Retirement or Bust

My husband and I have been discussing retirement quite often lately. We love our home now–our neighborhood, our neighbors, and our town. We even found out our town is ranked as one of the best 50 towns in America to reside by Time Magazine. That’s an amazing feat if you consider just how many towns there are in this country. Our children grew up here and still have friends they met here. This is the place they consider home … the only one they know.

So, why, you may ask, are we talking about moving from here and finding a new home to live out our retirement years? For the same reason many other residents have left–the high taxes in the state of Connecticut. This state charges taxes on Social Security benefits and on pensions and the taxes are high. Now, I’m aware there are other states that also follow suit and charge taxes on the same retirement income as Connecticut, but there are others that do not.

I’m not going to go into the entire list of which states do and don’t, and which ones only charge a portion of your retirement, and which states don’t on Social Security and do on pensions, etc. … the list is long and complicated. But suffice it to say, our state of Connecticut taxes on everything and they are one of the highest. According to WalletHub, Connecticut is ranked the fourth highest state for taxes including the District of Columbia. It is 31 percent higher than the national average.

To this day, I don’t understand what happened to this state. When my husband and I first moved here, there was no state income tax. Then a governor was elected, (and I don’t need to mention names–if you want to know that’s what Google is for) who started a state income tax to reign in the deficit. He also said spending by the state needed to be cut; it was out of control. We have two major casinos in this state which bring in more revenue, something the state didn’t originally have at that time.

Now, the state’s deficit is larger, (though according to our now governor we don’t have a deficit), we still get enormous amounts of tax money from the casinos; we still have the state income tax, and high property taxes in our towns, and an increase of sales tax within the last year or so. Our gas tax is 59.26, higher only in California at 60.75 and Hawaii at 63.50. Of course, everything is higher in Hawaii because it’s imported These are the reasons we are discussing where to move when my husband retires in the next few years.

I began noticing every year around May/June, houses were going on the market for sale. I assumed this was because its the right time to sell … the weather is nice and summer is at hand. It wasn’t until I personally knew two of the people who put their home on the market that my reasoning was incorrect. They weren’t selling their homes specifically because of weather, though it helped. They chose this time of year because their youngest child was graduating from high school and they were getting the heck out of this state. Why? The taxes are too high, retirement money is taxed, and the large businesses that the state has are moving out due to high taxes. As for the gun manufacturers, none of them want to be associated with Connecticut anymore, but due to financial restraints along with a few other reasons, they can’t leave at this time. The gun control initiative bring pushed by the present governor certainly isn’t helping matters. Revenue losses from businesses departing the state is another issue of why higher taxes are needed.

Some of you may agree with our governor about gun control. Personally, I do not, but that’s a debate for another time. As for this state, that’s a death sentence, no pun intended. Connecticut is or was the largest manufacturer of guns. These businesses have brought revenue to the state since 1797. Obviously, if we are for gun control, this isn’t the state for them to do business. As it is, their revenues are down. Where does the money come from when the state loses revenue? You guessed it, from us, the residents.

So, yes, my husband and I, like a lot of others we know, are looking for a less expensive and more retirement friendly place to live. If the taxes weren’t devastating to us or we had an inordinate amount of money like some people who live in the southern end of our great state, we would stay. Instead of our conversations being about where to move, we’d be talking about what to do with our house to make it retirement friendly, or maybe even consider buying a smaller house closer to the border of New York where our children reside.

Wasn’t it Benjamin Franklin who said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Hell, he was certainly right. I wonder what he’d think about the number of items we pay taxes on today and the rate of these taxes!

My best wishes and blessings being sent your way.