Single woman thinking of leaving Bay Area- too $$ here!

Hi- I am a recently divorced woman who has decided it might be time to get out of the Bay Area. It is simply not affordable. I earn 125K and still can barely make ends meet.  I need to retire at some point and unless I win the lottery I won't be able to do it while living here. 

A few questions----has anyone just up and left the Bay and if so, was it really hard to leave? I have tons of friends here and some family in the South Bay (just as $$$) 

My kids are grown  (one in Bay Area and one in So California.)   I am very social and make friends easily. I could most likely keep my current job as I work remotely anyway.

I am concerned that I will be lonely and regret the decision--

Also- where to go? I love the diversity of the Bay but am willing to live in a less diverse place in order to live a decent life.

The only town that really pulls at me is Austin. I love hot weather and it seems like a very cool place.  I have never lived in snow so would not know how to manage that piece...

Any ideas helpful. I am at a crossroads....

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I dont have any answers but i do know how you feel and hope you find your answer. It does seem like it also could be fun mapping out the next adventure in your life. Just rember to eat good and drink good where ever you are at.
Cheers!

Austin, Texas is my hometown. (I'm a 4th generation Texan).  I love Austin--but not Texas politics!  We're moving to Davis because of the expense-- we've paid cash for a mobile home, 4 bedrooms/2 baths double wide in Rancho Yolo.  You have to be 55 or partnered with someone who's 55, then you can be 45 yrs. old. Our yearly taxes will be $347.  Yes, that's not a typo.  The HOA fees will be $700.  they increase $25 each year.  Davis reminds me of Austin. -- BUT this isn't what you asked about.  Austin RARELY has snow. RARELY.  You'll get plenty of hot weather --- with high humidity (Davis is drier)  Anyway, no worries about driving in snow. Texans ARE friendly, yeah!  Because of Univ. of Texas, Austin is enough diverse, enough liberal, educated.  Second choice would be San Antonio because of the Hispanic population. If you can put up with the weather, the blockheads who legislate, then you'll encounter delicious Tex-Mex food, awesome barbecue (something that no one in this state can do--Gawd!) Also, wonderful music, films.  It is a very lively place. You could start off by volunteering, joining a liberal church, there's a couple of buddhist groups.  Best of luck. 

If all your family and friend are in California you will mostly likely regret the move.  In Southern California Lancaster and Palmdale are inexpensive. Check this out and look at the median home value https://www.movoto.com/guide/los-angeles-ca/affordable-los-angeles-suburbs/.  Since you can telecommute I would choose an in expensive city in the Bay Area like Castro Valley or one of the places listed in the article above.

I am a divorced woman, 58, who has lived in the Bay Area for 30 years. I, too, think about leaving for less-expensive final chapters of my life. I do have real community here. But if I’m going to make a change, shouldn’t I do it be sooner rather than later? I would need a somewhat liberal community, not too Deep South. I would like access to alternative health practitioners. Arts. Fresh water. Trees. 

Otherwise, I could convert my garage into my dream mini home and rent out my house. 

I also think about independent/assisted living. The “SAD” food is the deal-breaker. If only they had healthy food as a priority! (For me that means grass-fed meat, organic vegetables, non-dairy and non-gluten options. I think the latest term is “Pegan”.)

I’m so curious about replies to this post. My retirement income situation is not conducive to a long life in the Bay Area!

One of my adult daughters moved to Sacramento and loves it.She got a nice apartment in a good area for under $1200 a month,something she could never do here.A lot of young families are moving there and I was surprised by how many good restaurants are there as well as fun things to do.The best part is that she can drive here or take Amtrack without too much trouble.

My family just moved this summer, all the way to Maine. Yes, it was hard to say goodbye to friends and our strong support system we'd had for a long time. We were worrried- we moved here knowing no one, my family is not white and our area is 98+% white, my family had never lived so far from everything they knew. The move itself was expensive and we do miss the diversity (and food!) in the Bay Area. But, we have NO REGRETS. AT ALL! We are SO happy we moved and there have been many times we've said "I'm so glad we're not in California."  I can't tell you the number of times we've looked at the cost of something, the "traffic"/commute, the "crowd", etc., and laughed and laughed. We bought a beautiful waterfront house with a yard (we could never have bought ANY house in the bay area, even a one bedroom in a bad neighborhood), our mortgage is less than half of what our rent was, the schools are phenomenal, crime is non-existent (everyone not only leaves their doors unlocked, but they even leave their keys and purses in their cars, even in public!) my commute went from 1.5 hours each way (if there isn't an accident) to 8 minutes in rush hour traffic, and people are so friendly we can't believe it. Though it sounds like Maine isn't the right place for you if you like heat, I can tell you from a recent emigrant that it was absolutely worth it to leave. We can breathe, we can relax, we can actually live a middle class life on a teacher's income. It's a different world and it was the right decision for us.

We just moved backTo the bay area from Santa Fe, New Mexico. We are originally from the bay area and wait tired to Santa Fe and live there for 10 years. We absolutely loved it. There are many people who are transplanting them selves to this area and we had no trouble making friends. The taxes are cheaper, the gas cost less, and yet there are the same variety of experiences and people that we had found in the bay area. Check out Santa Fe. It was fabulous.

You might look at a recent post I made called “tired of it all- leaving the Bay Area” or something like that. TONS of replies with lots of cities mentioned, after I shared the same sentiments as you.  I’ll look forward to reading the replies you get. Best wishes to you wherever you end up! (We still aren’t moving yet with kids still in school...but maybe someday! It is exhausting here.)

A good comprehensive financial planner should be able to help you with retirement planning and give you an objective assessment of how the dollars stack up.  If you are set on leaving and own your home in the Bay Area, you might consider renting it out instead of selling, and renting in another state.  That way you can see whether the new location suits your lifestyle, but have the option of coming back.

I am also preparing to leave the Bay Area, but not for four more years, until my youngest has graduated high school.  I've been researching, and discovering that the midwest has a lot to offer.  Search Zillow.  I'm looking at Arizona, and even Kansas.  You can buy a really nice house there for $200,000.  BIG.  There are seasons; it gets cold in the winter and hot in the summer.  Spring and fall are gorgeous.  People are NICE.  Yes, it's not as diverse as here, and there are plenty of Republicans.  But there are also Democrats, and gay people, and people of color.  We're brainwashed living here, and end up thinking this is the only place we could possibly belong.  But there are plenty of like-minded people elsewhere.  Austin is terrific.  I grew up in Texas.  But it's become much more expensive in recent years.  The outskirts are cheaper, and really nice.  Go visit.  I hope you find your new home.  I'll be on your heels!

I’m putting a plug in for Puerto Rico. As we are visiting and a hurricane is going through, I still vote PR. Why? It’s an amazing island with incredible people. It has its share of problems but it’s also medicinal. The pace, the communities, the acceptance. If you like saving your tax money, you can be Act 22, Live here for 6 months out of year and it’s a 4% tax rate. 

Other places: Charleston, SC;  Raleigh, NC, Jupiter, FL, Nola, Denver (not my favorite but I did love living near the mountains), and my favorite spot, Brooklyn, which is live-able on $125k, if you’re single.