To me the question beyond financial security is if you live to a hundred will every day be healthy? Isn't that what we should strive for?
As a former Marylander (Bel Air) myself, I offer my personal experiences so far:
- I retired as a FERS dude at 55 (VERA/VSIP). It was too late; I should have retired at 25. My personal view is you can't retire (i.e. achieve financial independence) soon enough. Adjust spending to meet resources, not the reverse. Time and freedom are worth way more than money. As Cron has noted, the gears start to freeze up fast after age 50. And do note that virtually everything is cheaper in FL than in MD. And FL just came out #1 on the state solvency list. Life is good in FL and the voters are smart.
- I searched worldwide for over 10 years for the perfect place to retire and chose St. Augustine, FL. I'm originally from Alabama & Tennessee, so thought TN would be perfect, but Florida beats it...hand down.
- My kids both graduated from the U in Miami, so I know Miami well. I love it - the water is clearer and the culture is bizarre. The wife hates it - too hot and the people are not "nice."
- The wife suggested St. Augustine. She's from Ellicott City, but she vacationed in StA as a kid. I'm like, as long as it's FL, I'm good.
- Well, StA is simply awesome. You can research it to see why. My main point of note: People who hate Florida are simply not close enough to the coast. I've spent cumulative years in FL on TDY...Orlando, McDill, Eglin, Pensacola, Key West. The closer to the water, the better. In StA, the ocean breezes kick in at 1300 on the dot every day. Cools the place down substantially, but only about a mile inland. Sweet spot for a house is the highest point available not more than about a mile inland. Need to be at least 10 feet above sea level to avoid high flood insurance costs. I'm on a golf course in the middle of Anastasia Island...14 ft MSL...my flood insurance premium is $480/year...can do!
- I'm guessing Tampa is a target for family reasons; family trumps everything. so rock on. But if you have a choice, do check out the Atlantic side. Tampa was 105 yesterday; StA was 91. Makes a difference.
- We all lived thru 2008, so anybody's guess on where housing prices are going long term, but short term we're back to 2007 in FL. I retired on 31 Jan 2017, put my Bel Air home on the market on 23 March, sold it on 24 March and bought my StA home online...unseen...on 5 Apr. USAA set me up with a great realtor in StA (the USAA real estate rewards program is no-brainer awesome...just do it!) who went thru the house and video'd it for me and I bought it 3 hours after it hit the market. There were eight other buyers behind me who wanted to actually see it first...the old fashioned way...and they never had the chance. I did this after losing out on two places that went in a similar way. We moved into the place in May and words cannot convey how happy we are with the place. There are lots of places on the market...many that have been on the market for over a year...and there's a good reason why for each one of them. which leads to my final thought...
- Home is not a place; home is where you are. You can be happy or sad anywhere and it has nothing to do with the place; it's all about you and how you choose to feel. So, IMHO, renting as a trial run is a waste of time...and money...in a climbing market. Write down your criteria. In my case it was at least 3 beds, 3 baths, 2-car garage, no more than 1 mile from ocean, walking distance to grocery & restaurants and a price that matched structure condition. When I found that in the area that I liked, I wired the money and it was mine. Now, I'm spending part of my TSP upgrading it to the way I want so that it can truly be MY home. And it's awesome; I simply couldn't be happier.
It’s very nice to hear you like St. Augustine so well. My wife and I vacation there every year. In fact we’re going to be there again this September. We love the city. To be honest I pretty much talked my wife into living in Tampa because of the weather. No family in Florida other than an aunt. My thought process in that decision was Tampa rarely gets below 60 degrees and I thought that would let us enjoy outdoor activities year round. My goal is to enjoy retirement 365 days a year doing whatever we want. I am not a winter sports person. That plus the fact that I grew up on the Gulf Coast so I guess that’s my comfort-zone in a way. So what’s the weather like in StA in winter? I’m guessing it probably stays fairly nice, but has colder nights than Tampa. The great thing about being a few years from retirement is that a change in plans from one locale to another is not that big a deal. I could convince my wife to do StA instead of Tampa in a split-second. We’re looking at a similar dream home, 3 beds, 3 baths, 2-car garage, and a covered pool and Jacuzzi. Don’t need a lot of land that we’d have to maintain. I haven’t priced homes in that area but maybe I will now. LOL.
BTW we know Ellicott City well, only a few miles from our home and we shop there weekly.
I am so thankful to everyone who posted to this thread. Some of the ideas offered have really opened my mind to alternate possibilities.
TX also has that. One of my employees is 100% disabled and pays no property tax on the house.TSPTiming wrote:Galveston,
My wife is the vet in my family, and with her disability status we will pay zero property tax on the house we buy in Florida (FL is one of just two states along with New Mexico with that benefit if you have "total and permanent" status)