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Old 06-25-2010, 07:35 AM   #41
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If weather is THE determining factor, then you should read the 1,520 posts in this thread:

This weather is awful!!
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Old 06-25-2010, 07:41 AM   #42
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With a few exceptions I think this is correct. The big three taxes (income, sales and property) have a way of balancing out.
I don't really believe that because:
  1. Some states offer many more public services than others and tend to be more expensive tax-wise, and
  2. There are huge differences in cost of living across the country, and some of this is taxes.

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Old 06-25-2010, 09:58 AM   #43
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I don't really believe that because:
  1. Some states offer many more public services than others and tend to be more expensive tax-wise, and
  2. There are huge differences in cost of living across the country, and some of this is taxes.

Audrey
Correct. If you look at per capita state spending, it varies quite a bit. I can remember when a guy named McClintock was running against Schwarzenegger in the California Governor recall election that took place around 6 years ago, he claimed in a debate that California spent approximately twice as much in the last fiscal year, per capita, as Arizona. I didn't believe it and looked it up and indeed he was accurate (the difference is not as great now).

But I think one has to look carefully at overall expenses. For instance, in California the biggest tax is an indirect tax called insane zoning and environmental rules. It takes incredible amounts of money to environmentally clear an area for housing or just plain get it approved by the city. This is a combination of city and state rules. This is why even housing in cities in wide open areas in central California is expensive. The San Diego Apartment Association once did a study of what city building rules cost them since they considered many of the rules there so excessive, they picked a random city in the county, and went through each building rule and its economic impact. They estimated that the city rules in the city of Carlsbad cost from 19 to 33% of the total housing price, this was ignoring all state rules, only counting the marginal cost of the city rules on top of the state rules. So much for "smart growth". Prop 13, which limits property tax increases, also makes cities less open to building residential properties, preferring sales tax generating commercial properties instead.

One does not really need to understand all of this, but merely look at your total expense package in each place (and then visit the place to weigh this against quality of life). For instance, when doing the comparisons, you don't really have to know why housing is expensive, just that it is expensive.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:12 AM   #44
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There are places in the San Juan Islands that have low rain and a temperate climate. But do you want to live on an island? Similarly, Sequim might have low rain but it takes a special personality to live there. And for all practical purposes you might as well be living on an island because it is a ferry ride to any significant city. Not that there is anything wrong with that. But it is not comparable to Reno or Spokane.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:16 AM   #45
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I've thought a lot about where to retire based on taxes, but have slowly come around to thinking one should just live where one wants to live. The enjoyment of being in a great location would outweigh any extra taxes. Happiness first, taxes second.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:17 AM   #46
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OH my - - this thread touches so many issues and I have a multitude of opinions on all of them. Please regard the following post as just that: my opinions and thoughts concerning your quest for the best city for weather in a tax free state. Really, this is four posts in one (what a bargain!) so I have numbered them.

(1) I can't imagine basing a choice of retirement location on only two criteria, no matter how important they are to you. I would suggest narrowing down the country to places that meet your top criteria to a reasonably satisfactory extent, and then looking at those places with all of your criteria in mind (not just taxes and weather).

(2) I think it would make much more sense to look at overall cost of living, than to look only at states with no income tax. Even if you plan to have a huge taxable income in retirement, your overall cost of living could make a much greater difference to your personal finances than whether or not some of those costs went to state income taxes. I would suggest a more in-depth cost of living approach.

(3) As to weather, I think you might want to consider what is appealing to you about living in good weather. Do you plan to spend much of your time outdoors hiking, surfing, or something of that nature? Then you need to have those activities available at your ER location. If you don't plan to do much outside, then consider the implications of that accordingly.

(4) There is no perfect ER location. We all have to compromise, based on how important our criteria are to us. Also, there is the intangible. We narrowed down the entire world to three towns but when visiting them found that factors we had not considered, such as how the town was laid out, traffic, how hilly the town was, and whether or not we felt at home there were more important to us than we realized.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:26 AM   #47
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(2) I think it would make much more sense to look at overall cost of living, than to look only at states with no income tax. Even if you plan to have a huge taxable income in retirement, your overall cost of living could make a much greater difference to your personal finances than whether or not some of those costs went to state income taxes. I would suggest a more in-depth cost of living approach.

(3) As to weather, I think you might want to consider what is appealing to you about living in good weather. Do you plan to spend much of your time outdoors hiking, surfing, or something of that nature? Then you need to have those activities available at your ER location. If you don't plan to do much outside, then consider the implications of that accordingly.
These actually do combine, in a sense, because most places with the closest to "ideal" weather (little or no snow and subfreezing temps, mild, non-humid summers) tend to a have higher cost of living; the weather doesn't come "for free." So in reality, the extra cost of living in such a climate probably far exceeds the state income tax bite. So if someone is willing to pay $1.5X instead of $X for good weather, how much worse will $1.55X or $1.6X be when you add in the cost of state income tax?
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:35 AM   #48
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W2R you bring up a good point I have never lived in a low humidity area. I was thinking about that a lot like maybe trying a semi arid place instead of a desert area. Renting looks like the way to go a least for the first year or so.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:39 AM   #49
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Ziggy you are so right people do pay for nice weather. I guess a lot of the very rich just pay the taxes as part of the price even if that is a great deal of money.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:49 AM   #50
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W2R you bring up a good point I have never lived in a low humidity area. I was thinking about that a lot like maybe trying a semi arid place instead of a desert area. Renting looks like the way to go a least for the first year or so.
Oops! Before reading the above I went back and re-read your initial posts where you said "not a desert" and consequently removed that paragraph in my post. Maybe you can get a map of the US and start by cross out regions of very high humidity (start with New Orleans! It is like a steam bath out there today.) But do consider my remaining four comments too.

I think that renting is a good idea for the first year or so no matter where you go.
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:08 PM   #51
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If I had enough income to really be that concerned w/ taxes I think I would be able to afford to live where I wanted to live. Besides, in many cases you are gonna pay one way or another.
True. And why not live where you want to live for most of the year and lease something in a different area of the country for the couple of months your home base has extreme temps? That is my plan, live here in the deep south where I have my friends and good golf for most of the year. But I do plan to escape some of the summer heat by heading to the mountains at some point. Family responsibilities keeping me close by for now.
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:33 PM   #52
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We live in the income tax free (so far) state of Washington. The plan for the early part of our retirement is to seek favorable weather through the use of an RV. We don't want to permanently relocate due to all the family in the area, but we would like to escape the weather extremes of Dec. - Feb. and July - Aug. Spring and Fall in the Spokane area are usually quite nice.
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:29 PM   #53
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I am looking for a place with the closest to "ideal" weather (little or no snow and subfreezing temps, mild, non-humid summers) in a state with no income tax. Is there a place like this out there?
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:59 PM   #54
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I am looking for a place with the closest to "ideal" weather (little or no snow and subfreezing temps, mild, non-humid summers) in a state with no income tax. Is there a place like this out there?
No, I don't think so. The only place with "ideal" weather that I know of is coastal-southern california and it is not tax free or low cost of living. Looks like you have to decide what's more important to you; mild winter or mild summer. Florida and mid/south Texas have mild winters but hot and/or humid summers. All the others have more mild summers but snow and cold in winter.
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Old 06-25-2010, 04:13 PM   #55
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There are places in the San Juan Islands that have low rain and a temperate climate. But do you want to live on an island? Similarly, Sequim might have low rain but it takes a special personality to live there. And for all practical purposes you might as well be living on an island because it is a ferry ride to any significant city. Not that there is anything wrong with that. But it is not comparable to Reno or Spokane.
That is for sure. Almost no one there except retirees. Also, though it may not rain much, it sure is plenty cloudy. If one likes sensory deprivation, Sequim might fit the bill. I lived on the Peninsula a little over a year, and I don't often remember needing sunglasses to get through Sequim, unless of course it was one of the days when I would want them in Seattle too.

The NW is prone to long weather cycles. Recent history has been dominated by el niņo conditions, which bring sunnier more pleasant weather, especially in summer.

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Old 06-25-2010, 06:03 PM   #56
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OK, why limit yourself to just one place? Our Canadian neighbors spend summer in Canada and winter in the southern US.
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Old 06-26-2010, 08:06 AM   #57
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No, I don't think so. The only place with "ideal" weather that I know of is coastal-southern california and it is not tax free or low cost of living. Looks like you have to decide what's more important to you; mild winter or mild summer. Florida and mid/south Texas have mild winters but hot and/or humid summers. All the others have more mild summers but snow and cold in winter.
aaron you said it best you have to pick you beast. I did not think of it that way but you are so right. Thanks.
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Old 06-26-2010, 08:31 AM   #58
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OK, why limit yourself to just one place? Our Canadian neighbors spend summer in Canada and winter in the southern US.
Yes.. how about overseas? Italy, Costa Rica, Malaysia?
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Old 06-26-2010, 08:32 AM   #59
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OH my - - this thread touches so many issues and I have a multitude of opinions on all of them. Please regard the following post as just that: my opinions and thoughts concerning your quest for the best city for weather in a tax free state. Really, this is four posts in one (what a bargain!) so I have numbered them.

(1) I can't imagine basing a choice of retirement location on only two criteria, no matter how important they are to you. I would suggest narrowing down the country to places that meet your top criteria to a reasonably satisfactory extent, and then looking at those places with all of your criteria in mind (not just taxes and weather).

(2) I think it would make much more sense to look at overall cost of living, than to look only at states with no income tax. Even if you plan to have a huge taxable income in retirement, your overall cost of living could make a much greater difference to your personal finances than whether or not some of those costs went to state income taxes. I would suggest a more in-depth cost of living approach.

(3) As to weather, I think you might want to consider what is appealing to you about living in good weather. Do you plan to spend much of your time outdoors hiking, surfing, or something of that nature? Then you need to have those activities available at your ER location. If you don't plan to do much outside, then consider the implications of that accordingly.

(4) There is no perfect ER location. We all have to compromise, based on how important our criteria are to us. Also, there is the intangible. We narrowed down the entire world to three towns but when visiting them found that factors we had not considered, such as how the town was laid out, traffic, how hilly the town was, and whether or not we felt at home there were more important to us than we realized.
That's a great list .. there's another consideration: culture and people.
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Old 06-26-2010, 10:13 AM   #60
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That's a great list .. there's another consideration: culture and people.
Yes, that's a factor for many of us even within the U.S., and some prefer to eliminate countries other than the U.S.

It's been a while but as I recall, crime, cost of living, cost of housing, size of community, airports, hospitals, natural beauty, proximity to one's children, hurricane vulnerability, multifaceted thriving local economy, nearby colleges (especially those with free tuition for seniors), city water/sewage and high speed internet availability, median income, weather, walkability, and median age and educational level of the local population are some of the many factors we considered. I seriously doubt that any two people weight such criteria equally. The perfect location doesn't exist, but there are some very nice places out there and some are completely ignored in the "Best Places" articles that one may see from time to time.
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