Concerned about living costs, have you considered relocating?

by Larry Steward
(Aiken, SC)

That is an important decision to consider. Not all 50 states are good for retirees. A group called Finance101 created an analysis of the worst states to retire in after compiling data on the price of living, taxes, medical care, and considering other factors like weather.

My wife and I were living in Connecticut when I reached my retirement age. We started evaluating how prepared we were to continue the lifestyle we liked in our retirement years. Our cost of living was a big concern. It was challenging for us to save as much as we wanted. We knew the overall cost were expensive to live in Connecticut, however I wasn’t sure how other states ranked.

The thought of relocation was not a major consideration, at least not right away. On the other hand, we had the flexibility to relocate since we had our own work from home businesses, we were empty nesters, and we didn’t have relatives nearby.

Then after reading articles comparing the cost of living rankings of all states, it became clear that there were many benefits of moving to South Carolina. Here is what convinced us:

Connecticut:

- Kiplinger ranked Connecticut 5th overall as the worst place to retire for these reasons:

It ranks among the 10 tax-unfriendliest states for retirees. Real estate taxes are the second-highest in the country. Some residents face taxes on Social Security benefits, and most other retirement income is fully taxed, with no exemptions or tax credits to ease the burden.

- All those taxes come on top of high living costs for food, rent, etc.

- Another motivator to move was putting up with snow storms and the long miserable winters in Connecticut.

South Carolina:

- South Carolina’s tax code is great for retirees; not only is Social Security not taxable, but there’s a sizable deduction for other kinds of retirement income.
Those under 65 can claim a $3,000 deduction, while those over 65 can claim $15,000, making it extremely friendly for seniors receiving income from sources other than Social Security.

- Property taxes are also among the lowest in the nation.

- The day-to-day cost of living, which includes things like groceries and rent is 7% lower than the rest of the nation.

- The average annual temperature is 64.2°F.

- People all over the nation think of the South as being particularly hospitable, and this appealed to us as well. In fact, Charleston, the largest city in the state, has been voted the friendliest city in America by Condé Nast.

- The small town of Aiken where we settled has all the stores, restaurants, shopping centers and other conveniences we enjoy.

- And this may be the real deciding factor, my darling wife can ride her horse just about any day of the year in this warm weather, horse-friendly town.

- Oh yeah, I don’t have to shovel snow anymore. What could be better than that?

So if you feel that your living costs are getting too high, maybe relocation will help solve the problem. Any thoughts or experiences about relocating?

Comments for Concerned about living costs, have you considered relocating?

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cheaper living
by: Cindi H, Ohio

I hope you enjoy your retirement in SC. However, I'm not sure how the stats came up with avg yearly temp of 64ish.

I live in NC for 49 years and I can tell you that although late fall, winter and spring are great weatherwise, you will be cooked in the summer. Not unusual to have over 70 days of weather in the 90's or above. And of course SC is similar.

Since it doesn't really get cold for too long I'm not sure what they balanced the 90's with to come up with avg 64.

Just sayin!

other ways to reduce expenses
by: Anonymous

Home sharing sounds good. But I would imagine (not like) that it is illegal to advertise just for seniors. Anybody know? And how do you know you are not just getting some sort of "Squatter"?

Retiring Smart
by: Port Charlotte FL

Larry, you deserve a lot of credit for doing your research before deciding just where you wanted to retire. People should compare all of that like you did as there are some big differences.

Like SC, Florida is very senior friendly. The state has no state income tax. Also no school tax as education is mainly funded by lottery proceeds. You don't need winter clothing, a money saver there. And, like you said, you don't have to shovel snow.

Other ways to reduce expenses
by: Michael Hertel

I would like to reduce my expenses by sharing my home with 5 or more other seniors. I have six bedrooms and only need 1.

If all expenses such as house payment, taxes, cable, water, power were divided by 6, Then it goes down into about 200 dollars a month.

That would be affordable to most I hope. It would sure be easier than paying the whole thing on ones own.

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