Retirement - Living in Colorado

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victorb
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Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by victorb » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:19 pm

Just entered retirement recently and have been reading about good cities to live in. Colorado Springs was one of the cities named and it looks like a nice place to live. Does anyone have first hand experience living in Colorado Springs or any other city in Colorado?
Currently living in Minnesota and the state is not tax friendly.

mountaingoatcos
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by mountaingoatcos » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:41 pm

I like Colorado Springs. The weather is nice most of the year, if you live on the west side of town you live in the mountains and can go hike and mountain bike every day. I can walk out of my door to a beautiful trail and walk for miles into the national forest if I wanted to. I think if you like mountains, dry weather, being outside, it is a great place. Denver is better though if you like city stuff like going out to eat, shopping, concrete paths to jog on, light rail, that kind of stuff. Colorado Springs does have a few good restaurants, but not anywhere near Denver's amount.

oxothuk
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by oxothuk » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:33 pm

I currently live in Boulder and have friends who live in Colorado Springs. Both are very nice places to live. Northern Front Range (Denver to Ft. Collins) is more urbanized than the Springs, which is either a positive or a negative depending on what you're looking for.

Unfortunately the secret is out, and there has been a big runup in housing costs over the past decade. There are also a lot of nice towns on the western side of the state which you might consider - Durango, Pagosa Springs, Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs, Steamboat Springs.

AlohaJoe
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by AlohaJoe » Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:20 am

[Post removed --admin LadyGeek]
Heh, me too. My brother and his family also moved away from Colorado Springs.

When I lived in the Springs there was a big stir because a reporter (from the NY Times? I forget) did an article on the city about how the Springs had more domestic violence per capita (and a few other stats) than Big Evil Cities. That was also at the height of all the Ted Haggard stuff, which didn't help.

There are a lot of people who love living in the Springs. Many of my former coworkers can't imagine living anywhere else. Different strokes for different folks.

aristotelian
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by aristotelian » Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:33 am

I am going to have to agree with FraggleRock. I was just a visitor but my impression was very suburban, sprawling. Decent restaurants but nothing spectacular. Our friends there are minority and their kids struggle with social isolation. Garden of the Gods was beautiful. To each their own but the landscape wouldn't be enough for me, and I didn't see much else that it had to offer. I would also prefer Boulder or Fort Collins.

Iliketoridemybike
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by Iliketoridemybike » Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:38 am

I lived in the Springs. It's an odd town. The city fathers don't really keep it up. Drive through the neighborhoods and they seem somewhat rundown. There are nice parts too, but it just has an odd feel about it. It mixes military, surrounded on three sides by big bases, the religious right organizations spread throughout town, big pagan culture on the west side. Add in a few seedy tourist areas and you get the Springs.
I live in the Denver area now and prefer it many times over the Springs. Ft Collins is nice too.

Sidney
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by Sidney » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:04 am

Isn't that where they turned off all the street lights to save money?
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.

Iliketoridemybike
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by Iliketoridemybike » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:16 am

Sidney wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:04 am
Isn't that where they turned off all the street lights to save money?
Yep. Very oddly run city.

Iliketoridemybike
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by Iliketoridemybike » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:19 am

Back to the OP, what about the Springs appealed to you? I have been all over Colorado, maybe I can make a better recommendation.

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Shackleton
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by Shackleton » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:24 am

Actually, it was every third or fourth street light.

The Springs is the conservative city in CO. Boulder (the People's Republic of Boulder) is on the far left of the political spectrum. FC is also pretty far left. Boulder and FC are definitely influenced by the universities in them.

I live on the north end of the Springs, and love it. Less congestion than Denver, Boulder or FC. Lots of outdoor activities such as MTB and hiking, easy drive to the mountains, nice climate, and real estate is much more affordable than the northern cities.

Yes, we don't have a lot of great restaurants (a few new ones just opened) but since I MTB several times a week, and only go out to dinner a few times a month, I prefer more singletrack rather than restaurants.
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Boulder92
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by Boulder92 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:56 am

Need more information to answer this question as it all depends on your main interests.

Colorado has great places to live but really depends on --- need to be close to airport, hobbies/sports, desire to be close to a university, food interests, arts/theater interests.. etc etc.

I live in Boulder and agree with the poster above mentioning some of the smaller towns. Boulder and most of the front range is very crowded and boulder is very expensive. I spend a lot of time, one weekend a month, in CO Springs as my in-laws live there. The west side of town is the better area as there is so much sprawl to the east. I like the people there in general, little more "normal"/varied than Boulder and you can get a much better home for the price than other areas on the front range.

I would also add Salida/Buena Vista to the list -- very dry, better weather, very easy access to outdoors activities but may be too small town for some.

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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by alfaspider » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:15 am

victorb wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:19 pm
Just entered retirement recently and have been reading about good cities to live in. Colorado Springs was one of the cities named and it looks like a nice place to live. Does anyone have first hand experience living in Colorado Springs or any other city in Colorado?
Currently living in Minnesota and the state is not tax friendly.
I'd spend time in various parts of Colorado before choosing. I lived in Colorado Springs for four years. It's a neat town in some ways, but probably not my first choice for retirement- there's a lot of suburban sprawl and chain stores/restaurants. That said, the outdoor activities are pretty good (though skiing is a surprisingly long drive away).

Personally, I'd prefer Boulder if cost were no object. If cost were a consideration, I'd look at Grand Junction- it's closer to skiing, world-class mountain biking, and the Western slope is much less crowded for outdoor activities. It also has a very good hospital for a city of its size. Downside is that its far from any major city, and is expensive to fly in and out of. The immediate area is more desert southwest in terms of views than traditional Colorado mountains, although the traditional mountain views are a fairly short trip away.

COFF
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by COFF » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:34 am

I think you first need to figure out why you want to move to Colorado, I hope it is not just for tax purposes. Like many have said the secret of Colorado is out and for us that have made Colorado home for the last 3 decades it is very unfortunate. As a retiree I would not move to the front range of Colorado at least not Denver or the surrounding area way too congested. We live in Lakewood, the west side of Denver and it takes my wife 60 to 75 minutes to commute to work which is only 12 miles away. Our plan is to stay here until retirement about 20 years and then get out. In the mean time we are looking at buying a place in the mountains (Steamboat Springs) area and build a cabin, I plan on spending all my free time there. As others have said check out Western Colorado (Grand Junction, Steamboat, Glenwood Springs, Salida) all of these places I would much rather prefer to live just for the sake of having some elbow room. As a side note the Denver Metro area has gotten very expensive for housing cost and seem like there is no slowing down, I think the CO springs is considerably cheaper to buy. We had family in from California this past weekend and the had not been to Denver in about 5-6 years and they said they couldn't believe all the growth, worst of all they stated how much it reminded them of California with all the subdivisions and houses so close together (6 feet apart.) I understand that growth is important and I don't want to live in an area that is dying but things need to slow down. Denver will do anything to continue to attract business regardless of the toll it takes on local infrastructure (roads, schools, public safety etc.) Sorry thats my soapbox and I will get off now. Best of luck in your decision.

dbr
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by dbr » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:43 am

The front range is a sprawling, congested, expensive place to live. Recreational opportunities abound and are also overrun with people. If you are already generally content with Minnesota you are probably not motivated to seek a less brutally cold winter. If you are motivated by that, then that is a plus in this case. Unless you actually go into a small mountain town of some sort the plains of CO have gotten hotter over the years, not that MN does not have summer heat.

As far as taxes, I suspect that finding housing you want in a location you want will, comparing apples and oranges, be so much more expensive as to wipe out any tax concerns. Note if you do move to rural areas of the state for cheaper housing you also forego the advantages of an urban area such as arts, culture, events (Broncos, Rockies), shopping, restaurants, services, health care, etc. It really depends on what you are comparing to, Twin Cities or "up north."

Iliketoridemybike
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by Iliketoridemybike » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:55 am

My wife and I think the transportation options in Denver have actually improved. We live in the south 'burbs and utilize light rail to get into downtown a lot. We love all the new restaurants and entertainment options without having the need to park or worry about driving after a couple of drinks. We have also learned to pair light rail with Uber to expand our options for things to do in the city. Denver is truly becoming world class.
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emoore
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by emoore » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:00 am

I live in the Denver burbs (Highlands Ranch) and love it here. Been here for a decade and have no plans to live. Contrary to others I don't think the urban sprawl is that bad but this is the least populated are I've lived (Chicago, LA, Bay Area) and it's not even close to the sprawl and congestion in those cities. Access to the mountains is great and the job market is terrific. Even though you are retired you might still want to pick up a job here or there. I feel like Denver is becoming a small big city vs a big small town which is what it used to be when I moved here. I don't think that's a bad thing but it doesn't seem like the locals like it. Colorado springs is much less congested but is being built up pretty fast, especially the north side.

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rustymutt
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by rustymutt » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:07 am

Some years back, my ex and me looked into the Fort Collins area, and decided we couldn't afford it. Housing is through the roof expensive. And it wasn't at all fancy, but plain for housing. We've also looked into CS, which was cheaper living, but..... they have forest that catch fire in the foothills, black hills, and that whole area is a high dry landscape til it rains, then you have the frequent hail storms in summer. Ultra dry air and more UV rays takes it's tole on your skin, and respiratory systems. I admit that the west slope areas appealed to me, but I've not spent as much time there, so can't really comment. Down south is Pueblo, and if you like good food it had it's share of that. With more spanish influence, it's hot and dry. More sunny days than San Diego, Ca. Also has a state college. More of working class people than the northern east slope cities. I felt at home there, as I too was working class til I retired. And if you like chiles, they grow and smoke green chiles alongside the roads and the smell is unbelievable. Be aware that any were in Colorado, the ground is unstable, expansive, and you want an engineered foundation, or will have cracks in walls and flatwork. :sharebeer
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dbr
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by dbr » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:17 am

emoore wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:00 am
I live in the Denver burbs (Highlands Ranch) and love it here. Been here for a decade and have no plans to live. Contrary to others I don't think the urban sprawl is that bad but this is the least populated are I've lived (Chicago, LA, Bay Area) and it's not even close to the sprawl and congestion in those cities. Access to the mountains is great and the job market is terrific. Even though you are retired you might still want to pick up a job here or there. I feel like Denver is becoming a small big city vs a big small town which is what it used to be when I moved here. I don't think that's a bad thing but it doesn't seem like the locals like it. Colorado springs is much less congested but is being built up pretty fast, especially the north side.
It's all in the comparisons. I am rather familiar with Chicago and the Bay Area and have lived in LA. I would say you would be insane to prefer Chicago or LA to Denver. The Bay Area might be harder to give up, but then look at Bay Area costs.

new2bogle
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by new2bogle » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:14 am

I lived in Broomfield and commuted to Boulder for a short time. I really loved both places. Excellent scenery, culture, eats, etc.

srmach05
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by srmach05 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:34 am

If you are retired and have the freedom that comes with that (economic, no need for good schools, etc), I'd look at smaller towns around Colorado. Colorado Springs, Denver, Boulder, FC, are all relatively large cities and are great but why deal with the congestion if you don't have to? Maybe check out Evergreen or Conifer if you still prefer being near-ish to Denver, or check out towns further West -- Eagle, Glenwood Springs, Steamboat, Durango are some examples.

The Front Range is definitely getting somewhat crowded, but as you head west it calms down quite a bit.

SimonJester
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by SimonJester » Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:03 pm

Sidney wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:04 am
Isn't that where they turned off all the street lights to save money?
They also took away the garbage cans in all the parks.

They do these things leading up to a ballot initiative asking for more tax money. I guess they figure if they punish us we will vote to increase our taxes. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

The past few years they stopped repairing the pot holes in the streets. It got so bad you almost needed 4wheel drive to get around town. They said there was a 100 year backlog on filling pot holes. Then we voted for a big tax increase and wow the pot holes were all filled.
They are trying to bring back the rain tax this year, we shall see how that goes.

So you can see as others have pointed out its grown tremendously in the past few decades, however infrastructure just has not kept up.

As far as retiring here, we have a flat income tax 4.63% , a semi high sales tax 8.25%, and a low but increasing property tax rate. We have two seasons, Hot and cold. However we get a lot of sun throughout the year. Its not a walker / biker friendly city in my mind, so you need a vehicle to get around.


Funny antidote to the street light debacle ; once the street lights were turned off copper thieves stripped the copper out of the light poles. It ended up costing the city much more in repairing the street lights then they saved by turning them off.
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b4real
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by b4real » Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:11 pm

We moved from the northeast last year to retire in Denver to be close to DD and her family. This has been a great move for us. Lots of recreation and cultural activities. Traffic OK except on the interstates at rush hour - not a problem when retired. An unexpected bonus is almost no bugs to deal with - have not even seen a mosquito! So far, weather has been great. The city is vibrant and growing. I would call it a small big city. Downsides are housing is expensive, lots of homeless downtown, and a generally liberal bent.

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telemark
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by telemark » Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:28 pm

High altitudes can be a problem for some people, especially if they have heart problems or develop them with age. There's no simple way to know if you will be one of those people, other than living there for a while.

Sidney
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by Sidney » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:39 pm

SimonJester wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:03 pm
Funny antidote to the street light debacle ; once the street lights were turned off copper thieves stripped the copper out of the light poles. It ended up costing the city much more in repairing the street lights then they saved by turning them off.
I'd forgotten that part. Poetic justice. Did they have to hire more police due to the increased crime too?
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.

FinTruth
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by FinTruth » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:21 pm

I have lived in C. Springs for the last 10 years. I have lived in N. California (2 years), S. California (6 years), various parts of IL(20+ years), and Texas(1yr). C. Springs is by far our favorite place we have lived. Second runner up was Cali, but far too expensive for us. Not that we couldnt afford it, just felt that we would both have to keep working forever.

Pros: Lots of sunshine, no bugs, and lots of outdoor activities (biking, hiking, camping, skiing within driving distance), very good elementary schools
Cons: Restaurants, specifically service in restaurants is lacking. We do drive to Denver when we want a really nice meal. This has been trending better over the last 10 years, so I imagine it will get even better as the city grows. There is also a lack of diversity which drives my wife nuts, since we are used to more diverse cities. Yes, the city management is dumb. Such as when they repaired the entrance to our neighborhood, and what they really did was patch a section, and then track tar from the trucks all over our street. Looked horrible, and still does. All my neighbors are furious. The flip side is that property taxes are crazy low, such as $1000-$3000/year, with the $3000 being the cost in some of the most expensive neighborhoods.

When we moved from Cali, my wife stopped working, and our standard of living went up dramatically. We wake up to a view of Pikes Peak in the morning from our home, go skiing all the time in the winter, and camp all the time. We really love Colorado, and C. Springs is growing on us so much that although we thought we would want to move to Denver at some point, we aren't planning that anymore. I say visit for a few weeks and form your own opinion, but we really like it.

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praxis
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by praxis » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:29 pm

We love Colorado. We retired 12 years ago and built a cabin in southern Colorado on the New Mexico border in the mountains at 9000'. We are pretty isolated (35 miles RT for groceries and restaurants). No other cabins in sight. We are not near a golf course or shopping mall and even the ski areas are 1-1/2 hours drive away. It took adjustment, but we are in heaven now. Nearest interesting towns are Taos, Santa Fe, Durango and Pagosa Springs. Nearest mountain trailhead is right outside our back door. Kayakable trout river runs through our forest. We go to Colorado Springs and Denver once in a while to visit friends and love the excitement and options while we're there. It's just more crowded than we prefer. Our "other" home is on the Gulf Coast so we don't live here in the winter except for some 1-2 week long ski trips. We travel a lot in the winter, and enjoy settling in during these stunning mountain summers. If I were to shop for a town on the front range, I would like to live in Castle Rock.

stlutz
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by stlutz » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:14 pm

When your're looking at moving to a rapidly growing community, I would try to find out what city the Chamber of Commerce types want to be like (since they tend to have a huge influence on development planning). I had a friend who used to work for the Denver Chamber (who since moved) who once told me when I commented on the rapid population growth there that Atlanta was their model. So, I would say, if you like Atlanta now, then move to Denver 'cause that's what it will be like in 10 years. If you like Denver now, then move to a place that is striving to be like Denver.

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victorb
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by victorb » Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:32 pm

Thank You for all the great answers and comments. We currently live in Bloomington, MN and are extremely happy with the way the city is run. There are certainly more pluses than negatives. The winters can be tough, but with retirement, I can wait a day and then the roads are all cleared and I have my driveway and sidewalk cleared. Taxes are bad, but as stated, one component and not the main reason to move. We plan on visiting the Colorado area and this gives more cities to visit and see what is important to me. With retirement, I can adjust my driving and stay out of the rush hour traffic. As far as healthcare, things to do, restaurants, etc.etc. etc....... we have a good mix and the Twin Cities 7 county metro area is almost 3 million people, so you can find almost anything. There are enough parks, lakes , bike trails, to keep us happy in that part of lives. I think Colorado appealed to me with the mountains, scenery and more moderate temps. I am not a hot weather person, so Phoenix and Florida do not appeal to me at all. Maybe to visit but not to live. We can travel up North to get away from people if necessary and that part of Minnesota is very pretty.
Hope that helps in seeing what appeals to us and again thank you for all the wonderful comments.

emoore
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by emoore » Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:04 pm

victorb wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:32 pm
Thank You for all the great answers and comments. We currently live in Bloomington, MN and are extremely happy with the way the city is run. There are certainly more pluses than negatives. The winters can be tough, but with retirement, I can wait a day and then the roads are all cleared and I have my driveway and sidewalk cleared. Taxes are bad, but as stated, one component and not the main reason to move. We plan on visiting the Colorado area and this gives more cities to visit and see what is important to me. With retirement, I can adjust my driving and stay out of the rush hour traffic. As far as healthcare, things to do, restaurants, etc.etc. etc....... we have a good mix and the Twin Cities 7 county metro area is almost 3 million people, so you can find almost anything. There are enough parks, lakes , bike trails, to keep us happy in that part of lives. I think Colorado appealed to me with the mountains, scenery and more moderate temps. I am not a hot weather person, so Phoenix and Florida do not appeal to me at all. Maybe to visit but not to live. We can travel up North to get away from people if necessary and that part of Minnesota is very pretty.
Hope that helps in seeing what appeals to us and again thank you for all the wonderful comments.
The weather will be quite different in Colorado compared to Minnesota. It does get hotter here but there is usually very low humidity which doesn't make it feel as hot. The one thing I miss living here are lakes. There are small reservoirs but no medium or large lakes. Growing up in Illinois there were always lakes to visit and go fishing and boating, not so much in Colorado. Coming from Minnesota you will notice the lack of water out here.

MathWizard
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by MathWizard » Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:46 pm

Colorado Springs is listed in:

Code: Select all

https://www.thestreet.com/story/13291294/2/the-15-best-places-to-live-in-the-united-states.html
but so is Sioux Falls SD.

That is about 15 minutes from Minn, and has no state income tax, unlike Minn or Colorado, though
Colorado has a lower top tax rate than Minn. See

Code: Select all

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_income_tax


In Colorado, I'd probably go for Boulder, which is ranked higher on the list above.

MtnTraveler
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by MtnTraveler » Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:08 pm

Live in the Springs and while I'm not retired I love it here. I've lived on the east coast and at the end of the day this is where I'm meant to be. I live less than a block from hiking trails and can make it to Breckenridge to ski in 2 hrs. The Springs is in a huge growth spurt at the moment which coupled with low interest rates make it a sellers market. I live on the West side of town which isn't a house building hot spot as almost all of the land that can be developed has been developed. The east side of town is growing like gangbusters and is the definition of urban sprawl. There is good and bad to each section of town and each subsection of that section. As someone mentioned the street lights were turned off a few years ago but they have been turned back on and trash service at the neighborhood parks has been restored. That is the negative about the Springs and Colorado in general - TABOR. Basically the government can't keep any extra funds and anything beyond subpar road maintenance, etc has to go up for a vote. Colorado is a penny pinching state so it takes a lot for any extra funding measures to get approved (some justified, some not).

I couldn't live in Denver (too far from the mountains - I like to live in the mountains not have them in the distance) but haven't spent really any time in Boulder other than visiting the university to have an opinion on that city.

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BolderBoy
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by BolderBoy » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:31 am

MathWizard wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:46 pm
In Colorado, I'd probably go for Boulder, which is ranked higher on the list above.
Be advised that Boulder is the most expensive city in the state.
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dbr
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by dbr » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:41 am

BolderBoy wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:31 am
MathWizard wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:46 pm
In Colorado, I'd probably go for Boulder, which is ranked higher on the list above.
Be advised that Boulder is the most expensive city in the state.
It always seems to come down to little glitches like that. A person who really wants to live there would not be put off. Not wealthy enough to afford it? Well, tough break.

open_circuit
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Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Post by open_circuit » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:43 am

BolderBoy wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:31 am
MathWizard wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:46 pm
In Colorado, I'd probably go for Boulder, which is ranked higher on the list above.
Be advised that Boulder is the most expensive city in the state.
Average home price in Boulder passed 1 million over a year ago. Good luck. http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-busi ... rpasses-1m

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