No. of Recommendations: 11
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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RV,

Now you're talking. We've vacationed in that area and have been impressed with Vermont as a nice place to have home, especially a hill above the town of Woodstock (or Wood something). I say "a" home, because it would come after our main home in Montectio, CA and a condo on Nob or Russian Hill in San Francisco. So far we have only our main home in Montecito. Oh, and a home in Pebble Beach might fit in just after the SF condo. As a practical matter, aren't the winters a major deterant to year-round residence?

Some folks in our area use one of the retirement commnities as their residence in Montecito or Santa Barbara. For not much over $100K you can buy into (after the waiting list) one of the deluxe retirement resorts and pay the $2K or so per month dues that includes substantial services. When you're looking at a $2.8 million median in Montecito (or $1.4 in SB), it looks to be a good solution to multiple residence ownership. And you just lock the door when you leave, assured everything will be ready for you when you return.

Casa Dorinda, the retirement resort in Montecito, not only provides meals (Julia Child lived there) and housekeeping, once you're accepted the cost is the same regardless of your care needs, including an on-campus nursing facility. Some of the heavy hitters combine multiple units to acheive that 4000+ square foot apartment so necessary for entertaining in the style to which they have become accustomed. The grounds are beautiful, it's strolling distance from the beach, and it's a five minute drive to the mountains of the Los Padres National Forest. Excellent shopping and dining are available along your stroll to the beach. Maybe we ought to get on that waiting list now!

db
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RV
I thought a lot about buying a place in Vermont. If I ever came back, probably it would be in Vermont.

I do have to say that the Vermonters didn't speak the same as others. I couldn't understand what they're saying, sometimes.

I spent a lot of time around Burlington. I kept a boat in Sherburne Bay and I still have friends who live there.

Of course, moving and starting somewhere else would be too much.

Blackduff
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I can't believe nobody else rec'd this, RV--you made me want to move on up! You are indeed fortunate--and smart. Do you have a web site with photos to share?
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Alstroemeria:

No web site, sorry! However, there are some magazines that can help you with that. One is Vermont Life, 6 Baldwin Street, Montpelier, VT 05602. (I think that's still the address. We no longer subscribe since we live here!) And you might check out the official state Vermont web site, too.

Understand that it's NOT all "peaches and cream" here! We were camping up here for many years in their fantastic state parks, which have lots of space between sites and are often partially or totally wooded, and many have well-built 3-sided "leanto's" on the edge of mountains, with views to die for -- much like where our home is now!

While we were camping once, when the kids were small, we met a family who were "natives" and we got to know them quite well. As he pointed out once, "Remember, it may be beautiful up here, but we have to find jobs -- and many do not pay all that well around here; we have bills to pay, lawns to mow, homes and cars to fix, etc., so it's not always paradise!"

He was right -- unless you retire here and no longer need that job. Again, I think people need to look carefully at ANY spot before they leap into it. We were lucky. We just plain love the state and where we are, but it might not be another's cup of tea!

Vermonter


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Weather? Summer, autumn, winter, spring, and mud season are the five seasons!

In the NY Adirondacks we used to call mud season 'no see 'em' season! Those no see 'ems seriously hindered my gardening experience, and just when the lilacs were in bloom too! :-)

(I assume you clothe yourself in the necessary headnets? ;-)

2old
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Blackduff:

I do have to say that the Vermonters didn't speak the same as others. I couldn't understand what they're saying, sometimes.

???

Gee, most of the people we know here talk just like us! But, then, we're ex-"flatlanders" and so are they!

Vermonter
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