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Montana or Northern New Mexico?

Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:07 am
by BiggerThomas
I am about 8 years away from moving to one of these states and I want fly fishing to be high on the list of activities I can enjoy. While I've fished a bit in both states, I probably don't have the experience many other guys on this forum have.

I've emailed some guides in both states to hear their arguments as well.

On the face of it, Montana is probably the obvious choice, but right now, I am actually leaning towards Northern NM--the combination of the landscape, food, and access to educational and cultural resources in the Santa Fe area simply intrigue me. Thanks in advance for any input.

Re: Montana or Northern New Mexico?

Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2021 11:14 am
by cappy
Consider easy access to health care and transportation as you age. I'm considering the Asheville, NC area when my time comes.

Re: Montana or Northern New Mexico?

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 7:54 am
by Vance
Hello, One of the reasons I moved to south jersey is health care. Hospital and doctors are two miles away. Easy access to both. Sure the fishing is great in Montana but as you age you really have to think about health care. What about children? Are they pretty close by or are they going to be two thousand miles away. There is so much to consider before you make the big leap about moving. When you get up in age family is one of the things to think about. This is my two cents worth and my kids are three hours and one and a half hours by car away from my wife and me. Bill the mailman

Re: Montana or Northern New Mexico?

Posted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 8:14 am
by BiggerThomas
Those are certainly important things to consider--thanks, guys. I won't be in my 40s forever!

Re: Montana or Northern New Mexico?

Posted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 9:28 am
by Rusty Spinner
New Mexico has some beautiful areas as does Montana, but NM is largely a welfare state. If I ever were to live in NM, it would be the Chama area, and it would have little by way of hospitals and doctors if that is a concern. Sante Fe is an artists' colony and has a lot to offer, but it's not close to Chama or the northwest part of that state. Montucky on the other hand, is the real America and is going through some painful growth right now as people flock in from states like California, Texas, Colorado, and elsewhere (NJ included), and prices in cities like Bozeman are through the roof and climbing.

I'm headed to Montana the first week of July with the family to fish, tour Yellowstone and Glacier (which my wife and daughter have never seen), river raft, hit a rodeo, and do some jet skiing on Canyon Ferry Reservoir (which is a dammed section of the Missouri River). I love Montucky, but my wife would never live there, so it will not likely be on our short list of potential retirement states we will look to in coming years.

Re: Montana or Northern New Mexico?

Posted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 10:32 am
by Bubba Zinetti
Some other things to consider: Coal mines closing in Montana and Wyoming, oil and gas revenues are way down in both states. Those things are the primary source of income for those states. New Mexico also has a large input from fossil fuels and extractive industry. Then there is the Federal government spending, New Mexico has 5 major military facilities, and at least 2 of them will probably outlast our lifetimes. Montana has a lower overall tax burden than New Mexico, but New Mexico seems to have a more business friendly environment with programs for starting a new business, and other programs to diversify the economy.

If you are independently wealthy, then pick the one with better fishing opportunities, and access to better fishing opportunities. For example Northern NM is relatively close to Southern Colorado. Santa Fe is only 6 hours drive to Denver, and only another hour to Rocky Mountain National Park. It is an Hour to Taos, and 2 hours to Chama.

Winter weather is another thing to consider, are you excited about spending your winters in a place that is very cold and snowy?

City, countryside or suburbs? Will you be living in or near a city, or out in the country. Both have benefits, but city and suburbs have services that you may like or need. This was mentioned briefly about Chama and the surrounding area.

We are also about 7 years away from retiring, one bit of advice that has been very useful was to go and spend some time in places you are interested in. See them warts and all. Look at local news reports, crime statistics, and local police reports. Go to the worst neighborhoods as well as the ones where you can afford to live. How close are they to each other. Go in winter, or find a local or two and query them about what the "off season" is like. We had a great conversation with a woman who lives in West Yellowstone about what to do during winter. Turns out drinking and fighting is par for the course for the men. What will you do when the fishing day is done? Go to movies, veg out in front of your TV, get drunk and fight, go to a cultural event held by the locals?

Ultimately, for us, it was about more than the fishing. Sure the fishing is important, but access to health care, and culture is also important to us.

Re: Montana or Northern New Mexico?

Posted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 1:08 pm
by lightenup
Did you see it was -20 in Montana with added wind chill? It's a nice place to visit in the summer and fall, but live there? Hmmmm. Arizona is nice I hear.

Re: Montana or Northern New Mexico?

Posted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 1:32 pm
by Rusty Spinner
lightenup wrote:
Tue Feb 16, 2021 1:08 pm
Did you see it was -20 in Montana with added wind chill? It's a nice place to visit in the summer and fall, but live there? Hmmmm. Arizona is nice I hear.
True, but that is the exception to the rule. An average day for Bozeman in winter is in the 30s or low 40s in daytime and below freezing at night. Much like here, but without the humidity we have in the East.

One thing so very many do not consider when looking at retirement places is how you will be welcomed or not welcomed by those that live there their whole lives. I know several who moved to places like Tennessee only to be made felt like the outsiders they were and made to feel unwelcome. Many of those then moved to another state which is a big hassle. Remember, regardless of what kind of person you are at heart, a New Jersey person will be looked down upon by the other 49 states. That is a fact.

Re: Montana or Northern New Mexico?

Posted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 1:57 pm
by Bubba Zinetti
Good point Rusty, My friends in WY (4th and 5th generation) look down quite hard on all those who have only lived there for 20 years or so. In my experience, we have lived in NJ for 20+ years and are still considered newcomers. A big work around this is to get involved in civic groups, volunteer for local food banks, etc. That is something that people respect because it says that you care about the community that you live in.

Regarding the temperature in Bozeman. Try here
https://en.climate-data.org/north-ameri ... 9.0%20inch.

or here:
https://www.weather-us.com/en/montana-u ... an-climate

Re: Montana or Northern New Mexico?

Posted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 6:13 pm
by cappy
So true about being seen as an outsider. Had that happen to someone I know who moved to SC.

Something I forgot to mention about Montana and surrounding rural states. Someone I know who primarily lives in San Francisco and has a home and property in rural Salmon Idaho told me as you get out there they have what is called dirty power, unreliable with large voltage swings, they are always on the look out for older refurbished appliances. The new high tech appliances don't fair well. A high end generator designed for continuous operation, preferably diesel with a large fuel tank is a must.

Re: Montana or Northern New Mexico?

Posted: Wed Feb 17, 2021 9:58 am
by BiggerThomas
Great thoughts here from the GST Brotherhood to the BT--much appreciated. Reading this thread, noticing the grey along my temples, and receiving news this week that one of my immediate family members is falling ill has driven home how short life is, but in particular, how short a healthy life can be. I'm going to try to do as much stuff as I can, while I can. Hope to see you on the river.

BT

Re: Montana or Northern New Mexico?

Posted: Wed Feb 17, 2021 10:00 am
by Bubba Zinetti
BiggerThomas, so true. A favorite quote of mine is: Nobody on their deathbed has ever said "I wish I had spent more time at the office".

Re: Montana or Northern New Mexico?

Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 4:43 pm
by 46er
Great question. I have been retired for 20 years this June, can't believe its 20 already. Got a 7am call from my boss one day, thought it was a problem being that early. He asked if I wanted a 'package'. A package of what I asked, a few minutes later my answer was yes. A week or so later my boss, a fellow co-worker and I were pushed out of the plane trailing a parachute. 2 weeks later I was retired thinking what to do, what to do. We had traveled west for 2 weeks each summer from the early 70's to the preceding year with an 8 year hiatus when our sons were born. We considered Bozeman MT, had some friends there, but started to seriously think about a big move. I drew a 400 mile circle around our town and discovered a lot we had not seen within the one day drive circle. A list of fishing opportunities that existed was amazing, the weather here was relatively stable, and we had our cabin on the west branch of the ausable 6 hours away. If we wanted trout, lake trout, salmon, small/large mouth bass, pike, musky, shad, tuna, stripers, mahi mahi, marlin, fluke, blues, weakies, etc., it was all here or one day away. If we wanted to go west, we knew how to get there, we have 3 airports to choose from. So we stayed here in Ocean County with family, friends, doctors, etc. Never regretted it. :mrgreen: