I’m actually hoping you may assist us as a result of we’re keen to maneuver, however undecided the place. I’m 49 and my husband is 45, and I’ve diligently saved so I can semi-retire and spend time with household and journey. Presently we reside in New Orleans in an incredible walkable neighborhood, and we might love one thing that’s walkable.

We have now saved $680,000 in retirement accounts, have two houses that we might promote and internet $700,000 after paying off the mortgage, and have $70,000 in emergency funds. My husband plans to maintain working for medical insurance coverage and cash as a college administrator or math instructor. 

He actually desires to be close to the ocean, however I’ve lived via Katrina and am hoping to get away from hurricanes. I really like lakes, and I actually like Tennessee. We are able to’t be the place there’s a snowy winter. My husband hates the chilly.

We’re each open to transferring nearly wherever heat and close to water. Being close to an airport is good. My husband is black and I’m white, so he desires a spot that’s extra inclusive. 

Our housing price range can be round $2,000 a month. We’re considering it could be good to lease vs. purchase and use belongings to develop.

The place do you counsel we go?


Expensive Kerrie,

I perceive eager to get away from hurricanes, particularly after all of the storms of 2020. However I additionally see why you might be having a tough time selecting a spot — when you begin trying, you notice there isn’t any scarcity of water choices. 

So let’s be sensible. Record some cities or areas that one or each of you’re keen on (or as a result of household), be certain that there’s a water choice after which your husband can begin making use of for jobs for the subsequent educational yr, on condition that your job is the extra versatile one. A job provide would possibly make the choice for you. If there are a number of gives, that’s an incredible drawback to have. 

As you provide you with your checklist, take into consideration life past the water. What number of locally are full-time residents relatively than second-home homeowners? What’s the work commute going to be like? Would you like the number of a giant metropolis or are you finished with an city setting? I’m a fan of college cities as a result of I discover they punch above their weight on cultural choices, however an incredible airport in these cities isn’t a given.

Lastly, do you’ll want to have a water view or your personal dock? That’s a distinct worth level than being inside strolling or biking distance, and a brief drive away is but cheaper. 

Water and walkability are two facilities that get patrons to pay up, and much more so now. I’m certain you notice you’re dealing with a vendor’s market. That makes your plan to lease when you get to know an space (and job market) much more smart. I do know it’s a problem to maneuver twice, however it might prevent an costly mistake.

You may additionally need to discuss to somebody — a monetary planner, the corporate dealing with your retirement accounts or one other particular person you belief — about whether or not your funds can deal with semiretirement and the brand new way of life you envision.

New Orleans is tough to duplicate, however I can provide up a spread of solutions, all with wholesome job markets. I freely admit I had a tough time narrowing down my checklist, and I’m certain readers may have different solutions for you. One factor I’m staying away from is Florida lakes — no alligators, thanks!

Kites take over Chattanooga’s Sculpture Fields.

Courtesy Chattanoga Tourism

Chattanooga, Tennessee

You want Tennessee. As an alternative of a lakefront neighborhood, what about seeing the Tennessee River as your playground? You may paddle or kayak on the river inside this southeastern Tennessee metropolis. 

Greater than 180,000 individuals reside in outdoorsy Chattanooga; the identical quantity reside in the remainder of fast-growing Hamilton County. Livability put Chattanooga in its list of 100 best cities in 2019.

Not solely would you could have water, however you’d even have mountains inside simple attain: Lookout Mountain, Sign Mountain and the creating Cumberland Trail. And sure, there may be an airport.

How walkable it’s will depend upon the place you reside; Chattanooga’s overall Walkscore of 29 is fairly meh. Walkscore says most walkable neighborhoods are Downtown, North Chattanooga-Hill Metropolis-UTC and Cedar Hill. 

If you happen to insist on a lake spot, Chickamaugua Lake, a reservoir with 810 miles of shoreline simply exterior of city, could possibly be your start line. Or you may observe the Tennessee River for about 20 miles west to Nickajack Lake, which has 179 miles of shoreline. 

Tennessee comes up on a number of retirees’ checklist of the place to reside due to no earnings taxes (the final earnings tax, on dividends and investments, disappears on Jan. 1). Simply do not forget that state and native governments nonetheless want cash to pave roads, fund colleges and pay for providers, so take a look at different taxes and costs, beginning with property taxes to get the complete image.

Your husband ought to just like the climate; you would possibly get a hint of snow within the winter, however common summer time highs can be within the higher 80s.

If the Chattanooga space isn’t the best match, maintain following the Tennessee River to Huntsville, Ala., Muscle Shoals, Ala., or again into Tennessee and the lakeside spots round Pickwick Dam.

Of my three solutions, Chattanooga is the place your cash will go furthest. Right here’s a way of the rental market, utilizing listings on Realtor.com (which, like MarketWatch, is owned by Information Corp.)

Cornelius’s Jetton Park overlooks Late Norman.

Courtesy Go to Lake Norman

Cornelius, North Carolina

In case your husband can deal with a little bit of snow (lower than 10 inches, and even 5 inches, over a winter), areas like Bentonville, Ark. (house to Walmart), Fayetteville, Ark. (house to College of Arkansas), and Little Rock, Ark. (the state capital), in addition to the lakes round Charlotte, N.C., come into play. 

I narrowed it all the way down to the Lake Norman space about 20 miles from Charlotte after which to Cornelius, a city of 30,000 on the lake.

Lake Norman is the most important man-made lake in North Carolina and has 520 miles of shoreline. It’s a fast-growing space, attracting each retirees and other people working the higher Charlotte space.

You’ll most likely begin with Davidson, the house of Davidson School and 13,000 individuals, due to its fame for higher walkability and its meals scene (kicked off by Joe Kindred, a four-time semifinalist for the James Beard best chefs in America award). 

However neighboring Cornelius is constructing its reply: the 13-mile Emerald Necklace Greenway that may loop across the city. It additionally wins out on the quantity of lake entry, together with the one public swimming seaside within the space. 

Lastly Cornelius is a contact extra budget-friendly than Davidson, and also you’re additionally extra prone to discover a rental right here.

However when you’re planning on driving to the water, it’s possible you’ll need to forged your eye on different space cities — and even Charlotte.

The Charlotte airport is 30 to 45 minutes away from each Cornelius and Davidson.

When it comes to climate, January lows common proper round freezing. Daytime highs common within the 50s. Any snow usually doesn’t final lengthy. Come July, highs common near 90.

Right here’s a way of what’s for lease now in Cornelius and in Davidson.

A bay entrance view of the St. Petersburg skyline.

Getty Photographs

St. Petersburg, Florida

There are such a lot of coastal potentialities, as you realize. This a part of the Gulf Coast isn’t the goal for hurricanes that New Orleans is. You’d get the close by airport and the range you need, plus the big-city facilities you might be used to in New Orleans. The draw back is that that is the most costly of my three solutions.

Some 265,000 individuals reside in Florida’s fifth-largest metropolis (near 1 million in Pinellas County as an entire), and one other 300,000 throughout the bay in Tampa (a part of the 1.5 million in Hillsborough County). The variety of individuals alone makes it fairly totally different from the opposite solutions.

For a Marigny-like neighborhood, begin with Historic Kenwood, an artist enclave and one of many metropolis’s oldest neighborhoods, identified for its Craftsman-style bungalows. Its stroll rating of 65 places it properly above the typical for St. Pete. The draw back is that discovering a rental could possibly be arduous.

Subsequent to it’s the Grand Central District with its impartial eating places and companies. Catch one among these walking (or biking) tours from the city’s preservation group that can assist you discover.

This gained’t put you on the water, however you’d be lower than 10 miles away from many white-sand choices. Even so, it’s possible you’ll want to lift your worth level relying on how a lot house you need. Or it’s possible you’ll have to go for a less-popular neighborhood. On the flip facet, you’ll discover a wholesome job market. And when you’re solely semiretired…

Learn: I ran the tax numbers for a semiretired life, and they look amazing

Like Tennessee, one of many appeals of Florida for a lot of isn’t any state earnings tax. Simply make sure you analysis different charges you may be paying.

No shock that the climate can be heat: common highs round 70 within the winter, with lows within the mid-50s, so hotter than New Orleans. Summer season temperatures can be akin to these within the Massive Simple. 

You may fly out of Tampa or from the smaller St. Pete-Clearwater airport.

Right here’s a sense for what the rental market appears to be like like in Historic Kenwood and St. Petersburg as a whole.

Readers, the place ought to Kerrie and her husband retire? Please depart your solutions within the feedback part.

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