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How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?
Old 02-19-2007, 05:37 PM   #1
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How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?

DW and I are toying with a relocation and semi ER, likely 2 to 4 years in the future. I have drawn up what I believe to be a realistic budget, but since I don't actually live in the area and currently foot lots of work-related expenses, I don't truly know that I am right on the numbers. Any ideas on how to be more-or-less sure? I pumped DW's relatives for as much info as possible without completely tipping my hand (haven't made a decision and don't really want to spill the beans yet).
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?
Old 02-19-2007, 06:08 PM   #2
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?

"Retirement Places Rated" by David Savageau has some good stats on different retirement locations.
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?
Old 02-19-2007, 07:36 PM   #3
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
DW and I are toying with a relocation and semi ER, likely 2 to 4 years in the future. I have drawn up what I believe to be a realistic budget, but since I don't actually live in the area and currently foot lots of work-related expenses, I don't truly know that I am right on the numbers. Any ideas on how to be more-or-less sure? I pumped DW's relatives for as much info as possible without completely tipping my hand (haven't made a decision and don't really want to spill the beans yet).
Short of taking a long weekend vacation to the place you're thinking of, here are a few suggestions:

Groceries - find out which grocery stores serve the city. Go to their webpages. Look at their weekly circulars, and compare to your city. Do the same for restaurants (non-chain). While not many local restaurants have webpages, a few do.

Utilities - you should be able to find unit rates on all utilities on the respective utilities' homepages

Taxes - while every locality varies, you should be able to get approximations by searching a few municipalities' homepages for real estate, sales, other taxes.

Insurance - Instant health insurance quotes are available on-line. Plug in a zip code in the area to get some quotes. You can probably get some approximate quotes for auto/homeowners/other insurance as well.

Events - places like ticketmaster should have a huge library on available tickets to a variety of events. Even though you may not buy from them, they should show you the face value of the ticket, which shouldn't vary by much between vendors.

Edumacation - most private schools list tuition on-line. Same for universities/colleges.

Health Care/Nursing Care Facilities - no idea on this one. Haven't shopped around for them, and I doubt assisted living facilities advertise their prices on their webpages (but, you never know...)

Fuel - you should be able to find average fuel costs on-line for the target city.

Homes - fsbo (for sale by owner.com) should give you a good idea of real estate for the city).

You can ask people for general cost comparison, but unless they are VERY similar in their financial ways to your family, the data could be meaningless. Not only could they vary in quality ("I always buy name-brand, because it makes me feel superior"), but the budget items could be different as well (spending a lot of money on sporting/other events, versus watching events on tv and riding a bicycle through state parks). Because this will possibly impact the next 50 years of your family's life, it would be best if you could obtain actual prices on the actual items you'd be buying, rather than working with indexes that may or may not match your specific budgets.

Any other areas of your budget that are 'significant' (more than 5%)?
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?
Old 02-19-2007, 07:57 PM   #4
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?

Why don't you tell this board where you are considering ? That way you can get some first hand advice from people who live there.
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?
Old 02-19-2007, 08:10 PM   #5
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?

You currently live in Central TX right? Where are you thinking of moving too?

Audrey
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?
Old 02-19-2007, 08:15 PM   #6
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?

None of these is purely a budgeting tool, but since the thread has gone this way, here is a hodgepodge of links I have accumulated over time. These constitute my top secret tool kit for my own eventual relo, so if you get to that ideal place before I do, you owe me a beer when I get there myself!

Real estate search engine and valuation:

Zillow:
http://www.Zillow.com

Realtor:
http://www.Realtor.com
(learn to use the advanced search to set your parameters, and extend your are of interest)

ABC - better than Zillow?
http://www1.realestateabc.com/home-values/

Mapping:
"Live Search" Gawd I do hate Bill, but this site blows Google maps and map quest away. If you get an area which has the 3D fly over mapped, it is amazing!
http://maps.live.com/

Terrafly:
http://tinyurl.com/2pctfl
(scroll down to see the wealth of demographics you get)

Sperling Best Places:
http://www.bestplaces.net/

Hospitals Worldwide:
http://www.hospitalsworldwide.com/

Taxes in various places:
http://money.cnn.com/pf/features/lis...esbystate2004/

Totally cool zipcode tool - easier to use than describe:
http://acg.media.mit.edu/people/fry/zipdecode/





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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?
Old 02-19-2007, 08:26 PM   #7
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?

After about 4 family relocations over the decades, I've found that the housing decision trumps everything else (as far as finances, that is). Sure you can include property taxes, insurance, state sales tax, but in the end -- especially with kids who need good schools -- you pretty much pay it one way or another and the differences have kind of come out in the wash. Other staples such as food, gasoline, etc. make some difference but in the end, it's housing costs (and maybe state income tax to a lesser extent).

It's obviously far more than just a financial decision, but that's our experience on the cost side.
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?
Old 02-19-2007, 08:31 PM   #8
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?

Quote:
Originally Posted by audreyh1
You currently live in Central TX right?
Careful there Audrey. You're gonna make brewer blow a gasket!!

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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?
Old 02-19-2007, 08:38 PM   #9
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?

Texas, NJ?
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?
Old 02-19-2007, 08:44 PM   #10
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?

Which exit?
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?
Old 02-19-2007, 08:51 PM   #11
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?

Wecome back from your trip!

If you are thinking of moving to Boulder, let me know - that is on my short-list!

Modify to add: I don't know about cost, just lifestyle.
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?
Old 02-19-2007, 10:27 PM   #12
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
I've found that the housing decision trumps everything else (as far as finances
Yep. When my folks retired to northern Arkansas and the family and I started visiting on vacations to fish and enjoy the outdoors, I started investigating retirement possibilities for DW and I. It all boiled down to housing. Much cheaper there. Most everything else was moderately more expensive than northern urbanland, by small amounts.
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?
Old 02-20-2007, 01:10 AM   #13
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?

Cost of living calculators provide a pretty good rough estimate. Refinement beyond this doesn't always work. When you move, you tend to change your activities/spending too.

http://www.bankrate.com/brm/movecalc.asp

http://cgi.money.cnn.com/tools/costo...tofliving.html

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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?
Old 02-20-2007, 08:11 AM   #14
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
Sure you can include property taxes, insurance, state sales tax, but in the end -- especially with kids who need good schools -- you pretty much pay it one way or another and the differences have kind of come out in the wash. Other staples such as food, gasoline, etc. make some difference but in the end, it's housing costs (and maybe state income tax to a lesser extent).

It's obviously far more than just a financial decision, but that's our experience on the cost side.
No doubt about it, every state is going to get their "pound of flesh" in one form or another.

Based on my personal experience, the folks that I have known that based retirement locations from the perspective that "I can live cheaper there", didn't end well.

In fly-fishing jargon, "match the hatch", comes to mind.

Thinking about it, retirement is probably the first time in most peoples lives that they have an opportunity to live in an area that will match up well with their personal values and the recreation that is available.

IMHO, that easily trumps the perceived "savings".
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?
Old 02-20-2007, 08:13 AM   #15
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?

Quote:
Originally Posted by audreyh1
You currently live in Central TX right? Where are you thinking of moving too?

Audrey
Brewer is currently in New Joisey, but is thinking of moving to Crawford...
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?
Old 02-20-2007, 08:48 AM   #16
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?

Texas, heh. Nope, central NJ at the moment. The area we are thinking about is Denver. Boulder is nice, but too pricy.

Housing is pretty easy to tell. Tuition is also easy. Health insurance seems pretty straight-forward, at least to get a ballpark at ehealthinsurance.com. Groceries and taxes aren't that hard to figure out. I will have to go look at utility sites for unit rates - good idea.

I guess I just wonder if I am missing an elephant in the room, since cost of living appears to be a lot lower. Aside from liking the area, the lower COL potentially shaves 5 to 8 years off my need to work hard. So I cannot help but wonder where the catch is.
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?
Old 02-20-2007, 08:55 AM   #17
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
So I cannot help but wonder where the catch is.
All the money you will blow on lift tickets

My folks have a vacation home near Denver, it's such a wonderful city. One of my best friends moved there from DC to work on a political campaign and never left he just loves it so much.

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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?
Old 02-20-2007, 09:24 AM   #18
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?

Quote:
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All the money you will blow on lift tickets
Well, since none of us ski, I suspect we are safe from that particular terror.
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?
Old 02-20-2007, 09:26 AM   #19
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HFWR
Brewer is currently in New Joisey, but is thinking of moving to Crawford...
ok...he is thinking of moving from texas to boulder....in that case, hang onto your cowboy hat, tex...them Chinook winds have taken many a hat
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?
Old 02-20-2007, 09:40 AM   #20
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Re: How to verify/roadtest an ER budget?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
Well, since none of us ski, I suspect we are safe from that particular terror.
Not yet you don't. Just wait until you get there! In all truth, for locals it can be one of the cheapest forms of family entertainment. Like a lot of places, they soak the tourists and give the locals season passes for cheap.

Hopefully you do have some outdoor activities, I don't think they will let you live there if you don't?

In all seriousness, I would do some research into all the little things that you pay for when you live anywhere. Find the DMV website and see how much plates and registration fees are. I would ask your current insurance company for quotes based on your chosen zip code. Call the utilities and find their current rates per gallon, therm, Kwatt, etc. Property taxes and income tax info is easy to find.

I would also use the calculator from the CFA institute to see what investment jobs are paying out there. There are plenty of fund companies in Denver where I'm sure you could get a M-F 9-5 job with decent benefits.

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