My husband Mike and I have been on the hunt — “Operation ReloSouth” — for the perfect retirement location. We want to live in a less-expensive, more relaxed area of the country near water. With better weather (no snow) than what we have here in Northern New Jersey. This is our story.
For those of you keeping score, my husband Mike and I just returned from our second Operation ReloSouth trip of 2012. We visited the coastal Georgia/South Carolina area, lovely East Coast locations with low taxes and more relaxed lifestyles than New Jersey. We took five days and visited two different communities to see <drumroll please> if we’d like to relocate to one of these two areas. We have lived in Northern New Jersey for more than 25 years, building our careers, raising our kids and generally having a wonderful time. As we’ve worked and played cost of living in New Jersey continued to rise. Our taxes are now very high and we feel like people are packed into this small state, cheek to jowl; traffic is awful. Mike and I decided that with our two kids nearly grown it’s time to set off on a new adventure: finding a new home in a state with lower taxes and significantly lower cost of living.
Did you read about our ReLoSouth adventure earlier this year? In the Spring we visited three communities in coastal North Carolina: Landfall in Wilmington, N.C.; Brunswick Forest in Leland, N.C.; and St. James Plantation in Southport, N.C.
This trip we traveled further South to The Landings on Skidaway Island, mere minutes from Savannnah, Georgia, and Hampton Lake in Bluffton, South Carolina, a very short drive from Hilton Head, S.C. Yes, we are continuing our research phase. We’re looking for an East Coast location that has low taxes, a vibrant community, great healthcare and a Wow factor.
Are you, like us, thinking about relocating because you can’t see yourself retiring in the area in which you currently live? Has it gotten exorbitantly expensive? Or has the weather worn you out? Are you thinking about living a slower paced but no less interesting life?
We flew Delta from White Plains Airport (HPN) in White Plains, NY to Atlanta, GA, changed planes and flew into Savannah Hilton Head International Airport (SAV), a strikingly beautiful airport that looks brand new (but we found out it is merely very well maintained). Cost? $280 round trip, not a deal breaker for family and friends who’d want to visit us if we relocated there. Note to folks who use Liberty International Airport in Newark, NJ: Continental flights have gotten significantly more expensive since the merger with United, which is why we flew out of White Plains. The Savannah Airport was an easy jumping off point to both of our scheduled community visits: The Landings at Skidaway Island and Hampton Lakes in Bluffton, S.C. Each is about 45 minutes from the airport, albeit in opposite directions. Once again, Mike the wizard scored an inexpensive car for us via Priceline.com ‘s “name your price.”
After we waited perhaps 3 minutes in line at the rental car counter we walked out of the building to our rental car. Yes! Savannah Airport car rentals are on site, just like those at Wilmington International Airport! We plugged in our GPS and took off for The Landings on Skidaway Island.