Moving to Florida? Think about this first


Q. I read your article about whether New Jersey or Florida is better to retire to as a retiree. I’m in a similar situation – with a pension of about $80,000, $45,000 in Social Security, $6,000 in Required Minimum Distributions and $15,000 in tax-free bonds – but I don’t have a home to sell. Would moving to Florida make sense for me?
— Thinking about it

A. Florida is a popular destination for New Jerseyans who are trying to save money.

It’s the cost of living and high property taxes that have been a turnoff for so many in the state.

Bu there are other factors to consider.

In the recent past, one of the major factors driving retirees to leave New Jersey was estate planning, said Niraj Chhabra, a certified financial planner with Ameriprise Financial Services in Cedar Knolls.

“New Jersey residents were faced with a relatively low threshold for meeting the state’s estate minimum of $675,000,” Chhabra said. “Even if you don’t own property, this isn’t hard to hit when you consider what’s in your estate, which includes your personal assets (home, car, artwork, jewelry etc.), your retirement accounts, cash/investments, as well as life insurance.”

But at the beginning of 2018, New Jersey repealed the estate tax – not to be mistaken with the inheritance tax – reducing the need to change your domicile to preserve net worth for future generations, Chhabra said.

Even if you don’t have an estate tax concern, the income tax discussed in the previous article can be significant and should seriously be considered, he said.

“Assuming the difference in income tax savings isn’t going to make or break your retirement, there are other factors to consider before making the move,” he said. “How convenient will it be to see your family? Do you see yourself in warmer climate? How will you replace your social circle if you don’t have friends there?”

While it’s important to keep as much for yourself and future generations as possible, you should also consider the non-financial aspects of a move.

Think about meeting with a financial professional who can go over your specific numbers and help create a plan that’s best for you.

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