Leaving California? Tools to help find your new home
If you are considering moving out of California, then you are not alone. California has one of the highest rates of outbound migration, especially for retirees who are looking for a lower cost or lower tax state to make their retiree dollars stretch further. If you find yourself dreaming of greener pastures here are some tools that may help you find that new home out of state.
In our opinion, one of the best sites for research is www.city-data.com. This site allows you to search by specific city (listed by state), look-up specific neighborhoods, compare schools, and even find restaurants (for you foodies out there). Once you click a city you want to explore there is a vast array of information on the city including the following:
Schools and colleges/universities
Business in the city
Even earthquakes, air quality, and tourist attractions
Make sure to check out the “City-Compare” tool in the ‘tools’ section of the site (http://www.city-data.com/city-compare/), which shows a side-by-side comparison of any two cities, including a comparison of the cost of living. For example, when I compare Thousand Oaks, California to Moscow, Idaho, the site provides me with a benchmark: “If you make $50,000 in Moscow you, you will have to make $69,050 in Thousand Oaks to maintain the same standard of living.” While these metrics are based on averages, they are a helpful gauge of how much you could save in another state.
City-Data also has a tool, “Advanced City Search” at http://www.city-data.com/advanced/search.php which allows you to select up to 10 search criteria and it will filter U.S. cities that match your criteria selection. Instructions for using this tool can be found in the blue column to the left just below where you enter your search criteria. This would be a great place to start if you have no idea where you may want to relocate.
There are also city guides listed by state giving an overview of each city, including a list of resources and reviews of major attractions. Furthermore, the City-Data blog has fascinating articles on a wide variety of topics related to moving considerations and different areas of the country. As a warning, this site, like most free sites, contains ads, but we appreciate the data here is not biased sales information like many other “Best places to live” articles.
As you look for more affordable states, be careful to consider all taxes and not just income tax. For example, even though California has high income-tax and sales-tax, California does have property-tax benefits for retirees, especially those who have owned their home for a long time. Make sure to compare property taxes in your destination state to make sure you will truly achieve your goal of lowering costs.
We hope these resources will help you find just the right spot to spend your retirement.