Par4QC I would think mechanics in the NW would be upper income.(?) COL must be hell up there.
When we first moved here, we were considered a middle income family to upper middle income level according to the average income in the City ( $45k-$50K ). Today, the average income is just below $70K, inflation ?
Average 2 bedroom apartment monthly rent range from $1500-to triple that depending on what and where.
An auto mechanic averages from $18 - $31 per hour depending on the program and volume. Do the math with average 8 hour work day $250'day maxed out without overtime. minus the tax, all other deductions and union dues, not much left after paying the rent + parking fee, just getting by without much savings We don't have State income tax ( not yet ), but the sales tax and the other garbage tax ranked in the top of the Nation's list.
A family of 4 making $70 K is below the average income and can't afford a mortgage unless with a very large down payment.
I would not call it the dump, it can be beautiful if a family makes more than 6 figures annually.
When my kids are out of grad school, we will move out of here for retirement, if that day comes. Most likely we will have keep working because of the healthcare cost, no matter where we move to. But good weather for golf is a major element for consideration.
Is there such a place ? No wonder someone I know moved to overseas with their retirement.