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Old 06-16-2017, 11:41 AM   #21
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I'd hate to be reliant on any government backed pension or retirement, they are all in bad shape
Not all of them. I retired from a county job and the pension is well over 90% funded. Someone else here posted that their state government pension was fully funded. But that makes for a boring news story so you never hear about those.
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Old 06-16-2017, 12:20 PM   #22
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We will be considering moving out of Illinois when the time comes to move.

-ERD50
For many people that time has arrived. I live in McHenry county (One hop over the "collar" counties of Chicago). We were seeing steadily increasing growth as affordable land became increasingly hard to find closer to the city. Now, like the state, we have actually lost population the last 2 years. I live in the country. We have small homes (mine down the road from mansions ($900 to $2M). Within a couple of miles from my home there are at least six $1M+ homes up for sale. They are all moving out of state. The wealthier people who are perhaps more mobile are fleeing already. It's not just a local issue - the listings in the county for higher value properties are piling up.

The real problem is that both sides are waiting to see what happens in the next election and nothing gets done and the situation gets worse. Rinse and repeat.
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Old 06-16-2017, 12:21 PM   #23
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I don't find the state budget affects me personally much here in the Chicago burbs, but for this latest kerfuffle (Powerball, Mega Millions may be victims of Illinois budget impasse, lottery officials say - Chicago Tribune), it's more that there just isn't a state budget than the state of the state budget.

There hasn't been a state budget passed for 23 months and counting: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-i...-idUSKBN1962PO

To the OP: Not Bucktown or Wicker Park or Wrigleyville ?

The trick is living where the deals are good. Found a place by metra in the northshore for far less than the city. Easy to get in and have fun, saves me probably $500/month in lower rent alone ! Sure it isn't right by the exciting stuff but public transit around here is pretty good.
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Old 06-16-2017, 12:31 PM   #24
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For the past 30 years people have been moving to Kenosha, WI from Illinois. They can still commute to work in Chicago by train or car. However, this has caused property taxes in that small town to really escalate. However, the overall cost of living is much lower.
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Old 06-16-2017, 01:03 PM   #25
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"I once lived in Indiana and worked in Illinois. I moved to a southern state without state income taxes and with low property taxes. A very low cost of living allowed me to live a much higher standard of living while still saving enough to retire early.

Moving to a city/state with better managed governments and a higher standard of living at a much lower cost was the best move of my life.

I've lived and worked in the urban South. I've lived in suburban Detroit and worked in Detroit. I now live and work in Chicago and visit Detroit and southern cities on business. You are right about the cost of living differences as among these locations, of course. I think that you're also right about local government quality differences, although that's partly a matter of opinion (which is why political parties exist and why local elections occur).

But "cost of living" and "standard of living" are very different concepts. A low cost of living does not imply a high standard of living. Everything else being equal, it implies exactly the opposite.

That said, if being in nature were of overwhelming importance to a person, and if city amenities were unimportant (or negative), then in that case low COL would imply a high quality of life for that person. But I still wouldn't call it a high standard of living. I would say that it is "simple living," which some favor and others don't.

Low-tax, low-resource governments do facilitate LBYM, which (as you note) enabled you to FIRE. Congratulations for that, assuredly.
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Old 06-16-2017, 01:55 PM   #26
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Hmm - no govt. pension but lived in Seattle and suburbs, Denver, outside Baltimore, Long Island near Bethpage, Huntsville Alabama, New Orleans in town and 'da swamp' aka Lake Ponchartrain, St Joe MO and Kansas City.

Don't tell anyone - Kansas City is the best.

Heh heh heh - Of course marrying a hot young 67 yr old widow at age 70 'may' be altering my judgement. . The jury is still out for 'da Farm' up north near the Iowa line.
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Old 06-16-2017, 02:08 PM   #27
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The good. The bad. The ugly.

Illinois has a clause in the state constitution that prohibits cutting state pensions (sucks to be a tax paying non-pensioned citizen of that state.).

There is no US constitutional provision for states to enter in to bankruptcy (cities - yes).

CA and several NE states are likely next.
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Old 06-16-2017, 03:00 PM   #28
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Illinois is definitely in trouble. Unlike a municipality, there appears to be no path for a state to declare bankruptcy! I had high hopes for Gov. Rauner to do something to fix our mess, but he has been a non-starter IMO. Maybe, or maybe not due to his own doing. However, as long as Illinois doesn't tax retirement income, we will be staying put. We have family here and want that social/familial connection. But if they start taxing IRA and 401K withdrawals at anything near current (or higher) income tax rates, we be gone! I'm not sure where to, but we won't be staying in this state if we can help it.
So, you want them to fix the mess, but if they fix it by having you pay tax at the same rate as non-retirees, then you're out of there?

That's part of the problem...people always want the government to fix things, but only with other people's money.
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Old 06-16-2017, 03:05 PM   #29
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I don't follow the pension funding news much. It's not a pretty picture in many state and local areas.

This report by Pew has a table that shows the funded ratio by state. Some standouts low numbers for 2015 were:

Kentucky 38%
Illinois 40%
Connecticut 49%

Our state California came in at 74%.
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Old 06-16-2017, 03:07 PM   #30
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Not all of them. I retired from a county job and the pension is well over 90% funded. Someone else here posted that their state government pension was fully funded. But that makes for a boring news story so you never hear about those.
Come on now Walt, don't shatter that mans ignorance with fact.
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Old 06-16-2017, 03:21 PM   #31
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I grew up in NYC during the 70's when the city was on the verge of bankruptcy when they asked the feds for some money and President Ford told the city to "drop dead". The whole city was a dump, the subways and buses were barley functioning, the police were at staggeringly low manpower levels, crime was rampant.
So how did NYC avoid bankruptcy you may ask? The public pension plans loaned them millions to stay solvent(billions in todays dollars).
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Old 06-16-2017, 03:42 PM   #32
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If anyone saw the news yesterday Illinois is about to be kicked out of the mega millions/powerball lottery due to a lack of payments and a budget for the last 2 years. This is on top of bond rating agencies threatening to take the state to junk level investing in July as well should nothing come of the state representatives. This got me thinking, does anyone have experience living in or near a government entity that is struggling financially?

Were there any notable changes to how things were run over time, increases in taxes, loss of services, changes in property/income/sales taxes and shifts in demographics in the near to medium turn that were quickly noticeable?

As a hip, avocado toast eating , suburban living, late 20's, married and renting millennial who resides in the land of Illinois this had me wondering how things could turn out for Illinois residences. Obviously Detroit had it extremely rough prior to bankruptcy but for other towns/cities what has happened? And do the financial hardships really hit everyone, or if you live in an area that tends to be fairly wealthy and without much government assistance do things change much at all for you?
Im sure things have evolved a bit since then, but NYC was next to broke in the 70's. They laid off 5,000 cops. They didnt hire anyone for any agencies from 1975-1979. Talk about attrition. The city went into a steep decline, the subways were frightening. It was the picture of urban blight. Even precious Manhattan, took on a look of the land of the lost. It took forever to turn around some areas. I know for a fact, when the famous 1977 blackout occurred everything above 96th street was not policed. They just protected the midtown area. If your brave, and have a long time line, buy property when the place goes bust.
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Old 06-16-2017, 04:00 PM   #33
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I've lived and worked in the urban South. I've lived in suburban Detroit and worked in Detroit. I now live and work in Chicago and visit Detroit and southern cities on business. You are right about the cost of living differences as among these locations, of course. I think that you're also right about local government quality differences, although that's partly a matter of opinion (which is why political parties exist and why local elections occur).

But "cost of living" and "standard of living" are very different concepts. A low cost of living does not imply a high standard of living. Everything else being equal, it implies exactly the opposite.

That said, if being in nature were of overwhelming importance to a person, and if city amenities were unimportant (or negative), then in that case low COL would imply a high quality of life for that person. But I still wouldn't call it a high standard of living. I would say that it is "simple living," which some favor and others don't.

Low-tax, low-resource governments do facilitate LBYM, which (as you note) enabled you to FIRE. Congratulations for that, assuredly.


I don't entirely see it the same way. Houston has a relative low COL. A new 2200 sq ft townhome can be had for 300's in the downtown area. Houston has among the best food and shopping of anywhere I have been. Plenty of events and park.

You could move to the suburbs and get houses around 200k in good school districts with events and culture (and 30 min drive to downtown).

If you compare California, NOLA, or the north east - Houston is comparable for things to do and cheaper on cost. Sure there are variations but the point being you can usually move somewhere much more economical without giving up a lot.
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Old 06-16-2017, 04:10 PM   #34
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My kid just came back from a wedding in a Texas. She said there was a lot of mosquitoes there.
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Old 06-16-2017, 04:12 PM   #35
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The good. The bad. The ugly.

Illinois has a clause in the state constitution that prohibits cutting state pensions (sucks to be a tax paying non-pensioned citizen of that state.).

There is no US constitutional provision for states to enter in to bankruptcy (cities - yes).

CA and several NE states are likely next.

The thing is that the constitution can be changed....

From what I read the Illinois pensions are too high and mandatory increases are also... not something that is good value for the taxpayers...

HOWEVER, I have also read that they have vastly underfunded the pension for decades which is also wrong...

I think a good middle ground should be worked out, but neither side is going to be willing to compromise... and the people due the pensions right now have the upper hand.... but when checks stop going out they will be yelling for a federal bailout
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Old 06-16-2017, 04:19 PM   #36
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My kid just came back from a wedding in a Texas. She said there was a lot of mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes show up at all Texas weddings - even though they rarely RSVP. Can't resist the free food.
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Old 06-16-2017, 04:25 PM   #37
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I grew up in a Chicago burb and couldn't wait to leave. Love my adopted state of MN. Chicago is less than an hour plane ride away and fun to visit on occasion.
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Old 06-16-2017, 04:32 PM   #38
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If you compare California, NOLA, or the north east - Houston is comparable for things to do and cheaper on cost.
I thought that was interesting, so I Googled for one of those cost-of-living comparison calculators.

This one says that living in New Orleans only costs 96% of what it costs to live in Houston. It gives a breakdown by category.

As for things to do, well, we don't have the same types of things so it's hard to compare. I think Houston has more exhibits and events of substantial cultural significance than we have. We have more "sin and degradation" type activities oriented towards the tourists. But there are other things to do here, too.

I have never lived in Houston, but lived in College Station for 12-13 years so I saw a lot of Houston during that time. I think Houston looks like a great place to live, other than the traffic there.
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Old 06-16-2017, 05:05 PM   #39
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... I think Houston looks like a great place to live, other than the traffic there.
Middle son and his wife met in college/houston and stayed there for a year before grad school. They thought the traffic was horrible, although otherwise liked the area. Now that they live and work in the Northeastern megalopolis, however, they look with longing toward Texas!
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Old 06-16-2017, 05:36 PM   #40
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So, you want them to fix the mess, but if they fix it by having you pay tax at the same rate as non-retirees, then you're out of there?

That's part of the problem...people always want the government to fix things, but only with other people's money.
The government got us in this mess. Only they can get us out. If I really got what I wanted, it would be a State balanced budget. We just cut 0.5% from the general income tax. Not sure why they did that. I think (not exactly sure) that the temporary tax increase window ran out and our legislators couldn't agree on anything. I'd settle for a realistic budget. The problem is the state promised what they couldn't deliver. Now everyone knows that they can't deliver but nobody will cut services or increase income to make it work. What's done is done. Can't change that. But we can't continue digging ourselves deeper in debt.

And yeah, I really don't want to pay income taxes on my retirement income. I look at it as another situation of they promised me this and now their taking it away. Nobody "likes" that. I don't know why this one promise should be broken so they don't break the other ones. It is comparable to the feds deciding that Roth IRA's will now be taxed as regular income. Notice I said "But if they start taxing IRA and 401K withdrawals at anything near current (or higher) income tax rates, we be gone!" So far, I have been paying taxes as a worker and not started collecting SS, IRA or 401K monies. And I haven't left yet.

If they raised everyone's income taxes by 0.5, where retirees would pay 0.5% and workers would pay an additional 0.5% or some such thing, that might be tolerable. There would have to be some sort of budget to go along with that increase IMO. Think along these lines:

Kid: " Hey dad. Will you give me a bunch of money?"
Parents: "What would you do with it?".
Kid: "I'd spend it on something. I'm not sure what!"

I know the outcome if I was asking my parents or my kids asked me. It should be no different for the state asking for money from its taxpayers. IMO.
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