Relocate to Charleston SC?

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Topic Author
heymary
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:36 pm

Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by heymary » Mon May 20, 2019 5:16 pm

Hi there,

I’ve posted over the last months trying to manage an unexpected retirement at age 58

Based on all your advice I’ve adjusted investments (switched to VG, index funds, rebalance allocations) . And other stuff (deciding to sell some property). And I’m trying to get new consulting work (have sent out proposals, nothing confirmed).

I *think* the next thing I gotta do is relocate. I currently live in Santa Monica @ $2400/month rent. I don’t think I’m going to find significantly cheaper rent in SoCal and it’s a crappy place to be poor

I’ve looked at all the LCOL “cheapest places to live” and it’s a little distressing as a single, 58 year old, low income woman to think of moving to any
of them just to be more frugal. Ugh.

One city that would actually interest me is Charleston SC. Its def not LCOL, but rents are about 30% less than SoCal (and even less if I co-house). Plus Charleston has things that are important to me (history, diversity, surfing, cycling). I’ve checked volunteer & political groups that I’d join and ideal neighborhoods (ie roughly around 29403)(slightly north & east of downtown).

The downside is that if I get any consulting work it will be remote but definitely need to meet clients every month or two months in Vegas, on relatively short notice. Flights Charleston to Vegas (one week notice) are about $650 vs $180 from LA to Vegas …plus maybe an extra hotel night (10+ hr travel, no direct) But that’s assuming I secure new client(s) in which case my added income would more than cover.

I also need to visit family & rental properties in Canada 3x per year and those flights are about double $650 vs $300.

So I could save $12K a year on rent and spend $1K a year more on non-work flights. Moving costs would be about $2.5K (already downsizing, would need smallest 5ft pod, and then drive out my 2013 very low mileage camry)

I’d welcome any thoughts about Charleston SC / and this general plan, especially if you've ever done similar.

I’d also welcome advice on how I explain to family, friends that I have to move. I think its obvious that I’m going thru difficulties but have never opened up to say how bad.

My basic info is copied in again below.
*****
Age 58
Current rental Income (net) $1000/month
Current annuity: $600/month
SSN @ 62 $1200/month
VG MM/Cash $120,000
VG Investment: $45,000
VG SEP IRA: $440,000
Allocation: 50/50
Real estate: $850,000
Mortgage : $200,000

bayview
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by bayview » Mon May 20, 2019 5:22 pm

I love Charleston, but Lordy, the heat and humidity from around May through September...

Many aren’t bothered at all, whereas I just wilt.

I think I like Savannah GA more than Charleston. I don’t know how it compares to Charleston on your checklist though. And of course, the weather is very similar.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

EdNorton
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by EdNorton » Mon May 20, 2019 5:24 pm

I would recommend you look at Beaufort, SC. Maybe an hour south of Charleston, at a 50% discount. We spend the winter on Harbor Island, just outside of Beaufort. Beaufort has a beautiful historic downtown with a nice, hip restaurant scene. Summers can be brutal. A lot slower pace and much less traffic than nearby Hilton Head.
Outside a dog, a book is man's best friend, inside a dog, it's too dark to read - Groucho

renue74
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by renue74 » Mon May 20, 2019 5:27 pm

We live about a 2 hour drive to Charleston.

The city is beautiful and one of my favorite weekend getaways. The real estate market is super hot.

I would imagine it would be easier to meet new friends there. There are a lot of “expats” who relocated there.

Food is awesome. History and culture is there.

I would not choose savannah over Charleston.

You should look at flights from Columbia to vegas. Or perhaps savannah to vegas.

jeroly
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:07 pm

Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by jeroly » Mon May 20, 2019 8:57 pm

If you've got $650k net after mortgage and you're only netting $12k/ year from it, possibly not including the cost of visiting the property regularly, then I'd suggest that you're better off selling the property and putting the proceeds in a diversified financial portfolio.

Big picture, though... You've got about $1.25 million in assets. At a 4% withdrawal rate that's $50k/yr, which isn't bad especially since it doesn't include the $15k/yr you'll be getting from SS down the road.

Old Guy
Posts: 323
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:20 am

Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by Old Guy » Mon May 20, 2019 9:04 pm

I live in Hilton Head. Yes, Beaufort is cheaper than Charleston but also a whole less lot interesting.

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Watty
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by Watty » Mon May 20, 2019 9:36 pm

heymary wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 5:16 pm
I’ve looked at all the LCOL “cheapest places to live” and it’s a little distressing as a single, 58 year old, low income woman to think of moving to any of them just to be more frugal. Ugh
You might also consider college towns. Many of them are affordable and have a lot going on. They often have strong economies where you you might be able to more to get full or part time work if you wanted to.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_c ... ted_States

For example Athens Georgia is less than two hours from the Atlanta airport so you should have good connections for flights. I'm not real familiar with the housing there but I took a quick look and it looks like you might be able to get a nice condo for maybe $150K there.

I have only visited Charleston and Savannah and they both have some great interesting areas but my impression is that they both also have some really bad and marginal parts of town so you need to be careful at looking at things like housing on the internet.
jeroly wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 8:57 pm
If you've got $650k net after mortgage and you're only netting $12k/ year from it, possibly not including the cost of visiting the property regularly, then I'd suggest that you're better off selling the property and putting the proceeds in a diversified financial portfolio.
+1

Having so much of your net worth in that property is also a diversification problem.

Topic Author
heymary
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Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:36 pm

Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by heymary » Mon May 20, 2019 10:12 pm

Jeroly, my return on real estate is so low because of rent control. On the other hand, I have great long term tenants. Also my sister lives in the inlaw suite of one of them. I will definitely sell that one when she wants to move and put proceeds into a diversified portfolio.

Renue thanks for the tips. Savannah flights are about the same price, but would give more flexibility. But COLUMBIA, that's another thing all together, flights to Vegas are about half the price, with a perfect 2:30pm departure so I'm not driving at 4am.

Can I just ask, have any of you moved primarily to save money, and, if yes, what do you say to people?

Dottie57
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Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm

Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by Dottie57 » Mon May 20, 2019 10:17 pm

heymary wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 10:12 pm
Jeroly, my return on real estate is so low because of rent control. On the other hand, I have great long term tenants. Also my sister lives in the inlaw suite of one of them. I will definitely sell that one when she wants to move and put proceeds into a diversified portfolio.

Renue thanks for the tips. Savannah flights are about the same price, but would give more flexibility. But COLUMBIA, that's another thing all together, flights to Vegas are about half the price, with a perfect 2:30pm departure so I'm not driving at 4am.

Can I just ask, have any of you moved primarily to save money, and, if yes, what do you say to people?
Why not move to Las Vegas if you may need to meet clients there?

SC is HUMID in the summer ( spring and fall too). You could not pay me enough to live there.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon May 20, 2019 10:23 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 10:17 pm
heymary wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 10:12 pm
Jeroly, my return on real estate is so low because of rent control. On the other hand, I have great long term tenants. Also my sister lives in the inlaw suite of one of them. I will definitely sell that one when she wants to move and put proceeds into a diversified portfolio.

Renue thanks for the tips. Savannah flights are about the same price, but would give more flexibility. But COLUMBIA, that's another thing all together, flights to Vegas are about half the price, with a perfect 2:30pm departure so I'm not driving at 4am.

Can I just ask, have any of you moved primarily to save money, and, if yes, what do you say to people?
Why not move to Las Vegas if you may need to meet clients there?

SC is HUMID in the summer ( spring and fall too). You could not pay me enough to live there.
The parents lived in Savannah. I hated visiting there except during the winter. High heat and extreme humidity. If you do think you want to move there make sure you experience summer before making the decision.

AZ, NV, and NM are a lot closer to CA and considerably cheaper than CA.

UpperNwGuy
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Mon May 20, 2019 10:45 pm

My father lives on James Island in Charleston County and has had to evacuate three times in the last three years because of September hurricanes. He’s 6 miles inland.

Admiral
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by Admiral » Tue May 21, 2019 6:20 am

What are your monthly expenses as a ratio to income? We need your portfolio draw.

The reason is because there may be a solution other than moving. You have decent assets but seem to have relatively poor cashflow. As another poster said, liquidating might allow you to stay. It also might allow you to NOT take SS at 62, which is likely a REALLY bad idea for someone with more than $1m in assets.

I would not move from SM to Charleston to save $1k per month if I would then have to not only buy more expensive airline tickets (regularly) but be at the mercy of the airlines for work. Your $1k saving could be halved if ticket prices rise (or one airline pulls out of a route, and you're at the mercy of only one carrier).

This does not seem like a well thought out plan. Could you simply live in one of your rentals? If you own prop, why do you want to rent during your retirement?

Sorry, things are just not adding up for me here!

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by RickBoglehead » Tue May 21, 2019 6:39 am

I would suggest that you relook at your numbers very carefully.

I'd also suggest that you not worry about what others think about why you might move.

Hilton Head traffic is insane. Beaufort is very undeveloped as compared to Charleston, but much of it in a not-nice-undeveloped way. We considered it, then looked at Charleston, and put Beaufort on a back burner due to lack of amenities, availability of high quality medical care, culture, etc.

We are currently considering more in-land SC, including the Lake Keowee area, but have yet to visit. Expectation is that humidity is less severe and fewer months. We want a longer warm season than Michigan provides.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

Valuethinker
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Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by Valuethinker » Tue May 21, 2019 7:17 am

heymary wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 5:16 pm
Hi there,

I’ve posted over the last months trying to manage an unexpected retirement at age 58

Based on all your advice I’ve adjusted investments (switched to VG, index funds, rebalance allocations) . And other stuff (deciding to sell some property). And I’m trying to get new consulting work (have sent out proposals, nothing confirmed).

I *think* the next thing I gotta do is relocate. I currently live in Santa Monica @ $2400/month rent. I don’t think I’m going to find significantly cheaper rent in SoCal and it’s a crappy place to be poor

I’ve looked at all the LCOL “cheapest places to live” and it’s a little distressing as a single, 58 year old, low income woman to think of moving to any
of them just to be more frugal. Ugh.

One city that would actually interest me is Charleston SC. Its def not LCOL, but rents are about 30% less than SoCal (and even less if I co-house). Plus Charleston has things that are important to me (history, diversity, surfing, cycling). I’ve checked volunteer & political groups that I’d join and ideal neighborhoods (ie roughly around 29403)(slightly north & east of downtown).

The downside is that if I get any consulting work it will be remote but definitely need to meet clients every month or two months in Vegas, on relatively short notice. Flights Charleston to Vegas (one week notice) are about $650 vs $180 from LA to Vegas …plus maybe an extra hotel night (10+ hr travel, no direct) But that’s assuming I secure new client(s) in which case my added income would more than cover.

I also need to visit family & rental properties in Canada 3x per year and those flights are about double $650 vs $300.

So I could save $12K a year on rent and spend $1K a year more on non-work flights. Moving costs would be about $2.5K (already downsizing, would need smallest 5ft pod, and then drive out my 2013 very low mileage camry)

I’d welcome any thoughts about Charleston SC / and this general plan, especially if you've ever done similar.

I’d also welcome advice on how I explain to family, friends that I have to move. I think its obvious that I’m going thru difficulties but have never opened up to say how bad.

My basic info is copied in again below.
*****
Age 58
Current rental Income (net) $1000/month
Current annuity: $600/month
SSN @ 62 $1200/month
VG MM/Cash $120,000
VG Investment: $45,000
VG SEP IRA: $440,000
Allocation: 50/50
Real estate: $850,000
Mortgage : $200,000
1. Canada is overvalued in housing market terms - at least Vancouver and Toronto are (not sure about other cities). The country has ridden a crazy RE bubble up - on many bases that bubble is bigger as the US one that peaked in 2006.

I know house prices are down c. 15% in GTA & GVA since their absolute peaks, but I think they could fall a lot further. The southern Ontario economy seems to be just about real estate and I gather Vancouver is even worse.

If you are not getting a good rental yield on those properties, you should consider selling them -- subject to family issues. I would say a good rental yield is 5-6% net return ( (rental income- costs)/ value or "cap rate"; I realize it's been a long time since a new home buyer in GTA or GVA has earned those kind of returns -- I have a friend in Vancouver (Yaletown) who was getting less than 2% yield on his rented condo).

I am not sure but if you sell them from outside of Canada would you not pay the US capital gains tax rate (which is high in California?) not the Canadian one? That alone might justify changing residence to a low tax state for a year.

2. as per others if you can delay SS you should. Every additional year of delay gives you more inflation-protected income as a baseline.

3. if you have not lived in the climate and culture of the American south, I would definitely want to try that with a view that it might not suit. I sometimes joke the real border in America is not at Niagara Falls, but on the Mason-Dixon line (that determined whether your state was in the Confederacy or the Union in the American Civil War). That is of course a gross oversimplification. But the culture is different down there - particularly outside of the big cities - different does not necessarily mean better or worse. Certainly very different from coastal California.

The climate has to be experienced to be believed - Toronto is hot & humid in summer, but not like that (for more than a few days).

My impression is the Atlantic coastal experience in the USA is quite different from the Pacific coastal one - so that's something to investigate.

Are there no other areas closer to your clients, with a dryer climate, that you could try?

For example San Diego? Is there anywhere affordable outside Portland OR? That has a major airport & the coast.

The general principle of "explaining" things in life is not to. Anything but the truth usually sounds quite false and alerts the recipient that they do not have the whole story.

"I decided to try living in another part of the country -- so I moved". That's all you need to say. (You might, or might not, say that you were ready to downshift).

renue74
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Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:24 pm

Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by renue74 » Tue May 21, 2019 8:03 am

I don't think telling folks you moved to a new city to save money is a good thing to say....or to really do.

I think you should make the decision to move based on where and what you want out of a city...with cost of living being a secondary thing. You already live in a HCOL area.

If I were moving to Charleston, I would move there for the culture, food, coast, and nice people. (A lot of times people from the north will mention the people are "overly" nice and you have to "get used to that.") .

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Watty
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by Watty » Tue May 21, 2019 8:08 am

Several people mentioned the humidity. Don't underestimate this and be sure to take a trip there in late July or August to see what it is like then. You mentioned doing things like cycling. Plan on renting a bike and going for a long ride in the afternoon in August. :mrgreen:

Being right on the coast is a lot different than being ten miles inland so be sure to check out the inland areas since you may not be able to afford to live right on the coast.

You will be running your air conditioning most of the year and your utility bills will be higher than in California so that will offset part of your rent savings so be sure to factor that into your plans.

RadAudit
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by RadAudit » Tue May 21, 2019 8:11 am

adamthesmythe wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 10:23 pm
The parents lived in Savannah. I hated visiting there except during the winter. High heat and extreme humidity. If you do think you want to move there make sure you experience summer before making the decision.

AZ, NV, and NM are a lot closer to CA and considerably cheaper than CA.
Make sure you visit SC / GA and NM / AZ in the summer before the move. It'll give you an opportunity to finally resolve the eternal observation - "It's not the heat, it's the humidity." Either choice can be a little trying in the summer.
FI is the best revenge. LBYM. Invest the rest. Stay the course. - PS: The cavalry isn't coming, kids. You are on your own.

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yukonjack
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by yukonjack » Tue May 21, 2019 9:18 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 7:17 am
heymary wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 5:16 pm
Hi there,

I’ve posted over the last months trying to manage an unexpected retirement at age 58

Based on all your advice I’ve adjusted investments (switched to VG, index funds, rebalance allocations) . And other stuff (deciding to sell some property). And I’m trying to get new consulting work (have sent out proposals, nothing confirmed).

I *think* the next thing I gotta do is relocate. I currently live in Santa Monica @ $2400/month rent. I don’t think I’m going to find significantly cheaper rent in SoCal and it’s a crappy place to be poor

I’ve looked at all the LCOL “cheapest places to live” and it’s a little distressing as a single, 58 year old, low income woman to think of moving to any
of them just to be more frugal. Ugh.

One city that would actually interest me is Charleston SC. Its def not LCOL, but rents are about 30% less than SoCal (and even less if I co-house). Plus Charleston has things that are important to me (history, diversity, surfing, cycling). I’ve checked volunteer & political groups that I’d join and ideal neighborhoods (ie roughly around 29403)(slightly north & east of downtown).

The downside is that if I get any consulting work it will be remote but definitely need to meet clients every month or two months in Vegas, on relatively short notice. Flights Charleston to Vegas (one week notice) are about $650 vs $180 from LA to Vegas …plus maybe an extra hotel night (10+ hr travel, no direct) But that’s assuming I secure new client(s) in which case my added income would more than cover.

I also need to visit family & rental properties in Canada 3x per year and those flights are about double $650 vs $300.

So I could save $12K a year on rent and spend $1K a year more on non-work flights. Moving costs would be about $2.5K (already downsizing, would need smallest 5ft pod, and then drive out my 2013 very low mileage camry)

I’d welcome any thoughts about Charleston SC / and this general plan, especially if you've ever done similar.

I’d also welcome advice on how I explain to family, friends that I have to move. I think its obvious that I’m going thru difficulties but have never opened up to say how bad.

My basic info is copied in again below.
*****
Age 58
Current rental Income (net) $1000/month
Current annuity: $600/month
SSN @ 62 $1200/month
VG MM/Cash $120,000
VG Investment: $45,000
VG SEP IRA: $440,000
Allocation: 50/50
Real estate: $850,000
Mortgage : $200,000
3. if you have not lived in the climate and culture of the American south, I would definitely want to try that with a view that it might not suit. I sometimes joke the real border in America is not at Niagara Falls, but on the Mason-Dixon line (that determined whether your state was in the Confederacy or the Union in the American Civil War). That is of course a gross oversimplification. But the culture is different down there - particularly outside of the big cities - different does not necessarily mean better or worse. Certainly very different from coastal California.
IMO this is one of your more important considerations, especially coming from coastal California. Culturally you are essentially moving to a different country. I would want a certain comfort level with living below the MD line before committing to a move.

flyninjasquirrel
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by flyninjasquirrel » Tue May 21, 2019 9:22 am

I lived in Charleston (Mount Pleasant) for 5 years. There were good and bad things about living there and I do miss it because it is a truly unique place. In the end, if you love the coast there are probably easier places to live. If you don't love the coast, don't live there.

What I liked: history/culture/architecture, living there felt a little like you were always on vacation, food/drink is some of the best in US and there are always tons of activities going on, natural beauty, everything I needed was within biking distance of my home (shopping, groceries, food/drink)

Why I wouldn't want to live there long-term:

Traffic/tourists: Charleston proper is a peninsula surrounded by water meaning there are limited ways to get places (i.e. bridges) so it makes the traffic terrible especially during tourist season (which is basically 9-10 months out of the year these days). All the bridges get backed up and downtown especially. The beach during tourist season is very annoying, parking is impossible unless you get out there at 8 AM or bike to the beach.

FLOODING: this is a big one and plays into the above. Downtown Charleston is underwater any time it rains and it is high tide. This happens with alarming frequency and is just getting worse as sea levels rise. The flooding shuts down many roads and on many occasions prevented me from getting home from work and vice versa.

Other weather: I wouldn't say summers here are any worse heat-wise than anywhere else in the South. But if you know the Southeast you know there are 3-4 months where you basically have to stay inside due to oppressive heat and humidity (unless you are at the beach). The bugs are terrible during this time and I would get bit by mosquitoes on the walk from my car to my house (<10 feet). Also, roaches down there are affectionally called "Palmetto bugs". They are everywhere. They will get in your home. Get used to it.

Also, the area in which you are looking to live is not a very well to do area. Although there is some gentrification going on, most of the crime happens in that area extending up through North Charleston.

GR8FUL-D
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Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 12:14 pm

Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by GR8FUL-D » Tue May 21, 2019 10:02 am

I am very familiar with all the cities / towns mentioned above; obviously it all comes down to personal preference, but imho Charleston>Savannah>Beaufort. That said, moving from southern California (Santa Monica in particular) to any of those places is going to be somewhat akin to moving to another country. Weather, culture, etc., vastly different.

Someone mentioned Athens, GA.; that might be a city worth looking into...cool college town, easy access to ATL airport which provides for cheap flights anywhere in the world. Other LCOL cities / college towns you might want to look into would be Knoxville or Chattanooga, TN.

If quick/easy/cheap access to Las Vegas is important, Flagstaff, AZ, Reno, NV, or Denver, CO all might be worth considering.

Sounds like your semi-retired already and can work remotely--would it be feasible to rent a short-term apt for a month or two in each location you're interested in before making a decision & the big move?

Whatever you decide--good luck!

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3CT_Paddler
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Location: Marietta, GA

Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by 3CT_Paddler » Tue May 21, 2019 10:29 am

I grew up in Charleston, and still have family there. In hindsight I appreciate it more now that I have been away. Some of the locals have a certain pride or snootiness about being a true Charlestonian - while still being courteous to most strangers. In many fields there the job market is below average compared to other cities in the Southeast and beyond.

The area has been growing a ton over the past 20 years and it will only continue. If you can afford to live downtown, its a great place to live. Its a melting pot of people across the county, so I wouldn't worry too much about "culture" shock from California. Once you are outside of the downtown area, its no different from any other area along the coast - lots of single family development mixed with big box stores. You could also look at mid-Atlantic coastal towns like Annapolis - its very close to DC without being in DC and tons of historic architecture and great food.

I agree with others opinion that towns like Athens, Chattanooga and Asheville might not be as expensive with better seasons and still have what you are looking for. They are not on the beach... I guess you have to determine how important that is to you.

Prahasaurus
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by Prahasaurus » Tue May 21, 2019 12:59 pm

I'm not really sure why you are so eager to move, or think it brings any significant benefits. It's incredibly disruptive to move out of a home, much less a town, and you want to move across country? South Carolina is a completely different culture and climate, are you sure you want to do this? Just to save 12k USD per year, at best? And probably zero savings in the first year, with relocation and other expenses. What happens if you hate it?

If you want better climate and lower costs, what about Mexico or Latin America? Puerto Rico? I'm sure you could find some incredible surfing there, if that's your thing. Probably much cheaper, better food, and lots of ex pats if you don't (yet) speak Spanish.

Or as some have suggested, move to Nevada to be closer to your clients. Ok, you might not find great surfing, but cross country skiing? Or windsurfing, perhaps? And in any case, you're 58. I'm close to that age, so I feel I can say this: you probably won't be surfing for too much longer. So I'm not sure I would base my life around finding a place to surf when you may have some difficulties in a few years doing just that. Again, no offense, perhaps you'll continue to surf in your 90's, I'm just thinking of statistics here...

I'm from the south. I have a love hate relationship with the south. It's a strange, crazy, wonderful, infuriating place, and South Carolina is one of the strangest of the lot. As they said before the Civil War, the state is too small for a country, too big for an insane asylum. That's South Carolina... :-). And while I'm a proud southerner, I've lived happily in Europe for the past 20 years, and long lost my southern accent.

Although I must admit I'm also looking to move there in a couple of years (perhaps). Not to SC, which is just too crazy for me, but to NC, where my parents still live. They are getting very old now, and I want to help take care of them. But I, too, have issues with my work. I have my own company, and in my case, I'll need to fly to Europe and the Middle East to work with my main clients. Not going to be easy...

Good luck to you. It almost seems as if the costs are not the main issue for you. You may be searching for something else, something you haven't found in California. If that's the case, I hope you find it. If that's not the case - if it's truly only about costs - then please think about staying where you are, and perhaps making a few more adjustments so the numbers work out.

John Z
Posts: 371
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by John Z » Tue May 21, 2019 3:05 pm

Agree with most of the comments above but to offer an alternative if you are going to relocate. You chose SC because the cost of living is lower than many states as is FL. You could consider living outside and south of Charlotte NC in an area just across the border in SC. Rock Hill, SC is a lovely community just a few miles from the Charlotte airport which has many nonstop flights domestically and internationally. AA hub. The area has grown tremendously in the last decade and the highways are nearly keeping pace with the growth.

Since you are looking that far south, northern FL should also be a consideration and you could live reasonably well near the coast, like the JAX area. Further down you could live near the coast and use MCO, or further down yet, FLL. Any further south and you will experience traffic and congestion that you don't want to be part of.

As others have said, good luck in your decision.

Regattamom
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by Regattamom » Tue May 21, 2019 3:24 pm

Why move across country? I would stay on the west coast. You can find cheaper places to live than SoCal in many small cities and towns on the west coast.

I live in the PNW in a smallish city that's on the water. We have sailing, hiking, kayaking, rowing all right here. And snow skiing is 1.5 hours away and so is surfing. Seatac airport has lots of flights to Las Vegas and Canada every day. Or go further south and you can fly out of Portland.

There is a house in my nice, upper-middle class neighborhood that rents for $2,400. It's a 2800 sq foot, four bedroom 2.5 bath home on .4 acres. Surely you can find something that fits your needs at a much lower price. Yes, Seattle is expensive, but get out of Seattle and it's not too bad.

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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by duckcalldan » Tue May 21, 2019 4:34 pm

Regattamom wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 3:24 pm
Why move across country? I would stay on the west coast. You can find cheaper places to live than SoCal in many small cities and towns on the west coast.

I live in the PNW in a smallish city that's on the water. We have sailing, hiking, kayaking, rowing all right here. And snow skiing is 1.5 hours away and so is surfing. Seatac airport has lots of flights to Las Vegas and Canada every day. Or go further south and you can fly out of Portland.

There is a house in my nice, upper-middle class neighborhood that rents for $2,400. It's a 2800 sq foot, four bedroom 2.5 bath home on .4 acres. Surely you can find something that fits your needs at a much lower price. Yes, Seattle is expensive, but get out of Seattle and it's not too bad.
This. We have lived in coastal Virginia for 14 years. Originally from Bay Area and we have somehow managed 14 humid mid Atlantic/southern summers. We are downsizing to Tacoma for many of the above reasons. A smaller home there will cost about what our 4+ bedroom home will sell for here. We are excited.

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heymary
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by heymary » Tue May 21, 2019 11:25 pm

Thanks for all the thoughtful responses.

I do need to cut down on costs. I can't afford $2400/mo rent for a small loft studio (can't be shared). And I've never loved LA (except for the beach)

I liked a lot of ideas that were suggested. For one, just driving down and checking out San Diego a bit more. I've been to San Diego quite a few times but never really looked around to see what it would be like to live there. It's HCOL but seems to have a lot more / and cheaper studio and efficiency units. I could get to my (potential) clients in Vegas really easily.

And maybe also trying to budget to spend a couple of "working weeks" in Charleston, and some of the other nearby areas that were mentioned here, so I can see what the heat, humidity, mosquito, palmetto bugs are really like. It was August when I went there a few years ago and I don't remember being bothered by any of that, but it was a different time of life. I loved that quote that SC is " too small for a country...too big for an insane asylum" I know San Diego would make more sense but, I kinda do hope I do get to experience living in the South.

I think saying "I just decided to downshift" is about perfect as an explanation. And there are enough people moving around, prob won't seem unusual.

Anyhow, you have all given me way more perspective than I could have hoped from this posting!

rasta
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by rasta » Wed May 22, 2019 1:56 am

why not move to vegas?

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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by JDot » Wed May 22, 2019 2:27 am

This post won't be that useful. But, I love Charleston, SC. The food is like the NYC of the south. Better than Seattle and California imo. Folly Beach is fantastic. The humidity is something that most west coast people won't believe, but I think you get used to it. Charleston, SC isn't the "south". Charleston is Charleston. That's how they view themselves.

But I should add, I agree with some others: I'm not sure it makes sense to move from a HCOL area to a "somewhat" cheaper HCOL area just because of price. If you visit Charleston, SC and find that you really like it, then maybe move. But I'm not sure it's worth moving to a completely different location/culture just to save money when I think you could find something else to save more money. I've lived on east and west coast now.

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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by Valuethinker » Wed May 22, 2019 3:38 am

heymary wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 11:25 pm
Thanks for all the thoughtful responses.

I do need to cut down on costs. I can't afford $2400/mo rent for a small loft studio (can't be shared). And I've never loved LA (except for the beach)

I liked a lot of ideas that were suggested. For one, just driving down and checking out San Diego a bit more. I've been to San Diego quite a few times but never really looked around to see what it would be like to live there. It's HCOL but seems to have a lot more / and cheaper studio and efficiency units. I could get to my (potential) clients in Vegas really easily.

And maybe also trying to budget to spend a couple of "working weeks" in Charleston, and some of the other nearby areas that were mentioned here, so I can see what the heat, humidity, mosquito, palmetto bugs are really like. It was August when I went there a few years ago and I don't remember being bothered by any of that, but it was a different time of life. I loved that quote that SC is " too small for a country...too big for an insane asylum" I know San Diego would make more sense but, I kinda do hope I do get to experience living in the South.

I think saying "I just decided to downshift" is about perfect as an explanation. And there are enough people moving around, prob won't seem unusual.

Anyhow, you have all given me way more perspective than I could have hoped from this posting!
The other thought is that you go north along the Pacific Coast. Either the small towns north of LA area (even as far as Monterey? which has its own crazy & unique vibe) or up into Oregon & WA state.

If you don't have to drive in peak commuter hours, it would be feasible to live somewhere less convenient to the coast in San Diego, and drive to the beach?

If it is Cost of Living only, then cheap rental is probably Las Vegas? Not so good from a lifestyle point of view but close to your clients.

I cannot think of anywhere on the East Coast that would duplicate your lifestyle on the West Coast. Perhaps parts of Florida, but Florida is getting crowded, Miami in particular is not cheap (and it has hurricanes).

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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by lakpr » Wed May 22, 2019 7:23 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 3:38 am
I cannot think of anywhere on the East Coast that would duplicate your lifestyle on the West Coast. Perhaps parts of Florida, but Florida is getting crowded, Miami in particular is not cheap (and it has hurricanes).
I would suggest Norfolk / Virginia Beach in VA. We were there for some beach fun last summer, we loved it. But then we were only visiting, not living there year round.

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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by carolinaman » Wed May 22, 2019 8:04 am

I know Charleston pretty well as our daughter has lived in Mt Pleasant for 23 years. We live in Charlotte and visit Charleston often.

Charleston is very unique with lots of history, culture, great restaurants, beaches, etc. Housing costs vary a lot depending on the area you live in and there are some nice areas in the less expensive areas. It is hot and humid in the summer but it has wonderful weather in the rest of the year. Southern coastal areas are all hot and humid in the Summer. That would not deter me from living in and enjoying this great area. They have an occasional hurricane but most are not that bad. They have not sustained any damage to their homes during the entire time they have lived there.

My biggest criticism of Charleston is traffic. It has been discovered and is growing fast. Traffic is a problem, and due to the lowlands, they do not have as many roads as they need to cope with traffic. However, my daughter knows how to avoid most of traffic congestion by using side streets.

There are other areas that offer coastal living but none of these have all the other attributes Charleston has: history, culture.

I encourage you to check out Mt Pleasant. It is HCOL, at least for this area, but is a great city with easy access to public beaches. Best wishes.

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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by radiowave » Wed May 22, 2019 9:03 am

JDot wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 2:27 am
This post won't be that useful. But, I love Charleston, SC. The food is like the NYC of the south. Better than Seattle and California imo. Folly Beach is fantastic. The humidity is something that most west coast people won't believe, but I think you get used to it. Charleston, SC isn't the "south". Charleston is Charleston. That's how they view themselves.

But I should add, I agree with some others: I'm not sure it makes sense to move from a HCOL area to a "somewhat" cheaper HCOL area just because of price. If you visit Charleston, SC and find that you really like it, then maybe move. But I'm not sure it's worth moving to a completely different location/culture just to save money when I think you could find something else to save more money. I've lived on east and west coast now.
I lived in Charleston (James Island) for nearly a decade, left in 2010 now out west in CO. Yes, agree with above about CHS being a very unique place, plenty of history, excellent food, especially fresh seafood right off the dock. Property taxes are some of the lowest in the US. Beaches are quite good and I loved walking Folly Beach at sunset watching the shore birds and dolphin as the sun set over the marshes.

The bad news . . . hurricanes and flooding as well as summer thunderstorms and tornadoes. Also the bug are intense with mosquitoes, noseeums (gnats that are essentially flying teeth), and chiggers which get up you leg and itch intensely for about a week. Termites are also a problem. I used to wonder every fall whether we would have a house to live in after hurricane season finished.
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by coalcracker » Wed May 22, 2019 9:15 am

As others have suggested, you will need to prioritize your desires as you are unlikely to find one place with "everything" outside of where you currently live. Have you considered further north from L.A. as Valuethinker suggested?

We have friends who live in the San Luis Obispo area and have visited them multiple times in different seasons; the weather could not be more lovely, outdoor activities abound, and wine. However, history and culture are not particularly vibrant (well maybe a bit of history in SLO), and life if pretty quiet and slow.

Other friends live in Charleston. It's certainly a sauna there in the summer months, and quite a few coastal carolinians "reverse snowbird" to spend time in New England or somewhere else cooler during July and August.

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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by bayview » Wed May 22, 2019 6:15 pm

I sort of hate to suggest this, as we are being hit with influxes of recent retirees, etc., but I really love Asheville NC. Four real seasons, very tolerable summers other than a few spells of misery (if you don't have A/C), winters with 2-3 noticeable snows but plenty of cool crisp days, etc. Jaw-dropping scenery, surrounded by mountains, a big outdoor sports and recreation scene. AVL (airport) is adding a lot of flights, although you can expect to go through Charlotte (CLT), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Philly (PHL), and so forth. Otherwise, drive < hour and a half to Greeneville SC (GSP) or Charlotte to get Southwest, or two hours over the mountains to Knoxville TN (TYS) to get Frontier.

When DH got his surprise retirement from tech/finance due to the sin of turning 60, we stuck it out in the Bay Area for another few years and then moved here. The vibe in Asheville itself is very comfortable for those from the Bay Area etc - foodies, breweries everywhere, huge music scene, art scene, progressive political views etc. Much less culture shock that other Southern cities. (Note that things can change pretty rapidly as you move from the city, but nonetheless, Southern hospitality and manners rule in most cases.)

It is the most expensive area of NC to live in, but still well below prime California locations.

It is astonishing to see the number of ex-Cali's here. We run into one another all the time in restaurants, brewpubs, etc.

Whatever you do, I would strongly advise visiting each potential site for at least two weeks each (assuming that you can work remotely), preferably a month or more, before choosing. And then plan to rent for the first year before you decide this is The Spot.
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alpenglow
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by alpenglow » Thu May 23, 2019 12:31 pm

This may be way off-base, but if you have rental properties in Canada and you are interested in a small, hip city, have you considered Portland, ME?

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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by Bobby Lupo » Thu May 23, 2019 4:27 pm

I'm in Charleston (Kiawah Island) 4 or 5 times a year and it's unbearably hot and humid and buggy for almost half the year. I couldn't imagine relocating there from Santa Monica if your interests include surfing and hiking. I know that I can't speak for you, but I'd imagine you'll be bored out of your mind in Charleston in short order. It's a cute, charming, super preppie city, with some great restaurants (but how many times can someone eat overpriced shrimp and grits?), but it's a completely different culture than SoCal and will probably feel small and stifling to you.

You had mentioned San Diego.That's sounds like a much better fit for what you're looking for.

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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by jose » Fri May 24, 2019 4:52 am

Charleston is a very desirable (and desired) place to live. It is full of tourists, half of them thinking: can I live here? They ask "How much is a house like this?" "Can I get a job?"

The big decision is whether you want to move to the South. North America is a place with issues. Do you prefer heat and hurricanes, tornados, desert heat, earthquakes, fires, tons of snow, or a combination of them?

That said, let's talk about the South East. It gets hot in the summer, chilly in the winter. Summers are hot, which confines you to indoor from noon to 7pm. In the summer in Charleston, it rains most afternoons, which cools things down a bit.

Now, IF you decide to go with the South, your weather choices are these. South of D.C (included) it gets very hot. North of Florida you get cold (and humid) winters too. I would say go more south (mid FL) and at least have great winters.

Now this is important. If you value beauty, class, style, and character, nothing comes close to Charleston SC. Of course, I mean downtown Charleston. It is a never ending walkable city that will take you years to discover, in a very large metropolitan area, plus beaches. Charleston has changed a lot, it is not "the South" but becoming a hyp place, it is also a College town and is populated by people from all over. All of this comes at a price, as many people would love to move in and downtown Charleston is definitely a HCOL area and not affordable at all. It becomes much cheaper 10 miles away but then you have to drive through traffic and it is not the same.

I have a feeling that you want to move to experience a different part of the country and cost of living is just an excuse. If that is the case, go ahead and do it. It's your life!

Hope it helps.

jose

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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by pjhalifax » Fri May 24, 2019 7:33 am

This might seem totally out of left field, but I kept thinking about your post yesterday and this morning and thought I'd recommend considering Jacksonville, FL. I live in Beaufort, SC, and take day trips to Savannah and Charleston pretty often (lived in this area for 18 years). But over the past few years I've visited Jacksonville once or twice a year and really like the feel down there. It's probably too late at this point, but there are some nice, affordable neighborhoods and somehow the city has an undiscovered feel IMO. Just something to consider... Charleston is getting more expensive and crowded by the second so I'm always on the lookout for places that aren't "booming" quite so much.

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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by mhadden1 » Fri May 24, 2019 7:42 am

GR8FUL-D wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 10:02 am
Sounds like your semi-retired already and can work remotely--would it be feasible to rent a short-term apt for a month or two in each location you're interested in before making a decision & the big move?
A very fun suggestion. :happy
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heymary
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by heymary » Fri May 24, 2019 1:57 pm

Thanks for even more things to think about !!

My impetus to move is def related to money. I have no work right now. I'm not sure when / if ever I'll get new clients.My single biggest expense right is rent. I'm paying $2400 rent a month on about $3600 gross income. I'll end up pulling more than 4% if I live here for sure.

I need to find a way to live more cheaply --but still have enough fun that I don't go crazy.

SoCal/San Diego is a possibility if I'm super lucky finding a tiny efficiency apt.

Despite some of the negative comments, Charleston is still alluring because at least it would be new & distracting and reportedly 67% cheaper than Santa Monica in cost of living (mainly because of house price/rent price)

I'll definitely visit again to see if the heat/humidity is a problem but, i seriously didn't notice it when I visited before in the summer. I could be more heat tolerant (traveled lots in americas in hot/rainy season, no a/c and mostquito nets) (if that can be a comparison re weather)

Would love to hear from someone who just said to hell with it and moved to a new place, to get a new start on life, and found a rich cultural experience, and, well, also saved a fair amount of money.

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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by Sam1 » Fri May 24, 2019 2:25 pm

Here’s the problem with your assumption that housing will be much less expensive - Online stats are including parts of Charleston you’d never want to live in. You’re going to need to pay up to live anywhere desirable. I’m familiar with some of the nicer parts of Charleston and can’t imaigne finding a rental for less than $2,400 per month unless you’re talking about just a room.

I second the suggestion to look into Asheville. Housing, especially rentals, are actually reasonable and there is plenty to do. Great hiking, access to national parks, arts scene etc.

I’m familiar with both cities and would recommend asheville over Charleston any day. You can drive to Charlotte to access their large airport and fly direct and inexpensively. Flying out of Charleston means you’ll almost always have to connect.

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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by Sam1 » Fri May 24, 2019 2:31 pm

heymary wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 1:57 pm
Thanks for even more things to think about !!

My impetus to move is def related to money. I have no work right now. I'm not sure when / if ever I'll get new clients.My single biggest expense right is rent. I'm paying $2400 rent a month on about $3600 gross income. I'll end up pulling more than 4% if I live here for sure.

I need to find a way to live more cheaply --but still have enough fun that I don't go crazy.

SoCal/San Diego is a possibility if I'm super lucky finding a tiny efficiency apt.

Despite some of the negative comments, Charleston is still alluring because at least it would be new & distracting and reportedly 67% cheaper than Santa Monica in cost of living (mainly because of house price/rent price)

I'll definitely visit again to see if the heat/humidity is a problem but, i seriously didn't notice it when I visited before in the summer. I could be more heat tolerant (traveled lots in americas in hot/rainy season, no a/c and mostquito nets) (if that can be a comparison re weather)

Would love to hear from someone who just said to hell with it and moved to a new place, to get a new start on life, and found a rich cultural experience, and, well, also saved a fair amount of money.
The problem is that Charleston isn’t that cheap. At all. I live in a HCOL area too so I have a decent point of reference.

If you’re looking for less expensive cities perhaps look into Beaufort, SC, Mobile, AL, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Smaller cities in Colorado (Colorado springs?), Salt Lake City etc.

Not Charleston or other touristy locations like San Diego, Austin, etc

daheld
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by daheld » Fri May 24, 2019 2:35 pm

EdNorton wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 5:24 pm
I would recommend you look at Beaufort, SC. Maybe an hour south of Charleston, at a 50% discount. We spend the winter on Harbor Island, just outside of Beaufort. Beaufort has a beautiful historic downtown with a nice, hip restaurant scene. Summers can be brutal. A lot slower pace and much less traffic than nearby Hilton Head.
Spent a week on Harbor Island a few years back. Man I love that area. I've been intrigued by the history of the Gullah people for a long time, I'm a big Pat Conroy fan, and I love shrimp and grits. Nothing like it.

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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by cherijoh » Fri May 24, 2019 2:48 pm

Watty wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 8:08 am
Several people mentioned the humidity. Don't underestimate this and be sure to take a trip there in late July or August to see what it is like then. You mentioned doing things like cycling. Plan on renting a bike and going for a long ride in the afternoon in August. :mrgreen:

Being right on the coast is a lot different than being ten miles inland so be sure to check out the inland areas since you may not be able to afford to live right on the coast.

You will be running your air conditioning most of the year and your utility bills will be higher than in California so that will offset part of your rent savings so be sure to factor that into your plans.
I live in Charlotte, NC which is hot and humid in the summer. I have visited both Charleston and Savannah in the summer and vowed "never again". My "do not visit" time stretches between the middle of May and the middle of September.

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heymary
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by heymary » Fri May 24, 2019 3:16 pm

Thanks. Again, the thing is, I need to save money. But I don't want to hate where I'm living.
I'm trying to pay less/and still have fun, and really want coastal water.

To follow up on the issue of "good" neighborhoods in Charleston being too expensive.
I just wanted to ask why wouldn't these places work.

They're close to to the org where i would want to volunteer
Seem like an easy bike to downtown.

i'm not trying to be naive. I know there are rougher parts of any city (there sure are in LA).
But never heard that Charleston has a violent crime issue like south central LA or south side Chicago.

These are 40% cheaper than my current rent. And I could possibly co-house making it even cheaper.
And, obviously, I would want to go and hang out and make sure they're right for me

https://www.apartments.com/20-blake-st- ... b/hcx2nj1/
https://www.apartments.com/56-cannon-st ... c/vbe3zbg/

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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by LadyGeek » Fri May 24, 2019 3:53 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (where to live).
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by Sam1 » Fri May 24, 2019 3:58 pm

heymary wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 3:16 pm
Thanks. Again, the thing is, I need to save money. But I don't want to hate where I'm living.
I'm trying to pay less/and still have fun, and really want coastal water.

To follow up on the issue of "good" neighborhoods in Charleston being too expensive.
I just wanted to ask why wouldn't these places work.

They're close to to the org where i would want to volunteer
Seem like an easy bike to downtown.

i'm not trying to be naive. I know there are rougher parts of any city (there sure are in LA).
But never heard that Charleston has a violent crime issue like south central LA or south side Chicago.

These are 40% cheaper than my current rent. And I could possibly co-house making it even cheaper.
And, obviously, I would want to go and hang out and make sure they're right for me

https://www.apartments.com/20-blake-st- ... b/hcx2nj1/
https://www.apartments.com/56-cannon-st ... c/vbe3zbg/
The location of the first apartment is fine. Didn’t look up the second one. I’m suspect though the place is a dump for lack of a nicer word. It advertises a stove in the description and doesn’t show a photo of the kitchen. The apartment is most likely ancient. It depends on your standard of living and your expectations. I lived in a dump in a HCOL city years ago but couldn’t do it now. You may be fine with it but just realize that here is a reason the place is $1,500 a month.

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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by EvanRude » Fri May 24, 2019 4:13 pm

Charleston is an extremely nice place to visit. However, I would worry as a resident about tidal floods ("sunny day flooding") and storms in general. A neat website that projects flood risk (now for VA to FL) is floodiq.com. Good luck in your decision.

Rus In Urbe
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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by Rus In Urbe » Fri May 24, 2019 4:14 pm

On Charleston: I would never, ever live in the beautiful, charming, historic, gastronomically adventuresome town, though I've spent roughly a month each year there for the past 15 years. I speak from experience. Too hot. Too sticky. Too crowded. Too flood and hurricane-prone. Too expensive. And---no one's mentioning this directly----too socially self-segregated for me. IMO, not a comfortable place to put down roots.

OP writes:
My impetus to move is def related to money. I have no work right now. I'm not sure when / if ever I'll get new clients.My single biggest expense right is rent. I'm paying $2400 rent a month on about $3600 gross income. I'll end up pulling more than 4% if I live here for sure. I need to find a way to live more cheaply --but still have enough fun that I don't go crazy.
I just have to ask the OP, as someone else mentioned, if it is really about money, then why not take a few years to live in one of your own rentals and bank the savings, use it for some fabulous vacations? In life, you make your own fun---and it's not contingent on where you live. Really it isn't! You don't seem to have a lot of wiggle room financially (as I see it, granted I'm super conservative on risk) and the comfort of having that extra money, for a few years, and being able to blow some on great surfing/coastal adventures, while you figure out where you want to be, might give you a different perspective on your ultimate destination.

What's your rush? At the very least, don't hurry such a momentous decision!

Good luck! :beer
I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money. ~Pablo Picasso

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Re: Relocate to Charleston SC?

Post by Trader Joe » Fri May 24, 2019 4:21 pm

heymary wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 5:16 pm
Hi there,

I’ve posted over the last months trying to manage an unexpected retirement at age 58

Based on all your advice I’ve adjusted investments (switched to VG, index funds, rebalance allocations) . And other stuff (deciding to sell some property). And I’m trying to get new consulting work (have sent out proposals, nothing confirmed).

I *think* the next thing I gotta do is relocate. I currently live in Santa Monica @ $2400/month rent. I don’t think I’m going to find significantly cheaper rent in SoCal and it’s a crappy place to be poor

I’ve looked at all the LCOL “cheapest places to live” and it’s a little distressing as a single, 58 year old, low income woman to think of moving to any
of them just to be more frugal. Ugh.

One city that would actually interest me is Charleston SC. Its def not LCOL, but rents are about 30% less than SoCal (and even less if I co-house). Plus Charleston has things that are important to me (history, diversity, surfing, cycling). I’ve checked volunteer & political groups that I’d join and ideal neighborhoods (ie roughly around 29403)(slightly north & east of downtown).

The downside is that if I get any consulting work it will be remote but definitely need to meet clients every month or two months in Vegas, on relatively short notice. Flights Charleston to Vegas (one week notice) are about $650 vs $180 from LA to Vegas …plus maybe an extra hotel night (10+ hr travel, no direct) But that’s assuming I secure new client(s) in which case my added income would more than cover.

I also need to visit family & rental properties in Canada 3x per year and those flights are about double $650 vs $300.

So I could save $12K a year on rent and spend $1K a year more on non-work flights. Moving costs would be about $2.5K (already downsizing, would need smallest 5ft pod, and then drive out my 2013 very low mileage camry)

I’d welcome any thoughts about Charleston SC / and this general plan, especially if you've ever done similar.

I’d also welcome advice on how I explain to family, friends that I have to move. I think its obvious that I’m going thru difficulties but have never opened up to say how bad.

My basic info is copied in again below.
*****
Age 58
Current rental Income (net) $1000/month
Current annuity: $600/month
SSN @ 62 $1200/month
VG MM/Cash $120,000
VG Investment: $45,000
VG SEP IRA: $440,000
Allocation: 50/50
Real estate: $850,000
Mortgage : $200,000
No, I would not recommend relocating to Charleston, SC to anyone.

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