First Person: I Live in the One of the Worst States for Retirees ... But I’m Planning to Stay

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A article dubbed California as one of the "least tax-friendly states for retirees." High income taxes, sales taxes and cost of living make it difficult to save for retirement. As a lifelong Southern California resident, I have definitely considered moving out of state. However, living in California has its perks. Thus, despite its high costs, my husband and I are planning to stay when we retire.

A Vacation is Just Moments Away

When you live in California, you can go to the beach, the mountains or the desert. As a retiree, I won't need to spend a lot of money traveling. After all, I have hundreds of beautiful beaches and lakes to choose from. A trip to the snow is less than an hour away. Attractions such as museums, zoos and aquariums give retirees plenty to do. Also, since the majority of my family already lives in California, I won't have to spend money traveling during the holidays. Finally, year round warm weather makes everyday feel like summer.

The Cost of Moving is High

U.S. News states the average mortgage in Los Angeles and San Diego is just under $2,000. San Francisco is closer to $2,200. However, the cost of moving out of state is also high. Along with paying a realtor, you have to move all of your belongings (or rent a truck and pay for gas). According to, "moving can cost 10 percent or more of the selling price of your home." In addition, with a new house, there are sometimes unknown problems and expensive repairs. If we were to move, we would likely stay local, sell most of our belongings and downsize our home considerably so our mortgage and moving costs were much cheaper. Before retiring, the goal is to have our home completely paid off.

Good Retirement

As a teacher, my husband has a decent retirement plan. Although I quit my job to stay home with my children, I am planning to go back to teaching. I am also planning to work past 60. Teachers enjoy retirement perks such as health and dental benefits along with their monthly retirement.

Not Everywhere in California is Expensive

California is a big state. While living in areas like Santa Monica or Laguna is out of my reach, there are plenty of affordable suburbs and smaller towns. Finding a community without Mello-Roos also makes everything more affordable.

I'm sure my husband and I would enjoy living in a state without sales tax or high income tax rates. However, having year-round nice weather and living close to family is priceless.

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