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Old 08-07-2010, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 19,004,474 times
Reputation: 15649

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re: COL from one area to another--

Wisteria, first, I'm in a nice area, not a wealthy area. The only wealthy areas here (as a generalized term) are around Boston). Second, some of the worst places to live (unsafe, high crime, rundown inner cities) in my state have the most outrageous taxes. If my little house were in the closest (run down) city, my taxes would be twice as high.

So, there's no correlation (at least in this part of NE) between "wealthy area" and "not so nice area" when it comes to property taxes.

"High" and "Low" when we talk about taxes is a relative thing. Some would say my $2500/yr is low. It is low, compared with other places, but for me, it is too high. I would like to be paying $700/yr, based on my income. That's not going to happen here or in CA, so for me, here and CA is "too high." Is it high for others? Depends on their income. So you are right, we cannot generalize about COL unless we know what kind of income we're dealing with.

The problem that seniors are going to face is that many/most of us are on a fixed income, or will be. We may, the heavens willing, be living 20 or 30 more years. Even if we're able to afford our taxes now, at the rate that they are being hiked (from overrides or not), we can do the math and see where those taxes will be 5, 10 or 20 years from now. The states that are on the skids financially (NY, MA, MI, CA, etc) are the ones that are going to be pressing their homeowners more and more over the years. For those who have the resources, it's no sweat.

For the record, I would like to relocate and have been looking to do so for nearly 5 years. Because I'm on a very modest income, I have to weigh everything very, very carefully. If I move away to save $1000 in prop taxes but have to use that same $1000 for several flights back to see grandchildren, am I doing myself a favor by moving? If I have to pay twice as much to purchase a similar home to what I have in a lovely place like CA, my property taxes will be more as well. Am I making out financially?

The only thing that astounds me is the cost difference in utilities. I heat my house mostly with wood but that with some backup oil costs me $1400 for the winter. That's about $120/month. But my electric bill is $100/mo. If I were able to reduce that $220/month to maybe $60, I could then put that gained $160/month toward the higher taxes I might have to pay in a more expensive area. BUT for sure I will be paying much more for to purchase a house, so I have to watch the figures closely.

I have spreadsheets of all these factors, including utilities, use of car in various scenarios, etc. I have done my homework thoroughly, comparing the several areas I would consider moving to.

Now, some folks can make a retiree change based on liking the winters better someplace else. I wish I were in that boat! But as I said earlier, it's not only what your pocketbook can afford today as we sit here relatively young, but what it can afford 10 or 15 years from now. Some would say, well, wait till the worst happens and THEN make a move. But I don't want to be making a move in my 70s. If I'm going to make a change, it's going to be soon while I still have a good amount of health.

Yes it is true that if you want to live someplace you can make it happen. But if you are already living on a bottom line budget (no trips to Europe for me! ), then you are dealing with another reality altogether that many commenting here on "moves" cannot understand.

After my one month trial with a housemate, I'm going to open myself up to other possibililties if it doesn't pan out. For now I'm remaining positive and keeping a close eye on the economy (which mainstream media does not report on) and on what's happening in the states around the country economically and otherwise. I'll stay open to any suggestions given here as well!

Last edited by RiverBird; 08-07-2010 at 01:23 PM..

 
Old 08-07-2010, 03:46 PM
 
Location: Monterey Bay, California -- watching the sea lions, whales and otters! :D
1,918 posts, read 6,245,561 times
Reputation: 2651
I am in a different position at this point in time -- currently, I am still working, thus, I have a much higher income than I will when retired...but I also know what I will get when I retire, so I know that I can also apply for low-income housing in CA....in spite of the fact that I currently own, and do have a mortgage. That is precisely why I am working, even though I would rather not -- I have a very stressful job situation, and I may well be laid off next year (the last two years we have been doing annual 20% cuts....there's not much more room to cut, and I can think of at least 3 positions they could cut, including mine, for next year).

For me, I am staying here because my daughter is here -- so although I, originally, was contemplating a different place, I am remaining here. No trips to Europe for me in retirement, either! I am setting aside some income to, hopefully, go with my daughter just before I retire....but I can do that pretty cheaply, too -- of course, that means doing all the arrangements on my own, booking everything, being spontaneous and turning on a dime. It may be a little tougher than when I was younger, but that's okay. It's an adventure.

I guess I'm not worried about 10-15 years down the road, because by then I'll be well into my 70s, and realistically, it might be better in a seniors' low-income place (if I'm even around!). I have already toured one place, and it has a lot of what one needs (not a nursing home, of course, just a well put together complex). It is centrally located, on a bus line, walkable to the yacht harbor, and has a grocery store nearby within walking distance. It's definitely going on my option list!

If I had to assume certain things that might not happen in 10-15 years, I'd go crazy! I think I am at a more mellow place now that I know I already sold my home and do have a more affordable place. I have been making changes because of my income -- so that I can live on my retirement income. Although I might rather stay in this place, if I can get a place that only takes 1/3 of my income, rather than a majority of it, then I'll do that. I'll see when the time comes (it's a long waiting list). In the meantime I'm using Ram Dass's advice: Be here now.

I see this as the end game, and I see how people have problems, illnesses, injuries in older age -- not to mention that dementia can take one out of the game early. Plus, you can just drop dead! I have had quite a few close friends of mine die in the past two years and they were only in their sixties -- that has made me realize that to worry so much about the future, just is not worth it -- life takes strange turns, sometimes. So, although I actually do tend to be a worrier, I feel more at peace knowing that I am setting things up cheaper for myself, and looking long-term at that long waiting list for a seniors complex. I did not want to give up my country home, but I knew I could not afford it in retirement nor the upkeep....I still mourn the loss of it. On the other hand, I had to make a compromise in order to not only survive in retirement, but to also stay here. It is a bittersweet feeling to me about selling my home (and not getting much for it), but it is what it is -- I had to do what I had to do to reduce my expenses -- that was my compromise. I imagine many other people in my position will also be making compromises -- especially single women.

At this point, I figure where I am offers a lot, I did compromise, and I feel good about it. I also am staying here because of my daughter -- so in a way I am not actually relocating at all except from one town to another -- I, too, am remaining in the same area.

No one is saying that your decision to be there because of family and expenses is foolish -- it would be more foolish to want more and get less. I am not sure why you even want to relocate -- except for the property taxes -- but I think you also said that you discovered that there are tax breaks for seniors, too. That will help. For me, I had to actually give up my home -- although I had a mortgage there, too, but much higher than here.

I'm just breaking some stereotypes -- that's all. And CA may have a budget problem, but there are also other good things that off-set it. Anyplace has something -- I accept that. Perfection does not exist, except in the imagination! I'm just glad that if I get laid off next year, that I can start collecting S.S. -- maybe not as much as I wanted, but at least it is there. It is a tough economic time for many of us -- and I know the feeling of wanting to keep your home you've had for ages. For me, I had to bite the bullet and give it up -- I still am very wistful about doing that -- but I also knew I could not stay in this area, or afford retirement if I did not sell....so I did.

There are many options for people -- but people have to be willing to make those compromises. Old age is not something I look forward to, however, I want to have things set up in such a way that I have a Plan B. Thank goodness I was wild in my youth! Ha ha! I can't afford to invest in a long-term care program -- I wish I could. And, fortunately, utilities are low here (I used to heat with wood, too, and I no longer have to haul two cords of wood each winter).

The reality is, we don't know what's going to happen in 10-15 years. The best thing is to just set things up so there's a back-up plan, live within a budget, and sometimes it means giving up things. There's always something we're dealing with in life....that's what life is all about -- those regular ups and downs. By now, we should be used to it!

So for me, I am actively working to get myself into a better financial situation for retirement. I may not get to put in another two - three years of work...I may get laid off, so I have to anticipate that bump in the road, too.

For those who have the income/set-up and can make it, all the more power to them. For those of us who are lower income, we may need to make compromises that maybe we don't want to make, but are necessary to survive. That is why each individual case is so different and why I urge people to look at their own situation accurately.
 
Old 08-09-2010, 06:37 AM
 
967 posts, read 920,661 times
Reputation: 1890
Latashia---thanks for your insightful response to my post! Sure do appreciate it!
I've been working on jewelry today and it feels good. I decided to dig my stuff out even though I have no place to go with it yet----haven't got my art room set up and tons of supplies still in boxes. I sold my cabinets so need to buy something to put stuff in. Anyway-----I signed up to do an art show back in the Midwest in the town where I lived for 33 years. I've done it before with mixed results, but thought if I could sell enough to make back my expenses, and pay for my flight there, I could visit with friends, too, and see my son/family in Iowa.

I'm not doing anything difficult or especially innovative----mostly simple beading---but I love to do it. I enjoy the gorgeous beads, the colors, the design---and of course, I MUST buy more (more, more, more!!!!) because it's a business expense---right?? *wink, wink*

I finally found an insurance company that offered me a policy. It's been very scarey making the decision, because I am truly "burning my bridges" and will be unable to go back to my insurance in IL. even if I moved back there. There are so many limitations on coverage because of all my pre-existing conditions. What really makes me sad is that my brand name medication isn't covered. This medicine has worked so well for me---I hate to give it up. But I will check to see if I can get help from company that makes it. I just decided I never want to go back to IL. and would do whatever it takes to stay here in Az. where I love it.

The quandry I was in about insurance, and the looming decision to be made is what triggered the depression. There didn't seem to be any hope, so I stopped unpacking, stopped doing much of any thing. I was so sad to think I had just gotten here, only to be forced to return. I was turned down quite a few times. It was hard to keep looking and not just give up----that stuff is so darn hard to read and understand, too! I hope I didn't make a wrong decision, but I researched a lot, and even though this isn't nearly as good as I had, at least it's something. The cost is about $600 a month. I'm so grateful my ex is still paying it for me. The policy that was a little better and would cover my meds (partially) was over $1,000 a month!!! Isn't that outrageous?

So, girls, I guess I'm bounding back again! I feel hopeful, at least in some way, because the darn decision has been made, and I get to stay here where I love it!! I feel so lucky in that regard. I'm in one of those "cookie cutter" houses in a vast subdivision where everything looks the same. Not what I'd prefer, but even though it's cramped and houses are just jammed together, i do have a fenced back yard ( only thing back there right now is bare dirt(sand) and lots of tumbleweeds) with a "view fence" that backs up against the "wash" (kinda like a culvert, I think),and it's pretty to look at with pecan trees and desert vegitation. And I wish I weren't so far away from everything, but the plus side to that is it's almost like being in the country. The people all seem nice, and actually pretty quiet, for the most part, and I just love being able to look up into the night sky and see the stars!!!!! You don't usually get that in the city.

I went shopping the other night---I left at 6:30 pm and didn't get back until 2am--it was kinda nice having the store mostly to myself. But anytime i go out for a while, it takes so much time for me to recover. I slept 17 hrs straight through and totally lost Friday! Then I really get confused and can't figure out what day it is!

A lot of the stores stay open until 10pm and then some (like WalMart) are open all night. I found a LOT of beading supplies on sale there for 1 and 2 dollars. I was in just that one store for 3 hours by the time I got everything taken care of. I still had a lot of supplies to get that I'd left behind in the move---like bucket, plunger, scrub brushes, cleaning supplies, all the stuff for the car etc. It sure adds up! (and of course had to look at all the beads over and over again!)

There's been a lot of talk about taxes/cost of living etc. lately. I feel so fortunate here, My property taxes are at least HALF what I paid in IL. for a bigger house that cost about the same! Can't beat that----unless there's someplace with no taxes at all????? There's been a lot of interest in incorporating with a near-by city. I'm not sure why, but I assume for some of the services. If that happens, it appears our taxes will go up. Hope that doesn't happen. But the point is, you can move someplace that seems great, that you researched etc. but nothing is static. You never know what might be down the road in terms of change.And I think it's been said before on here, that no place is perfect. You just have to figure out what compromises you're willing to make for what benefits you want. Then go for it and not look back!

Thanks for letting me ramble on (and on....and on, etc).

Last edited by artangel; 08-09-2010 at 06:51 AM.. Reason: spelling errors
 
Old 08-09-2010, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Monterey Bay, California -- watching the sea lions, whales and otters! :D
1,918 posts, read 6,245,561 times
Reputation: 2651
Quote:
Artangel: So, girls, I guess I'm bounding back again! I feel hopeful, at least in some way, because the darn decision has been made, and I get to stay here where I love it!! I feel so lucky in that regard. I'm in one of those "cookie cutter" houses in a vast subdivision where everything looks the same. Not what I'd prefer, but even though it's cramped and houses are just jammed together, i do have a fenced back yard ( only thing back there right now is bare dirt(sand) and lots of tumbleweeds) with a "view fence" that backs up against the "wash" (kinda like a culvert, I think),and it's pretty to look at with pecan trees and desert vegitation. And I wish I weren't so far away from everything, but the plus side to that is it's almost like being in the country. The people all seem nice, and actually pretty quiet, for the most part, and I just love being able to look up into the night sky and see the stars!!!!! You don't usually get that in the city.
Wow, that sounds great! I used to live in Phoenix and I know about those beautiful starry skies at night -- they are so fantastic. I especially loved it when we'd go away for the day, to say Sedona, and then come back when it was dark, and driving through the desert seeing more stars that I ever saw in my life! So peaceful and gorgeous! That location should be very inspirational for you with beads -- "star beads!" Sounds wonderful!

You are doing a great job! After all that worry, the stress, the changes .... it's worked out! It just goes to show what perseverance can do! Congratulations!! I'm so glad you let us know about all the positive changes you just had.

And great luck on your beading and art work! With beading, you could even have an online business selling your work...and I'm sure there are places around there to sell, if you want to.

I love the desert. For me, I did try, but Phoenix did not work for me....things seemed to go the opposite direction in many ways, and finally I felt compelled to move, and went to Colorado where it was just the opposite. But there are days that I long for those warm nights, starry skies, the comforting feel of the quiet desert! I can imagine it all now! Again, congratulations, and I'm so happy it has worked out and you are living your dream!!
 
Old 08-11-2010, 06:17 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 19,004,474 times
Reputation: 15649
After using my new name for a bit I've decided to change my name from Latashia back to newenglandgirl. Sorry to confuse everyone. No more changes, really!!
 
Old 08-11-2010, 06:27 AM
 
Location: Washington DC
12 posts, read 20,269 times
Reputation: 11
When I retired after recession, i moved to Maryland. In a calm environment I thought to explore my life and yes I went to Alaska, and other states.
Spent 1/4 th of my retirement income but yes I did find a good job later.
 
Old 08-11-2010, 09:28 AM
 
2 posts, read 3,129 times
Reputation: 10
Consider Denver! We have more days of sunshine than any other city in the US. In Denver, Windsor Gardens is a great active adult community (I love it here), well managed and close enough to downtown that there is easy access to lots of activities. Windsor Gardens - Home I am a transplanted Easterner, too, and do not think I could live back East again.
 
Old 08-11-2010, 04:05 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 19,004,474 times
Reputation: 15649
Quote:
Originally Posted by smontg01 View Post
Consider Denver! We have more days of sunshine than any other city in the US. In Denver, Windsor Gardens is a great active adult community (I love it here), well managed and close enough to downtown that there is easy access to lots of activities. Windsor Gardens - Home I am a transplanted Easterner, too, and do not think I could live back East again.
Wow, lovely photos! Are these one-floor or two? Does the monthly condo fee cover anything besides upkeep, or might it include property insurance or any utilities---about how much monthly is that fee?

Sounds like you found a great place.
 
Old 08-11-2010, 05:53 PM
 
Location: SoCal desert
8,093 posts, read 13,249,708 times
Reputation: 14870
Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
After using my new name for a bit I've decided to change my name from Latashia back to newenglandgirl. Sorry to confuse everyone. No more changes, really!!
Welcome back NEG
 
Old 08-12-2010, 04:48 AM
 
9 posts, read 25,763 times
Reputation: 12
newenglandgirl,
thanks for the advice, i have spent 3 months converswing with a few people I have contacted down there already. I am confident that the area I am relocating to is not "bad". I am in contact with 32 different New Bernians on a weekly basis (if not more often).
There are good and bad in all towns . I am sure we will be fine.
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