Figuring the Finances of Moving

October 14, 2009
Michael Sheehan

Whether you’re looking to relocate for retirement or a better life style, strong planning opens up a whole vista of choices. Figuring out where you want to spend your next years means intelligent sifting through those choices.

Whether you’re looking to relocate to a new city or a new state because you’re ready to retire or because you’re looking for a better life style, it’s important to do your research before you make any decisions. First off, where do you want to be? If you’ve been living in one place for a good part of your life, planning a move opens up a whole vista of choices. Figuring out where you want to spend your next years means some intelligent sifting through those choices.

If you’re moving because you’re retiring, you should have an idea of whether it will cost you less, more, or a lot more to live in your chosen locale. In general, small towns tend to be less expensive than metropolitan areas, for example, while most rural Southern states are less expensive than the rest of the country. Other questions you should know the answers to before you move: What’s the economy like? What’s the weather like? What about recreation and entertainment?

A primary concern for movers is taxes. If you’re retiring, the Supreme Court has ruled that your home state can’t pursue you to your new location to collect taxes on your pension income, but your new state can tax that income. Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming have no income tax and some states that do exempt Social Security or pension income, or both, while others tax them. You should also look into other taxes, like sales taxes and personal property taxes.

With today’s Internet technology, there’s no reason to move without knowing what you’re getting into. Although it’s aimed at retirees, one of the best Web sites for state tax facts, along with a wealth of other details, is The Retirement Living Information Center.