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Old 02-17-2014, 10:46 AM   #41
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We have been in the "City of Kings" (Lima,Peru) for the past 11 years and are very happy here.

Temp's rarely get below 58 in winter or 79 in summer.
Constant ocean breezes,
No rain,lightning,thunder,hail,snow,hurricanes,Tornad oes,bugs,snakes,feral pigs or things that go bump in the night!

Rents are cheap, We live in the fashionable district of Miraflores and pay $767.00 for a three bedroom luxury apartment a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean.

RE taxes of $500.00/year on a 1700 sq ft Ocean View Penthouse we own. Includes city water/sewage 7 day garbage pickup (no recycling needed) 6 day mail delivery, 24 hr private security force in addition to National/transit/tourist police.

No car necessary as all stores,movie theaters,private clinics,malls,restaurants,cafes/bars,casino's,etc are within 17 sq blocks. I think there might even be a few churches?

Cheap health insurance/dental work, doctors make house calls and my clinic makes Ocean front rooms available.

Maids,Nurses,Hookers and handymen are low cost and plentiful.

One Hour drive to the high desert for winter Sun,swimming and hiking.
One hour flight to Cusco (Belly of the Earth) and Macchu Picchu.
One hour flight to float on the Amazon River or experience Jungle flora/fauna or cheap hookers.

Unfortunately, for us we will have to leave Paradise for 10 years or so to educate our young children and make sure my YW will always qualify for my SS Survivor benefits. Current plan is to return when I am 75 or so and buy a Chacra in the foothills of the Andes (an hour away from the city) or a Coffee plantation(8 hours drive) in the High Jungle. We may buy 73 hectares ( 200+ acres)outside Oxapampa with a private waterfall from a friend of mine in the states who bought years ago for $100k and will now part with it for 42K.
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:50 AM   #42
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My Sacramento estimate can be applied to various places in California where house price can be dropped in half. But I am getting more and more annoyed by CA tax situation (prop, sales, income). Sales tax is now averaging close to 10%. Property tax + all the fees can go up to 1.7% of house assessment. Depending on how I fund my RE income, I have to pay State Income tax. They all add up and causing havoc to my FireCalc results .
Sacramento is quite a bit hotter and flatter, but some of the overbuilt Bay Area fringe suburbs will get you a newish house with low maintenance costs, still give you easy access to the Bay Area and all the parks, beaches, museums, airports and attractions for half the price or less of closer in housing.

For property tax, prop 13 keeps it pretty low for most long term residents. If you don't have much taxable income, you won't pay any state taxes. Sales taxes are low if you don't buy a lot of stuff.

Just some thoughts. Florida has a lot to offer, too. But I think once you get housing costs under control, the Bay Area cost of living isn't that much more than many other locations in the U.S. And just outside the commute zones to high paying jobs, housing prices aren't as crazy high.
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:52 AM   #43
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The ACA effectively removes South Dakota as a viable alternative for those western travelers needing a virtual presence.
Excuse my ignorance, but why so?
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:57 AM   #44
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three areas are important to me in my retirement home(s). 1. state taxes. 2. kids. 3. health care. I've had the same Doc for over 20 years and when I need a specialist, he always recommends a good one. 2. I would hate NY or California, having to pay over 10% income tax.......5% is my limit. 3. I love my kids and grandkids. I don't want to move to an area that makes the majority of them a plane ride away. Now, some of this could change when I might need assisted living in truly old age but for now these three items sort of tell me where to live. I am downsizing........don't need a big house with the kids all grown up.......and love condo living......too lazy to cut grass and most neighbors are around my age.......know the ethnic family restaurant owners......been going to most of them them for years and they appreciate my business......and are cheap, overall, compared to the new franchises. All in all, life is good and when it's good why change it.
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Old 02-17-2014, 12:12 PM   #45
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The only negative I saw over there is the cruise ships every stinkin' day, but then you just stay away from that part of town, right?
The cruise ship passengers have a prescribed route with only the adventurous going beyond. So yes it is easy to avoid them when in port.

(From PV all year long except summer.)
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Old 02-17-2014, 01:28 PM   #46
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Excuse my ignorance, but why so?
According to recent threads on the Escapees forum, SD insurers now require proof of a physical address and that 9 months of the year be spent in state. Kind of a deal breaker for travelers.

Caution Full Timers on Home Address for ACA application - Health Issues and Medical Insurance - Escapees Discussion Forum
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Old 02-17-2014, 01:48 PM   #47
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Like aja888 & Alan, my part of the Houston suburbs has grown since I moved here in 1995. At that time there was no mall, movie theater, a large selection of restaurants or big box stores. The freeways were easy to navigate and where there were pastures with grazing cows...there are now super markets and more master planned communities. (due to the prison selling off their land).

My plan is to de-clutter my house in 2014 and sell it in 2015. It was built about 20 years ago and hasn't been updated and I don't want the hassle. I'm hoping I can sell "as is". Also during the year I have to decide where to live. Since retiring 8 weeks ago I'm actually enjoying the area as I can pick the time of day to go out and it is nice to have everything so close My doctors are close too.

On the other hand I've wanted to live in New Mexico because:
** culture
** 4 seasons
**minimal natural disasters (hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes)
**casinos
**relatively low cost of living compared to moving home (back east)

So bottom line is, I'm not sure what to do...I don"t know anyone in NM, but then I only have 2 close friends here & there's no state tax. As you can tell by my rambling, I'm in a quandary. Oh, did I say I hate the maintenance of home ownership?
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Old 02-17-2014, 02:24 PM   #48
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Has anyone relocated solo, that is no spouse along or kids in the area, etc.? I sometimes have dreams of relocating in retirement but don't know if I have the energy or desire to start "all over again" as I did several times for grad school and work when younger. It is hard when you are single because there are so many things one could do and no one to negotiate with to narrow choices.
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Old 02-17-2014, 02:34 PM   #49
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We're looking at staying in Northern VA, DC suburbs. It's a difficult collection of wants for the two of us.
1. High quality health care for DW with lupus,
2. Access to museums (free!),
3. Access to opera and period instrument baroque performances.
4. A community of amateur music performers.
5. A home golf course that I can WALK until my legs collapse at around the age of 80 or so.

We actually have considered moving further south and golf course communities are extremely tempting BUT the thing that I will not compromise on at this stage in my early retirement years is the ability to walk all of my 100+ rounds of golf each year. That seems to rule out almost all of Florida.
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Old 02-17-2014, 02:36 PM   #50
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Has anyone relocated solo, that is no spouse along or kids in the area, etc.? I sometimes have dreams of relocating in retirement but don't know if I have the energy or desire to start "all over again" as I did several times for grad school and work when younger. It is hard when you are single because there are so many things one could do and no one to negotiate with to narrow choices.
I'm interested in solo responses too, as my relocation would be sans spouse/kids. Thanks Marita40 for posing the question.
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Old 02-17-2014, 03:07 PM   #51
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For property tax, prop 13 keeps it pretty low for most long term residents. If you don't have much taxable income, you won't pay any state taxes. Sales taxes are low if you don't buy a lot of stuff.
I've lived in my San Francisco Bay Area home for almost 16 years and pay $3.3K/yr in property taxes. This is not cheap for a small 1200 sqft fixer upper that is 50+ years old. And this is in a relatively inexpensive area with a modest property tax base (i.e., lower home prices).

I am still working. Currently, I pay about $20K/yr in various state/local taxes. When I retire and begin my DB pension, I'll pay $8-10K/yr in state/local taxes. This is not trivial. This is on par with my expected general living expenses (not counting veterinary bills and other large one-time expenses).

This doesn't mean I will move. The weather is nice where I live and there are a lot of opportunities for outdoor pursuits. My town/city is pleasant. Low crime. Good regional location. Although it's changed a lot over the last 20 years, it still has a small-town feel. The mayor once started a conversation with me when we were both in the bank.

But the cost of living is very high. The taxes alone are a strong motivator to move. I am considering lower cost western states that offer the criteria I seek. This includes Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming (plus a few other states).
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Old 02-17-2014, 04:09 PM   #52
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Anyone have insight on Belize?
Yeah, a little. Vacationing is better than living IMO. We have two sets of friends who in the past 6 months have differing stories, but the same outcome...trouble.

One couple from Napa, CA lived in Corozal and apparently they had to renew their visas every month! $100 each / month! Not to mention the pain / time to do it. Their opinion was that the government has gotten too accustomed to sticking it to the gringos for revenue, therefore, not many move there. They are now living in Puerto Morelos (an awesome place, btw).

The other friends are 6 year gringos (from Canada) living in Playa del Carmen and they got the shaft handed to them on the border when they were going to visit friends there. They were basically forced to pay a hefty sum after letting 5 of the party go through with no problem and the last they basically said if you want to go through, you gotta pay up.

We have only crossed once a couple years ago with no problem, but I hear it has recently become the way of the above stories. There are nice things there such as the jungle raft tours and the Cayes (Caulker was nice), but Belize city is like one of the most dangerous cities in the world and it was a dirty place to boot.

My $.02
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Old 02-17-2014, 04:28 PM   #53
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We have been in the "City of Kings" (Lima,Peru) for the past 11 years and are very happy here.



.
Can you get by speaking only English in Lima?
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Old 02-17-2014, 05:47 PM   #54
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Can you get by speaking only English in Lima?
I would be lying if I said yes. I do because both my wife and 8 y/o are bilingual and everybody else wants to impress me with how little English they know.

I can't have a conversation but have a rather large vocabulary which is sometimes useless if your pronunciation is off.

(EX). In burger king you have two types of beef Traditional (American) and Bravo (Peruvian spices). You must say "Whopper Carne Traditional" . In eleven years, not once has anyone understood those three simple words. Each time I must follow up with. "Tu tengo dos typos de hamburguesa correcto? Me no gusta Bravo, yo quiero otra typo"!

and they say in Spanish "Oh, you want carne traditional?!
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Old 02-17-2014, 05:51 PM   #55
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I'm interested in solo responses too, as my relocation would be sans spouse/kids. Thanks Marita40 for posing the question.
I moved to Peru solo 11 years ago. But it does not work as now I am married and have more kids and family then I left behind!
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Old 02-17-2014, 06:25 PM   #56
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We are going to snowbird.

Our southern place is just south of imoldernu's place in central fl. Gated community with lots of opens space. It has a indoor pool as well as outdoor which we like.

The northern place is in Wisconsin on acreage. Love it there. As we get older and slow down we will probably move to FL permanently. No kids so it can be wherever.
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Old 02-17-2014, 06:40 PM   #57
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I've lived in my San Francisco Bay Area home for almost 16 years and pay $3.3K/yr in property taxes. This is not cheap for a small 1200 sqft fixer upper that is 50+ years old. And this is in a relatively inexpensive area with a modest property tax base (i.e., lower home prices).
That's a great tax rate. I'm in san jose and pay nearly 8k for a 1200 sq ft home built in the 30s (bought in 2004). The houses on my street are so old, the original deed states that it can't be used as a saloon nor can people of color live there except as servants. The younger couple that is going to buy the house from us will pay nearly 10k.


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But the cost of living is very high. The taxes alone are a strong motivator to move. I am considering lower cost western states that offer the criteria I seek. This includes Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming (plus a few other states).
I made a spreadsheet to track taxes and used turbotax to calculate our state tax burden in multiple western states. To my surprise, CA was lower than most states I considered (e.g., CO, NM, OR) and wasn't materially (to us) higher than states with no tax. Of course, this depends on one's specific circumstances and we are targeting modest incomes (below ACA thresholds).

That said we are planning on leaving the bay area to explore living in other locations. We might come back to california, but it would have to be in smaller towns where the housing price is more reasonable.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:07 PM   #58
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I would be lying if I said yes. I do because both my wife and 8 y/o are bilingual and everybody else wants to impress me with how little English they know.



I can't have a conversation but have a rather large vocabulary which is sometimes useless if your pronunciation is off.



(EX). In burger king you have two types of beef Traditional (American) and Bravo (Peruvian spices). You must say "Whopper Carne Traditional" . In eleven years, not once has anyone understood those three simple words. Each time I must follow up with. "Tu tengo dos typos de hamburguesa correcto? Me no gusta Bravo, yo quiero otra typo"!



and they say in Spanish "Oh, you want carne traditional?!

Thanks for your insight.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:06 PM   #59
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I made a spreadsheet to track taxes and used turbotax to calculate our state tax burden in multiple western states. To my surprise, CA was lower than most states I considered (e.g., CO, NM, OR) and wasn't materially (to us) higher than states with no tax. Of course, this depends on one's specific circumstances and we are targeting modest incomes (below ACA thresholds).
Yes, income taxes for people in the lower tax brackets (e.g., below ACA thresholds) is often modest regardless of the state. This can be true for many early retirees who rely primarily on interest/dividends, but not true for those with good-sized pensions. CA fully taxes pension income, including government pensions (CA is like most states in that it does not tax SS).

However, I believe your current $8K property tax bill in San Jose is going to be substantially lower for a similar house in CO, for example. I grew up in Denver and often use CO as a metric. You are likely to save thousands of dollars.

Personally, my state/local taxes in retirement will be cut in half if I move from CA to CO, and cut up to 75% if I move to a no income tax state like Wyoming. Other costs will be lower too, such as the cost of housing. A few costs will be higher, but I estimate potential savings of $10K-$15K/yr by moving from CA to a low-tax/low-cost state. This includes investment earnings on the savings in housing costs. So I ask myself if it is worth an extra $10K-$15K/yr to remain in CA. This is the cost factor.

There is a reason Kiplinger refers to CA as "a retiree's tax nightmare" and to WY as "a tax haven for cowboys and retirees alike." This doesn't mean everyone in CA should move to WY. But taxes and cost of living should be part of the equation. And absolutely, it depends on one's own circumstances. Incidentally, the Kiplinger article considers OR to be tax unfriendly to retirees, NM average, and CO above average.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:48 PM   #60
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+1 on the area. We're over here in Playa del Carmen. Cozumel is a cleaner version of us and have the bike path around the island too. We have often said we'd like to come over there (if only our friends here would too).

The only negative I saw over there is the cruise ships every stinkin' day, but then you just stay away from that part of town, right?

We just found $90 rt air to Tuxtla (Chiapas) from Cancun. We'll definitely be going back there and do some shopping / sights...
Hola! We like to come to Playa when we're in the mood for a little more action than what's available here on la isla. And, yes, the cruise ship passengers can be a little overwhelming at times but you learn to work around that. All ships are gone by 6 PM and then we get our town back.

Will have to try Chiapas. Dove with a guide today who is from Chiapis
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