As a follow-on to the "Retire to Alaska?" posting:It's a good idea to experience a future retirement area, if you can, before pulling up stakes and going there permanently!We retired up here about 5 years ago, after finishing careers in lower New England. We totally, utterly LOVE this state, but we loved it during the 30 odd years we came up here camping with (and without) our kids, too. Why?First, the sheer beauty of the state -- at any season. Mountains, trees, woods, lots of open space.Next, the people here tend to really believe in the concept of "live and let live". You do your thing and they do theirs, and you each MYOB -- UNLESS someone needs help! (If you're a lemming at heart, and have a desperate need to "do what the Joneses do" all the time, it's not for you. If you have a mind of your own, and enjoy freedom and the idea of living your life as YOU choose, maybe we're for you!)General costs? Groceries, gasoline, and other essentials seem to us to be the same as, or lower than, in other nearby states.Home prices? These are all over the lot. You can get a fairly nice little place still for $125,000 or so, in many places, or else you can spend $1 million or more -- especially in places like Manchester, VT!Taxes? If you work and have a good income -- which, by the way, may be harder to come by here! -- you may find it costly. It is especially bad if you have a SECOND home here, which is taxed about 50% higher than your "homestead" or primary home! However, if you're retired, and earn less than $47,000 (currently), and own your home, you can file tax forms each year that may get you a VERY nice rebate on your property taxes as a function of your income! (We got maybe one third back this year.)Weather? Summer, autumn, winter, spring, and mud season are the five seasons! Summer this year was HOT -- second hottest on record -- and it can be in the 90's, but it is usually not as bad as, say, Florida. Autumn is legendary, of course, with the maples and other trees GORGEOUS! Winters can be rough -- cold, snowy and windy -- especially on our perch on this ridge. Spring is a question mark, but the trees eventually get that lovely reddish look and then the light green look everywhere. "Mud season" is just that: mud everywhere, especially if you live on a dirt road, like we (and many others) do!Again, we love it here. We do NOT miss "working" because we truly love being together 24/7, and we're involved with our wonderful church family, we have grand kids in three states (local and nearby), various hobbies, our home, and so on. In other words, we have lives to lead, independent of whatever other people do, but we also enjoy seeing friends now and then, too.What do YOU want to do in retirement? Do you know? We talked about it, thought about it, agreed on what we felt we wanted, planned on anticipated costs vs income, and here we are. By the way, we have no big pensions, either; we live almost totally on just our combined Social Security incomes, plus maybe another few hundred a month when needed for special trips or whatever from my IRA, and yet we live pretty well, thanks, because we also do not do a lot of extravagant things -- except eating out, which we do a lot.Think about it, talk about it, plan, and do it somewhere that suits you!Vermonter
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