Sunday, January 17, 2016

Retirement Planning - Part III - Places

 I am pretty sure I will not stay in SLC as my winter home for more than a couple of years after I quit working. But if I were to move away, where would I go? What am I looking for in a new place?

I need some criteria!

 First of all are a few things that I do have here .... easy acces to a big airport, reasonable to good public transportation and a good health care system. I also want stores that are equal to or better than what I can get in South Dakota (read IKEA, Whole Foods and Trader Joes, for example.)

Now that I know Trader Joes, I don't want
to be too far away from one.

I want rental housing that I can afford. Rents are going up everywhere except in places I probably do not want to live anyway. I can manage what I pay here in SLC, so I'd be looking to find something similar ... less is better of course, but I could manage a bit more especially if the rent came with things I don't have now (free parking, an outdoor space, a fireplace, built in internet and /or TV, more common amenities, my own laundry for example).

I want cultural activities. I want adult education opportunities. I want a botanic garden. I want outdoor spaces I can enjoy at my abilities. I need to live where the streets are a bit more flat than here so I can easily ride my bicycle. (The streets where I live in SLC are just too hilly for my ability to breathe and ride at the same time, given my chronic anemia. Plus there is quite a bit of traffic even with all the nice new bike lanes.)
The center of my possible circle of places to live
I want to be within the same distance or less to my place in SD, which is a day and a half's drive. That cuts out a lot of places, and gives me a radius of say, Utah, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota,Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado. Arizona, New Mexico and Texas are all too far. So is the whole west coast and east coast too, Michigan and Ohio are just a smidge too far.

I have to say that even though I know good things about North Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska, none are on the list at all except for the geography criteria. No further discussion needed.
Minnesota IS a great place, but the winters are just too awful,
in spite of global climate change, still.
Weather is important. I do not want to live where the winter is worse than SLC. That means Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. Also the mountains of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. But the mountains of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho are the best places within those three states. However, they also fail on the airport, public transport, hilliness, culture and shopping criteria..... so much as the mountains of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho are gosh darn beautiful, I won't be moving there in the winter time. Might as well just stay in the Black Hills.

I want to have close friends and/or family whom I trust to be there for me. That kind of lets out places where I have never lived or where close friends or family have moved to. Right now the family is all spread out, and changes will happen with all of them in the next few years, so I just have to wait and see how that all falls out.

Illinois is where I began and where important people still reside.
I probably can't cut it off the list 100% just yet.
I find myself coming back again and again to Colorado, especially the greater Denver area. It ticks off so many boxes. Good airport. Good health care. Good public transport. Better stores and restaurants than SLC. Places which are flatter for bicycle riding. A botanic garden. Weather about the same, but not worse. Rentals about the same as SLC. MUCH CLOSER TO THE BLACK HILLS!!!!! (about 6 hours or so!!!!!!). A niece who lives there at the moment, friends from school. MY Alma Mater. Plenty of nature activities. Plenty of cultural activities. Better cultural activities, actually. Sources for adult education. Even the possibility of continuing taiko drumming.
So much to love about Colorado!
And the very best things.....some of my best friends in the whole world. A family that is not mine by birth, but is mine by all rights. A family I love and feel I can depend upon. A family I want to spend a lot of time with. What could be more important?

The K family, my family in Colorado!

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