Relocate for Early Retirement?

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FrugalProfessor
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Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by FrugalProfessor » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:46 pm

To those who have reached early retirement: Did you relocate upon retiring? If so, why (COL, geography, weather, taxes, proximity to family, etc)? What city did you retire to? Are you happy with your decision to relocate?

To those planning early retirement: Are you planning on relocating upon retiring? If so, why (COL, geography, weather, taxes, proximity to family, etc)? What city do you plan to retire to?

I'll go first. I'm an aspiring early retiree. I live in LCOL high tax flyover state with no family nearby. In retirement, I will relocate to low tax state (CO, WA, NV) to be closer to mountains & family. Cities I'm considering:
* Bellingham, WA (We lived in Mukilteo, 1 hr south, for 4 years. Love the PNW. Hiking in Cascades, kayaking, climbing).
* Carson City, NV (Close to family. Great access to Tahoe).
* Colorado Springs, CO (Close to other family. Great access to Rockies. Garden of Gods is incredible)

Each of the above offers pretty good access to outdoor recreation. Each has a Costco. 2 of the 3 have no state income tax, while the other has reasonable tax rates. Most are closeish to family. All have pretty reasonable real estate prices.

Before pulling the trigger on a destination I'd take extended trips to those cities making the short list.

Bogleheads, please enlighten me with your wisdom.
I blog. My effective (not to be confused with statutory) MTR is 45% (fed + state, excluding payroll). I save $30k/year in taxes by maxing out deferrals. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by sport » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:55 pm

I would suggest your questions and concerns apply to retirement in general, whether early or not.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by FrugalProfessor » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:01 pm

sport wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:55 pm
I would suggest your questions and concerns apply to retirement in general, whether early or not.
Fair enough. :D
I blog. My effective (not to be confused with statutory) MTR is 45% (fed + state, excluding payroll). I save $30k/year in taxes by maxing out deferrals. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by beardsworth » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:05 pm

Your choice of place, like any other, will depend on which things matter the most to you, since it's almost impossible to maximize all good things in a single location.

If taxes matter to you, then there is a marked difference among the three states you name. Washington and Nevada have no state income tax, although, of course, they make up for it in another ways. Colorado not only has an income tax but is among the handful of states that don't exempt Social Security income from it.

It's not clear how long ago you live in Mukilteo, or whether you have actually been to Bellingham or done detailed investigation of it. Housing prices in Bellingham are on a tear because of limited land hemmed in by natural features, and because of the number of Seattleites, Californians, and others retiring there. The median house price in Bellingham is approaching $400,000. Expect to pay considerably more for anything with a view.

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/lo ... 57234.html

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by FrugalProfessor » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:25 pm

beardsworth wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:05 pm
Your choice of place, like any other, will depend on which things matter the most to you, since it's almost impossible to maximize all good things in a single location.

If taxes matter to you, then there is a marked difference among the three states you name. Washington and Nevada have no state income tax, although, of course, they make up for it in another ways. Colorado not only has an income tax but is among the handful of states that don't exempt Social Security income from it.

It's not clear how long ago you live in Mukilteo, or whether you have actually been to Bellingham or done detailed investigation of it. Housing prices in Bellingham are on a tear because of limited land hemmed in by natural features, and because of the number of Seattleites, Californians, and others retiring there. The median house price in Bellingham is approaching $400,000. Expect to pay considerably more for anything with a view.

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/lo ... 57234.html
Thanks for the response. I acknowledge this question is a lot like asking "what is your favorite food?", and completely dependent on preferences. But I am curious to see how it's worked out for people and whether there are any cities that are more likely to appeal to the Bogleheads crowd.

Thanks for the info on Bellingham. My current home value is around $450k, so it seems like a lateral move in that regard. I'm OK with that. Bellingham property taxes, according to Zillow, look to be around 1% of market value. I currently pay 2% + 7% state income tax + very high car registration. WA seems to be a huge improvement on the tax dimension (plus other dimensions).
I blog. My effective (not to be confused with statutory) MTR is 45% (fed + state, excluding payroll). I save $30k/year in taxes by maxing out deferrals. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by radiowave » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:34 pm

One other thing to consider is Colorado Springs is one of the hottest real estate markets in the country - for many plus more of the reasons you stated. That means increased housing costs (if you can find a reasonable place at a reasonable price), increased congestion/traffic, and plenty of new stores, strip malls, etc. Don't get me wrong, CSprings is a great place to live but that is driving development. Denver area is similar situation.
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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by curmudgeon » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:36 pm

Well, I relocated about two blocks, does that count? :wink: It was really more of a tax management scenario, selling our prior residence as the gains were approaching the $500K exclusion, and setting up to potentially get a partial exclusion on the other house.

It is quite possible that we will relocate in several more years. The tax burden isn't a key motivator, it's more a matter of being closer to family (and getting away from bay area traffic). Right now, the peculiarities of ACA mean that the net effective combined income tax for us (counting ACA subsidies) is actually lower in CA than some of the no-income-tax states. Once we hit 65 and/or the ACA situation changes, moving to someplace like WA could be helpful if we are pushing harder on Roth conversions, but it would still only be in the context of fitting in with the rest of our life choices.

Costco (or Trader Joe's, or similar retail considerations) play no part in our location decisions. Live music/arts options are nice, though, and may tend to go along with the big box retail size of cities. Good international flight connections are valuable to us; even though it is an 11 hour flight, I appreciate having a range of non-stops to Europe leaving from somewhere within a reasonable drive/Uber. Medical is a bit of a question; I don't feel a need to have access to teaching hospitals, but I'd hate to be hours away from a specialist if I needed one on a regular basis.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by FrugalProfessor » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:45 pm

radiowave wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:34 pm
One other thing to consider is Colorado Springs is one of the hottest real estate markets in the country - for many plus more of the reasons you stated. That means increased housing costs (if you can find a reasonable place at a reasonable price), increased congestion/traffic, and plenty of new stores, strip malls, etc. Don't get me wrong, CSprings is a great place to live but that is driving development. Denver area is similar situation.
Thanks for the heads up. I guess the secret is out. CO Springs is awesome.
I blog. My effective (not to be confused with statutory) MTR is 45% (fed + state, excluding payroll). I save $30k/year in taxes by maxing out deferrals. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by sport » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:50 pm

curmudgeon wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:36 pm
Well, I relocated about two blocks, does that count?
We relocated about 7 miles. The main reason was to get a one-floor house for physical ease as we get older. We have family here, the cost of living is reasonable, we have excellent medical facilities, no hurricanes, and we are 5 minutes from Costco. :D We have no desire to be anywhere else.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by FrugalProfessor » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:51 pm

curmudgeon wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:36 pm
Well, I relocated about two blocks, does that count? :wink: It was really more of a tax management scenario, selling our prior residence as the gains were approaching the $500K exclusion, and setting up to potentially get a partial exclusion on the other house.

It is quite possible that we will relocate in several more years. The tax burden isn't a key motivator, it's more a matter of being closer to family (and getting away from bay area traffic). Right now, the peculiarities of ACA mean that the net effective combined income tax for us (counting ACA subsidies) is actually lower in CA than some of the no-income-tax states. Once we hit 65 and/or the ACA situation changes, moving to someplace like WA could be helpful if we are pushing harder on Roth conversions, but it would still only be in the context of fitting in with the rest of our life choices.

Costco (or Trader Joe's, or similar retail considerations) play no part in our location decisions. Live music/arts options are nice, though, and may tend to go along with the big box retail size of cities. Good international flight connections are valuable to us; even though it is an 11 hour flight, I appreciate having a range of non-stops to Europe leaving from somewhere within a reasonable drive/Uber. Medical is a bit of a question; I don't feel a need to have access to teaching hospitals, but I'd hate to be hours away from a specialist if I needed one on a regular basis.
Relocating two blocks to harvest the $500k gain tax free is brilliant tax planning that I hadn't considered previously. Wow!

I grew up in the bay area. 30 years later it is unrecognizable. I had no idea ACA peculiarities were that wacko. I need to spend some time researching this. I know Justin at RootOfGood blogs often about some of the intricacies.

I realize I have idiosyncratic preferences. Because I'm uncultured, I prefer Costco and nature to live music/arts. I know it's irrational to make moving decisions based on proximity to Costco, but it's true. I love the store that much.
I blog. My effective (not to be confused with statutory) MTR is 45% (fed + state, excluding payroll). I save $30k/year in taxes by maxing out deferrals. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by FrugalProfessor » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:52 pm

sport wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:50 pm
curmudgeon wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:36 pm
Well, I relocated about two blocks, does that count?
We relocated about 7 miles. The main reason was to get a one-floor house for physical ease as we get older. We have family here, the cost of living is reasonable, we have excellent medical facilities, no hurricanes, and we are 5 minutes from Costco. :D We have no desire to be anywhere else.
Amen to another Costco fan! I can totally see the logic of "if it ain't broke don't fix it" in your situation. Seems like you have a great thing going for you.
I blog. My effective (not to be confused with statutory) MTR is 45% (fed + state, excluding payroll). I save $30k/year in taxes by maxing out deferrals. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by radiowave » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:59 pm

Good point on retirement home. I can't imagine being in our current house in our 80s high hill, many stairs, feet of snow to plow, second story master. We're headed back to NC in a few years, single story, first floor master, minimum stairs to contend with and the rare snow that melts in a day or two. Of course there is always hurricanes to contend with. I guess my wife can use our big red shovel in the garden :)
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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by curmudgeon » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:22 am

FrugalProfessor wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:51 pm
curmudgeon wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:36 pm
It is quite possible that we will relocate in several more years. The tax burden isn't a key motivator, it's more a matter of being closer to family (and getting away from bay area traffic). Right now, the peculiarities of ACA mean that the net effective combined income tax for us (counting ACA subsidies) is actually lower in CA than some of the no-income-tax states. Once we hit 65 and/or the ACA situation changes, moving to someplace like WA could be helpful if we are pushing harder on Roth conversions, but it would still only be in the context of fitting in with the rest of our life choices.

Costco (or Trader Joe's, or similar retail considerations) play no part in our location decisions. Live music/arts options are nice, though, and may tend to go along with the big box retail size of cities.
I grew up in the bay area. 30 years later it is unrecognizable. I had no idea ACA peculiarities were that wacko. I need to spend some time researching this. I know Justin at RootOfGood blogs often about some of the intricacies.

I realize I have idiosyncratic preferences. Because I'm uncultured, I prefer Costco and nature to live music/arts. I know it's irrational to make moving decisions based on proximity to Costco, but it's true. I love the store that much.
ACA is very much a wildcard. I don't count on the current oddities continuing, but there are definitely some anomalies which can be taken advantage of in some cases if you have flexibility in managing your AGI by drawing from various funding sources.

It's not that I really mind Costco, it's just that the bay area ones are almost as crazy as the traffic. Even being retired and able to go in the middle of weekdays doesn't help all that much. On the other hand, sometimes you find serendipitous things no matter where you are; I saw a mountain lion in my walk in the park a couple weeks ago - nature still exists in the bay area.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by Jim21713 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:08 am

Retiring next year myself and have given this some thought. Considerations for me are:

1. Taxes on income (RMD and SS)
2. Access to children and grandchildren and other family members
3. Downsizing house and 3 acre lot to mow/maintain but still will prefer rural to big city
4. I do like to see all 4 seasons of the year
5. Medical Care facilities

The more I study on it, the more important family ties become to me.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by GMT-8 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:37 am

We've spent much of the last week discussing this issue with my brother and his wife who after living there 30 years, are itching to get out of King County (Seattle area) due to high sales taxes, onerous local building restrictions, and what they consider to be intolerably progressive/oppressive politics. Plus bad traffic and grey weather.

They're looking in Idaho and Eastern Washington in medium to small towns.

Other friends have just landed up in the San Juan islands.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by HIinvestor » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:29 am

We are in the home we bought nearly 30 years ago. H retired nearly 5 years ago. We have no current plans to move anywhere.

My folks just moved from their 4 bedroom, 2 bath home with huge swimming pool to a SR community that required a huge payment but the estate gets refunded 90% after death. The placed has up to 24/7 care and a nursing home on premises. The food is good and they are happy.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by aristotelian » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:32 am

Take a look at Fort Collins. Lots of the same benefits of Col Springs but smaller with more walkable amenities. Haven't spent much time in CO but of Col Springs, Denver, and FC, I liked FC the best and it is on our list of possible destinations.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by Top99% » Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:29 am

Unless you plan on moving twice during retirement one big consideration is access to quality medical personnel and facilities. This can be a big problem in many LCOL. My wife and I were torn between Sedona AZ and Austin TX and chose the latter for that reason. We are 1 mile from a Costco :happy Austin certainly isn't LCOL but by keeping our home size small we made it work. We love the outdoors and good food and Austin offers both. I am part time on a glide path to retirement.
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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by rikki » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:50 am

I relocated within a few weeks of my last week working in a midwestern city (where I had moved 20 years previously for job opportunity, but never felt like "home"), having done extensive research in the 3-4 years before that. I did end up working a few years after my move, but was financially independent at the time and it was my choice rather than a necessity. My children were "launched" when I made the move.

The criteria I used were all quality of life considerations, and I did not place a high value on financial considerations other than housing cost. Proximity to family, cultural and political ambiance, decent healthcare, four seasons and natural beauty, access to the big cities I enjoy (Boston and NYC), and post-retirement opportunities for life long learning and recreation.

I looked at the map, read forums such as "Best Places", and had a list of 4-5 potential locations. I visited regularly, then rented, then purchased. I did not know a soul in the town I chose, but had friends and family within a 2 hour drive. That fact encouraged me to reach out for social connections and friendships, which has been very rewarding.

I am completely satisfied with my choice of a college town in western MA.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by jebmke » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:04 am

Top99% wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:29 am
Unless you plan on moving twice during retirement one big consideration is access to quality medical personnel and facilities.
This is our plan. Ten years ago, we had some sense of the weakness of the HC resources in the area but it has turned out worse than we even imagined. For non-emergency services we are within an hour and a half of top hospitals and services but eventually that drive is a barrier. For emergency services you have to rely on duct tape (trauma) and jumper cables (cardiac). As well, we live in an area where driving is the only option for transportation. At some point, I would like to drastically reduce dependence on a car. We will likely move (again) in the next five years.
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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by flyingaway » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:12 am

I may retire at 55 and may relocate to where my sons are, or at least downsize in the same city. But we have no definite idea at this time since my young son is still in college. But we will remain in a middle sized city with good access to an airport and medical facilities.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by flyingaway » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:15 am

rikki wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:50 am
I relocated within a few weeks of my last week working in a midwestern city (where I had moved 20 years previously for job opportunity, but never felt like "home"), having done extensive research in the 3-4 years before that. I did end up working a few years after my move, but was financially independent at the time and it was my choice rather than a necessity. My children were "launched" when I made the move.

The criteria I used were all quality of life considerations, and I did not place a high value on financial considerations other than housing cost. Proximity to family, cultural and political ambiance, decent healthcare, four seasons and natural beauty, access to the big cities I enjoy (Boston and NYC), and post-retirement opportunities for life long learning and recreation.

I looked at the map, read forums such as "Best Places", and had a list of 4-5 potential locations. I visited regularly, then rented, then purchased. I did not know a soul in the town I chose, but had friends and family within a 2 hour drive. That fact encouraged me to reach out for social connections and friendships, which has been very rewarding.

I am completely satisfied with my choice of a college town in western MA.
Have you been able to get to know people nearby and become friends quickly after your move?

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by delamer » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:27 am

This is a big issue for us right now. As I guess is true for most people, no one place that we are considering meets all of our criteria. We are fortunate to have the financial option of owning homes in two locations if we decide that is the best way to go. But that set up has its own concerns.

Our kids are still somewhat unsettled and while it is likely that they will stay in the area where they grew up (and we still live), that is another unknown.

I have lived on the East Coast my whole life and my husband for almost 40 years, so about the only "for sure" decision we've made is to stay here. But that doesn't narrow things down much...

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by VictoriaF » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:22 am

At the time of retirement, I have relocated from suburban Maryland to a walking distance from Washington DC. The cost of living and taxes were not my considerations. The intellectual stimulation was the primary driver, and I am getting even more of it than I have thought. I am very happy with my choice.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by feh » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:49 am

We are planning on moving in a couple years, once we are empty-nesters. Going from WI to CO.

COL may be a bit higher, but geography, weather and taxes will all be better.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:12 pm

Part of my plans for retirement are to spend more time with family and friends, most of whom are in this area. Moving would be counter-productive. It's also a LCOL area already.
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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by yukonjack » Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:07 pm

I would second an earlier response to take a look at Ft. Collins if your are considering the Springs. And while both have seen significant increases in real estate prices I would still consider both very affordable. You are probably aware of it but I will mention that in considering Colorado Springs you should be okay with the local social and political scene. Lets just say that it is about as far to the right as you can go in Colorado. Additionally the military (retired and active) make up a sizable part of the population.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by PartIrish » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:13 pm

Frugal Professor, We currently live in the Southwest, but have purchased several properties in Bellingham since 2003 and plan to move into one of them once I retire in a couple of years. Last summer we sold one house and bought another into which we expect to move. We're renting it right now to a single professional so there is very little impact on the property; if this were not the case I don't think the plan would have worked out, as renters can be hard on houses. We like Bellingham for all the reasons you point out, although I expect that once there full time we will get away for a month or so every winter in search of sunshine. The city is very manageable in terms of size and traffic. People are remarkably friendly and helpful, and there is a good sense of community. Proximity to Vancouver BC, Seattle, the mountains, and the sea are all value-added in my opinion. You've lived nearby so you already know what weather to expect November through April. Oh, and B'ham has a very shiny new Costco up on Bakerview!

As to the financial side, as someone else mentioned, Bellingham has become a big draw for retirees and tech escapees from SF and Seattle, and between that and the university students, the rental vacancy rate is now <1 percent. Likewise, houses have been selling fast, although I've noticed a pause in the market over the past month or so. We decided last year to buy a house we could someday live in because a) it allowed us to use a 1031 exchange to delay capital gains tax on the property we sold, and b) at the rate things were going, waiting for two years would likely have priced us out of the market.

My recommendation is to follow the markets you are interested in through your preferred property website to get a feel for prices and neighborhoods, so that when the time comes, you have better information to purchase. You may even want to follow local newspapers online, to develop local knowledge.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by DurangoWino » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:30 pm

Not sure if you have checked out Durango, CO. No Costco, but full of charm and an outstanding setting with a more moderate climate than northern CO. Closest Cosco is 160 miles.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by runner3081 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:01 pm

We are in the PHX area right now and planning early retirement.

We have two rough plans... which both involve selling our current house (2-stories, we want 1 for later in life).

1) Sell the house, buy a small condo in the same area and a second condo in Eastern Washington (both wife and I are from Washington). This would allow nearly perfect weather all year as snowbirds. If not Eastern Washington, possibly a small coast city on the Washington Coast.

2) Sell the house and buy a smaller place further north in Arizona to avoid the hot summers.

3) The pipe dream would be to sell the house and move closer to water, preferably an ocean, but a large lake would be fine.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by FrugalProfessor » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:14 am

Jim21713 wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:08 am
Retiring next year myself and have given this some thought. Considerations for me are:

1. Taxes on income (RMD and SS)
2. Access to children and grandchildren and other family members
3. Downsizing house and 3 acre lot to mow/maintain but still will prefer rural to big city
4. I do like to see all 4 seasons of the year
5. Medical Care facilities

The more I study on it, the more important family ties become to me.
Thanks for the feedback. Sounds totally rational to place access to family at the top of the list.
I blog. My effective (not to be confused with statutory) MTR is 45% (fed + state, excluding payroll). I save $30k/year in taxes by maxing out deferrals. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by FrugalProfessor » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:15 am

GMT-8 wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:37 am
We've spent much of the last week discussing this issue with my brother and his wife who after living there 30 years, are itching to get out of King County (Seattle area) due to high sales taxes, onerous local building restrictions, and what they consider to be intolerably progressive/oppressive politics. Plus bad traffic and grey weather.

They're looking in Idaho and Eastern Washington in medium to small towns.

Other friends have just landed up in the San Juan islands.
Idaho and Eastern WA are potential destinations for me as well. Thanks for the feedback!
I blog. My effective (not to be confused with statutory) MTR is 45% (fed + state, excluding payroll). I save $30k/year in taxes by maxing out deferrals. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by FrugalProfessor » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:17 am

aristotelian wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:32 am
Take a look at Fort Collins. Lots of the same benefits of Col Springs but smaller with more walkable amenities. Haven't spent much time in CO but of Col Springs, Denver, and FC, I liked FC the best and it is on our list of possible destinations.
Thanks for the heads up on Ft Collins! I know several really smart people who chose that location as well and love it there.
I blog. My effective (not to be confused with statutory) MTR is 45% (fed + state, excluding payroll). I save $30k/year in taxes by maxing out deferrals. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

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FrugalProfessor
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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by FrugalProfessor » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:18 am

yukonjack wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:07 pm
I would second an earlier response to take a look at Ft. Collins if your are considering the Springs. And while both have seen significant increases in real estate prices I would still consider both very affordable. You are probably aware of it but I will mention that in considering Colorado Springs you should be okay with the local social and political scene. Lets just say that it is about as far to the right as you can go in Colorado. Additionally the military (retired and active) make up a sizable part of the population.
Thanks for the scoop on Ft Collins! It is now added to the list of cities to consider.
I blog. My effective (not to be confused with statutory) MTR is 45% (fed + state, excluding payroll). I save $30k/year in taxes by maxing out deferrals. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

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FrugalProfessor
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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by FrugalProfessor » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:22 am

PartIrish wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:13 pm
Frugal Professor, We currently live in the Southwest, but have purchased several properties in Bellingham since 2003 and plan to move into one of them once I retire in a couple of years. Last summer we sold one house and bought another into which we expect to move. We're renting it right now to a single professional so there is very little impact on the property; if this were not the case I don't think the plan would have worked out, as renters can be hard on houses. We like Bellingham for all the reasons you point out, although I expect that once there full time we will get away for a month or so every winter in search of sunshine. The city is very manageable in terms of size and traffic. People are remarkably friendly and helpful, and there is a good sense of community. Proximity to Vancouver BC, Seattle, the mountains, and the sea are all value-added in my opinion. You've lived nearby so you already know what weather to expect November through April. Oh, and B'ham has a very shiny new Costco up on Bakerview!

As to the financial side, as someone else mentioned, Bellingham has become a big draw for retirees and tech escapees from SF and Seattle, and between that and the university students, the rental vacancy rate is now <1 percent. Likewise, houses have been selling fast, although I've noticed a pause in the market over the past month or so. We decided last year to buy a house we could someday live in because a) it allowed us to use a 1031 exchange to delay capital gains tax on the property we sold, and b) at the rate things were going, waiting for two years would likely have priced us out of the market.

My recommendation is to follow the markets you are interested in through your preferred property website to get a feel for prices and neighborhoods, so that when the time comes, you have better information to purchase. You may even want to follow local newspapers online, to develop local knowledge.
Enjoy your retirement to Bellingham! I was at that Costco a few weeks ago! I think the plan on living in PNW + getting out of Dodge for 1-2 months during the depths of winter is a fantastic plan.
I blog. My effective (not to be confused with statutory) MTR is 45% (fed + state, excluding payroll). I save $30k/year in taxes by maxing out deferrals. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by FrugalProfessor » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:22 am

DurangoWino wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:30 pm
Not sure if you have checked out Durango, CO. No Costco, but full of charm and an outstanding setting with a more moderate climate than northern CO. Closest Cosco is 160 miles.
I know nothing about Durango, so thanks for sharing. It's now on my list of cities to check out. Thanks!
I blog. My effective (not to be confused with statutory) MTR is 45% (fed + state, excluding payroll). I save $30k/year in taxes by maxing out deferrals. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by FrugalProfessor » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:25 am

runner3081 wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:01 pm
We are in the PHX area right now and planning early retirement.

We have two rough plans... which both involve selling our current house (2-stories, we want 1 for later in life).

1) Sell the house, buy a small condo in the same area and a second condo in Eastern Washington (both wife and I are from Washington). This would allow nearly perfect weather all year as snowbirds. If not Eastern Washington, possibly a small coast city on the Washington Coast.

2) Sell the house and buy a smaller place further north in Arizona to avoid the hot summers.

3) The pipe dream would be to sell the house and move closer to water, preferably an ocean, but a large lake would be fine.
Sounds like a good plan to me. My uncle lives in Eastern WA and speaks highly of it. I've passed through a few times and it seems like a good place to end up. The tax savings through establishing residency in WA in retirement would likely pay a good portion of the costs of keeping the second condo in PHX.
I blog. My effective (not to be confused with statutory) MTR is 45% (fed + state, excluding payroll). I save $30k/year in taxes by maxing out deferrals. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:08 am

I retired to a house 7 miles from my previous location. I bought the house 2 years before my retirement date. I don't know if they will lend me money now. But still in the HCOL area but not as high as the Bay Area. It's in SoCal and pricey area of SoCal. But a few criteria we used to select our current location is that it has an airport, has a University, within 1 mile to a lot medical facilities, walkable to shops like supermarket for food shopping, good walkable score for lots of walking. It's a beautiful area, almost like a resort. One daughter lives close buy, an hour away. We go to her church sometime. The other one is an hour flight away. My children went to highschool here so they have lots of friends in the area, most likely will come back and visit. We could have moved to 20 miles south from here for 20% cheaper, but it's going to be foreign to my kids.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by Lynette » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:34 am

I decided that I was probably going to relocate when I retired. Then I retired and I found out how differently I felt about life. While working, I was totally wrapped up in my job, commute and had minimal time for really thinking. I realized that the friends I had made were really important to me. I'm 5 minutes from my health club, church and major hospital. I live in a tree-lined street in a neighborhood that is considered safe. I'm close to an elementary school and in the morning, I can see parents walking children to school, then the dogs then collect the children. I'm close to major universities and community colleges and a good airport. I don't plan to do a degree but like being able to audit classes at community colleges. I also had so much paperwork to complete for pensions, taxes, medicare and other stuff. I'm pleased I had the same telephone number and address during this process. I'm so pleased I delayed my decision. I'm staying exactly where I am!

dbr
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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by dbr » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:42 am

No. We like where we live and it works for us. I guess the affirmation of that was when our kids told us it was a good place to grow up even though two of them are elsewhere now.

Living someplace you hate while you are working seems like a problem a person should have fixed a long time ago.

I do understand the concept of cutting living costs to make retirement work when earning an income is no longer associated with where you live. People who do/have done that make sense. We don't need to cut our living costs which are not real estate or tax driven anyway. As to taxes, in many places taxes are worth it for the quality of life that goes along with it. Quality of life is subjective so that is not a close correlation, and taxes can also be "out of line."

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FrugalProfessor
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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by FrugalProfessor » Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:00 pm

dbr wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:42 am
No. We like where we live and it works for us. I guess the affirmation of that was when our kids told us it was a good place to grow up even though two of them are elsewhere now.

Living someplace you hate while you are working seems like a problem a person should have fixed a long time ago.

I do understand the concept of cutting living costs to make retirement work when earning an income is no longer associated with where you live. People who do/have done that make sense. We don't need to cut our living costs which are not real estate or tax driven anyway. As to taxes, in many places taxes are worth it for the quality of life that goes along with it. Quality of life is subjective so that is not a close correlation, and taxes can also be "out of line."
I'm quite happy with where we live, except for 1.) taxes, 2.) distance from family, and 3.) no great hiking/biking/kayaking/climbing nearby. With that said, my job is fantastic and more than makes up for the above deficiencies. Once the money problem is solved, however, I see no reason to stay put given there are plenty of places in the US that are 1.) lower tax, 2.) closer to family, and 3.) have great access to hiking/biking/kayaking/climbing.

In a perfect world I would have gotten a job in the ideal location, but instead a got a job in a pretty good location and I am quite content.
I blog. My effective (not to be confused with statutory) MTR is 45% (fed + state, excluding payroll). I save $30k/year in taxes by maxing out deferrals. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

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Re: Relocate for Early Retirement?

Post by lynneny » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:09 pm

I'll likely retire in about two years and will definitely relocate. I love NYC, but it's very HCOL, and I moved here about 15 years ago for my job, so my family and oldest friends aren't nearby.

After extensive research, I'll probably retire to either Mexico or Portugal. (I worked in Latin America and Europe for 20 years, so I enjoy the culture/speak the language in both countries).

the main advantages of the city I'm considering in each country:
1. LCOL. I can afford a nice home, and won't have to worry about running out of money.
2. Good and affordable healthcare.
3. Summer weather all year (I hate the cold).
4. Walkable cities with good public transportation, so I won't need a car.
5. Friendly people, both locals and expat community.
6. Good restaurants, art galleries, music and other cultural options, plus less than an hour from good beaches.

And there's a Costco! I don't actually shop at Costco now, but in Mexico at least Costco is the place that imports American Christmas trees in December, and that's important to me. Every country I've moved to, the Christmas tree ornaments have come with me.

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