Is the Grass Really Greener?

Susan Talton | Retirement | February 4, 2011

Once in a while we hear this one: I’d like to move to a state with lower taxes. This may be a good idea, but often times it’s not after further exploration.

Lower state income taxes elsewhere might be negated by higher estate taxes, gasoline taxes, taxes on investment income and other property taxes, and perhaps even higher utility bills for summer air conditioning. Moving far away can also bring higher travel costs, making it expensive to visit family and friends back home. Some locales offer “homestead” property tax exemptions for seniors, so it’s wise to check the potential benefits of staying put.

As you’re planning your ideal retirement, it’s also essential to consider your quality of life costs. The arts and cultural activities, outdoor recreation, opportunities for continuing education and volunteering for causes you value can’t be measured in dollars, yet all are important aspects of a fulfilling retirement.

Finally, if you’re drawn to a warmer climate or winter vacations, consider your capacity to handle the heat of the “offseason.” It may even be a good idea to spend a few months in the summer heat before permanently changing your address.

For your overall happiness and well-being sometimes it makes sense to pay a little extra in state taxes.

Susan Talton
Susan Talton
Susan, a Client Advisor at Laird Norton Wealth Management, has more than 25 years of experience in wealth planning. She leads LNMW's Retirement Life Planning Group and is especially adept at working with clients undergoing life transitions.