I want to retire to a place with mild weather and racial diversity where I can raise goats and chickens – can I find a town that will take us?

We own a home in the Sacramento area with $400,000 equity – we owe $255,000 on a $675,000 home. I can retire as early as 2029 with about $75,000 in pension and medical care. The home loan is then about $100,000.

We are a multiracial family so we need racial diversity/tolerance. We want views of something, nature or city. We will still have two children in the house then (13 and 11 in 2029) and we would like a four bedroom house for grandchildren to visit. And some space for a sizeable vegetable garden and maybe a few chickens and a goat; Our current 6,000 foot property is nowhere near big enough.

We want mild weather (doesn’t need to be Bay Area mild, but neither does Phoenix or Missoula), some snow is fine. But I don’t want to shovel snow when I’m 70.

Where shall we go?



I admit it – I’m attached to the goats.

Unless you want to bother with shoveling snow (that’s what snowblowers, including teens with snowblowers, or contractors are for), you’re sure to want to milk goats twice a day everyone single Day? (Meat goats aren’t milked, but they’re not as cute and playful either.) If you know all this and are still sure that goats are for you, then great.

I’m less concerned about finding a community that will allow you to keep small numbers of female chickens; Hell, they even are allowed in New York. Of course, condos and HOAs may have different opinions, so always ask.

Without the goats, my instinct would be a college town. You get the tolerance, though not always as much variety as you might like. And since you will still have school-age children, this could give you the good schools you desire. Midwestern college towns are particularly affordable, but the weather may not be mild enough for you.

If that interests you, start with Columbia, Mo. suggested here, Iowa City, Iowa suggested here, and Athens, Ohio suggested here. Speak to the local animal control officer if goats are a must.

As for your other priorities, let’s start with the view. We all want to live somewhere enticing. But nature and city are two very different things. Are you okay with a smaller town or rural area to have this view? Or so you can have goats?

Read: Before you retire to a new city, check your local Walmart — and 5 other hard-learned lessons

A tip for everyone: Find out exactly what you want in your community; The MarketWatch “Where Should I Retire?” tool can be helpful as it allows you to choose the criteria that matter most to you rather than relying on someone else’s list of great places.

Also, think about what you’re retiring to, not just the job you’re retiring from. Think about how you will build your new network of friends. Spend some time testing your finalists with short-term rentals that let you test out your new everyday life.

Read: I went looking for the perfect place to live in retirement – and got lost

Next, the house expenses. However, I won’t try to predict whether house prices in a hot market like Boise will stay where they are (average list prices rose 59% from April 2019 to March 2022, according to — they will Goats seem to be allowed there.

Some reality checks: Finding land in a city will be a challenge. Finding that spot for less than what you’re fetching from your Sacramento home becomes even more difficult — especially when your definition of mild weather includes low summer humidity. A small town or unincorporated area near a city might be better off financially if that acre is a must.

One possibility could be Colorado’s so-called banana belt; I suggested Canon City here, and here they are Rules for Goats and Chickens. If you are looking to stay in California, check out Eureka suggested here. It allows pygmy goats.

With the caveat that a lot could change between now and 2029 — demographics, rules around chickens and goats, even the climate — here are three suggestions to get you started. I hate to repeat myself, so you can all read Where Should I Retire? columns here.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

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goats – Yup. You’ll have mild weather — more than 300 days of sunshine and maybe a few inches of snow each month in the winter — and it’s not as hot as Phoenix.

Both city and nature views – another tick for Albuquerque, a city of 565,000 people in a high desert landscape. This is a minority-majority city (Hispanics or Latinos make up 49.2% of the population, according to the Census Bureau), so it should meet your expectations of diversity and tolerance.

Elevation here reaches 10,678 feet in the nearby Sandia Mountains (take the tram from the outskirts), part of the Cibola National Forest. Further south is Manzano Mountains State Park.

Within the city limits, you can take advantage of the University of New Mexico and spend some time at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.

A total of about 930,000 people live in the Albuquerque metropolitan area.

Albuquerque’s housing market has been a seller’s market since April 2022, according to, which like MarketWatch is owned by News Corp. That could change when you’re ready to move. Here is what is currently on the marketwith listings.

If it’s not entirely true, the proposed suburb of Rio Rancho, allows pygmy goats. Santa Fe, proposed here and home of the Santa Fe Nightjar Cooperativeis an hour north.

More on Albuquerque: This 57-year-old said fuck it to San Francisco — and retreated to “lovely” Albuquerque, where she cut her spending by 70%

Fayetteville, Arkansas

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If the Albuquerque area is too big, here is another place allows small goatsFayetteville, Ark. is home to 94,000 people, and approximately 560,000 people live in the wider metro area.

This is a college town; the University of Arkansas with about 29,000 students is here. Those over 60 can do that take lessons for free. Go to Walton Arts Center for traveling Broadway shows and more then explore TheaterSquared. Drive 25 miles north and you are in Bentonville, Walmart’s headquarters. I suggested it here.

Start your school search in Fayetteville with Fayette High School East.

Nature? You are in the Ozark Mountains.

But you have to decide if a community that’s 77% White and non-Hispanic, according to the Census Bureau, is diverse enough for you. The broader metropolitan area is more diverse, but still less diverse than the US as a whole.

Average summer and winter elevations in Fayetteville are a few degrees cooler than Albuquerque. They would have even less snow but lots of moisture.

A word of warning: real estate prices have been rising lately. Here is what is on the market nowwith listings from

You might also want to take a look at Charlotte, NC, which I’ve suggested here. You will require a permit for goats.

Dover, Delaware

State Capitol Building of Delaware. Dover, Delaware, United States.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

If my previous suggestions are more city than you’d like, consider the state capital of Delaware: just 40,000 people and diverse. In addition, you would be 15 minutes from the sea. Camden, a town of about 3,500 people south of Dover one of the best high schools in the countryaccording to US News & World Report.

Beyond the city limits, it quickly becomes more rural. About 185,000 people live in Kent County, the middle of the state’s three counties. The county requires goats to be fenced; as always, check with your local jurisdiction for their rules.

You could find even more rural — and cheaper — living farther south, but at the risk of overemphasizing city amenities, there aren’t any Target stores in the state south of Dover (you’ll find Walmart though). Even in Dover, you’re still about 45 minutes from Newark’s large Christiana Mall, which is also home to the state university.

Delaware has no sales tax and property taxes are relatively low.

Winter highs here average in the 40’s, with maybe 15 inches of snow, and summer highs average in the upper 80’s.

On the housing front, the good news is that the market was balanced between buyers and sellers in both Dover and the county as of March 2022, according to Here’s what’s on the market at Dover and across the district now.

Dear readers, where should Ben and his family move to? Leave your suggestions in the comments section for all to see.

More from MarketWatch

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We want to retire to a small mountain town on $18,000 a year – where do we go? I want to retire to a place with mild weather and racial diversity where I can raise goats and chickens – can I find a town that will take us?

Brian Lowry

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