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Old 03-05-2015, 01:10 PM
 
Location: NNV
1,519 posts, read 975,653 times
Reputation: 3096

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Again, I would ask the OP to do their research on taxes. Not only state taxes but property taxes, sales taxes, etc...I think they would find in their situation the tax level in CA is not that bad considering their income level. I have seen a study (can't find the link) that Washington is not tax friendly overall for lower and lower mid income levels. Oregon and CA were better than WA, AZ was slightly better than OR and CA and NV was slightly better than AZ. A bit if an eye opener for those who believe WA's and CA's reputation.

In regards to So. Cal. property taxes, newer homes (less than 20-25 years old) are generally assessed a Mello-Roos tax which amounts to about 0.75 percent of the value of a home ($2,250 on a $300,000 house) on top of the regular property tax (in the 1% range). This is to pay for the new infrastructure of a housing tract. You will save some money on this if you buy an "older" house. When I look at houses, I always ask about the tax rate for that house and whether there is Mello-Roos.

I agree the PNW meets a lot of their needs but I did not suggest it because of the weather issue. Sure it has great summers but it is gray and damp 8 months of the year. That would be a substantial adjustment and some can't handle it. There is a big difference between 100 days of sun a year and 200+ days of sun per year.
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Old 03-05-2015, 03:29 PM
 
Location: Maine's garden spot
3,162 posts, read 5,697,620 times
Reputation: 3292
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nor'Eastah View Post
I won't (can't) suggest any particular city, but as a retiree, I have some suggestions, as you look:

*Avoid California, Arizona, Nevada, etc. This drought will worsen, before it improves.
*Look for LOW cost-of-living. Pensions make you feel rich at first, but after a few years? No...
*Stay away from any place so hot that you need air-conditioning all summer. That will get expensive. It would be better to endure just a little cold in winter, to be able to get outside in summer.
*Just because you can afford $300K doesn't mean you should spend that much. Going into retirement with a mortgage is never a good idea. The smaller the mortgage, the better.

If you still can't decide, do what we did: get a small place in the north, and a small place down south!
I have to agree with you! A summer place up north and a winter place to the south...
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Old 03-05-2015, 05:21 PM
 
6,593 posts, read 1,357,711 times
Reputation: 16655
Take the Find Your Spot quiz. (Google it.) Extensive questioning of likes and dislikes, and easy to use. VERY helpful.
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Old 03-05-2015, 05:45 PM
 
7,928 posts, read 5,042,332 times
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The OP's question is THE central question for so many of us! Mild climate, decent cultural/urban amenities, reasonable taxes, good access to transportation. It's the mythical combination! Where to find it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graywhiskers View Post
Can't beat the climate, or cultural activities in California. Great scenery. Move away from the main populated areas and costs become reasonable. Taxes are only high on the wealthy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic Romano View Post
Again, I would ask the OP to do their research on taxes. Not only state taxes but property taxes, sales taxes, etc...I think they would find in their situation the tax level in CA is not that bad considering their income level. I have seen a study (can't find the link) that Washington is not tax friendly overall for lower and lower mid income levels.
Everyone's situation is of course different, but the CA state income tax is highly "progressive". It's especially harsh on single-folks (though that won't affect the OP). I love the coastal Californian combination of climate, diversity, access to transportation, and cultural amenities. But the income taxes are a staggering detractor.

For similar reasons, the Seattle area is strongly worthy of consideration.
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:13 PM
 
15 posts, read 17,533 times
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Thanks to everyone for your comments and invaluable suggestions. I am getting new perspectives. Reno, Nevada is also looking attractive for its mid-size, weather, taxes, and proximity to California, though some of you have raised the water scarcity concern - is that expected to be a big problem? I had ruled out California because of the taxes but might give it a fresh look. And I just did the Find your spot quiz. It brought up cities like Little Rock, Arkansas among others in the South.

Related observation NRN: In many of the postings/replies on the city-data forums, I feel/sense the warmth, humanity, and goodness we collectively reflect, making the world a better place for all.
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:37 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,740,386 times
Reputation: 32304
Default Little Rock, Arkansas

I have spent a few days at a time in Little Rock four or five different times over the years, visiting my sister. It isn't a place much on the radar for retirees, but I have often thought it would be a nice place to live.

It has a four season climate, but not extreme. There are two or three light snowfalls during a typical winter, but it doesn't stick very long. The summers are pretty hot and humid, but they aren't as bad as the U.S. Gulf Coast. The city is big enough to have an airport with regularly scheduled flights, and big enough to have some cultural activities. There are a number of state parks in the foothills of the Ozarks close enough to Little Rock to drive to for a day hike and still go home that same evening. The cost of living is low, especially compared to the major U.S. cities.

One could do a lot worse than Little Rock.
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Old 03-05-2015, 09:17 PM
 
Location: Murrieta California
2,994 posts, read 3,749,105 times
Reputation: 2127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic Romano View Post
Again, I would ask the OP to do their research on taxes. Not only state taxes but property taxes, sales taxes, etc...I think they would find in their situation the tax level in CA is not that bad considering their income level. I have seen a study (can't find the link) that Washington is not tax friendly overall for lower and lower mid income levels. Oregon and CA were better than WA, AZ was slightly better than OR and CA and NV was slightly better than AZ. A bit if an eye opener for those who believe WA's and CA's reputation.

In regards to So. Cal. property taxes, newer homes (less than 20-25 years old) are generally assessed a Mello-Roos tax which amounts to about 0.75 percent of the value of a home ($2,250 on a $300,000 house) on top of the regular property tax (in the 1% range). This is to pay for the new infrastructure of a housing tract. You will save some money on this if you buy an "older" house. When I look at houses, I always ask about the tax rate for that house and whether there is Mello-Roos.

I agree the PNW meets a lot of their needs but I did not suggest it because of the weather issue. Sure it has great summers but it is gray and damp 8 months of the year. That would be a substantial adjustment and some can't handle it. There is a big difference between 100 days of sun a year and 200+ days of sun per year.
Not all new homes in CA have Mello Roos fees. We have purchased 5 new homes in San Diego, San Francisco Bay Area and Murrieta. None of them had Mello Roos nor additional fees other than some small fees. Our total tax rate was/is 1.12%. Ir depends if the developer paid for the infrastructure and included it in the price of the homes.
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Old 03-05-2015, 09:20 PM
 
Location: Murrieta California
2,994 posts, read 3,749,105 times
Reputation: 2127
Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinB View Post
I have to agree with you! A summer place up north and a winter place to the south...
Sounds great until you are too old to move twice a year. Much better to live in a place where you don't need to escape the weather. We have great weather all year so never feel any need to escape.
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Old 03-05-2015, 09:22 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,100 posts, read 22,968,690 times
Reputation: 35282
Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
PNW Can't beat the summers. WA is income tax free. OR is sales tax free (Retire to WA, shop / recreate in OR)

Camas, / Washougal, WA. MANY retiree India nationals (and other Asians, many International social events, grocery, and community groups), Tax free state, 10 min to income tax free and GAMING / trendy / music / weird Portland, OR (and nearby INTEL). (Direct flights to NAR, enroute to Asia), CHEAP direct flights to CA ($23.10 to SAN for CHEAP sun).

Bellingham / Ferndale, WA and enjoy proximity to Vancouver BC (airport and culture)
Many India nationals, also surprising number in Lynden, WA (Especially BC residents buying milk at Etaleen Dairy! (near border crossing). Edaleen Dairy Ice Cream Shop, Lynden - Restaurant Reviews & Phone Number - TripAdvisor

Austin proper has high property taxes. Great little towns nearby are many and taxes are less than 1/2 Austin, especially if you buy rural and a modular home. Wimberley is very nice and nearby, and closer to San Antonio (air alternatives 1 hr apart SAT vs AUS), Summer heat may drive you to PNW (Oregon / WA). We have rural (rental) homes each place; Income tax free TX (Kerrville) and WA. We live (for FREE) in cabin / guesthouse / apartment on the property. Main home is rented for 10% positive cash flow. Each location was under $100k and great views and much wildlife at the homes, recreation is 'just at the doorway in each place... Recreation center of region)! Since both TX and WA props (and CO props) are rentals that we repair and manage, travel between is a tax deductible expense AGAINST income generated from such!(within IRS rules) (it is better than a personal deduction 1:1 vs 1:90(10% tax rate as a retiree)). .

I spent 25+ yrs in Colorado, but Denver is not on my top 1,000 towns in Colorado.
Weather was VERY mild in Loveland / Berthoud (garden spot of Colorado). Sunny and allergy free for most part. Very EZ access to Boulder or Ft Collins (good place for your kids). Water is a BIG issue in Colorado. Buy a cheap home on acreage near town (but on well and with irrigation rights and a canal running through property. Another great choice in Colorado is Colorado Springs. Colorado is not as nationality diverse as CA or PNW.

I hate to be the bearer of BAD news... but you are not depending on Obamacare, it was only a 'loss leader' i.e. not funded. It was a perk to USA insurance and medical industry. It will be leaving us with dire options as retirees. As you know, India is very popular for medical tourism. Keep your ticket bought in case of emergency. As a USA 'BIG spender' with big bucks (by India standards) you will be well cared for in India (or Malaysia / Thailand / Philippines if you need something closer).

Your 'friends' in USA gov will bring you alternatives to ACA. They will be missing the first A (affordable). USA GOV has disbanded all of my affordable early retirement HC options (Retired pre age 50).
I will respond to living in Bellingham, Wa, which I did - it's dismal. Cloudy in good weather, and icy and freezing with snow in bad. It's depressing weather, but beautiful otherwise. I don't think it will suit the OP though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cherrylimeade View Post
We've been looking at moving to the Phoenix area, not for retirement (well, not for a few decades) but because we want a sunny climate, reasonable cost of living, and scenic places to visit nearby.

We're seeing plenty of nice newer houses in the low 200s, I'm guessing that high 200s or 300 would get you the square footage you want. Many areas are safe and pleasant (we liked Tempe and Chandler best, although the suburb of Gilbert is known for being extremely low in crime). Property tax and (I'm told) income tax are low. Winters are 70-80F and sunny (we went in February and spent the whole week in sandals and t-shirts). Big international airport. Some high tech, though not like California. Beautiful places to visit like the Grand Canyon and numerous desert trails and spectacular sunsets.

Politically I've heard the area leans conservative (libertarian?) but I don't plan on striking up political discussions with strangers anyway. I don't recall the health insurance marketplace looking great, but I was looking into an outfit called Meritus for individual insurance and it seemed OK.

The downside - the place is blazing hot in the summers. Mitigating factor: it is a dry heat. I'm told a lot of people try to stay indoors in the air conditioning in mid-summer. We were there in June and found it hot but manageable.
Dry heat is still heat. I just moved from Redding CA, to Crescent City, CA. Prior to that I lived in the SF Bay Area. I also lived in the Nashville, TN area for 5 years many years ago. The thing is, 110 degrees is still 110 degrees. This is uncomfortable even if it's dry heat. Add 90% humidity, and obviously that's worse. But, nobody is comfortable at 110 degrees wet or dry. So, it always irritates me when I hear that, "Oh, but it's a dry heat." So, 110 dry is comfortable? Nope.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic Romano View Post
Again, I would ask the OP to do their research on taxes.
This is true. Every state will find a way to meet it's needs with taxes. So, you need to look at the overall effect on your particular situation. Some have no sales tax, but tax the heck out of real estate, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by andy1918 View Post
Thanks to everyone for your comments and invaluable suggestions. I am getting new perspectives. Reno, Nevada is also looking attractive for its mid-size, weather, taxes, and proximity to California, though some of you have raised the water scarcity concern - is that expected to be a big problem? I had ruled out California because of the taxes but might give it a fresh look. And I just did the Find your spot quiz. It brought up cities like Little Rock, Arkansas among others in the South.
I wouldn't worry about the water scarcity problem, unless you are planning on growing almonds or rice. We won't run out of water.

Reno is okay, but kind of depressed economically. I don't see you having options for your kids there for technology, etc. Plus, it's cold in winter and hot in summer.
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Old 03-05-2015, 09:26 PM
 
Location: Murrieta California
2,994 posts, read 3,749,105 times
Reputation: 2127
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
The OP's question is THE central question for so many of us! Mild climate, decent cultural/urban amenities, reasonable taxes, good access to transportation. It's the mythical combination! Where to find it?





Everyone's situation is of course different, but the CA state income tax is highly "progressive". It's especially harsh on single-folks (though that won't affect the OP). I love the coastal Californian combination of climate, diversity, access to transportation, and cultural amenities. But the income taxes are a staggering detractor.

For similar reasons, the Seattle area is strongly worthy of consideration.
I am retired with a retirement income of $92,000 /yr. We live in California and don't pay any state income tax at all. My income is from SS, dividends, and annuities. SS is not taxed in CA.

I lived in Seattle and can't stand the months and months of dreary wet depressing weather.
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