New Mexico? Arizona?…Maybe Texas?

I have been thinking a lot about moving.  I LOVE my house, but I was thinking that I would love to retire at 62, and if having a mortgage is going to prevent me from retiring sooner rather than later, then I would sell it.  I am not going to be a slave to a mortgage until I am 80 years old.  A dear friend of mine is close to 70 years old but cannot retire because she has a very high mortgage payment.  When she was approaching her 65th birthday, I suggested that she sell her house, but she refuses to do so.  From the outside looking in at her situation, to me, it seems silly to keep a house that is preventing you from retiring.  My friend has refinanced her house a few times, so I figured that maybe she owes more than she would get for it and that is why she won’t sell it.  She keeps telling me that she loves her house and that is where the family celebrates Thanksgiving and Christmas.  From the outside looking in those reasons seem silly.  First off, family can celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas anyplace.  Nothing can stop you from being together on important days.  Secondly, as I have already stated, to me, there is no house worth working until I am 80 just to pay the mortgage.  I always try to warn people that refinancing to get money out of your home is not really such a great thing.  Banks love it because it keeps you enslaved to them for even more years than your original mortgage called for.  The only good reason for refinancing, to me, is if you can get a lower interest rate, but do not take any equity out of your home at all.  Just refinance to get a better interest rate and that is it.

You would not believe how many people think that it is always better to have a mortgage.  NO IT IS NOT!  Do like our parents and grandparents did in the old days.  Purchase a home, never refinance, and pay off the mortgage as soon as possible, the all yo have to be concerned with are the yearly taxes.  This formula is even more important now than ever before.  The cost of living is so high and the last thing you want is to have to worry about when you retire is how you are going to afford rent or mortgage payments.

I signed into my account on the social security administration website.  I would not get much if I retire at 62.  To receive full retirement benefits I would have to work until 66 years and 6 months.  If I work until I am 70 my monthly social security benefit goes up by almost a thousand dollars.  I desire to retire at 62, so I have to pay down as much of the principle of the mortgage as I can by that time.  I am going to be 59 in August.  I have no idea how much my house could sell for, so maybe I should have it appraised.  Over the last five months I made so many important improvements to my home that I never blogged about.  Of course how much I could get for my house would also depend on the real estate market in my area when I turn 62.  The more money I am left with after I sell my house the better financial position I will be in.  I would not mind working a part time job to supplement social security, for no more than 20 hours per week, and this is where adjunct faculty work would come in handy.

Of course I would still need a roof over my head, so I was thinking that if I could move someplace where I could get another nice house about half the size of the one I have now and pay cash for it I would be in great shape.  If I moved someplace where houses are cheap I could possibly afford to purchase another house cash, and maybe if I am lucky have some money left over.   I am not considering Florida at all, no offense to any Floridians who may be reading this.   I just think that retirees moving to Florida is so played out now.  Not only that, but the heat is accompanied by high humidity.   Additionally,  I have lived on the east coast my whole life, so I want to make a big change by moving to another side of the country.  California is completely out of the question because I know how very expensive it is to live there.

The two top states that I would love to move to are New Mexico and Arizona because I don’t want to have to deal with snow anymore when I retire.  Unfortunately, in my research these two states have become pricey places to live. I envisioned myself buying and living in a lovely Spanish hacienda style home in Santa Fe.   Where can I get one real cheap in either of the two states?  It would be lovely to live in Sedona, Arizona too, but I heard that it has turned into an expensive tourist trap.


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I love the show Fixer Upper on HGTV and houses seem so much cheaper where Chip and Joanna Gaines live, so I decided to include Texas as a possible place to retire to.  The Waco Texas area in particular is what I am considering.  I could get a nice old house and have some land to grow vegetables.  I printed out a map of the United States to see what my other options are, but any other states that I would consider gets snow.  I was thinking about Montana, Oregon, Utah and Colorado.  I do have a very large map of the USA that I got years ago from National Geographic.  I need to see what other towns and cities are out there in my chosen states to move to.

In any case I need to start doing the due diligence now since 62 is in a few short years.  I need to get rid of the car payment and pay down the mortgage as much as I can.  Not to mention save as much money as I can.


My ideal place is mostly warm all year round, has older homes, a great New Age community, and has a large community of people and services that caters to my vegan/vegetarian lifestyle.   All suggestions are welcomed.

Let me just add that this is something that I wish I had started thinking about and preparing for when I was in my early forties, at the latest.  Your late fifties is no time to start thinking about it.  The years go by so fast and the next thing you know you are facing your own retirement.

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  1. Xenia says:

    Servetus, you mentioned a key concern about moving that I deliberately did not mention in my post. One of the key reasons that I am not sure about Texas is the climate of prejudice. It has long been a very conservative state. It is really a shame that I have to take racism into consideration when I decide to move. I should be able to live any darned place that I want without my skin color being an issue for anyone. It is one of the major reasons I will not consider the south east. I decided to consider Montana, but I have to do some research on how friendly and open those states are to African Americans.

    Speaking of Florida, one of my classmates retired there a few years ago, and she actually wants to come back to the cold northeast. She also said that Florida is not as safe as the Tourist board likes people to believe.

    I am not necessarily looking to live in an urban area. I prefer a small town that is not too far from an urban area.

  2. Servetus says:

    I think it’s wise to downsize insofar as expenses are only like to increase, rather than decrease, as one ages. I agree that Florida is not a good choice (I don’t think that the Florida lifestyle is sustainable, frankly, and the urban areas are expensive and growing at a crazy rate.) That said, I would also think about seven times before moving to Texas. The places where you would really want to live, I assume, are urban areas where housing will be more expensive. Waco is pretty and some people say it gives Austin a run for its money, but I’m not convinced (I lived in Austin quite a while, and Waco is no Austin). The other thing, frankly, is racism. Texas at least is not a friendly place for African Americans; probably much less so than where you live now.

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