Western US Retirement Picks

By: John Thomas

I am pursuing my final career - and I am quite comfortableworking a 40-hour schedule for the first time in my life. I takemy time and pick my clients carefully.

I get to take a day off here and there for golf, and I travelaround the western states every couple of months. Over the pasttwo years I have been keeping an eye out for the perfect spot toretire in the Western US.

I now live in a small community near the Bay Area in NorthernCalifornia. I've lived here for 20+ years, and it has beengreat. The Bay Area is vibrant, has a good climate, and is hometo some of the most creative people on the planet. But itcertainly isn't paradise.

It is an expensive place to live. The highways are congested.The boarders of the US are out of control and that has hitCalifornia hard. The government is dysfunctional, and we pay apremium for that. While we have good weather, it is great halfthe year and somewhat over-rated the other half. My business haschanged over the past five years. I can do about 80% - 90% of itfrom anywhere. That's the beauty of information andcommunication technology.

Let me share with you what I have found as I looked for betterworking/ retirement locations in the western US. - Portland,Oregon area; especially Southern Washington -Prescott, Arizona-Northern Baja, Mexico -Hilo, the big island of Hawaii -Boise, Idaho

Southern Washington: I recently visited a friend who built hisdream house on a few acres in Southern Washington, about 30minutes from Portland. His 2,500 square foot house cost aboutthe same as a ¼ acre lot in the Bay Area. He is within easydrive of a good airport and Oregon has no sales tax. He canexplore the Cascades and reach ocean or skiing in a few hours.Yep - it rains a lot, but not as much as Seattle.

Prescott, Arizona: This gem is home to 30,000 people, who enjoymountain vistas and a temperate, sunny, four-season climatethanks to its mile-high elevation. If you aren't real fussy, youcan find a nice house for $350k. If you are a little fussy orwant some land, expect to pay $500k or better. Prescott is anold, established town with historic buildings and strong familyculture. It's true that absentee Californians have snapped up agood bit of the real estate up. But they have been are runningaround most of the west buying spare homes and putting them inthe "bank" for future use

Northern Baja, Mexico: Don't write this one off too fast,especially if you are in So Cal. and want a second home near thebeach. It is not as crazy as it sounds You can live near thebeach in Rosarito and get an absolutely great ocean view orocean front house for a fraction of the price of a house locatedtwo hours north in San Diego county. South of the Borderproperty even has financing available from this side of theborder.

Hilo Area on the Big Island: One of the best deals in the UnitedStates has been discovered and land prices are climbing rapidly,but guess what? Land in Hilo is still inexpensive. If you arelooking for a slow pace, it doesn't get any slower than Hilo.This area is absolutely beautiful yet not a prime location forvacation resorts and condos. Condos on Kauai, Maui, and theother side of the big island run $500 - $750k, yet a Hilo acrelot can be purchased for $40 to $75k, and houses for $150k. Ifyou want some privacy, like to garden, and have dreamed ofbuilding a hideaway on an tropical island, there is still timeto do it in the USA. It rains almost daily in Hilo but showersare short and the 75 to 80 degrees temperatures makes theshowers and lush green growth a real delight.

Boise is rated as the second best city to do business in the USby Forbes Magazine. It has a population of about 400,000, andmedian house prices around $165,000. Boise is an excellentgateway to the natural beauty of the Northern Rockies. For thoseof you not quite ready to hang it up, but looking for aninteresting, affordable small city environment, Boise deservesyour serious consideration.

Retirement
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Retirement