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Thread: Retirement and Upcoming Move West

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  1. #1

    Default Retirement and Upcoming Move West

    Well, folks, after over 35 years of working in the field of fish, wildlife, and other natural resource management throughout the 7-State Tennessee Valley region, I am retiring from TVA on January 11, 2013. The wife and I are beginning the process of narrowing down our choices of specific regions in the West to move to for our golden years. The candidate regions we are comparing include the west-central Idaho area (Lewiston/Orofino region), southeastern Washington (Spokane/Clarkston area), south-central Oregon (Klamath Falls to La Pine region), and west-central Nevada (Reno/Minden area). How about that for a variety to choose from?!?

    It is amazing the complexity of the tax structures of the various States, which makes direct comparison of individual types of taxes very difficult. Therefore, I'm trying to gather information for estimated total tax burdens and relative costs-of-living for each of these regions to help narrow down our choices. All the while, I am attempting to ensure the region we eventually select has such features as good health care, decent shopping opportunities, low crime rate, and other such amenities, as well as multiple outdoor recreational opportunities, including decent trout fishing nearby. I have at least briefly visited all of these regions in the past, so I have some idea of how the country lies in each region. However, I am still trying to learn more about each region to further fine tune our eventual decision.


    I would appreciate input from some of you folks who may live in the afore-mentioned regions that may help enlighten me about specifics of these respective regions as related to the features I mentioned in the above paragraph. I am planning a trip West sometime in early to mid spring to gather even more information, including visiting with some real estate folks to start the house-hunting process. In the meanwhile, if anyone out there wishes to move to a nice home in West Tennessee, I'll have one up for sale soon!

    Gary

  2. #2
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    DFW metroplex, TX USA
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    Gary

    There is just a ton of really good info for you on the Net as you pursue this. I know that because we've kind of been considering a move for a couple of years. Here's a good site for comparative tax info, for example.
    http://www.retirementliving.com/taxes-by-state

    I've also found trulia.com to be a good way to get an idea of real estate availability and prices by city. Zillow.com is also a good site for this.

    There are other sites, names not coming immediately to mind, that have lots of statistical data on various metro areas and allow you to make real comparisons on the things that interest you as you make your decision. And, as you narrow the list down, there is a lot of info available on each metro area.

    I found it best to start at a state level to compare taxes, etc. Then I went down to the city level. Trust me, it takes very little time and effort to end up knowing more about places to retire than most of the people who live there probably know.

    One last thing: don't rule out Colorado, where we live now after moving from Memphis. We've loved it out here. Our thought of moving are based on getting into a ranch style house as we age and proximity to children & grandkids than anything else. The CO climate and outdoor opportunities far exceed western TN if you can handle the altitude. Plus, if you get in the right parts of the state, no more worries about tornadoes or earthquakes. The fear of blizzards is a myth we use to keep folks from crowding in. Reality is that my town gets over 300 days of sunshine a year and most snow just evaporates real fast. The fishing season is 365 days long and a senior fishing license costs $1/year.

  3. #3

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    Three things come to mind. 1. Spokane is North East Washington, The area around Moses Lake might be better. 2. Lewiston is Northern Idaho, cold winters and lots of snow. Boise valley might be better. 3. Oregon has no sales tax. If you shop in Washington with a Oregon DL you pay no tax, but you do if you shop in Idaho. What kind of fishing you do should also make a differance.
    Congratulations on the retirement.
    There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees.
    R.Y.

  4. #4
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    Don't know why anyone would want to leave Tennessee but if I were going to move out west I would give the Payson, AZ area a really good looking over, maybe over the Pinetop-Lakeside. Good lake fishing, great summers, Payson does get chilly in the winter I have been told. Personally it think a radius of 150 miles or so around Chattanooga is hard to beat.
    Want to hear God laugh? Tell him Your plans!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Coeur d'Alene, ID
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    Gary;
    My kid brother is a ranger for the State of Idaho and Manages Hayburn State Park about 35 miles south of Coeur D Alene, his wife works in Spokane. I know that they both love the area, Coeur D Alene has suffered severe growing pains is a mess to navigate. Back in the 90's "California" discovered the area and drove the housing prices up so high that the locals could barely afford to buy a lot!!
    I have to correct Desertman (Forgive Me) There is no "Northern Idaho", it is "North Idaho" and is in the PST zone!! It's like the Upper Pennsula of Michigan, so different from thier cousins to the south that they are making "New State" moves!
    Lewiston, ID, a very interesting place, the most inland seaport in the U.S.! The climate is called a "Banana Belt: and is fairly mild up through the Clear Water River Valley. But, you will still have winter!!
    Fishing the St Joe or the Locsha and Sellway is great and I kick myself for missing it this year!!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by desertman View Post
    Three things come to mind. 1. Spokane is North East Washington, The area around Moses Lake might be better. 2. Lewiston is Northern Idaho, cold winters and lots of snow. Boise valley might be better. 3. Oregon has no sales tax. If you shop in Washington with a Oregon DL you pay no tax, but you do if you shop in Idaho. What kind of fishing you do should also make a differance.
    Congratulations on the retirement.
    To add to these points... Living on the WA side of the Columbia Gorge allows one to avoid income taxes as WA has none, and shop in OR, sales tax-free, for major purchases or regular longer term provisioning trips.

    The weather varies quite a bit the length of the Gorge and selecting the right microclimate for your health needs is possible.


    While I have lived in AK for just 48 years and been in on some of the most incredible fishing imagineable for many of those years I still fondly remember smallmouth, steelhead, and sturgeon fishing in the Gorge during the five years I went to college in Ellensburg, WA in the mid-'70s. I have made several trips to OR in the past few years to flyfish some very good water and enjoyed it...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    Brighton, CO. USA
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    We have lived, played and retired in Bend, OR and love it. Year round recreation:snow sports, biking, hiking, hunting, fishing,camping and great weather.
    MW

  8. #8

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    I've been retired for 11 years, and my wife and I now split the year between living in SE PA in the winter, and SW MT in the summer. The first several years after I retired, we traveled all over the Pacific Northwest before finally settling in the area we liked best, which is Paradise Valley, right along the Yellowstone River and 35 miles north of Yellowstone National Park.

    While I can't help you with specifics on the regions you mentioned, here are a couple things that come to mind relative to what we've experienced comparing MT to SE PA. (You might want to keep these kinds of things in mind as well, because they can represent a big impact on your overall expenses/experiences no matter where you relocate.)

    1. Food Prices are about 25% higher in MT. Probably similar in many western/semi-rural areas.

    2. We drive a LOT more during the summer in MT than we do in PA, in part because of the distances between places that we go to (for example, a trip to the grocery store for us in MT can range between 40 and 100 miles round trip, versus a 2 miles round trip in PA.) I know that the state of WA has much higher gasoline costs than either PA or MT, but some areas in WA may have lower electricity costs. Water costs can also be a significant consideration in some western states/areas.

    3. States obtain revenues in multiple ways. PA taxes primarily earned income (i.e. wages earned from employment), so there is no state and local taxes (in the county where we live) on Soc. Sec., pensions, and withdrawals from IRA's and the like. MT has no general sales tax, but automobile license registrations are much higher than in PA. (I just paid about $450 to license a new Ford pickup truck in MT, where as it would have been about $50 in PA). On the other hand, MT has lifetime licenses available on many recreational type vehicles and trailers, and they are relatively inexpensive.

    4. Insurance costs are considerably higher in MT than in PA. We probaly pay 25-50% more in MT for property and vehicle insurances.

    5. There seems to be a much wider range in the quality of services that we obtain in MT vs in PA. While many businesses in MT offer outstanding service, more often than not we've found all too many that work on their own time schedules, which is a much slower pace than in the east, and some with questionable quality.

    6. We've found it is very hard to fully evalualte health care in MT versus PA. For example, we have experienced some outstanding orthopedic care in MT, but this past summer had to wait 2 months for an appointment with a gastroenterologist who then told us he would have to send us to Seattle, WA for specific testing! YIKES!

    -------------

    For me, I'd look at all of the cost considerations, but unless I had to live within a very constrictive budget, I'd want to place most of the emphasis on where my wife and I would be the most happy - things like geographic considerations (how much rain and snow does the area get, and is that to my liking? what about fires in the summer, and can I handle a month or two or smoke filled summer days, for example? or, how about WIND - something we do not think of in PA, but it's a daily consideration for us in MT. OR, how well we would get along with the neighbors, and where are our friends and family and how readily and how often can see them?)

    John

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    I lived in Lewiston Idaho for 5 years while my parents lived in Clarkston WA. the area is referred to as the LC valley. Lewiston/Clarkston sits in a little valley it is about 2000 feet lower than the surrounding area. It has very mild winter climate, but in the summer it climbs over the hundred mark for a couple of weeks a year. It isn't very humid there so with Air conditioning its not as bad as it sounds. People move to the LC valley to golf year round etc. The valley gets snow about two weeks a year it snows then melts off. In the five years I was there it snowed more than three inches once. The hospitals are good, there are doctors readily available. Just about anything grows there, if your a Gardener the soil is wonderful. For governments the state of Idaho and the state of WA are too different extremes, the state of WA is democrat and taxes and fees you to death, the state of Idaho is Republican and doesn't have as many fees/taxes etc but doesn't do as much for the people. (look to the fee structure for fishing/hunting licences for an idea of what I am talking about) The fishing/hunting is wonderful, your two hours from two FAOL yearly fish-ins. Were I to move back to that area I would move to the Idaho side the lower taxes etc are worth it.

    Now for the bad Lewistons main employer is a papermill in the morning driving to work I would drive through a brown layer of gunk. My wife gets migraines and the papermill was a trigger. If it had not been for the mill I would have never left. My wife also does not do well with cold, it it had not been for the cold winters we would have tried to move to Moscow ID. it is a great little college town.

    Hope this helps.

    Eric
    PM me if you have questions
    "Complexity is easy; Simplicity is difficult."
    Georgy Shragin
    Designer of ppsh41 sub machine gun

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    We lived in Carson City, NV for 3 years - there's no state income tax in NV and the sales tax was less than 8% (this may have changed in the past couple years.) Good climate year round, but easy to get into real winter by driving 30 miles west, and urban enough to have good healtcare options, shopping, & entertainment available within an hour. The fishing is great but you do need to buy a CA non-resident license - about $110 the last time I looked, probably more now. Good fly shop in Minden too. I left the area mainly because of alergies, otherwise it offerred just about everything I could want. I can't really say much about any of your other choices but I did really like the Carson Valley.

    One other thought though, it is near 5,000 feet and you go up for most of the fishing, not a good thing if you suffer from COPD or any other respiratory problems.

    All the best,

    Cliff

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