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If I could live in any place in the USA Southeast, I'd move to ....


Scott9999

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Well, where would that be?  Why would you move there?

 

My backstory:

Most folks are constrained in where they live by careers, family, friends, community, personal history, and such.  For better or worse, I am not.  It's just myself and my wife.  My adult daughter lives in Atlanta, and my son, the one having grandchildren, is in Sacramento.  After working for 20 years to LEAVE my life long home state (but no longer the SAME state) of California, I ain't gonna go back there.   If Grandma wants to live there, I've offered to move her back to live with the kids, but she's figured out that she doesn't want to be a 24/7 grandma, either. So, it's just us.

 

We moved to the Coeur d'Alene area of Northern Idaho, mostly on a lark.  We didn't have a fixed destination when I sold off the house, closed my Corporation, put most everything in storage, added the essentials in the back of my pickup, headed out of state in 2015, and saw 29 states in 70 days of travel.  (That just about killed off whatever travel bug we had; motel living is the pits.)  When we headed back West, and reached Texas, and I asked my wife and adult daughter (traveling with us, tourist class, so to speak), "OK, so where's home?   I'm not going West all the way back to California", they both said "Coeur d'Alene".   Well, that kind of set me back on my heels.  My wife is from Manila, my daughter was a California girl born and bred, and I gently reminded both that "Um, are you two aware that Idaho is a 4-season climate?"  We had lived in 4-season climates before, both during Navy service and during my civilian career, so they knew the score.   The Northwest is beautiful, and Idaho is gorgeous, so I agreed, we moved, built a house (that's a VERY long, complex story), darn near went broke doing so, recovered, and are set living in a beautiful region, overlooking a lake.  

 

After our sixth winter, and having bought my new-to-me 2018 RT last fall to return to riding, I'm thinking that though I LOVE 4-season Idaho, I could be enticed to live some interesting place in the Southeast with a more moderate climate (and more riding days).  The real problem is that no one really KNOWS a place, until he's lived there a year, seen all the seasons, understood the local culture, and assessed the pro's and con's.  I probably don't have enough years left to do that to a dozen towns across America.  So, I'm sort of using our friends here as surrogates.  During our 2015 coast-to-coast USA tour (and a few years before), we had seen Alabama (Montgomery, and surrounding), Nashville, had driven through South Carolina, Florida, AL, MI, TX, WY, ND, SD, MO, and lots of other states, NE to SE, and back West.  (Sorry, but we've lived in the NE, and that' didn't interest us).  There's also a cultural element to this, i.e. we're conservative "Red State" kind of people, and I didn't leave California just to move to "Blue State, USA".  No offense intended to the many great people here who live in those places, it's just not for me.

 

Aside from cost of living, climate, economy, local culture, the sure location killer for this retired, formerly mad-state-of-California guy, is *** TRAFFIC ***.   During our 29 state tour, I made a "quick" run north up to Ohio to pick up a new truck, and then back down south - this was early fall, through some pretty nasty storms.  Short story long, I lived through a 5 or 6 state bumper to bumper traffic jam, through Columbia in SC, into Florida, and out back West, and just said "No, No, No ...." to the traffic.  That was a key factor that turned me off to the SE in general.  I'm also not all that comfortable living in a humid bathtub, i.e. in swampland.  I'd prefer Idaho's 4-season climate with a 4 to 5 month winter, to certain SE states with 7 to 9 month hot, humid never ending summers.  (Context: Harrisburg, PA, was an early destination my wife and I spent two years in, and other than 1 month in spring, and 1 month in Fall, the other 10 months were unbearable due to weather.   It seemed that most people lived life indoors under climate controlled environments.  I don't want to live like that.)

 

Ok, so, with that as (yet another) long winded introduction, what do you folks hate or like about the SE?  States I'm looking at (due mostly to anecdotal reviews by others) are: Tennessee, Kentucky, NC, SC, GA, AL, Northern FL, and that's about it.  (And yes, TN & KY are probably more mid-western than SE, but that's OK;  humor me.😁)

 

So, with this "TMI" (too much personal info) as a background, what do y'all think?   Open thread.   No constraints.  For example, if you're in love with the Southwest, feel free to effusively expand on that.  (With my CA background, I know the SW, enjoy the SW, but don't want to live there, i.e. I prefer pine trees to desert sage outside my window, at this point in my life.)

 

And, yes, I am getting particular, old, and maybe a bit crotchety in my old age (did I mention "old"?). 🤣  I have the "life or Riley", though I'm certainly not wealthy, but have been blessed much more than I deserve.  If my life ends on a lake in Northern Idaho, I can live with that 🙃🤣.  However, as I mentioned up front, after six winters in N. Idaho, I'm considering a SE alternative.

 

Thanks for the conversation (yeah, it's winter, snow and Ice still on the ground, I'm bored ... so WHAT?!😵😖🍻 ).

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Sorry, I just checked, North Carolina only has one reservation left, and @TEWKSfilled it:18:

 

Anyway, it's not a love thing so much as a "we like" thing.  Years ago, we bought 15+/- acres in Newport, TN with the full intention of making it our retirement plot.  Ultra low cost of living, decent climate, and ultra low cost of living.  The area is close enough to major up and down and side to side roads that we could hop on and go any direction USA.  Uncle Sams Misguided Children dropped me in Greensboro for my last duty station, ended up retiring here and liked the area, so, at this time, the Newport land is up for grabs.  Our initial town, was, well, a town,....we lived in a subdivision,.....which will never, ever happen again.  We lived there from 2007-2015 and then bought a plot of land 20 minutes to the north.  Unrestricted property, extremely quiet, the only real down side to living in the Cove is that I have a 1hr commute to work (which is fine by me) and my wife's commute is 20 minutes.  We're close enough to a "city" to get what we need (actually two cities Winston-Salem and Greensboro).  Seasons are good, summers get freakin' hot (Louisiana humidity hot), but, I like the extremes (nutz right).  Summer months, if it's daylight, we are outside doing various outside projects (that's our bonding time).  Winters are moderate.  Cost of living in central NC is low.   Insurance rates are some of the lowest in the country.  

 

But really, we're full, completely full.

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my Uncle lived in California and just could not afford to remain there as a retired person.  He asked me this same question 4 years. ago.  For cost of living (probably changed now) hospitals, a little culture etc. I gave him these locations.

Morristown, TN

Bristol, Tn

Johnson City, Tn

Kingsport, Tn

Blowing Rock, NC

Blairsville, GA

Young Harris, GA

Greenville, SC

 

At the end of research the best value was Morristown, TN   and he moved there and is living a very good life.

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, randy said:

my Uncle lived in California and just could not afford to remain there as a retired person.  He asked me this same question 4 years. ago.  For cost of living (probably changed now) hospitals, a little culture etc. I gave him these locations.

Morristown, TN

Bristol, Tn

Johnson City, Tn

Kingsport, Tn

Blowing Rock, NC

Blairsville, GA

Young Harris, GA

Greenville, SC

 

At the end of research the best value was Morristown, TN   and he moved there and is living a very good life.

 

 

Our property in TN has a Newport address but is smack between Newport and Morristown.

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That seems like a nice location.  I visit my Uncle 3 or 4 times a year and I am really enjoying the area.

I just had a friend move back to TN, and they are very knowledgeable about TN, and they moved to Dandridge, TN

so you might add Dandridge,TN  to your search area.  

 

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My cousin's daughter just moved from California to Knoxville, so the comments about this area are pretty relevant.   I think some stuff I heard about Memphis, and my first experience in Nashville, kind of put me off TN.

 

But, certainly, the only perfect place in the Universe is the Lord's Heaven, and I don't think I'm quite ready to move there just yet.  😏  (Who knows what the riding conditions are like there, ya know?   🤣)

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We left NCal in 2007. We moved to the Houston area. Your born where your born and you die where your wife is from applied to me. I don’t like Houston at all. Texas is one of those too hot states for most. Humidity here is pretty high. I doubt Texas would suit you based on your post. Heck I’m sitting in my garage right now and it’s 72 degrees

 

If you were to consider Texas (were full too 😁) I would look at Fort Worth or Galveston. 
 

Good luck with your quest. Many of us thinking the same. 
 

By the way I sold my airplane to a guy in Couer d’Alene. Freeburg Farms

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A slight funny,

 

We've got a guy from California picking our brains on our property in TN.  We've spent several hours talking with him and he's not made it out to eyeball it yet, but does complain alot about living in CA (San Diego area). 

 

My wife contacts the forestry agent that she previously got information on our trees (there be black walnut 'bout ready for harvest up there), to see if he had any additional info concerning erosion (seems the California guy is worried 'bout mudslides,...go figure), anyway, during the chate, the forestry rep blurts out something about "all these people moving in from California",.......I didn't know Cocke county was a magnet for the Californians.

 

Anyway, another person from Mississippi contacted us and dumped earnest money on us to take the ad down.  They were going to look at it this weekend, but due to weather, will be driving up the following weekend.  Guy from California calls and asks if the property is still for sale, why yes, but it's on hold,.....shiat or get off the pot.....the land is priced well below market value (a comp just a few miles up from our land is twice the price, both plots unimproved).  Ours has the benefit of being the highest point around Douglas Lake, so build on top and it be awesome views......but you need to build a road to the top first.  

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1 hour ago, Scott9999 said:

However, as I mentioned up front, after six winters in N. Idaho, I'm considering a SE alternative.

Funny that you started this...... My wife and I have decided ten winters here are enough and we have been looking SE towards the FloriBama area. One of my old partners retired there last year and loves it. My wife misses the ocean beach but Cali is Not Happening......... never going back there.:java:

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If you don't like humidity, then the SE is going to be a challenge. I grew up in southern Indiana and the temps and humidity are usually the same number in the summer. The other thing is that a 35* day there is more bone chilling than 15* degrees here in Colorado due to the humidity. But, water is plentiful and the whole state isn't on fire like Colorado.  Of course, tornadoes don't destroy whole towns here either.

We did a short stint outside of Memphis and I can't recommend that area at all.

The Ozark mountain area is getting quite popular these days and if you can live on a lake it might be a good option. But lots of people have discovered the area, so affordablity may not be what it was.

Good luck in your search!

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We lived in the Northwest many years and love it July-October, the rest of the time not so much. Also lived in the Knoxville area and the entire East TN area has a lot to offer.  Since retiring 13 years ago we’ve done a lot of RV traveling and there’s a lot to be said for snowbirding (just not in Florida) if you can swing it but if I had to pick just one place it would be a toss-up between East TN and northern SC from Greenville all the way over to Rock Hill.  Closer to Asheville NC would be nice as well but housing has gotten outrageous and it’s so close to the mountains that it’s a touch cold for me. You might want to check taxes including what you’d pay on your retirement accounts. TN doesn’t have state income tax but sales tax rates can be burdensome. One thing I like about Greenville is the proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway and mountains, go a bit south of there to the Lake Greenwood area if you like boating a bit milder climate. 

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25 minutes ago, mickeym3 said:

 You might want to check taxes including what you’d pay on your retirement accounts.

 

Starting 1 Jan 2022, military retirement is no longer taxed for NC:clap::clap::clap:

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53 minutes ago, Skywagon said:

Never should have been taxed… nor should SSI. Taxing SSI is taxing a tax. Loan the fed money for your entire working career and when you ask for it back they tax you on it. 

Well, for that matter, SSI could have and should have been turned into a privatized SS system before the fund went broke, grandfathering older Americans, including younger Americans, and giving an option to say, all Americans age 50 to 60 options to go either way.  Good proposals were on the table.  Workers would save much more with stock or bond funds over their lifetimes, while actually OWNING their SS fund, and enabling Americans (and in particularly, those less wealthy) to bequeath that wealth to their children.  That's "private enterprise", i.e. privately controlled wealth, versions socialism, i.e. the SS fund is controlled at the whim of future congresses.  We all see how that worked out.  Immigrants, and American workers who have paid little or perhaps even nothing receive "SSI" paid from the same fund that working American's have paid into for their retirements.  In fact, the entire fund was raided, circa 1990's by the USA to fund spending deficits.   The fund has been perpetually broke for 20 years.

 

So, wacha gonna do about all of this, to change it?  Fight a civil war?!  🤣🤣😖😡

 

But, I digress (and I wasn't the troublemaker who started all of this O.T. stuff, either - well, not THIS time anyhow).  

 

So, back to SE living.  I do like the Knoxville area, on paper, but reality and "on paper" are two different things.  It does, however, give me an excuse to ride there and visit the area, IF ... I can get to the point where I can actually handle riding a whole day on my RT, for multiple days at a time.  At the very least, I wouldn't have to stay in a motel in Knoxville (but my cousin's daughter may get tired of hosting old-men-relatives pretty quick - she's too nice a girl to do that to her).😏 

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Conflicting wishes, the Southeast with little traffic and low humidity, ain't gonna happen : ) Anything east of about Oklahoma City is going to be pretty humid from mid May to October. A lot of people want to live here for all the reasons you listed, two ways to mitigate congestion/traffic is stay away from the cities and off the Interstates. The only way to get away from the long humid summers is to be in the Appalachians above 3000 feet.  But, it gets cold and with nasty storms in Winter, as in ice storms at elevation that fell trees and limbs onto powerlines knocking out electricity for a week or two sometimes. But it's no worse than hurricanes threatening the Atlantic and Gulf coasts every year. How am I doing so far : )

 

Those issues aside the SE is a nice place to live, of course the perfect set up is two homes, one in the mountains and one not. On the other hand you learn to deal with the humidity but it is nice to get away in the Summer for a few weeks or longer. I'll take it over freezing temps and snow for 3 or 4 months which seems like the alternative. 

 

There are a lot of small towns in N Fla and N Ga not that far from cities that I think would be great to live in. if you're interested I could list some I'm familiar with/like or at least drive through quite a bit. There are three Florida's, Orlando and south (very congested, wouldn't even consider it), North peninsula, nice but growing at a decent pace, and the Panhandle, still largely undiscovered and more like the old South of Georgia and Alabama.

 

Foothills on either side of the Appalachians are nice too but still fairly humid down low. Can't have it both ways, humid Summers or cold Winters, pick one.. 

  

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The only time humidity is a problem is when one stays in the HVAC controlled spaces most of their time then goes outside.  Be an outdoors person and weather, be it cold or hot, is less of an issue.  The other thing is, you can't run from the weather.  West coast fires, quick rains to develop mudslides, earthquakes.  Midwest tornadoes,....fires too.  North, blizzardly cold with blizzards,  Atlantic and gulf coast has the hurricanes and it's known heat/humidity.  SW and TX has the arid heat (east TX is wet heat)......every part of the country has its own weather issues.

 

I'd also advise staying away from SW Georgia (lived in Agony(Albany), Ga for 3.5yrs), the gnat line is real and below Macon, being outside during the summer months is unbearable due to those damn bugs going in any orifice they can get to.  I'd cut my grass with a head net on, just to be able to comfortably cut my grass.  To work on my vehicles, a couple of box fans would keep them away, too much wind for them to fly in.

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The southeast sucks, stay where you are! Just kidding, kind of....

 

North Georgia, East Tennessee, Western NC are all good choices. It's hot in the summer, I'll take that over 4 to five months of winter anytime. Learn how not to be rude, just a general comment regarding folks not from the South who relocate, not you specifically, and you will do great with the locals.  Folks down here are super friendly but we don't tolerate rude very well.  

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We purchased some property on the Cumberland Plateau, east of Crossville, Tennessee.  Weather is nice most of the year, with lower humidity due to being on the plateau.  Not too far from the Blue Ridge, nor far from things to do.  Currently in Michigan.

 

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9 hours ago, MikeB60 said:

The southeast sucks, stay where you are! Just kidding, kind of....

 

North Georgia, East Tennessee, Western NC are all good choices. It's hot in the summer, I'll take that over 4 to five months of winter anytime. Learn how not to be rude, just a general comment regarding folks not from the South who relocate, not you specifically, and you will do great with the locals.  Folks down here are super friendly but we don't tolerate rude very well.  

Being a Navy vet, and having traveled the world some, in one capacity or another, kind of takes those "rude" edges off (though in my case, it seems that people from all cultures just universally dislike me equally 🤣🤔😖).  I spent a few months working at the USAF base in Montgomery, and the guys there were great.  They kind of urged me to move there, offered contacts and Real Estate agents, etc., to help me out.  (Of course, I was moaning and complaining about living in the California paradise even back then in 2011.)  Of course, it's more than just me involved.  My Filipina wife had a difficult time in the Massachusetts area, during a one year assignment there.  All cultures are not equally as welcoming to Asian foreign immigrants as others, and to give the folks in MA some credit, it just takes them a while to accept outsiders in general.  (No, it's not a race-hate thingy at all, but race is a factor of "culture".)   Alabama was great, but ultimately for various reasons, including cultural and weather, my wife and I decided not to pull the trigger moving there, and since we didn't choose AL in 2015 either, I suppose that we've now twice rejected Alabama. (Of course, one of my closest cousins just moved there from CA, so that's ignited THAT discussion once again.)  Thinking about it now, truth be told my wife wasn't ready to move anywhere in 2011, let alone AL, and she still misses her Californian friends today (though, of course, most of them have also moved out of state 🙃😁).

 

Anyhow, I don't blame ya, MikeB60, for being slightly less welcoming than perhaps a dozen years ago.  As a former Californian now living in Northern Idaho, we are just absolutely OVERRUN with too many Californians.  This isn't (necessarily) about politics, either.  Californians (as I once was) tailgate, as a people.  It's just that continuous rush-hour environment fostered by too many vehicles in too small an area, combined with the need to commute an hour each way to work, leaves no one any patience.  Californians absolutely WILL NOT pull over to the slow lane, allowing faster traffic to pass on the left.  I can spot a former Californian (or, equally as prominent) Washington state resident in traffic in an instant.  It's about the "elbows out" attitude.  Plus, home prices are just about (by my slide rule) 3x what they were back in 2015, and they had jumped by one-third back then when we arrived.  Idaho just isn't Idaho anymore, and I don't blame the native Idahoans for getting upset (note: any California who's lived in Idaho 15-20 years is automatically a "native" 🤣; if not, an unwelcome invader.  There are seemingly very few born and bred Idahoans left here.)  Ditto to others who love their states as well, and hope to preserve them as they were when they grew up there.

 

By the way, I grew up in the once-small-farm city of Orange, California.  I left to go into the Navy, and by the time I got back on leave, 3-4 years later, Orange County had quadrupled in size.   After I got off active duty, I moved my then young wife to North San Diego County, raised my family there, and there were horse pastures all around our house.  Then, SD (as well as Temecula and the nearby inland valley) exploded in growth), and SD wasn't SD anymore.   Now, it's happening here in Northern Idaho.  So, I guess at heart, I'm a small town boy continuously trying to get back to his "small" hometown, which no longer exists.

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5 hours ago, scout6 said:

We purchased some property on the Cumberland Plateau, east of Crossville, Tennessee.  Weather is nice most of the year, with lower humidity due to being on the plateau.  Not too far from the Blue Ridge, nor far from things to do.  Currently in Michigan.

 

Hmm, I believe that I've always translated "Plateau" as "freakin' windy and freezing in winter".  😏 

 

Actually, it looks like a pretty place.  Placed between Nashville and Knoxville, that large, winding Watts Bar Damn and Lake nearby, it looks pretty interesting.  Thanks for the tip!

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23 hours ago, scout6 said:

We purchased some property on the Cumberland Plateau, east of Crossville, Tennessee. 

My dad had a place south of Crossville just up the mountain from where @Foot lives. He moved there full time from Nashville when he retired. Great area!

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John Ranalletta
On 1/14/2022 at 2:19 PM, scout6 said:

We purchased some property on the Cumberland Plateau, east of Crossville, Tennessee.  Weather is nice most of the year, with lower humidity due to being on the plateau.  Not too far from the Blue Ridge, nor far from things to do.  Currently in Michigan.

 

 

The first weekend we spent in our Blairsville, GA cabin, we shopped for supplies at the WalMart in Murphy.  Over the PA, they announced that baked chickens were available in grocery.  Ruth rushed over to find a woman had taken the last two into her cart.  When she saw Ruth, she asked if Ruth was after the chicken.  When Ruth said she was, the lady took one out of her cart and put in it Ruth's.  That pretty much characterized how people acted while we were there.

 

BTW, we also learned the value of your property was proportionate to the distant to the nearest WalMart.  Often, when we told people where the cabin was located, they'd say, "You're only .... miles from the WalMart in Murphy."

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My wife and I are researching where we want to move when she retires. We have been looking at TN, somewhere between Knoxville and Chattanooga. But we are also looking at South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, and NORTH Florida. NC is not retirement friendly when you look at their taxes. We saw a great website early (on another computer) that compared cost of living in every state based on the average USA factor of a national average of 93 (the article explains how that was obtained). It then goes on to show each state's cost of living in line with that figure. Alaska had the highest cost of living. I also looked at a website that shows the population per square mile per state and Texas was really appealling on that front.

 

North Carolina has a great deal to offer. I moved here over 35 years ago out of college because I loved the south and its people. It has become overly populated for me and mostly with people that move here because they like the people and what they see. Then when they show up they want to change it to be like where they moved from. Most upsetting ....

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13 hours ago, Sonor said:

My wife and I are researching where we want to move when she retires. We have been looking at TN, somewhere between Knoxville and Chattanooga. But we are also looking at South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, and NORTH Florida.

 

I also looked at a website that shows the population per square mile per state and Texas was really appealling on that front.

 

Then when they show up they want to change it to be like where they moved from. Most upsetting ....

 

That’s pretty much pervasive any place people want to move to.  

 

Keep in mind a large majority of Texas has a pretty featureless landscape and is largely uninhabited. if you aren’t familiar drive from Junction to El Paso or Dallas to Amarillo sometime. 

 

Florida is the 3rd most populous state at 22 million but has 1/3 and 1/5 the land mass of the other two (Cali and Texas). By far the majority of those people live near the coasts and from Orlando and further south.

 

N Fla has been gaining in popularity lately but is not overly crowded, especially the interior. Not counting Gainesville there are still plenty of sleepy little towns between Ocala, Tallahassee, and Jacksonville. As far as cities in Fla go Jax and the surrounding area has a lot to offer, I’m biased having been here 40+ years but have also spent enough time in the others to know it was a good choice. People have been moving down here for some time, my great grandparents came to central Fla in the 1870’s (no railroads yet, the main mode of travel was by steamship on the river). 

 

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14 hours ago, Sonor said:

My wife and I are researching where we want to move when she retires. We have been looking at TN, somewhere between Knoxville and Chattanooga. But we are also looking at South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, and NORTH Florida. NC is not retirement friendly when you look at their taxes. We saw a great website early (on another computer) that compared cost of living in every state based on the average USA factor of a national average of 93 (the article explains how that was obtained). It then goes on to show each state's cost of living in line with that figure. Alaska had the highest cost of living. I also looked at a website that shows the population per square mile per state and Texas was really appealling on that front.

 

North Carolina has a great deal to offer. I moved here over 35 years ago out of college because I loved the south and its people. It has become overly populated for me and mostly with people that move here because they like the people and what they see. Then when they show up they want to change it to be like where they moved from. Most upsetting ....

 

You're too close to the research triangle.

 

Over here in the Cove, life is good.  County cost of living, cheep, and at only 102 people per sq mile compared to Orange county's 341, I can see why you think it's getting crowded.

 

Find your retirement taxes here, NC is just moderately tax friendly, but I think the other bene's outweigh the wee bit more in taxes that you'd have to pay. 

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