Old Well: UNC Chapel Hill Campus

Sunday, April 24, 2011

New vistas

“I’ve made up my mind.  I just don’t want to put up with the threat of tornadoes every year.   When I retire, I want to move somewhere you don’t have the constant threat.  I’m  also tired of ‘good ole-boy” politics, rightist agendas, and Baptist churches imposing their views.” 

So exclaimed my wife the other day after a consecutive
night of our resorting to the hallway for shelter amid an ensuing queue of storms threatening Job-like catastrophe with their hurricane force winds, golf ball hail and tornado potential.  In North Carolina, 25 died last week from storms.
Last night, while out at a local coffee house with friends, yet another tornado warning.  Today, Easter Sunday--and for the week ahead for that matter--still more gloom and doom.
I’m beginning to listen to Karen now.

If we were to move, just where would I want to go, all options being open? I’ve played this fun-game before, given my inveterate love for distance over proximity as a vestige of an abiding romanticism, though I know well its illusory dangers in the pull of the heart against the cold, grinding gears of the cerebral.  I know that there are places in the U.S., that would actually repel me.  I just couldn’t go to any of them, even if you paid me.  Let’s say the deep South:  Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia.  Kentucky, a border state, is bad enough.  Do I really want to die here?

In this wonderful digital age, I turned to my computer, especially Google.  The AARP wisely counsels you eliminate places not meeting your needs.  For us, we’d prioritize weather, cost--of-living, safety, progressive politics.  It’s been an assumption of mine there are several states we would be at home in:  Colorado, New Hampshire, Oregon, Vermont, Washington.  Well, let’s see how things turn out:

Ten Worse States:   TopRetirements.com

1) Illinois  
Poor fiscal health

2) California
Expensive, and its finances are in disarray

3) New York
Very high taxes, including property taxes

4) Rhode Island
Worst-off state in the Northeast from a financial viewpoint; high taxes

5) New Jersey
Highest property taxes in the United States; has pension funding issues

6) Ohio
High unemployment and cold winters

7) Wisconsin
High property taxes and frigid weather

8) Massachusetts
High cost of living and high property taxes

9) Connecticut
Taxes Social Security and has high property taxes

10) Nevada
Foreclosure capital of the world

Try this comparative list based on crime, taxes, climate, etc. money-rate.com

 1.  Nevada
 2.  Michigan
 3.  Alaska
 4.  South Carolina
 5.  Maryland
 6.  Tennesee
 7.  Ohio
 8.  North Carolina
 9.  Missouri
10. Arkansas

Best states?  (money-rates.com):

 1.  New Hampshire
 2.  Hawaii
 3.  South Dakota
 4.  North Dakota
 5.  Iowa
 6.  Virginia
 7.  Utah
 8.  Connecticut
 9.  Vermont
10.  Idaho 


Despite their cold climates, New Hampshire and Vermont rate highly, confirming my initial hunches.  My surprise is seeing Colorado, Oregon and Washington absent from any list.  Kentucky?  Not too bad.  It’s 17th.