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February 27, 2012

Comments

"A lot of people like to retire where there is warm weather and there are beaches (in other words, Florida)."

You are aware, one presumes, that there are other states with beaches and warm weather? E.g., Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, California...

TN is a BIG state with a lot of different areas. It's not all Memphis. Knoxville is 76% white, and a lot of the smaller towns are even better than that. (Pretty damn boring for a haughty Manhattanite, though.) There are similar havens of whiteness even in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana -- for example, Huntsville AL (65% white and lots of rocket scientists). But I would cross the southern parts of these states off the list due to hurricanes and the summer humidity.

Tennessee does not deserve to be lumped in with Lous. and Miss. Historically only the western part of the state had large slave populations as the plantation economy was not viable in the mountainous east. Yes Memphis is an unlivable hellhole, but the Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga metro areas are pretty good for affordable family formation. Tenn. also has a much stronger and more diverse economy with far more opportunities than the other two states. And it compares extremely favorably with neighboring Kentucky, which is much more white, but seems mostly to be filled with the wrong kind of whites.

Yes the core cities of those metropolitan areas have above national average black populations. It is the South after all. But law enforcement tends to crack down pretty hard on their misbehavior. And yes there are rednecks. But most of the no-good, shiftless ones seem to stay in the small towns where the low cost of living makes it easier to spend their welfare checks on meth.

Attracting retirees is one of the worst things a state can do. Retirees = nursing homes = Medicaid $$$.

Many areas of Tennessee, mostly from Knoxville toward the upper eastern part of the state, are exceedingly, wonderfully white. Also, most areas between Nashville and Memphis in that 500 mile wide state are vastly majority white. Memphis is the only problem area, except perhaps for Chattanooga at times, which is around 35% black.

It's likely that WV's murder stats are marginally inflated due to more people dying from things that don't kill you in less rural areas where you can get to a hospital sooner.

Is there any part of the US with a civilised climate other than on the west coast? I mean no large snowfalls, no severe cold, no hot, humid summers. Arizona?

In WV and much of the South, indeed, there is an abundance of lower-class Whites, but it's not just a class thing:

http://hbdchick.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/culture-of-honor/

Northern Kentucky is an awesome place to retire to. It is basically the best of the North (white population, high wages, low crime rates) and the best of the South (low cost of living, low taxes, not too much regulation).

"I mean no large snowfalls, no severe cold, no hot, humid summers. Arizona?"

AZ has very hot summers but not humid.

[HS: You haven't experienced Real Heat unless you've walked around Phoenix, in the sun, when it's 110+ outside.]

If I were to guess, West Virginians are more likely to kill each other over personal issues than to kill random passersby. In other words, you needn't worry that some random thug in West Virginia is going to do you in same as the ghetto

Even in states with a large black population, it is still very segregated -- maybe not as much as up north, though. It isn't like you would live in the South Bronx in NYC, and it isn't like you would live in the slums of Birmingham if you moved to Alabama.

For those households making between 50 and 300k (just estimating here), you're far better off in the Sunbelt or the Southwest than you are in New York, New Jersey, New England, etc -- forget the racial breakdown. Why do you think those states are bleeding population? Of course, when you move up into the 600, 700k range, the 'fun' of besting the Joneses is muted, as, after all, first place in Cary, NC or Murfreesboro, TN is merely fiftieth place in NYC or Boston.

O/T

Half/Commenters

You guys/gals seem to know a lot, and have a unique perspectives on higher ed, so I'll ask this question:

I was accepted to the NYU, Columbia and USC film schools to pursue an MFA in Film; what are your thoughts on film schools.

I understand talent can take you places, but I'm struggling between choosing an MBA education.

My heart tells me film school, my brain tell me business school.

Thanks for the replies.

[HS: If you can get into the Columbia MBA program, you would be stupid to turn down that opportunity.]

"HS: You haven't experienced Real Heat unless you've walked around Phoenix, in the sun, when it's 110+ outside": I've done that when we lived in South Australia. But nobody walked in the sun for long: walk slowly and stick to the shade and you get along all right. And you don't need a/c to sleep at night - a ceiling fan is good enough. Low humidity heat is tolerable.

I go to college in Massachusetts, although I'm probably leaving for Grad School. I plan on going to New York, for my grad school.

Upstate New York is depressing. The weather is terrible, and not just the cold, but the large number of overcast days. I am sure that W. Mass is nearly identical.

Upstate New York would put you at risk for suicide. Seriously. It is never going to be a retirement destination, and not just because of the insane taxes ($5000 on a $100,000 house in 1998, when I escaped).

Western Mass is full of proles. There are some beautiful rural spots but the towns and cities are all crap.

While vacationing in Thailand I found many Northern European men had retired there. It is never cold, you eat well for a few dollars a day, and many had started a family with local girls half their age.

"[HS: You haven't experienced Real Heat unless you've walked around Phoenix, in the sun, when it's 110+ outside.]"

I was in Scottsdale or Phoenix for a conference once, and had some downtime one day, so I hung out by the pool, reading a book. I put sun screen on, but realized later that I missed a spot in the middle of my chest. Had a red splotch there for the next year.

Also, btw, forgot flip flops. Had to sprint from one fountain to the next, cooling my feet off in each one, on the way back to my hotel room. The sun there is brutally hot.

Western Mass. is a lot nicer than Upstate New York

Half,
An MBA from a top five MBA program is NOT the guaranteed ticket to the upper middle class that people think it is

Just like there are plenty of Wharton undergrads who never make it in the the upper middle class, there are plenty of top five MBAs that fail.

For someone with a high IQ and work ethic, go to medical school. Med school GUARANTEES upper middle class life. top five mba just makes it likely with no guarantee

"Upstate New York would put you at risk for suicide. Seriously."

I thought that way about Oregon and Washington. Grey skies all the time. Depressing.

Lack of snow and ice is important when you're older. You don't want to worry about shoveling snow and you definitely don't want to trip on the ice.

I pick USC film school, far from the East coast.

"While vacationing in Thailand I found many Northern European men had retired there. It is never cold, you eat well for a few dollars a day, and many had started a family with local girls half their age."

Just watch out for the ladyboys.

"Also, western Massachusetts is a very white place"

I would presume that you're not considering Springfield and especially Holyoke as "western" Massachusetts.

"Med school GUARANTEES upper middle class life. top five mba just makes it likely with no guarantee"

That is an oversimplification. Only some of the more competitive specialties currently provide high enough incomes to sustain a single-earner family in the upper middle class. Half the class will graduate below the mean, and most of those will end up in less lucrative specialties like internal medicine, family practice, neurology, etc. Some very smart folks will choose internal medicine in order to get to the lucrative fellowships like cardiology, but that's yet another rat race that doesn't end with success for everyone who tries. For the really competitive specialties such as orthopedics and dermatology, one needs to be AOA or even admitted to AOA during the third year.

The second problem is that medical school and residency takes a minimum of seven years after college and up to fourteen years for some surgical subspecialties (e.g. cardiothoracic). During the medical school years, one lives like a pauper and bleeds tuition money while studying godawful hours and eventually almost living at the hospital for clinical roations. Residency pays, but only poorly given the terrible hours and frequent humiliation one endures. Plus, if one has to start paying back the loans, it's difficult to live comfortably much less save anything. So one is thirty or even significantly older before achieving the ability to accumulate wealth, and debt is often like a second mortgage for those starting out in practice after training.

The final problem is the specter of health care reform. Who knows how much some physicians will be earning after a few years of Obamacare? There are a few doctors in my family, and trust me, not one of them is optimistic about the future.

The problem with retiring to the South is that older people need hospitals, hospitals means major cities, and major cities in the South means majority black. This is particularly bad for retirees because blacks push them around. Let's all chant the obligatory disclaimer together: "But they're not all like that." And that's true. But there's enough who are that it will be a problem.

Funny hearing people on an HBD blog complain about snow and cold. Snow and cold, and lack of sun for that matter, is what made white people white. My grandfather stayed in NH when he retired, and lived to 100. Warm weather year round is for NAMs and Sephardic Jews. Especially with the declining effectiveness of antibiotics, I would stay in a moderately cold, more disease free environment like New England or Southern Canada. Maine has some nice towns. Ireland might not be a bad place either.

Chattanooga has two kinds of weather. Either it's raining or it's fixin" to rain.
Personally I think suburban Chicago might be a good place if you can find the right niche and if Illinois can get some kind of a handle on it's financial problems.
Otherwise there's the Montrose-Delta area of Colorado. Boise might also be worth looking at.

They're all bad states. Moving to a warm, low-cost country with decent hospitals and low taxes is the solution. Thailand, Ecuador, Malaysia, Tunisia, several others. Living in the U.S. is for suckers.

BTW, Half Sigma, why don't you buy a one-way ticket to Argentina or Bosnia or Indonesia and program over the internet? It would be way cheaper than living in NYC.

[HS: It's an illusion that foreign countries are less expensive than low-cost places in the U.S. like the midwest or northwest.]

According to the list, Connecticut is the worst state in which to retire. But it's kind of funny that the site itself is run out of Connecticut, by a guy who's retired there.

"Moving to a warm, low-cost country with decent hospitals and low taxes is the solution. Thailand, Ecuador, Malaysia, Tunisia, several others. Living in the U.S. is for suckers."

I would be skeptical of the quality of medical care in Thailand, Ecuador, and Tunisia. The fact that these examples are of non-English-speaking countries is also problematic. Social turmoil in these countries would also be a concern, especially Tunisia (good luck getting your American wife to move to Tunisia or any other Muslim country).

A warm, low-cost country with decent hospitals, low taxes AND native English speakers AND a stable government exists. It is called Australia. You just have to live outside the big cities in order to avoid high real estate costs. But if you're retired, that's not a problem, as you no longer have a job that constrains your housing choices.

New Zealand might be another good choice.

One time I was in Hawaii, and someone observed to me that a lot of Americans retire to Hawaii, and then change their minds about it and move back to the mainland because they're too far from family and friends. This would be even more of a problem for retirement in distant countries, however warm, low-cost, and otherwise attractive they may be. Guess it all depends how much you like your family and friends. =)

"The problem with retiring to the South is that older people need hospitals, hospitals means major cities, and major cities in the South means majority black. This is particularly bad for retirees because blacks push them around."

Reading this blog, it seems that (Northerners?) believe the South to be a barbaric land, full of marauding blacks, ready to pounce on the slightest sign of weakness -- a latter-day, HBD inversion of the abolitionists' condemnation of the antebellum South as morally corrupt, beyond all redemption save for that of blood.

My 77 year old, 5'3", 115 pound Southern grammy volunteers, driving poor patients (mainly diabetics, almost all Hispanic or black) to their doctors appointments, shopping, etc. in the worst parts of this city: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durham,_North_Carolina#Demographics (note demographics). She has never felt threatened. I suppose she's just lucky she has yet to be raped and dismembered, according to some of posters here!

The image of neurotic Northern white ethnics pouring over demographic data on census tracts, determining the 'whitest' possible one to retire to is funny, though...

"[HS: It's an illusion that foreign countries are less expensive than low-cost places in the U.S. like the midwest or northwest.]"

The lowest-cost places in the US are in the South, but I would rather live in Buenos Aires than Biloxi.

You are right in general though that there aren't as many screaming deals overseas these days. Thailand may be cheap, but it's politically unstable; Malaysia, Tunisia, and Indonesia have the risks associated with being majority Muslim countries; the safer parts of Brazil are a lot more expensive now after the real has rocketed over 100% against the dollar in the last 10 years; etc.

"Reading this blog, it seems that (Northerners?) believe the South to be a barbaric land, full of marauding blacks, ready to pounce on the slightest sign of weakness"

Well, that southern cities with lots of blacks are more dangerous than rural Wisconsin, or even many of the "poor white" rural areas of the south, is a matter of fact. Of course, not all black people are dangerous. I don't worry overmuch that I'm going to be mugged by a black female diabetic who needs an elderly white lady to drive her to the doctor.

Living in a majority-black city, I know plenty of people who have been robbed, and a few who've been mugged. There's usually some kind of violent incident near where I live, that gets reported every week or so. Usually, the culprit(s) is(are) black, or less commonly Hispanic. And this isn't even technically the city's ghetto.

While one shouldn't imagine that the city is "full of marauding blacks ready to pounce", a high level of caution should be exercised anywhere in the city at any time, and extreme caution should be exercised at night or in any of the blacker areas of the city (if you must go into such areas at all). It's definitely not a pleasant existence, and not one I'd like to retire to.

Tucson, Flagstaff, Sedona or any part of AZ or NM in the higher elevations have comfortable weather. I know Tucson is around 10 degrees cooler than Phoenix.

Costa Rica has attracted many American retirees. While it's a Spanish-speaking country, there's quite a bit of English spoken,* plus it has a stable government and a reasonably low crime rate. Unlike countries such as Australia and Thailand, Costa Rica is not so remote from the United States to make return visits costly and time-consuming. The one downside is that prices have gotten quite high.

* = the Caribbean coastal area actually is English-speaking

"For someone with a high IQ and work ethic, go to medical school. Med school GUARANTEES upper middle class life."

How do you figure? First of all, this presupposes you can get into med school. This is very hard, both because of the limited number of slots, and affirmative action. Additionally, a lot of foreign students compete for these slots because a US medical degree is highly portable outside the US, but a foreign medical degree is typically not recognized here. A friend of mine who is graduating with a 4.0 in premed at a reputable university, with a 37 on the MCAT, has yet to be accepted at any of the several medical schools he has applied to. Considering that a premed degree is only any good if one goes on to med school, he's kind of screwed as far as career opportunities go.

Even if you get accepted, medical school entails several years of hard work and high expenses, even if you don't specialize (which means you're not going to get any of the lucrative jobs). You spend several more years after you graduate getting paid slave wages, and then have to deal with school debt when you finally start making real money. Then you work ungodly long hours until you finally retire, and pay through the nose for malpractice insurance. There's a reason doctors have such a high suicide rate.

I vote for the Pac Northwest & Northern Rocky states. I have spent time in both areas, have friends who moved there, and the demographics + state govts seem favorable to individual freedom, safety and security. Pac Northwest is a bit more blue commie for my liking, but my wife and I could see us moving to the coast easily.

Problem with Maine-NH-VT is that winter lasts 6 months. That does not bode well for old bodies. I grew up there so I know.

According to the chart HS linked in the earlier post about murder rates, WV, with its murder rate of 3.3/100k, has a lower murder rate than the US at large, 4.8/100k. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't WV one of the poorest states in the US (It was once claimed, though I don't remember a source being cited to back it up, that white West Virginians have almost as high a rate of welfare dependency as blacks nationwide)? Apparently, even dirt-poor whites act better than the average "diverse" American.

"A warm, low-cost country with decent hospitals, low taxes AND native English speakers AND a stable government exists. It is called Australia."

Two words: Giant spiders.

I was born in Indonesia, and I would second the most recent comment. Indonesia is not safe. My family left in the early 1990s. There were massive anti-Chinese pogroms there in 1998. It is not a safe place for anyone to retire to.

FWIW, Louisiana has marshes rather than beaches on its coast.

"Tucson is around 10 degrees cooler than Phoenix."

Aren't there a lot of Mexicans there? Southern Utah around St. George seemed appealing at one time, too, but is built out and filling up with the Mex.

Consider Delaware.

No income tax, no sales tax, low real estate taxes. Close to major urban centers, if you need a good hospital. Nice coast.

"Tucson, Flagstaff, Sedona or any part of AZ or NM in the higher elevations have comfortable weather."

Tucson is not as hot as Phoenix but still gets pretty damn hot in the summer.

Flagstaff, Sedona, Prescott, Show Low etc. are pretty livable year round. Flagstaff gets significant snow though.

Considering that a premed degree is only any good if one goes on to med school, he's kind of screwed as far as career opportunities go.

Actually, I know a guy who graduated from UCSD in pre-med, maybe '06. Decided at last minute to go to dental school instead. Doing quite well and thrilled with his decision.

I saw almost no Mexicans in Southern Utah. St George could have 750,000 people by 2050 though. It's a great place now. Northern California might ok. I am talking about 50 or so miles from San Francisco. Spokane looks like it might be good.

"The problem with retiring to the South is that older people need hospitals, hospitals means major cities, and major cities in the South means majority black. This is particularly bad for retirees because blacks push them around. Let's all chant the obligatory disclaimer together: "But they're not all like that." And that's true. But there's enough who are that it will be a problem."

Most of the hospitals in the deep south are honestly rather crappy. The doctors are usually decent, it's the nurses that scare me. They are so unskilled that you will often end up getting stuck 5 or 6 times for routine blood tests.

Also there seem to be a lot of malpractice going on around here because of nurses' incompetence at ERs. I have older relatives that have been mistreated at hospitals, and one of them even died during a routine operation as a result. Makes me thankful for lawyers. If you live in the South, try to go to a religious hospital (preferably a Catholic one) instead of a public one. You will get higher quality care, particularly if you are old. And never go to the ER in the middle of the night unless you absolutely have to. It will be filled with angry ghetto blacks and mexicans.

@Matt in RTP writes, "Reading this blog, it seems that (Northerners?) believe the South to be a barbaric land, full of marauding blacks, ready to pounce on the slightest sign of weakness"

You quoted me in making this criticism. However, I grew up in a majority black city in the South. So my opinion has personal experience behind it.

================

@Anonyia writes, "Most of the hospitals in the deep south are honestly rather crappy. The doctors are usually decent, it's the nurses that scare me. They are so unskilled that you will often end up getting stuck 5 or 6 times for routine blood tests."

One wouldn't expect rural hospitals to be as good as large metro hospitals. And there just aren't that many large cities in the deep South. I have relatives who are both doctors and nurses in a large metro area and even there the quality of the care depends a lot on which hospital you go to. Two hospitals run by the same group can vary significantly depending on what part of town its in. My point was that if one lives near a large metro area they can find great doctors, nurses and facilities if they do their homework. If you think you're just going to waltz in to any doctor or hospital and get good care then you're mistaken. Of course, that's the advantage of having relatives in medicine -- they know who the good doctors are.

==================

@Alvin Leung

I've read about the anti-Chinese riots in Indonesia. I also know some people who used to holiday in Indonesia until the 2005 Bali bombings. That's not a place I'd want to even visit let alone retire.

[HS: It's an illusion that foreign countries are less expensive than low-cost places in the U.S. like the midwest or northwest.]

Can't see how that's true. Here's the math (based on my years abroad).

A 600-square-room one-bedroom serviced apartment in, say, Chiang Mai, Thailand, would run about $500 a month and that includes maid service. So $6,000 a year in rent (and that's a jacked-up, Rip Off Whitey price).

Assume $20 a day for food, transport and entertainment. That's $7,300 a year.

Add two round-trips back to the US a year plus two more trips a year to Asia or Europe. That's $4,000 more.

Health insurance with a global insurer is about $1,000 a year.

Satisy the requirements of the foreign earned income exclusion, and you pay zero U.S. income tax. You also pay zero state or local income tax. You have to pay FICA, but only on the salary portion of your earnings. The Thais either won't collect taxes from you, or it will be on an ad hoc basis, or you just leave in the unlikely event they get serious about it.

That comes to $18,300 a year, but, for grins, let's toss an extra $6,700 in misc. expenses onto the pile, e.g., marketing, hookers, emergencies, English-language books, hookers, a Honda Dream motorcycle, visa run fees, business expenses, and some hookers.

That's $25,000 a year to live more comfortably than 90% of Americans.

On the revenue side, if you charge $50 per hour for your services, you need to bill and collect only 500 billable hours a year to break even. That's 40 billable hours a month. You can spend the rest of the time resting, earning more, engaging in hobbies or banging hookers.

I don't see how a town in the U.S. Midwest or South begins to compare.

[HS: You can rent an apartment in Venice, FL for about the same price, big deal:

http://www.apartments.com/rent/Venice-FL/Monterrey-Apartments/339405.5

Venice is a very white part of Florida.

Plus you get the benefits of first-world infrasturcture, and you're near the beach. The only thing you don't get in FL is a cheap live-in maid.]


JP,

You're wrong on almost every point.

>>I would be skeptical of the quality of medical >>care in Thailand, Ecuador, and Tunisia.

Thailand is the global center of medical tourism with high-quality, affordable medical care in every speciality. The doctors in Tunisia are predominantly educated and trained in France. Ecuador's life expectancy is 73 years, so they can't be doing anything too wrong.

>>The fact that these examples are of
>>non-English-speaking countries is also
>>problematic.

Learn the language. Problem solved.

>>Social turmoil in these countries would
>>also be a concern, especially Tunisia

The "social turmoil" in Tunisia was in favor of ousting the dictator, releasing his control of the media and disbanding his secret police. A welcome change to zombified Americans. In any event, Tunisia is so Westernized it's practically a suburb of France.

>>A warm, low-cost country with decent
>>hospitals, low taxes AND native
>>English speakers AND a stable government
>> exists. It is called Australia.

Are you joking? Between the income tax rates and the Superannuation, Australians are paying at Euro levels. The system of nationwide employment contracts is Stalinist. The Labor government clings to power through a tiny coalition of independents and Greens, who dictate policy.

>> New Zealand might be another good choice.

New Zealand is probably a nice place. Kudos to the Kiwi who won an Oscar for "Am I A Man Or A Muppet?"


>>One time I was in Hawaii, and someone observed
>> to me that a lot of Americans retire to
>> Hawaii, and then change their minds about
>> it and move back to the mainland because
>> they're too far from family and friends.

Things have changed because of Skype and email. But it's generally a bad idea to move to an island, because everything has to be imported and costs a ton, plus you can feel isolated.

"Ecuador's life expectancy is 73 years, so they can't be doing anything too wrong."

So what? Life expectancy in El Salvador is 72, and that is also a shithole.

"The doctors in Tunisia are predominantly educated and trained in France."

The State Department is not impressed:

Medical care in Tunisia is adequate, with a number of new, private “polyclinics” available that function as simple hospitals and can provide a variety of procedures. Specialized care or treatment may not be available. Facilities that can handle complex trauma cases are virtually non-existent... Public hospitals are overcrowded, under-equipped, and understaffed. In general, nursing care does not conform to U.S. standards. Immediate ambulance service may not be available outside urban areas. Even in urban areas, emergency response times can be much longer than in the United States. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for healthcare services.

"Learn the language. Problem solved."

A glib response but a totally unrealistic program for a busy adult with a job.

"The "social turmoil" in Tunisia was in favor of ousting the dictator, releasing his control of the media and disbanding his secret police."

Who gives a damn what it was about? Riots are bad no matter what the cause. I would bet that by the time I'm ready to retire, Tunisia, like most other places in the Middle East, will be under a repressive dictatorship (bad) or under Sharia law (worse).

"Tunisia is so Westernized it's practically a suburb of France."

Crack kills.

"Between the income tax rates and the Superannuation, Australians are paying at Euro levels. The system of nationwide employment contracts is Stalinist. The Labor government clings to power through a tiny coalition of independents and Greens, who dictate policy."

If the question is where to retire, you don't care how employment works, since you're not planning to work or start a business. Nor do you really care that Labor is in power.

If you meet the financial criteria for being self-supporting, you can get a retirement visa in Australia and NOT be subject to Australian taxation. Thus what Australians are paying in taxes is a moot point. As I said before, if you don't live in a downtown area in a big city (which you certainly don't have to do) then there is ample affordable housing in Australia. Hobart and Adelaide are pleasant and relatively affordable.

[cost of living in Thailand]
"but, for grins, let's toss an extra $6,700 in misc. expenses onto the pile, e.g., marketing, hookers, emergencies, English-language books, hookers, a Honda Dream motorcycle, visa run fees, business expenses, and some hookers"

Add an additional $20K for psychotherapy after discovering too late that one of the hookers is a ladyboy.

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