Thoughts on Tennessee

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Restless
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Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Restless »

I recently started a thread about looking for a retirement location in northeast Georgia, with focus on more pleasant climate and lower taxes vs. NJ, where I currently reside. Aside from climate and taxes, other needs are fairly typical: good access to healthcare (although we are relatively healthy now) and usual necessities; within an hour or so to an airport with decent service to hub cities; community accepting of strangers/outsiders.

Florida is an obvious option, but I dread the thought of being there from June to September because of the heat and humidity. Hence, I started to look further north, particularly higher-elevation towns in the southeast for the more pleasant summer temperatures. Northeast GA looked intriguing as there are high-elevation towns near lakes (an additional plus), and GA is very tax-friendly for seniors (although we will still pay a meaningful amount of state tax despite the $130K income exclusion for joint filers and no SS tax).

Several responses suggested looking into Tennessee, which will be even more tax-friendly than GA as of 2021 as its income tax goes away. Coupled with comments about the rural nature of NE GA and travel time to Atlanta’s airport, I’ve been looking into possible locations in Tennessee, particularly the Cumberland Plateau (Crossville, Fairfield Glade) due to cooler summer temperatures. So far, our online searches have not found houses around the area that fit our tastes (modern style, lighter-color finishes).

While we continue our search and hope/wait for the right house to come along, I’d like to hear from those who moved to Tennessee from other parts of the country, especially those who moved there for retirement. Of course, I’m also interested in any input from native Tennesseans. Has Tennessee lived up to your expectations? What are the highlights/advantages/likes? What are the lowlights/disappointments/dislikes? If we can’t find the right place in the Cumberland Plateau, we’ll likely expand our search to other areas, focusing on the eastern half of the state; suggestions are welcome. All the research is in preparation for a fall trip to see the various options up close. Thanks for your thoughts.
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BogleFanGal
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by BogleFanGal »

following with interest - really liked TN the few times were were there as a potential retirement spot. One thing that bothered me a bit - seems like a much higher than average rate of smokers in the population?

No offense to those who choose to smoke, but having some medical issues with asthma - I need to minimize exposure to second hand cigarette smoke significantly. It seemed like everywhere we went, a high proportion of people smoked...with few places restricting it. Even the indoor restaurants had "smoking sections" and you could smell it throughout the place.) This was some years back, so hoping thing have changed some?
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kelway
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by kelway »

I live in a suburb of Nashville, Smyrna, and I quite like it here save for the climate. We have all the seasons, but the summers can be dogs for the humidity.

I plan to retire here as well, but would consider a move to Chattanooga for the almost San-Francisco-like feeling (not the weather!) up in the hills near the water / bohemian district. Sales tax quite high here in the 9s. Housing costs in Chattanooga are quite low.
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Kenkat
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Kenkat »

Another option to think about would be western North Carolina.
cricket49
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by cricket49 »

BogleFanGal wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 4:07 pm following with interest - really liked TN the few times were were there as a potential retirement spot. One thing that bothered me a bit - seems like a much higher than average rate of smokers in the population?

No offense to those who choose to smoke, but having some medical issues with asthma - I need to minimize exposure to second hand cigarette smoke significantly. It seemed like everywhere we went, a high proportion of people smoked...with few places restricting it. Even the indoor restaurants had "smoking sections" and you could smell it throughout the place.) This was some years back, so hoping thing have changed some?
Tennessee banned smoking in Restaurants in 2007. Some bars and clubs may be exempt if they restrict patrons above the age of 21.
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mcraepat9
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by mcraepat9 »

I have lived in a lot of these places. I like Knoxville, especially its proximity to Asheville/Western NC/Smokey Mountains. I am not near retirement age but I would happily retire there.
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ScubaHogg
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by ScubaHogg »

I went to undergrad in Nashville (so not retirement) and loved it. Good town. I never found the weather too hot or too cold, in general. Definitely cooler than when I lived in Florida.

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Chuck107
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Chuck107 »

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Last edited by Chuck107 on Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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One Ping
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by One Ping »

Chuck107 wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 6:44 pm All I can say about the Cumberland Plateau, is what I have heard on our local weather reports, Storms, ice, snow. Something about going from the lower lands up to the Plateau from the west causes more storms.
Not the North East kind of snow, but ice. It may not seem like much to you from NJ but we don't really have much of ANY winter weather road equipment down here. So expect everything to shut down.
Where is the Cumberland Plateau?
Chuck107 wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 6:44 pm Disclaimer Tn does have the "HALL" tax which will be eliminated in 2022, it may not even concern you, look it up.
What is the "HALL" tax?
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birnhamwood
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by birnhamwood »

Gatlinburg would be nice, IMO.
Chuck107
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Chuck107 »

[.....
Last edited by Chuck107 on Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
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tnr
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by tnr »

I grew up in E Tennessee and until recently, still had close family in that area. The area around Crossville is nice; the plateau isn’t that high in elevation so I’m not sure it’s that much cooler in the summer than the Knoxville area. Close to Knoxville are Maryville and Lenoir City - both have large retiree populations. Those 2 cities are less than 30 minutes from the Smokies and the Knoxville airport. The main thing to know about natives is that they are politically conservative; church still plays a large role in the social life, and if you don’t like college football, there won’t be much to talk about.
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whodidntante
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by whodidntante »

I have spent a lot of time in Tennessee. Fabulous state. Have a blast when I go. One thing that might surprise you is when they get snow or ice, they just stay inside for three days until it melts, leaving the hilly, narrow roads untreated and a pile of cars in the ditches. This means you need some sort of sure footed vehicle if you absolutely must get to work or if your venison runs out.
- extremely low taxes on most things, but the sales tax is pretty brutal and alcohol will cost you
- speaking of alcohol, they have weird rules about when and were it can be purchased, almost like they don't want you to get any
- the roads are fantastic, but other government programs are basically Lord of the Flies.
- rural areas gets lots of power outages during storms. And you probably won't find anyone to install your Tesla wall.
- speaking of storms, in the summer time, they get "heat showers." This is a quick, violent storm that comes ridiculously often.
- [religion comment removed by moderator Flyer24]
- people are unbelievably polite. Do not conflate this with being nice or naive. They can be polite and still plot against you. There is a saying the women use, "bless your heart." It's not a compliment.
- there are certain cultural rules that you will run afoul of eventually. I can't really tell you how you'll go wrong without knowing more about you, but you will go wrong.
- Jack Daniels is overrated. You'd better keep that to yourself, though.
- BBQ and meat and three will be consumed more often than you think.
- If you like to imbibe, be careful who you tell. Some people consider it a sign of sorriness. Some people who do imbibe will never talk about it in public.
- opiates are a food group in some areas
- Sometimes you will meet people that you simply cannot understand. They won't care for the noises you make, either.
- You will probably live within five miles of someone with more musical talent than you have ever witnessed before.
- No casinos. :annoyed
- It will not be possible to purchase bread or milk if there any possibility of snow or ice
- In the winter, don't count on your kids going to school every day.
- Extremely landlord friendly. If you rent, assume you can be jettisoned like a Falcon 9 rocket for any breach of the lease.
Chuck107
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Chuck107 »

.....
Last edited by Chuck107 on Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
Alas, I find moderation of this forum too restrictive for my tastes, farewell.
AerialP
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by AerialP »

Just as a bit of a thought exercise, consider Lexington KY. It's just barely over an hour from Cincinnati's airport hub, has about 15 direct flight destinations of its own all to major hubs, and is an hour from all which Louisville's major airport has to offer as well. The cost of living is quite low, and the urban growth boundary means you can drive 15 minutes from downtown to be in archetypal countryside.
It's a city of approaching 350,000 population, functional metro area of over half a million, and has the state's flagship university as its main economic anchor such that the student body and instructor workforce impacts on the populace make it very accepting of "outsiders".
Medical care is excellent, especially with the medical school as a teaching hospital, and if a specific specialist is not found in the city you can, again, venture an hour to Louisville or Cincinnati to find a superlative choice. Anecdotally many fine doctors choose to relocate to Lexington for most all of the same reasons which you express as your criteria.
If mountains you seek, 90 minutes east, southeast, or south and you're well in to Appalachia with for example the amazing Red River Gorge or Big South Fork National Recreation Area readily at hand.
All four seasons: a couple of hot soupy months in summertime, a couple of cold wet months in wintertime, and amazingly verdant springs with vivid crisp autumns.
I love Central Kentucky very much on its own merits, but also travel extensively in my career and continue to find it to be a superb niche in comparison to much of the rest of the country, big or small.
Last edited by AerialP on Mon Aug 24, 2020 7:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Trader Joe
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Trader Joe »

Restless wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 3:23 pm I recently started a thread about looking for a retirement location in northeast Georgia, with focus on more pleasant climate and lower taxes vs. NJ, where I currently reside. Aside from climate and taxes, other needs are fairly typical: good access to healthcare (although we are relatively healthy now) and usual necessities; within an hour or so to an airport with decent service to hub cities; community accepting of strangers/outsiders.

Florida is an obvious option, but I dread the thought of being there from June to September because of the heat and humidity. Hence, I started to look further north, particularly higher-elevation towns in the southeast for the more pleasant summer temperatures. Northeast GA looked intriguing as there are high-elevation towns near lakes (an additional plus), and GA is very tax-friendly for seniors (although we will still pay a meaningful amount of state tax despite the $130K income exclusion for joint filers and no SS tax).

Several responses suggested looking into Tennessee, which will be even more tax-friendly than GA as of 2021 as its income tax goes away. Coupled with comments about the rural nature of NE GA and travel time to Atlanta’s airport, I’ve been looking into possible locations in Tennessee, particularly the Cumberland Plateau (Crossville, Fairfield Glade) due to cooler summer temperatures. So far, our online searches have not found houses around the area that fit our tastes (modern style, lighter-color finishes).

While we continue our search and hope/wait for the right house to come along, I’d like to hear from those who moved to Tennessee from other parts of the country, especially those who moved there for retirement. Of course, I’m also interested in any input from native Tennesseans. Has Tennessee lived up to your expectations? What are the highlights/advantages/likes? What are the lowlights/disappointments/dislikes? If we can’t find the right place in the Cumberland Plateau, we’ll likely expand our search to other areas, focusing on the eastern half of the state; suggestions are welcome. All the research is in preparation for a fall trip to see the various options up close. Thanks for your thoughts.
I love Tennessee and North Carolina. Lived in both. Great areas.

I have also loved and lived in Wayne, NJ.
tomd37
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by tomd37 »

I live in the Nashville area as a result of a corporate relocation and now in retirement for eighteen years, but if given the choice I would select East Tennessee (Knoxville area and east). As you move east you get closer to the Appalachian Mountains and the Great Smokies. And TN has never had in income tax. Rather a tax on dividends, capital gain distributions, and certain interest income. A few other inconsequential items. As mentioned by another poster, the "Hall Tax" expires after tax year 2020. 1% in 2020 and 0% in 2021 with an exclusion amount based on income and age.

Edited to correct Hall Tax rate and expiration year.
Last edited by tomd37 on Mon Aug 24, 2020 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Tom D.
cricket49
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by cricket49 »

Moved from west Tennessee to east Tennessee 2 years ago when we retired. We live about 30 minutes to Gatlinburg and 1 hour to Knoxville.

Pros -

Beautiful mountains and surrounding countryside.
Peaceful.
Great weather with beautiful fall colors.
LCOL
Homes are reasonably priced.
Low property tax
A few hours drive to NC or VA, Atlanta is 4 hours away.
Hiking, cycling, fishing and camping.
No worries about tornados after living near the New Madrid Fault for years.
(However, we did feel the 5.1 earthquake this month from Sparta, NC.)
2020 is the last year for the Hall tax. Not 2021 and you are taxed on dividends and some interest, not on capital gains.

Friendly local people and almost all my neighbors moved from NY or FL.
Local hospital but we drive to Knoxville.

Cons-

Sales tax is 10%
Tourists can be crazy for 4 months but we live in the opposite direction and travel more during those months.

I've got no other Cons. We love living here near the Smokies.
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Random Musings
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Random Musings »

Have traveled to TN many times. TN is one state we are considering as a retirement location and the eastern side of the state is what we find more compelling.

RM
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topper1296
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by topper1296 »

I've lived in Nashville for over 20 years and one item to consider that has not been brought up yet is allergies. If you have seasonal allergies/hay fever issues...TN can be very tough.
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oldcomputerguy
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by oldcomputerguy »

One Ping wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 6:53 pm What is the "HALL" tax?
Tennessee does not have an income tax, not as most people think of it. They don't tax your paycheck. They do tax investment gains and interest income, though.

http://bcswealth.com/2018/12/17/update- ... 0by%202022.
The Hall Tax is a Tennessee state tax on interest and dividend income from investments. It is the only state tax that is levied on personal income. Unless the taxpayer qualifies for an exception, it is applied to all taxable interest and dividend income in excess of $1,250/person ($2,500 for married filing jointly).
Happily, the Hall Tax is being phased out, and tax year 2020 is the last year in which it will be assessed. Starting next year, the Hall Tax goes away.

By the way, I was born outside of Tennessee but I've lived in Tennessee since I was 2 years old; I grew up in middle Tennessee about twenty-file miles east of Nashville, then when I was 25 I moved to east Tennessee to take a new job in Knoxville, and still live in this area now that I've retired. I love it.
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Bobby206
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Bobby206 »

Nashville and surrounding area is great but super expensive.

Next would be Knoxville which has not nearly as much going on as Nashville but is a lot cheaper. Smokeys are very pretty and nice if you like outdoorsy stuff.

I have heard a lot of good things about Chatt but I haven't been there myself.

Memphis, in western TN, is a whole other world. It's coming around but might be a while before it's a desired retirement spot.

Property taxes are reasonable.

No state income tax as of 2022.

Sales tax higher than some but every state charges taxes somewhere. It's just what they choose to call them.

Also, people are super friendly in TN I have found. Southern hospitality is a real thing.
tomd37
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by tomd37 »

Allergies could easily be a concern if you are a sensitive person. I am not and have not had any issues in my twenty-five years here in the Nashville area. Allergies can happen in a lot of places if you are susceptible to them.
Tom D.
chrisam314
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by chrisam314 »

DW's family retired to the Knoxville area, Vonore to be exact. Golf course neighborhood on the Little Tennessee river with views of the Smokys. We visit 5/6 times a year. I usually go hiking in Smoky Mountain National Park (about an hour away), play golf or pickle ball or go boating when we visit.

No state income tax (Georgia does have a state tax exemption for retirees, but it sounds like you have researched that for yourself), cost of living is low in general. Easy drive to Asheville, Nashville, Atlanta, etc.

They love it. We love visiting them there.

Note that pretty much everywhere gets hot in the summer, even in higher elevations. Its not like mountains in Switzerland.

Also note that the airport there is nice and there are ~10ish flights a day to Atlanta (during normal times) and from there you can go pretty much anywhere direct. You can also just drive to ATL, but the airport is on the south side and if you time that wrong you will be in for a world of hurt traffic wise.

I am a really big fan of the western NC/eastern TN/northern GA area. It's really beautiful. Highly recommend.
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rocket354
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by rocket354 »

topper1296 wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:44 pm I've lived in Nashville for over 20 years and one item to consider that has not been brought up yet is allergies. If you have seasonal allergies/hay fever issues...TN can be very tough.
Pollen, aka "Tennessee Snow," can definitely be an issue. I've been here five years and the first couple I spent spring pretty much crying the entire time--my eyes would just water constantly. I've since adapted some, thankfully, but I'd never had allergies hit me so hard.

That said, what others have said is all spot-on. Great nature in the eastern part of the state, and more cosmopolitan with a southern flair near Nashville. Avoid Memphis.

The airport in Nashville is the easiest and quickest airport I've ever been to. I can go from curb to gate in 15mins without rushing in the slightest, even when there appears to be a line at security.
Chuck107
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Chuck107 »

.....
Last edited by Chuck107 on Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
Alas, I find moderation of this forum too restrictive for my tastes, farewell.
rascott
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by rascott »

I've been going to the Fairfield Glade area for decades on and off. It's a very retirement oriented community, and very golf centric. So if you like golf, a decent choice. If not.... the area is very pretty, and very affordable.... also pretty dull in many ways. I don't think it would be an area I'd want to personally retire.... but if you just are shooting for peaceful living, I could see it's appeal.
jlawrence01
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by jlawrence01 »

Restless wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 3:23 pm
Several responses suggested looking into Tennessee, which will be even more tax-friendly than GA as of 2021 as its income tax goes away. Coupled with comments about the rural nature of NE GA and travel time to Atlanta’s airport, I’ve been looking into possible locations in Tennessee, particularly the Cumberland Plateau (Crossville, Fairfield Glade) due to cooler summer temperatures. So far, our online searches have not found houses around the area that fit our tastes (modern style, lighter-color finishes).

I retired in May 2013. I spent two weeks investigating Eastern Tennessee as a potential retirement location. My father has owned property at Fairfield Glade in Crossville since 1972.

To me, Crossville was too remote with fairly limited. If you really love golf, it is great. I am not a golfer.

Cookeville was a pleasant surprise. With Tennessee Tech in town, there is always something going on in the city. The locals were very friendly. The area seems to appeal to many Midwestern retirees.

Oak Ridge was a very interesting town. Its positives include that the population has a high level of education and there are plenty of great amenities in town. The major problem with Oak Ridge is its proximity to the national labs, the purpose for its existence. Considering the environmental disasters that have been uncovered near most nuclear sites that date back to the 1940s, do I really want to purchase a house that might not be resellable?

I ended up moving to what was the Fairfield Green Valley in Arizona as opposed to my original plans of looking in Eastern Kentucky and Eastern Tennessee. We found that the community amenities, the better climate, and the lower cost of living in Arizona were the key factors.

I would strongly advise that you also look at Lexington and Frankfurt, KY and see what those areas offer. I would also look at Bowling Green, KY which is north of Nashville.
Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

whodidntante wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 7:11 pm I have spent a lot of time in Tennessee. Fabulous state. Have a blast when I go. One thing that might surprise you is when they get snow or ice, they just stay inside for three days until it melts, leaving the hilly, narrow roads untreated and a pile of cars in the ditches. This means you need some sort of sure footed vehicle if you absolutely must get to work or if your venison runs out.
- extremely low taxes on most things, but the sales tax is pretty brutal and alcohol will cost you
- speaking of alcohol, they have weird rules about when and were it can be purchased, almost like they don't want you to get any
- the roads are fantastic, but other government programs are basically Lord of the Flies.
- rural areas gets lots of power outages during storms. And you probably won't find anyone to install your Tesla wall.
- speaking of storms, in the summer time, they get "heat showers." This is a quick, violent storm that comes ridiculously often.
- [religion comment removed by moderator Flyer24]
- people are unbelievably polite. Do not conflate this with being nice or naive. They can be polite and still plot against you. There is a saying the women use, "bless your heart." It's not a compliment.
- there are certain cultural rules that you will run afoul of eventually. I can't really tell you how you'll go wrong without knowing more about you, but you will go wrong.
- Jack Daniels is overrated. You'd better keep that to yourself, though.
- BBQ and meat and three will be consumed more often than you think.
- If you like to imbibe, be careful who you tell. Some people consider it a sign of sorriness. Some people who do imbibe will never talk about it in public.
- opiates are a food group in some areas
- Sometimes you will meet people that you simply cannot understand. They won't care for the noises you make, either.
- You will probably live within five miles of someone with more musical talent than you have ever witnessed before.
- No casinos. :annoyed
- It will not be possible to purchase bread or milk if there any possibility of snow or ice
- In the winter, don't count on your kids going to school every day.
- Extremely landlord friendly. If you rent, assume you can be jettisoned like a Falcon 9 rocket for any breach of the lease.
Hysterical! :D
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions
Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

Trader Joe wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 7:28 pm
Restless wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 3:23 pm I recently started a thread about looking for a retirement location in northeast Georgia, with focus on more pleasant climate and lower taxes vs. NJ, where I currently reside. Aside from climate and taxes, other needs are fairly typical: good access to healthcare (although we are relatively healthy now) and usual necessities; within an hour or so to an airport with decent service to hub cities; community accepting of strangers/outsiders.

Florida is an obvious option, but I dread the thought of being there from June to September because of the heat and humidity. Hence, I started to look further north, particularly higher-elevation towns in the southeast for the more pleasant summer temperatures. Northeast GA looked intriguing as there are high-elevation towns near lakes (an additional plus), and GA is very tax-friendly for seniors (although we will still pay a meaningful amount of state tax despite the $130K income exclusion for joint filers and no SS tax).

Several responses suggested looking into Tennessee, which will be even more tax-friendly than GA as of 2021 as its income tax goes away. Coupled with comments about the rural nature of NE GA and travel time to Atlanta’s airport, I’ve been looking into possible locations in Tennessee, particularly the Cumberland Plateau (Crossville, Fairfield Glade) due to cooler summer temperatures. So far, our online searches have not found houses around the area that fit our tastes (modern style, lighter-color finishes).

While we continue our search and hope/wait for the right house to come along, I’d like to hear from those who moved to Tennessee from other parts of the country, especially those who moved there for retirement. Of course, I’m also interested in any input from native Tennesseans. Has Tennessee lived up to your expectations? What are the highlights/advantages/likes? What are the lowlights/disappointments/dislikes? If we can’t find the right place in the Cumberland Plateau, we’ll likely expand our search to other areas, focusing on the eastern half of the state; suggestions are welcome. All the research is in preparation for a fall trip to see the various options up close. Thanks for your thoughts.
I love Tennessee and North Carolina. Lived in both. Great areas.

I have also loved and lived in Wayne, NJ.
High taxes in Wayne, plus the traffic. But yes, it’s very nice there.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions
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btq96r
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by btq96r »

Restless wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 3:23 pm Several responses suggested looking into Tennessee, which will be even more tax-friendly than GA as of 2021 as its income tax goes away. Coupled with comments about the rural nature of NE GA and travel time to Atlanta’s airport, I’ve been looking into possible locations in Tennessee, particularly the Cumberland Plateau (Crossville, Fairfield Glade) due to cooler summer temperatures. So far, our online searches have not found houses around the area that fit our tastes (modern style, lighter-color finishes).

While we continue our search and hope/wait for the right house to come along, I’d like to hear from those who moved to Tennessee from other parts of the country, especially those who moved there for retirement. Of course, I’m also interested in any input from native Tennesseans. Has Tennessee lived up to your expectations? What are the highlights/advantages/likes? What are the lowlights/disappointments/dislikes? If we can’t find the right place in the Cumberland Plateau, we’ll likely expand our search to other areas, focusing on the eastern half of the state; suggestions are welcome. All the research is in preparation for a fall trip to see the various options up close. Thanks for your thoughts.
I currently live in Nashville (like a mile from downtown Nashville). Having grown up in the Boston suburbs, it's still a culture shock after 20 years in the area. The Nashville Metro Area is not one I'd say retire in unless you have family around, or want to be near a specific medical resource available here. I would say check out the area in and around Chattanooga if the Cumberland Plateau isn't too your fancy. A lot of city type amenities, but at a slower pace than Nashville for sure. It's also got a good health system (Erlanger), a better airport than people think, and some good recreations activities if you like to hike, or are willing to spend part of a day driving.
hopeyourewell
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by hopeyourewell »

My MIL lives in a beautiful lake house in E TN. We left the North for mid NC. It sounds close but it’s usually a 6-hour drive for us. One thing to consider besides the large cultural differences is how often you’ll see your family, especially as you get very old and your family’s lives get complicated. My MIL can’t travel and we’re rarely in a position to go see her. I also have my parents 13 hours away up North and on both sides we have other family literally all around the country, adding to the problem of seeing people as often as we’d like. Another consideration for rural areas is internet access. My MIL lives in the mountains and cannot access high-speed internet. We cannot FaceTime her.
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Cheez-It Guy
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

I like the double letters. Giving Mississippi a run for their money.
MDfan
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by MDfan »

birnhamwood wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 6:55 pm Gatlinburg would be nice, IMO.
The area surrounding Gatlinburg itself (the mountains) is really nice. Gatlinburg itself is way, way too touristy. Downtown Gatlinburg, as well as nearby Pigeon Forge, would be awful in my opinion.
GlennK
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by GlennK »

rascott wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 11:15 pm I've been going to the Fairfield Glade area for decades on and off. It's a very retirement oriented community, and very golf centric. So if you like golf, a decent choice. If not.... the area is very pretty, and very affordable.... also pretty dull in many ways. I don't think it would be an area I'd want to personally retire.... but if you just are shooting for peaceful living, I could see it's appeal.
I am not a golfer either but seriously considering the Crossville area. I have spent time this summer in Tennessee (Knoxville and Lenoir City) and North Carolina Triad (Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point) looking at neighborhoods. But I have a friend that I found out later retired to Crossville. He and I play tennis and he loves the area. Keeps trying to get me to come down to visit. This will happen after I retire at the end of October.

I guess all of that is to say even if not a golfer, people enjoy the area. He did say they roll up the sidewalks at dusk. But that is the type of community I would like. I quit the bar/night club scene many years ago.
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bottlecap
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by bottlecap »

I moved here 30 years ago from the Northeast. Not to retire, though.

My mother lives in Florida and swears Tennessee is hotter and more humid in the summer. Sometimes that’s true, but I doubt it’s true all of the time. Florida probably does have more rain in the summer and is, of course, closer to the ocean, both of which can mitigate things. I’d visit Florida during those months (if you haven’t) to make sure your fears are justified. Florida is a nice place to retire.

I wouldn’t worry much about snow in Tennessee. Once or twice a year we get a dusting that is gone by lunch and doesn’t affect roads. Every 5 or so years we get a "good snow" that hangs around for two days. East Tennessee might get slightly more. Hardly enough to speak of.

Most states have blue laws. Not much of a concern if you’re retired.

Most folks are nice. Don’t forget to look up every once in a while and wave. There are clearly-not-natives in my neighborhood that I wave to every day as I’m driving to work and they never know it. They must buy interesting shoes....

Chattanooga is nice and puts you no more than a couple of hours from Knoxville, and not too much more from N.C. and Atlanta.

Good luck,

JT
Johnnyappleseed
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Johnnyappleseed »

As a recent transplant to arrive in TN who was living near DC for a good part of the last decade... I don't have much to add beyond what others have already said. Since the start of 2019 I had been flying into Nashville and traveling to southern TN. At the end of April I found a position in Nashville and relocated to just outside of the city.

These were my major discoveries:
1) the cost of living change from near DC to Nashville wasn't nearly as great as I would have originally expected
2) religion is strong (especially in the rural areas), but beyond the belief and attendance at church people do the same things
3) when traveling to the truly rural areas you may run into people you can't understand
4) people claim four seasons, but unless I see snow on the ground that stays it's not winter!
5) locating GOOD BBQ is still a challenge
6) Pandemics suck! (although that's true regardless of location these days)
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tcassette
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by tcassette »

We have been living in a rural area near Chattanooga about 10 years. Most of the responses above are spot on.

The natives like church, guns, country music, and unhealthy food, not necessarily in that order. Education is not that big a deal, and in rural areas typically the pickup truck is worth more than the house (or trailer). Culturally and politically, most are conservative.

Total cost of living is low, especially in rural areas, but those same areas will likely not have good internet service. Humidity in the summer can be high, but the winters are typically mild. In recent years, however, there seem to be more instances of severe storms and tornados.

Overall, it's a decent place for retirement, but it helps if you have a Southern perspective.
TSR
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by TSR »

Nashvillian here. I think the plateau would be a nice place to retire, and I know some people who have done so. The Sewanee area would be really nice. Nashville is overpriced these days and incredibly humid and buggy in the summer. You get up on the plateau and it is more tolerable. I mention Sewanee just because there's a decent amount of infrastructure built up around the school, and some lovely homes. I think Chattanooga is a nice place to live too -- decent cost of living and access to some urban some rural. It's also an easy trip to Nashville or Atlanta from there.

Good luck, and feel free to PM with any questions.
Isabelle77
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Isabelle77 »

whodidntante wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 7:11 pm I have spent a lot of time in Tennessee. Fabulous state. Have a blast when I go. One thing that might surprise you is when they get snow or ice, they just stay inside for three days until it melts, leaving the hilly, narrow roads untreated and a pile of cars in the ditches. This means you need some sort of sure footed vehicle if you absolutely must get to work or if your venison runs out.
- extremely low taxes on most things, but the sales tax is pretty brutal and alcohol will cost you
- speaking of alcohol, they have weird rules about when and were it can be purchased, almost like they don't want you to get any
- the roads are fantastic, but other government programs are basically Lord of the Flies.
- rural areas gets lots of power outages during storms. And you probably won't find anyone to install your Tesla wall.
- speaking of storms, in the summer time, they get "heat showers." This is a quick, violent storm that comes ridiculously often.
- rural areas are extremely religious, in a pervasive can't avoid it way. You might also be shocked at how religious the cities are but it is at least attenuated.
- people are unbelievably polite. Do not conflate this with being nice or naive. They can be polite and still plot against you. There is a saying the women use, "bless your heart." It's not a compliment.
- there are certain cultural rules that you will run afoul of eventually. I can't really tell you how you'll go wrong without knowing more about you, but you will go wrong.
- Jack Daniels is overrated. You'd better keep that to yourself, though.
- BBQ and meat and three will be consumed more often than you think.
- If you like to imbibe, be careful who you tell. Some people consider it a sign of sorriness. Some people who do imbibe will never talk about it in public.
- opiates are a food group in some areas
- Sometimes you will meet people that you simply cannot understand. They won't care for the noises you make, either.
- You will probably live within five miles of someone with more musical talent than you have ever witnessed before.
- No casinos. :annoyed
- It will not be possible to purchase bread or milk if there any possibility of snow or ice
- In the winter, don't count on your kids going to school every day.
- Extremely landlord friendly. If you rent, assume you can be jettisoned like a Falcon 9 rocket for any breach of the lease.
We lived in Nashville for 5 years, ending in 2007. This is very accurate. It's changed since we lived there, grown an enormous amount and much pricier. With more transplants it may be quite different now.

The bad: the weather is (imo) terrible, the summers are unbearable and there's no ocean breeze, the winters are colder than you'd expect with ice, and when it's not sweltering or freezing, there are tornados. The people are nice, but it's often hard to tell if they're just being polite or are actually your friends. We were younger and worked in the music business, it's cutthroat and full of horrible people. To paraphrase an old pop song, Nashville's just LA without the tan. Outside of the music industry, people eat badly and in general don't take care of themselves. Church culture is a lot of people's social lives and if you aren't a member of their church or happen to be something scary, like Catholic(!), they may not want to hang out with you.

The good: it's pretty, the taxes are low, the bbq is good, the musical talent is unbelievable and you can see great music just about anywhere at any time. Housing when we lived there wasn't high and it's still not compared to a lot of the country. There's a lot to do in general and you're driving distance to a lot of places.

For retirement though, if you're looking for lower taxes, cost of living, and humidity, I'd look to South Carolina.
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JupiterJones
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by JupiterJones »

whodidntante wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 7:11 pm - speaking of alcohol, they have weird rules about when and were it can be purchased, almost like they don't want you to get any
This has gotten much better over the past few years. At least in Nashville. You can now buy wine in grocery stores (used to be just beer), even on Sunday. You still have to go to a liquor store for booze, but they're now open on Sunday too.

(And while Jack Daniel's is overrated, George Dickel is underrated, so everything sort of evens out.)

- rural areas are extremely religious, in a pervasive can't avoid it way. You might also be shocked at how religious the cities are but it is at least attenuated.
Yeah, there really is a big rural/city divide. While TN is a solidly red state, many outsiders don't realize that Davidson (Nashville) and Shelby (Memphis) counties are quite blue "islands". But it's true that, even in Nashville, you can't throw a rock without hitting a church...sometimes two churches if you get a good ricochet.

I remember someone once asking me, after we were introduced, "so, what church do you go to?" in the same, casual, presumptive way someone might as you what you do for a living or what town you were from.
- You will probably live within five miles of someone with more musical talent than you have ever witnessed before.
It's funny how you get used to this. In the "before times" at least, you could walk into any random bar with live music, and there would be people on stage who, in pretty much any other place would be the best musicians in town. Here, they're playing for tips.

Anyway, the weather here is really pretty lousy and getting worse every year it seems.

Traffic in the big cities is considered to be terrible by most people who live here and is frequently complained about. That said, it's honestly not that bad, especially when compared to places that genuinely have horrible traffic, like LA or Atlanta.
Stay on target...
ensign_lee
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by ensign_lee »

I wouldn't live anywhere in TEN except for Nashville and Chattanooga. Maybe Memphis, but I haven't been there yet.

There just isn't that much stuff to do - [Political comment removed by Moderator Misenplace.]
rascott
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by rascott »

GlennK wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 7:40 am
rascott wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 11:15 pm I've been going to the Fairfield Glade area for decades on and off. It's a very retirement oriented community, and very golf centric. So if you like golf, a decent choice. If not.... the area is very pretty, and very affordable.... also pretty dull in many ways. I don't think it would be an area I'd want to personally retire.... but if you just are shooting for peaceful living, I could see it's appeal.
I am not a golfer either but seriously considering the Crossville area. I have spent time this summer in Tennessee (Knoxville and Lenoir City) and North Carolina Triad (Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point) looking at neighborhoods. But I have a friend that I found out later retired to Crossville. He and I play tennis and he loves the area. Keeps trying to get me to come down to visit. This will happen after I retire at the end of October.

I guess all of that is to say even if not a golfer, people enjoy the area. He did say they roll up the sidewalks at dusk. But that is the type of community I would like. I quit the bar/night club scene many years ago.
Yep...I could see that. Again, it's a very scenic area... October is prime time perfect weather, and great foliage.
Chuck107
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Chuck107 »

.....
Last edited by Chuck107 on Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
Alas, I find moderation of this forum too restrictive for my tastes, farewell.
Wade Garrett
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Wade Garrett »

kelway wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 4:24 pm would consider a move to Chattanooga for the almost San-Francisco-like feeling (not the weather!) up in the hills near the water / bohemian district.
An almost San Francisco like feeling in the Chattanooga area bohemian district up in the hills??? I must be misreading that.
"I'm not an inventor. I'm an improver. I see things that are wrong, and I improve them." - Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Wade Garrett
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Wade Garrett »

JupiterJones wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 9:52 am many outsiders don't realize that Davidson (Nashville) and Shelby (Memphis) counties are quite blue "islands".
Davidson Co/Nashville and Shelby Co/Memphis are very different places, and I'll just leave it at that
"I'm not an inventor. I'm an improver. I see things that are wrong, and I improve them." - Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
kabob
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by kabob »

Wife & I retired to Tn - We Like it...
If you've ever lived outside the city limits and liked it, you'll probably like Tennessee. It's easy livin with a built in exercise plan! - a Beautiful Scenic part of the country.

We live East Tn, bout 20 miles south a Knoxville, very close to Vonore mentioned by a previous poster, and on the Little Tennessee river, runnin outa the mountains into the Tennessee Valley and joining with the main Tennessee river, which runs on down to Chattanooga - and all the way out to either the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf! And all part of the the Navigable InterCoastal Waterway! We actually have a Lock & Dam bout 4 miles down the lake - And all part of the TVA system. It's a interesting area.

We vacationed in Tn for a couple yrs before retiring, the Smokey's are America's #1 vacation area. We like East Tn.
Would suggest ya tour/vacation the area, roll in upper north east TN heading towards Knoxville, and noting the lakes follow the TVA system all the way down to Chattanooga. The east side of the Tennessee Valley is the mountains - the west side of the Valley is the Plateau. Just pick your lake, nearby city and area, there's lotsa civilized newly developed areas (from massive mansions to quite reasonable communities) to explore, plus your literally bout 30minutes from truly remote mountainous boonies. (or the Great Smokey Mountain reserves). We can get up and have Sunday brunch in a N. Carolina mountain lodge in less than an Hr.
The north side of Chattanooga going up the TN river is very nice area also. Lookout Mtn, Ruby Falls, ChattChoCcho, InclineRailWay, and Chatt By the River is a great weekend...
It was a toss up for us, north a Chattanooga, south a Knoxville, on somewhere in the middle, it's only bout 90mile between the two.
But Try out Tn before ya Buy - some like, some don't!
We Like it!

My wife from Albany,NY still says "Its Vermont in Tennessee! - without the winters"...
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ClevrChico
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by ClevrChico »

I have family there, and it is beautiful. I found the rural areas to be a bit of a culture shock and lacking in businesses that other rural parts of the country had.

I'd definitely plan a long visit before making a decision.
ScubaHogg
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by ScubaHogg »

whodidntante wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 7:11 pm - Extremely landlord friendly. If you rent, assume you can be jettisoned like a Falcon 9 rocket for any breach of the lease.
Ha, love this imagery
“Unexpected Returns dominate the Expected Returns” - Ken French
ScubaHogg
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by ScubaHogg »

bottlecap wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 7:47 am
My mother lives in Florida and swears Tennessee is hotter and more humid in the summer. Sometimes that’s true, but I doubt it’s true all of the time.
I can’t speak to all of Florida, but having lived in Pensacola and Nashville this wasn’t at all my experience. Pcola was consistently much hotter and more humid. More than a long golf shot from the beach the ocean breeze, such as it was, disappeared completely.
“Unexpected Returns dominate the Expected Returns” - Ken French
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