Retirees and others contemplating a relocation have another, perhaps more viable option worth considering - move to a cheaper place to live. An organization called C2ER, formerly the Council for Community and
The latest Where to Live magazine ($4.95) features a chart comparing costs between 100 different cities. You won't have access to the "granular" stuff, such as the specific costs of housing, taxes and the like, but you will get an overall number that shows the percentage differences in cost of living between cities.
For example, I live just outside Hartford, CT, which is one of the cities in the table. If I were to move to say, Dothan, AL, my cost of living would decrease by 28%, according to the COLI table. Such a change could certainly tip the scales in favor of Dothan over, say, Flagstaff, AZ (-3%). Of course, I have never been to Dothan, and the low cost of living could be a signal that the schools are bad, the economy is in the dumper, or there is nothing to do there. Data doesn't lie, but it never gives the entire picture.
There is great news for me in the COLI chart. Only three cities on the list would increase my costs if I were to move to them - Ft. Lauderdale, FL (2%), Palm Springs, CA (4%) and Honolulu (35%). These are all
I am not a big fan of Where to Retire magazine whose editorial material - if you can call it that - focuses almost exclusively on communities that advertise in the magazine. And the editors overrely on local residents more than independent observations, yielding an "everything is beautiful" patina to all the articles. That said, the COLI chart and some other unadulterated information the magazine offers can be helpful to people who are just starting the process of retirement and relocation. The magazine offers a free trial copy of the publication at the Where to Retire web site; make sure you specify that you would like the January/February 2008 which includes the latest chart.