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Cost of Living Differences
Old 12-06-2006, 09:44 PM   #1
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Cost of Living Differences

Is it reasonable to factor in a cost of living adjustment to your retirement budget when it comes to groceries and every-day items like clothes, toiletries, etc., when you're retiring to a different state. For example, we're considering a move from CA to GA, and Sperlings and ACCRA say food is 12% less and 27% less, respectively. Barring actually visiting and doing comparison shopping, are these estimates really reasonable?

If not, what source should you use - or none at all figuring that this kind of cost is pretty much the same anywhere in USA. Sperlings and ACCRA seem to say there really is a difference. Thanks for your help.
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Re: Cost of Living Differences
Old 12-06-2006, 09:47 PM   #2
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Re: Cost of Living Differences

Go to Section 8.2 and click on the cost of living calculator.

http://www.golio.net/My_Homepage_Files/Page16.html

None of these is perfect, but I've found they've been fairly close to my experience through 3 or 4 moves.
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Re: Cost of Living Differences
Old 12-06-2006, 10:08 PM   #3
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Re: Cost of Living Differences

The big state to state differences are probably only in housing, health care and taxes (at least in absolute). Heating and cooling may also be different though?.
I am personally not looking at the other cost differences.

I'd be careful many calculators only factor real estate and not the tax differences (inlcuding the cost of living calculator cited by sgeeeee).

Another source could be the Best Places Rated Almanac. You can compare wit your other source and see if it is any different.
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Re: Cost of Living Differences
Old 12-07-2006, 12:06 AM   #4
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Re: Cost of Living Differences

Quote:
Originally Posted by perinova
The big state to state differences are probably only in housing, health care and taxes (at least in absolute). Heating and cooling may also be different though?.
I am personally not looking at the other cost differences.

I'd be careful many calculators only factor real estate and not the tax differences (inlcuding the cost of living calculator cited by sgeeeee).

Another source could be the Best Places Rated Almanac. You can compare wit your other source and see if it is any different.
Actually, the salary calculator I attempted to link considers general cost of living -- not just housing. But it turns out the link recently went down. The site claims they are updating it.

If you are willing to do a little work, you can go to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and research CPI raw data which provides costs by category and region.
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Re: Cost of Living Differences
Old 12-07-2006, 12:26 AM   #5
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Re: Cost of Living Differences

Quote:
Originally Posted by perinova
The big state to state differences are probably only in housing, health care and taxes (at least in absolute). Heating and cooling may also be different though?.
I am personally not looking at the other cost differences.

I'd be careful many calculators only factor real estate and not the tax differences (inlcuding the cost of living calculator cited by sgeeeee).

Another source could be the Best Places Rated Almanac. You can compare wit your other source and see if it is any different.
Best Places Rated is Sperlings.

So what should you do? Don't plan on any differences and if there are, you come out ahead with more cushion in your budget?
Or do you believe these sources know what they're talking about and have done their research, so use their estimates?
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Re: Cost of Living Differences
Old 12-07-2006, 08:36 AM   #6
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Re: Cost of Living Differences

Quote:
Originally Posted by astroboy
Best Places Rated is Sperlings.

So what should you do? Don't plan on any differences and if there are, you come out ahead with more cushion in your budget?
Or do you believe these sources know what they're talking about and have done their research, so use their estimates?
The Sperling Best Places Rated, if it is the one I am thinking of is a huge compil. of official stats. I don't think you can go wrong with that: Just raw data. Eventually you will probably end up concentrating on a limited number of features it gets too complicated otherwise. As I mentioned before the big differences are probably in housing, insurance (auto+health), tax. But you should look at your own expenses (in Quicken for me) and you can ignore the categories below 10% of the total : It is noise.

There are other sources though. There a Best Places Rated Almanach from Savageau.
http://www.amazon.com/Places-Rated-A.../dp/0028634470
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