By Silvia Ascarelli
We are looking to retire in about three years. I will be 67 and my wife will be 62. We don’t want to have to shovel snow or worry about significant accumulation; but we do want to be out and about during the days and evenings year-round.
We may rent, but if we decide to buy a home, our budget will be about $300,000 cash from the sale of our existing home. Other than that, our budget will be about $8,000 a month.
We plan to spend a few years exploring areas before we make a decision and settle down for good. We are looking for a balance between culture, dining and wilderness areas. Add scenic views and some space between neighbors (not isolation) to complete the package.
Can you suggest a few options for us to explore? Not too hot and not too cold.
What a wonderful combination!
Of course it all depends on what you mean by each of those. When you think of wilderness, is it bear and moose and such, or national forests and other preserved areas, including wildlife management areas and state parks, for hikes? Are those dining opportunities white-tablecloth-special-occasion places that need a larger population to thrive? Or just locally owned spots? Are you good with places that are used to dealing with snow and there’s no shortage of people you can hire to do the shoveling, or do you prefer those that get it infrequently enough that they struggle to clear the roads when it does happen?
And will you compromise on space to afford the area you want?
However you define your criteria, you have so many great options within the U.S. and its 3,000-plus counties that you’re smart to spend a few years exploring. Consider testing out your shortlist in whatever you consider its least-pleasant weather so you’re sure you are good with it. A wrong move is an expensive mistake.
Finally, do think about how you will find your community whatever you choose – that’s more important than scenery, as this person found .
I’ve previously suggested many places along the Blue Ridge foothills in Virginia that might appeal to you: Roanoke , Blacksburg , Harrisonburg as well as Lexington . In North Carolina, Asheville , Hendersonville and Brevard have all come up, as have lakes near Charlotte . In Tennessee, there’s Johnson City , Knoxville and Chattanooga , just for starters.
Since I don’t like repeating myself, here are three fresh suggestions to get you started. You can find all of the “Where Should I Retire?” columns here .
The area around Aberdeen, Wash., popped up on the “Where Should I Retire” tool, but I figured this other gateway to the Olympic Peninsula is a better fit for you. You’d be closer to both Mount Rainier and Seattle. And Tacoma, with 220,000 people, has its own cultural offerings, including three theaters that house eight arts organizations.
Average summer highs are around 75 and low humidity; winter highs average 45. Instead of snow, though, you’ll have rain in the winter.