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Old 07-19-2009, 12:08 PM
 
93 posts, read 169,290 times
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Considering our next, and hopefully final, move if our house ever sells. We plan to visit DE in the next couple of weeks, but I'm trying to research as much as possible first. Can anyone provide opinions on Wilmington compared with Williamsburg, VA?

Here's what I gleaned so far by reading your forum: suburban N, NW Wilmington is preferable; proximity to other cosmopolitan spots; area is quite beautiful; local healthcare is good; pollution may be a concern; property taxes are low. Since we're retired, the lack of trendy nightspots is a good thing IME, but how's the opera and symphony there? I like the idea of supporting the local arts, even if there are bigger companies close by.

When I look at cost of living indexes, Wilmington is still higher than Williamsburg, so that's a concern although the lower property tax might offset the higher utility and healthcare costs. Winters are slightly milder in southern VA, which is an advantage to us. I know the intangibles will impact where we settle, but any insights you provide are much appreciated.
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Greenville, Delaware
4,726 posts, read 10,301,702 times
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Opera and symphony in Wilmington? This ain't NYC or DC. A very limited number of performances a year. The arts scene is quite limited. But in Williamsburg you would also have to travel to get any rich schedule of performing arts. Wilmington DE and Williamsburg VA are no comparison. If you can afford ti, I think you will probably want to go with Williamsburg. However, Wilmington does have closer proximity to major cities - NYC, Baltimore, Philly, DC - than does Williamsburg, if that's important to you.
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Old 07-19-2009, 01:18 PM
 
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drjeff, I know DE opera/symphony has miniscule offerings, that's what I'd expect for a small town with likely dwindling patronage. I enjoyed Chicago's Lyric/CSO for decades, but we no longer want to deal with severe and prolonged winters and have moved elsewhere. Had the economy not tanked, I'd be less concerned about COL, but reality dictates prudence. So since we can't afford to have two homes, we'll have to compromise. I'll happily support the local arts in my new community and enjoy those beyond when we want.

Please tell me more why you think Wmsburg is superior to Wlimington. I've only visited Wmsburg a few times, but thought it very small, homogenous with an emphasis on golf, not a great variety of restaurants, cultural offerings, etc. I could adjust to living there nicely but would really prefer a more eclectic vibe. Your area OTH seems to have a few museums, two classical music venues and some decent restaurants. It's not Austin, London, Chicago or Hamburg, but it seems nicely situated. It has more residents from other countries, so I'd think it may be a touch more cosmopolitan. What's your take?
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Old 07-19-2009, 01:35 PM
 
Location: Greenville, Delaware
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I had very specific criteria that led me to Wilmington as a place for semi-retirement. The only other place on the east coast that might meet a minimal number of the same criteria would be the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Triangle. So my reasons for being here are rather peculiar. If I didn't have those same criteria, I would probably choose Virginia because of the history, somewhat milder weather, natural beauty, and Upper South culture. I like DE, don't get me wrong. I just think VA - including Williamsburg - may have more to offer. Have you considred Charlottesville, VA or perhaps a smaller town in the immediate Charlottesville area?

Still, I'd encourage you to come to Wilmington and spend some time here. Especially have a look at Westover Hills, Greenville, Montchanin, Yorklyn, Centreville, Hockessin -- all immediately north of Wilmington proper. Within Wilmington, look around the Highlands and Wawaset Park. Also look at Alapocas. Visit the Delaware Art Museum, Winterthur, Hagley, and Nemours.
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Old 07-19-2009, 06:12 PM
 
Location: Utopia
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I did gobs of research on Wilmington, and one of my main concerns is the high cancer rate in pockets around the Northern Delaware. Yes, you can buy bottled water or use a filter on your tap to attempt to get around this.
One interesting fact I found out was that Philadelphia has the largest library selection in the nation. I'm sure you could get a card from there even if you live in Delaware. Most States have a reciprocal deal worked out for neighboring States on the borderline.
My thought was if moving to Northern Delaware, I'd go to the opera and symphony in Philadelphia. It's less than 12-20 miles away from any of the cities I was interested in.
The property tax rate is excellent and there is no sales tax. However, I am less than thrilled on the State income tax rate on my dividends and interest. This could be the deal breaker for me, because it's very high (8% or so).
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Old 07-19-2009, 06:54 PM
 
93 posts, read 169,290 times
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Hi Tootsie, we've researched a lot of the same areas although I've stuck with the east coast. Atlanta area is as far inland as I'd consider, and that's landlocked unfortunately. Yeah, I figured I'd have to get a whole house water filter again, but I'd want one anyway once I'm no longer house poor. Thanks for the heads up on dividend tax. I'll have to figure out if it offsets the lower property tax. Any other thoughts? PM me if you'd prefer.

Thanks, Dr. J, for the areas to check out. Unfortunately, the first one I pulled up was a listing for W Hills @ $1.7. Out of my league! I'm sure there's more reasonable houses in WH, so I'll check further.
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Old 07-20-2009, 04:15 PM
 
Location: Utopia
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The other caveat I would have is the high cost of housing in Delaware. Low property tax but high housing cost for anything decent in a SAFE area. And, by the way, seems that the Northern area of DE has pockets of crime there, so it is safe in one neighborhood but cross the street and it isn't (from my understanding). I just don't know about the area, and, unfortunately, cannot get out there to look at this time.
One of the plus side items for me is that Philly has a great transportation system for you to use. And you can take public transportation from Claymont (the northernmost city is seems) into Philly. I have no desire to drive and hassle with parking anymore (well, ever since I had to get something from downtown Chicago and it cost me $25 for 1-1/2 hr. parking in a parking garage).
But the 8% tax on dividends and interest is a BIG negative to me. I wish some CPA or tax professional would comment on this for us.
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:24 PM
 
93 posts, read 169,290 times
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This is directly from DE's website: Delaware

2008 STATE INCOME TAX SCHEDULE

RETIREMENT INFORMATION, IRA TOPICS, PENSION EXCLUSIONS, SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS
Q. I'm planning to move to Delaware within the next year. I am retired. I am receiving a pension and also withdrawing income from a 401K. My spouse receives social security. What personal income taxes will I be required to pay as a resident of Delaware? I also would like information on real estate property taxes.

A. As a resident of Delaware, the amount of your pension and 401K income that is taxable for federal purposes is also taxable in Delaware. However, person's 60 years of age or older are entitled to a pension exclusion of up to $12,500 or the amount of the pension and eligible retirement income (whichever is less). Eligible retirement income includes dividends, interest, capital gains, net rental income from real property and qualified retirement plans (IRS Sec. 4974), such as IRA, 401 (K), and Keough plans, and government deferred compensation plans (IRS Sec. 457). The combined total of pension and eligible retirement income may not exceed $12,500 per person age 60 or over. If you are under age 60 and receiving a pension, the exclusion amount is limited to $2,000.

Social Security and Railroad Retirement benefits are not taxable in Delaware and should not be included in taxable income.

Also, Delaware has a graduated tax rate ranging from 2.2% to 5.55% for income under $60,000, and 5.95% for income of $60,000 or over.

For information regarding property taxes, you can access the Delaware Development Office web page at State of Delaware - Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO) and do a search on Real Estate Taxes or you may contact the Property Tax office for the county you plan to live in. You may contact the Property Tax offices at the following phone numbers:

Property Tax - New Castle County (302) 323-2600
Property Tax - Kent County (302) 736-2077
Property Tax - Sussex County (302) 855-7760
Senior citizens can contact the Department of Finance concerning property tax reductions by clicking here.

2008 TAX SCHEDULE
If taxable income on Line 5 of DE200-01, Line 41 of DE200-02, or Line 7 of DE200-03EZ is $60,000
or over, your tax is:$2,943.50 plus 5.95% (.0595) for the portion over $60,000.
Example
Taxable income of $67,751:
Tax on $60,000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$2,943.50
Income over $60,000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $7,751
Tax Rate over $60,000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . x .0595
Tax on $7,751.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .+ $461.18
Total Tax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$3,404.68 (Round to $3,405.)


What do you think, Tootsie, considering low property tax, senior school tax exemption, low insurance, mid housing cost, no sales tax?
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Old 07-20-2009, 07:58 PM
 
Location: Greenville, Delaware
4,726 posts, read 10,301,702 times
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My experience from living here, with a rather complicated tax situation, is that DE state income taxes don't seem bad to me at all, and of course state income taxes are deductible from your federal taxes, whilst DE also has some tax law such that your level of federal taxation is figured into what you have to pay to the state. I can't explain it, as I don't understand it, but I've been quite satisfied with the state income tax returns I've had in DE for the last two years since moving here.

There are plenty of places in New Castle County without any significant crime problem at all -- like where I live.
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Old 07-24-2009, 08:06 AM
 
604 posts, read 1,776,533 times
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Tootsie-- apparently, likes to do the research from afar without any first hand knowledge or ability to verify any numbers she puts forth repeatedly without any care.

Paxquest did the research and provided the tax code but Tootsie has no response to that....

In the Delaware tax schedule the most important part is not the marginal tax rate but the TAXABLE INCOME - because it allows most of the deductions that are on Schedule A of the federal tax return!! In the above example in Paxquest's post the actual gross income could be $100K -but the allowable deductions make the taxable income $67K ... in PA the Income tax rate appears lower but it is on the gross income, so in my example PA tax would be $3080 and in DE it is $3405 but the property taxes is an entirely different story ... PA property taxes could be 250% to 350% higher than those in DE and in Phila add the wage tax on top of that ... are u reading Tootsie?
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