Dueling Carolinas: North Carolina vs. South Carolina As the Best Retirement State

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

Editors Note: This is the third in our series comparing various states as retirement destinations. Don’t miss the first, Florida vs. Arizona Retirement, or the second, Delaware vs. Maryland vs. Virginia vs. New Jersey. There are more “Dueling” comparisons listed at the end of this article. We welcome ideas for future ones.

Updated April 5, 2015 — Both North and South Carolina enjoy a favorable image among baby boomers; in fact the Carolinas are a red-hot retirement destination. As a retirement destination, both have become at least as desirable is Florida. In this comparison we will evaluate various factors for both states that affect retirement, letting you draw your own conclusions from the facts. As always, reader input is extremely important, so we encourage you to use the Comments section below. (Note: The first version of this article was originally published in 2010; this edition contains numerous updates and revisions. Because it goes way back to 2010, there are a LOT of comments which are worth reading. The latest comments are at the bottom.)

Population (Data from American Fact Finder-U.S. Census Bureau).
One obvious difference between the two states is the number of people. In 2013 North Carolina’s population was about double its southern neighbor’s (9,848,060 vs. 4,774,839). The over 65 population in South Carolina was 14.2%, in North Carolina it was slightly lower at 12.9% (the national percentage was 13.4%). Both states attract significant numbers of retirees from beyond their own borders, usually from the Northeast or Midwest.

The Grand Strand in Myrtle Beach, SC

Home Prices and the Economy
One reason why the Carolinas are popular for so many retirements is a lower cost of living. Both states have significantly lower home prices than the Zillow 2015 Home Value Index for the entire U.S. of $178,700. Using that same source, South Carolina’s median home value was $134,700, $12,000 lower than North Carolina’s ($146,700). Note that the Zillow estimates are low compared to those from the National Association of Realtors, which showed a U.S. median home price of $208,700 at the end of 2014.

Home prices in some North Carolina Metros bear out these differences: the Durham median home selling price at the end of 2014 was $205,200; in Charlotte it was $192,800, and in Raleigh it was $213,200 (per NAR). Meanwhile in South Carolina, the Greenville median was $166,000, Spartanburg was $130,900, but in pricier Charleston the median was $215,500.

Beautiful Charleston, SC

The economies of both states are very similar. Manufacturing, services, and agriculture are important in both. The 2013 median HH income in North Carolina was $46,334, slightly higher than South Carolina’s $44,779. By comparison the national household income median was $50,046. South Carolina’s cost of living is the 21st lowest in the U.S. while North Carolina’s is very similar at 23rd. According to the Census Bureau both states had some of the highest unemployment rates in the nation in 2013 – 11.4% for South Carolina and 11.1% for North Carolina (people over 16 years of age).


Climate
There are no significant climate differences between these 2 states. The most northern parts of North Carolina will have slightly colder winters than the most southerly part of SC, but the difference will only be a few degrees. What differences there are mostly stem from the varying climates present within each as they go east to west – from beach to mountains. Here are a few representative temperatures for cities within these states:

City(State) Avg July High Avg Jan Low
Asheville (NC) 84 27 (West)
Charlotte(NC) 90 32 (Central)
Wilmington (NC) 90 36 (East)
Greenville (SC) 89 31 (West)
Columbia (SC) 95 36 (Central)
Charleston (SC) 89 42 (East)

Tax Environment
Overall
Many retirees look to tax comparisons to help determine what they view as a retirement friendly state. Up until last year South Carolina would undoubtedly win that comparison – it had lower taxes in almost every category. However, beginning in 2014 comparing taxes between the two states is much harder, and the bottom line difference is probably not that great. According to the Tax Foundation, SC had the 41st highest tax burden in the nation in 2011, whereas NC’s was 17th. However due to the dramatic changes in NC’s tax structure in 2014, those figures are probably not valid after that date.

To make a few observations, we would start by saying that the individual characteristics of your tax situation have so many ramifications that you should have someone prepare a hypothetical tax statement for you to get the real picture. But here are some things to consider:
– SC has a much higher marginal tax rate, although it also has higher exemptions
– Neither state taxes Social Security
– The sales tax in NC is 1.25% lower than in SC
– Neither state has an inheritance or estate tax
– NC has higher property taxes as a % of home value. But it also has a nice “circuit breaker” program for people over 65

Income Taxes
South Carolina has a (very high) maximum tax rate of 7% that begins at a quite low income of $14,400. South Carolina accepts the adjustments, exemptions and deductions allowed on your federal tax return. North Carolina’s income tax is much lower, as it was recently lowered to a flat 5.75%.

Social Security and Income Tax Exemptions for Seniors
Neither state taxes Social Security payments.

Although South Carolina has much higher tax rates, its high exemption levels are friendly to retirees. Each resident over 65 is entitled to an exemption of $15,000 ($30,000 for couples) in calculating income for state tax purposes, of which up to $10,000 each can be retirement income. For couples filing jointly when both are 65 or older you might not need to file a SC tax return unless your gross income is greater than the federal gross income filing requirement plus $30,000.

Classic Pinehurst, NC, a golfing shrine

There is a $7500 exemption per person in NC. When North Carolina reduced its state income tax rates starting with 2014 some seniors’ deductions were eliminated. Social Security is still exempt, as is NC pension income under the Bailey Settlement. The somewhat confusing pension exemption rules are located on this NC Retiree Tax Guide.

Sales Taxes
The northern Carolina wins in the sales tax competition. In SC the sales tax is 6% and in NC it is 4.75%. Both states permit localities to add on to that tax.

Estate and Inheritance Taxes
There are no estate or inheritance taxes in South Carolina or North Carolina (NC repealed its estate tax in 2013).

Property Tax
SC residents pay one of the lowest property taxes as a % of home value (ranked 46th) in the country. NC is ranked 33rd. SC residents pay .57% of their home value, compared to .85% in North Carolina (figures from the Tax Foundation). Homeowners in SC over 65 can usually deduct $50,000 of valuation on their property taxes. In NC there is a property tax homestead exemption for people over 65 who meet certain income criteria, as well as a circuit breaker program for eligible people over 65 which limits property taxes to 4 or 5% of your income.

Note: Taxes are complicated and the laws change quickly. Consult state Department of Revenue Guides and/or your tax professional before making important decisions. This brief overview is not meant to give any advice.

Physical Environment and Diversity
As with population, North Carolina also has a much bigger geographical area – 54,000 square miles as compared to SC’s 32,000 miles. Both have a long coast line with beautiful beaches and/or waterfront on large bays. The Cape Hatteras region of NC is quite remarkable, as is Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head in SC. North Carolina has a larger and more pronounced western mountain area with four seasons and the Blue Ridge, Great Smoky, and Black Mountain ranges. The highest point in NC (and the eastern U.S.) is Mt. Mitchell at 6,684 ft.; Sassafras Mountain is SC’s highest peak at 3,560 ft.

Places to Live and Retirement Popularity
Both states have several important cities and numerous interesting mid-sized cities. Both states have college towns, such as Chapel Hill and Durham in NC and Clemson in South Carolina. Both Carolinas have a strong representation of towns on Topretirements’ list of 100 Best Retirement Towns: NC has 11 on that list and SC has 10. South Carolina has 4 cities in our top 20, whereas NC has only 2 (perennial #1 Asheville (NC) and #16 New Bern. South Carolina’s most popular places to retire include #4 Beaufort, #6 Charleston, #7 Myrtle Beach, #15 Bluffton, and #20 Summerville. Here is the full list of our most popular 100 best retirement towns.

Charlotte, NC

Choice of Active Communities
North Carolina and South Carolina are both loaded with active adult communities. At Topretirements we count 178 communities in our North Carolina Directory of Active Communities and 154 in the South Carolina Directory of Active Communities. Whereas the active communities in NC are dispersed throughout the state in areas like Asheville, New Bern, Charlotte, and the Research Triangle area; South Carolina’s are clustered mostly along the coast, from Myrtle Beach to Charleston. In both states the choices are many and varied, with many of them relatively new.

The bottom line
North Carolina and South Carolina share numerous similarities in addition to a similar climate and topography. Indeed, many retirees say they are contemplating moving to the “Carolinas” for retirement, and don’t often specify one of the states.

Looking for differences, we could generalize and say North Carolina is a bit more diverse. It has more large cities to choose from, such as Charlotte or Winston-Salem. NC has taller mountains and more towns in mountainous areas, if that is what you are looking for. South Carolina might have the most interesting city, Charleston. NC is more diverse politically, with its cities, particularly those in the Research Triangle, tending to be progressive. Its rural areas are more conservative. North Carolina has made recent strides in getting to more a tax friendly par with South Carolina. South Carolina, which tends to be quite conservative, is probably less of a melting pot than its northern cousin, and more of a “southern” state. While North Carolina recently became much tax friendlier, many liberal leaning residents are not happy with the attendant cuts to social services, education, and other programs.

So which state is more popular? Regardless of which state wins the retirement sweepstakes, both are doing very well. A Del Webb study a few years ago found that the Carolinas had become a more popular retirement destination than Florida. At Topretirements our South Carolina retirement guide is visited slightly more than is our NC retirement guide (in fact they are the #2 and #3 most popular state guides after Florida). The differences between the Carolinas are subtle. Both contain some wonderful places to retire, if the mid-Atlantic region is the region where you would like to retire. Rather than take sides on the issue, we recommend that you visit cities and towns in both states and see if you can’t find the place of your dreams. Fortunately, the two states are contiguous- in a few trips you should be able to get a good idea of the places that could offer you a happy retirement experience.

Sources: In most cases we used www.tax-rates.com. as the source for tax information in this article, American Fact Finder for demographic information, and Zillow or the NAR for home pricing. Some additional tax burden figures are courtesy of the Tax Foundation.

For for further reading:
State Retirement Guides
Retirement 101 Mid-Atlantic States: MD, DE, VA, NJ
Florida Retirement 101
Dueling Carolinas: NC vs. SC
Dueling States: Arizona vs. Florida
California Retirement 101
Retirement in the Southwest: AZ, NM, and Utah
The Mountain States: CO, ID, MT, NV, UT, WY
The Pacific Northwest: Oregon vs. Washington

What state do you prefer? Let us know in the Comments section below. (Note: This article has been updated numerous times and has many interesting comments. To find the most recent ones scroll down and look by date).

Posted by John Brady on November 15th, 2010

236 Comments »

  1. I lived in SC for 35 years, leaving in 2003. Lovely state, lot of nice folks. The political atmosphere is so conservative, however, and I began to feel isolated. Retirees from Northeast or Midwest may feel a bit out of place politically. If you like right-wing Republicans, however, this will be a very pleasing state in which to retire. I don’t mean to start any political arguments, and there’s much to like in SC. In my brief experience there, however, NC is a more “progressive” state, in general. I enjoyed reading the comparison above, which I think for the most part is quite accurate (though Sumter, SC is not really a college town).

    by Bill S. — November 17, 2010

  2. Just for the record, the sales tax in both Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach, SC is 9% not 6%. North Myrtle Beach would like to raise their sales tax to 10%. Some alcoholic drinks purchased in restaurants in the Myrtle Beach area can be taxed up to 16.5% so research the areas carefully before packing your bags. Also, be aware that you must establish residency in South Carolina before you can take advantage of the $50,000 property tax deduction on your home at age 65 or older. If you are a non-resident you will be taxed at 6% plus a higher millage rate than a resident’s 4% and lower millage rate. For example, one of our friends in North Myrtle Beach is paying around $780/yr in property tax for a 1B/1B condo because he is a non-resident. The same condo for an under 65 resident would be about $250 and for a resident 65 or older it would be around $45. The reduction in property taxes is beneficial but groceries are on the expensive side so I can’t stress enough to research any area thoroughly and weigh all pros and cons. You can get a sales tax table on every city or town in SC by going to the State of South Carolina’s web site. Oh and car insurance in SC may be quite a bit more than what you are used to paying so factor that in also.

    by Katherine Cairrao — November 17, 2010

  3. 😳 NC only waives taxes on the first $4,000 of MILITARY retirement income

    by john stevens — November 17, 2010

  4. Right wing conservative state? I’m going to SC…beats this hell of a state (CT) that I’m in now!!

    by PJDroney — November 17, 2010

  5. :roll: Been a resident of Charlotte, NC since early 80s and we are looking seriously at SC for retirement. Mecklenburg County has one of the highest overall tax bites in the country. Between sales tax (at 8+% depending on what you buy), real estate (which will be going up AGAIN!), property tax, car rental taxes, hotel taxes and, of course, income tax (which cuts no breaks on pension income) it just seems like everyone has a hand in your purse! Add to that the escalating housing costs (even in this economy). We are definitely looking at SC due to overall lower taxes (stay away from the beach) and property values. Plus if you are a beach person but can’t afford to live there year round, SC offers easier beach access highways from places like Summerville and Columbia. We can’t wait until going to Charleston and North Myrtle is not such a long drive.

    by Genie — November 18, 2010

  6. South Carolina hands down!! Specfically Sun City Hilton Head. Low taxes, great weather, proximity to the beach, to Savannah, to Charleston and to Florida for a quick weekend getaway. Moved here close to 3 years ago and can’t believe that I live in such a beautiful place.

    by Margaret Fallon — November 21, 2010

  7. […] not too cold. Home prices are well below the national average. (See our recent article comparing NC and SC for retirement). SC is on our list of “best” places to retire. 5. Maryland – Yes, MD is a high tax state and […]

    by » No Go: A Worst Places to Retire List We Don’t Agree With Topretirements — November 23, 2010

  8. We live in the Winston-Salem area in a golf community. Love W-S…very comfortable town that is easy to get around and has great medical services and an excellent arts community. Climate is more moderate being in the Piedmont of the state…a little snow in the winter, and usually a limited number of really hot days in the summer (although 2010 was an exception). W-S is also a college town with Wake Forest. Less than 2 hours to mountains and about 3-1/2 to the beach. Sure there are places with more upscale restaurants and shops, but if you a looking for a comfortable place to live W-S is pretty good.

    Have spend significant time at Hilton Head and the traffic on the Island has become a zoo…278 is ridiculous most times of the day and the summer really stinks with traffic. If you live in a plantation and don’t have to go out on 278, it is OK except for the no-seeum’s that will chew on you. Greenville area of SC is very nice, but Columbia is way too hot and humid.

    by Zebhead — December 10, 2010

  9. I was born in New Jersey and moved to Florida,after Hurricane Francis and seeing the financial opportunity of selling my home in Central Florida for a nice amount I left for the Greenville area of the upstate in S.C.,just under the snow belt,been here 5 years and do not regret it,long springs and long falls, good seasonal changes and great people.Good family area.I also have now a cabin in the Bryson city area of N.C.and love the Smokies and the outdoor life style.only difference I see right now is SC is more right and NC more left,but who cares to each his own.I am quite happy here and content.Try the shrimp and grits and love the barby.

    by Joseph DePeri — December 19, 2010

  10. […] several possible article suggestions. We’ve already written the #1 most popular idea, “Dueling Carolinas: NC vs. SC“, as well as #2, “What is Your Retirement Lifestyle“. In a close race “Your […]

    by » What’s on Your Retirement Bucket List Topretirements — December 20, 2010

  11. I totally agree with Bill S. SC, although a lovely state, is quite conservative in its governance, taxing policies, and attitudes towards education. We’ve enjoyed our almost 20 years in the Piedmont of SC, but are retiring in Asheville, NC.

    by Lisa — March 27, 2011

  12. Hay john stevens,
    You have that tax stuff all wrong about military retirement taxes and etc. Any Federal retirement income such as military, civil service is not taxed by NC. What is taxed is the retirement incomes from another state, and then the first
    $4,000 of that retirement income is waved. After the first $4,000 then it becomes taxable. I know I am a military retiree..

    by Bill — April 10, 2011

  13. thanks for all the great comments..one thing I notice in all ‘summaries’ about where individuals reside is that ..’there is no mention of available health care..doctors/hospitals/day to day visits…etc….We believe this is on top of our list fo where to retire …especially, as we age..
    when we visit areas we always visit some medical facilities…and explore how to get traeatments ,,like ‘urgent care’.
    a good experience to share would be when on a trip to North Charleston..I visited the VA Hospital (a 35 year veteran ) and was told that once on Medicare I was no longer eligable to be treated at the hospital..
    we went to a VA Clinic and it was very depressing…just a crowded room with folding chairs…loaded with patients on long waits?….
    while there I met some individuals and asked some questions about another subject thatis rarely discussed by residents in this forum…that being “crime” and was shocked to find that North Charleston was NUMBER ONE in violent crime in the USA…
    so just wanted to share our comments and thanks for all who do…Bob and Chris in New York (presently) and still looking…

    by Robert K — April 13, 2011

  14. I was looking at homes on James Island in SC. I thought it was a wonderful location right outside of Charleston. If anyone has information that would be helpful to consider when making a final decision, please send it along.

    by Johanna Hopkins — May 12, 2011

  15. Johanna, I know a couple that has a home on the water–the Stono River (intercostal waterway) golf community. It isn’t listed yet. Would you be interested??

    by Linda Hyers — May 13, 2011

  16. Not at this time, thank you.

    by Johanna — May 15, 2011

  17. We’re looking to retire in Henderson, NV. Would greatly appreciate any comments/suggestions pro and con as to the retirement communities there. Thanks.

    by Angela — May 16, 2011

  18. Angela:
    I wish I had used my own advice prior to moving so I thought I would share a few suggestions:
    Have you thought about renting in the area first? I’m sure you would be able to find a short term unit. This way you could actually live in the area without moving and commiting to a house to later find out this isn’t the area for you.
    If you get a long term opportunity to visit, plan it during the hottest months. If you can tolerate the desert heat the rest of the year will be a breeze.
    I love a light and bright home, but we have found that in the desert you have to have blinds and curtains pulled because the sun coming in with the AC on is counterproductive. I didn’t like the house so dark all day long in the summer and couldn’t wait until we no longer needed AC and could have the sun flowing in again. Just a thought!
    Look at the shopping in the area. Is the supermarket 20 miles away or just a mile. Are your only stores Walmart and Target (which I love) but sometimes you need to window shop at a mall.
    If you live in a regular community are your neighbors all younger and always at work. This can be very lonely during the week when no one is around. Especially if you’re used to working and having people around you all the time.
    By living in the area as a test you can also take your time to really investigate the communites that you might be interested in. When you look at houses with a realtor you usually don’t walk the street or the community. Look at the houses around the one your viewing. Do they keep them up, is the area well maintained. Do you see any life in the neighborhood or does everyone stay inside. Visit the area several different times of day to see what the traffic is like.
    Moving cold turkey to a new state is exciting, new beginnings. But, it can also be very lonely during the curve of acquiring new friends.
    I wish you well. I hope I haven’t gone on and on.

    by Anne — May 17, 2011

  19. Anne, your advice is thoughtful and sage. I’ve had friends who bought in a mobile home park without once looking beyond the amenities in the model home. They found out too late that their environment extended beyond their four walls. It happened that the demographics were incompatible with their age and interests, a particularly crucial matter when units are cheek to jowl (mobile estate, apartment house). You haven’t “gone on and on” … you’ve supplied a reality-based checklist that every would-be relocator would be well advised to read.

    by Robert — May 17, 2011

  20. I am interested in information on Nevada as well. I’m more interested in the Northern part of the State. I want to rent rather than buy. I haven’t found any retirement communities that rent as yet. I will keep looking.

    by Ginger — May 17, 2011

  21. Ann, thank you for your comments. Your suggestions will very helpful. Appreciate it And, no you have not gone on and on. People’s experiences are beneficial to those who are looking to retire.

    by Angela — May 18, 2011

  22. I highly recommend Mt. Pleasant, SC, a suburb of Charleston, which is the garden spot of the Carolinas if you like close proximity to beaches (only a few miles from Isle of Palms). It has great shopping, restaurants, medical, and low crime. Also very convenient to downtown Charleston. Weather is great except for hot and very humid summers. Only other negative is traffic in summer beach season but locals find ways around that.

    by John — October 21, 2011

  23. […] and the “worst” lists of various kinds.  One article from late 2010 explored  “Dueling Retirement States – North vs. South Carolina“.  And one was a personal favorite, “What Sandy Learned from 8 Years of Looking at and […]

    by » Top 10 Retirement Articles for 2011 Topretirements — December 26, 2011

  24. Ann,
    You are spot on! I have retired and am in the process of relocating. I have chosen a place that refelects my interests: horseback riding, animals, the great outdoors. Still, I wanted to make sure it was right for me. So, I am renting a home for a year. Already, I have discovered all kinds of everyday things about the area. So far, it has been a wonderful experience, and I probably will stay here. Do your homework on any place your looking to retire and absolutely live there for at least 6 mos. before you make that life changing move. it will pay off in the end.

    by Liz Morgan — December 28, 2011

  25. Just one clarification on taxing pensions in NC. All federal pensions are exempt and fall under the Bailey exclusion PROVIDED the retiree had a minimum of 5 years of federal service prior to August 12, 1989.

    Editor’s note: You are correct and thanks for the clarification. We have changed the article to reflect that.

    by Chuck — February 2, 2012

  26. If you’re from Michigan, housing is much higher in both Carolinas. I’ve also noticed that food is about 30% higher than in Michigan. Fuel oil prices are similar but gasoline is higher by several cents per gallon. On the plus side you probably won’t use as much to heat your house.

    by Fred — February 2, 2012

  27. Fred,
    What is the difference in taxes between the Carolinas and Michigan?
    High real estate tax rates increase the ongoing cost of property, not to mention the other costs of a climate of 11 months of winter and four weeks of bad ice fishing.

    by Sandie Warwick — February 3, 2012

  28. I’ve lived in NC for 50 years now (military brat) and retired near Chapel Hill in the central part of the state. This article is excellent on all counts — I can’t stress enough the diversity available in these two states. But Bill S. makes an excellent point that I was going to state — SC extremely conservative and NC much more progressive (yet also somewhat conservative except less so in the population centers). As a whole, NC has much more variety and offers more cosmopolitan options.

    by Rich Beaudry — February 3, 2012

  29. Rich,
    My husband and I are thinking about retiring in NC and we are quite interested in Heritage Wake Forest community. If you happen to know anything about that community, we’d appreciate your comments.

    by Soon-ok — February 4, 2012

  30. We were pretty settled on returning to Florida for retirement but after reading about the possibilities which the Carolinas offer for retirees, we are definitely going to check it out….your comments re renting are excellent and very smart. Thank you for all the information!

    by Carol D. — February 5, 2012

  31. Okay, we have decided to rent first. Does anyone know of a good apartment complex…in the Myrtle Beach-Conway area or even Beaufort area?? Please pass along the info. It is my husband and myself, plus our daughter will be coming home for Christmas and summers (she is a college student). Thanks

    by diandto — February 6, 2012

  32. WE have recently moved to Rock Hill, SC and have the best of both Carolinas. Charlotte is 15 minutes up I-77 so we get the advantage of the bigger city amenities but the taxation of SC. Taxes here are about 1/2 of Charlotte, gas prices are .30/ gal less, sales tax is less and access to great medical centers. I love living here. We first retired east of Knoxville and hated it but this has been a great move for us. There are many communities like Rock Hill that are close to Charlotte but in SC, and Charleston, Savannah, Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head are only about 3 1/2 hours, a nice drive for a get a way. There is a Del Webb community outside of this area in Indian Land, a quick developing area. As far as the politics I have not found that to be an issue in this area. One other thing is that I have found certain areas are not as welcoming to outsiders, but I have not found that to be true in this area.

    by Peggy — February 6, 2012

  33. I am contemplating buying a home in Sebring, Florida. I have visited there and read a great deal about it but would also like to hear from anyone with comments about the area. Thank you!

    by Karen — February 6, 2012

  34. Does anyone have personal information about New Hampshire as a retirement state? I understand that NH is one of the best states to retire in regarding taxes.

    by Karl Ronn — February 6, 2012

  35. Peggy – what didn’t you like about the Knoxville area? Where are you originally from? We are from New England, I’ve been to Knoxville briefly to visit a friend but didn’t really explore. Our sights were originally set on the Carolina’s – more SC due to it being more tax friendly.

    by Linda — February 7, 2012

  36. Karl – we lived in NH for many years – I for about 16 years. NH has no income tax and no sales tax, but very high property taxes. It depends on what you are looking for. I, personally, don’t like the winter’s and we moved to CT – a VERY expensive state which has clearly gotten worse over the years – #1 worst state to retire to. NH is beautiful, and is steadily growing. Many areas considered the ‘sticks’ without the conveniences, now have the bigger stores. I didn’t like having to spend a full day to go someplace to go shopping, but for other’s they may prefer it. Real estate can be expensive, but like any other state, depends on where in the state you wish to be. The same can be said with services provided – depends on the size of the Town/city. Manchester has grown incredibly since I lived there – but would recommend staying away from Rt. 3 – major route between Mass and NH. Haven’t lived there since 1997, so I’m sure there are other’s who can provide more recent input.

    by Linda — February 7, 2012

  37. Live in NH and looking to retire in the Carolinas. As said no income or sales taxes in NH but very high property taxes. Also utility costs especially electric some of the highest in the country. NH is beautiful but winters are long and cold and can be a lot of snow. Great healthcare and good shopping and restaurants but cost of living in general I think is high.

    by Bill — February 7, 2012

  38. We lived in NH during the 80’s, often think of moving back BUT – the real estate taxes were very high. The snow was deeper than any other place we lived
    We moved to CT, then WI and now IL, still have very high real estate taxes. Don’t know where we will go next or to stay here.

    by Beverly Johnson — February 7, 2012

  39. Hi Linda/Bill/Beverly, thanks so much for your valuable input! Did you folks find that the tax breaks off set the high property tax? I hear you on the weather living here in VT but my wife needs to stay close to relatives. Any town in NH that might be more forgiving regarding property taxes?

    by Karl Ronn — February 7, 2012

  40. Karl – If I were to compare it to where I’m living now..absolutely…since we have high property, high income, AND the sales tax!
    A good site for research:
    http://www.revenue.nh.gov/munc_prop/2011PropertyTaxRatesRelatedData.htm
    It will basically depend on the town/cities services provided in relation to the property assessments/mill rate. They tend to go hand in hand.
    I personally wouldn’t move back to NH because I don’t care for the long cold winter’s..and as mentioned, several homes heat with electric. I think many of those same houses supplement with wood or pellet stoves now.
    Where we are in CT is warmer with shorter winters, and since I’m used to the high cost of living here, and the services are great we may stay. If we were to move, it’d probably be to the Carolina’s. I’ve traveled a lot for work to the Raleigh area and already know several folks in that area which makes it easier. Time will tell, and it’s best to rent and experience the area and do the research on the property taxes and services for yourself before making a the final decision.

    by Linda — February 7, 2012

  41. I thank you so much Linda for your comments and suggestions, very helpful. So, does anyone out there really know what would be the most tax friendly state to stretch your income dollars, not get killed on property taxes, and a safe place to live? A tall order I know.

    by Karl Ronn — February 8, 2012

  42. I can’t wait to move to SC! I live in Minnesota and EVERYTHING costs more here.I have decided on the Easley/Pickens area upstate.This move is the only way I will be able to retire. So as soon as my house here is sold I am on my way.

    by cindy — February 8, 2012

  43. I am very interested in the Carolina’s for retirement. I cant decide which state I like best. The advice to rent first seems very sound. My problem is we have a lot of pets. I notice every rental community I checked limits pets to two. Does anyone know if the decent quality rental communities will allow three cats? Some of those retirement communities look very nice, but our attachment to our pets just might limit our options, I fear.

    by Kitty — February 10, 2012

  44. Kitty, I sympathize with your situation (and your name is perfect!)and most doctors would tell you that contact with pets makes for a longer happier life. I might suggest a website called VRBO which stands for Vacation Rentals by Owner. Perhaps if you rented a house for a couple months in each location you might get a better feel for the communities. Also longer stays might lower the price since the owners have a committed renter for a longer time. We are in a similar position! Good luck.

    by cherie morris — February 11, 2012

  45. Note: This comment had so much useful detail in it that we edited it and created a totally new article from it. You can see it at “One Year Later: Artie’s Observations about Moving to the Carolinas“.

    I can’t speak specifically to the advantages of disadvantages of having chosen NC over SC. I’m sure my wife and I could have been happy in any number of places in either state. Considereing I thought I was moving to Florida (e.g. Jupiter), but here I am, remarkably in Cary, NC.

    A word about renting. My wife and I considered doing this. In theory it sounds great and the most prudent thing to do. However, in reality, it can be a sizable added expense and will usually entail a second physical move. And, as most (if not all) people will tell you moving is NOT fun.

    To the person above who was interested in Wake Forest, NC. It is a lovely community. If we didn’t choose to move to Cary, we would have moved to Heritage Wake Forest.

    Anyway, here is what I reported to friends back in NY after the one year aniversary of our move. It may be a bit long winded and not always all that interesting in which case, I apologize. Some may find parts of it useful, as an example.

    This past August has been our one year anniversary since we moved to our new home at the Carolina Preserve (CP) in Cary (aka Containment Area for Relocated Yankees) NC, The year has gone by quickly. We continue to be very happy with our decision to move here. We are continuing to find it just calmer, in many ways nicer and simply a less stressful and easier way of life compared to Long Island. Of course, no longer choosing to work… or worse,…having to work at a distasteful and unrewarding job, goes a long way in improving one’s mental outlook. However, add to this, the peace of mind that comes with getting away from from all the traffic congestion, higher costs, (especially RE taxes) and additional stresses that have come to characterize living in much of the metro NY area. We both feel very fortunate. That said, Long Island (after over 55 years) will always be considered our home. And, while there are always going to be some things we miss, we honestly don’t miss many of those things all that much. Remarkably, there is life beyond Long Island and NY.

    In spite of the continuing bi-polar ups and downs of the stock market and the continuing economic malaise affecting this country, the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill “Triangle” still appears to have a lot of activity going on. It’s not that this area is unaffected by what is happening in the rest of the country, (unemployment is an issue here, too), it just seems where we are in Cary (the middle of the “Triangle”) to be a bit less noticeable. There is still a lot of new road construction and housing development going on. I just read recently that there has been an uptick in home sales as well, which, if true, is a plus. Obviously, this area is continuing to grow and spread out in all directions. There seems to be more new stuff coming into the area all the time, whether it’s a new shopping center or a new restaurant opening up.

    The migration to this part of NC, seems to still be coming largely from the Northeast.Personally, I view this as a “plus.” We NY’ers are used to a certain life style and level of amenities. I would say this is attributable to a variety of things including perhaps some good press, the diversity of activities the area has to offer and generally to the milder and overall nicer weather. The area is certainly not only attracting retirees. In this respect, this isn’t like many parts of Florida. We happened to choose to move to an over 55 “active adult” community for a variety of reasons (e.g. amount of amenities, activities, ease of meeting other people in similar circumstances (meaning mostly retired), low home maintenance, etc. Our community at the CP is unique right now in this area but other similare communities are in the works. By and large though, there are more young working families with children living and moving into this area and to nearby towns and communities. For young people with families, this area, has to offer a calmer, easier and more affordable life-style when compared to the NY metro area and Long Island. I actually understand there is a need for school teachers down here because of the increasing number of school aged children. Your housing dollar certainly goes much farther considering what you can buy down here vs. Long Island. And, RE taxes although considered high (in Cary) for NC are still about 25% of what mine were in Westbury, NY, and I have a nicer, newer, and larger house here. This part of NC is actually a very pretty part of the country. I keep telling people that it’s not unlike some of the north shore and east end areas of Long Island only with nicer year round weather, bigger trees, lakes, parks and more open space. The only downside to me is that the nearest ocean beaches are 2 hours away. While somewhat inconvenient, this isn’t terrible. We also have the mountains of Asheville about 4 hours to the West. There is considerably more open green space and rural (farm) areas. The roads and highways are a pleasure to drive compared to Long Island.

    Research Triangle Park along with it’s high tech corporations including computer and software companies, medical related businesses, bio-tech companies and Federal agencies is the primary hub and economic driver for many of the larger employers in the region. However, there are also all the colleges and universities, large medical institutions and research facilities, as well. Lastly, with Raleigh being the state capital, you have a lot of state jobs.

    We also covered a lot of ground this year traveling and taking advantage of the activities and places to go in our adopted state.

    Locally in NC:

    Willmington
    Outer Banks
    Bald Head Island
    Asheville

    There are many concert and theater venues in the Triangle Area…some of the concerts and shows we attended so far include:

    John Mellencamp – Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC)
    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers w/ ZZ Top (Time Warner’s Walnut Creek Raleigh)
    Jimmy Buffet (Time Warner – Walnut Creek)
    Huey Lewis & The News – Koka Booth Amphitheater, Cary, NC
    Music of Paul McCartney – Members of Beatle Mania along with Raleigh Symphony Orchestra – Koka Booth Amphitheater
    Music of Queen – 5 Member professional rock band along with Raleigh Symphony Orchestra – Progress Energy Center, Raleigh
    Cirque du Soleil – RBC Sports Center – Raleigh
    In the Hood – B’way Show – DPAC
    Billy Elliot – B’way Show – DPAC
    Yes – DPAC
    Rock of Ages – B’way Show – DPAC
    Aretha Franklin- DPAC
    Paul Simon – DPAC
    American Idiot – Prgress Energy Center, Raleigh

    My wife and I have our separate and joint activities. Among these include a variety conducted at Bradford Hall which is the Carolina Preserve’s club house and “centerpiece.” This is the 35,000 square foot facility which has a well equipped gym and both indoor and outdoor pools, bocce, pool tables, ping pong, tennis courts, exercise classes, etc. Various classes and clubs meet here all week long. Whatever your interests are, whether its golf, photography, poker (and other card games), the stock market, sporting events, yoga, crafts, wine, writing, photography, bowling biking, tennis, ping pong, swimming, exercise and dance classes you’ll find it here. If I want to hang out and see some younger people for a change and get tired of seeing fat ‘ole Ms. Fogolotz at the CP “senior” pool, we also have the use of the Amberly facilities, including another pool complex and gym (Amberly being a mixed age community), across the street. There are at least 100 activities and clubs. This is why I’ve said to a few of you, who feel compelled to tell me I have too much time on my hands, you can be as busy or not busy as you want to be.

    My wife keeps up with her personal training and enjoys hiking at one of the nearby parks quite a bit. She recently got her NC licensing requirements out of the way if she decides to use her LMT license (part-time). We both have become bowlers and enjoy biking from time to time. We have some great bike paths including the 26 mile American Tobacco bike trail. I’m continually trying to get back on track and get to the gym more frequently as I’ve run out of excuses. Over the last several months, I finally found some like-minded musicians to continue my illustrious rock n’ roll career at 61. With the arrival of the cooler weather (summer was HOT), I’m still planning to join all the golfers soon. However, getting this music project going has been my primary focus. And, of course, my two boys Tyler (Bichon) and Benny (Maltese/Shih-tsu) keep us entertained.

    We continue to explore and check out new things whether that be a new restaurant, shopping or entertainment venue. More importantly, everyone right now is healthy and doing well. So, all things considered we are most thankful for that. Even though it has always been my nature to be cynical and negative, as I have one of those “glass half-empty” personalities, remarkably, I’ve been complaining a lot less. It’s not that I’ve given up complaining, I just don’t find as many reasons to do so. Most of the more egregious reasons for my complaining have been removed. Also, my wife, thankfully, has continued to be the optimist and has always been more upbeat about most things. At times, I find myself having to tell her to “dial it down” a notch. I will say she is exceptionally happy to be living down here and tends to get overly enthusiastic and carried away at times when telling others about how great her new southern life-style is. Consequently, I’ve started to refer to our NC home as “Polyannaville.” In any event, considering some of the hardship stories and health issues I’ve heard about from friends back “North,” and, in consideration of what has been going on in this country and around the world, I should be dancing doing “jazz hands.”

    by Artie — February 11, 2012

  46. Thanks, Artie, for your entertaining as well as illuminating comments! We are making our first foray into NC in May by attending a workshop at U of NC at Asheville called Creative Retirement Exploration Weekend. We plan to make a trip over to the area around Charlotte and RDU so we’ll check out Cary. Not quite sure how I feel about the over 55 communities but you make a good argument in their favor!

    by cherie — February 11, 2012

  47. Cherie,
    I tried finding the course you are attending at UNC, and could not find it. Can you provide any info on where to find out more about it? We will be in the area in late May and this might be something we would like to attend.

    by Bill Yoder — February 12, 2012

  48. Interesting information. Thanks for the heads up…..and for those that need the link it’s: http://ncccr.unca.edu/creative-retirement-exploration-weekend

    by Victoria — February 12, 2012

  49. Maybe we’ll see you all there! We’ll be the extremely good-looking ones! (with the strange senses of humor)

    by cherie — February 13, 2012

  50. HOW MUCH IS TAXED ON OUT OF STATE (MUNICIPAL) PENSIONS IN SC, NC, AND FLORIDA?

    by LOU — February 13, 2012

  51. Artie,
    Thank you for your very interesting information about NC and Cary. We are native North Carolians and really love it. However, after living in Charlotte for forty six years we felt we needed a change for many reasons. It is a lovely city but has changed over the years into a more urban area and with that brings much more traffic and congestion. Colder weather in winter for the past years ( with the exception of this year) has been a factor. Also,senior activities are not that plentiful unless you live in a 55 community. Developers are working on that and it will be better in the years to come. However, we are already in the retirement years and find we need services now rather than waiting for them to come. We were downsizing from a larger home and looked for a smaller home only to find they are so far away from the city. We do not want to be isolated in a surburan neighborhood and after careful research we decided we needed to look elsewhere. We do know both states and have traveled around looking. We have gone to Florida and have a home there but have decided we do not want to live there year round and want to have just one home. We are planning to come to Cary in May to explore. We have looked at CP and know the Del Webb in SC. We liked the layout of SC but not the location. Services are not there yet and again we do not want to wait for them to come. They have been planned but the economic situation has halted the progress. We have children and grands in the Triangle area and feel it may work for us.The medical is great. However, I am wondering if you or anyone else know anything about the Pinehurst area? It is about an hour away from Raleigh and a quieter lifestyle. It seems charming but do not know the negatives. Does anyone know anything about it or has anyone lived there? My husband is older and we really need to get settled. We thought florida was it and we love the weather but it is not a fit. Thank you all for your help.
    Linda L.

    by Linda L — March 26, 2012

  52. We are close to buying a place around the Sarasota area but is the weather really way too hot to live on the West Coast. I don’t want to be confined inside for 5 months of the year. Any helpful suggestions or a better place to look that is not as humid in hot on the West Coast would be appreciated. Thanks.

    by MKB — March 27, 2012

  53. MKB, My brother & niece live in the Sarasota area. We go to visit now & then. I think it’s hotter than the east coast of Fl where I live, but I am walking distance from the ocean & my brother is more inland. Sarasota seems to have so much more traffic than we do as well. Yet it is a pretty place & people are friendly enough. Anywhere in FL you will have humidity & heat, but the closer to water you are usually is about 10 degrees cooler. But then you have to be aware of hurricanes if on the coast. At least you know they are coming and can prepare & evacuate where as with tornadoes you usually don’t have much chance to get to safety.

    by Lacy — March 27, 2012

  54. Wilmington NC. I lived in Wilmington NC. I was still working and moved there for a job. I did not find the people very friendly. If you find a niche group with like-minded people, it has nice weather and great water access with Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, etc. The city itself has an interesting history and the Cape Fear River area has fun, free events

    I think if you move to an active adult community, you might find it more friendly. Retired executive tend to stick together in gated communities (not necessarily active adult) and seem very happy. I do not have experience with any of the active adult communities.

    But the retired folks that I met eventually moved with one exception (who had relatives there before they retired).

    by Lane — June 4, 2012

  55. Hey Folks,

    Can anyone tell me about retirement in Georgia by the coast? There does not seem to be any resonable priced retirement communities. Looking in the low $100,000 price range for a 2 bed 2 bath.

    Skip and Barb

    by Skip — July 31, 2012

  56. Have you checked out St. Marys, Georgia? Small town living on the water, about 35 minutes north of Jacksonville, Florida (the Mayo Clinic is in Jacksonville), and 30 minutes south of Brunswick, Georgia. Although not a “retirement community” per se, many retirees relocate there.

    Jan Cullinane
    The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life
    The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement

    by Jan Cullinane — August 1, 2012

  57. Rich,
    We have done considerable research and seem to be leaning toward the Chapel Hill/Pittsboro area of NC. It sounds like you are really happy in the Chapel Hill area. Are you in a 55+community and can you recommend it? Thanks so much.
    Linda L

    by Linda L — August 1, 2012

  58. In terms of communities in NC, I have lived in Greenville, NC for over 20 years. It is an active college town with a first rate medical facility… In fact, Im a nurse at Vidant Medical Center. Cost of living is very reasonable and below the average of the NC cities. Greenville is 70 miles from the coast. If you are looking to get the most bang for your buck in NC this would be a community to consider.

    by Nancy — August 2, 2012

  59. Never written before & have followed you for years. Have favored Cary, NC but have been held in place by family. Now I’m 70, my husband 80 – have very little family left. Son & family live 6 hours away. Feel life is passing us by & don’t know if we have the ability to catch up

    by Ilene — August 3, 2012

  60. Ilene, I was kinda sad when I read your comment today. I live in NC since 93 when I left Florida from 75 to 93. Started out in NY. I am 63 today! and I always figure that by the time I am 70, I can get outta here. I live 15 minutes from Cary, where by the way I lived from 93 to 97 and now I live in unincorporated Wake County (Fuquay Varina address). This is a good area, the Triangle if you are going to raise kids, or your kids or here with your grandchildren. Other than that it is no place for retirees. Don’t get me wrong, house prices are stable, but it’s very hot here in Central NC. Where do you live now?

    “Old age is no place for sissies.” Bette Davis

    That is what I keep telling everyone!

    by Susan — August 3, 2012

  61. Ilene and Susan,
    I am writing about your postings of August 2nd and 3rd. Susan, Happy Birthday!
    We are orginally from North Carolina and have moved to Florida to a community that we thought would keep us both active and looking forward to the remaining years. However, we miss North Carolina so much and have decided to move back. We know the state very well but is a different situation to determine sctive living for retirees. North Carolina has become the most popular state for retirees but the developers have not built enough communities to keep up with the people moving. They are now doing that but we need the facilities now. We are from Charlotte. We have looked in the Cary,Chapel Hill,Raliegh area and have researched all those small towns and as you say Susan, they are very nice but seem to be family oriented. We have looked and visited many times to Fearrington Village in Pittsboro, seven miles from Chapel Hill. It is a lovely community with many clubs, and other advantages. Also Duke medical on site. It is not a 55+ community but it pretty close to it. It is in chatham county with much lower taxes and Duke has a life long learning program that is excellent. There are many other postives for living in the area. I will say that we am still searching all of North Carolina before we make our decision. Ilene, I am 70 and my husband is 82. We have no family left except our children and grands. They are in NC and are all very busy with thier own families so we look to people in the 55+ age group for our friends and relationships. Sometime I feel that time is passing us by although I do have a postive outlook that we must and will find the right place this time. Therefore, I am still and have researched every possible way to see everything available in NC. Susan, we are coming to your area in early September and I will be happy to meet with you to tell you about all my research or if you like I will send my email and phone number so we can talk. Ilene, just because you and your husband are in the ages you are, do not feel that you have to be stuck where you are. If you would like to talk or email let me know and I will be happy to. Send your email or phone number. We hopefully can all feel that age is just a number and we can still get on out there and live and have great fun with each other. ( sorry this is so long)
    Linda

    by Linda Hammond — August 4, 2012

  62. Before you consider anything, check the crime stats and those hidden costs.

    by Boy Ben — August 6, 2012

  63. Does anyone have an insite on Hickory nc..We are heading to Asheville to look around and just came across Hickory about an hour away.

    by barbara — August 7, 2012

  64. Hi…I have recently decided to relocate from Lynchburg Va to to the coast of either NC or SC. I am single and pushing retirement age. Does anyone have any advice on which town or city is best for over 55 and is single friendly??

    Thanks!!

    by Lynda — August 20, 2012

  65. Can anyone tell me whether Asheville’s Creative Retirement Exploration Weekend in May is worth signing up for? What did you learn? Thanks.

    by Alex — August 21, 2012

  66. Barbara, please share your impressions of Asheville and hickory for that matter. As I live abroad (in Argentina ) I need to depend on the community for hints to good retirement spots for when I make the move back home.

    by Mike A — August 22, 2012

  67. Mike A…We are going to Asheville in Sept to start looking around. We have already spoken to a realtor to take us around,,If you check out ashevillerealestate.com there is a large variety of housing. I’ll update when i get back.

    by barbara — August 23, 2012

  68. Alex, I attended the last CREW weekend. It was very well done and I think you’ll get a good sense of what to look for when relocating for retirement in Asheville or elsewhere. On Sat night they assigned local people who had relocated to Asheville and are involved with the program to have dinner with small groups of CREW attendees in downtown Asheville restaurants. This was a great opportunity to see the night life in the downtown area and to learn about their experiences during the relocation process and how they liked living in Asheville. We joked about them “drinking the Kool-Aid” because everyone raved about Asheville. On Sunday afternoon local realtors were assigned to CREW members to take them to see different local and surrounding Asheville areas. That was a good opportunity to ask the realtors questions about the area.
    All in all, I found the CREW weekend to be well worth my time and money.

    by Maggie — August 24, 2012

  69. Thanks, Maggie

    by Alexc — August 25, 2012

  70. Maggie – I’m interested in attending this conference in Asheville. Did they provide you w/a list of hotels or how did that work? How about the additional cost of lodging?

    by Kay — August 25, 2012

  71. Hi Michelle, The costs for lodging was extra but they did provide the names of hotels that would give discounted rates for CREW participants. The website for the weekend is: http://ncccr.unca.edu/creative-retirement-exploration-weekend and the person in charge is Michelle Rogers mrogers@unca.edu . She is very helpful and can provide you with all the details.

    by Maggie — August 26, 2012

  72. Good Morning. I am a widow of 13 years and will be reaching the 70 mark very soon. I seem to be stuck in my decision process and am all over the board. The most difficult part is finding an area friendly to singles. Everything and everyone seems to come in pairs. I sold my house after my husband passed and bought a smaller one in a community of mostly families and felt very out of place. Now renting an apartment and desperately looking to settle in and get on with life. I have narrowed my search down to NC, VA, TN. It was all over the place before, trust me! This is nothing. Not necessarily looking for over 55 per se, however areas 55 & over friendly i.e. medical, artistic, educational, activities, etc. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I’m currently living in the “state of confusion”. Actually, I have lived in MD all my life, however with all the taxes etc. I find it impossible to stay. Thanks…..

    by Karen M — August 26, 2012

  73. To Alex, Kay & Karen too, I also attended the last CREW conference in Asheville and we agree 100% with Maggie. It was very informational & especially helpful in getting partners to talk with each other and others in similar situations. There were a number of singles who attended also and felt the weekend was very beneficial. We of course fell under the spell of Asheville and we are planning a full month there early next year. One week felt too much like being a tourist and a month will help us feel more a part of the community. Don’t worry too much about that ‘state of confusion.’ We are all there to some degree!

    by cherie — August 26, 2012

  74. This is my first time writing on this site but after seeing Karen M’s statement about being a widow and looking for a place that is single friendly I’d like to know if anyone knows about the Pawley Island, SC 55 + communities like Heritage, Pawleys Plantation, River Club or others in that area. Are there singles in these communities?

    by Susan Y — August 27, 2012

  75. Cherie’s comment about staying somewhere for a month to get a better feeling for it is a really good one. I have a number of places I’d like to visit but the cost would turn out to be really large. The problem is, I haven’t figured out the most economical way of handling a stay of this length. Can anyone share with me how they might have done it in the past?

    by LFremont — August 27, 2012

  76. To Karen, I understand your situation. I am not a widow but have been looking everywhere for a good retirement location. We currently live in Maryland as well and plan on leaving due to taxes. Our retirement target date is 5 yrs from now and plan to put our house on the market in 3. So far NC seems the right fit but recently we have been thinking of the Villages in FL. My husband wants us to be around lots of people so we can make friends and also lots of activities. We are planning to visit there and check it out next spring as well as a visit to coastal NC. Just wanted you to know your not alone.

    by Vickie — August 27, 2012

  77. To LFremont regarding affording a month’s stay to better acquaint yourself with a community. We have always found the web site VRBO, vacation rentals by owner, quite helpful. Traveling in an off season is another cost saver plus it gives you the opportunity to be in a location when it is not the prime weather conditions. If you belong to a church, you might check in with the churches in the area of interest. My church runs an out-of-town B&B type system where you can find a family willing to rent part of their home to you for a reasonable rate and the money, or a portion of it, is donated to the local congregation. Trip Advisor is another useful web site with monthly rates for home rentals.

    by cherie — August 27, 2012

  78. To LFremont…cherie is right about checking out Vrbo.com. We are using it to stay in Orlando for January (high season) and Myrtle Beach, (low season) for February. We are escaping the cold NW Indiana winter, and exploring two places for relo. You can get all kinds of places to rent, and usually, by the monthh is more reasonable, especially in low season. We are even taking our dog!

    by Locobill — August 28, 2012

  79. Home exchanges are another way to try out a place; http://www.homeaway.com, for example. If you’re willing to reciprocate and don’t want to pay, you could try wwww.globalfreeloaders.com.

    Jan Cullinane
    AARP’s The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement (John Wiley & Sons)
    The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life (Rodale)

    by Jan Cullinane — August 28, 2012

  80. Value Place – http://www.valueplace.com/

    by doug0613 — August 28, 2012

  81. Hotpads is pretty good for rentals too – http://hotpads.com/

    by doug0613 — August 28, 2012

  82. Retirement is highly overated unless you have unlimited funds. We retired to Texas..San Antonio as the weather was everything we had hoped…warm, dry plenty of healthcare, and a large enough city to have lots to offer…so we thought. Many states that have suffered massive influx of yankees are ill prepared for the rapid expansion, the roads and traffic here are absolutely terrible, rush hour lasts ALL DAY! The healthcare is significant-7 hospitals but most of them are centered in the middle of town…not conveinient to where the growth and building boom is centered. We love to golf and thought there would be an abundance of courses, many were listed in the retirement books and travel books, they are very far apart and expensive. We settled for a home 1/3 rd the size and a small development lot as my husband was tired of taking care of an acre of land. We had no problem with the builder and the house was as expected..the development and city are not. Making friends is difficult in a non retirement community as we have no children to do things in common with our neighbors. Our neighbors all have 1-2 hour commutes and kids to run around on the weekends so we almost NEVER SEE anyone casually in the neighborhood. The weather is awesome here, the locals hate it so most do not come out of their airconditioning all day. I have a neighbor I have not seen once this summer out in her yard. We love our yard to look nice and have spent time adding to the landscape to make our house stand out…no one else on the street has planted even a flower extra from what the builder put in the yard to begin with. It is like living with all apartment dwellers, they pile junk in the garage, mult cars and trucks in the driveways, and dogs in the fenced back yards…we are living in a very nice development and would never have thought that the average homeowner would be so classless, we didn’t think we would have to spend a million dollars to live with educated, cultured polite neighbors…I digress. Bottom line, stay close to your children, family and friends, take an extended vacation to get out of the bad weather and keep the home you already have and love. Unless your children have all moved away from you, relocating is expensive it cost us approx S10,000. (mover, new carlicenses, drivers licenses, new funiture and appliances etc) and may well not be what you were really looking for. You know what Dorothy said was true “what I wanted was always right here in my own backyard!” We always loved the east coast and planned to move to the Pawley’s Island area but the hurricanes and rainy seasons they were having for the past several years before we left changed our minds. We have been back for vacation and still have decided we would not choose a VACATION

    by SUSAN — August 29, 2012

  83. Sorry hit enter before I was done ranting. We would not choose a vacation town, they are what they are…vacation towns, We have been in San Antonio for six years this year, our son is 900 miles away in Nashville, and my Daughter and pending granddaughter are in Arizona on the Apache reservation for her husbands job so we are equal distant from both and will have to stay now that the housing market has tanked and we are still having builders putting up houses as if they cost $1000.00. We are in an area north of town that has had a building boom of over 15,000 houses since we moved in. We will be moving East of the Mississippi as soon as we can, we do love Nashville as well even though it will be more expensive to live there we will have family close. And both my husband and I are back at work, I work full time at a job I love, so now I will be here until I don’t want to work at all as changing jobs is not my idea of a good time, and he works part time at a golf course(expense solved) So real bottom line think long and hard about moving away from everything you have held dear….esp your children and grandchildren! FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH…….

    by SUSAN — August 29, 2012

  84. Request retirement info, or where info can be attained, on Florida coastal area from Melbourne to Hollywood

    by Mike hipschen — August 29, 2012

  85. I think Susan makes a great argument for the idea of spending more than a weekend or a few days researching a location. Or even worse, researching from the computer. Sometimes the ease of technology is tempting but the heart may have different plans for us! Some of these big developments even have a rent before you buy program so you can get a feel for the community before you cough up your hard-earned savings. While it may not be the most fun-filled vacation, going in the “worst” season may yield the best information. For TX, FL and AZ, that would perhaps be August. For the northern climates, maybe Jan-Feb. Better one lousy sweaty/freezing month than a miserable retirement!

    by cherie — August 29, 2012

  86. We moved to south fl. 2 yrs ago while renting our primary home ion long island. We were in a community with lots of tennis,which we love,however,we discovered that for the most part,people were cliquey and reluctant to socialize outside of their sphere of comfort. bottom line, moved back to long island,lucky to have sold our condo..we are renting in a beautiful new community near the water on the south shore. moving,packing,selling etc was a horror but worth it in the end . Grandchildren r here about22miles west. Anyway be careful what you wish for,

    by Linda — August 29, 2012

  87. I lost my job and home a year ago. At age 64+, I am now looking at low income senior rental apartments, some are government housing here in North Georgia. It has been so depressing. This is NOT how I had planned my retirement! So far, I have been approved for food stamps. I took my SS early, it’s not very much – less than $800 a month. Not enough to pay rent, utilities, car payment & insurance, etc. I have applied for so many jobs in my area, but, so far, no replys. I have been having yard sales every weekend to downsize since I inherited my brother’s belongings when he passed away and I had so much stuff of my own after moving from a big house to a small 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment. I have thought about taking in a room-mate, but friends and family tell me that it could be risky. I wish TR would have some articles on how low income seniors could get help. I know there are so many seniors in my situation. Not all of us are able to purchase a home. And, at my age, I would prefer rent. Anyone with any help or suggestions?

    by Cora — August 29, 2012

  88. I forgot to mention one of the low income apartments I am considering is in a small town near Waynesville, NC since I have many family members in that area.

    by Cora — August 29, 2012

  89. Susan,
    Very interesting and good advice for many. I like that you were specific about the weather, health care, traffic, what was important to what you liked and disliked about your neighborhood, etc. This is the kind of info that I look to this list for. I have no children. But I think that what many people “wish for” is a friendly community. I have often seen that in posts. This is especially true for single folks. So many are being careful with what we “wish for”, but it is a very vague and personal thing. It is very hard to judge in a short visit. If your interests are not golf or “popular” retirement interests it is even harder to judge. But this at least gives us a starting place to explore. I wish more people were like you and are specific about what is great about an area and what just doesn’t work for them and why.
    Thanks for your posts.

    by Elaine — August 30, 2012

  90. Cora,
    Waynesville is a wonderful small town with lots going on. It could make like happier for you go to be near family for support and connect with a senior’s group for friendship. Also, finding a small church of your faith with a senior group can be strong support. Waynesville seems to have “feeling” people that care and that is probably a very good thing for you now. It could prove to be a start over that will be very much to your favor and give you lots of uplifts. Asheville, Hendersonville, Black Mountain and so many other small towns are nearby for fun events. 64 is such a young age and you have a lot of living ahead of you to enjoy. Remember when one door closes another one opens, sometimes even wider. The best of luck and much JOY to you.

    by Linda L — August 30, 2012

  91. Linda: I was wondering if you could be more specific as to where exactly in “south Florida” you were located. My husband and I have just returned from our second trip to the Sarasota/Venice area, and looked around Ft. Myers extensively. At this point, we really don’t care too much for the 55+ areas that we saw: too restricted, too far from town, etc. We also heard that the cliquishness in some of those places was a problem. However, moving to a “regular” area doesn’t help much in meeting folks around your own age and making friends. Could you advise? MANY THANKS!

    by KimbeeJeanq — August 30, 2012

  92. Kimbee-Jeanq….did you look at Pelican Preserve in Fort Myers? It is a 55+ community with a good HOA that is not overly restrictive. We moved here in April and are building a home in Pelican. The grounds are just beautiful and the amenities are wonderful. We are finding people very friendly and depending on what activities you involve yourself in, you quickly get to know people and make new friends. We are about 35 minutes from Fort Myers Beach or Sanibel Island and there are all the stores, places to go within 15-20 minutes of the community.

    by toni — August 31, 2012

  93. Toni, thank you! We had tried to check out Pelican Preserve when we were there in April and the office was closed…and we did not get there this last trip. I am really sorry that I didn’t check it out again, but we are going back in late fall/early winter so we certainly will do so! It’s nice to know that someone who actually is going to live there recommends it for friendly people and good amenities, and a reasonable HOA. The combination of those three factors is not easy to find. Thanks again; I do appreciate your input!

    by Kimbee Jeanq — September 1, 2012

  94. On another blog someone mentioned Pinehurst NC as a good retirement option. I looked online and it looks very interesting. Does anyone else have experience living there? I would enjoy reading some feedback.

    Would also like feedback from those who have experience in SC near the Charlotte NC border.

    How about Greenville SC? I like what I have read about Greenville.

    by Elaine — October 15, 2013

  95. We spent last week in Greenville, SC, and found that it moved to the top of our list (more checking to do!) for retirement from the Dallas area. Beautiful area, wonderful downtown, quite affordable home prices. Much outdoor exercise/activity choices; fit, friendly residents; shopping prices comparable to our area. We are impressed!

    by Joe G — October 16, 2013

  96. I have been looking at NC also. What about Greenville, SC attracts you Elaine? I was looking at Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Burlington, Raleigh all in NC. Undecided that’s for sure. Need affordable option. Any ideas would be welcomed.
    Thanks.

    by EJ — October 16, 2013

  97. Elaine, My husband & I visited Greenville SC this past July. We really enjoyed it but want to let you know most of our time was spent in the downtown Main Street neighborhood. Greenville’s Main Street is just beautiful, second to none IMO. We walked & walked passing by innumerable shops & all kinds of restaurants, there is something for everyone . We got to see The Peace Ctr for the Performing Arts (the Jersey Boys were playing @ the time), we took a look at Fluor Field which looked really neat then walked through right thru Falls Park. Although it was July & it was hot & humid we thoroughly enjoyed every minute. In my experience, Greenville is a lively, vibrant beautiful walkable city. I would highly recommend it. Also, I have relatives that live 20 minutes south of Charlotte, NC. They live in a lovely town called Tega Cay, SC. It’s on Lake Wylie, another beautiful town. If u have any questions I would be happy to answer them. I hope this helps.

    by Maureen — October 16, 2013

  98. Just an addition to what Maureen said about Greenville. If you sign up for alerts on Trulia for Greenville, you will see that real estate prices for much of the surrounding is very reasonable.

    by Bill — October 17, 2013

  99. Thanks Maureen and Bill for info on Greenville, SC. I did drive through once about a year ago and took a short break to walk and get something to eat on Main Street. I keep thinking that I should go back and spend some time there. It is not the typical southern city.

    by Elaine — October 17, 2013

  100. In July of 2013 my wife and I planned a vacation that took us through South Carolina, North Carolina and into Tennessee. While in Tennessee, we traveled from Mountain City to Ducktown, no interstates just the smaller highways and by-ways of Eastern Tennessee looking for a place to retire. While in South Carolina, Greenville was a community that we had no intention of visiting. But once in town it was a pleasant surprise, we found the residents to be very friendly, business’s accommodating and the mountains and countryside beautiful. I had never realized that western South Carolina’s Upcountry was as beautiful as it was. Then while looking into the price of real estate for a home with acreage, it is very comparable to the areas in Tennessee we visited and considered moving to. Even though Eastern Tennessee was our initial focus, that visit to the area surrounding Greenville, has made us consider it as a place to relocate to.

    by Mark — October 18, 2013

  101. Re: Greenville, S.C.
    My notes say “hot and humid” in summer. Is this true? It looks farther
    west on the map. Also, is it on a lake?
    Thanks for past and future information.

    by Moving South — October 18, 2013

  102. I grew up in New England and have pretty much accepted the fact that the entire east coast and Gulf States are off my list because of the humidity. It is really difficult to escape it in those areas. There are some many nice places in Georgia and Alabama too, but the humidity nixes it for us.

    by Mark P — October 19, 2013

  103. Moving South: Regarding Greenville, SC weather, it was hot & humid for the few days I was there this past July. It was, however, not unbearable. For better information I would google Greenville year round weather. Prior to Greenville SC my husband & I visited Sun City in Bluffton, SC and Savannah, Ga. It was REALLY hot & humid there, although both are beautiful places to visit.

    by Maureen — October 20, 2013

  104. Has anyone compared the Savannah, GA area to South Carolina for retirement? We have in particular been looking at The Landings on Skidway Island.

    by Dan — October 21, 2013

  105. Elaine,
    We have been doing a lot of reserach on Pinehurst and the area and are impressed with what we have found as well as finding the people friendly. We are North Carolina natives and have been to the area many times over the years and have attended allof the golf opens. We believe we have seen the area in many different situations to get a better view.We have talked with many people to ask how they like it and have had great reviews. I have a lot of information and will be getting more when we visit in the next week or so to look at homes. If I can send you information or anything that will be helpful let me know how to get in touch with you.

    by Linda — October 21, 2013

  106. Linda, I would love some information on Pinehurst as well. I am about 2 years away from retirement and have started doing some research. How can we connect?

    by Mary Konwinski — October 22, 2013

  107. My Wife and I are also very interested in ‘The Landings’ on Skid way Island … the amenities seem perfect for an active couple in retirement however we are concerned with the membership fees and cost of living … can anyone comment??

    by Stephen — October 22, 2013

  108. Stephen,

    I ruled the “Landings” out after seeing their mandatory membership fees and ongoing costs. Didn’t like the Savannah area as much as Pawleys Island.

    by Richard — October 22, 2013

  109. Linda,
    I would appreciate info on North Carolina.
    Email me at InParaFL@aol.com please.
    Many thanks.

    by EJ — October 22, 2013

  110. Linda- I would love infor on N Carolina too! Thanks so much!

    by LisaJ — October 23, 2013

  111. Linda, my email is mgk48@verizon.net. Thanks so much!

    by Mary — October 23, 2013

  112. Brunswick Forest—I have been reading the many posts here and wondering about Brunswick Forest in Leland (Wilmington) NC—It seems to be a fast growing community and on paper, it looks quite nice—Anyone have any experiences to share??

    by Steve — October 23, 2013

  113. I will be retiring in the next two years and love horses. Based on research Aiken, SC is the hub of equestrian activity. Are there folks out there that can share more input about Aiken and the surrounding area? Also, I am looking in the Colorado and Montana area as I love the west -> open spaces, snow. Again, anybody that has some input around those two states regarding horse friendly towns that would be great. My goal is to buy a place where I can saddle up and go for a nice long ride. All feedback welcome…

    by SueC — October 23, 2013

  114. Linda, I am the Elaine that exchanged emails with you on another blog about relocating new family. And yes, I am interested in more info. I expect to make a quite trip down that why…not really exploring the area, but just to see a few areas to decide if they are even worth exploring. One thing I would like to know know is if you are just looking at the community or active adult communities and any nice areas either in Pinehurst or any specific active adult or other planned communities. When I am closer to making a quite trip I may have more questions. You can email me directly at easper@umw.edu or I will also keep looking on this blog. I know I do not want Wilmington, NC since I lived there. I did like living in Chapel Hill, but do not think that is on my list for retirement. I will also look at the Charlotte area, but maybe South Carolina side of Charlotte. I think you mentioned that you did not like the traffic and congestion in the Dharlotte area.

    by Elaine — October 23, 2013

  115. Oops that was a quick trip…lol

    by Elaine — October 23, 2013

  116. Thinking of relocating to South Carolina up around the York area. Last of our kids are leaving Ohio and we won’t have anyone here. I know I’ve read that you shouldn’t follow your kids but it will be hard not to have anyone around. Can anyone give me info on towns around York? I’ve read where it’s cheaper in SC than North so I’d appreciate any input I can get.. Thanks so much.

    by Connie — October 23, 2013

  117. Elaine: Can you tell us what you didn’t like about Wilmington, based on living there? Theoretically it’s in a great location on the map, and I know I’ve seen it on “best places to retire” lists over the years.

    by Sharon — October 23, 2013

  118. Sharon, I did not find the people friendly. I was working and a member of my main interest club so I did have a social life, but made very few “real” friends there. I have moved for work many times and lived in 8 states and usually made friends relatively easily, but not in Wilmington. Since then there is a planned community across the Cape Fear River in Leland (Brunswick Forest?) that may help for those new to the area. It looks nice on paper. I also did not like the long stem drive to go elsewhere for events, etc. If you have much more money than I do, you might enjoy Landfall. I really did like the little airport. To be fair, I am very fair and cannot spend all day on a boat or on the beach.
    PS I did like Chapel Hill, NC when I worked there, And I like NC and may consider it for retirement.

    by Elaine — October 23, 2013

  119. I am considering transferring to an office in the Ballantyne Area of North Carolina (just south of 485). If I do so, I will be working there until I retire. I was considering moving to Fort Mill or Rock Hill in South Carolina, which would server as home for the next 10 years and then my home to retire. Does anyone have experience living in these areas? or can recommend another area in South Carolina that would be a maximum of 20 minutes from Ballantyne. Thank you.

    by Michael AK — October 29, 2013

  120. Michael AK – I’m contemplating a relocation to Charlotte within six months or so, with a potential retirement in a 2-6 year timeframe. I am hoping you get lots of answers! I’ve been told by people in our Charlotte office that I should look at South Carolina to get significant real estate tax savings. Rock Hill is the area that seems to come up the most in my conversations with people in our Charlotte office, and I see there is a Del Web community there. I’ve been to the Ballantyne area several times on business, and it’s very attractive. Good luck – maybe our moving trucks will pass each other on the way to the Carolinas!

    by Sharon — October 30, 2013

  121. Steve, I have visited and reviewed Brunswick Forest in Leland, NC. It is about the best organized community I know (and I have been through more than 150 in the southeast). The owners have deep pockets, all the amenities were in from the beginning, the golf course is one of the best on the east coast (reasonable annual dues) and baby boomers are beating a path to their door. My real estate professional in Brunswick County tells me they sold 55 properties in BF last month. As golf communities go, it is as close to a sure thing as you can get, and you can’t beat the proximity to shopping, medical, and downtown Wilmington. The only thing it is missing is a beach nearby; it is about a half hour to Wrightsville Beach. Happy to provide more info or put you in touch with my Realtor in Brunswick County (by the way, other nice options in the area at prices below BF (although it is well priced and loaded with value) and above.

    by Larry — October 30, 2013

  122. I note in some of the posts here an obsession with tax rates. I have worked with some folks to help find them homes in the southern U.S. and they insist on looking in Alabama, Florida and Tennessee because those states have no income taxes. After some back and forth, I come to find out that their retirement incomes are such that they shouldn’t worry at all about income tax rates. The concern for everyone except the millionaires among us should be total cost of living, not just taxes. In the last couple of days, there has been some dialogue here about comparable property taxes in Rock Hill, SC and Charlotte, about 20 minutes or so apart. The overall cost of living in Charlotte compared with Rock Hill is 3% higher. (Source: BestPlaces.net) Now if you spend $100,000 a year, that $3,000 difference could be meaningful, but if you put a value on living close to the city — say in the Ballantyne area of Charlotte — then the differences are negligible. I counsel my customers not to get too deep in the heart of taxes. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

    by Larry — October 30, 2013

  123. Larry: I doubt a lot of people are going to be living on $100,000 per year in retirement, especially since only 50% of families in the US earn over $100,000 during their working years. I will pay cash for a retirement home. After that, I’ll be living on my savings, 401K withdrawals and SS. Differences in real estate taxes, income tax, insurance, HOA fees and utilities will mean a lot to me in retirement since these expenses have the potential to significantly reduce the money I have available each month. I bet the majority of people are in the same boat and are also looking for lowest cost of living and highest quality of life to get the biggest bang for their bucks. If the net cost of living in S. Carolina is $1,000 less than No. Carolina for equivalent housing, that could be important information for some of us.

    by Ted — October 31, 2013

  124. Ted, I am using the same sources as you are to live in retirement. I used the exaggerated $100,000 to make the point that even at that large number, the cost of living difference between, say, Rock Hill (SC) and Charlotte (NC) is not that much, and that for folks with specific lifestyle needs or interests (need to be near a hospital with special care, e.g.), the extra cost may be justified. I agree with you that we all look for “lowest cost of living and highest quality of life”; but sometimes the high quality of life side of the equation comes with an extra cost. I’ve visited some very remote areas of South Carolina, for example, where taxes and other costs of living are much lower than elsewhere. That will be okay for those who prefer to live in the “middle of nowhere,” but most of us would like to be near a few restaurants, a university, quality healthcare and a movie theater.

    by Larry — October 31, 2013

  125. Good point Larry. We began looking at areas by comparing tax rates and quickly changed our planning when I computed the cost of living with elec, gas, water, insurance, etc.

    by Marilyn — October 31, 2013

  126. Yup, I absolutely agree that living in the middle of nowhere affects quality of life and probably wouldn’t appeal to many retirees. It gets trickier when you’re talking about somewhere like Charlotte, where you can have access to Charlotte’s amenities from both North Carolina and South Carolina.

    by Ted — October 31, 2013

  127. Larry, Does Brunswick Forest have any age restrictions?
    Do non-golfers pay the same HOA fees?

    by Herbert Hodes — November 1, 2013

  128. It is really important to look at the total cost of living not just tax rates. We basically looked at taxes but not some other issues before we moved to the Charlerston area. My water bill is about 3 times what it was in Michigan but so far gas and electric have been less even with running the ac nonstop until recently. I feel like the cost of food is more, had sticker shock in the grocery stores. There is also a personal property tax on cars, boats, etc. You pay it every year based on the value with a maximum of $300 in our county. Our property taxes will be much less but most areas have higher sales tax to make up the difference. That all being said, would I still have moved here? Yes!

    by Kathy C — November 1, 2013

  129. Larry regarding Brunswick Forest the community sounds nice but the prices are quite high for the homes or townhouse. $150,000 is the top of my price range. Looking at the Myrtle Beach area the prices and inventory are more in line with our budget.

    by Skip — November 1, 2013

  130. Skip, you are correct, Myrtle Beach will offer much more in that price range. Across Highway 17 from Brunswick Forest is a somewhat older golf community called Magnolia Greens. I note that they have condos beginning at $149,000 if you prefer the Leland area to Myrtle Beach (parts of the latter are a little more hectic than outside Wilmington). Ted, we agree that the Charlotte suburbs do extend to SC. I was just making a general (perhaps exaggerated) point about there being some “value” in lifestyle consideration that, for some, could be worth paying a little extra in taxes.

    by Larry — November 1, 2013

  131. :roll: I am still in a quandary as to where to go and how to find the affordable housing for the remainder of my days. I prefer the Carolinas, but not in the middle of no where and not in the middle of the urban hubbub!
    I enjoy participating in music organizations as a vocalist and instrumentalist. I thrive on spectator sports, esp baseball and motor sports. I am alone, well educated, active, love travel, photography and my 8 “grands”. Needing to come East again from the West. Again, any and all of your suggestions and shared experiences will be most appreciated. I can read them here or at inparafl@aol.com.

    by EJ — November 1, 2013

  132. Skip, I too am looking in the same general price range as you. Have you looked at Fort Mill, S.C. It’s 20 minutes south of Charlotte & the prices & property taxes are reasonable for condos. You might want to look up the Fieldstone and Waterstone communities there & see if they appeal to you. Baxter Village has some reasonably priced condos. Also, there is a 55 & over community in Fort Mill called Gold Hill. It’s small but nice & sometimes list condos for 159,000. I have relatives that live in the area of Fort Mill so I am somewhat familiar. Best of luck in your search.

    by Maureen — November 2, 2013

  133. Steve, My husband and I moved to Brunswick Forest from CT in May. We spent 5 months looking around NC and SC for a community that met our criteria. We did not want +55 but we did want amenities and a vibrant, growing community. BF was one of the few that met our criteria. As Larry said the amenities are some of the best we saw during our search. The website has a full list of amenities and information about the community. We did find that the prices for homes in BF are above average for the area. Most of the people moving here are from NJ, NY, PA, and New England.
    It is a large community. I think at full build out it will have 10,000 homes-right now it’s at 1,100 and building is booming. However, the community is divided into smaller neighborhoods so it still has a smaller feel within the actual neighborhoods. Most of the people you speak with who live here, love it. We have not found it to be too ‘clicky’ for the most part. People are eager to meet each other and are very friendly. However, we have never felt pressured to join in when we don’t want to.
    Leland is also growing fast and there are grocery stores, drug stores, a Walmart and other stores in town to meet daily needs but there aren’t a lot of choices for restaurants and activities. However, Wilmington has TONS of restaurants and the cultural scene is pretty good. You can’t compare it to NY but it holds its own compared to small cities. The one thing my husband struggles with is the traffic and red lights. You need to be patient when driving into and around Wilmington. There is a lot going on in the area as far as road improvements and new road construction.
    As far as cost of living, we aren’t really sure if we ended up better off than we were in CT. Some things are less (taxes, etc.) but other things are more or the same (food, water bill). Not sure what else you would like to know but if I’d be happy to try and answer any other questions you have concerning BF. Good luck with your search!

    by emoejo95 — November 2, 2013

  134. Maureen /Larry thank you both for your suggestions I will be checking out the areas you both suggested. For our money and lifestyle SC seems to offer everything we need for a happy retirement.

    by Skip — November 2, 2013

  135. SueC – my husband and I visited Aiken recently (Woodside Plantation) It is a fantastic town with lots to offer: restaurants, shops, equestrian activities, community involvement, the arts – we loved it. Only downside was that the beach is 2 1/2 hrs. away. Anyone have an opinion on St. James Plantation?

    by Countess — November 8, 2013

  136. Countess, we also looked at Aiken and also thought Woodside Plantation to be a wonderful community. But the distance from the ocean ruled it out for us as well, as we have lived on the coast in New England our entire lives. Just could not give up the beach walks! We ended up after a few years of searching and visiting coastal communities in Florida and SC, purchasing property in Beaufort SC on Dataw Island. We found the town of Beaufort to be just as charming – if not more – than Aiken. Many restaurants, activities, festivals and arts events – a campus of USC is located there. We found Dataw Island based on a friend’s recommendation, and it is a perfect fit for us- gated, lots of amenities and clubs to meet people through, an active pub and clubhouse, golf courses, a marina for boating or kayaking, and a national seashore park just down the road. More water in this area of the LowCountry than we could have imagined! So we are super excited to be planning our retirement home there, and you might want to check it out online if the coast is where you want to be!

    by SandyZ — November 9, 2013

  137. Countess, I have not been to St. James Plantation but live in Wilmington which is a little over 1/2 hour away. I would tell you that if you want to live “out there”, it is OK but you need to travel to Wilmington for most things. Southport is a nice town but is more of a tourist place. You might want to consider Brunswick Forest in Leland, just over the river from Wilmington. You have a sense of community there and it is just a hop, step and a jump from Wilmington.

    by Dick — November 9, 2013

  138. Any opinions on Tennessee for retirement?

    by Jim — November 9, 2013

  139. Jim-what are you looking for in TN?

    by LisaJ — November 10, 2013

  140. Jim, in response to your question about TN. We lived in TN for 15 yrs in Franklin and unless you have “kin” you’re not truly accepted or included. I could give you a litney of situatins that we tried to get social events going and invited a number of people for different ocassions and to our astonishment the rudness of not either coming or rsvping was an eye-opener. We were very glad to leave TN. Don’t know where you’re from but if you’re not from the south it’s very discouraging. Southern hospitality is a myth. There are, of course, in retirment communities groups of residence from other parts of the country and in our opinion it’s well worth checking that out. Sometimes the cost of living somewhere is not worth the area. We would never consider TN for retirement. Just passing on our experiences.

    by tgb — November 10, 2013

  141. Countess, this spring my husband and I toured St James Plantation, along with many of the large communities in the area in N.C. We crossed St James off our list for a few reasons, even though the houses and landscape is very impressive, I did not get a neighborhood feel. It is a big golfers community and we don’t golf. Also there are different price memberships you must pay for for golfing or pool and fitness they are not included in the hoa fees. The last reason is there really is not much around there as far as stores or restaurants. We are from long Island and did not want to have to drive 30 miles to go to certain stores or restaurants. We bought a house in Brunswick Forest which has many choices as far as housing, all the amenities are included, and we have endless choices of what to do in the area, since Wilmington is just a few miles away. We do have our own village with brand new food store, pharmacy, restaurants too!

    by Barbara — November 10, 2013

  142. SandyZ, I have been impressed with Dataw Island on my two visits there, but I think it may be a bit misleading to reference a national seashore park “just down the road” if you mean Hunting Island State Park, which is 22 minutes away (I do not believe there is a beach any closer than that but am willing to be corrected). If beach walks are high on folks’ lists, there are more convenient options up and down the Carolinas coasts…Amen to those who liked Aiken and Woodside Plantation. Aiken is what I think of a small, southern town to be, and Woodside is well managed and mature; it seemed to skirt the problems of the recession better than many such communities…Barbara, I am thinking I may have helped you find your home at Brunswick Forest. If so, I am glad things have worked out so well. You had the good sense and taste to buy into the fastest growing golf community on the the east coast the last few years, and whenever I drive by on Highway 17, I am blown away by how much the area outside the community has grown. In terms of convenience to services and shopping, as well as to Wilmington, an interesting town, Brunswick Forest is hard to beat on the coast (except it, too, is a good 20 minutes from a beach).

    by hotcguy — November 10, 2013

  143. Just wondering overall how it compares to other states for retirement. If anyone has retired in Tennessee, why did they pick Tennessee?

    by Jim — November 10, 2013

  144. Jim –

    We have been looking at E. Tennessee for a long time – my husband is a ret. Army officer and in spite of not having any military support, we are going to Tennessee. Yes, there is a 10% sales tax – however there are no state taxes on retirement income, and even though I have from the south, I have lived many places, and the folks in Tennessee are just about as friendly to you as you are to them. Do they accept ‘outsiders’? I am sure that with any one thing in common, there will be friends, and the chances of not having something in common is not likely – be it fishing, bridge, gardening, water sports, church – you will find that if you are accepting, you will be accepted! Conservative political thinking is another plus – since you will find only pockets of liberals in the big cities – and perhaps some college towns, although I just saw that Sewannee, home of the College of the South, is listed a conservative – go figure! I am sure that my husband will seek his own by joining the VFW – although he is pretty much ‘clubbed out’ like I am, however I will join local historical and/or genealogical societies since that is what I am interested in – however I am writing a voluminous family history so will probably not be too involved. For others, the common denominator might be a church, for golfers, they golf… but we just love the clean air of the mountains and are also looking for quality medical care for those with Medicare and that is going to be hard to come by now. I asked my family practice physician what a senior should do, and she suggested settling near a large teaching medical university – and UT is in Knoxville, just a hop, skip and jump from the Smokey Mountains.
    Right now I am looking at Sevierville, Maryville, or Townsend where I have found a builder whose work I like… but all I can say is don’t leap without looking! Do your homework, consider what is most important to you, and go for it! My oldest son is appalled that his parents are moving somewhere we don’t know anyone – but for us, it’s ‘our turn’ to live where we want to live since both of us are on the downhill run – ahhh to live in the mountains, and God willing to die there! …
    … although I am also looking at the lakes in Georgia and S.C. that form the borders of the states IF I can find something near good medical care and transportation. There is more to do near larger cities and even more in a university or college town… did you know that the UT fans often take their ‘boats’ to the weekend games? Well, UT is on the big, broad Tennessee River, on both sides really with the medical on the south and the academic and vet schools on the north – never even thought about retiring there until we visited one summer on our way back from my 50th high school reunion in Georgia – and even with the tourist crowds we loved it! We went back at Christmas meeting our oldest daughter and two grandsons there, and without the crowds were able to see it more clearly, talk to more locals, and find out that there are many ways to beat the tourist traffic!
    Hope I have answered your TN question and will be happy to discuss this with you further at dsanfilippo303@comcast.net

    Diane S Sanfilippo
    Virginia (charges taxes on military retirement)

    by Diane — November 10, 2013

  145. To clarify “Hot Guy” s inquiry about Hunting Island Seashore Park in SC…we clocked it in our car on our last visit as proximity to a beach for walking is a priority to us in our retirement choice. The distance from the gatehouse at Dataw Island is 10.8 miles and 15 minutes. Not a perfectly scientific stat for sure, just our info to share. The island itself is surrounded by tidal waters and Morgan River frontage. So if you are looking for a watery location as we were, we think that you can’t beat the LowCountry! We found it to be a perfect match – and we spent YEARS visiting other locations, even trying inland locations such as Aiken. Just felt like something was missing without seeing water. May not be others’ cup of tea, and that is just fine. Good luck and have fun searching!

    by SandyZ — November 11, 2013

  146. General comparisons of one state to another are not especially helpful. There are locations in Tennessee that I am sure, for some people, are better than some locations in South Carolina; and there are some locations in SC that, for those same folks, are way better than in Tenn. Asking if NC is a better place to retire than GA, or vice versa, is like asking which is better — a filet mignon or a ribeye. It is all about personal taste, and you won’t learn the answer without tasting for yourself. There is plenty of data available on the web to answer questions about climate, taxes, overall cost of living, and the like; the questions that will yield the most helpful answers are those that ask, for example, if one community is friendlier than another, or if the traffic in one urban area is better or worse than in another, or if a beach 15 minutes away is good enough to get you to drive there frequently. SandyZ, for example, does an excellent job of describing why she loves Dataw; asking about specific communities will always yield more helpful information than asking if State A is a better place to live than State B. (I prefer ribeye, by the way.)

    by Larry — November 11, 2013

  147. Please just tell me if I am looking for a Utopia that does not exist!
    I am looking for an active retirement community so I will have a social life and activities. I would like to be near a lake. And I want a rental. I thought western Carolinas or eastern Tennessee would be cheaper than urban and costal areas, but I have only seen info on large expensive estates. I do not golf or ride horses, but want to swim and watch boating.
    Any help appreciated!

    by Moving South — November 11, 2013

  148. Moving South, your Utopia seems within reason, but without a price range, it is hard to determine where Utopia might be found. Question: Does your swimming need to be in a lake, or would a nice community pool work? Would you take an attractive river instead of a lake, one beside which you could sit and watch the boats go by (although you might have to drive to the park to do that)? My initial reaction was New Bern, NC, but there certainly are many other places to find your Utopia.

    by Larry — November 11, 2013

  149. […] Part 2: Best Florida Region for Your Retirement Retirement 101: Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah Dueling Carolinas: Which is the Best Carolina for Retirement California Retirement […]

    by » Florida Retirement 101: The Sunshine State is Bigger and More Diverse than You Might Think Topretirements — March 24, 2014

  150. I’m trying to figure out which is the better state as far as benefits. I am a widow and I am receiving benefits for my current state. I’m not sure if SC or NC would be better. Any advice would be appreciated.

    by Elizabeth — March 27, 2014

  151. Does anyone have any thoughts on Compass Pointe near
    Wilmington ?

    by Cathy — June 5, 2014

  152. […] article was originally posted as a comment from Artie on our “Dueling Carolinas Comparison” article (where you also find many other helpful comments). He provides so much detail we […]

    by » One Year Later: Artie’s Observations on Moving to the Carolinas from New York Topretirements — June 15, 2014

  153. Would love recommendations on reasonably-priced condo living in mountain area near Asheville in which an active single lady would feel welcomed, secure and find plenty to do. Thanks!

    by Sue — June 28, 2014

  154. Edenton, NC is a waterfront community with tons of young, active retirees. It is on the beautiful Albemarle Sound which is ideal for sailing, boating, and fabulous views. The charming historic downtown area is walkable and friendly with many beautiful historic homes and great water views. Several newer communities in the area offer waterfront properties, golf and tennis facilities.

    by Donna — October 27, 2014

  155. Moving South, consider Edenton, NC.

    by Donna — October 27, 2014

  156. […] vs. Florida Retirement Dueling Retirement States: NJ vs. DE vs. MD vs. VA Dueling Carolinas: NC vs. SC for Retirement How North Carolina Climbed over Florida as #1 Retirement State Best States for Retirement State […]

    by » Retirement in the Mid-South Comparison: Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama - Topretirements — December 10, 2014

  157. […] The Carolinas: reported on a trip he took to: My wife and I just returned from a two week trip through the Carolinas. We did not want a coastal area so we focused on Raleigh-Durham, Greenville, SC and Charlotte. The weather in all three of these areas is similar, mild winters and hot steamy summers (not as hot as Charleston). (Jack) Hertford, NC: We chose northeast North Carolina for temperate year round living in Albemarle Plantation in Hertford, NC. We cannot afford to own two places nor would we want to travel back and forth. We are in North Carolina’s inner banks which has a moderate climate influenced in part by the coastal climate. We are only a day’s drive to the northeast or Florida where we have relatives to visit and yet we have left the congestion of the cities behind. We are in a gated community that offers golf and boating and have a myriad of volunteer opportunities to stay busy. This community is low cost enough for us to own our house outright after selling our Northeast home. We like the community because the people are friendly and easy to meet. The nearest city is Elizabeth City, NC about 20 minutes away where you can find just about everything. (Charlie) […]

    by » Finding That Goldilocks Place – Part 3: Year Round Places to Retire - Topretirements — January 5, 2015

  158. My husband and I are interested in the Calabash North Carolina area versus Murrells Inlet South Carolina area.
    any suggestions or opions?

    by sue — February 17, 2015

  159. We moved to Asheville, NC before retirement 28 yrs. ago and would not live anywhere else in retirement. Being transplanted Wisconsinites the climate is perfect here- the SE outside the mountains is far too hot and humid for us in late spring, summer, and early fall. In the years we have lived here we have been almost everywhere in NC, SC and definitely prefer Asheville. It has a fantastic medical system, too, which should be very important to retirees. We love the four seasons with a little snow ( once in a great while we’ve gotten dumped on) to satisfy me, summers are mild with afternoons in the lower to mid 80’s and the nights really cool off. Spring and fall are my favorite seasons – long and gorgeous! Asheville, however, has some of the highest home prices in the Carolinas. Thankfully, we moved here before the boom!

    by Sonja Dunbar — April 15, 2015

  160. My husband and I are about to start building a house in Charleston, SC. We live in Ohio and have been going to Charleston for years, first with our kids and then without them. After considering many other places in the US, we made this decision because we love everything about the city — the culture, the beauty, the restaurants, the water and, for the most part, the weather. I know the hot, humid summers will bother me, but I think we will try to travel in August. Our daughter lives in Seattle and August is the best time of year there! We are hoping everyone isn’t far right wing, though. We are moving to an area where many people have come or are coming from the northeast or midwest, so hopefully that will help a little!

    The truth is there are no perfect places so you have to take a chance and hope for the best!

    by Nicki — April 15, 2015

  161. My husband I are are interested in potentially retiring to The Reserve at Lake Keowee. Anyone have any firsthand knowledge – positive or otherwise about the area? Thanks!

    by Darci — April 15, 2015

  162. Darci, The Reserve at Lake Keowee is a wonderful choice. I have visited it three times and reviewed its real estate and golf course for my blog site, GolfCommunityReviews.com. Here are a few specific impressions; I’d be happy to provide additional info at your request. First, the development of the community has been patient and well organized. For example, they contemplated building two full 18 hole golf courses right off the bat, but decided — quite wisely, as it turned out — to invest in only one (they have the blueprints for the other safely stored in a drawer). The Jack Nicklaus golf course is good enough to host a professional tour event every May. The SC Golf Rating Panel (I am a member) rated The Reserve the 30th best course in South Carolina which is loaded with top courses; I personally put it in the top 25. The community was founded by a few local professional people — the one I interviewed is an ophthalmologist — and they are passionate about what they created and continue to be personally involved. The real estate is harmonious, which is to say all homes look like they belong there and do not clash with each other at all. Lake Keowee is one of the cleanest and most beautiful anywhere, and the Great Lawn from the clubhouse down to the lake is a great gathering spot for people in the community. The population of the community rises dramatically in summer time, not only because that is when the second home owners (probably more than 50% of owners) come to stay but also when hundreds of children and grandchildren arrive for summer vacation. If there is anything negative to say about The Reserve it is its remote location; the closest town is Clemson, home to the university but not an especially full-service town (in my humble opinion). I found it tough to identify more than one or two decent restaurants. (On the other hand, the dinner I had in The Reserve clubhouse was expertly prepared, by a German or Swiss chef, as I recall.) But if you are okay being “out there,” you won’t find many nicer, better run communities than The Reserve. If you have not engaged a sales person there, I would be happy to recommend the gentleman I work with. Hope this has been helpful.

    by Larry — April 15, 2015

  163. update: after 8 months, wife and i currently getting settled in our rental townhouse, in the RALEIGH, DURHAM, CHAPEL HILL NC neighborhood. we are transplants from MEXIFORNIA. experienced our first, brief snow fall in 35 years. not a problem. the robins came out, before the snow finished melting. strange, but pleasant experience. plenty of activities available, from the local senior centers and the YMCA. traffic is NOT a problem here. gas is cheaper. our rent is less than what our mortgage was. tax issues were and are NOT a problem. lots of fresh air, green trees, lakes and elbow room. we spent a month in a RV PARK, while exploring the WAKE COUNTY retirement life opportunities. we are happy and life is good.

    by davefh — April 15, 2015

  164. I have lived in Raleigh, NC for 28 years, and expect to retire here also. The Triangle area is great to live in! We have the arts, sports, college ball, 3 major universities, tons of golf, beautiful parks, world-class health care and affordability. Growth continues and aside from rush hour congestion, it’s a very wonderful place to live! The beaches are 2.5-3 hours, mountains are 3-4 away. Everything you could want — except real NY bagels.

    by Connie ODonnel — April 15, 2015

  165. I have been receiving marketing lit from The Ponds n SC and The Coves in NC. Does anyone out there have insight or opinions about these 2 projects? I would really appreciate feedback. Thanks

    by Leslie — April 16, 2015

  166. Nicki, we moved to Del Webb Charleston from MI about two years ago. We have not regretted our decision for a minute! We love our community and have met lots of people from all over the country. We enjoy all that Charleston has to offer and are 45 minutes from the beach. I sometimes shake my head at the political culture but try not to stress about it.

    by Kathy — April 16, 2015

  167. Leslie,
    My husband and i visited The Coves last May and really liked the community. The land is beautiful. We’d like to go back to the area and check out Lenoir, the largest town near by. The portion we saw was noisy – filled with hotels and restaurants; hopefully not indicative of the down town area. As the community is rural, we’d like to have a town to visit during indoor weather, etc.
    The community is a lot more rustic and unfinished than the ads indicate, but beautiful if you appreciate nature as we do. The few people we met (there aren’t many there yet) seemed very friendly, and the clubhouse on top of a hill (mt.) was beautiful. We drove around in an open off-the-road vehicle (wear your worst sneakers while exploring the property!), and i didn’t see any finished hiking trails; just very rough roads. Perhaps they were there, and i just didn’t ask. You could easily walk along the main roads, though, and truly enjoy it!
    Met with one builder, and spoke with another on the phone once home, to discuss the cost of building a home. It is more than the ad indicates. Last year it was about $450,000 for a house with a master bedroom and bath on the main floor, and two bedrooms and bath in the basement (walk out with all windows above ground level). Having all on the main level would have raised the price substantially. The property tax in Lenoir was also higher than in more western NC (2 hours away). About $3,000 for the above home.
    I hope this helps a bit. If you have any more questions, please feel free.

    by ella — April 16, 2015

  168. Kathy, Del Webb Charleston? Is that Summerville? If so, is there shopping close now. When we were there the supermarket was just being built out side the community entrance.

    Also, if I remember correctly from a visit a few years ago, The Ponds was created to accommodate 55+ living out of a larger development that was all ages. The recreation center was a nearby YMCA which was not what we were looking for. Lovely community though.

    by Carol — April 16, 2015

  169. Kathy: I would also appreciate hearing about Del Webb Charleston/Summerville. How far is it to a beach (with beach parking)? Can you use your golf carts to get to any stores? How close is the library, and what is it like? How many homes will there be when it’s completely built out? What do you think of the home construction (and insurance costs)? Were you able to customize your home sufficiently — that’s a major issue for me with Del Webb — or find painters, handymen and contractors to add after-market personalization? Where is the closest good hospital, and have you found any difficulties in locating medical providers that will accept Medicare? Did you also look at the Del Webb in Hilton Head, and why did you choose Summerville? Thank you so much for any information you can provide!

    by Sharon — April 17, 2015

  170. Sharon: My wife and I just returned from a trip to Charleston and Hilton Head. We did visit both Del Webb communities and like the Charleston/Summerville property better, the main reason is the large Del Webb Hilton Head is located right off a main highway. However, if you like a more established community and living on or near a golf course the Hilton Head would be ideal.
    Del Webb in Summerville was part of a large complex of all ages which we really liked. The HOA for Summerville are $235 a month, plus $100 per year for the Cane Bay Association and a one time capital contribution of $1050.00. The one thing we did not like was the traffic, rush hour in the morning and afternoon are brutal.
    We love downtown Charleston and the beach about a 30-40 minute drive from Summerville.

    by Bruce — April 18, 2015

  171. Thanks Bruce. I’m looking forward to visiting as soon as possible! I think I’m going to use my vacation time in the Fall to drive down the coast from New Bern to Hilton Head, looking at as many 55+ newer communities as possible. After that, I’ll check out Florida (north of Orlando, including the Villages and developments near St. Augustine and Jacksonville). I’m hoping to find that magic moment when a community feels like a really great match. At that point I’ll whip out the checkbook, and breathe a sigh of relief.

    by Sharon — April 19, 2015

  172. Sharon, dream on. Nirvana is not always Nirvana.

    by Dennis — April 20, 2015

  173. I agree with Sharon and look forward to her comments about all the places she visits. I would like to see more of that here, where people have visited, what they liked and what they didn’t like and why.

    I have always bought homes by the way they feel and I will likely settle on a retirement spot using that same sense of home.

    by Vicki — April 20, 2015

  174. Sharon, hope you are not planning all of those visits in one trip unless you have lots of vacation time. We tried it and found that unless places were located very close to one another we could only see 1-3 places a day, and that was only visits to models homes, talking to the rep and visiting the rec center because we are very interested in the clubs and exercise equipment available. Since the city we live in now has everything available we could possibly want (Chicago suburb) in the way of shopping and entertainment and we love our location here we found we didn’t take the time to explore areas around the 55+ communities we were looking at for grocery stores, shopping, medical, etc. When we do look at those things we keep coming back to our own location and nothing compares, so far. That is, until winter hits us here and we know we have to leave. But next trip will find us looking around outside 55+communities as wel’l which will mean a longer trip to smaller areas at a time. And we will do the’ stay and play’ options when we narrow down our choices. The information we receive from these blogs is invaluable, while realizing we still have to form our own opinions on each place. Thanks everyone. And we know there won’t be the perfect place. Just know we’ve had it with snow, ice and cold.

    by Carol — April 20, 2015

  175. Carol, I am with you. I learned it a different way…I moved for jobs and adjusted well to most area, but NH tausht me that rural is not my thing. So I spend time looking at the surrounding area for many things…including my hobbies that are not something most people in the community will be doing.

    by elaine — April 21, 2015

  176. Any thoughts on areas that are not 55+ I know of the advantage of moving to a community that will provide activities etc, but we don’t want to move to one just in case we decide it isn’t really for us
    thanks for any input.
    Virginia

    by virginia — April 21, 2015

  177. Sharon, one bit of advice, visit during the absolute worst season, i.e. time of year possible, say, Las Vegas in August, Fairbanks in February, Fargo also in February, New Orleans in July-August, etc., etc., etc. And stay for a month in those conditions.

    by Dennis — April 22, 2015

  178. Think twice about moving to NC. A lot would depend about what percentage of your retirement money comes from social security and annuities. If a larger portion is from social security and annuities (unless you are a member of the NC State Retirement System), know that it will be taxed by the state. Gasoline taxes are higher than in SC. How far are you driving to receive medical care, get groceries, etc. Property taxes are higher. Although I have a home in western NC, I am selling it for two reasons: first, I moved to PA to care for aged parents and found that my taxes dropped by about half. I pay no taxes here on social security or any annuities. Second, if I move back south upon my parents’ deaths, I will relocate to South Carolina (the upstate where there are still many lovely mountains and where it is not too far from the beach) and where the cost of housing, property taxes, and gas taxes are lower, and where my social security is not taxed. Weigh all of this before running to NC. It depends upon your circumstances. Perhaps, renting there for a half year or so might be a good way to “get your feet wet.”

    by Jill — April 22, 2015

  179. NC does NOT tax SSI…perhaps that was a change in their tax revisions for 2014. To understand this you need to recognize that the Federal Government does tax some SSI and you recapturing any federal income tax paid.
    http://www.dornc.com/taxes/individual/social.html

    This does not mean that NC is the best state for taxes and see my post to see that it is really bad on gas taxes http://www.bankrate.com/finance/taxes/gas-taxes-by-state.aspx If you tend to spend a lot of time right in your neighborhood and travel by golf cart this may not matter. On the other hand if you are towing your boat to the lake or your horse trailer to shows, this may matter

    by elaine — April 22, 2015

  180. Yes elaine NJ doesn’t tax SSI LOL you have to look at the whole picture!

    by Tony — April 23, 2015

  181. Sharon , check out Del Webb Ponte Vedra .Moved here about 6 months ago . NE Florida, near Jacksonville Great community, people, location.

    by Jim — April 23, 2015

  182. I am so sorry to have misled people about NC taxing social security. The state did when I was living there fulltime, but the change in the tax law has occurred since I moved out of the state. Really glad to hear this news.

    by Jill — April 23, 2015

  183. I have been reading a lot about the good and bad of North and South Carolina. Seems like everyone is centered on 55+ communities or near the larger cities in each state. Does anyone have an opinion on living full time on the Outer Banks of North Carolina? We have vacationed there during the Connecticut April school break with our granddaughter over several years and have traveled from the most northern end all the way to the last southern ferry to the mainland. We know people that have only gone there in-season and we know the traffic is brutal at that time – we are prepared for that. Anything else would be extremely helpful.

    by Arlene — April 23, 2015

  184. Jim – Thanks – Ponte Vedra is on my list to investigate! What are your negatives and positives so far? Can you use a golf cart to get to any stores? What do you think about your utility bills? Any feedback will be appreciated.

    by Sharon — April 24, 2015

  185. Jill check Albemarle plantation . large gaited community about 45 min from outer bunks on the water .They have play and stay . Houses from 300k condos 150k lots from 30k.

    by chris dedes — April 24, 2015

  186. Arlene, my daughter and her husband lived on the OBX for three years and only recently moved to the Triangle due to job changes. They loved it there and so do my husband and I. It does get a little desolate during the winter, but that would be fine by me. I love it there and we have often given serious thought to retiring there.

    by Mary K — April 24, 2015

  187. Arlene, my daughter and her husband lived on the OBX for three years and only recently moved to the Triangle due to job changes. They loved it there and so do my husband and I. It does get a little desolate during the winter, but that would be fine by me. I love it there and we have often given serious thought to retiring there.

    by Mary K — April 24, 2015

  188. Any suggestions about moving to Andover MA area just north of Boston from the Midwest? We are moving close to family.

    by Darryl — April 24, 2015

  189. We would love to live within walking distance of the beach. Our concern (probably common for people not from the area) are hurricanes and overall rising ocean levels due to climate change. Anyone who experienced a hurricane Or serious storm in the Carolinas? What are insurance rates for hurricanes/flooding?

    by Ruth — April 24, 2015

  190. Ruth – we are moving from Kennebunk, ME to Dataw Island in Beaufort SC. Yes – we have to have flood insurance, FEMA is about $435.00. Our regular house insurance, with a wind and hail additional coverage will be about 2200.00, about three times as our home in Maine. However, our property taxes will drop from 8450.00 to about 1300! No oil to heat the house, elec bills will be about 160.00 a month on a year round budget plan. Without all of the additional winter expenses it will be a WIN for us! Of course, the dues and fees at Dataw will be an additional cost, but we are prepared for that and it is in line with most other coastal gated golf communities in the area. There are some that are way more expensive! We also looked at del Webb in Ponte Vedra and loved the area, but not that particular community – each to his or her own!

    by SandyZ — April 25, 2015

  191. SandyZ, What did you not like about Ponte Verda? Aomething tangible or did the community and people just not a comfortable fit for you….and if so can you describe? Or is it just a feeling?

    I haven’t visited, but it is on my list. Was there any communities in that area that you did like?

    by elaine — April 25, 2015

  192. water is more expensive than i anticipated . no natural gas here , all electic. electric bill reasonable. homes here priced more than some other del webb communities because of location. still worth a look.

    by jim — April 25, 2015

  193. As stated before my wife and I did visit the Del Webb locations in Summerville (North Charleston), Hilton Head and also Ponte Vedra, Fl. We loved the Ponte Vedra community very nice. Del Webb Ponte Vedra is located in the Nocatee Community and district. There is a Community Development District (CDD) within Nocatee which provides major roadway, parks and recreational facilities (they just completed phase two on the water park). The CDD 20 year bond can run anywhere from $1200 – $2500 annually depending on the house and lot you may choose. Del Webb did offer buy down incentives on select home sites. We found this was one of the more expensive CDD we came across. Just make sure you are aware.
    The house are more expensive compared to other Del Webb locations, but having a location close to the beach has much to do about that. Plus, the salesperson we had was a bit pushy and seemed disappointed that we are still looking for the right location/community. We always state to the salesperson that all new homes are beautiful, we need to find the location/community to satisfy our desires.
    We also check out several of the neighborhoods at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine. We have a reality firm sending us updated information of surrounding areas including Del Webb Ponte Vedra.

    by Bruce — April 25, 2015

  194. Thanks Jim and Bruce. I’ve also found that water is more expensive (an increase of about $20-$30 a month) in the Charlotte area over PA. Overall, I’d say my net cost of utilities is down about $100/mo from PA for a newer house that is nearly the same size.

    Did anyone look at the Seasons neighborhood near Murrells Inlet or spot any other larger 55+ community in the Carolina, as an alternative to Del Webb? One of my concerns with Del Webb is how little customization is available from the developer. I also live in a Pulte house in a non-age restricted neighborhood now, and the construction is not high-quality. Ehhh – maybe it doesn’t matter so much, since when I’m in my 70s or 80s I won’t be able to see the problems LOL.

    by Sharon — April 26, 2015

  195. Has anyone lived in a Cresswind development. My husband and I are going down for a second time to check out the one being built in the Market Commons area of Myrtle Beach, SC. Also I need an opinion of that area. Seems to have exactly what we want but we are still hesitant.

    by Angela miller — April 26, 2015

  196. Elaine – I agree with Bruce about the annual developer fee. Very high! Positives first – Pionte Vedra Beach is just a short drive and it is great! The clubhouse and poiol area is gorgeous! The little Nocatee village is convenient, accessible by golf cart, and visiting children will be in heaven when they see the water park. Negatives in our opinion, no pub or dining facility to meet up with others, no golf course for hubby. And poor quality of construction plus the models are filled with add-ons. You cannot modify the plans with your own choice of materials or specify certain product lines. Please ask to see a house under construction before you buy!
    We also looked at Cascades in World Golf Village but too close to 95 for us – truck noise was constant and loud! Good luck on your travels!

    by SandyZ — April 26, 2015

  197. Angela, I have been to Cresswind at Market Commons several times and found the workmanship and home designs very nice. I have not been in the clubhouse but it is large and looks like it has lots to offer. I especially like the Market Commons area with restaurants, the lakes and, for us, especially the bike paths. The drawback for some is that there is no attached golf course but there are so many in Myrtle Beach that that is not a problem. Good luck in your search…..

    by Dick — April 26, 2015

  198. SandyZ, Bruce and Jim, thanks for info on Ponte Verda.

    by elaine — April 26, 2015

  199. Hi, I would like any info on Brunswick Plantation, and Sandpiper Bay in the Calabash area of North Carolina. Also interested in the Brunswick Forest Plantation near Wilmington. Any feedback will be appreciated. Thanks.

    by sue — April 27, 2015

  200. I see this thread started almost 5 years ago! There is now a Whole Foods in Wilmington :) I just looked it up. So….I am considering St. Simons, GA, Mount Pleasant, SC, Hilton Head, SC and Wilmington, NC. I sell real estate, so I am looking for a strong market. I’m too young to retire but hope to be able to within 10 years. Any new thoughts on these places? Savannah, GA is where I landed after selling my house in the Keys….Savannah, not for me….way too much crime!!! Nice place to visit tho.

    by Elaine Chinnis — June 8, 2015

  201. We are considering moving to the Carolina Arbors in Durham. Any info would be appreciated from people that either live there are know about the community. Thanks.

    by maryann — June 9, 2015

  202. We bought a house in Brunswick Forest 2 years ago and have been renting it out until we retire next year . The community is booming with lots of growth in Leland, and throughout Brunswick county. They are working on some road construction in the area to deal with the growth. There is good medical care in the area and only 15 min to Wilmington. Spend some time in the area!

    by Barbara — June 9, 2015

  203. Sharon, you wanted some input R/T Seasons at Prince Creek in Murrells inlet. My wife and I have been looking along the coast of the Carolina’s now for almost 3 years for a retirement community that best suits our needs. Seasons was right near the top of our list. It is a smaller community that is probably going to be built out this year. Homes are nice with options for individual changes but must buy home and lot together. Can’t just buy the lot and than sit on it without starting to build while waiting for retirement. Had one of the nicest clubhouses/pool areas we have seen anywhere with lots of activities and friendly people. It’s off the main highway, so very quiet but just a short trip to amenities, including all that Myrtle Beach has to offer. Once you got on the highway, it was just a bit too crowded and hectic for us. Decided to buy near the Wilmington NC area as we thought it was a better fit. However would highly recommend doing a tour of Seasons.

    by Gary — June 9, 2015

  204. We are interested in moving to the mountains. Is there any advice, pros or cons from anyone? We would not be looking into a community.
    Thanks for any input!

    by Virginia — June 9, 2015

  205. Thanks Gary. I took a trip out to see it, and would have bought on the spot if I wasn’t two years from retirement :-(. I guess I’ll put it on the list to look for resales when I’m ready to make my move. By then the HOA fees may also be adjusted to reflect the absence of the developer. I’m guessing the amenities are so nice because they were built for a larger community, and when the first developer filed for bankruptcy that some of the property was sold off for one of the neighboring developments. Just guessing though

    That’s the problem with shopping a little earlier than you’re ready to move…you can fall in love with a community, and then have to face whether to buy sooner than desired. Of course, in two years there could be more brand new communities with bells and whistles that will be even better.

    by Sharon — June 10, 2015

  206. Sharon, the likelihood of more bells and whistles communities in two years is much less than the likelihood of your next home costing you 15% more than it does today. If you have to wait, you have to wait. But if you don’t, buy now. You’ll also make money on two years of cost of living savings.

    by Larry — June 10, 2015

  207. We are thinking about moving to De Webb Carolina Arbors in Durham. Any info would be appreciated.

    by maryann — June 10, 2015

  208. interesting about Seasons (Murrells Inlet). I went recently (I was on my way back home and only had time for a quick visit to one community). I didn’t find it friendly at all. I didn’t stay long, just drove around and talked to a few folks and stopped at the sales center. I have never before had that experience in talking to residents. The man at the gate was a bit snooty as well. Too small a sample to say it is unfriendlyand I guess that I would have to revisit if I like the area. Since I still had a little time for a one community visit, I went to Cresswind (Myrtle Beach).. Again too short a time for an evaluation especially after my short stop at the Seasons, but I would go back if I become interested in that general area. Tthe whole area is probably not what I want.

    by elaine — June 10, 2015

  209. This question came in from Richard:

    My wife and I are planning our second pre-retirement trip to North Carolina (Raleigh, Cary, Winston-Salem, Hendersonville) and South Carolina (Greenville)in August. I’m having a difficult time finding real estate agents willing to show us properties and neighborhoods (even though we have a good list of what we want). One agent did get back to us but said she required $100 a day to show us homes and neighborhoods! Is this common? We are looking at three 55+ communities but I’m not sure we want to go this route over living in a single family home in a nice neighborhood. Have any other readers experienced this problem with real estate agents?

    by Admin — June 10, 2015

  210. We recently moved to Elizabeth City North Carolina from Connecticut. Purchased a nice home on the intercostal. Watching the sun come up over the water each morning reaffirms that we made the right choice.

    I’m about 5 years away from retirement and this move seemed like a logical interm step. We didn’t expect to like it as much as we do. The residents are very warm and friendly. We socialize much more than we ever did up north.

    Another couple in the neighborhood just moved up from Georgia to live on the water front. We are an hour from the outer banks but only 50 feet from launching our boat. Definately worth a closer look.

    by Art — June 10, 2015

  211. Larry: I looked at the cost of the HOA fees for 2 years, plus insurance, utilities, taxes, and lost income on the $275,000-$300,000 that it would cost me to purchase a home (or interest, if I got a mortgage). I was clearly at that $10,000 or more a year to buy a retirement home two years’ early. Perhaps if I were to use vacation money against that amount it would be less, but I’m not prepared to give up vacations :-). And I could change my mind about where to live in 2 years, or get hit by a bus! Or I might end up working an extra year, which could be the equivalent of getting hit by a bus. Admittedly I’d be tempted to leap if I was even a year closer, but the finances for buying that far out just didn’t work for me.

    I understand why a realtor would want some money for spending time with someone who may just be checking out an area. Time is money, and if the realtor is doing the driving there’s wear & tear on her/his vehicle plus gas. Especially in retirement areas, the realtors may be burned out with people who are just trying to figure out their future plans.

    I was probably on the same road-trip as Elaine! I also looked at Cresswind-Ponds, but it didn’t feel right to me. I didn’t like the home designs that much, and the cost per sq. foot seemed a little high. It just wasn’t a Wow for me.

    Elizabeth City sounds really nice. How is homeowners insurance on the intercoastal? I had been focusing on S. Carolina because of the slightly lower real estate taxes and gas taxes, but the N. Carolina coast/hour of coast area will be my next road trip.

    by Sharon — June 11, 2015

  212. Re: 100/day to,pay a realtor. Having been a realtor, the $100 eliminates the time wasters. Realtors are not tour guides and the busy agents don’t have time for it. Perhaps you can find a newer agent that may be willing to donate their time.

    Being an agent is very expensive. Not many careers where you are expected to work for free.

    by Tori — June 11, 2015

  213. Richard: We have looked at areas, communities and houses in Wilmington, Leland and Calabash, NC; from MB to Pawleys Island, SC and Palm Coast and Flagler Beach, FL.Realtors have been extraordinary. We’ve been taken to lunch and dinner and tried to pay and were refused every time. In Palm Coast, our realtor had a commitment for our last available day, got us another realtor who was wonderful as well.

    by Richard — June 11, 2015

  214. We are looking to retire to Pawley’s Island, SC. We have vacationed there for the last two years. We like the location, but we have only visited in late May and the weather has been great. Can some that is living there or lived there give me some pros and cons on the area?

    by Herman — June 11, 2015

  215. I just found my dream home in Elizabeth City, but I’ve read that there are serious economic and gang issues there. Can anyone address that?

    by Liz — June 11, 2015

  216. Tori,
    Sorry, but I must disagree that real estate agents should charge for their time just because their work with a customer may not result in a sale. Would you pay a shoe salesman to go back and forth to the stockroom for you if you decided you didn’t like any of the shoes? The commission rate on the buyer side of any property sale is high enough that if you “waste” your time on one or two customers, then you will make it up with your next sale. Real estate agents can do a better job of qualifying the intent of customers before they take them out to look at properties. I work with three dozen Realtors on the east coast and not a single one charges potential buyers a fee to show them around.

    by Larry — June 12, 2015

  217. I will be moving/retiring to Charleston (West Ashley) from Atlanta in the near future. We are having a house built in Bolton’s Landing. As I grew up on nearby James Island, I am familiar with Charleston. I am however wondering if anybody has any information on Bolton’s Landing. I will be a Federal retiree, and unfortunately, SC does tax federal pensions (I am 59), which is pretty much my main concern. That and a higher than average cost of housing. Any advice, comments would be appreciated.

    by RicknATL — June 13, 2015

  218. I think its difficult to expect a realtor to show people around without knowing you will be buying a property. With this said
    My husband and I take the time to see different communities through open houses. I know that is only a day or two.
    But to look around a neighborhood (especially gated areas) it allows freedom to talk to a variety of realtors where you can get valuable information on a number of issues.

    by LIndaF — June 15, 2015

  219. we are 71 & 69. visited upstate SC 6 weeks ago. between Greenville, greer, Easley
    and Simpsonville which town do you vote for. anyone know how much the HOAS cost.
    going again to look in oct. besides heat june-sept any negatives ?

    by john v — June 16, 2015

  220. Any thoughts on Asheville? Looking for a cultural community, not too expensive, not too hot, fairly liberal and convenient for visitors. Am I asking for too much?

    by Nancy G — June 16, 2015

  221. Art, did you move into a community in Elizabeth city? I also am looking close to the obx, within 2hrs, or in the obx although I hear high season is really congested. Will be checking out Albemarle in late July, along with a community in Rocky mount, NC as close enough and also close enough to Raleigh to benefit from the exceptional medical care there. Those don’t work it will be New Bern,NC and then down to Wilmington area and Southport although I think I might like the obx more than the Carolina beach. And then Summerville,SC although not wild about Chs,and it’s deadly heat and humidity in summer.

    by susan — June 16, 2015

  222. Susan,

    Like any major tourist destination, OBX is not the place to be if you are a local during the summer. We moved to a single family house on the waterfront, 4 miles south of Elizabeth City. Art

    by Art — June 16, 2015

  223. Liz,

    We’ve been vacationing in the Elizabeth City area for 20 years prior to purchasing. Can’t say that I’m aware of any gangs. The area does have its economic challenges but like a lot of the country, it’s slowly coming back.

    Art

    by Art — June 16, 2015

  224. Sharon,

    As we’ve experienced, it does cost more to live on the water. The prior owners lost their 110 foot dock in the late 90s during hurricane. That’s it for any major storm damage in 20 years. Living across the street from the water might be the best bang for the buck. We also really liked the Wilmington area. Art

    by Art — June 16, 2015

  225. Thanks Art. Will check out Edenton but as a single, believe my best bet is a newer subdivision or 55+ community. I would prefer the waterfront (sound or ocean) but may settle for that with a condo as a 2nd home. Was just trying to get it all in one. OBX can be brutal in winter as well so being on the mainland is undoubtedly the way to go although I hate to admit it.

    by susan — June 17, 2015

  226. Planning to visit Elizabeth City and Herford, NC for senior rentals.
    What is OBX? Other suggestions?
    Moving South

    by CWBirch — June 17, 2015

  227. Re: Greenville SC etc question. Greenville downtown is thriving, noisy, busy and fun. But besides the summer heat, the winters can be cooler than you might think. Not Chicago cold and don’t think they get snow at all, but do get ice storms which shut things down for a few hours. Just something to check out. If you are looking for warmer winters that might not be the place. Warmer than the north but not anywhere near FL warmth.

    by Carol — June 17, 2015

  228. Thanks Art – I’m also looking in Edenton.

    by Liz — June 17, 2015

  229. thanks carol . anything negative besides the weather about greer or Simpsonville sc
    now live in ny so it looked like paradise. but I know there is no utopia . thanks.

    by john v — June 18, 2015

  230. I was a realtor in a large metro area for 10 years.

    A realtor probably would not object to showing property if they knew they had a potential sale even somewhere in the future. However, why would anyone take a day of their time driving you around looky louing around to gain knowledge of the area. For the person who deals with 3 dozen agents!! what on earth do they do for you? I can’t imagine so many agents doing work for you and only one of them might get paid. Maybe you receive listings available from them which can be automatically done from their systems.

    Open houses are definitely the way to go although they are usually only one day a week.

    It would be a great idea for areas that are marketing to retirees for the city to have people on staff to conduct tours, maybe some real estate agents could be paid or volunteer to do these tours as they would hopefully have knowledge of the area.

    by Vicki — June 18, 2015

  231. Jim, nothing else negative about those areas. I have a relative who lived near downtown Greenville but bought a new house in Greer. They like it there and will move full time there in the future. Right now still in the north part time. There is traffic though. Apparently we can’t get away from that. If it weren’t too cold to suit my husband we wouldn’t be looking all over the south and would have moved to Greenville too. I haven’t seen Greer downtown yet.

    Idea above from Vicki is a great idea for retirement communities to give tours of the surrounding area. Citrus Hills in northwestern FL does give a van tour of the surrounding towns and it is a wonderful idea. It isn’t quite enough just to see the models and amenities. Even retirees still have to shop for groceries, use the Post Office, gas stations, etc. etc. Many 55+ areas seem to be in the middle of nowhere and you are left wondering how you would conduct life outside the community. We look at libraries also (imagine that?!). If we have to search too hard to find more than one supermarket it is a turnoff because it seems to mean not much else is around either. It will be in the future I’m sure, but how long to wait? Perhaps they don’t want you to see the traffic, something we will have to accept.

    by Carol — June 18, 2015

  232. CWBirch, OBX is short for the Outer Banks area of the Eastern North Carolina coast. The beaches are amazing and I feel that’s it’s an ideal family vacation spot.

    Art

    by Art — June 18, 2015

  233. Thanks, Art, for OBX definition. I gather the traffic is also heavy in season?
    cwbirch

    by CWBirch — June 19, 2015

  234. CWBirch, Re: OBX inseason traffic. Yes, the traffic going over the causeway on Sat & Sun is pretty bad due to the rental business. Two main roads in OBX can be pretty congested during high season but the locals know how to get around it and what days to shop to avoid the crowds in the stores. It is as Art said an ideal family vacation spot but it has also started to attract a large number of retired full time residents. The hospital is fairly new and expanded and provides excellent care, best I have seen. Many medical practices have sprung up to cater to the increasing number of retirees relocating there, They have everything one could want or need from the souvenir shops to office supplies and a department store, Food Lion and Harris Teeter supermarkets, a KMart, Lowes, numerous fresh fish markets, some better than others, even an outlet mall, numerous post offices, great vet facilities if you have pets, golf courses, a good Y or so I am told, deep sea fishing, surf fishing, etc on the ocean and the sound offers great opportunity for kayaking, windsurfing, etc. There are areas that seem to attract the full time residents more than other areas and housing is somewhat reasonable (off the water that is). There is a certain ambience to the place that you feel once you go over the causeway. It’s a very casual lifestyle. No one seems to care who you are or how much money you make or made. Everyone is the same and I have found nothing but very friendly and open people on my numerous trips (although all in off season). You are about an hour and a half to the Hampton Roads area of VA including Norfolk, VA Beach, etc for a major airport, I think about 2 hours from Raleigh, 3 hrs from Richmond, VA. Summers can be hot and humid and winters can be tough because of the biting wind, but both are short with great weather during the longer Spring and Fall seasons. Snow is uncommon although you can get some. Hurricanes are a threat but they can be a threat anywhere along the coast and even inland. It just comes with the territory. As you can see I am quite partial to the place. Haven’t moved there yet but so far it’s #1 on my list. I might suggest renting a place for a week in off season to get a feel for the place and then a week inseason to see if you can survive the influx of vacationers. The one thing I would say is that if you are looking for theater and other cultural opportunities, the OBX would not be the place to go for that.

    by susan — June 21, 2015

  235. […] State Retirement Guides Retirement 101 Mid-Atlantic States: MD, DE, VA, NJ Florida Retirement 101 Dueling Carolinas: NC vs. SC Dueling States: Arizona vs. Florida California Retirement 101 Retirement in the Southwest: AZ, NM, […]

    by » Dueling Mountain States for Retirement: CO, ID, MT, NV, UT, and WY - Topretirements — June 22, 2015

  236. I will love to move out of Florida and have been doing research in the Carolinas,for my retirement in about four years.I have a job opportunity in Anderson S.C. It looks like a very nice city but when I did research the crime rate it’s very high for a small city.Can anybody give me any information about Anderson.Ileana

    by Ileana — July 3, 2015

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