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Real Value of $100
Old 08-18-2014, 03:36 PM   #1
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Real Value of $100

Interesting article from the Tax Foundation

The Real Value of $100 in Each State | Tax Foundation

Glad to see that I am getting full value here in Nevada, now if I could just stay out of the casinos!
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Old 08-18-2014, 03:41 PM   #2
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I wonder what is real value in San Francisco or Manhattan. Like 50 and 45 bucks if you are lucky
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Old 08-18-2014, 04:06 PM   #3
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I've lived pretty much everywhere, but have been in Ohio for the past quarter century. I've always had the gut feeling that our cost of living is definitely low, and this certainly confirms it.
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Old 08-18-2014, 04:20 PM   #4
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I knew the money went farther when we moved from MD ($89.98) to WV ($112.87). This explains why.
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Old 08-18-2014, 04:29 PM   #5
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I thought it was cheaper than that to live here in New Orleans.

Remembering recent grocery store prices, I have to admit that prices here are sometimes not low.

A less easily quantifiable factor makes it cheaper here, for me, and that is the "laissez les bons temps rouler" attitude, let's all just have a good time. Honestly there just isn't any pressure at all to keep up with the Joneses that I am aware of.
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Old 08-18-2014, 04:37 PM   #6
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And the winner, evidently DC...choose your own punch line.
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Old 08-18-2014, 04:38 PM   #7
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I thought it was cheaper than that to live here in New Orleans.
I think you may be misreading the graph - it shows a $100 goes a long way in New Orleans. Louisiana is one of the cheapest places to live in the US (of course it's probably more expensive in NO than in Natchitoches LA - a popular retirement community in the center of LA).
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Old 08-18-2014, 04:46 PM   #8
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I think you may be misreading the graph - it shows a $100 goes a long way in New Orleans. Louisiana is one of the cheapest places to live in the US (of course it's probably more expensive in NO than in Natchitoches LA - a popular retirement community in the center of LA).
I don't see a graph, but according to the values for $100 listed for each state on the US map in the article, $100 will only buy me $109.41 worth of goods. In contrast, in Arkansas $100 would buy me $114.16 worth of goods, for example. In fact, I see at least 17 states in which $100 will buy more than it does in Louisiana. I thought it was relatively cheaper than that to live here.

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And the winner, evidently DC...choose your own punch line.
I am not surprised at all! At one time I was considering a promotion to our headquarters in the suburbs of DC, but I discovered that I could barely afford a tiny condo there for the price of my present home. Also, I walked through a grocery store there and was nearly in shock.
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Old 08-18-2014, 05:17 PM   #9
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Another reason why I am happy to be moved out of CA to NM, my same salary dollars go 19% further. Isn't the chart really just an inverse cost of living graph though?
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:04 PM   #10
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When we travel from Hawaii to the midwest, we try to buy most of our food at Aldis. For the first couple of store visits, we find our mouths hanging open when we see milk for less than $3 ($5.50 to $7 in HI), in-season blueberries $1/pint ($1/ounce in HI), and on it goes. I saw gas here (in the midwest) for $2.84/gal!! Last I saw in Hawaii was $4.40. I could go on. The map is very interesting and might give a hint about "best places to retire" if relative prices were all we cared about. Certainly, prices in general ("value" of $100 in specific) are instructive and possibly useful. It's just that so many other factors go into the choice of a "best place to live." As always, YMMV.
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Old 08-19-2014, 08:06 AM   #11
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These types of comparisons always seem to be heavily influenced by housing costs. Which, in turn, are pushed up by available incomes. I always wonder if it would be worth it to live in a more depressed state where there is high unemployment - but houses are cheap!

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Old 08-19-2014, 03:38 PM   #12
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These types of comparisons always seem to be heavily influenced by housing costs. Which, in turn, are pushed up by available incomes. I always wonder if it would be worth it to live in a more depressed state where there is high unemployment - but houses are cheap!
I would say it depends where in that lower-cost areas. We moved from MD, north of DC, to the WV eastern panhandle, but we're in the "wealthy" part of WV. Appearance-wise it isn't significantly different except for being a lot less crowded, noticeably more blue-collar, and more Walmarts, Kmarts and Dollar General and a lot less Lord & Taylor and Saks 5th Ave. Come to think of it, I don't think I've seen either of the latter two anywhere in WV.

But in the southern part of the state, where the coal mines are running out of coal and so on, I've heard it said that "If you have a paved driveway you're a rich man". There are some nice areas in the southern part of the state. Others, not so much. I wouldn't want to live there.
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Old 08-19-2014, 03:53 PM   #13
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I imagine that these state to state comparisons are not of much use. For example, prices vary hugely even within NYC, say Staten Island to Queens to Brooklyn to Manhattan. And once you get to a depressed area like Buffalo, only things like state and federal tax rates are similar to NYC.

In Washington State, Seattle and Bellevue and the pricey Eastside suburbs are much more expensive than say Tacoma, which is again more expensive than Eastern Washington.

One reason the Eastside is overall more expensive for real estate is that there are not really any very bad neighborhoods over there. The city to city calculators are better, but still within 1 mile of my home a reasonable SFH can be bought for anything from ~$450k (townhouse) to $8 million plus. And I doubt I would get more than $180K for my small but to my tastes quite nice condo.

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Old 08-19-2014, 04:01 PM   #14
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I always wonder if it would be worth it to live in a more depressed state where there is high unemployment - but houses are cheap!

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Paul Terhorst advocates this in his book if you need to retire on a shoestring budget. The article doesn't seem to be very clear if they take housing into consideration. They mention goods a few times which makes me think it's about daily purchases.
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Old 08-19-2014, 06:13 PM   #15
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Housing is considered in the article in the form of rents. Under the graph it mentions rents are included.
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Old 08-19-2014, 06:18 PM   #16
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Housing is considered in the article in the form of rents. Under the graph it mentions rents are included.
Right you are sir, thanks for pointing that out.
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:22 AM   #17
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Paul Terhorst advocates this in his book if you need to retire on a shoestring budget. The article doesn't seem to be very clear if they take housing into consideration. They mention goods a few times which makes me think it's about daily purchases.
Mississippi's high value per $100 would seem to bear that out, and knowing that state's results on pretty much any achievement scale I'm sure it's accurate. Great state to live in for extreme LBYM'ers, not much else.
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Old 08-20-2014, 01:36 PM   #18
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... The map is very interesting and might give a hint about "best places to retire" if relative prices were all we cared about. Certainly, prices in general ("value" of $100 in specific) are instructive and possibly useful. It's just that so many other factors go into the choice of a "best place to live." ...
So if you're like me, you were concentrating more on avoiding state income taxes than on how much more it costs to live. An interesting addition to the equation is on the spending side (NC $109, FL $101), in addition to the tax side (NC 5.8%, FL 0%).

But I'd be moving from an "easily commutable" area of NC to a "not so easily commutable" area of FL. So as Mr. Ha mentioned, the state-wide number is not super helpful.
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Old 08-20-2014, 02:27 PM   #19
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I wonder what is real value in San Francisco or Manhattan. Like 50 and 45 bucks if you are lucky
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I imagine that these state to state comparisons are not of much use. For example, prices vary hugely even within NYC, say Staten Island to Queens to Brooklyn to Manhattan. And once you get to a depressed area like Buffalo, only things like state and federal tax rates are similar to NYC.
[...]

Ha
One thing one can do with these relatively digested "sound byte" style articles is look at the small print to find the source of the data (In this case, the Bureau of Economic Analysis).

The detailed data is available elsewhere on their site, but even their overall release summary has some more detail (from: BEA: News Release: Real Personal Income for States and Metropolitan Areas, 2008-2012 - note that this is not a permanent link, so the content may change if they update the data)

"In 2012, the metropolitan area with the highest RPP was Urban Honolulu, HI (122.9). Metropolitan areas with RPPs above 120.0 also include New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA (122.2), San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA (122.0), Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT (121.5), Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA (121.4), San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA (121.3), and Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV (120.4). The metropolitan area with lowest RPP was Danville, IL (79.4), followed by Jefferson City, MO (80.8), Jackson, TN (81.5), Jonesboro, AR (81.7), and Rome, GA (82.2)."

Note that these numbers are inverted from the original article - so to compare directly, you would need to invert these numbers - e.g., Honolulu's 122.9 becomes 1/122.9 = 81.37
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Probably So....
Old 08-20-2014, 02:38 PM   #20
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Probably So....

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I wonder what is real value in San Francisco or Manhattan. Like 50 and 45 bucks if you are lucky

Spent 3 days in Manhattan in May, 3 days in SF in June. Even though I grew up in NY, and lived near SF for 11 years, the renewed sticker shock was a reminder of why we moved to Ohio when we got the chance.

Ever since we got here in '96 we've said that we "doubled our quality of life" with that move. Zillow says this house is worth $300K+; the same house on this lot in the Bay Area would cost at least $3 million.

I wonder if this survey accounted for housing values......

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