It’s been well over a year since I’ve returned to my childhood home of Southern Maine. I love it here. I love the woods. I love the ocean. I love the low crime rate. I even love the winters. But there are a few things I don’t love about Maine.
You have to pay for the privilege.
- Cost of living: Let’s get something straight. I doubt I’ll ever move back to Yakima Washington. However, the cost of living was probably 10-15% less there. That’s significant. The cost of living in Southern Maine is pretty high, especially real estate and housing costs. I could buy a house in someplace like Missouri for a third of what it might cost me here.
- Taxes: Property taxes are fairly high here. But that’s not my primary complaint. My income is taxed at 7% in Maine. Coming from a state that had no income tax, that’s a tough blow. Plus, Maine will tax my retirement pay. Joe Henry, who retired to Maine a few years ago, told me, “You have to pay for the privilege.” I gladly pay and will continue to pay as long as I’m here. However, it would be nice if I were independently wealthy.
- The summer tourism season: I really do love the Maine winters. With age, cold has bothered me less and less. It might have to do with polycythemia vera. The Seacoast region is wonderful in the winter. It’s easy and free to find parking. The roads are quiet. But in the summer, the population increases several times over. It’s crowded. Traffic sucks. You gotta pay to park. It’s a nuisance.
There is no perfect place on the earth.
All that said, I have no plans to leave Maine in the near future. That doesn’t mean I’m not considering other options for retirement.
I might just become a snowbird and have a winter home in Missouri, and make it my primary residence. I could buy a house for so much less there than I can here. Even my 18-year-old-daughter sees the logic in buying a home in the Midwest. She’s considering saving her money here until she has enough for a down payment there.
Nothing is planned as of now, because honestly, I really do love Maine. I own a condo here. I have jobs here. And who knows, maybe my next book will become a best seller and a Netflix movie and I could afford to buy a house closer to the ocean.
Life is a journey. Keep an open mind. For now, Maine is my home. It’s not perfect, but there in no perfect place on the planet. – dse
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