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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We've been giving this a lot of thought lately, even though we have a few years to go before retirement.

For us, a new community has to be large enough to provide all the services we need without us having to drive very far to reach them, while at the same time, it has to be small enough for us to be comfortable and feel safe, not only with crime, but also with other things like traffic.

Access to full service medical care is at the top of the list.

The tax situation in a given state is a huge consideration too.

Real estate prices will be an important factor for us to consider. If we sold our current place, we would want to be able to liquidate some of our assets by buying back a less expensive, but still nice, place to live.

Weather is a big factor. For that reason, we wouldn't want to retire to anywhere in the southern US. By the same token, anywhere in the northern tier would have to provide winter road maintenance on a par with Minnesota's.

We would want to be someplace where there is beautiful scenery and lots of wildlife, just like what we have here.

Someone else mentioned moving to a town where there was a doctor shortage. I'm added that excellent bit of information to the list we're developing as we move towards retirement and consider whether to move elsewhere or stay put.

So what's on your retirement wish list?
 

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a pool, a hot tub, a bar, and hot cabana boys ...... oh you mean in reality ??

will most likely stay in our house with room for grandkids to come vs ( i better get some eventually ) we are in a bungalow style home with an 2 story addition so could live on just one floor if needed -
 

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A lively arts scene for me. DH would like to garden, do woodworking, and family history...so I guess someplace south of the Arctic Circle will do. ;)

The biggest problem we have in Canada is that the places with all the services are larger cities, and they have terrible traffic, which is awful for elderly drivers. We currently live in a medium sized city and there are issues here with health care. Don't even try to get service at the local hospital with the good equipment... Sorry to say, but I know too many who have died from the ineptness of the staff...such as sending someone home from ER who went into septic shock a few hours later and died. I mean really?! The guy can't stand hardly because of pain and you're sending him home???

I am definitely planning a move in retirement. If it was left up to me it would be to a large city apartment near a large hospital complex, AND I am planning to give up the car, so I am not a danger on the road. I watched my mother be a danger to everyone on the road for years. It was nerve wracking being a front seat passenger with her. And is with DH to this day!

As you can tell, I have strong feelings about retirement. :blush:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
We're looking at cities between 25K-50K, in that neighborhood. Probably out west. We used to live in a city in South Dakota. It's a good location but has nothing for scenery and after living where we are now, we would miss that terribly.

We're just wondering what questions we need to put on our list.

We have good medical care here with knowledgeable staff and caring doctors and nurses, but it's a small hospital with a satellite clinic. For any big medical problems, we would need to go to the main hospital/clinic 110 miles away. Not good as we get older. I'm going to add a note to ask about doctor shortages to our list of questions to ask as we do more research.

We want to go where we can garden, too, but we're not very good at it so if that doesn't work out, we'd be able to compromise on that idea.
 

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I think the finances of a community is just as important as your own. For example: our community, although we kept our head above water since 08, had to cut some services. Ambulance service has been combined with other communities. State/county police patrols are at bare minimum.
 

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Well, I'm the one who lives in a community with a doctor shortage. We thought we had researched everything, but it never dawned on us to check the doctors available. We also were limited on doctors that were part of our insurance, and unfortunately, we are tied down to our insurance plan until we get on Medicare. It's really been a hassle to be in a small city with a nice big hospital, but not be able to see a doctor because they have too large of a case load. And we don't have specialists, which means we drive for 6 hours to a specialist (and that costs MONEY!).

But we wanted to live in the midwest, close to family. We wanted to live in a town with a college, which would give us a chance to teach part time, and also have a cultural program. We wanted a city with lots of parks, walking trails, and so forth. We wanted a city with a strong foundation of religion. However, where we moved is a very unchurched town, with over 90% having no church home. Yet there are 80 churches in the town. Go figure.....

We wanted a strong and robust community economically, with a strong family structure. But we find ourselves in a community that has shrunk since the 1980s, with many businesses pulling out. We live in a town that has the highest drop out rate for high schoolers, the highest unemployment rate, and one of the highest domestic abuse and divorce rates.

So...... we had to make a lot of compromises. We are here because this is where my family is, and we are needed to care for my aging parents. That is the number one reason for our move here. There is a wonderful college here which immediately offered Hubby and I jobs, and they have wonderful cultural programs for the public. No disappointments there. We have found a church that is vibrant and has a belief base that we ascribe to. There are wonderful parks here. But we do miss some of the shopping/restaurants/etc. that we were used to. And we fear for the community as a whole with the big problems. It's as if the community in many ways has given up hope.

There are so many factors in choosing a place to retire. It's rather overwhelming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That's the conclusion we're coming to as well. We know we'll have to compromise, and the biggest compromise, if we do decide to relocate, is going to be the relocation itself. It would be a lot easier if we didn't like where we live, but we love it here.
 

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That's the conclusion we're coming to as well. We know we'll have to compromise, and the biggest compromise, if we do decide to relocate, is going to be the relocation itself. It would be a lot easier if we didn't like where we live, but we love it here.
So did we. Our home in MO was perfect, and our community was awesome. It was a bit of culture shock to move. But we know that we made the right decision based on our priorities of being near family. We've talked about moving back after my parents pass on, but at our age, moving is hard. And moving is expensive. We have learned to love our new home and many things about our new community. We simply determined that we would look for the good, and try to change whatever bad we can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That's the key right there. We've already started making a conscious effort to change our attitude about moving, even if it's just going to be moving into town so we don't become road hazards and because I think the maintenance on this place will become too much for us as we age. We don't want to become people who are so stubborn and set in our ways that the concept of change is something we can't accept, even if that's the best decision for our health and safety. We want to be able to move and be happy wherever we are, and so much of that is up to us and how we approach things.

I have a counted cross stitch pattern that says "Grow where you're planted." I think I need to dig that out and make it up. It would be a good visual reminder of the need to keep an open mind about a potential move.
 

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We live in an area where there is a doctor shortage. We drive into Portland for doctors/hospitals and to Hillsboro for my chiro.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I don't know that we have a doctor shortage here, but I do know our doc is taking on fewer and fewer patients as he gets more involved with administration. He's the most popular doc at our clinic so I hope we don't have to give him up any time soon. He's very skilled and well respected.
 

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OldMan and I have discussed this (oh, ya, I forgot to mention, I became "of the third age" last month) and ...

he wants -- the country dream... lots of land, place to fish, etc.
I want -- to be in an area with paved roads, fully staffed police/fire/ambulance and within "heart attack" distance of a hospital.

So, the search continues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
IMO, if someone waits till retirement to have a home in a remote place, they've waited too long. Health problems are almost a given once a person reaches a certain age, and it gets harder to take care of a country place, too.

It's hard to think in those terms but it seems prudent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I've been doing more research and am starting to think maybe we're looking at this the wrong way, or at least we should be able to consider a different approach that would allow us to in our present area.

The places we're most interested in moving to have some real problems in their infrastructures, such as availability of water. (We live in lake country, and I can't imagine water becoming a huge issue.) The towns we're interested in also have all had problems with flooding. (If it flooded here, the whole world better be building arks.)

I'm also thinking a lot about our health care. Minnesota has world-class health care. People come from across the globe to be seen at Rochester Mayo. Our local clinic system is affiliated with Mayo, so that's a huge resource our local doctors can tap into. Our local hospital has also been adding new services the past few years, such as doing some surgeries. Specialists fly in to the local clinic/hospital on a routine basis to see patients, perform surgeries, and do tests. The main clinic is about to acquire a good-sized hospital fifty miles away, which will make things easier because I'm sure some services only available now at the main hospital 110 miles away would become available closer to home. And I'm sure technology will continue to advance and make use of computers and other tools to help with treatment at the satellite clinics. In ten years, our little local hospital/clinic could become and probably will become much more able to handle more complex health care locally. In the past five years, they have built a new and much improved clinic and also built a new nearby assisted living facility, so it seems obvious they're willing to expand services right here in town.

It's going to be interesting to see how medical care here does change over the next decade.

That still leaves the tax burden of Minnesota's high taxes. However, we have to consider quality of life here vs. somewhere with lower taxes. Our taxes are among the highest in the nation, but so is our quality of life. You get what you pay for. We know how to live frugally, and overall we have a low cost of living here, too, which helps offset the high tax rate.

So I think we need a multi-pronged approach to retirement planning. We need at least three plans. One for staying here, on this property. One for moving, but staying in the same area. And one for moving out of state.

Good thing I love research!
 

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Good post and I will be watching this one.......

Hope we hear from some of the members that have made a move........and how they decided......and how it turned out.

I have been "searching" and checking and you name it and I can't even come up with a CITY I can settle on.....for a multitude of reasons. But some states have scared me away due to taxes.

I had hoped to find a 55 plus park where you aren't on your
neighbors doorstep..........

My thought was to have "probably" a manuf. home here and one south.........can't find one here that I like.

I don't really have a firm list.........and the more I look, the more I adjust any list that I started with!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
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.
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.
 

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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...........:tay:

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.
 

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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!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
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.
 

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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!
 
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