My Perfect Place To Retire
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My perfect place to retire

In 2002 it was time for me to retire. I started searching the internet for my idea of the perfect place to retire. After having spent ten years my life back East in New England and Michigan. I had seen enough snow, ice and cold miserable weather to last me a lifetime.

I knew that my perfect retirement area would have be someplace that had blue skies, sunshine and warm weather most of the year, a place where I could play golf 365 days per year if I wanted to. While searching the internet I found this very interesting looking house in a little town in Southern Arizona called Rio Rico. I stored this place in my memory bank. More about this later.

I have lived in many places in this country including the East coast, he South, the Midwest, Southwest and the West coast. I have had enough of the bad weather I experienced in all these areas except the Southwest. No more snow, hail, sleet and cold miserable weather for me. My wife and I agreed we would look for our future retirement home somewhere in the Southwest part of the country. Actually, I thought I would like to get as far south as I could and still stay in the US. I thought it would be great to be as close to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico as possible. I would like to spend some time there, sailing.

I had been living in Washington State for the past 19 years and I was ready for a change. Washington is a beautiful state with lot of tall trees, lots of greenery and lots of lakes and rivers. Puget sound is fantastic for boating, fishing, diving and other water sports when the weather is nice. I particularly enjoyed sailing sound the islands and racing my sailboat on the weekends during the club racing season. But it was getting more difficult every year to handle the miserable weather.

Unfortunately, there are only three months out of the year in Washington State that the weather is decent enough to enjoy outdoor activities. The rest of the year it rains continually and the dreary skies there every day, are very depressing. Sometimes we would go for weeks without ever seeing the sun. Although I enjoyed my time in Washington State, after 19 years the weather was really starting to get to me. The constant rain, fog and dreary days was making me want to hibernate like a bear in the winter.

Also, my two favorite pastimes, golf and boat building and design are difficult to do in nasty weather. More reasons to retire somewhere other than the State of Washington.

We put our home in Everett, WA up for sale and were very fortunate to get a buyer at the price we wanted for the house. We bought a truck and a travel trailer and left the state of WA for good, headed South! We had done a lot of searching on the internet but still hadn't decided where we would wind up. Southern CA was nice but way to crowded and the cost of living would be to high for us. We decided to explore all of Southern Arizona to find the perfect place to retire.

Our first stop in Arizona was the town of Yuma. We stayed in Yuma for a week looking around. It was an interesting place but it was very windy and the dust and sand was blowing into drifts like snow. I wear contact lenses so that wasn't going to work out. We headed on down the road to the East..

Our next stop was Casa Grande. It was a pleasant town and seemed to have a lot to offer but it didn't quite make it for me. We stayed there for a few days as a base to operate from. We went into Phoenix and surrounding areas. Phoenix was way too big and too crowded to suit me. But it was an interesting place to visit with lots of things to see and do. It was time to head East again.

From Casa Grande we went to Benson out to the East of Tucson. We stayed in Benson for a couple of weeks and explored all of Southeastern Arizona from there. There are many interesting places to see in that part of the state including Bisbee, a mining town with a lot of interesting street scenes and museums. Tombstone, with it's Shootout at the OK Corral show. Sierra vista is a very nice town. It was very tempting for consideration for the perfect place to retire, but it was way to far from the Sea of Cortez to really be in the running.

It was time to head for the south central part of the state. We left Benson went South on Hwy. 83 to Hwy. 82 and headed West for Nogales. Nogales is the gateway to Sonora Mexico. Hwy. 15 from Nogales, Sonora goes straight South to Hermosillo and to San Carlos. San Carlos is an absolutely gorgeous place on the East coast of the Sea of Cortez It is a place that I visit as often as possible and want to spend a lot more time there in the future.

We decided to check out all of the communities around Nogales so we headed North on I-19 towards Tucson. A few miles to the North of Nogales we started into a valley with mountains on both sides and an agricultural area in the center. It was the beautiful Santa Cruz River valley and I fell in love with it at first sight. My wife said this was the first place she had seen in Arizona that she really liked and felt comfortable with. We parked our travel trailer in nearby Amado and started getting familiar with Rio Rico.

I called a Realtor out of curiosity to check on that house I told you about at start of this article. Amazing! It was still on the market. We made an appointment to go see it. When we saw it my wife fell in love with it and I couldn't believe how low the price was. We didn't even try to bargain with the seller, we just made a full price offer. We waited about a week for a response to our offer. When the response came we were floored with the answer. It seems the sellers were in the process of getting a divorce and the wife decided she wanted to keep the house so they took it off the market. My wife was devastated but she agreed to keep looking. Needles to say, everything we saw after that she compared to the first one and they all came up short.

I couldn't believe the prices were seeing. They were way lower than prices in WA state on comparable homes. After about three more weeks of looking and visiting about 30 different homes, we finally found another home that she really liked. All this looking made me think about going into the Real estate Business myself, which I did wind up doing. This last house we found was the perfect size for us and it was setting on top of a ridge with gorgeous views of the Santa Cruz River and the mountains on both sides of the valley. When we moved in, my wife was complaining about not getting enough work done. She said every time she walked by a window she was captivated by the view and couldn't move.

We have been here for almost 12 years now and as turns out we could not have made a better choice for our perfect place to retire. Not only was the price we paid for the home very low for the value we received, the cost of living here is also very low. The Property taxes are about 1/4 of what the were in Everett WA and our utility bills are about half of what they were in WA. This high desert valley at 3500 to 4000 feet above sea level, has a terrific, moderate climate much cooler in the summer than Tucson or Phoenix. We don't have to use a lot of energy to stay comfortable. We get about 360 days of blue skies and sunshine every year. It is a golfer's paradise and the warm dry climate is perfect for my boat building hobby

Another advantage to this warm, dry climate is the health benefits. My problems with arthritis have almost completely disappeared. I felt like my joints were rotting away in Washington State. I had to have both hips replaced due to arthritis. The clean dry air here in the high desert country here has also eliminated the sinus problems I used to experience in the winter in Washington state. I feel much healthier now living here in Rio Rico AZ.

I have also taken up a new pastime since I moved here. I have learned how to design and maintain all four of my current websites. Even though I am retired I have to have something productive to do to keep me busy. Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed with all the things I am doing to keep busy. With golf, boat building and design, website design and maintenance and the Real Estate business, there is not a whole lot of time left in a day to just set around and do nothing. To be honest I really wouldn't have it any other way.

In conclusion, I recommend that anyone seeking to retire in a warm, dry climate to escape the cold winters or for health reasons take a look at Southern Arizona. There are 78,000,000 baby boomers in this country that should be looking at retiring in Southwest for more enjoyable retirement years. Most of them have lived all their lives in the large Eastern, Midwestern and Northern industrial population centers in this country. They have had to deal with crowded conditions, smog, blizzards and bad weather for months on end, major flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and all these natural disasters that we have none of here in southern Arizona. This is probably one of the most benign areas of the country to live in. I love it here and you would too.


Street Talk

I am very glad you came to my thread on WA and invited me over here. I too, am looking for residency in Arizona after falling in love with what I found there. We get a lot of rain here in Florida too, but not like WA state. I noted that, as clean as things look in Phoenix, I found fine red dust all through my stuff, including in the computer. Albeit, I would love to move away from Florida and settle in Arizona. I ultimately wanted to move to a tropical area but an arid one (those conditions do exist) but Arizona would be a place to live for awhile and possibly the rest of my life.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Really great article. I am going to retire in Arizona. I have traveled there many times in the past few years. Currently, I live in NM. It is a beautiful state but I want to travel for awhile and then retire in AZ. It is such a beautiful state.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
BIS  

John, Really interesting to hear the journey you took to find the home you eventually settled in. Oh how I envy you that beautiful weather!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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