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Many Retirees Ask: Can We Afford To Stay Here In Retirement?

Editor's NoteFor decades, retirees have moved south for a lower cost of living and warmer winter weather. As many people about to retire brace for winter, they also brace for higher property taxes. The question is-“Can I afford to stay here in retirement?” It’s not just about better weather anymore.

The Newark, NJ, Star Ledger said that the so-called ‘millionaire’s tax’ is just the tip of the iceberg for many. Already taxed as the highest property owners in the country, New Jersey is just one example of a growing exodus to lower taxes and reduced cost of living. Many families can no longer afford to stay in their homes after retirement.

A 30-year-old, 1,800-square-foot home in Parsippany, NJ, for example, has annual property taxes in excess of $15,000. Add $1,000 monthly maintenance, lawn care, snow removal and utilities to the annual cost of keeping a debt-free home, and it exceeds $36,000. For couples earning a $200,000, pre-tax income, it’s no problem, but when they retire and only receive a $60,000 a year pension, they may not be able to maintain their lifestyle, especially when cash-strapped municipalities raise taxes to make ends meet.

Relocating south will save, on average, 44 percent off their cost of living and tax burden. You can use home equity to buy a nicer, new home, lower your cost of living, get better weather and have money left over. Why wait? Values are better than they have been in a decade.

Jim Taylor, Vice Chair of The Harrison Group, which produces the annual American Express Wealth study, said, “Americans with a net worth of $4.6 to $17 million plan a 300 percent increase in real estate purchases this spring.” He continued, “this intent to buy is largely value driven.”

The Carolinas and Tennessee are two popular places attracting buyers. The article “America’s Money is Heading South” listed buyers’ top five counties based on IRS data; three are in Florida. Collier County (Naples) is number one, with Nassau County (south of Jacksonville) number three and Walton County fifth respectively. Greene County (Lake Oconee), GA, is number two.

Puerto Rico: The Caribbean’s Best Kept Secret” offers tax incentives for real estate buyers. Some are heading to other countries like Belize, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama and St. Lucia, which is predicted to be the next “it” Caribbean island. Whether it’s a place to enjoy family, better weather or a lower cost of living, get what you want while you are young enough to enjoy it. Your “Ideal” lifestyle is waiting; visit and RSVP to attend a show in your area and get more information to improve your lifestyle.

Where you live affects how you live!

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