cost of living http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8175/all en-US 5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_senior_couple_talking_a_walk_in_park.jpg" alt="Happy senior couple talking a walk in park" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us have dreams of retiring to a life of leisure, with a nest egg that will enable us to live comfortably. But according to the Government Accountability Office, up to <a href="http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-419" target="_blank">two-thirds of workers</a> are potentially at risk of not maintaining the same standard of living they enjoyed pre-retirement.</p> <p>Moving to a new country to live out your retirement could provide the perfect solution. <a href="https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/rankings_by_country.jsp" target="_blank">Numbeo's Cost of Living Index</a> has the U.S. listed as the 18th most expensive country to live in, meaning retirees have a huge number of cheaper countries to select from. Here are five countries where you can retire on $1,000 per month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-that-welcome-american-retirees?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Countries That Welcome American Retirees</a>)</p> <h2>1. Thailand</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/sukhothai_temple_lake_panorama.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Thailand is best known for its tropical islands and exciting big cities, but it's also a destination where an increasing number of overseas retirees are settling down. It's got the magic combination of being well-developed while maintaining very low living costs.</p> <p>Grocery costs are well-priced and good quality, and fresh produce is widely available. According to Numbeo, the average price of a loaf of bread is $1, a dozen eggs is $1.80, and a pound of rice costs just 60 cents. A three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant costs $20.60, so you'll also be able to enjoy regular evenings out.</p> <p>The transport infrastructure in Thailand is also good, with tuk tuks, taxis, and public transport providing easy ways to get around. Costs are also low, with Numbeo suggesting the flag fare for an average one-way taxi ride is about $1 plus 28 cents per mile after that.</p> <p><strong>Typical fixed costs per month:</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Rent for one-bed apartment city center: $615</p> </li> <li> <p>Utilities: $84</p> </li> <li> <p>Internet: $18</p> </li> </ul> <h2>2. Bolivia</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/copacabana.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Although not the most fashionable country in South America, Bolivia is a great retirement option for outdoor lovers. From the Amazon rain forest to the Andes Mountains, there's an abundance of beautiful landscapes to explore. It's also one of the most affordable countries in South America.</p> <p>The cheapest place to buy fresh produce is from the local markets throughout the country, but there are also many supermarkets with wider selections of international goods. Numbeo lists the average price of a loaf of bread as 92 cents, a dozen eggs for $1.40, and a pound of rice at 60 cents. Splashing out on a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant will cost $25.</p> <p>Transport systems in Bolivia are not the most advanced, but there are good public bus networks and inexpensive taxi services in most areas. According to Numbeo, the average cost of a one way bus fare is 32 cents, and the starting fare for a taxi is $1.45 with $2.33 added for each mile.</p> <p><strong>Typical fixed costs per month:</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Rent for one-bed apartment city center: $290</p> </li> <li> <p>Utilities: $43</p> </li> <li> <p>Internet: $70</p> </li> </ul> <h2>3. Nicaragua</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/cathedral_of_granada_nicaragua.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Central America's largest country has become a popular destination for retirees in recent years. The scenery is dramatic and lush, with numerous volcanoes peppering the countryside, verdant rain forest covering large portions, and coastal areas lined with white sand beaches.</p> <p>Between the markets and the major supermarkets, one of which is owned by Walmart, it's possible to get virtually everything you're used to in the U.S. The average price, according to Numbeo, for a loaf of bread is $1.50, a dozen eggs runs $1.63, and a pound of rice 43 cents. A three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant will run you $30.</p> <p>Buses, taxis, and mototaxis are the most popular and inexpensive forms of transportation, with many of the buses being the familiar old yellow school buses imported from the U.S. Numbeo lists the average fare as just 35 cents, while the starting tariff for taxis is $1 and an extra $1.64 per mile after that.</p> <p><strong>Typical fixed costs per month:</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Rent for one-bed apartment city center: $273</p> </li> <li> <p>Utilities: $119</p> </li> <li> <p>Internet: $70</p> </li> </ul> <h2>4. Malaysia</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/sunset_over_tea_plantation_in_malaysia.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Year-round warm temperatures, stunning beaches, and diverse, bustling cities make this a great choice for people on the lookout for top spots to retire. Thanks to English being spoken by virtually everyone, it's an easy place to get by without learning a new language.</p> <p>Though it's easy to get your hands on international branded goods, local produce is far cheaper and of good quality. The average price for a loaf of bread is 70 cents, a dozen eggs will cost you $1.24, and a pound of rice is available for 56 cents, according to Numbeo. Eating out is a particular pleasure is Malaysia, thanks to the unique fusion of cuisines found here. It's also cheap at just $16 for a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant.</p> <p>Kuala Lumpur, the capital, is well connected by trains and buses, while the rest of the country is serviced by good bus networks. The average price of a one way train fare is 70 cents, and taxis are also a price-effective option, with starting tariffs of 70 cents and a per-mile cost of just 56 cents.</p> <p><strong>Typical fixed costs per month:</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Rent for one-bed apartment city center: $557</p> </li> <li> <p>Utilities: $50</p> </li> <li> <p>Internet: $38</p> </li> </ul> <h2>5. Georgia</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/view_over_the_city_of_tbilisi_georgia.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>No, we're not talking about the state tucked down in the southeast of the U.S., but a tiny nation that lies on the edges of both Europe and Asia. Though it's little known, it's growing in popularity, especially among retirees, thanks to its beautiful countryside and extremely low cost of living.</p> <p>Georgia is known for its abundance of fresh produce, as well as reputedly being the birthplace of wine. Both are extremely cheap in this country, as are most groceries on offer. A loaf of bread is just 31 cents, a dozen eggs come in at $1.47, and a pound of rice at 36 cents. Eating out is also reasonable at $21 for a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant.</p> <p>Transport in the capital Tbilisi is excellent, with a metro system as well as good bus links and cost-effective taxis. Elsewhere in the country buses and trains are easy to use. The average fare is just 20 cents, and taxis start at $1.25 with 33 cents per mile after that.</p> <p><strong>Typical fixed costs per month:</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Rent for one-bed apartment city center: $310</p> </li> <li> <p>Utilities: $60</p> </li> <li> <p>Internet: $11.20</p> </li> </ul> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Countries%2520Where%2520You%2520Can%2520Retire%2520for%25201%252C000%2520dollars%2520a%2520Month.jpg&amp;description=5%20Countries%20Where%20You%20Can%20Retire%20for%201%2C000%20Dollars%20a%20Month"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Countries%20Where%20You%20Can%20Retire%20for%201%2C000%20dollars%20a%20Month.jpg" alt="5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico">How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-to-know-before-retiring-abroad">9 Things to Know Before Retiring Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-countries-where-you-can-travel-on-30-a-day-or-less">7 Countries Where You Can Travel on $30 a Day or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-these-expenses-spoil-your-retirement-abroad">Don&#039;t Let These Expenses Spoil Your Retirement Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Travel abroad affordable Asia cost of living countries Europe expats expenses food costs international transportation Tue, 11 Jul 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Nick Wharton 1978059 at http://www.wisebread.com How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_chairs_beach_154894068.jpg" alt="Couple learning how to retire in Mexico for less" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're thinking about retirement, you're not alone. However, out of 100 Americans who start working at age 25, only 4% are <a href="http://www.statisticbrain.com/retirement-statistics/" target="_blank">expected to have saved enough</a> for retirement at age 65.</p> <p>While this number may seem surprisingly low, retiring doesn't have to be as expensive as you may think. If you can lower your monthly income requirement, you can also greatly reduce the total capital that you need to save to retire.</p> <p>One easy way to do this: retire abroad. For many Americans, Mexico is a top choice. It's not only geographically close, it's also very affordable. Adventure seekers love its bustling cities full of colonial architecture and rich culture, as well as the natural beauty found along its coastlines and highlands. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a>)</p> <p>If you're worried you might be among the 96% of people who haven't saved enough for retirement, moving to Mexico may be an effective way to make your nest egg go further.</p> <h2>Cost of Living in Mexico</h2> <p>The cost of living is drastically lower than in the U.S. or in Canada. According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Mexico is <a href="https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Mexico" target="_blank">nearly 60% lower</a> than the United States, with rent costing 79% less.</p> <p>However, keep in mind that those are costs averaged over the entire country. Expenses are higher in bigger cities such as the capital, and in places that attract a lot of foreigners, such as Playa del Carmen.</p> <h2>Rental Costs</h2> <p>Based on my experience living in Mexico City and traveling extensively through the country during 2015 and 2016, I have found rents to be far lower than the U.S. You can find a place for as low as $100 a month in off-the-beaten-track destinations, such as the small beach town of Mazunte. However, a great deal like this often means sacrificing on some of the comforts of home such as air conditioning and hot water.</p> <p>On the upper end of the budget, if you're willing to spend $600&ndash;$1,000, you can rent a luxury apartment, even in the more expensive and cosmopolitan destinations.</p> <h2>Health Insurance Costs</h2> <p>Private health insurance is significantly cheaper in Mexico than in the states. It can cost you <a href="http://rollybrook.com/health.htm" target="_blank">as little as 20%</a> of what it would cost in the U.S.</p> <p>Because the cost of routine visits and minor incidents is so small, you may also choose to self-insure, which means simply paying for these costs out-of-pocket as opposed to purchasing an insurance plan.</p> <h2>Doctor Costs</h2> <p>As with rental prices, the cost of going to the doctor also varies to some extent, so these numbers should only serve as a rough guideline.</p> <p>From my experience, a routine teeth cleaning from a dentist costs $15&ndash;$20. A regular doctor's visit costs as little as $25 to $50, while a specialist normally costs $35&ndash;$50 and up per visit.</p> <h2>Food Costs: Restaurants and Grocery Shopping</h2> <p>Groceries in Mexico are about a third of the price of food in the U.S., depending on the season and availability. You can even sometimes find American chains like Wal-Mart, where you can buy cheap groceries.</p> <p>Restaurant prices vary, too, based on type. On the lower end, you can visit food stands to get snacks, which Mexicans call antojitos for as little as 50 cents to a dollar. These include tacos, quesadillas, and burritos. Freshly pressed juice and prepared fruit is also in this price range.</p> <p>One step up from the food stands are restaurants called fondas. These are small, family-owned establishments that serve two- or three-course meals, including soup or salad, a full entree, and a drink. Sometimes they also come with dessert. Expect to pay $3&ndash;$10 dollars.</p> <p>A truly gourmet, upscale dining experience should set you back $10&ndash;$30.</p> <h3>Alcohol Costs</h3> <p>Alcohol in Mexico is widely available, and enjoying tequila or mezcal is a common cultural practice. There are no taboos on drinking, and alcohol is accessible at the local corner store for very affordable prices.</p> <p>For a bottle of tequila or mezcal you can expect to pay $10 for a low-quality bottle and up to $40 for an artisanally produced bottle of very good quality alcohol.</p> <p>A six-pack of beer starts at $4&ndash;$6. There are not as many microbrew options available as in the U.S., but some bars do offer local, small-batch beer, usually priced around $4 a bottle.</p> <p>Mexico is an attractive place to retire, not only because it is an affordable option, but because of all that it has to offer, from interesting cultural experiences to the hospitable locals who often go out of their way to make you feel at home.</p> <h2>Transport Costs</h2> <p>If you're traveling by plane, prices start around $250 for round-trip tickets to or from the U.S., and $40&ndash;$100 for trips within country. Long-distance coaches are an even cheaper alternative to internal flights. An eight-hour basic bus trip costs about $25, varying a bit depending on your destination. You also have the option of paying more for a first-class bus that includes drinks, snacks, entertainment (TV and music), and seats that are designed to be comfortable to sleep in.</p> <p>Local transportation options include the bus (on average 50 cents) and, in Mexico City, the Metro (25 cents).</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%20Almost%20Anyone%20Can%20Afford%20to%20Retire%20in%20Mexico.jpg&amp;description=How%20Almost%20Anyone%20Can%20Afford%20to%20Retire%20in%20Mexico" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20Almost%20Anyone%20Can%20Afford%20to%20Retire%20in%20Mexico.jpg" alt="How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-financial-steps-to-take-before-retiring-abroad">13 Financial Steps to Take Before Retiring Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young">6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-these-expenses-spoil-your-retirement-abroad">Don&#039;t Let These Expenses Spoil Your Retirement Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Travel cost of living expats expenses food costs foreign countries health care mexico Fri, 10 Feb 2017 10:30:38 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1871128 at http://www.wisebread.com Would You Move to One of These States to Avoid Taxes? http://www.wisebread.com/would-you-move-to-one-of-these-states-to-avoid-taxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/would-you-move-to-one-of-these-states-to-avoid-taxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tax_forms_505405952.jpg" alt="Woman moving to a new state to avoid taxes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some states have no state income tax &mdash; but at what expense?</p> <p>If you're thinking of moving to one of the seven states with no income tax, consider that you may not actually be saving much money in the end, due to higher sales taxes, higher property taxes, and other additional costs. After all, these states can't just forego taxes altogether as a source of revenue; they simply make up the money somewhere else.</p> <p>So how do you assess how much you're really saving, if anything at all?</p> <h2>The States With No Income Taxes</h2> <p>Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming have no state income tax. Residents of New Hampshire and Tennessee are also spared from state income tax, but have to pay taxes on dividends and income from investments. Other states (such as Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin) have considered forgoing state income tax, as well, because it tends to result in economic and population growth throughout the state.</p> <p>These states argue that cutting the state income tax can help to create jobs and prevent workers from leaving the state.</p> <h2>How Much Are You Really Saving?</h2> <p>For this example, let's compare living and working in California to Washington. Let's say your personal income is $60,000 per year. <a href="https://www.tax-brackets.org/californiataxtable" target="_blank">California's marginal income tax rate</a> at this income is 9.3%, while Washington&rsquo;s is 0%. The <a href="https://smartasset.com/taxes/california-tax-calculator#IuHiRFQfs9" target="_blank">effective rate</a> at this income is 4.47%, which will result in $2,680 in state taxes.</p> <p>California and Washington have similar costs of living, depending on where you live. For instance, Los Angeles and Seattle have very similar costs of living, while San Francisco&rsquo;s cost of living is 24% higher than Seattle&rsquo;s. On the other hand, <a href="http://www.taxrates.com/california-c/" target="_blank">California's sales tax rate</a> is 7.5%&ndash;10%, while <a href="http://www.sale-tax.com/Washington" target="_blank">Washington&rsquo;s sales tax</a>&nbsp;ranges from 7%&ndash;9.9%, depending on where you live.</p> <p>Consider how much you&rsquo;d be saving after you factor in your moving costs. According to the American Moving &amp; Storage Association, the average move costs $3,868&ndash;$5,415 for the average two or three bedroom home from California to Washington. However, this depends on your personal move and how much you are able to save. In fact, Worldwide ERC estimates the average moving cost from one state to another to be closer to $12,935.</p> <h2>No Income Tax Usually Means Higher Sales Taxes</h2> <p>By forgoing a state income tax, the state needs to make up for their budget in other ways. For instance, the sales tax on your clothing, food, gasoline, and other purchases may be higher in the new state. There are also other fees to consider, such as property taxes, tuition costs, and cost of living expenses, which should be factored into your state-by-state comparisons.</p> <p>For example, Tennessee has the highest average state and local sales tax rate in the country, which the Tax Foundation estimates at around 9.45%. Nevada also has above-average sales taxes. Texas and Florida also have above-average sales tax and effective property tax rates. Meanwhile, Washington has the highest gasoline prices due to a high gasoline tax of around $0.37 per gallon.</p> <h2>And Higher Property Taxes</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s also important to consider the property tax rate in the state-by-state comparison, which is <a href="http://www.evolve-ca.org/prop-13-facts/" target="_blank">1% of assessed property value</a> in California and <a href="https://smartasset.com/taxes/washington-property-tax-calculator" target="_blank">1.025% in Washington</a>, as well as the vehicle tax rate, which is <a href="https://www.salestaxhandbook.com/california/sales-tax-vehicles" target="_blank">7.5% in California </a>and 6.8% in Washington.</p> <p>Property tax can make a big difference, depending on where you live and how much your home is worth &mdash; and how long you've owned it. For instance, <a href="http://www.nber.org/digest/apr05/w11108.html" target="_blank">Warren Buffett pays</a> property taxes of $14,410 (at a 2.9% tax rate) on his $500,000 home in Nebraska and only $2,264 (at a 0.056% tax rate) on his $4M home in California. (California's Proposition 13 essentially &quot;locked in&quot; Buffett's property tax rate at 1970s levels.)</p> <h2>And a Bunch of Other Fees and Taxes</h2> <p>Along with potentially higher sales taxes and property taxes, each state can also employ its own unique fees and taxes. New Hampshire has some of the highest effective property taxes in the country, as well as the highest average in-state tuition. By contrast, Wyoming and Alaska derive high tax revenues from coal mining and oil drilling operations. In fact, nearly 70% of Alaska's income comes from nontax revenue. Nevada receives taxes and fees on gambling, which totals nearly $1B each year, as well as a modified business tax rate of 1.17%.</p> <p>While South Dakota has a below average sales tax rate, the state charges a range of other fees and taxes to make up for it, including a cigarette excise tax, bank franchise and alcoholic beverage taxes, high motor fuel tax, and licensing fees on coin-operated laundries. Texas charges <a href="https://www.comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/#TexasTaxes" target="_blank">more than 60 separate taxes</a>, fees, and assessmentsto make up for the lack of income taxes.</p> <h2>Before You Go, Compare All Expenses</h2> <p>According to the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, Alaska, Florida, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Washington all have above average cost of living. Each state is unique in its taxation systems, so it&rsquo;s important to research your <a href="http://tax.findlaw.com/tax-laws-forms/state-tax-codes.html" target="_blank">new state&rsquo;s tax code</a> and alternative revenue streams before factoring in what you would save in state income taxes. Make sure to also use a <a href="http://swz.salary.com/CostOfLivingWizard/LayoutScripts/Coll_Start.aspx" target="_blank">cost of living comparison tool</a> for a better idea of how much you will save overall (if anything at all) by making the big move.</p> <h2>How to Reduce Your Income Tax Without Moving</h2> <p>Before you decide to move to a state with no income taxes, consider the alternatives. You can contribute more to your 401K, donate more, and take advantage of tax deductions. There are various ways to save money on your taxes each year, so speak with your tax pro to ensure you are taking advantage of every possible deduction.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/would-you-move-to-one-of-these-states-to-avoid-taxes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-worst-states-for-retirees">The 10 Worst States for Retirees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you">Here&#039;s How Much Life in the Big City Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-you-should-always-hire-a-moving-company">6 Reasons You Should Always Hire a Moving Company</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-bizarre-things-you-can-be-taxed-on">35 Bizarre Things You Can Be Taxed On</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes cost of living income taxes low tax rates moving relocating sales taxes states Fri, 06 Jan 2017 10:00:16 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1869198 at http://www.wisebread.com Rent Your Home or Buy? Here's How to Decide http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hands_small_house_71818037.jpg" alt="Deciding if you should rent or buy your home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are plenty of advantages to renting an apartment, and just as many to buying a home, instead. But what about financially? Is renting or buying the smarter money move?</p> <p>Not surprisingly, the answer is complicated, and depends on where you live, what kind of home you want to buy or apartment you want to rent, and how long you plan on staying in one place. Here's a look at the numbers that might help you solve the rent-vs.-buy puzzle.</p> <h2>Prices Are Rising for Buyers and Renters</h2> <p>Renting an apartment is more expensive today than it was even a year ago. But the same is true of buying a home.</p> <p>Consider the cost of buying a home. The National Association of Realtors reported that in September of this year, the median price of existing homes stood at $234,200.</p> <p>You won't necessarily have to pay $234,200 or more, depending on where you buy. But the median sales price continues to increase, meaning that home prices overall are on the rise. The median price in September was up 5.6% from the same month one year earlier, when it was $221,700. And don't expect median prices to fall anytime soon. The association says that September's price increase represents the 55th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.</p> <p>And what about renting? Apartment rents continue to rise, too. ApartmentList reported that in November of this year, the median national rent for one-bedroom apartments was $1,110 a month. For two-bedroom apartments that figure was $1,270. The good news is that median rents actually fell in 55 out of the country's 100 biggest cities from October to November, according to ApartmentList.</p> <p>The bad news? Rents are still higher today than they were one, two, or three years ago. According to ApartmentList, the median national rent was 2% higher in November of this year compared with the same month one year earlier.</p> <p>So no matter if you rent or buy, know that prices are generally rising.</p> <h2>Which Is More Affordable?</h2> <p>That leads to the big question: Given that both buying a home and renting an apartment are getting more expensive, which option is most affordable?</p> <p>The answer to this question includes plenty of variables. For instance, owning a home provides a tax benefit: You can deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage loan each year up to $1 million, resulting in a lower tax bill. But even this isn't a crystal-clear financial plus for all owners. You can only claim your mortgage interest deduction if you itemize your taxes. And if that interest deduction isn't higher than the IRS' standard deduction &mdash; which stood at $12,600 for married couples filing jointly and $6,300 for singles in 2016 &mdash; there is no real reason for you to itemize your taxes and claim the deduction.</p> <p>Then consider the variables of going the apartment route: You might be able to find an apartment with low rent. But that apartment might not be located where you actually want to live, especially if you want to live in the center of a large city. Apartments in urban areas tend to come with higher rents today.</p> <p>And if you do find a cheaper apartment, it will almost certainly not be a newer one. RENTCafe found that in 2015, 75% of all large new apartment properties built across the country were high-end luxury properties, buildings that charge far higher monthly rents. Most of these new apartments are being built in the center of big cities, too, according to RENTCafe.</p> <p>So if you want to rent an apartment in San Francisco? ApartmentList says that a two-bedroom apartment here had a median price of $4,700 a month in November, while a one-bedroom had a median monthly rent of $3,440. In Boston, two-bedrooms rented for a median price of $2,350 a month, while in Seattle it cost a median of $1,720 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,300 for two bedrooms.</p> <p>Given this jumble of numbers, is it cheaper to rent or buy? According to real estate website Trulia, buying a home is cheaper on a national basis. Though, not surprisingly, there are some caveats.</p> <h2>Nationally, Buying Is Cheaper</h2> <p>Trulia reported in October that buying a home was 37.7% cheaper than renting on a national basis. But that 37.7% figure only holds true for those who live in their homes for at least seven years and can afford to come up with a down payment of 20% on their homes.</p> <p>Given that standard, Trulia reports that buying is cheaper than renting in each of the 100 largest metropolitan areas of the country. According to Trulia, for example, it is 50% cheaper to buy in Miami and just under 20% cheaper to buy in San Francisco and Honolulu.</p> <p>Part of the reason that buying is more affordable comes down to mortgage interest rates. Rates are still at historically low levels, with the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey reporting that as of Nov. 10, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loan stood at 3.57%. This makes borrowing money for a mortgage loan more affordable.</p> <p>Want to see what Trulia thinks of the rent-vs.-buy decision in your community? Visit the site&rsquo;s <a href="https://www.trulia.com/rent_vs_buy/">rent-vs.-buy calculator</a>, punch in your metropolitan area and wait for the results.</p> <h2>What Should You Do?</h2> <p>These numbers, and Trulia&rsquo;s rent-vs.-buy calculator, should serve as a general guide. But they alone can't tell you whether you should rent or buy. That's because everyone's situation is unique.</p> <p>Say you only plan to live in an area for three or four years before moving. Renting is almost always the better financial move. Say you hate the thought of mowing a lawn for 15 years. Again, renting might be the better choice, even if it is more expensive than owning a home. If you dream of gardening in your own backyard? Then buying might make you happier.</p> <p>Your best bet is to carefully analyze what you want out of a home, whether it's the stability of owning and building equity or the freedom that comes with renting. Then make your decision based on what type of home will best meet your needs.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials">4 Home-Buying Habits We Can Learn From Millennials</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-best-cities-with-rent-control">The 3 Best Cities With Rent Control</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment">Stop Thinking of Your House as an Investment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-that-will-ruin-your-mortgage-application">5 Money Moves That Will Ruin Your Mortgage Application</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-benefits-of-carrying-a-mortgage-into-retirement">5 Benefits of Carrying a Mortgage Into Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments cost of living homeownership mortgages rent vs buy renting Tue, 22 Nov 2016 11:00:15 +0000 Dan Rafter 1835351 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Much Life in the Big City Will Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_walking_city_77672035.jpg" alt="Woman finding out how much life in the big city will cost her" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So, you got a new higher-paying job in the big city. Now you have to decide whether it's worth making the big move. Fortunately, there's an easy cost analysis that can help you determine if the move is worthwhile.</p> <h2>Cost of Living Calculators</h2> <p>For a better estimate of how much you'll need to earn to maintain the same standard of living, use a cost of living calculator. Once you enter your current income, where you currently live, and where you would like to move, you can see a side-by-side comparison of what it will cost to live in both cities.</p> <p>Some <a href="http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/">basic calculators</a> will show how far your salary will go in another city by comparing the price differences of major categories, like housing, utilities, and groceries. There are also more advanced cost of living calculators that will break down everything from what gas costs in the two areas, to how much you pay for coffee and ibuprofen.</p> <p>For example, say you're living somewhere like Bakersfield, California with an income of $50,000, and you're deciding whether to move to a big metro like San Francisco. So, how much will you need to earn in order to maintain your same standard of living? Using a cost of living calculator, you can see that you would need to be making $81,636. Otherwise, you'll have to get used to a lower standard of living and cut costs wherever possible.</p> <h2>Housing</h2> <p>Generally speaking, the closer you live to downtown, the more expensive the rent, food, and entertainment costs. When you live in a bigger city, it also generally means that you will have a smaller living space. Worst of all, rent just keeps getting more expensive over time. According to StreetEasy's annual New York City Rent Affordability Report, the median rent-to-income ratio in NYC rose from 59.7% in 2015 to <a href="http://cdn1.blog-media.zillowstatic.com/streeteasy/2/StreetEasy-2016-Rent-AffordabilityReport-7e91e8.pdf">65.2% in 2016</a>. This means that nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers' income is devoted to rent. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford?ref=seealso">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a>)</p> <h2>Higher Income</h2> <p>In most cases, a higher cost of living also means that the area has a higher than average median household income. While you can usually get a more robust <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/protect-future-earnings-by-negotiating-the-right-starting-salary">starting salary</a> in a large city, you might not want to count on hefty raises. Income growth is lagging behind things like rent increases and cost of living growth, so your expenses may increase in the years to come, but your income might not keep up.</p> <h2>Transportation</h2> <p>In most cases, the closer you can live to work, the better. This will allow you to bike to work, take part in a carpool, use Uber, or even take public transportation.</p> <p>If you will be taking advantage of public transportation, consider storing or selling your car, so you don't have to worry about parking. Driving can also be a lot more overwhelming for someone moving from a smaller town to a big metro (think Los Angeles gridlock). Look into public transportation options in your new city to determine if you can reasonably live there without a car, and how much you would save by making the change to public transportation. Keep in mind that places that are more walkable, or have better transportation options, are typically more expensive to rent.</p> <h2>Parking</h2> <p>In cities like Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle (to name a few), free parking is basically a pipe dream. With parking meters and paid parking lots as far as the eye can see, it's very unlikely that you'll find free parking. Even if you did find street parking, the posted rules can be very confusing and, in large cities, parking tickets are very common.</p> <h2>Convenience</h2> <p>Living in a large city means most things will be at your fingertips. For instance, there isn't much that you won't have access to in New York City. However, getting what you want and need is a different story. Living in a small town means quicker trips to the grocery store and general merchandise stores like Target.</p> <p>In a big city, on the other hand, you have to worry about fighting traffic and finding parking before you even get to the store. Then, there are hordes of people to deal with and long lines at the checkout counter, so small day trips can become much longer and more stressful. Try completing your errands at odd times, like early in the morning or during your lunch break, to beat the crowds.</p> <h2>Entertainment</h2> <p>Living in a big city means there are generally boundless things to occupy your time, such as endless places to eat, shows to watch, people to meet, and free activities to take part in. In a city like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-visit-san-francisco-without-going-broke-0">San Francisco</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-visit-new-york-without-going-broke">New York</a>, you will be exposed to more culture more easily, and can find more fun, free events for the kids.</p> <p>To better deal with the culture shock, try seeking out social groups and other resources for newcomers to the area. Make a valiant effort after moving to make friends with locals and other transplants so you can quickly become acclimated with the city and what is available to you.</p> <h2>Is It Worth It?</h2> <p>Moving to a large city can be very expensive. The move itself can be a frustrating, expensive undertaking, and once you're there, things like rent, groceries, utilities, health care, and transportation can be much more expensive than what you're used to. Take this into account when you're deciding whether to make the move or not.</p> <p>The decision on whether it is worth it to make the big move is an entirely personal one. After living in New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, I can attest to the fact that there is nothing comparable to living in a big metro. What you can (and will) experience in a shorter amount of time there is well worth the higher cost of living. However, if you are trying to save more money or contribute more towards your debt, savings, or retirement accounts, you'll need to use a cost of living calculator (at minimum) to determine whether it's worth it for you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/moving-dont-skimp-on-these-critical-expenses">Moving? Don&#039;t Skimp on These Critical Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-100s-on-your-next-move">How to Save $100s on Your Next Move</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Real Estate and Housing big cities cost of living expenses housing moving relocating renting transportation Tue, 01 Nov 2016 10:00:15 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1824619 at http://www.wisebread.com The Real Cost of Moving to Canada (If That's Your Post-Election Plan) http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-cost-of-moving-to-canada-if-thats-your-post-election-plan <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-real-cost-of-moving-to-canada-if-thats-your-post-election-plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_suitcase_bench_3139059.jpg" alt="Woman moving to Canada after 2016 election" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The odds are high that you don't like either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released in late August, 56% of U.S. adults viewed Hillary Clinton unfavorably. The same poll found that 63% said the same about Donald Trump.</p> <p>No matter who wins the presidential election this November, a lot of people are going to be upset. You might even have heard people claiming that they'd flee to Canada if Trump &mdash; or Clinton &mdash; wins. Maybe you've even made this boast yourself.</p> <p>But you might be surprised to learn that life can get costly over the border. Here is a quick look at what you'll pay when you flee to our neighbors to the north after Nov. 8.</p> <h2>Conversion Rate</h2> <p>First, a bit of good news. One U.S. dollar as of Oct. 6 was equal to $1.32 in Canada. So if you head north with $30,000, you'll have a bit more than $39,640 once you cross the U.S./Canadian border.</p> <h2>Taxes</h2> <p>Hate paying taxes in the United States? Well, you won't like it in Canada, either. The Fraser Institute think tank reported that the average Canadian family spent $34,154 in taxes in 2015. By comparison, NerdWallet in 2015 reported that the average American family paid about $14,000 in taxes. That figure, like the Canadian one, includes real estate, income, and sales taxes.</p> <p>That difference looks less imposing when you factor in the U.S.-Canada currency conversion rate. In Canadian dollars, the average U.S. family in 2015 paid nearly $26,000 in taxes. That is still quite a bit lower than in Canada.</p> <p>According to the Fraser Institute, the average Canadian bill for income taxes collected by governments in 2015 was $10,616, while payroll and health taxes came out to an average of $17,160.</p> <h2>Housing</h2> <p>Homes are expensive in Canada. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said that the average price of a single-family detached home in Vancouver rose to $1.58 million in September. That comes out to about $1.19 million in U.S. currency.</p> <p>And Vancouver isn't the only expensive place to buy a home in Canada. The Toronto Real Estate Board said that the average selling price for all home types in Toronto came out to $710,410 in August (about $537,000 in U.S. dollars).</p> <p>The average selling price for all Canadian homes sold in August of 2016 was $456,722, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. That comes out to about $345,000 in U.S. currency. In comparison, the National Association of Realtors said that the average sales price for all homes sold in the United States in August was $240,200.</p> <h2>Renting an Apartment</h2> <p>So maybe you'll rent an apartment instead. That's pretty costly, too.</p> <p>According to RentGorilla, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver in September of 2016 came in at $2,445 a month, equal to about $1,850 in the United States. In Toronto, the average two-bedroom rent was $1,502 the same month, equal to $1,136 in the United States.</p> <p>In Ottawa, the average two-bedroom rent was $1,235, while in Montreal it stood at $852. Those last two, by the way, are quite affordable, coming out to $934 and about $644 respectively in the United States.</p> <h2>Goods and Services</h2> <p>What about basic necessities, everything from a gallon of gas to a gallon of milk? You'll find that with the conversion factor, prices in Canada are similar to what you'd pay for the same items in the United States.</p> <p>Consider a gallon of gasoline. According to the Expatistan Cost of Living Index, a liter of gas &mdash; which is equal to one quarter of a gallon &mdash; came out to $1.20 in Vancouver. That means a gallon of gas would cost an average of $4.80 in the city. That comes out to $3.63 in U.S. currency, a bit higher than what you'd pay at the pump in most U.S. cities today.</p> <p>Two liters of Coca-Cola, though, come out to an average of $2.48 in Toronto, according to Expatistan. That comes out to $1.88 in U.S. money. A pair of jeans here costs an average of $68, or $51.46 in U.S. currency.</p> <p>In Montreal, a 40-inch flat screen TV costs an average of $509, according to Expatistan. That comes out to about $385 in U.S. money, while a pair of athletic shoes sell for an average of $110 in Montreal, equal to about $83 in the United States.</p> <h2>Cost-of-Living Comparisons</h2> <p>Expatistan compiled its own cost-of-living comparisons between Canadian cities and several in the United States. As you'll see, if you live in higher-priced areas of the United States, you might actually find it cheaper to live in Canada.</p> <p>For instance, the cost of living in Toronto is 9% cheaper than it is in Chicago, according to Expatistan. And it's 32% cheaper to live there than it is in New York City. On the other hand, Toronto's cost of living is 24% more expensive than it is in Omaha and 30% more than in Iowa City.</p> <p>Expatistan estimates that it is 35% cheaper to live in Vancouver than it is San Francisco and 15% cheaper than Seattle. However, it is 15% more expensive to live in Vancouver than it is Wichita and 7% more expensive than living in Columbus. So much like the election, it's really up to you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-cost-of-moving-to-canada-if-thats-your-post-election-plan">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-best-cities-with-rent-control">The 3 Best Cities With Rent Control</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you">Here&#039;s How Much Life in the Big City Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-expats-can-maintain-their-credit-scores">9 Ways Expats Can Maintain Their Credit Scores</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-your-vote-says-about-your-money-style">Here&#039;s What Your Vote Says About Your Money Style</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-saved-enough-for-a-down-payment-while-working-in-china">How I Saved Enough for a Down Payment While Working in China</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Real Estate and Housing Canada Clinton conversion rates cost of living election 2016 expats politics renting running away taxes trump Fri, 14 Oct 2016 09:01:03 +0000 Dan Rafter 1812615 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retired_old_couple_90300353.jpg" alt="Retired couple finding cities to retire in on social security" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The statistics on how unprepared Americans are for retirement can be terrifying. The <a href="http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/pdf/2015/RetirementSavingsCrisis.pdf">median retirement account balance</a> is $2,500 for all working-age households and $14,500 for near-retirement households, according to a 2015 study by the National Institute on Retirement Security.</p> <p>Two-thirds of working families fall short of conservative retirement savings targets for their age and income based on working until age 67, the report finds.</p> <p>With virtually no retirement savings for the average working household and 45% (nearly 40 million) of working households not having any retirement assets, their best hope for surviving after age 67 may be income from Social Security.</p> <h2>What Social Security Pays</h2> <p>The average monthly Social Security check as of June 2016 was $1,234, according to the Social Security Administration, or SSA. Where could you afford to live on such an income?</p> <p>There are some good options, but before we get to those, let's be a little more generous with the SSA income, based on the government's statistics.</p> <p>While the average monthly benefit was $1,234, 82% of beneficiaries receive a little more &mdash; $1,280 from &quot;Old-Age and Survivors Insurance&quot; SSA beneficiaries. The largest average monthly SSA benefit was $1,348 for retired workers, who made up 67% of the pool.</p> <p>Assuming you're a retired worker receiving the average $1,348 each month from SSA, that's still a low amount of money to live on each month, considering that a retirement planning rule of thumb is to plan on having 70%&ndash;80% percent of your pre-retirement income replaced with SSA, a retirement account, or other form of income in your old age.</p> <p>At 80%, that $1,348 would equate to a pre-retirement monthly income of $1,685, or $20,220 per year. If you were comfortable living on $20,220 per year before retirement, then living on 80% of it during retirement should be just as comfortable, the theory goes.</p> <p>For a couple who are both retired, their SSA income would double to $40,440 per year. But for our purposes, let's assume one retiree is living by themselves.</p> <p>So, where to live on the average SSA check of $1,348 per month for retired workers? In no particular order, here are five cities where it's affordable.</p> <h2>1. Buffalo, New York</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/buffalo_new_york_82224935.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Buffalo may come as a surprise for being a cheap place to live because it's in New York state. But the <a href="https://smartasset.com/mortgage/top-ten-cheapest-places-to-live">median monthly rent</a> in Buffalo is $512, making it the cheapest city in the U.S. to live in, according to a SmartAsset analysis. Buffalo also has the lowest cost of living at 79.34, meaning that the U.S. average is 100 and that $100 in groceries, for example, would cost $79.34 in Buffalo.</p> <h2>2. Johnstown, Pennsylvania</h2> <p>If you're looking for the cheapest rent in the country, this city of 20,576 residents has it with a gross median rent of $466 per month, according to data from the U.S. Census. Since housing is one of the biggest expenses in life, such low rent can make other expenses a lot more affordable.</p> <p>The <a href="http://places.findthehome.com/stories/10260/city-every-state-cheapest-affordable-rent#50-Pennsylvania-Johnstown">average per capita income</a> in Johnstown is $16,153, according to FindTheHome, putting the average SSA income in retirement above the average there. In this city, you'd be rich.</p> <h2>3. Memphis, Tennessee</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/graceland_memphis_91136155.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>If you're looking for a large U.S. city that's affordable in retirement, Memphis is it. This city of 653,450 has low housing costs. The average apartment rent of $709 per month is 21% below the U.S. average, and the median home value of $98,300 is 46% below the U.S. average, according to Kiplinger.</p> <h2>4. Akron, Ohio</h2> <p>Living in the center of the country is usually cheaper than it is elsewhere, and Akron, Ohio proves that point by being one of the <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/media/the-15-most-affordable-places-to-live-in-america/16/">most affordable places to live</a> in the country. Its median home price listing in August 2015 was $120,450, and the median household income was $45,628 &mdash; putting the average SSA income at just below the median. The amount of monthly income spent on housing, utilities, and commuting in Akron was 28.9%, allowing retirees to spend about 70% of their income on other things.</p> <h2>5. Indianapolis, Indiana</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/indianapolis_indiana_62568936_0.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Listed by Trulia as one of the best cities to move to for a high-paying job, Indianapolis has low home prices for <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/millennials-meet-indianapolis-your-new-dream-city-n623021">Millennials looking for work</a> and for retirees, too. The median home price of $130,000 is $58,900 below the median home price in America. That allows about two of every five renters to be able to afford a typically priced home there. For retirees who sell their homes and have enough money to buy a home outright or put down a large down payment, then living with little or almost no housing costs can leave a lot of room in their budget for other things.</p> <p>The good news is that there are plenty more U.S. cities that are affordable for retirees who only have an income from Social Security. These are only five of them, and are a good start to investigate more when deciding on the cheapest places to retire.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%20American%20Cities%20Where%20You%20Can%20Retire%20On%20Just%20Social%20Security.jpg&amp;description=5%20American%20Cities%20Where%20You%20Can%20Retire%20On%20Just%20Social%20Security" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20American%20Cities%20Where%20You%20Can%20Retire%20On%20Just%20Social%20Security.jpg" alt="5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you">3 Ways More Money in Retirement Might Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement">5 Financial Moves You Should Make Five Years Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">Here&#039;s How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-to-claim-social-security-before-your-retirement-age">3 Reasons to Claim Social Security Before Your Retirement Age</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-start-claiming-your-social-security-benefits">5 Questions to Ask Before You Start Claiming Your Social Security Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing Retirement America benefits cost of living income relocating social security u.s. cities Tue, 20 Sep 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Aaron Crowe 1795982 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways That Better Paying Job Out of State May Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-that-better-paying-job-out-of-state-may-cost-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-that-better-paying-job-out-of-state-may-cost-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_85520231_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="taking a higher-paying job out of state may cost you" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>On the market for a new, higher paying job? Have you expanded your job search across state lines? When contemplating a job that would require you to move to a new state, part of the decision process should be determining how the local costs, public infrastructure, and local school system will affect your financial bottom line.</p> <p>In some areas of the United States, the increase in salary the job offers might not be enough to offset the added potential living expense. Here are some things to consider.</p> <h2>1. Cost of Living</h2> <p>Before accepting a job in another state, it's essential you don't assume that a higher salary offer in another state will lead to a larger disposable income. Each state has a slightly different cost of living. When you move from one state to another, you can expect slightly different housing, food, utility, healthcare, transportation, and healthcare costs.</p> <p>If the new job offer is from a state with a significantly higher cost of living, the &quot;raise&quot; might:</p> <ul> <li>Not be as extensive as you expect</li> <li>Be an equivalent wage</li> <li>Be a pay decrease.</li> </ul> <p>For example, a $25,000 salary in Boise, Idaho is comparable to a $47,274 salary in Brooklyn, New York. In order to really be considered a raise, individuals that move from Idaho to New York should expect at a little more than a salary of $47,274 a year.</p> <p>Before accepting any jobs out of state, check this<a href="http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/"> cost of living calculator</a> to ensure that you are actually receiving a raise.</p> <h2>2. Housing</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-a-fair-relationship-between-salary-and-rent">Housing costs, rent</a>, and home ownership can differ significantly from state-to-state. You will want to evaluate how the expected rent or mortgage rates (lower, higher, the same) will affect your potential disposable income.</p> <p>Moving from Idaho to New York, for example, can lead to a steep increase in potential rent or mortgage costs. Average rent cost increases from $995 (Idaho) to $3,295 (New York).</p> <h2>3. Transportation</h2> <p>Moving from an area with a good public transit system could significantly increase your expenses. According to the<a href="http://mbaonline.pepperdine.edu/evolution-of-the-daily-commute/"> <em>Evolution of the Daily Commute</em></a>, car bound commuters will spend $1,129 dollars in gas annually to travel to and from work. A good subway, bus, or train system can be significantly cheaper due to the fact you're potentially trading gas and parking expenses for a reasonably priced ticket.</p> <p>If you are unavoidably car bound, you might consider how the<a href="http://money.cnn.com/news/storysupplement/economy/gas_prices_by_state/"> difference in gas prices between states</a>&nbsp;will affect your finances. Moving from Oklahoma to California for example, would increase the amount you pay for gas from $1.39 a gallon to $2.47 a gallon. That can lead to a large extra expense.</p> <p>In addition, each state has different average insurance rates due to state regulations, and the percentage of uninsured drivers on the road. Moving from a state with low insurance rates to a state with high insurance rates might mean that you won't have as much extra money from that raise as you expect.</p> <h2>4. Quality of K-12 Schools</h2> <p>The quality, success, and financial stability of the local K-12 public schools are not uniform across state or county lines. Depending on where you move, your children could be facing a potential downgrade in the quality of their education and an unexpected extra financial expense that could counteract the positive effect of your raise.</p> <p>Parents can check out the quality of local schools:</p> <ul> <li>By searching for news of any potential school and school district in Google.</li> <li>By evaluating the statistic, reviews, and polls of any potential school with&nbsp;<a href="https://k12.niche.com/">Niche's 2016 K-12 School and District Rankings</a>.</li> </ul> <p>Moving to an area where the public schools are failing could inevitably lead families to make the hard decision to either gamble on the poor educational institution or invest time and potentially money to enroll students in a more favorable environment.</p> <h2>5. Quality of Local Colleges</h2> <p>College is expensive. In-state college tuition can be a real money saver. How much college costs&nbsp;<a href="https://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/2015-16-state-tuition-and-fees-public-four-year-institutions-state-and-five-year-percentage">depends on the state that you live in</a>. Moving from Wyoming to New Hampshire, for example, could mean that in-state college tuition is suddenly around $10,000 more expensive. Even with a raise, that might be too big of a price hike to reasonably handle.</p> <p>As an added concern, you should evaluate whether or not you're moving into an area with too many colleges on rocky financial standing. These colleges and universities tend to hike tuition rates, cut back on other amenities, and possibly declare bankruptcy.</p> <p>Bankruptcy, in particular, can be costly for current students. It can lead to red marks on their official transcripts (if the school closes mid-semester), forcing students to go through another college application process, and face the reality that many of the classes and credits earned won't be recognized by the new college.</p> <h2>6. State Regulatory Guidelines (For Your Industry)</h2> <p>Professional standards are often set not on a federal level, but on a state level. Moving to a new state can either create new opportunities, or limit the opportunities available to you and your significant other. The most far reaching differences can be found in the medical field.</p> <ul> <li>Twenty-two states&nbsp;<a href="http://onlinenursingdegrees.maryville.edu/the-states-that-allow-nurse-practitioner-autonomy/">grant Nurse Practitioners full autonomy</a> to diagnose and treat patients without supervision from physicians. This can allow NPs to open private clinics or grants the ability to apply for a broader range of jobs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Twenty-five states have entered into a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ncsbn.org/nurse-licensure-compact.htm">Nurse Licensure Compact</a> (NLC) that allows nurses to practice in any other state that has agreed to join the compact. This can allow individuals to engage in travel nursing or telemedicine. Moving out of or into an NLC state could either shrink or increase professional opportunities.</li> </ul> <p>There are a lot of financial factors that should be evaluated when changing jobs within the same state. When moving out of state, there are even more factors that could affect how the new higher paying jobs will negatively or positively affect your net worth.</p> <p><em>Have you taken a job in another state? What was your experience?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/samantha-stauf">Samantha Stauf</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-that-better-paying-job-out-of-state-may-cost-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-seasonal-side-hustles-thatll-cover-your-holiday-spending">8 Seasonal Side Hustles That&#039;ll Cover Your Holiday Spending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-part-time-jobs-to-do-while-your-kids-are-at-school">17 Part-Time Jobs to Do While Your Kids Are at School</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-free-accommodations-and-paid-jobs-on-boats">How to Get Free Accommodations (and Paid Jobs) on Boats</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-questions-to-ask-before-you-take-a-job-offer">12 Questions to Ask Before You Take a Job Offer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Job Hunting cost of living gas prices housing new job public transportation states tickets tuition Thu, 08 Sep 2016 09:30:33 +0000 Samantha Stauf 1788318 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Financial Moves You Should Make Five Years Before Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/older_woman_tablet_91678151.jpg" alt="Woman making financial moves five years before retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Here you are, five years from retirement. The reality of the end of your career is finally hitting home, but you may not feel completely ready to quit work yet.</p> <p>But with adequate planning and preparation, it <em>is</em> possible to feel confident about your life and finances as you approach retirement. Here are five goals that most workers should plan on reaching when they are five years from retirement.</p> <h2>1. Calculate Your Post-Retirement Budget</h2> <p>It may seem too soon, but now is an excellent time to re-evaluate how much money you will need to live on comfortably in retirement. Many workers assume that their expenses will go down in retirement, since they will no longer need to pay for professional clothing, commuting, business travel, and the like. However, depending on how you intend to spend your time in retirement, your expenses could go down by less than you anticipate, or even go up if you plan to travel more or enjoy expensive hobbies.</p> <p>In order to calculate your post-retirement budget, start by listing all of your monthly expenses that will stay the same, including rent or mortgage, car payment, utilities, groceries, personal care, taxes, and insurance.</p> <p>Then tease out what expenses you incur from working. These might include car maintenance, professional clothing, dry cleaning, dining out, tolls/parking, and professional subscriptions. Don't forget to include the kinds of purchases that are not necessarily work-related, like convenience foods or getting a stress-relieving massage, but that you will have less of a need for in retirement.</p> <p>Finally, calculate how much you expect to spend on retirement-related expenses, such as hobbies, memberships, or travel.</p> <p>These three numbers can give you a sense of how much you are currently spending, what not working will save you, and how much you need to have set aside for activities in retirement. Now is the perfect time to start scaling back on the monthly expenses that will stay the same if you are worried about affording your retirement activities.</p> <h2>2. Take Advantage of Catch-Up Provisions</h2> <p>Calculating a post-retirement budget is often a good motivator to start putting more money aside for retirement. Don't assume that five years before you retire is too late to do any good. You still have time to grow your nest egg, particularly if you can take advantage of the catch-up provisions in your tax-advantaged retirement accounts.</p> <p>Tax-advantaged accounts like 401Ks and IRAs have contribution limits that put a cap on the amount of money you can place in them each year. For the majority of taxpayers, the 401K contribution limit is $18,000 per year, and the IRA contribution limit is $5,500 per year. However, taxpayers over the age of 50 may contribute a total of $23,000 per year to their 401Ks and $6,500 per year to their IRAs (as of 2016).</p> <p>Coming up with that kind of scratch to send to your retirement account might be a tall order, but don't forget that both 401K plans and traditional IRAs are tax-deferred. That means you can deduct your contributions from your annual taxes, thereby lowering your current tax burden.</p> <h2>3. Pay Down Your Debt</h2> <p>Entering into retirement while carrying debt can seriously weigh you down, so the five years before retirement is a great time to tackle it.</p> <p>Start with your consumer debt, such as credit cards or a car loan. These are probably charging higher interest than you could earn through any investments, so <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">eliminating all of your consumer debt</a> will help your money go further and save you a great deal over time.</p> <p>It's also a good idea retire your mortgage before you stop working (although you should prioritize paying off consumer debt before your mortgage). Owning your house free and clear in retirement offers you more options to handle whatever happens next.</p> <h2>4. Calculate Your Social Security Benefits</h2> <p>All of the arcane details of claiming Social Security <a href="http://amzn.to/2bKOeVe">could fill a book</a> (ahem), but it is a good idea for workers nearing retirement to get a basic understanding of what benefits will be available to them based on various retirement timelines and spousal coordination.</p> <p>In order to determine your benefit, the Social Security Administration uses a complex formula to adjust your earnings to account for average wage changes (this is known as indexing), and then calculate your specific benefits. The Social Security website offers several user-friendly calculators and applications to help you figure your potential benefits. Specifically, the <a href="http://www.ssa.gov/planners/benefitcalculators.htm">SSA benefits calculators</a> allow you to enter your information to learn what you can expect from your benefits.</p> <p>In addition, signing up for a &quot;<a href="http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/">My Social Security</a>&quot; account can provide you with a great deal of specific information about your particular earnings record and projected benefits. It's an important planning tool for anyone within five years of retirement.</p> <h2>5. Start Planning Your Income Withdrawal Strategy</h2> <p>Many retirees don't really think about how they'll draw down their assets in retirement, assuming that they can just take a small 3% to 4% of their nest egg each year.</p> <p>There are two problems with this scenario. First, if you have a less than robust nest egg, the small percentage you have to live on might not be enough. Second, if you have to withdraw money during a major market downturn, your nest egg may not recover.</p> <p>Instead, you can plan ahead with the bucket method for retirement income, which starts with the assumption that retirees will have to ride out some market volatility during their retirement. With this method, you split your portfolio into separate income &quot;buckets,&quot; each of which will be intended to handle a different time period in retirement. A common allocation would look like this:</p> <h3>Bucket 1: Years 1&mdash;5</h3> <p>This will be the money you live on in your first years post retirement, while the majority of your nest egg remains invested in longer-term assets. Since you want both stability and liquidity in this time period, the money in this bucket will be placed in cash equivalent assets, such as CDs, U.S. Treasury bills, and money market funds.</p> <h3>Bucket 2: Years 6&mdash;15</h3> <p>You won't be tapping this money until you have gotten a few years into your retirement, so you can afford to be a little more aggressive with your investments. This means your second bucket will generally consist of a mix of bonds and stock, leaning more toward the safety of bonds. You want to reasonably protect your principal here, but still allow your money some room for growth.</p> <h3>Bucket 3: Years 16+</h3> <p>You can afford to be aggressive in this bucket of your portfolio, since you have time to let your money grow. This bucket will consist of higher-risk/higher-return assets, such as stocks and other types of equities, since you have at least 15 years to both ride out market volatility and reap potential benefits.</p> <p>Five years before retirement is the perfect time to start planning your retirement income withdrawal strategy, so you can make decisions without feeling the time-crunch of a looming retirement date.</p> <h2>This Is Your Victory Lap</h2> <p>The five years before you retire can be a challenging and emotional time. Feeling prepared for the financial aspect of retirement can give you the freedom to enjoy the last few years of your career.</p> <p><em>Will you be ready to make these key retirement moves when you're five years away?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Financial%2520Moves%2520You%2520Should%2520Make%2520Five%2520Years%2520Before%2520Retirement.jpg&amp;description=5%20Financial%20Moves%20You%20Should%20Make%20Five%20Years%20Before%20Retirement"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Financial%20Moves%20You%20Should%20Make%20Five%20Years%20Before%20Retirement.jpg" alt="5 Financial Moves You Should Make Five Years Before Retirement" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-retire">12 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-retiring-with-debt-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Why Retiring With Debt Isn&#039;t the End of the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you">3 Ways More Money in Retirement Might Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">Here&#039;s How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement approaching retirement budgets catch up contributions cost of living debt end of career goals income social security Fri, 26 Aug 2016 09:00:15 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1779929 at http://www.wisebread.com How I Saved Enough for a Down Payment While Working in China http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-saved-enough-for-a-down-payment-while-working-in-china <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-i-saved-enough-for-a-down-payment-while-working-in-china" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_hand_globe_43186582.jpg" alt="How to save for a down payment while working in China" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I was first considering teaching abroad after graduating from college, I had many friends and family who were concerned that I'd be setting myself back financially. With the best of intentions, these loved ones told me that I would be making a mistake by moving to Asia and accepting a lower paycheck. How would I ever afford a car or a house if I didn't find a high-paying job in Canada or the U.S. and start saving right away?</p> <p>Ten years later, I look back and realize that teaching abroad was one of the best financial decisions of my life. During our four years <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/follow-these-5-credit-card-rules-when-traveling-abroad" target="_blank">teaching in China</a>, my husband and I saved enough between us for a down payment on our house in Southern California.</p> <p>Not every job abroad will be a an ideal situation for saving, so if you're considering teaching or working abroad, and want to prioritize saving, here are a few tips for how to save as much as you can.</p> <h2>1. Find Free or Subsidized Housing</h2> <p>Many schools and companies abroad realize that it's hard for foreign employees to pick up and leave their home countries without having a living situation set up in the new country. Therefore, many employment contracts abroad include either a housing allowance, or a free or subsidized apartment that belongs to the company. In our case, the school we worked for owned an apartment block which provided heavily subsidized living quarters for teachers and employees.</p> <p>Living rent-free or on subsidized rent saves a <em>huge </em>chunk of your income that you can put entirely toward savings. It also saves a tremendous amount of time and stress when your overseas employer helps arrange your living quarters.</p> <p>It also helps greatly if the living quarters provided by the employer come furnished, which will cut down on the initial costs of moving. Having to purchase furniture and appliances can make it harder for you to start saving right away.</p> <h2>2. Take Advantage of the Lower Cost of Living</h2> <p>Another huge factor that enabled us to save was the lower cost of living in our host country. By choosing to eat at local restaurants and shop at local grocery stores, we saved hundreds of dollars every month on food in a city where the local cost of living was quite a bit lower than at home in the U.S. Of course, it would have been easy to blow our paychecks eating at expat-oriented bars and restaurants (Starbucks was pretty much everywhere in our city), but we saved the pricier international food for weekends and special occasions. A nice side effect of our frugal mentality is that we discovered a whole new world of delicious local dishes that we would never have tried otherwise.</p> <p>Not all countries will have a lower cost of living than your home country, of course, so it's worth looking into what it typically costs for food, clothing, rent (if you are renting a place yourself), health care, and other necessities before going.</p> <h2>3. Use Public Transportation</h2> <p>We saved the cost of having to maintain a car because our apartment was walking distance to the school where we worked. On weekends, a cheap and efficient subway system was our transportation of choice whenever we wanted to leave the school campus. When looking for a job overseas, be sure to ask questions about how you will get to and from work, and what transportation options exist to take you to the fun part of town. Some jobs (generally not teaching jobs, though) will even provide a company car and driver to make things easier for you.</p> <h2>4. Live Simply</h2> <p>Curbing excess spending is a good financial strategy no matter where you live, but I think it's easier to live simply when you anticipate moving in a year or a few. Because we didn't plan on staying more than a few years, I was less motivated to buy unnecessary stuff, with the mentality that everything needed to fit in a couple suitcases for the trip home. While we did spend money on leisure activities such as traveling during our holidays, for the most part, we just enjoyed meeting new friends and exploring our city, activities that didn't cost much.</p> <p>We did end up shipping a few souvenirs back home, but because we had to pay to ship them, we were more mindful about purchasing only what we loved.</p> <h2>5. Research Your Tax Exemptions</h2> <p>Although U.S. citizens and residents are required to pay taxes on foreign-earned income, a large chunk of that income (or even all of it depending on how much you make) could be <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/foreign-earned-income-exclusion">exempt from income taxes</a>. When filing your yearly taxes, be sure to file your foreign-earned income correctly. Of course, you may be taxed in your country of employment, but in our experience the local tax was very low. You will want to research the tax rate in the country you're thinking of working in before you accept a job.</p> <p>Before accepting a job overseas, be sure also to ask about health benefits and support in case you run into a medical emergency. If your employer does not provide adequate health benefits, you may have to purchase it privately, which you should factor into your savings plan. It also goes without saying that you should do research into typical salaries for the job you will be doing, as they can vary widely depending on the employer.</p> <p>If you play your cards right, you can certainly turn a few years of adventure working overseas into an opportunity to save and to meet your financial goals.</p> <p><em>Have you considered working overseas? What's holding you back?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-i-saved-enough-for-a-down-payment-while-working-in-china&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%20I%20Saved%20Enough%20for%20a%20Down%20Payment%20While%20Working%20in%20China.jpg&amp;description=How%20I%20Saved%20Enough%20for%20a%20Down%20Payment%20While%20Working%20in%20China" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20I%20Saved%20Enough%20for%20a%20Down%20Payment%20While%20Working%20in%20China.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-saved-enough-for-a-down-payment-while-working-in-china">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-to-know-before-retiring-abroad">9 Things to Know Before Retiring Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-save-up-a-big-travel-budget">The Easy Way to Save Up a Big Travel Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico">How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Travel cost of living expats living abroad overseas saving money taxes teaching abroad transportation working Thu, 25 Aug 2016 10:00:15 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1778730 at http://www.wisebread.com The 10 Worst States for Retirees http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-worst-states-for-retirees <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-10-worst-states-for-retirees" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/vermont_foliage_72139589.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you close to retirement? If so, you may want to take some time to see how your state of residence may impact your financial situation. After all, you need your money to last now that you're done working, and you don't want to find yourself strapped because of a high cost of living or taxes. Moreover, older residents should be cognizant of the quality of health care in their state.</p> <p>Here's some advice on where <em>not </em>to move once you retire.</p> <h2>1. Louisiana</h2> <p>Don't get sick as you get older if you live in Louisiana. This state ranks last in the nation in the quality of health care, according to the United Health Foundation. On the plus side, the cost of living is relatively low and taxes are better than many states.</p> <h2>2. Maryland</h2> <p>By most measures, Maryland's cost of living is among the highest in the nation. The state's economy is buoyed by a heavy Federal government presence and many highly paid workers, but it can be hard on retirees looking to save. Maryland has among the highest taxes in the nation, with home prices above the national average, as well.</p> <h2>3. Vermont</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/vermont_foliage_72139589.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>The crime rate is ultralow, the leaves are awesome in the fall, and there's the headquarters of Ben &amp; Jerry's. But it has an effective tax rate of 10.76%, which is above the national average. This is one contributing factor to Vermont ranking as one of the worst states when it comes to cost of living, according to several surveys.</p> <h2>4. Connecticut</h2> <p>The Nutmeg State can boast good proximity to jobs in New York City, and its residents are generally wealthier and more educated than most. But it's less than ideal as a place for retirees. Connecticut is one of the most expensive states in the nation, and its effective state and local tax rate of 13.48% &mdash; one of the country's highest &mdash; doesn't help anyone who's trying to get by on a fixed income.</p> <h2>5. New York</h2> <p>All you need to do is look at the cost of an apartment in New York City to know why retiring there isn't the best move, financially. The rest of the state isn't so bad, but the overall cost of living in New York is considered one of the highest in the country. State income tax of nearly 9% places it in the top tier, as well. It's worth noting that health care in the state is above average in quality, according to the United Health Foundation.</p> <h2>6. California</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/california_golden_gate_88208659.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>On one hand, California has a lot of beautiful places to live, with nice weather and a variety of options to keep retirees active and healthy. But financially, it's a tough place to be for those looking to make their retirement money last. Cost of living? In the top five, according to data compiled by CNBC. Its state income tax is 13.3%, the highest in the country, and most retirement income is taxed. Health care costs are also above average in California.</p> <h2>7. New Jersey</h2> <p>It's not cheap to live in New Jersey, and that's partly due to higher-than-average income taxes and taxes on real estate. While not all retirement income is taxed like some states, residents could be subjected to estate and inheritance taxes of up to 15%. Property is taxed at 2.29%, the highest rate in the nation, and that really stings when you consider that the state has the fourth-highest median home value. On the flip side, New Jersey does rate among the top third in most major health care quality rankings.</p> <h2>8. Nebraska</h2> <p>The Cornhusker State has a relatively low cost of living, until you consider that there are high taxes on retirees and real estate. Nebraska taxes most retirement income, such as pensions and retirement account withdrawals, and some residents pay Social Security taxes. And its effective property tax of 1.88% is one of the highest in the nation.</p> <h2>9. Montana</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/montana_nature_73035269.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>It might be beautiful to retire in Big Sky Country, but don't assume that it will be cheap. Montana has a higher-than-average property tax rate, and taxes all pension and retirement income, as well as most Social Security income, according to the Retirement Living Information Center. Montana is also in the bottom half when it comes to the health care offered to seniors.</p> <h2>10. Rhode Island</h2> <p>The good news about Rhode Island is that most clothing, food, and prescription drugs are exempt from state sales tax. But the state has the 10th highest property tax rate, with the added blow of median home prices being the 12th highest in the country. Retirement income is also taxed at the state level.</p> <p><em>If you're thinking about downsizing for retirement, where are you thinking of living?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-worst-states-for-retirees">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/would-you-move-to-one-of-these-states-to-avoid-taxes">Would You Move to One of These States to Avoid Taxes?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-states-with-the-lowest-taxes-for-retirees">7 States With the Lowest Taxes for Retirees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you">Here&#039;s How Much Life in the Big City Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-live-a-retired-life-before-retirement">How to Live a Retired Life Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement cost of living home values moving relocating states taxes worst places Tue, 23 Aug 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1777830 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Alternative Housing Options You Can Afford http://www.wisebread.com/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_using_laptop_94437549.jpg" alt="Friends finding alternative housing options they can afford" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Keeping your housing costs low is key to achieving financial freedom. Minimizing your expenses frees up more money for investments, savings, and pursuing your passions. While renting an apartment or a house is still the mainstream approach, there are other alternatives available that are more cost effective. By pursuing one of these nontraditional housing options, you can cut your expenses and break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle.</p> <h2>1. Co-Living Spaces</h2> <p>Co-living spaces, which often resemble college dorms, are increasingly popular in places with a high cost of living, such as San Francisco. The tech capital is booming, and as a result, it is unaffordable for many; a one-bedroom can cost <a href="https://www.rentjungle.com/average-rent-in-san-francisco-rent-trends/">nearly $3500 a month.</a></p> <p>More and more people are turning to co-living spaces as a cost-effective way to get living situations they can afford. In Silicon Valley, co-living spaces can be <a href="http://www.coliving.club/">had for $1,000</a>, less than half what a regular apartment would cost. In these dorm-style spaces, renters usually have a small bedroom of their own, but share the kitchen and common areas with up to a dozen other residents. Besides cost savings, these arrangements also provide people new to the area with great social opportunities and allows them to meet others in their industries.</p> <h2>2. Housing Co-Ops</h2> <p>While housing co-ops are fairly common overseas, they are just starting to gain traction in the United States. In a co-op, residents pool resources to own and manage housing together. The property can be a cluster of homes or an apartment-style building. Dwellers use their joint contributions to purchase the facilities and pay for community amenities like utilities, Wi-Fi, and lawn maintenance. The community approach cuts down costs dramatically, allowing you to save a significant amount of money compared to traditional housing.</p> <p>The <a href="http://coophousing.org/resources/living-in-a-cooperative/how-to-find-a-housing-cooperative/">National Association of Housing Cooperatives</a> has comprehensive information on how to locate a co-op, how to start one yourself, and questions to ask before handing over your hard earned money.</p> <h2>3. Work-Trade</h2> <p>Many people find success with work-trade agreements. Most common in rural areas, people can get free or cheap housing in return for a set number of labor hours, such as weeding, yard maintenance, or gardening. However, this approach is also getting more common in suburban and city areas, as even regular apartment complexes are willing to offer rent subsidies for men and women with repair or maintenance skills. You can find work-trade arrangements by searching for &quot;work trade housing&quot; or &quot;rent-free exchange&quot; on community job boards.</p> <h2>4. Tiny Homes</h2> <p>While <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-tiny-house-living-actually-save-you-money">tiny homes</a> are increasingly popular for those looking for a cheap alternative to homeownership, these micro living spaces can also be a great avenue for renters. Many tiny home communities offer select units for rent. This approach can be a great option to cut down your costs while you save up a down payment for a home of your own, or to test out if small living is for you. Housing can cost as little as $300 a month.</p> <h2>5. House-Sitting</h2> <p>Another option is to act as a serial housesitter. When people are selling their homes, the structures often go vacant for months, leaving them vulnerable to thieves and squatters. Many sellers hire housesitters to live in the home rent-free to keep the home occupied and safe while it's on the market. This idea is a great strategy to get free housing without requiring a lot of work or time. You can often find housesitting opportunities on Craigslist, <a href="https://www.trustedhousesitters.com/us/">Trusted Housesitters</a>, community classifieds, or by connecting with local realtors.</p> <p>With the national rent average increasing for yet another year, many people are feeling pressure regarding their budgets. Housing eats up a huge part of their income, making it difficult to meet their other obligations or pursue their goals. Alternative housing solutions offer cost effective ways to keep a roof over your head while minimizing your expenses.</p> <p><em>Have you considered these &mdash; or other &mdash; alternative housing arrangements?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-7-things-when-living-with-roommates">Avoid These 7 Things When Living With Roommates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-a-mobile-home-may-be-your-best-option-for-affordable-housing">Why a Mobile Home May Be Your Best Option for Affordable Housing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide">Rent Your Home or Buy? Here&#039;s How to Decide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-move-to-a-new-city-to-reduce-lifestyle-costs">Should You Move to a New City to Reduce Lifestyle Costs?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-that-will-ruin-your-mortgage-application">5 Money Moves That Will Ruin Your Mortgage Application</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Real Estate and Housing alternative housing co-living co-ops cost of living house sitting mortgages rent tiny homes work-trade agreements Fri, 12 Aug 2016 10:30:14 +0000 Kat Tretina 1770724 at http://www.wisebread.com Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tropical_destination_travel_54008208.jpg" alt="Finding countries where you can retire for half the price" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're getting close to retirement, but you're planning on working an extra couple of years because you just &quot;don't have the money,&quot; think again. Retiring in North America is expensive! Why not live somewhere tropical and exotic for at least half the year and cut your expenses down considerably? In this article I'm going to list five destinations where you can do just that. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-incredible-places-to-retire-abroad-that-anyone-can-afford?ref=seealso">5 Incredible Places to Retire Abroad</a>)</p> <p>Note: Costs of food, housing, transportation, and entertainment are compared to New York City using <a href="https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/">Expatistan's</a> cost of living index.</p> <h2>1. Mexico</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/mexico_travel_8998281.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <ul> <li>Food = 64% cheaper</li> <li>Housing = 83% cheaper</li> <li>Transportation = 72% cheaper</li> <li>Entertainment = 64% cheaper</li> <li>One-bedroom apartment = $300-$500 per month</li> <li>Total cost of living = $1,200+ per month</li> </ul> <p>If you hear &quot;Mexico&quot; and your mind automatically wanders to an American-owned resort in Cancun with a bartender on the beach and jet skis on rent, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Mexico isn't half the price of home.</p> <p>But this isn't Mexico! The real Mexico's not only extremely affordable, but it's rich in culture, history, and natural beauty. You can rent beautiful apartments in retirement havens like San Pancho, Sayulita, and Oaxaca for under $500 a month.</p> <p>A dinner out at a nice restaurant with a bottle of wine won't likely cost you more than $10 per person and your grocery bills will be cut in half. Mexico is the perfect place to retire, which is why so many snowbirds head there for half of the year.</p> <h2>2. Thailand</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/thailand_beach_travel_87109807.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <ul> <li>Food = 48% cheaper</li> <li>Housing = 68% cheaper</li> <li>Transportation = 54% cheaper</li> <li>Entertainment = 55% cheaper</li> <li>One-bedroom apartment = $300-$500 per month</li> <li>Total cost of living = $1,000+ per month</li> </ul> <p>Who doesn't want to spend their golden years in the land of smiles? Thailand is the ultimate budget friendly destination for people looking for a change of scenery in retirement. The above cost of living indexes are compared to Bangkok, Thailand's capital and most expensive city.</p> <p>If you choose to live on one of the country's beautiful islands, you could cut these costs down considerably. A nice one or two-bedroom bungalow with a kitchenette, a few blocks from the sea, won't cost you more than $500 and you'd have a hard time paying more than $7 for a local meal.</p> <p>Big beers at 7-11 only cost a couple of dollars and you can rent a motorbike here for around $3 a day (less if you rent monthly).</p> <p>Thailand is wonderfully exotic, but it still has a lot of the amenities that you'd hope for from home. Good grocery stores, 7-11s, great restaurants, gyms, malls, and excellent accommodation options. Pair this with some of the best beaches in the world, friendly people, and incredibly low prices, and you've got one of the world's top retirement hot spots.</p> <p>One downside of Thailand may be that there are a lot of young people and on some of the islands, monthly parties can get out of hand. But aside from the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan and the water festival in Bangkok, most of Thailand still has a slow-paced tropical charm. Who knows, maybe you're looking for a party during retirement?</p> <h2>3. Albania</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/tropical_destination_travel_54008208.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <ul> <li>Food = 66% cheaper</li> <li>Housing = 84% cheaper</li> <li>Transportation = 67% cheaper</li> <li>Entertainment = 64% cheaper</li> <li>One-bedroom apartment = $300-$500 per month</li> <li>Total cost of living = $1,250+ per month</li> </ul> <p>Maybe one of the last places you thought you'd visit, let alone live in, Albania has had a turbulent history. Cut off from the world by a brutal communist dictator for nearly a half-century, the country lost much of its reputation as a vacation spot during that time. But today, Albania is moving forward and the people are extremely welcoming.</p> <p>Again, the cost of living indexes are comparing New York City to Tirana, Albania's capital, but Tirana is the country's most expensive place to live. Instead, head down to the Albanian Riviera along the Adriatic coast and check out towns like Himara, Vlora, and Saranda. You won't find anywhere else in Europe where you can rent an apartment for $400 per month with a stunning view over the Adriatic sea.</p> <p>In Saranda, there's a huge selection of accommodations in skyscraper-style apartment blocks all along the water's edge, while in quieter Vlora and Himara, you won't find as much variety but you can still find well-priced places to stay.</p> <p>The Albanian Riviera is known for beautiful beaches, sunny weather, and delicious seafood. You can get a fish dinner at a restaurant overlooking the water for around $10-$15. Albania is definitely affordable and it has a lot of amenities as well.</p> <p>Note: Driving in Albania can be frustrating and dangerous. If you do decide to buy or rent a car, however, don't miss the drive between Vlora and Saranda along the coast. It is one of Europe's most scenic road trips.</p> <h2>4. Malta</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/malta_beach_city_60448332.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <ul> <li>Food = 32% cheaper</li> <li>Housing = 66% cheaper</li> <li>Transportation = 47% cheaper</li> <li>Entertainment = 43% cheaper</li> <li>One-bedroom apartment = $685-$1,000 per month</li> <li>Total cost of living = $1,750+ per month</li> </ul> <p>The Brits already know that Malta is the perfect place to retire, but few Americans can even place this tiny Mediterranean island on the map. Located just below Sicily and about 62 miles north of Africa, Malta is the most fascinating country you've never heard of.</p> <p>Steeped in a rich history, blessed with azure waters and natural beauty, and inhabited by some of the friendliest people in Europe, Malta might just be the most charming place on this list. It's a bit of a stretch to say that it's half the price of most U.S. cities, but you can get a nice one-bedroom apartment here for around &euro;600 ($685). Food in restaurants is considerably cheaper than in the U.S., as is the local produce and alcohol in grocery stores.</p> <p>There are three islands in Malta that are inhabited, but you'll likely choose between Gozo and the main island of Malta. The main island has many more amenities and more areas to explore, but is a lot more built up than the quieter, more natural island of Gozo.</p> <p>Whichever island you choose, all are connected by an excellent network of buses and ferries, so you're never more than a couple of hours from anywhere. There are also ferries to nearby Sicily and Malta is well connected to Europe via flights with Air Malta.</p> <p>Did I mention that Malta is considered to have the best year-round climate in the world?</p> <h2>5. Croatia</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/croatia_beach_scene_59256040.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <ul> <li>Food = 46% cheaper</li> <li>Housing = 75% cheaper</li> <li>Transportation = 41% cheaper</li> <li>Entertainment = 52% cheaper</li> <li>One-bedroom Apartment = $500-$700 per month</li> <li>Total cost of living = $1,550+ per month</li> </ul> <p>Another Mediterranean hot spot, Croatia has a few cities that are great for retirement, but in my opinion, Split is the best. The old town has history, a beautiful setting along the Adriatic Sea and great dining options.</p> <p>The temperature here never gets below 45&deg;F and in the summer, you have your choice of some of the region's best beaches.</p> <p>For history buffs, Diocletian's Palace is one of the best examples of Roman architecture anywhere in Europe and there are numerous old churches, cathedrals, and basilicas to explore.</p> <p>Split also has an excellent expat community and there seems to be something going on every week. Whether it's hiking, a music festival, concerts, plays, or beach parties, you'll never get bored in Split. This seaside town pretty much has it all, and you can get it for less than half the price of most cities in the U.S.</p> <h2>Visit First and Check With the Tax Authorities</h2> <p>There's a lot more to consider than just the cost of living when choosing the best place for retirement. You want to make sure that your chosen destination has enough amenities and activities to keep you satisfied.</p> <p>You'll also want to look into the tax situation to ensure that you don't get into any trouble with the IRS. But this stuff is easier than it sounds. Once you choose the perfect place, head down there for a month or two and see if you enjoy it while staying longer-term.</p> <p>There are so many places around the world to choose from and luckily for Americans, many of them are much cheaper than home.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite vacation spot? Could you retire there? Tell us why in the comments below.</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fretire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FRetire%20for%20Half%20the%20Cost%20in%20These%205%20Countries%20(1).jpg&amp;description=Retire%20for%20Half%20the%20Cost%20in%20These%205%20Countries" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Retire%20for%20Half%20the%20Cost%20in%20These%205%20Countries%20%281%29.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico">How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-financial-steps-to-take-before-retiring-abroad">13 Financial Steps to Take Before Retiring Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-saved-enough-for-a-down-payment-while-working-in-china">How I Saved Enough for a Down Payment While Working in China</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-mid-sized-cities-for-millennials">The 5 Best Mid-Sized Cities for Millennials</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Travel cities cost of living expats foreign countries living abroad things to do Wed, 13 Jul 2016 09:00:19 +0000 Nick Wharton 1740461 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Personal Finance Calculators Everyone Should Use http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-calculators-everyone-should-use <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-personal-finance-calculators-everyone-should-use" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_computer_floor_70059811.jpg" alt="Man using personal finance calculator everyone should use" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Personal finance is ultimately all about the numbers, and you are better off armed with calculations than making decisions based on intuition, alone. Online calculators can be great tools to analyze your options and try out &quot;what-if&quot; scenarios to help plan your financial moves. Even if you are rusty at math, personal finance calculators make it easy to type in a few basic numbers and get quantitative answers to your personal finance questions.</p> <p>Lots of great calculators are available for free. Here are some of my favorites.</p> <h2>1. Mortgage Calculator</h2> <p>Buying a house is one of the biggest expenses most people will undertake. A mortgage calculator can help you evaluate how much your monthly payments will be for a house of a given price. You can try out different financing options, too, such as 30-year mortgage versus a 15-year mortgage. The monthly payments are higher for a 15-year mortgage, but you'll pay a lot less interest. How much less? Try out a <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/mortgages/mortgage-calculator.aspx">Mortgage Calculator</a>.</p> <h2>2. Home Affordability Calculator</h2> <p>How much home can you afford to buy? Clearly you can't spend your entire paycheck on your mortgage payment, but how much is reasonable? Use a home affordability calculator to help figure out how much house you can afford based on your income and existing debts. Consider this <a href="http://money.cnn.com/calculator/real_estate/home-afford/">Home Affordability Calculator</a>.</p> <h2>3. Mortgage Refinance Calculator</h2> <p>If you have already bought a house, is it worth refinancing to get a lower interest rate? The answer depends on several factors, including how long you will keep the house and how much lower of an interest rate you can get. In some cases, you can save thousands of dollars by refinancing. Run some numbers on the mortgage refinance calculator and see if refinancing your house makes sense for you. See this one: <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/mortgages/refinance-calculator.aspx">Mortgage Refinance Calculator</a></p> <h2>4. Home Rent vs. Buy Calculator</h2> <p>It can be more convenient and less expensive to rent a house instead of buying a home. However, a home can be an asset that appreciates in value over time. How long you will stay in your house is a big factor in evaluating the rent versus buy decision. Use this calculator to help decide whether to rent or whether to buy a house: <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/05/25/upshot/100000002894612.mobile.html">Home Rent vs. Buy Calculator</a></p> <h2>5. Investment Growth Calculator</h2> <p>An investment calculator can bring the miracle of compound interest to life. Instead of waiting for decades to see how much your investment accounts will grow, use a calculator to find out now. Of course, no one knows how the stock market will perform in the future, but you can run likely scenarios and see how your investments would grow. This <a href="https://www.investor.gov/tools/calculators/compound-interest-calculator">Investment Growth Calculator</a> is a good place to start.</p> <h2>6. Traditional Retirement Calculator</h2> <p>The biggest question that people heading into retirement have is, &quot;How much money do I need to retire?&quot; Retirement calculators can help answer this question considering life expectancy and expenses. Here's one to play with: <a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/tool/retirement/T047-S001-retirement-savings-calculator-how-much-money-do-i/">Traditional Retirement Calculator</a></p> <h2>7. Early Retirement Calculator</h2> <p>An unusual retirement calculator is FIRECalc. This calculator analyzes the risk that you will run out of money in retirement by using past actual economic data to evaluate how the stock market could perform, ranging from great to terrible. The inputs are the value of your portfolio, how much you plan to spend each year, and the length of retirement. The output is the probability that you would run out of money and a set of plots showing how your investment would grow during retirement years under a wide variety of economic conditions. This is a great tool to use to decide if you have enough money to safely retire early: <a href="http://www.firecalc.com/">Early Retirement Calculator</a></p> <h2>8. Credit Card Calculator</h2> <p>Everyone knows it is expensive to carry credit card debt, but how much is that debt really costing you? Find out with a credit card calculator. You can learn how long it will take to pay off your credit cards based on the balance, interest rate, and your payment amount. You can also find out how much you would save on interest with a balance transfer to a lower interest card by entering your consolidated balance and new interest rate into the calculator. Here is one to try: <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/managing-debt/minimum-payment-calculator.aspx">Credit Card Calculators</a></p> <h2>9. Auto Loan Calculator</h2> <p>Whether you are buying a new or a used vehicle, you can use an auto loan calculator to calculate your payments and see the total cost of the car loan. Try out different payment terms &mdash; for example, four years versus five years, and see how much that changes the monthly payment and total cost. Find out how much car you can afford before you go car shopping: <a href="http://www.cars.com/go/advice/financing/calc/loanCalc.jsp?mode=full">Auto Loan Calculator</a></p> <h2>10. Auto Lease vs. Buy Calculator</h2> <p>You can lease the same vehicle for a significantly lower monthly payment than buying a vehicle, sometimes about half as much. However, you don't get to keep the vehicle after the lease ends. Are you better off buying a vehicle or leasing? Check out your options with a lease versus buy calculator: <a href="http://www.cars.com/go/advice/financing/calc/loanLeaseCalc.jsp?mode=full">Auto Lease vs. Buy Calculator</a></p> <h2>11. Drive vs. Fly Calculator</h2> <p>It is often a difficult decision whether to drive or fly on a trip. Driving can be less expensive than flying, but the cost of additional meals, hotel stays, and time for a driving trip can make flying the less expensive option. Use a drive versus fly calculator to make sure you are factoring in all of the expenses when making your travel plans: <a href="http://www.travelmath.com/fly-or-drive/">Drive vs. Fly Calculator</a></p> <h2>12. Student Loan Payment Calculator</h2> <p>Is borrowing $80K in student loans to get a degree that will allow you to have a six-figure salary in a few short years a good idea? Use a student loan calculator to understand how much the payments on your student loan would be to help make an informed decision. Check this one from Sallie Mae: <a href="https://www.salliemae.com/plan-for-college/college-planning-toolbox/student-loan-payment-amount-estimator/">Student Loan Payment Calculator</a></p> <h2>13. College Value Calculator</h2> <p>How much is getting a college degree worth? Use a calculator to determine how much more money you could make during your career if you went ahead and got a college degree: <a href="http://www.myfico.com/CreditEducation/Calculators/what-is-the-value-of-higher-education.aspx">College Value Calculator</a></p> <h2>14. Pay Debt vs. Invest Calculator</h2> <p>Would you be better off paying off debts first before starting to invest, or should you start investing right away? The answer depends on the interest rates on your debt and the return you expect to make on your investments or savings account. Use a calculator to check the numbers and decide where to focus any extra dollars you have available: <a href="http://www.myfico.com/crediteducation/calculators/should-i-pay-off-debt-or-invest-in-savings.aspx">Pay Debt vs. Invest Calculator</a></p> <h2>15. Cost of Living Calculator</h2> <p>If you are thinking about relocating to take a job or for retirement, check out the impact of moving on your cost of living. You can compare expense categories in your current city with other cities, and see an overall expense rating. This information is useful to determine how much more &mdash; or less &mdash; money you would need to spend to live somewhere else: <a href="http://www.bestplaces.net/cost-of-living/">Cost of Living Calculator</a></p> <p><em>What personal finance calculator is most useful for you?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F15-personal-finance-calculators-everyone-should-use&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F15%2520Personal%2520Finance%2520Calculators%2520Everyone%2520Should%2520Use.jpg&amp;description=15%20Personal%20Finance%20Calculators%20Everyone%20Should%20Use"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/15%20Personal%20Finance%20Calculators%20Everyone%20Should%20Use.jpg" alt="15 Personal Finance Calculators Everyone Should Use" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-calculators-everyone-should-use">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-benefits-of-carrying-a-mortgage-into-retirement">5 Benefits of Carrying a Mortgage Into Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-pay-your-mortgage-off-early">Should You Pay Your Mortgage Off Early?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-valuable-rights-you-might-lose-when-you-refinance-student-loans">8 Valuable Rights You Might Lose When You Refinance Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-outdated-money-advice-endanger-your-money">Don&#039;t Let Outdated Money Advice Endanger Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking calculators cost of living debt interest rates investing loans mortgages retirement student loans Thu, 09 Jun 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1727205 at http://www.wisebread.com The 3 Best Cities With Rent Control http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-best-cities-with-rent-control <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-3-best-cities-with-rent-control" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_city_selfie_000083881091.jpg" alt="Woman living in best city with rent control" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Rent control is the dream of renters everywhere. Yet only four states &mdash; California, New York, Maryland, New Jersey &mdash; and the District of Columbia have rent control policies in place. Read on for our guide to scoring a rent-controlled apartment in one of the best cities where price-protected apartments are signed into law.</p> <h2>San Francisco</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/san_francisco_street_000024852251.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>San Francisco is one of 15 <a href="http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/appendix2.shtml">California cities with rent control</a>. It's also one of the priciest places to rent an apartment in America. And while some city dwellers say rent control, along with foreign buyers and an influx of tech workers, exacerbate the sky high cost of housing, many folks, such as Joe Leung, are <a href="http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/San-Francisco-Housing-Rent-Up-A-Sizzling-148-Percent-in-12-Months-300995041.html">thankful for the relief</a> rent control provides them. Leung, who is 42, is a tenant in a rent-controlled Chinatown complex. He pays $540 a month for a single room. That's about one-fifth the list price of a studio in that same area. In this city where the median rent tops $3,000, rent-controlled apartments are a huge help to many families, and people like Leung, who are just trying to make ends meet.</p> <p>In San Francisco, rent-controlled units are those that were issued a certificate of occupancy before June of 1979, which amounts to a whopping 82% of the multi-family unit market. The rules are as follows: Landlords of rent-controlled units may <a href="http://www.sftu.org/rentcontrol/">raise a tenant's rent</a>, but only by a set amount tied to inflation &mdash; the annual allowable rent increase for 2016&ndash;2017 is 1.6% &mdash; and not more frequent than once every 12 months. Landlords can petition for additional increases tied to costs such as capital improvements or maintenance, but these hikes must be approved by the Rent Board before they can be passed on to the tenant.</p> <p>If Frisco's rent control policy sounds like a dream come true, be sure to note the following: While Leung enjoys his $540 monthly rent, some of his neighbors in the same Chinatown building are paying upwards of $1,200. That's because the city's policy allows landlords to adjust the rent of any rent-controlled unit to match the market rate when a tenant vacates the unit. When the vacancy is filled, the tenant's new, market-adjusted rent price becomes controlled by the aforementioned rules. So, theoretically, if an apartment is rent-controlled at $540 monthly in 1990 and the tenant moves out in 2016, the next tenant's rent very well may rise by several thousand dollars, depending on the market price. This facet of the law has been criticized for facilitating an environment in which landlords have an incentive to nudge out their tenants. Of course, the law includes protections to help insure that doesn't happen.</p> <p>A renter's search for a rent-controlled apartment in San Francisco would be most fruitful in <a href="http://www.trulia.com/blog/trends/rent-control-sf-nyc/">the oldest neighborhoods</a>, such as Forest Knolls, Downtown, the Marina, Russian Hill, Nob Hill, and Golden Gate Heights. Old may mean cheaper, but it doesn't necessarily mean cheap. Nob Hill, for example, is a long-established, upscale section of the city, where two-bedrooms go for nearly $5,000. Many rent-controlled apartments in Nob Hill are priced far higher than the average renter can afford to pay. The fewest rent-controlled options are in areas dominated by new construction, such as SoMa and Mission Bay. Notably, public housing projects are exempt from rent control, as well as most single-family homes and condos.</p> <p>Benefits of scoring a place to live in San Francisco include access to great restaurants, wine country, and tons of high-paying jobs, especially those in the tech sector.</p> <h2>Washington, D.C.</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/washington_dc_street_000016584691.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Rent control provides residents of the nation's capital with a layer of protection against the prohibitive cost of living in a housing market where affordable options are quickly vanishing. Housing is generally deemed affordable when it amounts to no more than 30% of a household's income. But in D.C., the inhabitants of more than half of all rental units spend more than 30% of their income on rent. The median price for a one-bedroom rental in D.C. is now $2,000. There are <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/study-no-inexpensive-housing-left-on-open-market-in-dc/2015/03/11/281aaa94-c80c-11e4-b2a1-bed1aaea2816_story.html?tid=a_inl">almost no more apartments</a> in D.C.'s open market that rent for less than $800 monthly.</p> <p>Established in 1975, D.C.'s rent control law now covers more than 60% of all rental units. Apartments are generally rent-controlled if they're in buildings constructed before 1975 and owned by landlords who control at least five units. Federally subsidized units are exempt from the law. Landlords of rent-controlled units may not raise the rent more than the current rate of inflation plus 2%, and the rent generally cannot be raised more than once a year. When a tenant vacates a unit, however, the law permits landlords to raise the rent by up to 30%. As is the case in San Francisco, future tenants of rent-controlled units are typically charged much higher rents than the tenant before them. No matter how you dice it, the cheapest apartments, by logic, are already taken.</p> <p>Though it's not a perfect system, the benefits of scoring a rent-controlled apartment in the nation's capital are indisputable &mdash; access to some one the world's best museums, political events and universities, as well as a cap on annual rent raises. Finding a rent-controlled unit, however, takes a little detective work. Luckily, landlords are mandated to divulge whether their building is rent-controlled. All you have to do is ask. You can also find out whether a particular apartment is subject to rent control by calling the D.C. rent administrator's office, which keeps a database of these units.</p> <h2>New York City</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/new_york_city_000050678398.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>The city that never sleeps lures new residents for many reasons &mdash; the art, the theater, the big wig jobs &mdash; but the cost of living ain't one of them. The average New York rent tops $3,000, making it one of the nation's most expensive places to lay your head at night. Another blow to affordable city living: Less than 2% of New York's apartments are rent-controlled, a status applied to units in buildings erected before 1947. The clincher is that these units must have been occupied by the same family since 1971. Rent-controlled apartments can be passed down within a family, but only to a family member who resided in the unit for a minimum of two years prior to the key exchange. In other words, New York's rent control policy is all in the family, leaving most of us lustful and out of luck.</p> <p>But, to prevent average Joe city dwellers from getting completely priced out of the market, New York also has a rent stabilization program that works similarly to rent control in other big cities. While <a href="http://www.nycrgb.org/html/resources/faq/rentcontrol.html">the guidelines are complicated</a> with many caveats and exceptions, most rent-stabilized apartments in New York are in buildings of six or more units erected before 1974 and priced below $2,500 monthly. Landlords cannot raise rents above a certain ceiling dictated by inflation. For 2014&ndash;2015, the increase was capped at 1% for a one-year lease. Once the rent reaches $2,500, however, or if the tenant's income surpasses $200,000 two years in a row, the landlord can deregulate the apartment and adjust the rent to match current market rates. All told, about 45% of New York's apartments are rent stabilized, making your chances of snagging one about 50/50.</p> <p>The <a href="http://nycrgb.org/html/resources/zip.html">New York City Rent Guidelines Board</a> keeps a list of all the city's rent-stabilized units. Inwood and Washington Heights are the Manhattan neighborhoods with the largest concentration of regulated units. In Brooklyn, Crown Heights is your best bet.</p> <p><em>Do you wish you lived in a rent-controlled apartment?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-best-cities-with-rent-control">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide">Rent Your Home or Buy? Here&#039;s How to Decide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease">10 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance">5 Reasons You Definitely Need Renters&#039; Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">6 Ways to Apartment Hunt on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments cost of living expensive cities new york city rent control renting San Francisco washington dc Wed, 27 Apr 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1694763 at http://www.wisebread.com