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Old 12-22-2009, 09:46 PM
 
Location: Western North Carolina
4,948 posts, read 7,872,287 times
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Is there such a thing? I'm thinking about the possibility of doing something radical for retirement in a few years - moving North, REALLY North.

Is there a New England state where the cost of living is cheaper than most other New England areas? Or do the taxes kill you no matter where you go, like in Upstate New York?

We're surviving here in North Carolina on under $25,000 a year, (but barely). Housing is pretty cheap, and that's why. But I'm realizing I am a Winter person. I feel so much more energized during this time of year, and absolutely HATE the summer heat. I want to stay on the east coast. Tried the Northwest and didn't like it.

Do you have to be rich to be a New Englander?
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Old 12-22-2009, 11:29 PM
 
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Most likely there is the possibility of finding the occasional less expensive property anywhere, but generally housing costs are higher in New England than the national average. However, these costs tend to be much lower in small towns and rural areas than they are in the region's larger metro areas. The exception to that might be some upper-crust resort towns.

If you want low taxes in New England, the first state to look into is New Hampshire. NH has no general sales tax or tax on earned income. Many towns there do have high property taxes in terms of mil. rates, but, at least compared to the more densely populated areas in southern New England, the property costs, hence the property valuations, are low enough that the net tax is comparable in many cases. Individual circumstances vary, so you'd have to look into the question of how far money would go in your particular situation to find out whether NH would be a good fit, but this is definitely the state you want to investigate first if you want the best chance at finding affordable living in New England.
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Old 12-23-2009, 07:57 AM
 
Location: Boston
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There are definitely plenty of low income people in New England. I think you can probably live pretty decently on that income in some rural areas in northern New England (ie Vermont, NH, Maine). Plenty of people in that area pride themselves on leading a flinty, hard scrabble existence and would laugh at the idea that you need more income than that.
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Old 12-23-2009, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Somerville, MA
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As Ogre mentioned, NH has the lowest tax burden in New England. You could live on 25,000 in many places in NH. Maine has a relatively high tax burden, but housing and other costs are cheap in places like Lewiston, Augusta, Bangor, Presque Isle, etc.

I think you could do it, and you'd find many like-minded people in Northern New England (in fact, post your question on the Maine or NH forums and check the responses). If you're willing to live carefully, you can do just fine in New England.
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:05 AM
 
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Try Lincoln, Maine. 45 miles north of Bangor.
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Old 12-23-2009, 11:42 AM
 
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I should point out that NH has very high property taxes to compensate for its lack of an income tax, although this may not directly affect the OP.

The most important factor would be employment, however, and I would consider cities such as Portland and Bangor, ME, Manchester and Nashua, NH, and Burlington, VT, although Burlington can be quite pricey for rentals.

Bring a winter coat, and a shovel, and you'll fit right in..
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Old 12-23-2009, 11:54 AM
 
Location: where my heart is
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Try Maine. Portland is nice. My daughter went to college there and my husband has Air Force buddy and his family who live in Gorham. In talking with them the cost of living was pretty low.

I think there was a post on another thread which really detailed the cost of living in Maine. The summers are just warm enough without being very hot. If you like winters (as I do), it was nice also. The people we met there were friendly and nice.
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Old 12-23-2009, 09:18 PM
 
Location: Western North Carolina
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Thanks so much for all who responded - you've given me some great information, and several points of reference from which to start.

TANaples, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who likes winter! I believe we are in the minority, though.
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Old 12-23-2009, 09:50 PM
 
Location: Somerville, MA
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A bit of advice about Maine (I lived in Portland for 4.5 years), it's literally the most isolated state in the lower 48 (it's the only state that borders only ONE other state). As such, opinions from many in Maine are reflective only of relative experience so it's not uncommon to hear a description of a place in Maine from a Mainer and have it be the complete opposite of what you'll hear from someone who has been elsewhere. For example, if you talk to a Mainer, you'll likely hear that Lewiston is a dangerous, crime ridden city. The reality is that it's a down on it's luck mill town (like the ones anywhere else in the country) that has spots where crime occurs, but statistically, it's very safe. Same goes for perception of wealth in Maine. Many in Maine consider the quaint seaside towns on the Southern coast to be ultra-wealthy homes for only the rich. The reality is that while there is some pricier ocean front real estate (though, in relation to ocean front real estate, it's still relatively cheap), the majority of even the "wealthy" towns in Maine are very much predominantly working and middle class. It's not an ultra wealthy state (in fact, it's in the bottom third in terms of income) despite what you may hear from some of the people who live in Maine.

The reason I bring this up is because the issue of "cost of living" is a rather hotly contented point in Maine. The lifelong Mainers tend to consider the Southern coast of Maine to be utterly expensive and "elite" while those (like myself) who have either lived outside of Maine or just moved to Southern Maine tend to feel that it's pretty affordable. When you post questions on the Maine forum (and you should, on many topics, the advice is very good), be prepared for people to debate it hotly. Just keep in mind, that a lot of people in Maine are only comparing Portland and Southern Maine to other places in Maine (and Portland is more expensive than the rest of the state) so their reference points are rather limited. You will find that most people who lived outside of Maine will agree that Portland isn't too expensive at all.

In addition, you'll likely hear a reference or two to how overwhelming Portland is (a city of 63,000 with 230,000 in the metro area, by the way) and how "big" it is by some Mainers. Every now and then someone from Maine will bring up "traffic" and how bad it is in Portland too. Just take these comments with a grain of salt. Portland's a little city. It looks and feels more like a quaint, seaside town than it does a big (or even medium sized) city. It's VERY safe (no bad neighborhoods) and traffic is non-existent (check local news channels... not even a traffic segment!). Again, in an isolated state like Maine, local perception is a bit "off" when it comes to comparing Maine on a national level.

Maine's a great state and the people are super friendly. Any "off" comment that you may hear is only intended to help. Just keep in mind that some of the localized perception is going to be a bit off and don't let it scare you away. Portland (and Maine in general) is affordable, friendly, quaint, safe, etc. It's a good place to look into.
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Old 12-24-2009, 11:58 AM
 
56,511 posts, read 80,803,243 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrfox View Post
As Ogre mentioned, NH has the lowest tax burden in New England. You could live on 25,000 in many places in NH. Maine has a relatively high tax burden, but housing and other costs are cheap in places like Lewiston, Augusta, Bangor, Presque Isle, etc.

I think you could do it, and you'd find many like-minded people in Northern New England (in fact, post your question on the Maine or NH forums and check the responses). If you're willing to live carefully, you can do just fine in New England.
That sounds like many places in Upstate NY.
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