Tuesday, December 05, 2006

the cost of living is killing us

I whine all the time about living in a high cost of living place. I say I want to move to a lower cost of living area and people say "yeah right, you'll never leave the culture." But truthfully I longer for a simpler life. I'm going to compare where we live in the expensive Northeast, Bellvue, WA (suburb of Seattle), and Boise, ID. These statistics are from Money Magazine Best Places to live.

Starting out with NE, the median income is $118k, but that translates into only $65k real purchasing power (ouch!). You do get a break with only a 5% sales tax and 5.3% flat state income tax. This however is largely offset but the ridiculous cost of housing, which the median house costs $645k. That is more than double the national median housing cost of $250k.

Second on the list is Bellvue, WA, a suburb of Seattle. The median income is $88k/year which adjusts down to $57.5k/year in real purchasing power. While a downgrade, it's still not terrible. The sales tax is a whopping 8.8%, probably because there is no state income tax in Washington. This is a huge bonus to anyone looking for tax breaks. However the median home price while substantially lower than the NE, is still $405k. While not 2x the national average, it's still a pretty steep price to pay for housing.

Finally there is Boise, ID, which is apparently an awesome place to live. The median family income is $58k, however this was the only city I could find in the top 25 on Money, where the purchasing power increased to $64k/annually. Amazing. Anyway though the sales tax rate is 5% and the state income tax rate is 7.8%, which is pretty good. Also the median price of a home $183k which is about $70k less than the national average. These are great statistics.

However living in Boise, ID is a totally different thing. I can see how people hate the idea of moving away from friend/family. Or moving to a slower way of life when they are used to a faster exciting city life? Or the culture involved? But do people really go to museums and cultural events?

I find I don't, but I would miss the ocean if I couldn't live near it anymore. It has something to do with growing up on an island. But I think for us personally we're going to consider trying to eventually settle in city where the cost of living isn't among the highest in the nation, but more mid-range. And thus I think Seattle would be an ideal location for us to live...

Would you move if you could? And if so where?

No comments: