Thursday, January 24, 2013

Moving in Retirement

Well, my house will be on the market next week-with a new foundation and garage door. I’ve cleaned and organized and put items away. Other than those two items no repairs have been made. I may work on the yard a bit-at least the front door. My goal is to sell as quickly as possible and I probably will be flexible with all offers. More about the house and the selling process to come. That said, my daughter looked at me the other day and said “What are you going to do if it sells right away???” (My neighbor sold his house in three days). To which I threw up my arms and said “I have absolutely no idea”.

The truth is I still have not decided where I want to end up. Not in the short term and not in the long term. I expect in the short term that I would rent locally while making a decision. Obviously how quickly the house sells and what kind of money is available at the end will certainly have some impact.

However, I am determined to do my research better this time around-emotion no longer being at the forefront (one can only hope). It would seem that at least one quarter of us relocate in retirement (not just downsize, but change locations), and almost sixty five percent of us will move at some time after we leave the regular working world. In reading about their retirement, there seem to be a few major reasons people move, and that affect where we move. These are issues that I am working through as we speak:

Cost of Living: there is no doubt that the overall cost of living in Dallas is less than in Denver. The overall cost of living differential between the two is almost eighteen percent. Were I to stay in Texas and move to the hill country area outside of Austin or to the beach, my COL might even go down more. Housing is the biggie in terms of cost difference. However, Texas has no income tax (although Colorado does not tax the first $25,000 of retirement income). We pay more for electricity, but we use natural gas to heat and very little of it.

Health care: Here I see no major difference between the two-in either case I would be living in a small town near a big city, or more urban. The hill country areas could require more exploration. Both areas have good medical care, plenty of hospitals and folks I know who can recommend doctors and caregivers.

Family: Either way I go, family will be nearby, at least for now. I’m not sure my daughter will ever have children and I don’t think she and her SO know where they will end up. They could end up moving to the Cayman Islands again. Son does not know where he will end up either, and is investigating Colorado as a choice for his future so that he can spend time with my side of the family. If my children were “settled” here, or if there would be grandchildren, my choice might be different. Denver holds my sister, and my brother and sister in law-who see each other often (at least twice a month), and another brother and sister in law may move there (my sister in law in Seattle works for Trader Joes and is waiting for them to come to the other big D). Either way, I have family. My kids however, are embarking on their own lives. I do get jealous when my sister and brother in law mention getting together for the football game or the like.

Community: I’ve not lived in Denver in twenty five years. I would go there hoping to build community and friendships-primarily through church and quilting friends. Many of my former friends are spread across the globe and have become online friends. This would not be a large change-most of my friends in Dallas are those I found through quilting, church or other volunteer or craft organizations.

Climate: And here, as they say, is the other major rub, other than the cost of living. Believe it or not, I went to college in Connecticut and have spent most of my life in Connecticut, Germany or Northern Virginia. After a mere six years in Texas, I have turned into a weather wimp! Truth be told, I love the four seasons much of the time-but my injury makes my knee quite painful during those winter months. Even if I moved, I might have to “go south” for a couple months here and there. I would certainly be spending money part of the year to keep my home warmer than many-no longer is 68 an acceptable indoor temperature for me.

Of course, there’s good old “culture" and recreation. The more I think about this one, the more I think it’s a wash. Dallas is a bigger metropolitan area-it has more museums, more of everything. Denver, however, is not the backwoods. They have a state of the art museums, a concert center and convention center. They also have MANY small venues, which for me tends to be generally what it’s all about. I am not an outdoor sports person, though I do want access to recreation centers and walking paths and parks and the like-both cities have that in spades.

Finally, and this is not on the list of reasons to relocate, you have natural beauty and diversity. Texas certainly has those things, but not in this part of the country. There are a few lakes, but northern Texas is flat, with little visual beauty in terms of nature. Not important to many, and certainly not a high thing on my list. There is something to be said for looking out your window and seeing the mountains on any given day. If I was to move further south into the so called hill country, that kind of geographical beauty would reappear.

Oh, and when it comes to travel, I see both as viable alternatives and the hill country option as a far second. Were I always flying, Dallas would probably be the winner. When it comes to the proverbial “road trip” both towns are at the center of multiple interestate highways as well as smaller roads.

There you have it-reasons for relocation and where I am on my “where to live” continuum. I’ll continue to do my research while looking for an immediate place to put myself, my belongings and two dogs post home sale.

And by the way, do any of my readers live in the Louisville, Loveland area of Colorado?

By the way, my apologies folks-it was long past time to change the background on this blog (fall leaves have been and gone). I know it's not valentines yet, but it was time for a change. Bear with me as I work here!


  1. This is an excellent summary of your considerations around moving. Everyone's would be slightly different, but if I were to create such a summary myself, it might give me a hand with this decision. I love the Pacific Northwest except for winter, but there might be other areas. For me, heat and humidity are a deal breaker.

  2. I actually love the heat, but its defninitely a consideration overall.

  3. I used to live in the Denver/Boulder area, but it was awhile ago. Louisville or Lafayette might not be as expensive. Hopefully someone with more recent experience could fill you in. Denver, itself, as a large city, seems to be pleasant to live in (from friends who still live there) Also, the Springs area is growing, but I'm not sure of housing costs.

  4. Hi Pamela, thanks for the input. Unfortunatel the springs is absolutely not one of my considerations, left wing hippy that I

  5. We relocated to Las Vegas and I can say we are really happy with the climate, the cost of living, and the fact that there are a lot of free things to do. On the other hand, it can be kind of hard to find a place that fits ALL of your criteria.

  6. It sounds like all three areas have many tremendous benefits, but I think simply the benefit of being near siblings would give the edge to Colorado were it me making this decision.

    I really enjoy the healthy living aspects the people of Colorado exude, and its one of the areas we plan to spend extended time in in the next year or so.

  7. Cash, I am looking to be closer to family so LV is out-it looks like it is more expensive than denver?

  8. Thanks tamara, I do love denver. I just have to deal with the cost of living and evaluate the pain that increases with cold..

  9. Moving is a big decision. We may be there sometime in the future too, as I do not want to stay in the No. Va. area. However, if my kids stay here, then I may change my mind. Right now I have one daughter living in Sarasota FL (A very nice place, actually).

    Good luck with your decision. It sounds like you are thinking this through at all angles, which is a good thing. ;)!


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