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Old 05-04-2013, 06:23 PM   #41
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I'm amazed that we have heard so little about California; 10% to 13% income tax, 9% sales tax, high property taxes and a million little fees, assesments etc. Cost of utilities are high, nothing, as far as I can see, except fresh produce is cheap.

I pay a 4.25% income tax and have some distant family that live in California. Pay scales there are a little higher but it is expensive. Yet, none will leave....they love the weather, lifestyle and California is almost like its own country.'s hard to believe but life is more than taxes........for me I'm willing to pay my spite of a hard's all about friends, family, favorite restaurants, knowing my Doctors, etc.......great post......could we hear from the folks in California?

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Old 05-04-2013, 06:55 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by jerome len View Post's hard to believe but life is more than taxes........for me I'm willing to pay my spite of a hard's all about friends, family, favorite restaurants, knowing my Doctors, etc.......great post......could we hear from the folks in California?
OK. The state is full. And we have earthquakes, poisonous spiders, wildfires, and the dreaded Flying Rats, er... seagulls. And zombies. Mustn't forget the undead. Makes them cranky. Oh, and did I mention earthquakes? Great yawning chasms, cities falling into the sea, and the risk that they'll trigger one of the volcanoes. For more on these risks, see the documentary film "Volcano".

On taxes... I'm ER, but have a decent income. (I won't be getting PPACA subsidies) On the last round of tax returns, my Federal effective rate was zero (0) percent, and the California effective rate I paid was four tenths (0.4) percent. Property taxes are capped at one percent of what I paid back in the late 80's, and can be adjusted upward a maximum two percent a year. Sales tax is just over eight percent where I live, and groceries are not taxed.

On utilities, for last month:
$93 gas & electric
$34 water & sewer
$46 garbage, recycling, and yard waste pickup
$0 snow plow service
$7.40 Sunblock lotion

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Old 05-04-2013, 06:57 PM   #43
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California. Yes an incredibly inefficient government has dominated the state for decades. Fire, earthquakes, drought. And depending on location - wall-to-wall development and people. Taxes, fees galore.

After migrating here as a young adult, the thought of returning To the MidWest was considered frequently. But through the years you become attached to the scenery, excitement and weather. Now, I would not consider a place with high humidity. Neighboring states (AZ especially) have been considered. But it seems we will likely move to a less densely populated part of CA.

Our taxable income will be substantially reduced in RE, which will ease the state tax burden.

But mostly it is the weather, beauty and access to the coastline that will keep us here.
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Old 05-04-2013, 07:36 PM   #44
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I don't see any reason to live in California except to be able to say, "I live in California". I've heard that many times (usually followed by how much they pay). To be fair, I'm looking forward to moving away myself from where I am.

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Old 05-04-2013, 08:07 PM   #45
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Moving to California from a low tax state in the southeast, I thought that the high CA taxes would be a hard pill to swallow. But it wasn't, even though our income is quite high (our CA effective tax rate was 8.1% last year and expected to be higher this year). At this point, higher taxes are more than offset by quality of life improvements. Not to say that we will stay here forever, but if we move out it probably won't have anything to do with taxes.
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:48 PM   #46
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I was thinking of starting a new thread on this, but maybe it belongs more in this existing one. The main issue I am talking about is traditional->Roth conversions, which I've never done since the first year Roth IRAs were available (I think that was 1998, and I came across an article that said you could double your contribution by starting a Roth in '98, opening up a traditional for '97 and immediately converting it, which I did but back then I think the annual limit was the princely sum of $2K).

Anyway, if all goes to plan, I will be moving from a state (IL) that does not tax the standard retirement sources including 401k/403b/457/IRA at all. I'm looking to move to a state that does (I'm moving because it's somewhere I've long wanted to live).

I have retirement accounts, mainly employer-type ones but not all, and there's a mix of standard and Roth accounts in there. I was thinking about this today and thought it might be good to do a conversion to a Roth before changing residency. I can't convert all of it because I'd like to stay within the 25% Federal marginal rate, but even a portion without state taxes seems like a good idea to me. But maybe I'm missing something, so that's why I'm dropping back to pass. Previously, I hadn't considered doing any conversions at all.

Related (but only barely) is that if one is doing only a partial conversion, does it matter which investments you move? It seems to me that those more likely to grow over time (e.g., stocks) would be preferable to those that are more steady (e.g., bonds).


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