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Where Would You Move to After Retirement?

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Where would you move to after retirement?Thanks goodness the weather is improving in Portland and the rest of the Pacific Northwest. We had the wettest December ever and this winter will go down in the record books. Portland and Seattle are famous for our gray skies, but it’s really not that bad once you get used to it. We usually get a lot of drizzle, occasional heavy rain, and some sun breaks. However, we had many bouts of torrential downpour this winter and we saw much fewer sun breaks than usual. Many cities in the NW had to deal with repeated flooding. That’s no fun.

As a result, we spent a lot more time indoors than usual this winter. It was pretty depressing and I’m really glad the sun is out more often now. The flowers are starting to bloom, too. The improving weather makes a huge difference and I’m feeling a bit brighter. I’m sure my vitamin D count is very low this year and I really need a charge from the sun. Anyway, this winter made me reconsider moving after retirement. We love Portland, but the negatives are increasingly more noticeable.

Portland negatives

  • Winter – Most winters are tolerable, but El Nino years can be really depressing. It was just gray and rainy all the time. Mrs. RB40 is feeling her arthritis more because it’s so damp. My gimpy knee doesn’t like the cold and dampness either. BTW, Portland gets a little more sun than Seattle.
  • Increasing cost of living – Housing price and rent are getting higher every year. Eating out seems to cost a lot more than just 5 years ago. Oregon has been the top moving destination in the US for the last 3 years and I think that’s a factor.
  • Homelessness – Portland’s homeless problem is getting worse faster than other big cities on the west coast. It feels like Portland is turning into a tent city. Recently, the mayor has directed the police to stop enforcing anti-camping rules prohibiting tents. Now, we can see homeless tents on many sidewalks. It’s terrible that nearly 2,000 people are sleeping on the streets every night.
  • Allergy – Oregon is one of the worst states in the country for people who have allergy problems. Oregon is the world’s major producer of grass seed and they throw off a lot of pollen. We also have a lot of trees which means more pollen. Unfortunately, my allergies are starting to kick in now that the weather is getting nicer.
  • 10% state income tax – We have one of the highest state income tax in the country. Washington state 10 miles north has 0% income tax.
  • Traffic – Portland traffic has gotten a lot worse since I moved here in 1996. The population increased a lot, but we haven’t built any new freeways. We have been investing in public transportation instead. I like the idea, but traffic suffers. At least I don’t have to drive during rush hour anymore. Seattle’s traffic is a lot worse, though.

When we moved here in the 90s, Portland was the perfect little city. It was just the right size for us. Portland was quaint, but big enough to have all the amenities we were looking for. Now, it’s starting to feel crowded. Maybe everything is just nicer when you’re young.

Time to move on?

Well, it’s not time to move on yet, but I’m thinking about it. We still love Portland and we want RB40Jr to have a stable childhood. My parents moved all the time when I was young and it wasn’t fun starting over at a new school. We plan to stay in Portland until RB40Jr goes off to college and then we’ll see. The good thing is we’ll have plenty of time to find our perfect retirement location. I wonder if there is such a place, though. I have a few places in mind, but they are nowhere near perfect.

California Central Coast

We both went to college in Santa Barbara and we love that area. The weather is awesome and the beach is only minutes away. However, the housing price is ridiculous there. California also has high state income tax. I think we’ll have to take a long slow road trip down the PCH and visit the central coast towns to see if we can find the perfect beach shack. The big positive is we’ll be close to our family.

Hawaii

We visited the Big Island in 2014 and had a great time. The housing price is a lot more reasonable than the other Hawaiian islands. They have Costco and Walmart now so the cost of groceries is not too bad. We will probably rent for a year or two before making the move. I’d love to get a few acres and build a small compound. I’m pretty sure we can adjust to the island lifestyle, but you never know.

Florida

Hey, no state tax and affordable housing. I guess that’s why retirees move to Florida. We haven’t been there so we’ll have to check it out sometime.

Retire abroad

I plan to live in Thailand for a few years after RB40Jr goes off to college. I can reconnect with my extended families and use Thailand as a base to explore Asia. It would be great for a few years, but I’m not sure if I can retire there long term. We also want to explore South America more so maybe we can live in Ecuador for a couple of years or something like that. Retiring abroad sounds like fun, but it probably won’t be permanent for us. I guess we’ll see how it goes.

Where would you move after retirement?

You can probably tell that I’m partial to the beach and warm weather from my retirement destinations. The downside is that housing close to the beach cost a lot of money. If you know a nice laid back beach town that isn’t too expensive, let me know. We’ll go check it out. J

What about you? Where would you move after retirement?

Image by yashima

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{ 81 comments… add one }
  • Pennypincher February 26, 2016, 1:07 am

    Considered a few places. What does one really need? A gas station or two, decent grocery/produce market, library, hospital. Thought about one of the quieter Florida Keys, lots of storms, though.
    Sure, we could all find nice places to live for less. But what about the crowds, crazy traffic, noise, air/ water quality, crime, not so great political climate?? No thanks, I’m staying put! I love my lakes, forests, rivers, waterfalls, wildlife, biking, hiking, urban culture when I want. It doesn’t come cheap, but you get what you pay for most times. They’ll have to bury me here, I guess. The grass is not greener on the other side. I like it here, I’m happy.

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2016, 8:51 am

      I want to check out the Florida Keys. It sounds nice and laid back, but I don’t know about the storms. I’m just complaining because it’s been so rainy this year. If we stay in Oregon, I would check out Eugene more. The cost of living is more reasonable and it’s not as crowded as Portland. Portland is still good for now. 🙂

  • Erik February 26, 2016, 1:37 am

    What a great question you posted, this one of the most important issues we discussed in the past so we decided, we’re moving to México or Colombia. We live in Switzerland since 10y now, as in Portland, the weather here could be very unfriendly. So we want good weather we are analyzing every aspect, pros, cons, costs, etc. But we will build our own ranch, we called “El Rancho Hippie de Land Rover” 🙂

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2016, 8:53 am

      I don’t know much about Columbia, but I read that Medellin is pretty nice. I’d like to explore Mexico more too.

  • Teebone February 26, 2016, 1:54 am

    Have you considered St. Croix? It’s the most populated of the U.S. VI. I have my heart set on there, the plus the benefit of avoiding State income tax in the Caribbean.

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2016, 8:54 am

      I read up on US VI for this post, but didn’t have time to explore it more. It sounds like the kind of place I’d like. We’ll have to put it on our list to visit.

      • Linda February 26, 2016, 6:13 pm

        I went on vacation to the U.S. V.I. last year and stayed on St. John. Absolutely loved it! So beautiful and as someone who loves hiking, it was perfect. There are so many hiking trails that lead to perfect beaches. I would love to live there. One downside though-it’s really expensive!

  • Ernie Zelinski February 26, 2016, 2:12 am

    “10% state income tax – We have one of the highest state income tax in the country.”
    Yes, you do have one of the highest state income taxes insofar as the US goes. In Alberta, Canada we used to have a 10 percent flat provincial tax but the Socialist NDP government (elected in May 2015) raised it to 15 percent at the highest level. Combine this with the new Liberal party in power federally raising the national highest tax rate from 29 percent to 33 percent and we in Alberta now have a top tax rate of 48 percent. This really sucks.

    Regarding “Where Would You Move to After Retirement?” The problem is that the best climates along with some of the best living conditions in which I would like to live are some of the most expensive. I am talking about San Diego and Honolulu and Monte Carlo.

    But I am not complaining. I don’t have to live in these locations. I can afford to visit these locations for one or two weeks every winter whereas the majority of retired people can’t.

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2016, 8:55 am

      Right. The cost of living are usually very high for those nice locations. I don’t like San Diego, though. It is very busy down there. Honolulu is nice, but I’d probably go with north shore. I don’t like crowd.

  • Maria February 26, 2016, 3:54 am

    Florida is such a great retirement place. We moved here after my husband left a brief military career because we wanted an inexpensive place to live and plenty of Vitamin D daily. We raised two children a son and daughter who attended the University of Florida a most prestigious school – my son is a lawyer and my daughter a Physical Therapist. They both obtained scholarships to assist. We purchased two homes during those years, six cars – one for each of our children and two each. We moved here in our early thirties and now at 62 we are in our retirement home, pay no state tax, enjoy Vitamin D everyday, bike , enjoy beautiful parks and beaches and never ever miss snow. We now live on two pensions, savings and are pending our SS. We are blessed to have breakfast, lunch and dinner outdoors almost daily . Do not wait a minute longer in Portland- you had to many cons!! My only con is my allergies but that is why Hod invented Singular. Move to Sunny Florida. Your post was so very sad… Maria

    • Allison February 26, 2016, 6:26 am

      Maria, what part of Florida do you live in where you can eat outside almost daily? I find my visits to Florida during April-September to be too hot and humid to spend any time outdoors! (but maybe I’ve visited the wrong cities…Orlando, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale).

    • Amy February 26, 2016, 6:44 am

      Hi Maria.
      Which areas of Florida do you recommend?

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2016, 1:05 pm

      We’ll have to visit to see if it’s for us. I read that the gulf side is great for retirement. It’s hard to move right now because my wife still works here. Maybe she can get a job in Florida. 🙂

  • Maria February 26, 2016, 3:57 am

    The most important plus is both my children love Florida too so we live minutes apart so I see my grandson often too! Maria

  • PhysicianOnFIRE February 26, 2016, 4:48 am

    I love the idea of slow travel once my boys are in college. A few months here, a few months there. I’ll want to have a home base, of course, which will most likely be close to family and friends.

    Regarding state income tax, I used to think that would play a role in this decision. I ran the numbers and realized it’s not a big deal. A high tax state makes a huge difference when you’re working and earned income is high. In retirement, if you keep taxable income low (i.e. in the 15% bracket), the state tax will amount to maybe five thousand even in a high tax state. California, Oregon and Hawaii are among the highest. $5,000 is nothing to sneeze at, but shouldn’t make or break the decision to live your life where you want to be.

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2016, 1:07 pm

      Mrs. RB40 wants a home base too. I don’t really mind being a nomad for a while. I don’t think I really need a home base to come back to. I’ll stay at my brothers’ when I come visit. 🙂
      I think you’re right about the income tax. The big problem is when we sell big assets like a rental property. The state takes a big cut.

  • so February 26, 2016, 5:36 am

    Pacific NW all the way!

  • Kayla February 26, 2016, 6:09 am

    Last July, I was shopping in a Target in MN (my state of residence at the time), when I came across their patio furniture collection and saw everything clearanced. My stomach sank knowing that yet again “winter was coming”. In northern Midwest states, there is only winter, post-winter, and pre-winter, and the last few years I’ve been getting tired of the depressing grey skies, long hours of darkness, and general drop in social activities because of the cold. I always knew I wanted to move somewhere warm “someday”, but that moment motivated me to recognize that “someday” is the same as “never” unless you start taking steps towards execution of a plan.

    So at the time, to make myself feel better, I started casually applying for positions out of state. I focused on Arizona because the cost of living is on par with MN, but the weather is not, and I’ve always loved the desert. Low and behold, I got offered a job in less than two weeks with a salary twice as large as my present position paid.

    To be frank, my fiancé was not thrilled. He was aware that winter had been getting to me, and he encouraged me to accept the interviews when my applications were responded to, but neither of us really thought we’d be making that decision so quickly. Not to mention, we had just bought a house 14 months prior, and the company wanted me to start in three weeks time.

    Ultimately, we made it work. In three weeks time, we both quit our jobs, secured an apartment in AZ, got our house setup to be rented and the property managed in our absence, packed all our things, and moved a U-Haul across the country.

    It hasn’t always been easy, the unemployment rate down here is higher and my fiancé struggled for a few months to find a job on par with his previous position, and it’s been hard giving up a house for an apartment albeit temporarily, but we have no regrets. We get to live in the place we wanted to retire to, 30 years ahead of schedule.

    • Amy February 26, 2016, 6:41 am

      Congrats!
      That is super exciting.
      It takes courage to start a new adventure.
      Best of luck.

    • Susan February 26, 2016, 11:38 am

      I moved to Arizona 22 years ago from NYC. Was so sick of the cold weather. I have 7 more years until we retire. Our plan is to stay here in the winters and travel in the summer. A month here a month there. Arizona summers are brutal and they seem to worsen each year I age. My kids and grandkids are here though so thats a plus. My husband and I both have great jobs and will both get pensions from our employers. Plus he is retired military so will get another pension from them plus healthcare. Its so close yet so far

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2016, 1:08 pm

      That’s an amazing story. You grab life by the horns and made your own path. At this point, it’s really up to Mrs. RB40. She loves it here and she’s not ready to move yet. Once she retires, then we can look at more options. Enjoy the sunshine in AZ. Great job.

  • ks February 26, 2016, 6:29 am

    AK has no state income or sale taxes, but you’ll surely make up for those savings in heating costs. FL is just a more tropical suburb of NY/NJ, with year-round insects and often life-threatening storms. At least the snowstorms produce fewer fatalities and property damage. For those who are winter whiners, why not embrace your environment and go cross-county skiing or ice fishing? Everything’s a trade-off – what are you willing to gain in exchange for what you’ll sacrifice? I too would love to live in northern CA, but it is even more expensive than DC-NY-Boston. So I visit every few years and fantasize while I’m there. Hope those who settle in AZ or CA consider their water constraints. Wish we could redirect all that rain from WA and OR to CA.

  • Christine @ The (mostly) Simple Life February 26, 2016, 6:46 am

    This has been on my mind a lot lately! We’re far from retirement, but my husband finishes his degree this summer and we’d love for him to get a job somewhere warmer and sunnier than West Michigan. I’m thinking Virginia, North Carolina, or Tennessee. Really, most places are warmer and sunnier than West Michigan, so we’ve got a lot of options! 🙂

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2016, 1:10 pm

      Good luck with the job search!

  • Mrs. SimplyFinanciallyFree February 26, 2016, 7:02 am

    I always dream of what retirement might look like and am torn between wanting to spend winters skiing a great resorts and heading south to warmer climates. I recently learned that Belize has a great program for retirees who are age 45 or older. The application process seems fairly simple, doesn’t have large fees to apply, and as long as you are not working you can live tax free. We still have years to figure it out but I love doing some research now and learning about all the possibilities out there.

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2016, 1:12 pm

      I like Belize too. Everyone speaks English and it would be an easy transition. We’ll probably try it out for a few months and see if it is a good fit. It’s pretty expensive for Central America, but still cheaper than Portland.

  • Chrissy February 26, 2016, 7:21 am

    Great article. I am still young enough to dream and save up a bunch of money, jut my dream would be to retire on St. John’ USVI. ?

  • Ruby Lin February 26, 2016, 8:17 am

    Some of my friends moved to Huston, TX because of high cost living in NYC and CA. It is hard to buy a house and raise kids. My husband and I live in NJ but I do not think we would retire here. I would rather to go back to Taiwan or somewhere warm.

  • Michelle February 26, 2016, 8:33 am

    This is what we’re kind of thinking about now. We work on online and can live wherever, so we’re thinking about our “forever home” right now. We are currently traveling full-time in an RV, so we will have lots of fun making the decision!

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2016, 1:13 pm

      I’d love to be a nomad for a while. It’s not Mrs. RB40’s cup of tea, though. I might have to do it by myself.

  • David Michael February 26, 2016, 8:48 am

    After 12 years of travel in retirement and 15 years prior to that as a travel professional, we have come back to Oregon. Granted…Portland is now overcrowded with lots of traffic. Fortunately, we moved to Eugene over 30 years ago when it was tiny. Lots of homeless here as well…a problem all over the country where cities provide shelter and amenities. That’s an interesting topic by itself for a future blog.

    One of the big attractions for my wife and I is outdoor access to rivers, lakes and forest, as well as the university. We can still go to concerts and park free within a few minutes walk. Our rent in a cozy apartment overlooking a golf course is $1000 a month. That would be at least $3500 in Palo Alto where I worked in my first career. The weather is better now than ever with only a few gray months (Nov–Jan). Lots of ways to reduce taxes. I haven’t paid taxes, Federal and State for over 20 years. Oregon has a favorable list of exclusions for seniors. We are able to live comfortably on $3000 a month. For us outdoor types…there’s Idaho and Montana as well. So…it’s fun to travel and dream about maybe living abroad like we have (six years), but the reality is that there’s no place like home.

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2016, 1:15 pm

      I think Eugene is better for retirement than Portland too. We’ve visited a few times and I like it. That’s probably where we’d retire to if we stay in OR. I would love to travel abroad for six years. 🙂

  • Chad @ Our Dime Our Time February 26, 2016, 8:52 am

    RB40,

    Great question and we think about this regularly. Funny thing is I have experience in each location you spoke of.

    We currently live in North Georgia and have increasingly become tired of the cold winters and dreary rain, we want to live in a place I can wear shorts all of the time again, haha.

    We have family in Washington state near Portland and every time we have been out there it is raining the entire time, No thanks! I lived in Hawaii for 3 years while in the Navy and absolutely loved it…my favorite islands where Kauai and the Big Island, but both my wife and I eventually got Island Fever, we felt trapped. We have family in Southern California and love the weather there, but costs and other factors will probably keep us from landing there. We have friends in Southwest Florida and we absolutely love the weather, beaches, laid backnes (is that a word?), and costs there. We might end up moving there in the next few years, why wait till retirement? I also spent about a month in Thailand while in the military and I had an absolute blast there. I remember the beautiful beaches and friendly people and the first time I checked my account balance and saw millions of baht. We were treated like celebrities and I could by an ice cold Singha beer for 35 baht….I was in heaven.

    I think I covered them all, good luck with your decision!

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2016, 1:22 pm

      Wow, great! We’ve visited Hawaii a few times and loved it. I probably could handle the island fever, but who knows. Florida is the only place we haven’t visited. Thanks for your input.

      • Chad @ Our Dime Our Time February 26, 2016, 2:10 pm

        The stretch in Florida from Naples to Sarasota is wonderful, I would highly recommend checking out that area if you make it to Florida someday.

  • Jim @ Route To Retire February 26, 2016, 8:55 am

    Even though I haven’t visited it as of yet, the country of Panama seems like a great place to retire. Depending on where you live, costs are still lower than the US, healthcare is very good (and cheap), still a lot of English speakers, and most importantly – you’re living where it never snows!! Maybe I’ve gone through too many winters, but I would love to ditch the snow and live in a possible paradise for cheap!

    — Jim

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2016, 1:23 pm

      I read good things about Panama too. The Latin America countries are great because the cost of living is reasonable and it’s close to the US. It’d be great to drive around for a while to see everything.

  • ER2019 February 26, 2016, 9:06 am

    I really wanted to move in Hawaii but doubt that we can afford to living in Hawaii. In addition, the healthcare cost is a bottleneck for early retirees in the United States (The U.S. ranks worst among 11 wealthy nations in terms of “efficiency, equity and outcomes” despite having the world’s most expensive health care system). We are planning to leave our country after we retire in 2019. I visited a few clients in Thailand about 10 years ago and personally like to live in Thailand (Ko Samui or Phuket) for a few years. But my wife cannot take the muddy weather. We most likely move to one of the South American countries unless our budget allows us to live in Spain…

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2016, 1:25 pm

      South America is pretty humid too. I think you will get used to it, though. It will probably take a few months to adapt. I’m not enamor with Spain. I think it’s still pretty expensive.

  • freebird February 26, 2016, 9:06 am

    I recently made my move but haven’t quite pulled the trigger on retirement. I left silicon valley for a cheaper and quieter corner of San Diego county. I first saw this place during a business trip to UC San Diego a few months into my first job, and while having a beer on the beach watching the sunset, I knew this was my Blue Bayou. La Jolla is very expensive for housing but up north and inland a few miles it’s not bad (and much less congested), see Jim the Realtor on youtube for some samples. I think this place may help your issues #1,3,4, and 6, but #2 and #5 probably won’t be much different.

    You mentioned central coast, but I think of Santa Barbara as part of LA. You might want to try the area around Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. Since they don’t have high dollar industries driving up wages and house prices, it’s more affordable than NorCal and SoCal. A former colleague of mine retired there and he really enjoys it.

    Abroad doesn’t have to mean far away, many years ago a relative of mine bought a beach place not far south of the border. He later moved further afield, but while he was there it was convenient to visit back home without requiring airfare, although the line coming into the US could take an hour.

    • Matt February 26, 2016, 12:00 pm

      Santa Barbara is a good 100 miles from Los Angeles and is quite separate. I’d say San Diego is much more part of LA since San Diego is cornered in by the ocean, mountains and Mexico so they pretty much have to drive through all of LA and Orange County to access just about anywhere except desert areas.

      On CA taxes, they are high if you make $150k or more as a couple. Otherwise, they aren’t bad at all since the bottom rate starts out at just 1%. Of course, housing is expensive for people just entering the market so unless you are coming from a high equity home situation or have a big pot of money, it probably won’t work unless you make big salaries.

      San Luis Obispo is a great place, but it is a bit isolated. Quite a production if you want take a flight anywhere or have family visit via plane.

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2016, 1:30 pm

      Nice, I will see if I can find it. We’ll be in SD this September for FinCon. The whole southern CA is super busy, though. I think SLO is pretty expensive too unless you really go inland. We’ll take a slow drive down the Central coast at some point. I don’t think there are any inexpensive spot, though. I checked Zillow last night and everything is very expensive.

  • cato February 26, 2016, 9:38 am

    “California Central Coast
    We both went to college in Santa Barbara and we love that area. The weather is awesome and the beach is only minutes away. However, the housing price is ridiculous there. California also has high state income tax…”

    All true, but it is a spectacular place to live. I’ve been all over the world and ten years ago I decided Santa Barbara is the place I want to live out the rest of my years. I searched and secured a fantastic job eight years ago and purchased a home three years ago. I will retire here. Sacrifices? Yes some, but the benefits far outweigh.

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2016, 1:31 pm

      SB holds a special place in our heart. I’ll encourage the missus to find a job there. 🙂 Congratulation on living in paradise.

  • Special Agent Dividend February 26, 2016, 9:51 am

    I’m a firm believer in looking at the cost effectiveness for retirees, especially in taxes. Florida, along with some other southern states, has some tax benefits on retirement income. This can be a huge benefit in retiring there, along with great weather and plenty for leisure activities. I’ve lived overseas in Europe but can’t see myself moving when it comes to retirement, as I’ll want to stay near loved ones and my children.

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2016, 1:33 pm

      Europe would be fun for a few months. It’s just too expensive for us, though. I don’t have a lot of ties so I’m open to moving.

  • Tawcan February 26, 2016, 9:53 am

    Central California sounds like a good plan. Florida would be good as well as weather and income tax are more favourable. For us we’re thinking about living in Denmark for a few years as Mrs. T is from there. Also Danish post secondary education is free so it might be worth it taking advantage of it. Obviously we’d have to pay some Danish taxes while living in Denmark but I’m OK with that. South East Asia is another spot we’ve been thinking.

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2016, 1:32 pm

      Wow, nice. Free college would be a great fringe benefit.

  • amber tree February 26, 2016, 10:08 am

    For now, what appeals most to us is to move out of the house into an apartment in the city centre. We would save a lot on housing costs and probably can go without a car and rely on rental cars.
    Reading above where North Americans would go, I do see the confirmation that the Belgians like to live close to their church – as we say here…

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2016, 1:34 pm

      We live in downtown Portland now. It’s great, but there are some drawbacks too. Housing cost is more expensive than in the suburb. Is it really cheaper to live in the city in Europe?

  • Sam @ Financial Samurai February 26, 2016, 10:20 am

    It must feel a little weird to pay 10% state income tax when Washington pays 0%. That would be enough for me to move to Washington!

    My trifecta has always been Hawaii, San Francisco, and Lake Tahoe. But I recently went up north 1.15 hours to Sonoma/Glen Ellen at my friend’s place and it was AMAAAAAAAAZING! I shoulda bought a property in Sonoma/Napa! So close to SF.

    There’s too many opportunities and things going on in SF to leave here. Besides, the weather is phenomenal, so is the food.

    Sam

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2016, 1:35 pm

      Yeah, that sucks! It sounds like you built the perfect solution for yourself. Maybe you’ll get tired of SF someday.

      • BetterSimpleLife March 6, 2016, 2:26 pm

        On the flip side, Oregon pays no sales tax while much of Washington nears 10%! Be careful focusing solely on income taxes for retirement locations, as those are usually the least important in retirement.

        • retirebyforty March 7, 2016, 10:02 am

          You’re right about that. The best of both world would be to live in Washington near the OR border. The schools are better in WA from what I hear. 🙂

  • Fred February 26, 2016, 11:01 am

    I’m originally from the Bay Area of California, but can’t afford to move back, nor do I want to put up with the traffic. I bought a retirement house in Sonora CA. Reasonable house prices similar to what I have now in Texas. Just have to get use to the snow and cold, instead of the heat and humidity. At least no more hurricanes.

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2016, 1:36 pm

      I’ve never heard of Sonora CA. I will check it out on Zillow. Seems a bit far from the beach.

      • Fred February 26, 2016, 1:45 pm

        I traded the Pacific for Yosemite.

  • dh February 26, 2016, 12:07 pm

    Florida is a great place to vacation but a lousy place to live — unless you do like Stephen King and just live there in the winter. But the summer (which is like 9 months long) is filled with hurricanes (yes, even in Orlando) and mandatory evacuations, rain storms that enter through the stucco of your home, flooding it as well as your neighborhood. Most insurance companies have pulled out of Florida, as it’s way too risky for them to write policies there, and wait until you see what you have to pay for the insurance you *can* get. The heat and humidity is crushing in Florida — most people hide indoors during the summer with the AC running full blast around the clock. Bugs. And I’m talking flying cockroaches and mosquitoes, etc. Sinkholes. That’s when you’re sleeping in your bed and the earth opens up beneath you and swallows you whole, taking you and your bed far, far underground. Google it. Also, Florida now floods even when there’s no rain and the sun is out. This is from the rising sea level, which is causing the drains in Florida coastal areas to work in *reverse,* meaning that smelly, dirty water is bubbling up from the streets, basically trashing prime areas like Miami Beach. Add to all this high crime and poor schools. Every place seems great on vacation when you got your beer buzz on at the beach or a theme park, but the reality of Florida is a horror show!

  • Thuy February 26, 2016, 12:45 pm

    Check out Sequim:

    http://www.topretirements.com/reviews/Washington/Sequim.html

    No state income tax, low rainfall due to Olympic Mountain rain shadow, low cost of living, close to beach, reasonable drive to Seattle. I would seriously consider moving there after retirement myself. Especially since they need medical providers so I could probably work 1-2 days a month if we needed extra cash.

  • Petra February 26, 2016, 12:51 pm

    Have you considered moving now? Your little guy isn’t even in college yet…

  • Petra February 26, 2016, 12:59 pm

    Sigh, I mean: he isn’t even in school yet. So it might be a good time to move now, and let him enjoy all of his school career (before college) in a better location.

  • jim February 26, 2016, 1:15 pm

    I don’t think Portlands homeless problem is really as bad as it appears. Not that its a good situation, but I don’t think Portlands actual homeless rate is significantly worse that a lot of major cities.

    Portland is TOLERANT. That makes the problem more VISIBLE. Most cities are just not as tolerant and wouldn’t allow tents to be put up on the sidewalks etc.
    If you look at the homeless population by state then OR, WA & CA are all nearly the same at about 0.3%. NV is 3.6%, NY is at 0.4%. The rates seem to be highest in temperate climates and liberal states. Thats looking at 2014 data, so it might have changed some since then but I doubt its all that much different now.

  • Retiredat50 February 26, 2016, 2:24 pm

    Hi all,
    From our side, retirement will be Brazil, from where my beautiful is coming. I know a lot people will mention the safety issue regarding crime rate, but the people are so nice, welcoming. The country is amazing and the food, I don’t talk about it, so various from a lot of meat in south (Churrasco) to fish on the coast and spicy food on the north.
    Hope some of you, will have the chance to visit this amazing country.

    Cheers, RA50

  • CL February 26, 2016, 4:31 pm

    I live in Florida now. As long as you’re on the mainland, the storms aren’t too bad. I wouldn’t live on one of the islands, though; hurricanes are pretty scary. We had a bunch of tornadoes in my area last month, and that was really weird and scary.

    I studied abroad in Ecuador. It’s a really beautiful and idyllic place outside of the major cities. Lots of retirees go to Cuenca. I’d ABSOLUTELY live in Mindo. It’s a few hours by bus outside of Quito and it’s just gorgeous…really lovely atmosphere. So incredibly beautiful. Very unsafe in some areas, though, but it’s handy that they use USD.

    Frankly, though, you have some family in Thailand, which is another popular inexpensive retirement option. It would be really cool if you lived there, and it looks like you are planning to. I looked at the budget that you outlined, and it looks extremely affordable. It’s a lot warmer than Portland, too!

    What I like about Florida is that it has a subtropical climate but all the amenities of the United States. You don’t realize how much you miss small things until you’re unable to get them anymore (your father’s wine, for example). It can be very cheap to live here if you aren’t a tourist. You won’t live large and get a lot of restaurant-cooked food, but it’s absolutely possible to exist on $1500 or so a month (paying for health insurance, utilities, groceries, etc.) if you own a home. Homes are pretty cheap here, and my community is considered one of the happiest in the United States.

    • retirebyforty February 27, 2016, 11:33 am

      Thailand is a great inexpensive option. I’m sure we’ll enjoy it for a while. We’ll rent and see if we like it. Chiangmai is nice. It’s less busy than Bangkok and has all the amenities. I would like to live near the beach for a while too.

  • Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes February 26, 2016, 4:41 pm

    Hi Joe,

    We’re trying to figure out this exact question right now – Where should we move?

    Why isn’t Thailand long-term an option for you? I’ve only heard good things about Thailand.

    Texas might be an option due to it’s low cost of living. How about Bend, Oregon? I used to live there, and it’s a reasonably dry place.

    • retirebyforty February 27, 2016, 11:31 am

      I’m not sure why. I just have a feeling we like the US too much. I can probably live in Thailand for a few years, but not permanently. The politic is very polarizing, but I guess I wouldn’t be involve much. I think Bend is too cold. I prefer Eugene, OR if we’re going to stay in state. Ashland, OR is really nice too.

  • James February 26, 2016, 4:43 pm

    Unless someone has lots of family and friends elsewhere or just can’t afford to live at their current location, why move? If someone isn’t a super early retiree who can build new relationships or a social loner, I would think it’d be much more difficult trying to build a social network in someone’s 60s and also being away from their kids and grandkids. Just stay where you are and travel more.

    • retirebyforty February 27, 2016, 11:29 am

      I think most retirees do that. Moving can be stressful.

  • Linda February 26, 2016, 6:21 pm

    Even though I’ve mostly convinced my boyfriend to move with me to Ecuador when we retire, I have a hard time believing that we would actually move. Both of our families live in this area along with all our friends, so it would be really hard to do. Minnesota is a pretty nice place to live (although the winter can be brutal) and it’s really affordable. What will probably actually happen is a lot of long vacations (during winter).

    • retirebyforty February 27, 2016, 11:28 am

      Well, it’s fun to dream a little. The move is far off for us and I want to travel around a bit before settling down. It might be 15 years before we arrive at our retirement destination. I don’t think I can handle MN winters…

  • Christy February 27, 2016, 9:05 am

    Aloha Joe,
    My husband and I had a similar list for retirement. Pismo Beach, Hawaii, Florida,Costa Rica (We lived in Colorado at the time.) Here is how we made our decision….we envisioned a “realistic perfect day”. For us, it was wake up, have a great cup of coffee, go surf at sunrise…do some chores at home, work in the garden..have friends over for a bbq, etc..and of course travel a few times a year.
    We lived in Central Coast, too.(Pismo Beach) weather is fantastic (no bugs) there is rolling hills, vineyards, quaint beach town.. but water is freezing, requiring wetsuit..
    Florida is out due to bugs/ humidity and many shark attacks on surfers. Costa Rica was contender, but felt too far from family and also very humid.
    Hawaii won out, we have lived here 2.5 years. There is no state tax on retirement income, low sales tax, we have solar on our house. We have access to everything the millionaires have.. including crystal blue water to swim in everyday. The culture and people are wonderful. The lifestyle laid back, we feel like we are always on vacation. Island fever is non existent to us, as we travel off island few times a year. (Travel from here is pricey, though)
    So my advice..get close to your ideal day…anyplace can be inexpensive with a small home,one car, and a happy/contented heart.

    • retirebyforty February 27, 2016, 11:26 am

      That’s great! I love Hawaii too and that’s my preferred destination. The water is too cold in CA most of the time. I didn’t know there are no state tax on retirement income. That’s great. I will try to set some money aside for the next housing crash. 🙂
      Mahalo

  • JK February 27, 2016, 6:14 pm

    I moved to southern California back in 1982 and am still here. Yes the traffic is a nightmare and the cost of housing is high. You adjust though. I try to stay what I call “south of the 405”. I live 1 1/2 miles from the coast in Orange county. Easy bike ride or run to the beach any day. Bought my home which I will retire in during the dip in real estate in 2010 and it will be paid off in a couple of years.

  • Art February 28, 2016, 8:01 am

    I will retire in Rosarito Mexico which is about 20 minute drive to the San Diego border. I will be able to enjoy both country’s and not pay the inflated house prices in San Diego and still enjoy the same weather. A beach house can be rented for about $800 per month.

    • retirebyforty February 29, 2016, 10:09 am

      Mexico is great because it is so close. I’ve been to Rosarito once about 20 years ago. I bet it changed a lot since then.

  • Smart Money MD February 28, 2016, 10:54 am

    What options do you have for healthcare if you decide to move abroad? Would be compelling, but I wonder if the costs of out-of-pocket healthcare could be cheaper than what we’d get in the U.S.

    • retirebyforty February 29, 2016, 10:11 am

      In Thailand, I can get public healthcare. The wait is ridiculous, but that option is there. Paying out of pocket is also a very good option because the cost is so much less than in the US. We probably need to buy some kind of local health insurance if we stay in one country more than 6 months.

  • Felipe February 29, 2016, 7:24 am

    Your posts are getting more interesting and in depth. Thank you!
    People really need to dig to figure out the holistic costs of living in an area. Simple graphs and websites don’t delve into the details.
    Example: Texas has no income tax. Great for them. But if you’re on the coast windstorm insurance or flood can be higher than I pay in Colorado income tax. Plus, property tax in high-value cities (Houston, Austin) can easily be $10,000+ on a fairly modest home.
    Senior property tax exemptions vary by county, so don’t count on those to be as generous as you might think.
    But, living in a rural area can make healthcare much more expensive since there are fewer health care providers.

    • retirebyforty February 29, 2016, 11:07 am

      Right. That’s why I want to rent first. You can’t really tell until you live there. There are so many variables. I didn’t now property tax is so high in Texas. The housing price is so low compare to the West coast cities.

      • Felilpe March 1, 2016, 7:08 am

        It can be an extremely affordable state, if you stay out of areas with higher property values and perhaps away from the coast to windstorm insurance rates. Your idea of renting in an area first is perfect. Besides senior exemption, after 1 years (I think) you get a homestead exemption in most counties that lowers your property tax.
        Some offbeat areas such as Marfa and Alpine are getting attention. Alpine, I believe, isn’t as hot as most of Texas. It’s in the Davis Mountains so the elevation helps. I can’t speak for it firsthand though.

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