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Old 05-17-2007, 05:17 PM
 
Location: The Commonwealth Of Pennsylvania
115 posts, read 313,912 times
Reputation: 26

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To be fully honest, I am scared of moving to Maine. I have wanted to for many years (although I am still only 28) but the fears of the taxes and cost of living overwhelm me and continue to keep me here in PA or make me contemplate less taxing states such as NH or even some locations in the South.
I have heard it all but I am getting to the point where I need some harder facts. I am a teacher and would stand to earn approximately $30,000.00 (in some cases more) but I don't know what my net take home pay would be in a state like Maine. Currently, I lean towards NH because of the lack of income and sales taxes and yes I know that the property taxes are more but that I can prepare myself better for before I get there. Both states suck when it comes to vehicle registration fees and who knows what other hideoous taxes lurk out there.
I live in eastern PA and it is not cheap here tax wise, approximately $2500.00 per year in property taxes, registering a vehicle is only $36.00, but houses are expensive and our sales tax is 6.00% and the politicians are looking to jump it up soon to possibly 7.00%. Insurance for my two Hyundai Accents and home insurance on my current home which would sell for about $165,000.00 is $169.00 month, home heating oil is about $120.00 a month, electicity is about $75.00 (harder to judge based upon the season and we currently have a hot tub). My wife and I would need before/afterschool care for our daughter for about an hour or two total since my wife would have to work and I have no idea what that would cost.
So many fears of taxes and changes in cost of living. Even if the lifestyle would be awesome, I still want to be able to live without too much of a change in lifestyle.
I know that there have been a thousand threads like this before on here but some things just need to be a little bit more tailor made if you know what I mean. So please help me so as I can run the numbers and make an educated decision on ME or NH, or the South (NC), or just stay where I am (which is destincly not what we want).
I'm sure I'll think of a few more things and tack them on later.
Thanks in advance.
Chris who is lost in PA.
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Old 05-17-2007, 06:25 PM
 
Location: Maine
8,516 posts, read 11,241,062 times
Reputation: 7432
Move to Maine and rent for a year or two. If you love it, buy a house and settle in. If you hate it, move on. You're 28. You're young. You've still got time to screw up and fix things.
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Old 05-17-2007, 06:40 PM
 
39 posts, read 85,110 times
Reputation: 28
Chris

I grew up in MA and have lived in NH,NY,NJ,PA,AZ and now live in CO.
I will be moving back to either NH or ME in three years when my youngest is finished HS.
I have been doing some of the same calculations.

I downloaded and completed the Maine Tax form to figure out exactly how much tax I would pay. Maine has a high standard deduction($5100) and Exemptions($2850ea), based on a gross of $30k you will probably being paying less than $1k in state taxes.

If you want to estimate your take home pay google "take home pay calculators" there are many calculators out there.

I think your biggest concern will be housing.
Google 'mls NH" and mls ME', most of the mls sites give annual property taxes.

I use :
http://www.beangroup.com/
http://www.mainehomes.net/Default.aspx?tabid=82 (broken link)
Set your target price and start searching.
At $165k.
In NH you will probably need to go west(Keene) or North(Littleton).
You will have more options in ME.

It is easy to get house/car insurance estimates on line when you narrowed down your search.

Good luck on your search.

I have family in the Poconos and they love it..it seems pretty nice except for all the yankee fans.
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Old 05-17-2007, 08:04 PM
 
Location: The Commonwealth Of Pennsylvania
115 posts, read 313,912 times
Reputation: 26
lowelltoco,
thanks so much for the helpful info, i've looked into the housing thing and admittedly that is a problem and i know that maine would offer better choices in that area but i am concerned about the price difference of living in NH versus ME, what were your impressions of nh? i hear so much about low nh taxes versus high me taxes that it frightens me even though neither state is a picnic and that's where NC comes into play, but we tend more towards ME/NH
do these take home salary calculators use state specific data or will i need to seek that out and input it into the calculator
i am off to bed now but i can't wait to look further into this, this should help me decide
pa is going to hell in a bucket, it's not what it once was and was never exactly what i wanted
so from your calculations on ME are you getting a favorable or unfavorable picture versus the other states in which you have lived, you have been all over, what state has been the worst and why?
thanks
chris
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Old 05-17-2007, 08:36 PM
 
165 posts, read 35,956 times
Reputation: 46
I hate to always be so negative about the place, but I lived all over the country in the past 20 years - and 10 of those years were in NH. Financially, it's the absolute worst when it comes to securing a decent standard of living. But you couldn't get me out of Maine if you used a crowbar. I can afford to live here.

I think I have a more detailed post about it here someplace. I'll look for it.

Besides that, though, I just completed a day of driving down to Saco and back (househunting), and I realized how proud I am to claim this state as my home - there is no place as beautiful. Please, make sure you see the city of Portland before you decide where to live. If you want a smaller city/town, check out the Bangor area.

Fellow Mainers, we are very blessed to live here. I know I'm gushing , but I spent this entire day taking in some of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen. And meeting even more of the best people I've ever met.

This was just a truly great day.

Mark had a good suggestion, Chris: rent for a while. I'll bet you buy a house within a year.
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Old 05-17-2007, 08:53 PM
 
393 posts, read 1,019,521 times
Reputation: 162
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsJL View Post
Fellow Mainers, we are very blessed to live here. I know I'm gushing , but I spent this entire day taking in some of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen. And meeting even more of the best people I've ever met.
Forgive me if I'm being too forward, but you don't happen to have any photos of this little excursion do you? Also, you mentioned Portland to the original poster. Have you spend much time there? I am considering a move there within the next two years and am just starting to seek out information.

Hi fishinginasuit. I've never made a move in my life at 27 yrs old so I commend you for seeking out a better place for you and your family. Looks like you've done much research on taxes and whatnot. I am curious though as to what other factors you're taking into account. I see you mentioned NC, and while I understand the cost of living there may be low in comparison to New England, is there anything else that is tempting you to move there? I live in FL and loathe it more and more each day. My dream has been to move to New England for about five years. I, too, have my fears. But it's mostly the distance I'll be from my entire family (and slipping on an ice patch ).
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Old 05-17-2007, 09:31 PM
 
Location: Maine
8,516 posts, read 11,241,062 times
Reputation: 7432
FYI: The latest issue of DOWN EAST Magazine has several articles about moving to Maine.
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Old 05-17-2007, 10:14 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
21,913 posts, read 28,821,509 times
Reputation: 8944
I am career military, and have moved around a lot. I have owned homes in Ca, Ct, Wa, and Scotland. And now Maine.

I really do not see what folks are seeing when they try to scare others away from Maine.

Maybe I see different things. Low taxes, cheap land, great schools, wonderful roads, hospitals, ...

The only thing that I miss is handy grains. So many areas of the nation have grain silos. Corn, wheat, barley; you can drive up to a grain silo, make a quick deal and load up your pick-up truck with feed for the next year. Nobody here grows feed grain. Most of Maine is rural, but it is forest rural and not ag rural.
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Old 05-18-2007, 12:32 AM
 
39 posts, read 85,110 times
Reputation: 28
Chris

Below is a link to a calculator for take home pay.

http://www.paycycle.com/external/bus...alculators.jsp

Open the salary paycheck calculator. You can choose a state in the upper right.

I like both ME and NH. My sister lives in Hollis, NH and my brother in Hudson, NH. The rest of my family is just accross the border in MA. I'm the only one who escaped.
I get back every summer and love to visit but S. NH and MA are too crowded for me now. I live in a small town in CO and thats what I will be looking for when I move back to NE. When I do the "find your Spot.com" survey it keeps turning up Littletown, NH and Belfast, ME as my best spots. Its still 1099 days and a wakeup before I can move back so I'm keeping an open mind on the final destination. Today ME is #1, NH is #2.
If I decide to stay working and keep my high stress/pay job then it will probaly be NH #1 and ME #2.

I think you need to break it down into YOUR major outflows of $$ and compare each prospective place.
It will probably be :

Mortgage
Property taxes
Income taxes
Car& Home Insurance

I think the rest of the cost of living is about the same +/- a few percent.
Food and medicine are not taxed in Maine.
You can drive to NH to buy your booze and big ticket items like everybody in MA. if you want.

Besides the financial stuff I think you need to find a school system that is good for your child and offers you a good career opportunity. If you plan to go to grad school make sure there are schools in the area etc....
Make sure there is stuff to make mom happy too, if not it won't matter where you live. I think these types of things are more important than alot of the financial stuff. Take a look at the " find your spot .com" it has a look of lifestyle questions in the survey.

As far as the worst place I have lived. Your probably thinking I will say NJ but it was where I grew up in Lowell, MA.
In the 60s it was pretty run down, the mills had closed up and the rivers were polluted and there were not many opportunities. I joined the Navy right out of HS.
However, it is much better today. I could live there if I had too.
Everyplace I have lived has had something nice.

Good Luck
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Old 05-18-2007, 08:27 AM
 
Location: South Portland, Maine
2,349 posts, read 3,531,624 times
Reputation: 1468
I have done my own research into PA when I was looking to relocate. Its not hard to find a state with less taxes. Even maine probably is not much worse and may even be better. I found PA to be one of those states that have a lot of hidden taxes. Maine is certainly a beautifull state. I personally would prefer Portland south. (THIS MONTHS ISSUE OF KIPLINGER'S CHOSE PORTLAND MAINE AS #1 FOR MID-LIFE PROFESSIONALS) As a teacher I think you will find there are a lot of school districts the pay very well. I come from a family of teachers and even though the starting pay is not as enviting as the starting pay and maybe Ma or NH, a teacher with 10+ yrs and a MA degree should be easily making mid 40's to mid 50's in the right school district, Portland, Lewiston, yarmouth ect ect. You might be interested to know that the teachers just got screwed with their retirement though. New hires have an age 67 requirement. you can retire with 25 yrs of service with 50% pay but your retirement will be reduced 2 1/4% for every year you are under age 67. When teachers retire they get 40% of their medical paid for. Maine retirement also has limits on what you can earn after retrement from Social Security. I do not know the formula but I know they will reduce your retirment once you start collecting more than the amount your allowed. That part might bear some fact checking but there is some kind of limit there. Sorry to be long winded but I'll leave you with this thought. Coming here for a few years to check things out and renting is not a bad idea. Home prices are stabelizing so you really don't have anything to lose. Even though I am looking to relocate I am gladd I came here.
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