Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

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Random Poster
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by Random Poster » Tue May 02, 2017 5:14 pm

Meg77 wrote:What are your favorite and least favorite things about where you live now? There's a good place to start - completely eliminate based on those factors first.
I currently live in a west Texas town known for oil and gas production and the former home of two presidents.

Other than the relative lack of traffic and the ease of getting around town (such as it is), there is absolutely nothing that I like about where I live now. Nothing.

The wind blows too hard, for too long. The temperatures are too hot and there is no real winter or cold spell. There is no vegetation beyond half-dead shrubs, weeds, and dust. There are no mountains anywhere within a 2 hour drive. The tap water is foul, and there are no rivers or lakes nearby. It is at least 2 hours' drive to anywhere half-way decent. Flights out of town are expensive. Housing is expensive. The economy is based on one thing only: oil.

So anywhere that doesn't have these "features" would probably be ideal....at least for a little while.
AlwaysAStudent wrote:You mentioned that Durango is very low on the list and obviously I don't know the exact reasoning why but I am assuming that it might have something to do with the cost of housing and the random high snowfalls. If those are true you should look a little south at Farmington, NM (or Aztec, NM). Living just south of Durango in NM will be much cheaper and I know from living there that they do not get the snowfall that Durango does.
You are correct. Durango scored poorly in my calculations in the following categories: No direct flights to cities in which our families live; No Trader Joe's; No Costco; Relatively high average windspeed; Short growing season (due to a few number of frost-free days); High snowfall totals; and High Median Housing Price.

Random Poster
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by Random Poster » Tue May 02, 2017 5:15 pm

Thanks to everyone who has responded.

You have provided many possibilities for my wife and I to consider. Thank you.

michaeljc70
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue May 02, 2017 5:24 pm

CFM300 wrote:
Random Poster wrote:I've got a handwritten chart that lists all of the possible locations, which then assigns each of them a score in about twenty categories (ranging from driving distance to family, average windspeed, if there is a Costco or Trader Joe's in town, number of days with highs above 82 and days below 20, number of days of sun, median housing price, and so on), and which ultimately force-ranks them against each other. The lowest-rated (and thus, the "best" according to my math) is Prescott, followed by Fayetteville, Grand Junction, Brookings, and Colorado Springs. The "worst" is D.C., followed by Minneapolis, Durango, Pittsburg, and Nashville.
I've been in your shoes, and I can tell you that you're taking the wrong approach. I say that not only because your approach didn't work for me, but because it's not working for you either! And it's a mistake to think that if only you continue to apply that approach further, it will work.

You're taking a fact-gathering, "engineering approach" when what you need is an experience-based "design approach." I recommend that you stop trying to make the decision and first read "Designing Your Life." There are many concrete suggestions in that book that will help you make THIS decision, better.

You HAVE to go visit these places. Some place may be the RATIONAL choice based on your ALGORITHM and DATA, but when you get there, it just doesn't feel right. And you won't know what it feels like to be in Santa Fe until you're in Santa Fe. (I speak from experience.)
Random Poster wrote:I'm deathly afraid of making a mistake, as I only want to move once and be done with it.
You've done enough research-from-a-distance. Narrow your choices to 3 or 6 or however many places you want to visit. When you have 20 choices, you have none. (Again, read "Designing Your Life.")
Random Poster wrote:It is getting increasingly difficult to find housing for $300,000 or below in Colorado Springs these days.
Fantastic! Scratch it off your list. :D
+1

It is fine trying to quantify this to narrow your choices, but that will only go so far.
OP wrote:An overall tax environment that, when considered in totality, ranks somewhere between the 25th and 75th percentiles
''

Why 25th to 75th? You are against low taxes?

Have you thought about compromising on the weather and traveling during the whole or part of the winter (or summer if you don't like heat)?

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by Fishguy » Tue May 02, 2017 7:15 pm

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

maria00200
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by maria00200 » Tue May 02, 2017 7:33 pm

GrandMasterBlaster wrote:I'll throw in a plug for Western New York - the severity of our winters has been dampened considerably in the past decade, so NYS taxes seem to be the lone glaring omission from your list. We in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls metro area have abundant outdoor activities (both water and inland), very low cost-of-living, affordable housing (We bought our 3-bedroom with 3/4 of an acre for $90,000 five years ago, though the market is heating up), a burgeoning downtown medical campus which features Roswell Park, a world-class cancer institute, an international airport ten to fifteen minutes from the city, and a suburb that topped the list of "Safest Cities in America" for several years (though I will concede that there is an appreciable crime-rate in the city). We also have a world-class art museum (I've seen exhibits by Monet and Picasso in the last year), as well as outstanding theater and music scenes. Downtown development is thriving, there are new breweries and excellent restaurants opening constantly, and our waterfront has been revitalized. We've also got professional football and hockey teams, as well as lacrosse and a minor-league baseball team.

With that said, I agree with the poster who said that you have to experience the cities you are considering directly! I would recommend taking an extended road trip and hitting up several of the cities you have under consideration, preferably staying at an AirBnB or in some way making contact with locals to get flavor of the town. Reading about places online is half the battle, but I would never decide on living somewhere from reviews alone.
+1
I live in a suburb of Buffalo, NY and I completely agree! Love it here!! If you love camping, there are gorgeous campgrounds nearby, Letchworth Park is stunning, as is Watkins Glen, Niagara Falls (one of the natural wonders of the world) within 20 minutes away... low cost of living... great restaurants...I could go on and on..

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CyclingDuo
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by CyclingDuo » Tue May 02, 2017 7:39 pm

Random Poster wrote:Thanks to everyone who has responded.

You have provided many possibilities for my wife and I to consider. Thank you.
Forget Brookings, SD. However, out in Rapid City, SD or anywhere on the leeward side of the Black Hills would be ideal for most things you list in your "wish list". No state income tax. SS, pensions, and other forms of retirement income are tax free. :moneybag :moneybag

Great hiking, cycling. Great hospital. Lots of outdoor recreation. Healthy folk. Airport that serves major hubs (Denver, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, Chicago, Atlanta).

It is a red state (could be a plus or a concern depending on your preferences).

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by Colorado13 » Tue May 02, 2017 8:12 pm

If you're searching in CO, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs will be difficult, but not impossible, with a $300K housing budget. Denver's median home price is well above $300K. Grand Junction and Durango would fit your budget.

I was in SLC for work a month ago. It reminded me a bit of Denver, with mountains much closer than is the case in Denver and much less traffic, which seemed like a wonderful aspect. Also, the airport is in the city; Denver's airport is practically in Kansas.

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by radiowave » Tue May 02, 2017 8:26 pm

Take a look at Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill NC, especially Hillsborough or Pittsboro (north and south of CH respectively). Mountains are about 3 hours west, some of the best east coast beaches 3 hours east (my favorite Topsail Beach). Excellent healthcare between Duke and University of North Carolina. Yeah it's hot and sticky in the summer but fall, and spring are quite nice and winters are bearable with rare snow.

Note: OP mentioned CO . . . we just had a 6-8 inches of snow here in Denver metro last Saturday. This weekend they are forecasting low 80's and isolated thunder storms. Love the 300 days of blue sky and low humidity otherwise.
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market timer
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by market timer » Tue May 02, 2017 8:40 pm

You haven't mentioned anything about children. Are they part of the calculus?

I plan to do a similar calculation in about 10-15 years with kids who would be in high school, returning to the US after a long time overseas. My ideal location would be a college town so my kids have access to the research and cultural opportunities available on campus.

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TimeRunner
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by TimeRunner » Tue May 02, 2017 8:59 pm

Is that $60K pre or post Federal taxes? Does it include state income tax (which you don't currently suffer in Texas)?
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by Steelersfan » Tue May 02, 2017 9:04 pm

I would narrow it down with consideration for climate. Do you hate hot summers that lost forever. Does the idea of cold winters and driving on snowy streets turn you off?

While at that level of income taxes aren't the first consideration, Pennsylvanian (and maybe other states) don't have income taxes on Social Security or pension income. That's not as good as states with no income states but might help shorten the list a bit.

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Watty
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by Watty » Tue May 02, 2017 9:11 pm

Just FYI, Georgia has been mentioned in a number of posts. Georgia has a retirement income exclusion of $65,000 a year($130,000 for a couple) once you are 65 so you would be unlikely to pay any state income taxes.

I am in the suburbs of Atlanta in one of the few Georgia counties that exempts seniors from paying school property taxes so I am only paying about $600 a year(not a typo) on a pretty average house.

The property taxes here vary a lot by county and with the way some other exclusions work a home that was twice as expensive as mine would pay a lot more than double the property taxes.

Those two combined will mean that sales tax will be about our only taxes so just by dumb luck I probably ended up in one of the lowest tax areas.

That said I would hesitate to recommend Atlanta as a retirement destination unless that is something that is of specific interest to you. Not only is the traffic REALLY bad but there is very limited public transportation. That could be a huge problem if you ever need to give up driving. Someone mentioned the college town of Athens Georgia which I agree could be worth considering. There are several other college towns in Georgia too.

We can't really discuss politics here but if you have a long time until you will be getting healthcare through Medicare then it you need to get a feel for Georgia politics related to healthcare from some other source. Once you are on medicare Georgia healthcare will be pretty similar to most other areas.

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by August » Tue May 02, 2017 9:16 pm

Having travelled a lot, I would consider from your descriptions-

Charlotte, NC and suburbs. The city is growing into SC which has opened up areas of low taxes just south of the border. Charlotte is also a very "young" city in its feel and thus has a lot of outdoorsy type activities and parks.
Greenville, SC/Asheville, NC and surrounding suburbs
Knoxville, TN

The areas of Colorado you suggested are also very nice. My only concern there, as already mentioned, is housing prices have skyrocketed in the last few years in and around Denver (I'm not sure about the other CO cities) and that could lead to a hike in COL.

All of my suggestions are either in the mountains or have mountains within a few hours drive. 4 seasons, but mild winters. You can still buy a 3-2 house in a nice area for under $200k in any of them.

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by health teacher » Tue May 02, 2017 9:45 pm

You have Pittsburgh and Morgantown listed. A little Northwest of Morgantown and a little West of Pittsburgh is a small steeltown with a population of about 19,000. It'll be the 5th or 6th biggest city in WV. It pretty much hits everything on your list besides perhaps the type of topography you're after.

The city has its own hospital, plus access to Wheeling and Pittsburgh hospitals (about 30 mins away).

This town avoids most of the traffic from the Pittsburgh area.

It is about 20 mins from the Pittsburgh International airport with easy access.

It has some decent local restaurants.

You can be at a hustling/bustling commercialized area with pretty much anything (Robinson, PA) within about 20-25 minutes.

Property taxes are very low.

Median housing costs are below 100k.

Crime rate is extremely low and local police force is all over keeping most of the outsiders out of the city.

Brand new elementary school.

Definitely has the 4 seasons of that's what your into.

A few trails and state parks are within 20/30 mins.

2 hours to Erie, 2 to Cleveland, 2.5 to Columbus, 4 to DC, 6 hours to Chicago, 6 to MD, DE, NJ beaches, 7 hours to NYC, 1.5 hours to Morgantown, 30 minutes to Pittsburgh

Not a bad place to live at all after I analyzed everything regarding a "place". I just generally hate the winters and would prefer a milder winter, but the pros greatly outweigh the cons for me.

Check out the movie Super Eight and you'll see my hometown. The movie depicts a town from the 70's and there's a reason my city was chosen. Well, it was thriving in the 70's. With that said, it still has a lot going for it in the grand scheme of things.

A have a new neighbor who was a seamstress for Conan O'brien in California. He retired and has family here and he came back. Then again, the people he bought the house from moved to Naples, FL, so who knows!

:D

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by Skidoo800 » Tue May 02, 2017 10:07 pm

I live in Brookings and it is a great city for about 7 months of the year. I currently spend 5 months of the year (Dec-Apr) in Arizona.
I agree the western part of SD would be a great place to retire if you wanted to live there year round.

However our kids have lived in Longmont for about 15 years, I have often stated if I was going to start my life over again Colorado is where I would go.
Yes they get snow but it is usually gone in a few days. The fall lasts longer and spring starts sooner than any place in SD.
Lots of 70 degree days in November and March.

Longmont has great biking trails and hiking only a few minutes away.

Good luck in your search,

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by jabberwockOG » Tue May 02, 2017 11:07 pm

From my experience it is critical to come up with a list of maybe 2-3 factors that are the absolute most important in terms of must haves in the new place because every place is a compromise, so identifying and then hitting those top 2-3 are critical. And then go visit for a week or more at a time and go look at houses and neighborhoods, check out libraries, city hall, local hospital, local parks, go walk thru several grocery stores. Stop and talk to locals, go walk around downtown at night and see if it feels safe or is it deserted or scary and full of predators. In other words try to get a daily ongoing real life feel for the place. We personally wanted to avoid big cities like the plague. Atlanta as an example has a lot of pros going for it but for us has insane population/crowds and nutso traffic to match.

For us the top 3 most important factors on deciding where to live in retirement were a smaller size city, warm climate, very low crime area. My wife and I lived in big cities all our working lives. And we hate long dark, cold, snowy winters. We wanted to live in a smaller town in retirement that had a warm climate, and ideally a city with under 50k people with increasing property values and low crime. We ended up in a thriving small town of 20k people in a mostly warm climate area and absolutely love it.

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by NancyABQ » Tue May 02, 2017 11:13 pm

btenny wrote: Albuquerque, NM. Do not know the burbs here but I know the city itself is nice. Right next to Sandia peak and the southern Rockies. Higher altitude so moderate summers and limited winter snow. LCOL and low cost homes. Good skiing and biking.
I live in (well, near) Albuquerque and will probably retire here.

It fits most of the listed requirements. It can get hot in the summer but it is a "dry heat" and this makes a huge difference. It doesn't get as hot as someplace like Phoenix -- days above 100 are rare.

There aren't really a lot of "suburbs". Most of the metro area is actually in the city itself. There are smaller communities to the north, south and west, but not nearly as much urban sprawl/suburbs as a larger city has. To the east is the area called "East Mountains" (where I live). This is on the other side (east side) of the Sandia mountains. Temperatures tend to run about 10 degrees cooler than in the city.

The city/west side of the mountains doesn't get a lot of snow, but does get some. Their snow mitigation policy (laughable to me, since I grew up in western New York) is "wait two hours and it will melt". When the snow doesn't melt on schedule, it can get kind of silly, but this actually doesn't happen very often. In the East Mountains, we get significantly more snow. For instance this past weekend we got a foot of snow, while the city got some flurries that didn't stick.

If I was going to pick the biggest drawback for Albuquerque, it would be that the crime rate seems to be a bit higher than I would like, and the policing has some issues (which have hit the national news at times). It's hard to rate that fairly, though. I think some high profile stories can really slant one's perception.

CFM300
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by CFM300 » Tue May 02, 2017 11:39 pm

jabberwockOG wrote:We wanted to live in a smaller town in retirement that had a warm climate, and ideally a city with under 50k people with increasing property values and low crime. We ended up in a thriving small town of 20k people in a mostly warm climate area and absolutely love it.
Sounds nice. Where? If not the actual town, at least the state?

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TxAg
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?a

Post by TxAg » Wed May 03, 2017 12:10 am

In TX:

Fredericksburg
San Marcos (Wimberly, New Braunfels)
Waco
Conroe
Weatherford
Granbury
Denton
Probably lots more

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Tamarind
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by Tamarind » Wed May 03, 2017 5:36 am

I'll throw in a +1 for the NC locations mentioned. Get a little altitude and the summer temps won't be so bad. But it sounds like you need to do some slow traveling. Visit your top 10 for a couple of weeks each then cut the list and repeat for longer stays until you find the place you don't want to go "home" from.

hulburt1
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by hulburt1 » Wed May 03, 2017 6:50 am

I live in Albany Or. low crime, 1hr Ocean 90min snow. We get no snow but rain 10 min. from OSU. Houses about 250000. No sales tax. Summer and fall are grate. Only about 4 days over 100.

bluebolt
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by bluebolt » Wed May 03, 2017 7:19 am

Be more of a satisficer than an optimizer.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... tists.html

Accept that there are pros and cons to whatever decision you make and there are unknowns and random factors that prevent a perfect decision from being made.

Choose to accept and be happy with whatever decision you make. Otherwise, you will believe whatever decision you made is "wrong" as soon as it doesn't meet one of your criterion and that's no way to go through life, my friend.

fishmonger
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by fishmonger » Wed May 03, 2017 7:44 am

Agree with the sentiment that you need to narrow it down to your 3-4 most important factors and go from there. Quite honestly, at $60k/year and a $300k housing budget, you are not going to get everything on your list.

You've mentioned multiple times being close to a Trader Joes - is that really a priority? I love Trader Joes as well and wish we had one in our area. We don't but we have a local coop that is excellent, as well as local farms and fish markets. However, YMMV

Random Poster
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by Random Poster » Wed May 03, 2017 8:06 am

michaeljc70 wrote:Why 25th to 75th? You are against low taxes?
There is a bit of "you get what you pay for" when it comes to city and state services/resources. I would like living somewhere that has a well-stocked public library, smooth and pot-hole free roads, and well-manicured parks, and I am willing to pay for that through taxes.
market timer wrote:You haven't mentioned anything about children. Are they part of the calculus?
My wife and I do not have any children.
TimeRunner wrote:Is that $60K pre or post Federal taxes? Does it include state income tax (which you don't currently suffer in Texas)?
The $60K would need to cover everything. That said, the $60K would be generated solely from tax-exempt bond interest, long-term capital gains, and dividends, so the tax bill should, in theory, be somewhat minimal.
fishmonger wrote:You've mentioned multiple times being close to a Trader Joes - is that really a priority?
I like to shop at both Trader Joe's and Costco, but I'm really using them more as a proxy--I figure that where one (or both) of those stores are, then the underlying economics of the town are stable and that the populace has enough discretionary income to support such a business and may have values that are somewhat aligned with ours. All things being equal, if one place had such a store and another didn't, I'd prefer to live in the one that did. But that's about the extent of it.

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by Runner01 » Wed May 03, 2017 8:14 am

York County PA

In no particular order:

Day trips to NYC, DC, Baltimore, and Phila
Less than 1 hour drive to the Appalachian Trail
3-4 hour drive to OCMD / Delaware beaches
Thousands of acres of state/county parks with miles of hiking in the county
Large senior population and plenty of medical facilities
COL is very close the national average
Median HH income is close to the national average
$300k would buy a gigantic house in York
Most types of retirement income are not taxed in PA

Lancaster county is also nice but has a slightly higher COL.

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by 3CT_Paddler » Wed May 03, 2017 8:28 am

Why not start with a couple vacations to narrow down your list? I would recommend taking a closer look at Asheville (and surrounding areas like Waynesville), Greenville, Spartanburg, Athens, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Anderson (SC).

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by likegarden » Wed May 03, 2017 8:30 am

I always read in these kind postings that retirees look for places without state taxes. I live in NY state and pay no income tax. You can have SS, a pension, RMD, a tax credit for paying Long Term Care insurance, total income above your $60,000 and pay no NY state tax.
Last edited by likegarden on Wed May 03, 2017 8:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?a

Post by Naismith » Wed May 03, 2017 8:30 am

TxAg wrote:In TX:

Fredericksburg
San Marcos (Wimberly, New Braunfels)
I was also going to mention San Marcos, and when you get a TexasEx and an Aggie to agree on something, that is a strong recommendation :happy

You would be halfway between San Antonio and Austin, so much cultural stuff and beautiful. That river that wends through the town is charming. And the university there has a lot of cultural stuff.

If you were blindfolded and plopped down on the soft green grass in the riverfront park in San Marcos, you would never guess you were in Texas.

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by Gort » Wed May 03, 2017 8:43 am

tchoupitoulas wrote:I was surprised Boise ID isn't on your list. I've never been there but my impression is that it's affordable, relatively urbane, and the access to the mountains is unparalleled. It might be cold in the winter, but probably less than Minneapolis.

Also what about Asheville NC, Burlington VT, and Ashland/Medford OR?
+1 for Boise :happy

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by hulburt1 » Wed May 03, 2017 9:17 am

Sell everything and buy a small rv. I travel the 75. If it drops to 75 I move south if it hits 80 move north. It's a big country out here. I'll be going to Alaska next month and be in Key West at Christmas time. I do have a house in Oregon. for Aug. Sept. Oct.

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lthenderson
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by lthenderson » Wed May 03, 2017 9:27 am

fishmonger wrote:
lthenderson wrote:I can think of many other countries I have been too where all those points apply and where $60/year income would be extreme overkill.
Such as???? Just curious!
My first choice would probably be Baguio City, Philippines which I visit every couple years.

* It is built on top of a mountain so there is lots of hiking and bicycling to be found.
* I don't know specifics about the crime rate but in my experience, it is on par with most small urban areas here in the U.S.
* Per-capita income is roughly $3000 U.S. so if someone wants to live at or below $50,000 U.S. per year, they can live like a king/queen.
* Temperatures range from mid 50's in winter to mid 80's in summer.
* It is the regional center and has a top notch health center there.
* There is no obesity epidemic and though it is changing fast, they still have a better diet there than here. Mostly fish and vegetables.
* The personal income tax rate is 12%
* Has it's own airport in town that connects with Manila international airport.

I know dozens of U.S. expats that live there, many who retired on their military pensions because they can live much better there than here in the States on the same income.

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by freebeer » Wed May 03, 2017 10:18 am

Random Poster wrote:...
Further suppose that you have around $300K (give or take, a little) in cash, ready to spend on a residence---ideally, one located in an area that offers:

* Abundant outdoor activities such as hiking and bicycling (within 60 miles of mountains would be ideal, but I'll take what I can get) or free cultural activities;
* A low crime rate;
* Per-capita income at or below $50,000;
* An average or below-average cost-of-living;
* Generally decent weather (i.e., no long gray spells, 20 foot snowfalls, 300 inches of yearly rain totals; 90 degree heat for months on end; sub-0 degree cold for months on end; constant 15+ mph winds every few days; etc);
* Reasonably comprehensive health care facilities within a 50-mile radius (not looking for a cutting-edge research facility);
* A community whose residents are generally healthy enough that non-employer provided health insurance costs would be widely considered to be affordable by most, or who are offered health insurance through various State or Federal health exchange programs;
* An overall tax environment that, when considered in totality, ranks somewhere between the 25th and 75th percentiles; and
* An airport within a 50-mile radius that offers service to at least 2 hub airports.

Where would you choose to live, and why?

...
I would choose Sequim, WA, the banana belt of the Pacific Northwest.

Slightly outside your 50-mile radius to airport but it is just a hair over 50 miles to the Bainbridge Island ferry which puts you 30 minutes from a 20 minute Uber ride to the airport. And there is good shuttle service. The extra distance being offset as well by the fact that it's a major hub airport serving over 115K passengers per day.

Other than that I think it ticks all your boxes.

If the airport access is a deal-breaker then you could accept a few more gray days and go for Kingston or Hansville. That would also get you closer to Seattle cultural activities.

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David Jay
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by David Jay » Wed May 03, 2017 10:26 am

Ashville, NC area (foothills of the Smoky Mountains)

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by renue74 » Wed May 03, 2017 10:34 am

Thailand has a large ex pat community. You would live like a king there.

Chaing Mai is a city in the north that has a very large ex pat community.

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by twins2012 » Wed May 03, 2017 10:41 am

I would stay put and travel somewhere during the summer months. You will not find a perfect town so pick your battles.

2015
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by 2015 » Wed May 03, 2017 11:32 am

I empathize, and went/continue to go through the same thing, as I will be moving/downsizing in just 3 years. I currently live in Hell (otherwise known as Los Angeles), so it's extremely important to make an optimal retirement relocation decision. My increasingly expanding disgust with Southern California only adds to the pressure to move to a place that will finally feel like home. Here's what I've decided to do to reduce that pressure: I've given myself permission to move to the current number one relocation choice on my list (which I've done much research on and already visited many times), rent at least six months, and if I don't feel it's optimal, move again to the the second choice if necessary. This may add a bit more to the cost and complexity of the overall final relocation, but to me it's worth it.

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by randomguy » Wed May 03, 2017 12:12 pm

magazinewriter wrote:I was surprised to see Washington D.C. on your list. I lived there (Va. suburbs) years ago and enjoyed it but housing is expensive and $60k a year won't go far.

In a later post it looks like you have almost eliminated D.C. which I think is smart.
It depends on what you consider "DC". 15 miles from the city core? Yeah that is pricey. Move out 60 miles due west (i.e. you wouldn't want to commute to the city but day trips are doable) and things rapidly become MCOL. Those also tend to be the areas with better outdoor activities. It definitely isn't cheap but it could be in the realms of possible depending on what you consider acceptable housing. That being said unless you like big cities, you can probably do better else where.

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by btenny » Wed May 03, 2017 12:58 pm

As I stated earlier all three towns in my list have both Trader Joe's and Costco stores in town or close by in a town next door. They also have good libraries and OK roads and big major airports nearby.

Carson City, Nevada
Sandy, Utah
Albuquerque, NM

Random, I also suggest you do some internet searches and planning and then go take a big long road trip to some towns. Maybe stay 1-2 weeks in each of the towns on your list. It takes time to get a feel for a town and the surrounding areas and what you like and dislike about it. But 2 weeks seems like enough to me to get a good feel. Then if you want more you will know. Then if you do move there rent a place for a while. At least 12 months but maybe 2-3 years before you buy.

Good Luck.

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by bloom2708 » Wed May 03, 2017 1:12 pm

I do enjoy this thread, but realize the decision can't be made by us posting ideas.

Everyone has their "somewhere else" or at least some ideas to narrow it down.

OP, where have you traveled that you liked for whatever the reason?

A Kathleen Edwards song lyric spins through my head...somewhere else...

Everybody out here
They wanna live somewhere else
I wish I could find a place
and stay there by myself
Bit by bit I swear I think I'm losing
All this city's confidence
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

Wellfleet
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by Wellfleet » Wed May 03, 2017 1:25 pm

One town outside Amherst Massachusetts, home of University of Massachusetts and Amherst College. Believe it or not.

In a valley so mostly avoids snowstorms that pound eastern Massachusetts. Winter cold is certainly main downside but fills almost all other characteristics. Bradley airport 1 hour away in Connecticut, 2 hours to Boston, 3 to NYC.

Trader Joes, Whole Foods, etc. farmers markets. Very close to outdoor activities mountains and Vermont.

Mass. certainly not a low tax state but doing better recently.

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WiscoTrout
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by WiscoTrout » Wed May 03, 2017 2:14 pm

lthenderson wrote:I can think of many other countries I have been too where all those points apply and where $60/year income would be extreme overkill.
Although it's not stated anywhere, by virtue of the list provided, I believe OP is looking for US only. Otherwise, you are correct, $60K a year would work very well across all the listed requirements in many international locations. In fact, it would probably work very well here in Barcelona, Spain. But it certainly wouldn't be overkill...

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by fishmonger » Wed May 03, 2017 2:19 pm

Wellfleet wrote:One town outside Amherst Massachusetts, home of University of Massachusetts and Amherst College. Believe it or not.

In a valley so mostly avoids snowstorms that pound eastern Massachusetts. Winter cold is certainly main downside but fills almost all other characteristics. Bradley airport 1 hour away in Connecticut, 2 hours to Boston, 3 to NYC.

Trader Joes, Whole Foods, etc. farmers markets. Very close to outdoor activities mountains and Vermont.

Mass. certainly not a low tax state but doing better recently.
Mass not being a low tax state is an understatement. Also realize that Western Mass gets almost nothing from the state legislature in terms of roads, economic development, etc.

Property tax rate in Amherst is $21/$1000. Could find a comparable place 20 miles north in NH with no income tax or sales tax

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by Random Poster » Wed May 03, 2017 2:30 pm

bloom2708 wrote:I do enjoy this thread, but realize the decision can't be made by us posting ideas.

Everyone has their "somewhere else" or at least some ideas to narrow it down.

OP, where have you traveled that you liked for whatever the reason?
Well, of the cities on the initial list:

Amarillo, Texas -- I can't stand the place, but my wife has family there that she wants to be near. Housing is cheap (and there is one very small section of town that has cottage houses that I very much like), but property taxes are high, the wind is horrible, and I'm afraid that the only outdoor activities that I'd ever get to do would involve walking the dog and replacing roof shingles.

Atlanta, Georgia -- The Midtown area seems walkable and there are some minor family considerations to the area. It might serve well as a "home base" to use as a place to keep one's things and return to in between stints of traveling the world, but such a plan is probably more theoretical than realistic.

Bentonville/Fayetteville, Arkansas - Enjoy the college town atmosphere of Fayetteville, although it was a surprisingly hilly town. Bentonville was clean, well-maintained, and vibrant, but it is definitely a one-company town. Both offer lots of biking opportunities and outdoor activities.

Blacksburg, Virginia -- Never been there.

Bozeman, Montana -- We are in absolute love with this place and we compare everywhere we visit to here, but it is far from family, housing prices are high, overall cost of living is high, and I'm worried about shoveling snow for half of the year. We are used to cold and snow, but we were insulated from dealing with it too much because we lived in a condo that took care of the snow cleaning, and I was able to walk to work and the grocery store so we never had to drive in it.

Brookings, South Dakota -- Very charming and clean town, almost like a Pleasantville or Mayberry, but there doesn't seem to be much going on in it other than the University and one or two employers. Plus, it gets windy and cold there. And I'm not sure what we would do other than eat ice cream on campus every day.

Colorado Springs, Colorado -- We like the thrift culture there (lots of Goodwills that always seem to have a great selection of items), its nearness to the mountains, and it is reasonably close to my wife's family. But housing is expensive, the roads are not smooth, and the city strikes me as just a big sprawling suburbia. Plus, we find most of the housing stock to be, well, ugly.

Davis, California -- Never been there, but it has been recommended by a few people here and elsewhere.

Denver, Colorado -- Never been there for an extended period of time, but like certain walkability aspects to it.

Durango, Colorado -- Offers good outdoor opportunities, but its downtown area is really just a tourist trap, housing is expensive, and it is a somewhat isolated city.

Flagstaff, Arizona -- I'm pretty sure that this is off the list. We like the relative cool temperatures of the area, but the city seems to sprawl while still being congested, and the hotel rooms seem to outnumber the residents. Plus, during our last visit, the allergies were terrible and I'm not sure that we would fit in.

Fort Collins, Colorado -- We like the college town atmosphere and the cleanness of the city, combined with its location near the mountains. But the train that goes through town drives me crazy, and housing is pricey.

Grand Junction, Colorado -- Seems like a nice place to age-in-place, as it is warm but still offers reasonably close access to the mountains. But there aren't many roads out of town and I am concerned about overall access issues during the winter.

Minneapolis, Minnesota -- Never been there.

Morgantown, West Virginia -- Never been there, but we think that the college environment might appeal.

Nashville, Tennessee -- Nearness to family is its only real positive at this point.

Ogden, Utah -- Given the comments in this thread, this city is off the list. I respect what stoptothink writes, and if he nixes it, then that is good enough for me.

Pittsburg, Pennsylvania -- Haven't been there in decades, but the town seems to get good press.

Prescott, Arizona -- Never been there.

Provo, Utah -- Never been there, but we think that the college environment might appeal.

Santa Fe, New Mexico -- My wife likes the town for its architecture, art, and food, but I don't like it for anything other than its weather and Trader Joe's. I don't think that we can afford to live there happily.

Washington, D.C. -- Seems like there is always something going on there, so it would be difficult to get bored. Plus, public transportation is decent and there are lots of ways to leave town. But summers can be unpleasant, housing is expensive, crime is high, and probably isn't the kind of place most people want to retire in or near.

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by dowse » Wed May 03, 2017 2:37 pm

Gort wrote:
tchoupitoulas wrote:I was surprised Boise ID isn't on your list. I've never been there but my impression is that it's affordable, relatively urbane, and the access to the mountains is unparalleled. It might be cold in the winter, but probably less than Minneapolis.

Also what about Asheville NC, Burlington VT, and Ashland/Medford OR?
+1 for Boise :happy
I've never been there, but for what it's worth, some good friends moved there about 1-1/2 years ago. They had to downsize from San Diego to a lower COL area. They did a similar search. I think the conclusion was that the climate extremes are not as harsh as other places, and housing was affordable, at least compared with SD. Oh yes, and there is a Trader Joe's there.

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by Naismith » Wed May 03, 2017 2:42 pm

I am a proud graduate of BYU, the college in Provo, UT, and there is indeed a lot of cool cultural stuff there.

But we would never want to move back there.

Maybe they are kinder to non-Mormons, but I was looked down on and treated rather nastily because I was such an inadequate substandard Mormon. My roots did not go back to "pioneer stock," I didn't understand all the jargon and unwritten rules.

Once we moved east of the Mississippi, we were suddenly considered good enough and enjoyed being Mormons.

It's been a few years, and I don't know how non-Mormons are treated in the most-Mormon area of the world, but would want to hear from folks who live there before making such a move.

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by mak1277 » Wed May 03, 2017 2:52 pm

Random Poster wrote: Nashville, Tennessee -- Nearness to family is its only real positive at this point.
Curious what your negatives are for Nashville. I've always enjoyed visiting and have heard great things from people who live there.

Pittsburg, Pennsylvania -- Haven't been there in decades, but the town seems to get good press.
Pittsburgh has awful weather. Fewer sunny days per year than Seattle. Otherwise, it really is a great place and would tick a lot of your boxes. Fun fact, it's the only "burg" in the US with an "h" on the end.

Washington, D.C. -- Seems like there is always something going on there, so it would be difficult to get bored. Plus, public transportation is decent and there are lots of ways to leave town. But summers can be unpleasant, housing is expensive, crime is high, and probably isn't the kind of place most people want to retire in or near.
Public transportation is good if you live close to or in the city, but as you get out into the areas where COL is lower, it's pretty terrible. Are you thinking about residing in the city proper or in the suburbs? I am pretty sure DC is the last place I would retire personally, but there definitely is a lot to do. But if that's the goal, I'd go to NY or Chicago far quicker than DC.

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by I_Am_Not_A_Doctor » Wed May 03, 2017 2:53 pm

Random Poster wrote:I could use some guidance.

Any and all leads or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
Just out of curiosity, what in your arithmetic led you to rule-out the Indianapolis, IN, metro area? Might be education for me in the process. But you mentioned:

- Want to steer clear of crime. But I believe Atlanta has a high per capita murder rate.
- Snow? Denver probably gets walloped more.
- Cold? Minneapolis is certainly colder for longer. Ditto for "grayer", I would think.
- Expensive? DC is certainly more expensive.

Random Poster
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by Random Poster » Wed May 03, 2017 3:02 pm

mak1277 wrote:
Random Poster wrote: Nashville, Tennessee -- Nearness to family is its only real positive at this point.
Curious what your negatives are for Nashville. I've always enjoyed visiting and have heard great things from people who live there.
It has been a while since I visited, but as I recall, the summers can be unpleasant due to high humidity, the sales tax is high (and, in that regard now that I think about it, it is really high in Fayetteville, Arkansas!), and the Hall Tax (which I understand is on its way out) would hit our dividends and interest income pretty hard.
mak1277 wrote:
Random Poster wrote:Pittsburg, Pennsylvania -- Haven't been there in decades, but the town seems to get good press.
Pittsburgh has awful weather. Fewer sunny days per year than Seattle. Otherwise, it really is a great place and would tick a lot of your boxes. Fun fact, it's the only "burg" in the US with an "h" on the end.
Well, if I can't spell the town properly, then we certainly have no business living there!

Random Poster
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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by Random Poster » Wed May 03, 2017 3:04 pm

I_Am_Not_A_Doctor wrote:Just out of curiosity, what in your arithmetic led you to rule-out the Indianapolis, IN, metro area?


I don't think that we have ever considered the place. But doesn't it get a lot of tornadoes?

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Re: Where to Live on $60K or Less a Year?

Post by RoadHouseFan » Wed May 03, 2017 3:06 pm

High quality of life at reasonable costs exists in the following:

Texas
Mississippi
Alabama
Georgia
South Carolina
North Carolina
Tennessee
Kentucky
Indiana
North Dakota
South Dakota
Montana
Wyoming

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