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Want to Maximize Your Retirement Dollars: Move to These States

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

September 26, 2014 — Most people understand that some areas of the U.S. are cheaper to live in than others. For the majority of retiring baby boomers who are concerned about maintaining their pre-retirement standard of living, it make a lot of sense to act on those differences. This is highlighted by a recent study by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies and AARP that showed that an increasing number of America’s retirement age citizens are stressed by their cost of housing. The study also warned that “the nation is unprepared for both the financial and non-financial housing challenges that will accompany the coming explosion in the elderly population.”

The Tax Foundation has developed some extremely interesting maps – by state, town, and part of the country – that shows relative differences in purchasing power. The scale is based on an a purchasing scale of $100: if you have $100 to spend, how much value will you get in different locations. Based on the difference in local prices, in some you can buy more value than you will in others.

Move to the Center – and South
The cheapest states to live in are in the midwest and the south. Here are the states with the most purchasing power:
Mississippi (#1 @ $115.74)
Arkansas (#2 @$114.16)
Missouri and Alabama (tied at #3 @$113.51)
South Dakota, North Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, West Virginia, and South Carolina also give you over $110 in value for your $100.
Here is a link to the Tax Foundation map showing each state and the Relative Value of $100.

When it comes to cities, the midwest and the south offer the most bang for the buck. The least expensive city is Danville, Illinois, where $100 buys $126 in consumer goods, followed by Jefferson City, Missouri; Jackson, Tenn.; Jonesboro, Arkansas; and Rome, Georgia. The Tax Foundation has a very intriguing interactive map that shows the cost of living for a variety of cities and towns across the U.S.

The coasts in this country tend to be the most expensive places to live, except perhaps for the southeastern coast. The District of Columbia is the most expensive, where you only get $84 in value for your $100. In the California area you get $88.57 worth of value for every $100 you spend, compared to the national average. In Los Angeles and other expensive cities and towns, the value is even less. In New York State, you get $86.66. Maryland and New Jersey are also expensive, they each return less than $90.

Bottom line
Of course cost of living is only one factor that you should consider when picking out a place to retire. Proximity to friends and family, climate and geography preferences, recreational and cultural opportunities, and medical resources should all be carefully considered. But if you are worried about your ability to maintain your standard of living once you retire, you should at least consider moving to one of the less expensive areas of the country.

For further reading
Tax Foundation
The Kids Are Through College, You’re Retiring Next Week, and You’re Dead Broke
More Financial articles about retirement in our Blog
Joint Harvard and AARP Study on Housing Cost Burden

Have you found that where you live is cheaper or more expensive than other parts of the country. Of course what you buy, and what taxes you have to pay, can make your situation different from other people’s.

Posted by Admin on September 25th, 2014


  1. Heck yes!! NJ off the charts… I am looking at PA and Delaware

    by Joy — September 26, 2014

  2. It makes a big difference, at least for me. I moved out of high tax California to reasonable Arizona, and discovered a big saving in car insurance, homeowners assoc fees, real estate taxes, personal income taxes, gasoline tax, utilities and this place has money to keep the roads good! I am thrilled to have more money in the bank and a very nice life style with lots of nice people moving here for retirement every day.

    Do your homework, and good luck. Libby

    by Libby — September 26, 2014

  3. I am with you on NJ can’t wait to leave. Thinking of SC Bluffton Hilton Head area. Delaware is nice but still to cold for me. The one thing hard for me to swallow is when you enter or leave a nice community the area homes are rundown and beat up?

    by Tony — September 26, 2014

  4. We moved to Pa from Florida to be near children and GC (one of the biggest FINANCIAL mistakes I ever made). Pa does not tax our SS & small Pension!! Wonderful right? Ahhhh, but they get you elsewhere. School taxes here are horrendous and EVERYTHING is more expensive plus we now have to put up with the cold weather (DUH). Yes, I know – “stupid is as stupid does”.

    For us “Seasoned Citizens” We think it is wise to move to a state in which they do not tax your SS (unless you are rich and don’t give a hoot) – BUT be sure you do your homework on Real Estate Taxes (my mistake). We live in an UPSCALE modular/mobile park where we pay a lot rent, own the home but NOT the land and our Real Estate taxes alone are $2400.00 a year!

    To some I would imagine they would say, “oh that’s not much” but it is much when you have limited funds.

    We are investigating SC & N.E. TN for those of us who are over 65 years of age an $100,000.00 home is taxable for about $400-$500 a year AND no tax on SS.

    More homework is necessary but so far looks good. Anyone want to buy our nice home in Pa? Will give you a real good deal.

    by Robert — September 27, 2014

  5. When looking at a southern or coastal state, be sure to factor in the hurricane /homeowners insurance. In S Fl, my taxes are reasonable $1800, house is paid for, but my insurance runs $4000 plus this for a 2/2. Having lost a home to a hurricane and being fully aware of that danger the insurance is not an optional thing.

    by Lorrie — September 27, 2014

  6. Wyoming could be included if only because it isn’t expensive to live here.

    by Gary — September 27, 2014

  7. Robert, my cousin lives in Kingsport, TN. Which is N.E. TN. Kodak is a major manufacturer there and has had some environmental issues. See the environmental record in this WIKI article:

    My cousin has lived in Kingsport for probably 40 years and she has not complained to me about the pollution. Please do due diligence on this topic. I have no idea how far away from Kodak she lives. Not sure if you have even considered Kingsport but it is food for thought.

    With your lot rent and your taxes, you are paying a lot for a $100K home. Do you intend to buy a modular home in another park? I have always been interested in a modular home BUT I would build it on a lot with town water and sewer or drill a well and put in a septic system (that’s what I have at my home now). If you should do that, make sure you find out if you will be taxes as a Mobile Home or a traditional home. I have always heard if it stays on ‘wheels’ it is considered a mobile home but if it sits on a foundation, it is considered a home. A mobile home is considered a vehicle and depreciates like a car. Good for taxes but not so good that the value of your home goes down. But if you don’t care about that, it’s a win, win situation.

    Taxes are bad in CT. We pay town tax well over $5,000 a yr for a home that is probably worth around $250,000. Our vehicles and utility trailer are taxes as well. My Husband is a licensed HVAC tradesman and his state of CT tradesman license went up 100% and has to be paid every year. How can something like that go up 100%?

    In Greenwich CT which is probably 30 miles away from where I live, a ‘starter home’ is $1 million and is probably a run down shack! The cost per pupil to educate one kid in my town is $9K per year. They are closing down one school because there are not enough students. Do you THINK our taxes will go down because of that? Highly unlikely. The Superintendent of schools in my town makes $200K per year. Is this a normal salary? I don’t know how you find a town with low school taxes. I’d like to find a town with no schools and pay no school taxes at all considering we have no children and have paid through the nose for all our working lives for kids to be educated. There should be a law that exempts people over 65 from paying school taxes!

    Oh, and another subject is crime! My cousin in TN is always talking about crime and drugs. I was a bit shocked considering the south seems much more easy going compared to NY and other states with high crime.

    Keep us posted on what towns you have investigated and what makes them a great find!

    by Louise — September 28, 2014

  8. Robert, Forgot to mention how low my cousin’s taxes are in TN! She pays less than half of what I do and her house is bigger than mine! My jaw dropped when she told me! How can one state have such low taxes and another is so high?

    by Louise — September 28, 2014

  9. After much contemplation, DH and I are seriously considering moving back to NW Ohio. It’s not the garden spot of the nation, but the suburb of Toledo from which we moved to upstate NY 20 years ago gets two more months of good weather, much less snow, more sun, and is WAY cheaper than this beautiful collegetown of Ithaca, NY. I went back to visit an old friend this summer, and went with a realtor around to see some places in the area where we used to live. We could get what we’d like for a downsized home for probably about $160-180K, and if it’s older (our preference), property taxes would probably be around $3,000. But it’s still a very healthy suburb (growing), very walkable if you live in the older section (our preference), and there’s a choice of housing available for when we possibly opt for senior housing or a condo. Contrast that to a house valued at $230K with property taxes over $5000/yr, utilities much higher, income tax way higher, gasoline at least 40 cents/gallon more, sales taxes lower, — in fact, I haven’t found ANYTHING that isn’t much lower in NW Ohio than were we live now. (And the only way we can afford it now with my husband retired and me still working for another 4 years, is because we rent out our basement apt. to Cornell grad students — otherwise we would be having a very hard time, even with mortgage paid off.) AND there is a choice of medical specialists, whereas here there’s often only one specialist practice in town, and then for anything really major you have to drive at least 60-90 miles for more specialized care or procedures. So, even though it’s beautiful here, we are ready to say adios to a town where older people are really overlooked (it’s a collegetown, after all!) and be able to bank the extra $40-60K we would get when we sell and downsize with a move to Ohio. Yes, it’ll be sad to not stay in the house we’ve fixed up, and we love it, but it’s just a house, after all, and with so many of our friends planning to move away because of cost of living and/or kids/grandkids living elsewhere, there’s really nothing to hold us here. We have no kids and no other living family (except one sibling — questionable, and he lives in NE Ohio anyway), so staying here to age in place is really not an option. I know I’ll get involved with church, and volunteer somewhere, and take some art/other classes, so we’ll hopefully build up a social support system that way. (And this time also work at making YOUNGER friends! 🙂 ) The south would be cheaper, yes, with better weather, but my husband was stationed down south when he was in the service in the early 70s, and once a Yankee, always a Yankee, he says. And he doesn’t like community living, so that’s out. So life is a compromise, and we just hope that the market holds and I can still plan to retire in 4 years and that where we want to live doesn’t get priced out of our market. (Heck, even if the housing goes up some, overall cost of living will still be cheaper, with more available….) Good luck to everyone. It’s all a matter of personal choice — what is great for others might not be best for you, so do some math, due diligence, and research, but then also listen to your heart and your gut. You have to feel at home where you will spend this next part of your life. And BTW, almost NO homes are really designed to truly age in place (heights of counters, door handles, thresholds both internal and external,, roll in showers, etc). Only the very well off can afford all that — either new or remodeled.

    by Paula — September 28, 2014

  10. […] Further Reference: Want to Maximize Your Retirement Dollars – Move to These States See “Which of These 7 Fantasies Could Wreck Your Retirement” The Biggest Unexpected Retirement […]

    by » The Kids Are Through College, You Retire Next Month, and You’re Dead Broke. What’s Next? - Topretirements — September 29, 2014

  11. This question came from Dave:
    Q: Any suggestions for a retirement place in Eastern Tennessee?

    A: Check out our Tennessee Directory, it should have a lot of suggestions

    by Admin — September 29, 2014

  12. We were considering N.E. TN but now I am getting reports from various sources that there is (may be} enviromental safety issues in the Tri City Area which is where we were scouting. Radon, paper mills and other issues! True or not or whether it is of a safety concern I am not sure at this point but I certainly am going to conduct a more thorough investigation. One must always remember the old adage = BUYER BEWARE.

    Robert – WHEW! This becoming a real chore.

    by Robert — September 30, 2014

  13. Robert,
    Johnny Molloy is an outdoors man. As the author of over 50 hiking, paddling, and camping guides covering 26 states; i presume he loves the outdoors and is keenly aware of the environment. I emailed him a while ago when i learned that he lives in Tennessee. He lives in Johnson City (one of the three Tri-City areas) and loves it. Told me he wouldn’t move anywhere else, (but if he did it would be Greenville, SC). I realize this certainly isn’t a decisive answer, but it does provide a point of view from someone who loves the outdoors and is more than aware of what’s going on around him.

    by ella — September 30, 2014

  14. We have lived 30 years in NH and as we consider retirement we are looking at Oregon as a possible retirement option. Our daughter lives near Portland, OR but we do not know much about the state, the taxes, or the cost of living. We currently have a lake house and would love to get similar property but there doesn’t seem to be many lakes out that way, just rivers. We would love to be on or near water and also near a downtown neighborhood. Walk to get a coffee or hear a bit of live music at the local pub. Is there such a place?

    by Julie — September 30, 2014

  15. Tell me about Cleveland. I spent 22 years within 70 miles of it when young so I’ve heard the jokes and complaints of the 60’s . We’ve spent the last 30 years in Southern CA and 15 in Albuquerque. Though they will carry me kicking and screaming from NM, I realize the advantage for my heart to be close to the renowned Cleveland Clinic.

    My husband and I have been away sooo long and have only made one trip back in 45 years . We camped that time in Strongsville and also briefly checked out Twinsburg. I once read that when you combine all the Ohio taxes ( property, gas, sales, etc.) together they total 47% , yet this Top Retirement site shows the value as $110 for every $ 100 spent.

    We may just consider a Senior apartment and/ or staying 6 months there and 6 months in ABQ.
    Any info a resident can provide about property taxes, snow removal and road maintenance during winter months, reasonable home locations, etc. would be most helpful.

    by Sandy — September 30, 2014

  16. Ella – tks for the input.


    by Robert — October 1, 2014

  17. Sandy, my brother lives south of Cleveland and commutes in for work. Lives in Brunswick, in Medina County, just south of Cuyahoga County. Taxes in Medina county were much, much cheaper than Cuyahoga. And as I visited there in both Brunswick and Twinsburg (located in Summit county, so again, cheaper taxes), I noticed that gas prices — although about 40 cents cheaper than in Ithaca, NY –also varied greatly around the Cleveland area, with a wide price difference of about 20 cents per gallon difference. I think you’ll really have to pick a particular town, in a particular county, in order to really try to get an idea of prices/cost of living. Cleveland Clinic has SO many sites nowadays around there, you could easily NOT live in Cuyahoga county. For my own research in considering a move to various Ohio locations, I’ve been looking at Sperlings cost comparisons of cost of living (and other things) of locales, available at . And then, I’ve been making trips out to see real estate for myself. Not ideal from ABQ, I know, but you can get probably a cheapish Southwest flight to Cleveland Hopkins and look around with some advance planning. Personally, I doubt I would ever leave ABQ if I were already there, and let the chips fall where they may — to have that amount of sun year round will NEVER be found in Cleveland, believe you me!

    by Paula — October 1, 2014

  18. We left California and moved to Arizona, then left there when taxes and other expenses such as outrageous homeowner association fees skyrocketed. We now live in New Mexico and are saving a bundle on overall living expenses. For instance, our annual homeowner association fees are now less than the monthly amount we paid in Arizona that went primarily to take care of the golf course that we and the majority of residents never used plus maintenance on private streets that were regularly in disrepair. Our current community is beautiful and has a great view of the mountains, and no money-sucking golf course or private roads to maintain. Arizona is known for being in competition with Florida for having the most domineering and costly homeowner associations.
    It’s especially nice not having a clip board carrying HOA snit meandering through the neighborhood in search of the slightest hint of something that might be considered out of line with an item buried in the pounds of CC&Rs or other rules in order to levy a fine.
    Think long and hard before you jump into a big homeowner association ruled community unless you don’t mind being told how to run your life from almost every aspect outside your home!

    by Denn — October 1, 2014

  19. I’ve made a number of comments about our continuous search for an alternative place to retire other than our home in central NC. For us we have not found a better alternative despite having lived in many areas of the SE and having taken road trips by car for over 25,000 miles in the US in the past 11 years checking out the many alternative areas.

    With the comments here about Upper East Tennessee (NE TN), I want to add a little more about it and say that Upper East Tennessee remains one of our most desired “places of interest”. One of our homes years back before retiring was just across the TN/VA border from Kingsport, TN. We lived there for 3 years and have visited in NE TN numerous time including again this summer. (It also happens that my wife’s family is from Ashe County NC, just over the TN/NC border and my parents are buried at Mtn. Home Natl. Cem. in Johnson City, TN. So we certainly know the area.)

    First of all, Kingsport is NOT all of NE TN. It is one small city along I-81 and, from 10 miles away, you would not know it’s there. The presence of any air pollution from Kodak should not be a consideration at all unless you actually want to retire to Kingsport or immediately east of it. The remainder of NE TN is one of the most beautiful areas in the country as it includes the ROLLING hills of the Great Valley which are nestled between the tallest peaks of the Appalachians (at Great Smoky Mtns. Natl. Park) and the Alleghenies. The weekend and vacation options within a half-day are amazing! The education and medical facilities provided by Johnson City and Knoxville (a mere hour away) are among the best. Lakes, rivers, mountains, and even over-built tourist spots all fit in without trampling all over each other. Then add in the low taxes and relatively low cost of living and NE TN is really hard to beat.

    The negatives? The sales tax is rather high — last I noticed around 8%. The state is rather conservative (and so are NC, SC, GA, AL, FL, etc.) but that is balanced by the more liberal environments around Johnson City and Knoxville.

    I truly believe that literally everyone could find a place to fit them in this part of TN. Large city, small town, remote rural, personal home, retirement community, everything is here.

    So why don’t WE live there? Pretty much due to the fluke of original jobs, family, alma mater, and the wonderful area we already live in, that’s why. But believe me, we are absolutely delighted that Upper East TN is an easy half-day away, all of the SE is within a day and everything east of the Mississippi is within a 2-day drive. Since we travel with our dogs and road travel is, for us, the right way to see the country (far better than the hassles of flying), where we are now is perfect. But NE TN is no less perfect.



    by Rich — October 1, 2014

  20. Living in Northern Virginia and the Cost of Living here is really expensive. I’m retired but my Spouse is still employed by the County Government. Her daughter moved to Apex N.C. and while visiting there she was inspired to relocate. I would like to move N.C. but not in Apex. Sorry, nice town but I don’t care for living to close to her kids. Does anyone have any suggested towns in N.C.

    by Andre — October 1, 2014

  21. Does anyone have comments on the Boise Idaho area or the Southeast of Reno where the Damonte Ranch is developing new homes?

    by Katherine — October 1, 2014

  22. Andre, you don’t say Big town, small town, etc. Apex is medium to me. I live outside Pittsboro maybe 20 miles down US64 and it is “small” town 5-6K. Chapel Hill is just north and is big town/small city and a university community.

    Do take a look at a map of central NC. You’ll find many towns around the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area as well as many more around Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem less than 2 hours to the west of these.

    Recommendations would depend on what you want.


    by Rich — October 1, 2014

  23. I saw a mention above about Wyoming…think twice before coming to this high priced state.They “claim” taxes are low,but they will knife you in other ways and rob you blind.Gas prices are high and winters just plain ####,I know I was born and raised here and can not wait to get out.Too many transplants are moving to Wyoming driving up real estate prices and the following taxes they say are low.Health care is questionable at best and many go out of state for health care above anything but a cold or a band aid.After 62 years in this state I am ready to all can have my spot.

    by Jim — October 1, 2014

  24. Don’t forget to search “Madrid Fault Line” when determining where to live. There is not much talk about this — but it could be HUGE in retirement planning!

    by Joni — October 1, 2014

  25. Jim, I have only lived in Wyoming for 40 years, but I, too, have seen this growth you mention. Wyoming is still the least populated state, likely because many of those who seek adventure on the high plains and the mountains find out that they aren’t the “rugged individuals” they thought they were, and move back to more level, low altitude surroundings. I tell folks that visit us to remember their jacket even when it’s summer, because the evenings are just “plain comfortable in a coat”! I have to agree that health care is sketchy in some areas, as it usually is in rural settings. If I or my wife were to become sickly, we’d probably move to the city, too. But I have to disagree that taxes are too high. I’ve never been priced out of anything or felt like my property should be devalued just so I could get by. This is an energy state, and the taxes that industry pays keeps the overall cost of property tax to the citizenry well below national average. Also no sales tax on groceries! And I being a veteran, get a further break on my property taxes, making my bill basically “chump change”. Also to those “shopaholics” I’ll say “keep looking”! But when I need a Starbucks Coffee (not very often), I only need to ride 52 miles for the privilege! Nope, Wyoming ain’t for everybody, Jim, but I would think that when you do finally give up your place, you’ll shortly find some ‘poor unfortunate sole’ that will pay you a fair price to take your property from you

    by Gary — October 2, 2014

  26. Greenville SC. Does anyone on the list have info on the best areas of Greenville, SC for retirees to relocate? Anyone with info on living there? Pros, Cons, etc. It looks inexpensive for a city of reasonable size.

    by Elaine — October 2, 2014

  27. This comment came in:
    What do you suggest for eastern Tennessee?

    by Admin — October 2, 2014

  28. Remember, “Cheaper” does not always mean better. The saying “You get what you pay for” often applies to states too!

    by John H — October 2, 2014

  29. It’s virtually impossible to categorize cost-of-living for an entire state. Each county (city, town) in a state is unique. There are the very expensive and the very inexpensive in each state. I live in NYS and the closer you get to NYC, the more expensive it is. Small towns, a large distance from any significant city, can be extremely inexpensive. I’ve checked cost of living thru Sperlings for many towns in Tenn., No. Carolina, etc. and they vary significantly as well.

    by ella — October 3, 2014

  30. Moving from California to Arizona made a big difference for me. State taxes, Real Estate taxes, utilities, gasoline, homeowners fee, homeowners insurance were all less.. Nothing wrong with that!

    by Loralee — October 4, 2014

  31. Loralee,

    That’s great; i’m happy for you! All i’m saying is there are places in more expensive states that are far less costly to live in than places in less expensive states. From my research on individual towns, it seems to me that it’s impossible to generalize about an entire state. My daughter lives in the Bay Area, and you’re right – the cost of living is thru the roof! Enjoy your new(er) home.

    by ella — October 5, 2014

  32. Elaine….love your question about Greenville SC as we are targeting that area in 2-3 years. We’ve been there many times while visiting our son when he was at Clemson and loved the area but never looked at it for housing. Being close to the University has it’s obvious advantages and drivable to Atlanta and Charlotte also make it attractive.

    I’ll look forward to seeing what you find out……and it’s a distinct possibility we might move down from PA sooner while I finish up my career.

    by Mitch — October 6, 2014

  33. Oregon ???? Anybody??? We are thinking about 2 hour radius from Portland. Any help would be appreciated.

    by Julie — October 6, 2014

  34. Julie…I visit my Mother and sister in Coos Bay/ North Bend a couple of times per year and I know I wouldn’t wish to live there. They receive twice the rain of Seattle (65″ per year) and it seems the wind is always blowing. This is probably true of most of the coast. I have a friend who moved from LA to Bend recently and she loves the four seasons and close by lakes for fishing. I don’t think it is as scenic as other areas of Oregon. Know that property taxes are 2 to 3 times assessed value and income tax is not far behind that of California. You will hear people state “but they don’t have any sales tax” but how much do you buy when you are retired? Oregon is listed as a not so retiree friendly tax state so be aware of that. If you tend toward Liberalism, you will feel right at home for much of the state. As far as Eugene, it sits in a valley and has more gray days than most places. I like my sunshine!

    by Katherine — October 6, 2014

  35. Katherine, Thank you for your take on Oregon! Maybe Washington State would be a better option? We need to do a bit more research! Just trying to get a little closer to kids and grandchildren! We love our lakes property in NH and would be looking for similar property.

    by Julie — October 7, 2014

  36. Julie, We are considering Vancouver, WA right across the Columbia River from Portland. Washington has no state income tax and Oregon has no state sales tax for shopping. I grew up in Portland and really loved living there. The summers there are wonderful with plenty of nice days with low humidity. Winter temps are mild, but there are a lot of overcast days. There are some areas in the Portland area with lake settings that a realtor could help you discover.

    by Steve — October 7, 2014

  37. After delaying a move for several years and five months on the market we finally have an acceptable offer on our Connecticut house. We expect to close at the end of December and expect to move to the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina. We visited South Carolina about two years ago and we are going to spend the week of Thanksgiving there to find a place to live. After reading blogs and talking to people who have relocated to the South from the Northeast, we decided to rent for a year and if we don’t like well we’ll move again. We selected Myrtle Beach because we want to be near the coast and it is cheaper than the Charleston area. We chose South Carolina over Florida because it is a shorter trip back to Boston area where we have family. Anybody currently renting in the Myrtle Beach area and can make suggestions to where or not to where to look? Many people suggested Murrells Inlet.

    by markg — October 7, 2014

  38. Markg try Lakeside Crossings in Conway SC it is only 5 miles from Myrtle Beach and is a very active 55+ community. My wife and I visited there this summer and were impressed with the manufactured housing and the ammenities they offer. When you are ready to buy I was told to look at resales rather than new. You get more for your money.

    by Mike M — October 8, 2014

  39. I would suggest taking a look at the Pawleys Island area about 20 mi south of Myrtle Beach. There are a variety of stable, safe community living developments and it is a short drive to the congested shopping areas of the Myrtle Beach area. Good luck.

    by Gerry L — October 8, 2014

  40. Mike M — We visited Lakeside Crossings about 2 years ago and were very impressed with both the community, as well as all of the amenities offered there, so we have placed Lakeside Crossings on our short list. Also, after recently looking online at a listing of homes that are resales, we noticed that you can get some really good buys. However, our question concerns the HOA fees. Does a buyer merely inherit the same HOA fees that the seller was paying? Also, in some cases, we noticed that where it says “HOA Paid” and there should have been a number, it merely says “Does Not Have HOA”, so what does that mean? Because I can’t imagine in a million years that whomever buys that particular house does not have to pay any HOA fees. So then does the management set the HOA fee? Just wondering…..

    by Valerie — October 8, 2014

  41. Steve, Good feed back on the NW area. My daughter is loving the Portland area and all the activities. I will do a bit more research on the Vancouver WA area and possible lake properties. Thank you again

    by Julie — October 8, 2014

  42. I lived in Puyallup, Wa for 3 years…south of Seattle. Summers are fabulous but winters…not so much. Gray, drizzly, cold. Every winter we had at least a week or two of snow with blizzard-like conditions. But the area has lots of activities, places to go and things to see. Vancouver is further south. I understand they have more ice and ice storms down there. And, in my opinion, not as much to see and do. Up north…San Juan Islands, Mount Ranier, Victoria CA, Vancouver CA, Seattle with pike place market, experience music at Seattle center…lots of stuff to do.

    by Ginger — October 8, 2014

  43. Regarding Vancouver WA, I have friends who sold their beautiful large home in Santa Rosa (at a loss) thinking Vancouver was where they wanted to be. After a couple of years, they sold their home in Vancouver (at another loss) to move to a much smaller home in the San Jose area for the sunshine. We had once considered Vancouver but upon hearing about the brutal wind blown ice storms off the Columbia River, changed our mind.
    Now we are focusing on either Reno or the Boise Idaho area. Both are tax friendly for retirees.

    by Katherine — October 8, 2014

  44. Wy is a beautiful state, but the wind blows all of the time, and the reality costs are high. There is no state tax, but on the other hand the winters are rough. We had thought of Wy or Eastern TN. We are not quite ready to retire, but want a place that is inexpensive and right for us. our girls went to college in Greenville, SC. It is a fun place to visit, but would not retire there. The city is too big for us.
    There are many ads saying to retire to Grand Junction, Co. i have lived here over 50 years and would not recommend it. The weather is the plus as it is very mild, but you have to go over the mountains to get anywhere, the cost of living is rising, and because of the drug problem, crime has risen. pollution has increased, and they have given illegals driver;s licenses. The traffic is horrendous. We are anxious to get out of here, but don’t know where we will go.

    by Cheryl Coverly — October 8, 2014

  45. Hi Cheryl. After traveling to most areas of the country, we plan to move to eastern TN in January. Feel free to ask us any questions you may have.
    My take on the western states was also the issue of all the mountainous roads, similar to your feelings. Being from mid-MN, we have gas stations and groceries available every 5-10 miles, so I didn’t appreciate nearly running out of gasoline out there either. It would probably seem okay for those who enjoy more seclusion, not if you want handy amenities. I did, however like CA, but not their expensive cost of living, among other things.

    by Caps — October 8, 2014

  46. Curious as to where the suggestions for highlighted “retirement” locations come from. The entry for Ashland, Va., close to where I live now, is a case in point. Some of the comments seem very generic as if drawn from some sort of regional chart. Medical care, for instance, there is a very good hospital, with supporting medical facilities, nearby. Richmond is a bit of a hike, but its museums and some cultural events may be worth the trip. Summers can be hot and humid (think the breath of a very large dog) and winter often feature ice storms.
    If you’re a train buff, however, it’s ideal. Have friends who travel all over the country by rail starting at Ashland.
    To gauge these reports, look for one close to where you live now and compare the remarks with your experience.
    As everyone says, see for yourself and stay for a while before you make any big decisions.
    Spoke to someone at a retirement community in Myrtle Beach last month who claimed that folks were moving the from the north to homes sight unseen to escape winter. I wish them good luck!

    by Sandie — October 9, 2014

  47. Has anyone visited any of the Trilogy clubs for retirement In Calif ? Would appreciate any input. Thank you.

    by Suzanne s — October 10, 2014

  48. Mike M
    Thanks for the suggestion we are not looking for 55+ community. As of my last posting, contract signed, and due to additional family wrinkle we have added back in the Charleston Area around Summerville.

    by markg — October 10, 2014

  49. RICH – I was delighted to read your post about NE Tennessee as i have questions no one has been able to answer, and i’m hoping you will do that for me. But first i’d like to say how happy i am for you that you feel your present home is the best place for you to remain during your retirement years. How nice for you and your wife that you will be able to remain with friends, family, and a community known to you!

    As for Tennessee i have questions in two main areas. First, as you have lived in both NC and TN, is the cost of living truly that much lower in TN? I realize the state income taxes are different in both states, but how about property taxes, food prices, utilities, a trip to the vet, etc. Is TN’s cost of living appreciably lower or only marginally lower?

    Next, i’m looking for an area that has a town with things i can do on a rainy day, and hiking with easy access. For example, Waynesville (which i’m hoping you’re familiar with having done so much traveling) is charming; however to go hiking my husband and i would have to travel to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Is there an area in TN that has a town as appealing as Waynesville’s with hiking that is easier to access (maybe beginning in a park within the town)? My husband is in his 70’s and i’m projecting 10 years forward.

    Also, do you know anything about the above in relation SW Virginia? I am interested in Galax, Floyd, and some smaller towns in that area.

    Last question, what about the weather? Isn’t TN much hotter than NC in the summer?

    Thanks so much, Rich! If you can help me out it would save me months of research.


    by ella — October 15, 2014

  50. […] Popular Active Communities – Florida Dominates 2013 Most Popular Active Adult Communities Want to Maximize Your Retirement Dollar – Move to These States! Sandy’s 8 Years of Exploring Active Adult Communities Destination Williamsburg: Hop On Jay […]

    by » Tell Us Where You Are Living in Retirement - Topretirements — October 21, 2014

  51. Comment from Deb H:

    We are trying to get to the Tampa area before winter. We want to buy a house in Clearwater or Palm Harbor but haven’t had much luck selling our house in northern KY (been on the market 2 months). Any suggestions for how to make a move to the gulf coast easier or nice neighborhoods, please let us know. Thanks!!

    by Admin — October 22, 2014

  52. Caps,

    Where have you chosen in East Tennessee? My friend moved to the Greeneville area about six years ago and loves it there! My husband and i are considering Eastern Tennessee and areas in the Blue Ridge Mts. from South Western Virginia to Northern Georgia.

    When making your choice, did you check out state income taxes and cost of living of any other areas and compare to that of Tennessee? IF so, would you share your findings with me. For example, if you considered North Carolina, did you find the cost of living truly that much lower in TN – property taxes, food prices, utilities, a trip to the vet, etc. And if so, is TN’s cost of living appreciably lower or only marginally lower than that of NC?

    Did you find any towns in TN that are charming or pretty? Are you interested in hiking, and if so, did you find an area with with easy access to good hiking trails? And last, i am a bit worried about the summer heat. Any comments?

    Thanks so much, Caps! Wishing you much joy and fulfillment in your new home and new life,


    by ella — October 23, 2014

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