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Hi from sunny Southern California
Old 06-15-2014, 07:58 PM   #1
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Hi from sunny Southern California

Hi All,

I retired in 2013. In my former life, I was a CFO. My wife and I planned for retirement by aggressively investing and living below our means.

Today in retirement, I have become an author. Last year, I wrote an investing book. This year, I am writing a book on Social Security benefits.

I live in southern California with my wife and our cats.

David
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Old 06-15-2014, 08:08 PM   #2
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Old 06-15-2014, 09:04 PM   #3
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Looking to possibly move to So Cal but the housing costs and taxes have us concerned...any thoughts on how you have dealt with those?
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Old 06-15-2014, 10:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by urn2bfree View Post
Looking to possibly move to So Cal but the housing costs and taxes have us concerned...any thoughts on how you have dealt with those?
Hmmm... well, that's difficult... Taxes are HIGH. Home prices are high, but not as high as SF and the peninsula where the Google, FB, and other silicon valley employees continue to bid up home prices.

My best suggestion in So Cal (this advice would apply anywhere) is to buy less than you are approved for by the lender. There are areas that are much more expensive than others. Most people moving to SD, LA, and the OC want to live by the beach, but you'll get much more bang for your buck, the further inland you go.
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Old 06-15-2014, 11:00 PM   #5
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Welcome Dollar Bits.

urn2bfree - In some parts of California, housing is not too much more expensive than other areas of the country -

DQNews - California Home Sale Activity by City Chart

We plan to move to a less expensive county than where we live now and downsize to a condo or townhouse. One thing to keep in mind is if you live some place with nice weather most of the year -

kelly norton: The Pleasant Places to Live

you can be outside a big part of the day and may not need as much indoor space as you would some place with more precipitation or temperature extremes.
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Old 06-15-2014, 11:43 PM   #6
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Actually CA taxes are only high if you're rich. For ordinary mortals of lesser means it's actually a pretty reasonable place to retire. While those "worst states to retire to" sites make much of California's 12.3% top bracket, that only applies for a rather lofty $500K+ income.

More relevant to many of us is that the state tax is only 3.5% on the first $39K of income. Furthermore, though real estate entry costs are high, after a few years of inflation the stabilizing effects of Prop 13 mean that property taxes for long term residents tend to be pretty low as well.
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Old 06-16-2014, 12:58 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort View Post
Welcome Dollar Bits.

urn2bfree - In some parts of California, housing is not too much more expensive than other areas of the country -

DQNews - California Home Sale Activity by City Chart

We plan to move to a less expensive county than where we live now and downsize to a condo or townhouse. One thing to keep in mind is if you live some place with nice weather most of the year -

kelly norton: The Pleasant Places to Live

you can be outside a big part of the day and may not need as much indoor space as you would some place with more precipitation or temperature extremes.
That pleasant places data is interesting. There are places that have a higher number of pleasant days than others but when you look at the distribution, if the pleasant days are bunched (as in the Northeast) you spend huge blocks of time with unpleasant days -(and for me, prolonged winter unpleasantness is far worse than prolonged summer unpleasantness) its not just the absolute number of days but also how they are spread around...
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Old 06-16-2014, 02:01 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by urn2bfree View Post
That pleasant places data is interesting. There are places that have a higher number of pleasant days than others but when you look at the distribution, if the pleasant days are bunched (as in the Northeast) you spend huge blocks of time with unpleasant days -(and for me, prolonged winter unpleasantness is far worse than prolonged summer unpleasantness) its not just the absolute number of days but also how they are spread around...
There are some nice suburbs of Sacramento where the home prices are much less than the big coastal metro areas. It is a flatter and hot there in summer but only an hours drive to the Bay Area and not too far from the Sierra foothills. It is one of the sunniest cities in the U.S. -

http://money.usnews.com/money/retire...aces-to-retire

I used to live in the Midwest so I understand prolonged winters.

Away from the coast and job markets the housing prices can get quite reasonable. It helps to look at crime rates, too, as some of the smaller cities have surprisingly high crime levels, even compared to the more urban metro areas -

California Crime Index City Rank
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:48 PM   #9
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What % is CA sales tax ?
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:56 PM   #10
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What % is CA sales tax ?

https://www.ftb.ca.gov/forms/2013_ca...emptions.shtml

https://maps.gis.ca.gov/boe/TaxRates/
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Old 06-17-2014, 12:17 PM   #11
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Southern California! Sure love visiting, but I'm pretty sure we could never afford to retire there. Congratulations on retirement and don't take for granted the great weather there!
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