How can I help my parents with their retirement planning?
October 11, 2013 11:24 AM   Subscribe

I am helping my parents plan their retirement by looking into possible cities and/or communities for them to settle. My father has worked in NYC for the duration of his professional career and wants to retire somewhere in the Northeast. After much internet research but very little progress, he wants to spend Sun-Tues (Oct. 13-Oct. 15) driving around DE, MD, PA, and northern VA to scope out possible areas. I have been asked to accompany him on this trip but I want to create some structure around the trip to avoid simply driving around aimlessly.

My parents are concerned about taxes and want to settle in a retiree-friendly state. They want to be in the Northeast because all of my siblings are settled here. There is also a possibility that he will continue working as a consultant so an easy connection into NYC is important. Both parents are in good health and are active/mobile. They like activities such as hiking and taking scenic drives. They do not want to live in a retirement community and would prefer a condo to buying a home.

Could you suggest some areas to look into? Some possible ways to create an itinerary for this trip? It will just be my father and I on this adventure and I want to maximize the time.
posted by allthingsconsidered to Work & Money (7 answers total)
There is also a possibility that he will continue working as a consultant so an easy connection into NYC is important.

If this is the key factor, make it his top priority. Have him pick a transportation hub (preferably with some research, e.g., does he prefer trains or planes? What are the prices like from Baltimore vs. National vs. wherever else?)? Pick one hub per day, start from that actual place and drive around. Let him get a feel for how much he's going to hate going to that hub every week (or whatever time period he thinks he'll be going to NYC).
posted by Etrigan at 11:43 AM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Sure! I can help!

Some retirees like living in cities because there's a lot going on there and public transportation, etc.

I can tell you that Pittsburgh and environs would be an EXCELLENT city to settle in because there's a ton of culture and lots of universities. Great healthcare and it's a hub for US Airways so lots of cheap, direct flights.

Yes, there are more taxes, but you get a lot of services.

I'd recommend staying at the Courtyard in Homestead. There are tons of cool things there, free parking and it's just plain nice.

Then hit the turnpike for Philly. I'm a Pittsburgh girl and I think Pittsburgh is awesome, but Philly may appeal. I stayed at the Sofitel, but I'm sure that someone there can recommend a suburban something that may do better for free parking and accessibility. Philly is also a US Airways hub (although technically the Philly airport is in NJ.) There's also Amtrak service.

Northern VA is going to be EXPENSIVE especially commute distance to D.C. But check out Tyson's corners to get a feel for the suburbs of DC. Alexandria is also a good spot.

Then head over to MD, again, commute distance from DC. Or try Baltimore.

I don't know a thing about DE, but it's small, so I suppose pick a city and look at it.

This could be kinda fun!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:48 AM on October 11, 2013

There is also a possibility that he will continue working as a consultant so an easy connection into NYC is important.

I think Etrigan's exactly right about this. Especially if he's looking at using Amtrak, which is basically the way to work intermittently in NYC while living elsewhere. I'd take a list of Amtrak stops along the NEC and start working from there.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:49 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

(although technically the Philly airport is in NJ.)

This is not true at all. It's technically half in the city and half in a neighboring county, but it's all in PA and the trains that run to it are Philly regional trains.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:50 AM on October 11, 2013

My parents are concerned about taxes

This will largely depend on how they've invested their retirement savings and when they plan to start taking distributions (age-wise), as well as other assets and income streams. Many types of pensions are exempt from some states' income taxes, as is social security income; do they have pre-tax savings vehicles or post-tax savings vehicles; what is the expected annual distribution, etc.

Be sure you look not only at income taxes, but also property taxes, real estate transfer taxes, and estate/gift taxes. (I would further look at state/local fees, services that you get for free vs have to pay for, etc).

The income from consulting in NYC may be sourced to NY, depending on the specifics of the contract and service provided. So moving out of NY may not affect that item of income (and require 2-state filing); if they maintain a vacation home in NY and he spends too many days there, he could even be considered a resident of two states for tax purposes.

Basically, if the tax issue is a real motivator for them, they should sit down with a tax professional familiar with the specifics of their situation and get a proper opinion on the matter.

There are possibly other concerns as well, like health care access. Will they have health insurance through their former employers? If yes, does it cover them if they leave the state? If no, then what is their plan for health insurance? ACA subsidies, medicaid, etc? Will their new state offer options or opt-out?

Ignoring any potential tax benefit, I would look at Vermont - beautiful, laid back, so many outdoor recreation areas, people their age (doing fun things), and a quick trip to NYC (4ish hrs by car from southern VT, or take Amtrak).
posted by melissasaurus at 11:50 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Lewes, DE, could work for them if they like being near the ocean and don't mind driving to NYC using the Cape May ferry.
posted by mareli at 12:06 PM on October 11, 2013

Just want to chime in to pitch Delaware. When my husband retired we moved to Southern Delaware, from New Jersey, and we love it here. We moved to the Ocean View area, near the beach but not too close. Property taxes are way lower, about an eighth of what we were paying in NJ, and there is no sales tax. You should definitely check out the Lewes/Rehoboth/Bethany area on your trip. It's a little slow in the winter though. A lot of the people who live here full time are retirees from out of state.
posted by jenjenc at 7:52 PM on October 11, 2013

« Older Collegefilter: Well-Rounded Schools   |   How do I handle the contract work Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.