As my husband and I get closer to retirement, we’ve been talking about where we might move — a place we can escape East Coast winters. I hate cold weather. Florida topped our list.
There’s the weather. There’s no personal income tax.
Read more: State with no income tax: Better or worse?
But the more we look into where to retire – or maybe have a second home — we aren’t so sure Florida is right for us.
“Florida, which helped popularize the notion of a snowbird retirement, has the most residents age 65-plus. Yet it now ranks near the bottom of a new list of states deemed most desirable for folks contemplating retirement,” reported Dan Kadlec for Time.com.
Read more: Why Florida Is Losing Its Grip on Retirees
No Florida city made it to the top 10 “Best Cities for Successful Aging” report released earlier this year by the Milken Institute’s Center for the Future of Aging, as the Miami Herald’s Ana Veciana-Suarez pointed out.
This hurricane season certainly isn’t making things any better for Florida.
And here’s something to consider, write the New York Time’s Marc Santora and Henry Fountain, “Because so many older people move to Florida later in life, they often do not have the family and neighborhood connections that would provide support in an emergency.”
After Hurricane Irma thunders into Florida, Santora and Fountain write: “It remains to be seen how the health-care system will handle the increased demands placed on it by evacuations of the elderly and if they can get assistance to the most in need.”
The threat of future hurricanes might not knock Florida off your list, but it’s something to think about. Would you have the financial resources to weather a crisis during hurricane season?
What should you consider when it comes to where to live in your golden years? Here are some articles that may help in your decision.
Retirement planning should happen long before you’re ready to retire. For this week’s home assignment, think about where you want to retire. To help, money.cnn.com has a 15-question quiz to answer: Where’s your dream retirement?
Retirement rants and raves
I’m interested in your experiences or concerns about retirement or aging. This space is yours. It’s a chance for you to express what’s on your mind. As part of discussions on tax reform, some Republicans are considering taxing the money that workers place into their 401(k) savings plans up front.
Last week I asked: What do you think of getting rid of the 401(k) deduction?
Overwhelmingly, the readers were against the proposal.
Judy Burns of Oklahoma City wrote, “What people should realize is that if their contributions to their 401(k) accounts are taxed, they will lose from 15 percent to 30 percent depending on their personal income tax rates. That money is then not available to grow via compound interest and growth. It isn’t just a matter of losing a tax deduction. It will greatly affect their retirement holdings. What an awful idea!”
“That members of Congress would even consider doing away with the tax incentives in contributing to a 401(k) plan for the benefit of tax cuts to corporations shows how completely out of touch they are with the state of the middle-class taxpayer in this country,” wrote Susan Hoyt of Cambridge, Mass. “So disheartening. Many members of this administration and Congress can count themselves amount the 1 percent that have benefitted significantly over the last 15 years, while many Americans are just barely getting by. A large number of corporations sit on significant amounts of cash and continue to make record profits, and yet have not increased wages for many of the rank-and-file or added full-time, benefit-eligible jobs. Given the state of Social Security, anyone over the age of 55 should know that if you haven’t saved for your own retirement, you’re probably in for a rough time (or plan to work until you drop!).”
Maureen Weber of Schertz, Tex., wrote, “If it happens (and I sincerely hope it does not), I foresee a lot of people reducing contributions. I personally contribute to a Roth 401(k) because I’m seeking some taxation diversity when I retire in a little over four years (at 65), but I know pretax contributions make it so much easier to contribute a higher percentage. I really feel it will significantly hurt the middle class.”
“The saddest part of the discussion about eliminating the 401(k) deduction to fund a tax cut is that we don’t need tax cuts right now,” wrote Earl Roethke of Minneapolis. “The economy is at full employment and throwing more fuel on the fire only increases the risk of inflation. Well, yes, it also increases corporate profits. But where is the upside for the average worker?”
Ben wrote, “I would quit contributing to my 401(k) if they tax it. The benefit would not be there for me.”
“Eliminating the tax incentive for people to fund their own 401(k) retirement plans is such a terrible idea, both financially and politically, that I can hardly believe that any elected representative from either political party would be so asinine as to consider it,” wrote Thomas J. Druitt of Paducah, Ky., who is a frequent commenter. “The tried and true saying is, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ This saying surely applies to the current structure of the 401(k) retirement legislation.”
Your sharing might help others. So send your comments to email@example.com. Please include your name, city and state. In the subject line put “Retirement Rants and Raves.”
Newsletter comments policy
Please note it is my personal policy to identify readers who respond to questions I ask in my newsletters. I find it encourages thoughtful and civil conversation. I want my newsletters to be a safe place to express your opinion. On sensitive matters or upon request, I’m happy to include just your first name and/or last initial. But I prefer not to post anonymous comments (I do make exceptions when I’m asking questions that might reveal sensitive information or cause conflict.)
Have a question about your finances? Michelle Singletary has a weekly live chat every Thursday at noon where she discusses financial dilemmas with readers. You can also write to Michelle directly by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read more Color of Money columns, go here.
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