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Old 01-07-2013, 11:39 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by LakeTravis View Post
A $200K home in San Antonio would require close to $5K a year in property taxes after exemptions.

Utilities, insurance, food - another $10K-$12K a year.

I supposed it's possible but it doesn't leave much room for anything else.
I live in Texas (not San Antonio) in an about $300k home and my property taxes are $5k. At 65, you can get an exemption which puts a ceiling on your school taxes (which in many areas is the bulk of the property tax). THere is also a procedure to not pay taxes although they are owed when the property is sold or at death.

All that said - most people who are drawing only SS with few other assets probably don't have a $200k house.

Texas A&M says median home prices in San Antonio $158k with only about 1/3 more than $200k.

San Antonio MLS Housing Activity, Data -- Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University Home

And most people living on SS only who own their own home are much more likely to live in homes in well below the median.
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:44 AM   #42
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I will mostly live on SS the first few years. SS will give me about 2K and my roommate about 800 and I only need about 36K to live so about 200 from investments. My investments are mostly 401K and ROTH with some taxable totaling 654K so if I withdraw 1-2% it will be enough. I will wait to spend much more to be sure the market doesn't go down right away. I plan to retire when I save 700K. I will be 65 in 4 months so will hold off major withdrawals until my RMD at 70 except maybe a lump sum the first year to fix up the house.
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:30 AM   #43
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There are small towns, lakes with cabins all over the south and even in booming Texas where you can find houses for $50,000. So if you can pay cash for one of those, you probably could live on social security. You might have to delay some home maintenance until you die however. :O. And yes you can skip the property taxes past 65 and let the county collect when you kick the bucket.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:49 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
I live in Texas (not San Antonio) in an about $300k home and my property taxes are $5k. At 65, you can get an exemption which puts a ceiling on your school taxes (which in many areas is the bulk of the property tax). THere is also a procedure to not pay taxes although they are owed when the property is sold or at death.

All that said - most people who are drawing only SS with few other assets probably don't have a $200k house.

Texas A&M says median home prices in San Antonio $158k with only about 1/3 more than $200k.

San Antonio MLS Housing Activity, Data -- Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University Home

And most people living on SS only who own their own home are much more likely to live in homes in well below the median.
I need to move to where you are! One of our homes outside of Austin (not in the city limits but in Travis county) is on the tax rolls at $197K and yet the property tax bill last year was $6K even after homestead exemption. The two biggest factors were the school property taxes (1.5%) and the MUD (.98%).....the rest added in (ESD, County, Hospital District, Community College, etc) resulted in a total effective rate of 3.02% per $100 of valuation.

Yes, you can "defer" property taxes in Texas - and the state will gladly charge you 8% a year in interest to do so.

A lakeside cabin at $50K outside of any incorporated areas on a well with septic sounds like the way to go..........
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:07 AM   #45
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I need to move to where you are! One of our homes outside of Austin (not in the city limits but in Travis county) is on the tax rolls at $197K and yet the property tax bill last year was $6K even after homestead exemption. The two biggest factors were the school property taxes (1.5%) and the MUD (.98%).....the rest added in (ESD, County, Hospital District, Community College, etc) resulted in a total effective rate of 3.02% per $100 of valuation.
Ouch.

When we moved from San Antonio in 1997 our effective rate was 2.7% per $100 valuation and I thought that was about as high as it got.

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Originally Posted by LakeTravis View Post

A lakeside cabin at $50K outside of any incorporated areas on a well with septic sounds like the way to go..........
That was our thinking when we moved - well, not a cabin or lakeside since any property close to the water is at least 2X as expensive. We did spend considerably more than $50K to build our house, and the cost to drill a well and install a septic system at the time was ~$25K (probably cost more than that for the well alone today). But the good news is our property tax rate is "only" 1.9% - and the even better news is we aren't living on SS alone!
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:16 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by WestLake View Post
There are small towns, lakes with cabins all over the south and even in booming Texas where you can find houses for $50,000. So if you can pay cash for one of those, you probably could live on social security. You might have to delay some home maintenance until you die however. :O. And yes you can skip the property taxes past 65 and let the county collect when you kick the bucket.
Funny you mention this - a few days before this thread started, I was looking for cabins for sale in rural California (mainly on Trulia). A little above the price you mentioned but for 79K, I found an interesting geodesic dome house in the redwoods with a nice interior, and what looked like a fairly new kitchen. Living in that definitely wouldn't be slumming it. For 52K, there was a small cabin on 1.5 acres in the redwoods.

For those who don't want complete isolation (that would be me), some of them are in small communities so that you have the advantage of a few neighbors around. I must admit that I am occasionally quite tempted.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:18 AM   #47
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We left NY because it was too expensive to live there once I was no longer working. The house we sold had an effective tax rate of 2.1% based on market value. That was in '05. Since then the market value has fallen by about 1/4 but the property tax has increased by 1/3. The effective tax rate (based on zillow market value) was 3.7% for 2010.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:41 AM   #48
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The problem with settling in a low cost area is you're STUCK ... my mother lives in Syracuse (on the list) and would love to move closer to family. But can't afford even a condo in any of the areas near the kids.

She's been in her house nearly 15 years and it has not even appreciated with the inflation rate. The only equity she has was earned by paying down the mortgage.

So it can become a one way move.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:45 AM   #49
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Some thoughts:

We used to live in the Chicago suburbs... avg. family income is $88K
We now live 92 miles away... Family income $50K

I estimate a cost of living difference of $6K to $8K per year.

Our current SS (me 100%, DW 50%) is $25K
Our fixed cost for Total healthcare ... Medicare A+B+D and supplement $10K.
SS began in 2001

$25K minus $10K = $15,000/yr. or $1800/mo.
Real numbers, for 2 persons with normal government SS and Healthcare.

As far as good places to live? That has to be subjective.

How would you break down $1800/month for two persons, to pay rent, taxes, food, transportation, utilities, upkeep, personal care, etc... An interesting exercise in frugality.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:40 AM   #50
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Very doable in SW Oregon. Heck, the median income per household in SW Oregon is about 31K per year. Two people drawing the average SS payment would get you there.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:18 AM   #51
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Thanks that is one neat link.
Not sure if you're kidding or not as when I clicked it again I got am Early-Retirement.org page that said something about external links, but when I went there myself (wwwDOTcity-dataDOTcom) the link then worked when I came back and clicked on it.

Incidentally, when I put the link in, all that text was put in in place of what I typed. For example, I didn't type "races" or any of the rest of that. I certainly wouldn't suggest people plan to retire somewhere based on the races of the people who live there.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:24 AM   #52
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Not sure if you're kidding or not as when I clicked it again I got am Early-Retirement.org page that said something about external links, but when I went there myself (wwwDOTcity-dataDOTcom) the link then worked when I came back and clicked on it.

Incidentally, when I put the link in, all that text was put in in place of what I typed. For example, I didn't type "races" or any of the rest of that. I certainly wouldn't suggest people plan to retire somewhere based on the races of the people who live there.
The link works for me, and the text came from the website, not you.

One way to avoid that problem is to embed the link using this function. Write the word, highlight it with the cursor, click on the and inset the link location. For example, the city-data link is here.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:29 AM   #53
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I just looked at that article, and saw the following excerpt. Note that the bold-faced word was mine.
Its sometimes hard to imagine life in retirement, but picture living on Social Security alone. Assume all you earn is $2,500 a month, the maximum check a worker currently receives at full retirement age from Social Security. Where can you comfortably pay taxes, afford housing and still have some left over to actually enjoy retirement?
That income of $2,5000/month is $30K/year. My mother, a widow, lives very well on that, or even less. Her SS is not that amount, but she also has a small pension, plus a supplement from her IRA. The key is that she owns a relatively new, small but comfortable home (too big for her actually, after my father passed away), which is worth perhaps $200K.

What does my mother spend $2,500/month on? She pays utility bills, buys some food, pays for Medicare supplement, goes to her hair dresser twice a month, puts a bit of gas in her paid-for car, and faces an occasional big dental bill. That's it! Oh, she buys quite a bit of clothes actually, and all the bedroom closets are overflowing!

Once a retiree owns her place, that $30K/yr lets her live in many places in the country. It should not be a big deal with that income.
I agree with this. If you own your home (one that does not have a ton of taxes to be paid on it), no kids live with you, you don't drive to and from work every day eating gas, you no longer have to put money into retirement savings, etc., you can live VERY cheaply if you want.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:45 AM   #54
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I agree with this. If you own your home (one that does not have a ton of taxes to be paid on it), no kids live with you, you don't drive to and from work every day eating gas, you no longer have to put money into retirement savings, etc., you can live VERY cheaply if you want.
Agreed. Income is only one side of the ER balancing act; the other is spending. Retiring debt and big ticket items while you are working reduces the need for income in ER......obviously it also reduces the potential capital you have to generate income, but if we are talking about living off only SS it's probably necessary to use income earned while working to reduce the need for retirement income. So I have paid off the mortgage and I'm getting as much dental work done now as I can $36k is my budget as a single guy, no kids, living in Boston, no mortgage, no other debt and paid for car.. $1k goes to monthly housing costs (taxes, insurance, repairs) and health insurance premiums, $1.5k covers monthly recurring costs (food, utilities, taxes etc) and $500 is for unexpected costs that I'll rollover in months were it is not used. I am not ER'ed yet, but my current budget is close to this, except for commuting costs and that work pays most of my insurance premium
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:45 AM   #55
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...and the text came from the website, not you.
Yep. I just wanted to make sure everyone else knew it didn't come from me.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:54 AM   #56
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MIL lives on <$30K per year in Northern AL. If it wasn't for her menagerie, her expenses would actually be <$24K. Nice paid-for ranch house with a big back yard. Safe blue collar neighborhood. Lots of free/cheap entertainment. She even has a little bit of money left to do some traveling. But she only saves about $1,200 per year for big ticket items -like replacing her car eventually or having her house repainted- which is probably inadequate.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:05 PM   #57
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Regarding real estate prices, the area of my boonies home is not as expensive as some places on the coast, but it is not as low as some earlier posts described of some other areas.

For example, a mobile home on 1/4 acre of land goes for $75K to $100K+. A 1-acre lot in a good subdivision goes for $100K. Nice homes go for $250K to $700-800K.

I guess that because so little private land is available (the area is mostly national forest), plus the proximity to a major metropolitan area of more than 4 million people, the demand inflates the price. Within a drive of 2 to 2-1/2 hours, people can escape the summer heat to go to their weekend home at 7,000-ft elevation, and in the winter can go skiing by driving a bit further to the mountain.

So, despite its sparse amenities as described in my earlier post, the area is not as inexpensive as the other places mentioned in the linked article. The latter seem to be more "fun" places. Full-time retirees in this area tend to be recluse. No party animals here like you would see in Florida retirement communities.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:18 PM   #58
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I need to move to where you are! One of our homes outside of Austin (not in the city limits but in Travis county) is on the tax rolls at $197K and yet the property tax bill last year was $6K even after homestead exemption. The two biggest factors were the school property taxes (1.5%) and the MUD (.98%).....the rest added in (ESD, County, Hospital District, Community College, etc) resulted in a total effective rate of 3.02% per $100 of valuation.

Yes, you can "defer" property taxes in Texas - and the state will gladly charge you 8% a year in interest to do so.

A lakeside cabin at $50K outside of any incorporated areas on a well with septic sounds like the way to go..........
Lets put a couple of questions about the MUD, for example does it provide trash pickup, if provided that is about $425/year. Seeing its a mud it likely provides both water and sewer, but how are the rates compared to those aqua texas charges to folks on both services not in MUDs. Note that one can also control if one lives in a mud, or if one buys a big enough lot (5 acres in the Hill Country) you could put in a well and septic.
Of course with a well you need to reserve funds for repairs and possibly having to deepen the well depending on the drought. For septic repairs are also possible.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:38 PM   #59
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Lets put a couple of questions about the MUD, for example does it provide trash pickup, if provided that is about $425/year. Seeing its a mud it likely provides both water and sewer, but how are the rates compared to those aqua texas charges to folks on both services not in MUDs. Note that one can also control if one lives in a mud, or if one buys a big enough lot (5 acres in the Hill Country) you could put in a well and septic.
Of course with a well you need to reserve funds for repairs and possibly having to deepen the well depending on the drought. For septic repairs are also possible.
What exactly is this MUD business? The only mud I know is the one where a whole lot of water (as here in Oregon) combines with a lot of dirt and creates ...mud. I didn't think it rained that much in west Texas...
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:50 PM   #60
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Texas MUD explained: What You Need To Know About Municipal Utility Districts
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