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View Poll Results: COL or taxes: Smartest consideration?
Cost of living 10 32.26%
Low taxes 4 12.90%
Who cares. Go for quality of life and worry about it later. 17 54.84%
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Most important: COL or Taxes?
Old 08-21-2009, 01:15 PM   #1
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Most important: COL or Taxes?

When looking for a new State or city to live in as a geezer, which should be most important to your decision: cost of living; low taxes; quality of life? Granted there are pros and cons to each, but--if retired or living on a part-time job--you could be living off your monies for a very long time...if that money lasts. Which quality do you find to be the most important when looking for a place to relocate to?
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:24 PM   #2
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I think taxes are part of the cost of living (or should be).
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:31 PM   #3
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As long as the Cost of living or taxes were not sky high I'd go for quality of life .
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:46 PM   #4
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I have read all of your topics about where to live and It seems to me that you are looking at this in purely a financial viewpoint and are missing the feelings aspect . It is like picking a mate purely for financial gain and missing that certain something that makes your heart ping .
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:52 PM   #5
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I think it depends on your personality. I have lived in all kinds of settings (rural, small towns, large cities) and I always seem to adapt to my new environment and enjoy myself. So, in my case, I would probably be less sensitive to subjective matters like quality of life (well, as long as it's not a dump ridden with crime), and more sensitive to practical matters such as low COL and taxes.
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:59 PM   #6
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I have trouble separating the two. To me, the overall state and local tax burden *is* a part of the cost of living. And in reality, while I would tend to avoid a "high" cost of living area, I wouldn't necessarily pick the rock-bottom lowest overall COL if I didn't like the place; often times these low COL areas are cheap for a good reason.
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Old 08-21-2009, 02:14 PM   #7
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Low taxes would be a totally new concept for me.

I also would lump taxes into the COL category.
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Old 08-21-2009, 02:20 PM   #8
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If the overall cost of living is low enough, you're going to be able to afford those taxes!

The only problem with choosing based on quality of life, is that quality of life often is a lot better if you can afford to buy what you want and need in that area. If you are pretty well to do then that should be your choice IMO, but otherwise I would go for cost of living.
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Old 08-21-2009, 02:49 PM   #9
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Depends on what "taxes" we're talking about. I wouldn't care so much about taxes on income or sales tax (I'm a simple guy who doesn't need to spend much, and won't need all that much "income" from my retirement accounts). I feel these are under my control for the most part.

The only thing would be any goofy states that try to pull something like taxing gains on assets in tax-favored accounts like IRAs (if there are any states that do this) -- I would never live in such a state.

And high property taxes would be a dealbreaker for me, because then you're locked in.

So ... for me it's more complicated than cost-of-living or taxes ...
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Old 08-21-2009, 03:00 PM   #10
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Ok, Moemg, are you saying I'm looking jaded here? Guess that's what happens after being in sales over 30 years..ha!

I just started wondering what others thought about this subject, since we seem to talk about relocating in retirement alot here.
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Old 08-21-2009, 03:35 PM   #11
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Ok, Moemg, are you saying I'm looking jaded here? Guess that's what happens after being in sales over 30 years..ha!

I just started wondering what others thought about this subject, since we seem to talk about relocating in retirement alot here.

Not jaded just it seems like you are taking the emotions out of an emotional topic. Even If you find the perfect combo of low COL and taxes you still have to like were you live . At least I do . If I purely wanted low COL I could return to Frackville , Pa where I grew up .
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Old 08-21-2009, 03:54 PM   #12
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I'd say quality of life. Cost of living is an input to quality of life, and taxes are an input to cost of living.
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Old 08-21-2009, 04:01 PM   #13
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I'd go with quality of life (but taxes and cost of living certainly affect my quality of life ). Quality of life for me includes climate, safety, community services, etc.

I can see how taxes can be separated from cost of living if I look at our personal cost of living, not the area's COL, as we can adjust our personal COL somewhat (turn down the thermostat in the winter, adjust dining habits, shop at cheaper stores, drive less), but property and income taxes are a little harder for a person to control on a day to day basis.
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Old 08-21-2009, 04:40 PM   #14
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This is generally speaking a pretty conservative group, and, so far, it's surprising that quality of life is ahead so far. I'll be curious to see how this ends up now. You guys are surprising me here.
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Old 08-21-2009, 04:44 PM   #15
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COL

I lived in some fairly diverse places.
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Old 08-21-2009, 05:35 PM   #16
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I voted "Quality of Life" but I don't agree at all with the "Who cares" or "worry about it later" parts of that answer. I think to be fair, you'd have to add "I'm a cheapskate" to the other two answers if you're going to say "Who cares" for the 3rd.

Put it this way, I could easily retire now in a low cost of living area. But I don't think I'd like it as much as where I'm living now, even while I'm working part time, and certainly not once I retire. But I'm also not going to work forever to live my last few years in some idyllic place. It's a compromise, but QOL ranks higher for me.

I also think it makes no sense to consider cost of living and taxes separately. It's my bottom line cost of living in a place that matters cost-wise.
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Old 08-21-2009, 05:46 PM   #17
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Put it this way, I could easily retire now in a low cost of living area. But I don't think I'd like it as much as where I'm living now...

I guess it's a matter of opinion. Not all low COL areas are created equal and certainly low COL area does not necessarily equate to a lower quality of life. Personally, my dream retirement place (quality of life wise) is also a low COL area.
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Old 08-21-2009, 05:53 PM   #18
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I guess it's a matter of opinion. Not all low COL areas are created equal and certainly low COL area does not necessarily equate to a lower quality of life. Personally, my dream retirement place (quality of life wise) is also a low COL area.
That's great. If you don't have to make a choice, the question is moot. If you had to make a choice, which is a bigger factor?
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Old 08-21-2009, 06:35 PM   #19
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Plus some places are low cost of living for some things but not for others . Where my daughter lives the cost of houses are cheaper but the food is more expensive , the gyms are more expensive and you have to drive to get to anything .Where I live real estate is now reasonable (not cheap ) ,restaurants are a bargain and food is reasonable plus because of all the stores I rarely drive more than a few miles . Plus we have beaches and they have snow drifts that reach to their roofs .
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Old 08-23-2009, 08:02 AM   #20
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Having fortunately lived and worked/school 30 years in an area with low taxes AND low cost of living and quite high quality of life (Austin, TX), I really haven't had to make any compromises, so it's hard to make the choices in the poll.

Now things might not be nearly as inexpensive as they were a decade ago, but still......

Of course, then DH and I couldn't wait to "get out of the city" after retiring because suddenly urban life seemed to have a lot of drawbacks. Rural living seems to be a lot less expensive. Again - depending on what your definition of "quality of life" is. Some folks seem to like the amenities of a city so well they are willing to put up with urban sprawl or living within an hour of a major city which means COL is higher than further out in the country.

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