Friday, September 19, 2008

Moving Can be a Taxing Decision

Moving Can be a Taxing Decision

By James O. Armstrong

So, what motivates employees to move during retirement? While there may be other factors, this list covers a number of the considerations many of our fellow baby boomers and others consider important in making such a decision.

First, we may decide to move because a specific job offer emerges from either the private or public sector. This offer to someone in greater demand could also include a future independent contractor status or registration with a speaker's bureau or talent agency, for example. Or, it may include starting your own business or even buying a franchise with an established business plan and strategy to pursue.

Second, we may decide to move because of family considerations, which range from aging parents to relocating so that we can be closer to our children and grandchildren. In fact, a number of my daughter's closest young adult friends in Greater St. Louis have talked about their parents taking precisely this step recently. By the way, this observation includes the movement of grandparents to the St. Louis area, who have never before lived in that region.

Third, men and women also choose to move to a more exciting part of the US or they may choose to live abroad, which an increasing number of Americans are now deciding to do. For example, a fellow baby boomer web entrepreneur, Ann Fry, decided to move from Austin, TX to New York City over the past year and she has never looked back on her decision. The 62 year old Ann runs a successful web site plus works as a motivational speaker and career coach. So, part of her relocation formula has included an upsurge in her speaking engagements and coaching assignments, especially since she moved to New York, despite the warnings of doom and lack of success from her Austin, Texas-based friends.

Fourth, other men and women choose to move to a different part of the US especially for tax reasons. But, of course, the question, which quickly emerges in this complex set of variables is "which taxes?" Many of us no doubt already know Texas or Florida (part-time) citizens, who have emigrated to these states because neither levies a state income tax. Of course, the winning formula is that "they" actually live in their adopted states for one-half of the year plus one day.

But, did you know that there are actually a total of seven states with no income tax as follows: (1) Alaska, (2) Florida, of course, (3) Nevada, (4) South Dakota, (5) Texas, (6) Washington and (7) Wyoming. In addition, New Hampshire and Tennessee only tax interest and dividends.

Likewise, it should be clearly said that a total of 26 states plus the District of Columbia do not tax Social Security benefits. IMPORTANT: Our web site,, is against any states taxing Social Security income. From our standpoint, because of the current and coming labor shortages and especially because of the current skills shortages, our society cannot afford to do anything, which has the net effect of discouraging men and women from continuing to work in America.

Finally, other men and women will factor some or all of these issues into consideration, when deciding where and when to move in our society. In the final analysis, even local sales taxes and property taxes can and should enter into this equation. For example, the City of Chicago recently passed an incredibly high local sales tax, which put this great city at or near the top of local sales taxes in the whole US among major cities. Of course, this consideration only becomes important when someone wants to buy something, whatever that may be.

To tax or not to tax -- that will indeed be the question for state and local governments in the future in the US and elsewhere, as a wave of baby boomers begin to consider all of their relocation factors and options. "Yes," state and local governments would like the bank deposits, which provide the necessary capital needed for consumer loans and local businesses to expand and create even more jobs in that area. "Yes," state and local governments would also like men and women, who will not be adding to the local student population in our nation's public schools, but who will never the less be adding to the local property tax base. "Yes," state and local governments would also like to have men and women, who are creditworthy and who have a greater equity position in their homes move into the community.

But, what if anything are these state and local governments willing to do in order to court "our" favor, you might logically ask? This writer submits to you that the answer to this question will cause state and local governments around the US to make a whole series of different decisions, both now and in the near future, in order to demonstrate "their friendliness" to my fellow baby boomers, who are 78 million strong just in the US.


James O. Armstrong, President of, Inc.,, also serves as the Editor of is the resource for job and career transitions for workers 40 years old and over, Baby Boomers and Active Seniors. Read for skills training, relocation options, job opportunities and much more. In addition, James is the author of "Now What? Discovering Your New Life and Career After 50" and the President of James Armstrong & Associates, Inc., a media representation firm based in Suburban Chicago.