement or not. We were there about two years ago and still loved it. But we're not sure about medical care there and that's a huge consideration. The scenery would certainly meet our standards, and there's no shortage of wildlife. OTOH, I'm not sure how I feel about living on the rim of a supervolcano that's past due to erupt. I don't really want my life to turn into a Jimmy Buffett song.
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjGHwGkFIFw]Jimmy Buffett - Volcano - YouTube[/ame]
    On the OTHER other hand, if Yellowstone ever does erupt, it's going to be a cataclysmic event with a massive global impact, so maybe we'd be better off to get it over with in the first day.

    So much to consider. We also need to find a way to figure out the real cost of living in a state with no income taxes. States have to get operating revenue, so where's it coming from? They will always find ways to get their hands in your pockets, so we're not entirely convinced it would be less expensive overall to live somewhere else, even if there's no state income tax. And then we need to figure out what other expenses might be higher than here. When it's all said and done, maybe it wouldn't save enough for us to move.

  2. #17
    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    Know you are already in a cold climate but be sure to 'somehow' check the utility factor........isn't like Wy is warm!! (too cold for me!)

    From my reading of Wy. it is pretty tax friendly but consider they don't have much population to 'support' with $........so as it grows, this increases. You could be lucky and 'retirees' won't flock there...........

    Have you ever considered the overseas living? I have, but that again is a tough choice and only a couple countries that I would consider........and getting in to them can sometimes be sticky depending on the money you can 'show'........

    Read this this AM.........and literally LAUGHED at how they 'sold it'...........the last page FINALLY mentions the crime and then very mildly........many things weren't mentioned, which is where you get caught up when reading about the $ you can live on!!

    World's top retirement havens - retiring overseas - MSN Money

    Am hoping for more posts..........nothing like actual EXPERIENCE as a learning tool.

  3. #18
    Registered User forHISglory's Avatar
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    As most of you know we are retired. Hubby retired in 2006 and I retired in 2007. We both kept on teaching part time (a couple of classes) until last spring. Now we are totally dependent on non-earned income.

    I would be very glad to answer any questions you might have about how we prepared, what we investigated, how we made the decisions that we did, and how we are doing. The more we share, the better it is. I wish more people had honestly shared with us before we retired.

    Thought of another factor in choosing a community: public transportation. I'm sure the time will come when I should not be driving anymore. Fortunately, our community has public bus service, and the bus goes right down our street. Of course, there is no guarantee that the service will still be there in the future. But if it is, it will be good to have transportation to the grocery store, drugstore, Walmart, hospital, etc.

    So ask away!
    Spiritual:
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    MY BLOG: glorybug.wordpress.com


    1. Keep on writing.
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    3. Lose weight. Hopefully 20# this year.
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  5. #19
    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Thanks, fHg. We lived on a bus route in Minneapolis, too. My mom and I took the bus once when she had a doc appointment at the U. NEVER AGAIN! Not without a platoon of Marines along, anyway. (Do Marines come in platoons?) You get the idea. But we've already considered transportation and know we need to be in an area that offers good taxi service. Also that we need to be where we can get to pretty much everything we need to get to using surface streets and not have to use freeways or other higher-risk routes. We would also like to be close enough to walk or bike to some of the destinations we would most likely be interested in, such as libraries. But that could get interesting since we'd also like to be in a quiet neighborhood.

    Wyoming has a low population but they have oil. The oil revenues help pay for a lot of the things Wyoming needs and helps keep expenses to citizens lower. State sales tax is also low at 4%.

    The only foreign country we would consider living in would be Canada, and their cost of living is high enough that a lot of them come here to shop, so that doesn't seem workable.

    I guess today, our first choice would be to stay where we are or else move into our current town. Second choice would be moving to Cody. It's been a dream for so long, and has always been in the back of our minds. Lots of research will have to be done, mostly about the health care situation there. Cody is very much like where we live now, a tourist town with busy summers that is probably quiet nine months of the year. All those tourist dollars help support services for the locals which in turn keeps costs down and services up for the local population. We're used to the summer craziness so I think we'd adjust to that okay, even though Cody is twice the size of here.

    Time will tell. In the meantime, we're going to start downsizing our possessions and getting rid of excess, so if the time comes to move, we'll be ready.

  6. #20
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    You know folks, there is a book out that is probably available at your local library, that rates cities in North America for quality of life. It's only cities. But it gives you a start in looking at this stuff. DH and I use it a lot when thinking about where to go next.

    I think we've basically decided on city living in retirement. Though DH once had a hankering for the rural snow belt in N.S. I talked him out of that...I hope. He has no idea how much work rural living is!

  7. #21
    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    It IS a lot of work.

    We've been looking at state rankings for retirement and also cities. A lot of the towns we're interested in are too small to be included, though. We know we aren't interested in living in a large city ever again. Once was more than enough. We're looking at three towns of about 50-60K and that's really pushing our comfort level.

  8. #22
    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Default In case I needed a reminder...

    Just so I don't forget we're going to have a hard time dealing with our current property when we're retirement age, I got a good reminder today.

    Nice fluffy GREASY snowfall. Ice under the snow. Steep hill. Van, not truck. Ugh.

    I should take a picture of the van sitting with the rear end against a raised flower bed, crossways across the top of the driveway, stuck. It can't go up or down at the moment. I could print it and file it with our retirement plans.

    I shoveled in front of all four wheels and poured on twenty pounds of ice melt. That won't get it up the hill, but I'm hoping it'll get it far enough that it'll actually turn so it can slide back down the driveway. Trying to steer was pointless once traction was gone on that greasy stuff. Brakes were useless, too.

    I bet next time I tell my husband I want to take the truck into town, he'll leave it home for me!

    We love our killer lake view, but the bad part of that is the hill we have to get up to get to that view. Still love it though.

    I can't imagine handling this kind of thing in twenty years. By then, maybe we'll be ready for a nice level property.

  9. #23
    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    THANKS fhg!!! Nothing better than someone that has "been there, done that" IMHO!!!

    If I knew what questions to ask..........I would. Have done quite a bit of research and now think it is just something I have to 'mull over' in my mind. (plus go back and check out some things that will still come up)


    Quote Originally Posted by peanut View Post
    You know folks, there is a book out that is probably available at your local library, that rates cities in North America for quality of life. It's only cities.
    Have read gobs of these on-line peanut, and the one issue I see with them is how they are rated according to what I think I will need...and unless they go into that in the article....well.......I do read all the ones that deal with the financial end of things....no matter what it is.......applies to me or not.......could still affect me in retirement.

    I think 1/2 of my decision is made..........I will stay here (but sell, and move to diff. area).........in the summer. So that just leaves where I will go when it gets cold.......probably only three to four months a year......just a sort of reprieve from the 'white stuff'!!! Don't need to escape it totally.

  10. #24
    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    I think all those ratings things have to be taken with a grain of salt, although I do think they're helpful if they stipulate what it is they're rating.

    Some look only at the income tax situation and don't take things into account like real estate taxes and other expenses.

    Some look at the weather and assume if you're a senior, you can't possibly be happy where there are four seasons. And yet they don't take into account ice storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other negative weather events that plague some southern states.

    Some look at things like the availability of retirement communities and ignore the idea that some seniors might want to live in a regular house in a regular community.

    Some look only at upscale retirement communities, not middle-class communities.

    I'm not sure what all the questions are we need to be asking, and that's why I started this thread. But I guess not many people have relocated after retirement. Or at least they're not sharing.

    FF, when my stepdad was still alive (1980's) he and my mom rented a twenty foot travel trailer in Arizona for a winter. It was permanently installed in a retirement park there. It was a relatively inexpensive way for them to try out the idea of wintering out there. They ended up buying a two-bedroom mobile home after that because they liked it, but if you didn't need anything that big, you could probably winter down there fairly reasonably by getting a small TT instead of a mobile home. Or you could be a nomad and equip a van or tow a small trailer and have the flexibility of being able to pick up and go if you got bored with one spot.

    A lot of people here leave after the holidays so they can spend those with their families, then come home around March 1 when the worst of winter is over. It's so common people buy a device called a Watchman that will turn on a lamp in a front window of their house if the temp in the house gets too low. When the neighbors see the lamp, they know to call the gas company, which has a key, to send a repair person to see why the house is too cold. Pretty neat system!

  11. #25
    Registered User forHISglory's Avatar
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    Our beautiful home in MO was in a rural, hilly area, and we slid many times up and down the hills. Fortunately, being teachers, we had snow days if the weather was too bad. But we knew that even if we stayed in MO, that we wanted to relocate into town. It will only get harder and harder to shovel snow and push vehicles. So now we're north, in Iowa. But since we live in town, we really don't worry about snow and ice. We still have our drive to clear, but we don't have to get out, and it's nice to just sit down by the fireplace!
    Spiritual:
    "You are fearfully and wonderfully made." Please... respect life.

    Financial:
    Debt free, hoping to stay that way!


    MY BLOG: glorybug.wordpress.com


    1. Keep on writing.
    2. Get some balance in my life.
    3. Lose weight. Hopefully 20# this year.
    4. Continue to be looking for how God wants to use me this year.


  12. #26
    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    That's what we're thinking, too.

    Our hill is very steep. It's impossible to get up it in winter, even on a good day, without AWD or 4WD. Which is another way we could cut expenses after retirement. If we didn't live here, we could get by with a FWD car instead of a truck and van. It's also very dangerous to try to walk up or especially, down our hill. Again, it doesn't need much snow before it's very slick.

  13. #27
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    Things I want to think about for retirement...

    ~ arts community...what is it composed of? Crafts and arts? Music?

    ~ nature...I want to be near it but not fighting it all the time. I'd like to be able to go birdwatching. Also out to get ideas for my arts/crafts. A naturalized park would do...with walking trails...lots of walking trails.

    ~ housing...I'd like a 3 bedroom bungalow in retirement for as long as I could handle it. Or maybe a mobile home. Some of the double wides are pretty nice now, and go for $150,000. A lot of dough, but they are built to last longer than they used to be, and that's still cheaper than a house the same size here. However, they depreciate in value. Leaving me with nothing for a old folks home should I need one. So a bungalow is still best.

    ~ opportunities for part time employment - irrelevant for me because I can't work due to stress related issues. For DH it is more relevant, and he has spoken of wanting this option if need be.

    ~ ability to park the car and not use it. We have this right now. If DH retired now we could do all our shopping on foot in our neighborhood. It would be more expensive, but cheaper than owning and running a car.

    ~ low taxes. Is this possible in Canada? Our tax rate will be the same in retirement as it is now. Only difference will be no paycheck deductions. And we'll have to put money aside to pay taxes.

    ~ favourable business climate, in case we want to start a business in retirement. We're in the right neighborhood for that.

    ~ walking distance to library, post office and bank. Not close to bank at the moment, but yes to the other two.

    ~ walking distance to coffee shop and restaurants. Check.

    ~ mild climate. Ah...no...this is the Canadian prairies. BUT we could do what everyone else does and fly south for January/February. Or...visit warmer parts of Canada, like the BC coast.

    ~ close to bus line. Yes. But we never use it because the bus drivers don't know how to drive and keep to a schedule. they almost upended me in the rush to get away from the curb one day...and I'm not a little old lady...yet.

    My goal will be to make a budget with taxi money in it. DH is used to taxis and I believe if you get one you like and talk to the driver and use them on a regular basis, you can get a discount. Still a drive across town one way is $12. I'm going to have to think about this. That's a lot to pay for a trip to the bigbox cheap grocery store! Would have to do a LOT of shopping to pay for that!

    ~ Indoor exercise options for winter - we have a city facility near us, but it costs $6 every time you go. Would have to make good use of it...and again...put it in the budget. OR make sure I have a good set of exercise DVDs to workout at home.

    ~ in a community with a hospital and airport. We have both.

    ~ medical - primary care facility. We supposedly have one. Actually the medical end of things is where this community falls apart. Not sure what to do. They have people on waiting lists to get into private care and public care homes. They simply don't have enough of them...period. The hospital is full of old folks who need to be in care homes. It's sad.

    Anyways, those are the things I'm thinking about so far. Any more ideas from you guys and gals?

  14. #28
    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Deer View Post

    FF, when my stepdad was still alive (1980's) he and my mom rented a twenty foot travel trailer in Arizona for a winter. It was permanently installed in a retirement park there. It was a relatively inexpensive way for them to try out the idea of wintering out there.
    SD--agree w/you on the articles but they always give me more ideas to investigate.

    I had planned on doing that this winter..........until the estate thing came up..........want to check out a couple cities. Right now I would only go for a month or two and hope that would give me an idea.

    Had even thought about buying a 5th wheel.......but not sure I could do the 'set up' on my own and don't want to depend on someone going along to help..........not real fond of the idea of motor home but........and if it comes to that, doubt that I would do it.

    SD...would love more info on this utility device and the light thing you were talking about..........sounds really neat. Do you know what it is called? I could ask my utility if they know of such a thing or use one.

  15. #29
    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Your list is very similar to ours. In our little town of 4,000, we have a lot of what's on your list, a vibrant arts community, nice low cost housing, lots of things in walking or biking distance, an endless supply of nature, plenty of walking trails, a gym, dance studio for workouts, and the opportunity to walk in the high school for exercise, hospital and two small international airports.

    Do you think moving would change anything with the waiting list there?

    We were talking tonight and decided we need to talk to someone at the clinic about the medical situation here. Our doc would be a good one to ask, since he's also an administrator there. I'm starting to wonder if we're over-thinking this whole medical thing. The situation may not be as much of an issue as we're thinking it is.

    If we would be able to be comfortable with the medical care available here, then we could probably find a way to resolve the tax issues by liquidating assets and cutting expenses in various ways. If we can solve that issue, we most likely won't leave Minnesota and won't leave this town. We know we'd rather stay here than live anywhere else if we possibly can. But we are tentatively planning to sell this place and move to town about the time my husband retires.

    As for workout videos, I really like my Wii even though I've been negligent in using it for a while. I bought a program called EA Sports Active which I enjoy and it provides a nice variety of workouts with various difficulty levels.

    The salt and shoveling did the trick and the van was able to go forward far enough that the back end got headed down the driveway so it could be backed down to the road. It finally made it up the hill and into the garage. That was a relief, because I don't know what else we could have done with it. Glad I thought to get out there with the salt. It was treacherous walking up and down the hill to deal with this. I can't imagine being my mom's age and dealing with the hill.

  16. #30
    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Yes, those articles give me ideas, too.

    The dealio that turns on a light is called a Watchman.
    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Honeywell-CW200A1032-Winter-Watchman/dp/B00099DG8A/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1330144543&sr=8-2"]Amazon.com: Honeywell CW200A1032 Winter Watchman: Home [email protected]@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/[email protected]@[email protected]@41vmJDpL4kL[/ame]

    I think Mom got hers from the gas company. She lives in a very small town. The cops look out for those lamps to come on, too. Gotta love small towns!

    We have a motorhome. We love our motorhome, but we wish we didn't have it anymore. MPG is about seven miles per. If there's a headwind, forget it. We use our pop up for any long trips. One way or another, you almost have to tow something, either a trailer behind a truck, or a car behind a moho. Otherwise, you have nothing to drive when you have your camp all set up and want to go sightseeing.

    If your needs are simple, you may be interested in a Chalet or Aliner. They are hardsided pop ups that set up in under one minute.
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqi7wOAxp4c]ALINER - The Original Pop-up Camper - YouTube[/ame]

    Very slick! Rockwood also makes a couple models now. You would easily be able to handle it alone and you can tow them with a minivan, so that maximizes you mpg, plus you're not bucking the wind. Believe me, that's a factor. We followed more than one TT and fiver across Montana a couple years ago, where the wind was pushing them all over the road. We had the truck and our pop up and the only thing being pushed around was the awning that blew up on top the trailer and stayed there across the entire state. We're hoping our retirement rig will be either one of these

    or one of these

    Everyone keeps telling us we'll end up with a thirty foot TT but I don't see it. We don't want to be towing a barn door into a headwind across the Dakotas, and we have many trips planned for the western US.

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