Retiring to Upstate NY

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Que1999
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Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by Que1999 »

I will be retiring at some point between January 2023 & July of 2025, when DW & I will both be in our early-mid 40's. DW early-retired a few years ago to stay home with the kids; 8 &11. We both initially were planning to move out of NY State, but since our pre-medicare retiree health insurance is tied to the NYC/Long Island/Upstate regions, we have come to the realization that it is probably better for us to stay here as opposed to relocating to another State and having to worry about ACA insurance, subsidies, income limits, etc...

So I am wondering, what are some nice Upstate NY areas that will check off all our boxes?

1- Good public schools
2- Low crime
3- Low cost of living/taxes (at least for NY)

These are the three most important factors for us... Also important are:

4- Good sense of community
5- Rather not be TOO car-dependent. We're just not really fans of driving and cars in general, unless the drives are relatively short trips

After some research via my health insurance website and conferral's with representatives, it seems we have coverage in most areas from the NYC/Long Island area, north to Lake George, all the way northwest to around Utica. Anywhere between these areas is fair game. Any advice or recommendations from the Bogleheads community?

Thanks in advance! :beer
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dodecahedron
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by dodecahedron »

Some of the lovely older tree-shaded neighborhoods in Niskayuna, NY, supposedly "One of the happiest towns in America", check pretty much all your boxes, with the exception of low taxes. But housing prices are certainly WAY lower than downstate.

Fun fact: the surviving co-author of Boglehead classic The Millionaire Next Door has chosen to continue living in a modest home in this town for decades, despite a net worth of what I imagine must be millions in frugally stewarded and invested royalties from the book. Public property tax assessor records say FMV of his home is $225K and Zillow says market value is $288K. His annual property taxes are in the $6K to $7K range.

Great place to raise kids. Excellent public library system, lots of free or low cost fun educational, cultural, recreational opportunities. Nature preserves, bike paths, 4-H, etc. Very highly regarded public schools and very high levels of education among town residents (lots of scientists, engineers, physicians, professors, attorneys.) Easy access to airport and Amtrak station. To get a good sense of the community spirit, check out the website for the annual Niskaday festival. There are some farms in town/nearby and a Saturday farmer's market in the town hall parking lot.

If you are willing to accept more car-dependence, you can get somewhat lower taxes in Saratoga County (but home prices are correspondingly higher there.)
Last edited by dodecahedron on Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:26 am, edited 5 times in total.
Parkinglotracer
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by Parkinglotracer »

Good luck


We’ve lived in Syracuse burb since 1991. Home of stickley furniture. Wife was an elem school teaching asst in local school system. Public Schools are top 50-100 in state. Our local girls cross country team has been named one of the top 10 sports dynasty in last decade. Kids grew up playing ice hockey and lacrosse and snow skiing and boating in finger lakes. Both played sports in college (one club, one D1). I know you don’t want to go this far upstate but if you change your mind PM me. We have moved around US in military and everything else being equal it’s a great place to raise a family. taxes are not low .. say 7K year on a 220K house. Good luck!
Last edited by Parkinglotracer on Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
mikejuss
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by mikejuss »

Are you sure you have enough money to cover the next 40 years of expenses (including health care, schooling, and housing)?
billyt
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by billyt »

We retired to a 200 year old 3,000 sqft farmhouse and 50 acres for less than $400k in 2015. We are about 20 min south of Albany and love it. Taxes are high; ~10k/yr. Don't have any first hand experience with the schools.

billyt
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Que1999
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by Que1999 »

dodecahedron wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:06 am Some of the lovely older tree-shaded neighborhoods in Niskayuna, NY, supposedly "One of the happiest towns in America", check pretty much all your boxes, with the exception of low taxes. But housing prices are certainly WAY lower than downstate.

Fun fact: the surviving co-author of Boglehead classic The Millionaire Next Door has chosen to continue living in a modest home in this town for decades, despite a net worth of what I imagine must be millions in frugally stewarded and invested royalties from the book. Public property tax assessor records say FMV of his home is $225K and Zillow says market value is $288K. His annual property taxes are in the $6K to $7K range.

Great place to raise kids. Excellent public library system, lots of free or low cost fun educational, cultural, recreational opportunities. Very highly regarded public schools and very high levels of education among town residents (lots of scientists, engineers, physicians, professors, attorneys.) Easy access to airport and Amtrak station.

If you are willing to accept more car-dependence, you can get somewhat lower taxes in Saratoga County (but home prices are correspondingly higher there.)
I have heard of Niskayuna. We are willing to pay $6-7k in property taxes if the school system is worth it, but I think that may be the top range… After living in the NYC tri-state area for many years, we are totally over exorbitant property tax rates. Libraries are big, actually, now that you mention it. Nothing better than spending a day in the library with a nice cup of coffee… This is one place we didn’t get to stop at during our recent upstate vacation/scouting adventure, but it will definitely be in the next one. Thanks!
Parkinglotracer wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:09 am Good luck

We’ve lived in Syracuse burb since 1991. Home of stickley furniture. Wife was an elem school teaching asst in local school system. Public Schools are top 50-100 in state. Our local girls cross country team has been named one of the top 10 sports dynasty in last decade. Kids grew up playing ice hockey and lacrosse and snow skiing and boating in finger lakes. Both played sports in college (one club, one D1). I know you don’t want to go this far upstate but if you change your mind PM me. We have moved around US in military and everything else being equal it’s a great place to raise a family. taxes are not low .. say 7K year on a 220K house. Good luck!
A good friend from years ago retired from NYC to the Syracuse area and loves it as well. I’ll have to check into the availability of health insurance around there, and maybe we’ll give it a look. I think it may be a bit too north for DW, but we will look into it… Thanks.
mikejuss wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:11 am Are you sure you have enough money to cover the next 40 years of expenses (including health care, schooling, and housing)?
I think so. I have a substantial pension coming in 2025, around $8250 per month. DW also has a smaller one coming in 2036, around $1200 per month…. No COLA for either, unfortunately. Not to mention SS payments are solid seeing to it that I’m very close to reaching the second bend point, after my years of working/maxing out SS contributions. We also have a smattering of: (2) 457 accounts which are available pre 59.5 with around $500k or so available, a 401k, Roth IRA’s, Traditional IRA’s & taxable investments. No mortgage on our current home, and after the sale we’d probably walk away with around $450k. The plan is to buy the next house cash for around $350k'ish, & invest the difference in taxable. All accounts are invested in diversified, low-cost index funds. Total between the retirement/investment accounts is around $1m, maybe $1.1m or so.

Health insurance is 100% covered, provided we stay in the areas mentioned. It is a good, low-cost health insurance plan, with low copays and low overall costs. We live a frugal lifestyle, and many of the things we enjoy doing are very low cost or free. Libraries, parks, picnics, family gatherings…

A big part of our plan is to perform Roth conversions of most of our pre-tax retirement account funds within low tax brackets; preferably the standard deduction, 10% & 12% (or 15% if it reverts back to this rate in a few years), and also capital gain harvest the taxable account within those same brackets. Not having to worry about losing ACA subsidies makes these financial maneuvers a lot more beneficial and less stressful for us.
hicabob
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by hicabob »

My parents used to live in the Ithaca area. I was surprised how many separate taxes there were compared to other parts of the US. County, town, school, etc which, IIRC, ended up being about a 3% tax rate relative to the real value of the house.
Valuethinker
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by Valuethinker »

Parkinglotracer wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:09 am Good luck


We’ve lived in Syracuse burb since 1991. Home of stickley furniture. Wife was an elem school teaching asst in local school system. Public Schools are top 50-100 in state. Our local girls cross country team has been named one of the top 10 sports dynasty in last decade. Kids grew up playing ice hockey and lacrosse and snow skiing and boating in finger lakes. Both played sports in college (one club, one D1). I know you don’t want to go this far upstate but if you change your mind PM me. We have moved around US in military and everything else being equal it’s a great place to raise a family. taxes are not low .. say 7K year on a 220K house. Good luck!
I had a friend, from California, who lived in Upstate NY, for career reasons, for several years during which time his young sons were born.

He said it was "the kind of life style of growing up in America 40 years ago". He meant that in a good way. Affordability. Community.

They now live in Santa Cruz in the Silicon Valley area, homeschool their kids and are fairly scathing about California as a place to raise children (says SC doesn't have the best schools) (although being able to go to the beach all thru the year is a big plus).

(I have known Canadians who got into pretty elite American colleges on the basis of "unusual" sports, which are not so unusual in the Great Lakes area. Ice hockey (of course), lacrosse, rugby (probably more of a private school thing).

It should be noted that there really is a "Lake Snow Effect" (see wikipedia) meaning heavy snowfall immediately downwind of the prevailing winds on Lake Ontario & Lake Erie. Buffalo and Rochester, at least, seem to get 2x the snow of Toronto. Not sure re Syracuse.
tibbitts
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by tibbitts »

You have retirement completely covered financially, as long as you don't go completely crazy with spending.

I lived for decades in Utica and Albany, and for less time in Rochester, but experiences from more than a year or two ago wouldn't be relevant to today. Given car aversion I wouldn't consider living anywhere in NYS other than NYC. I much preferred Utica and Albany to Rochester, partly due to better access to the Adirondacks.

I never felt Syracuse was "more upstate" than the tri-city area or Utica. It's not like it's Malone or Plattsburgh. Back in the day the capital area around Albany felt a little closer politically to NYC than the rest of upstate, but someone who's lived in both recently would know better.
pshonore
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by pshonore »

Saratoga is a lovely city and you can also make big bucks renting out your house if you are so inclined to the Horseracing crowd, which is active from mid July until just after Labor Day. Of course Winters are not quite the same as the NYC metro area.
RiotAct
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by RiotAct »

consider the Buffalo suburbs. I live in Amherst, about 7 or 8 miles east of downtown, and it checks all your boxes besides “not too high taxes” (we pay about $7k a year for a home assessed at $260k) and walkability (although there are pockets close to “Main street-style” shopping, restaurants and the like.

EDIT; whoops, just read the last part of your post re: the geographical boundaries you’re trying to stay within.
radiowave
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by radiowave »

To be honest, I would rule out all of Long Island and the 5 NYC boroughs based on your criteria.

Putnam County?
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dodecahedron
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by dodecahedron »

Valuethinker wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 11:15 am It should be noted that there really is a "Lake Snow Effect" (see wikipedia) meaning heavy snowfall immediately downwind of the prevailing winds on Lake Ontario & Lake Erie. Buffalo and Rochester, at least, seem to get 2x the snow of Toronto. Not sure re Syracuse.
Syracuse does get significant Lake Effect snow (far more than we do in Albany/Schenectady/Saratoga Springs Capital District.) Syracuse is just two hours west of us (and not significantly more north than we are) but a college friend who lives in Syracuse and I are constantly sharing backyard FB photos with one another. She typically gets a foot whereas we get a dusting from the same system.

I think our snow in Capital District is much less not only because we are hours from the Great Lakes but also because we are a valley bowl surrounded by mountains on all sides. We often get less snow than NYC or Boston, both well to our south--we managed to escape the worst of their recent epic "Snowmageddons". And when we do get snow, our town generally does an EXCELLENT job of promptly plowing it.
Admiral
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by Admiral »

Que1999 wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 11:04 am
dodecahedron wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:06 am Some of the lovely older tree-shaded neighborhoods in Niskayuna, NY, supposedly "One of the happiest towns in America", check pretty much all your boxes, with the exception of low taxes. But housing prices are certainly WAY lower than downstate.

Fun fact: the surviving co-author of Boglehead classic The Millionaire Next Door has chosen to continue living in a modest home in this town for decades, despite a net worth of what I imagine must be millions in frugally stewarded and invested royalties from the book. Public property tax assessor records say FMV of his home is $225K and Zillow says market value is $288K. His annual property taxes are in the $6K to $7K range.

Great place to raise kids. Excellent public library system, lots of free or low cost fun educational, cultural, recreational opportunities. Very highly regarded public schools and very high levels of education among town residents (lots of scientists, engineers, physicians, professors, attorneys.) Easy access to airport and Amtrak station.

If you are willing to accept more car-dependence, you can get somewhat lower taxes in Saratoga County (but home prices are correspondingly higher there.)
I have heard of Niskayuna. We are willing to pay $6-7k in property taxes if the school system is worth it, but I think that may be the top range… After living in the NYC tri-state area for many years, we are totally over exorbitant property tax rates. Libraries are big, actually, now that you mention it. Nothing better than spending a day in the library with a nice cup of coffee… This is one place we didn’t get to stop at during our recent upstate vacation/scouting adventure, but it will definitely be in the next one. Thanks!
Parkinglotracer wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:09 am Good luck

We’ve lived in Syracuse burb since 1991. Home of stickley furniture. Wife was an elem school teaching asst in local school system. Public Schools are top 50-100 in state. Our local girls cross country team has been named one of the top 10 sports dynasty in last decade. Kids grew up playing ice hockey and lacrosse and snow skiing and boating in finger lakes. Both played sports in college (one club, one D1). I know you don’t want to go this far upstate but if you change your mind PM me. We have moved around US in military and everything else being equal it’s a great place to raise a family. taxes are not low .. say 7K year on a 220K house. Good luck!
A good friend from years ago retired from NYC to the Syracuse area and loves it as well. I’ll have to check into the availability of health insurance around there, and maybe we’ll give it a look. I think it may be a bit too north for DW, but we will look into it… Thanks.
mikejuss wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:11 am Are you sure you have enough money to cover the next 40 years of expenses (including health care, schooling, and housing)?
I think so. I have a substantial pension coming in 2025, around $8250 per month. DW also has a smaller one coming in 2036, around $1200 per month…. No COLA for either, unfortunately. Not to mention SS payments are solid seeing to it that I’m very close to reaching the second bend point, after my years of working/maxing out SS contributions. We also have a smattering of: (2) 457 accounts which are available pre 59.5 with around $500k or so available, a 401k, Roth IRA’s, Traditional IRA’s & taxable investments. No mortgage on our current home, and after the sale we’d probably walk away with around $450k. The plan is to buy the next house cash for around $350k'ish, & invest the difference in taxable. All accounts are invested in diversified, low-cost index funds. Total between the retirement/investment accounts is around $1m, maybe $1.1m or so.

Health insurance is 100% covered, provided we stay in the areas mentioned. It is a good, low-cost health insurance plan, with low copays and low overall costs. We live a frugal lifestyle, and many of the things we enjoy doing are very low cost or free. Libraries, parks, picnics, family gatherings…

A big part of our plan is to perform Roth conversions of most of our pre-tax retirement account funds within low tax brackets; preferably the standard deduction, 10% & 12% (or 15% if it reverts back to this rate in a few years), and also capital gain harvest the taxable account within those same brackets. Not having to worry about losing ACA subsidies makes these financial maneuvers a lot more beneficial and less stressful for us.
How does someone in their mid 40s accumulate a pension of $100,000/year? Just curious. Even working since age 21? Since the vast majority of (at least public) pensions pay out at, maximally, 75% of salary (and usually much less) how were you able to accumulate that combination of years of service AND high salary AND social security?
pshonore
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by pshonore »

Admiral wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 3:42 pm
Que1999 wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 11:04 am
dodecahedron wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:06 am Some of the lovely older tree-shaded neighborhoods in Niskayuna, NY, supposedly "One of the happiest towns in America", check pretty much all your boxes, with the exception of low taxes. But housing prices are certainly WAY lower than downstate.

Fun fact: the surviving co-author of Boglehead classic The Millionaire Next Door has chosen to continue living in a modest home in this town for decades, despite a net worth of what I imagine must be millions in frugally stewarded and invested royalties from the book. Public property tax assessor records say FMV of his home is $225K and Zillow says market value is $288K. His annual property taxes are in the $6K to $7K range.

Great place to raise kids. Excellent public library system, lots of free or low cost fun educational, cultural, recreational opportunities. Very highly regarded public schools and very high levels of education among town residents (lots of scientists, engineers, physicians, professors, attorneys.) Easy access to airport and Amtrak station.

If you are willing to accept more car-dependence, you can get somewhat lower taxes in Saratoga County (but home prices are correspondingly higher there.)
I have heard of Niskayuna. We are willing to pay $6-7k in property taxes if the school system is worth it, but I think that may be the top range… After living in the NYC tri-state area for many years, we are totally over exorbitant property tax rates. Libraries are big, actually, now that you mention it. Nothing better than spending a day in the library with a nice cup of coffee… This is one place we didn’t get to stop at during our recent upstate vacation/scouting adventure, but it will definitely be in the next one. Thanks!
Parkinglotracer wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:09 am Good luck

We’ve lived in Syracuse burb since 1991. Home of stickley furniture. Wife was an elem school teaching asst in local school system. Public Schools are top 50-100 in state. Our local girls cross country team has been named one of the top 10 sports dynasty in last decade. Kids grew up playing ice hockey and lacrosse and snow skiing and boating in finger lakes. Both played sports in college (one club, one D1). I know you don’t want to go this far upstate but if you change your mind PM me. We have moved around US in military and everything else being equal it’s a great place to raise a family. taxes are not low .. say 7K year on a 220K house. Good luck!
A good friend from years ago retired from NYC to the Syracuse area and loves it as well. I’ll have to check into the availability of health insurance around there, and maybe we’ll give it a look. I think it may be a bit too north for DW, but we will look into it… Thanks.
mikejuss wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:11 am Are you sure you have enough money to cover the next 40 years of expenses (including health care, schooling, and housing)?
I think so. I have a substantial pension coming in 2025, around $8250 per month. DW also has a smaller one coming in 2036, around $1200 per month…. No COLA for either, unfortunately. Not to mention SS payments are solid seeing to it that I’m very close to reaching the second bend point, after my years of working/maxing out SS contributions. We also have a smattering of: (2) 457 accounts which are available pre 59.5 with around $500k or so available, a 401k, Roth IRA’s, Traditional IRA’s & taxable investments. No mortgage on our current home, and after the sale we’d probably walk away with around $450k. The plan is to buy the next house cash for around $350k'ish, & invest the difference in taxable. All accounts are invested in diversified, low-cost index funds. Total between the retirement/investment accounts is around $1m, maybe $1.1m or so.

Health insurance is 100% covered, provided we stay in the areas mentioned. It is a good, low-cost health insurance plan, with low copays and low overall costs. We live a frugal lifestyle, and many of the things we enjoy doing are very low cost or free. Libraries, parks, picnics, family gatherings…

A big part of our plan is to perform Roth conversions of most of our pre-tax retirement account funds within low tax brackets; preferably the standard deduction, 10% & 12% (or 15% if it reverts back to this rate in a few years), and also capital gain harvest the taxable account within those same brackets. Not having to worry about losing ACA subsidies makes these financial maneuvers a lot more beneficial and less stressful for us.
How does someone in their mid 40s accumulate a pension of $100,000/year? Just curious. Even working since age 21? Since the vast majority of (at least public) pensions pay out at, maximally, 75% of salary (and usually much less) how were you able to accumulate that combination of years of service AND high salary AND social security?
Probably Public Safety employees. Its not unusual to see 150K+ salaries including overtime. The majority pay into SS as well although they can't collect SS until somewhere in their 60s.I
retire2022
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by retire2022 »

Op

After my first year retired (2021) with 34 years of state and nyc time, my NY states exempt income from 457 withdrawals and pension payouts on the state side, not on FEDs 1040 side.

You will give up the state exemption by leaving NYS, also think of your local social connections built up over years you would start over.
Last edited by retire2022 on Sat Jul 23, 2022 4:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
tibbitts
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by tibbitts »

Admiral wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 3:42 pm How does someone in their mid 40s accumulate a pension of $100,000/year? Just curious. Even working since age 21? Since the vast majority of (at least public) pensions pay out at, maximally, 75% of salary (and usually much less) how were you able to accumulate that combination of years of service AND high salary AND social security?
I don't think a pension in that range in mid-40s would be that unusual for military or as mentioned some public safety employees. Certainly not the average person in those positions but certainly possible, without considering social security or any optional retirement programs.
retire2022
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by retire2022 »

tibbitts wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 4:55 pm
Admiral wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 3:42 pm How does someone in their mid 40s accumulate a pension of $100,000/year? Just curious. Even working since age 21? Since the vast majority of (at least public) pensions pay out at, maximally, 75% of salary (and usually much less) how were you able to accumulate that combination of years of service AND high salary AND social security?
I don't think a pension in that range in mid-40s would be that unusual for military or as mentioned some public safety employees. Certainly not the average person in those positions but certainly possible, without considering social security or any optional retirement programs.
In NYS the info is public:

https://www.seethroughny.net/pensions/n ... ent-system
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Que1999
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by Que1999 »

pshonore wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 3:53 pm
Admiral wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 3:42 pm
Que1999 wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 11:04 am
dodecahedron wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:06 am Some of the lovely older tree-shaded neighborhoods in Niskayuna, NY, supposedly "One of the happiest towns in America", check pretty much all your boxes, with the exception of low taxes. But housing prices are certainly WAY lower than downstate.

Fun fact: the surviving co-author of Boglehead classic The Millionaire Next Door has chosen to continue living in a modest home in this town for decades, despite a net worth of what I imagine must be millions in frugally stewarded and invested royalties from the book. Public property tax assessor records say FMV of his home is $225K and Zillow says market value is $288K. His annual property taxes are in the $6K to $7K range.

Great place to raise kids. Excellent public library system, lots of free or low cost fun educational, cultural, recreational opportunities. Very highly regarded public schools and very high levels of education among town residents (lots of scientists, engineers, physicians, professors, attorneys.) Easy access to airport and Amtrak station.

If you are willing to accept more car-dependence, you can get somewhat lower taxes in Saratoga County (but home prices are correspondingly higher there.)
I have heard of Niskayuna. We are willing to pay $6-7k in property taxes if the school system is worth it, but I think that may be the top range… After living in the NYC tri-state area for many years, we are totally over exorbitant property tax rates. Libraries are big, actually, now that you mention it. Nothing better than spending a day in the library with a nice cup of coffee… This is one place we didn’t get to stop at during our recent upstate vacation/scouting adventure, but it will definitely be in the next one. Thanks!
Parkinglotracer wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:09 am Good luck

We’ve lived in Syracuse burb since 1991. Home of stickley furniture. Wife was an elem school teaching asst in local school system. Public Schools are top 50-100 in state. Our local girls cross country team has been named one of the top 10 sports dynasty in last decade. Kids grew up playing ice hockey and lacrosse and snow skiing and boating in finger lakes. Both played sports in college (one club, one D1). I know you don’t want to go this far upstate but if you change your mind PM me. We have moved around US in military and everything else being equal it’s a great place to raise a family. taxes are not low .. say 7K year on a 220K house. Good luck!
A good friend from years ago retired from NYC to the Syracuse area and loves it as well. I’ll have to check into the availability of health insurance around there, and maybe we’ll give it a look. I think it may be a bit too north for DW, but we will look into it… Thanks.
mikejuss wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:11 am Are you sure you have enough money to cover the next 40 years of expenses (including health care, schooling, and housing)?
I think so. I have a substantial pension coming in 2025, around $8250 per month. DW also has a smaller one coming in 2036, around $1200 per month…. No COLA for either, unfortunately. Not to mention SS payments are solid seeing to it that I’m very close to reaching the second bend point, after my years of working/maxing out SS contributions. We also have a smattering of: (2) 457 accounts which are available pre 59.5 with around $500k or so available, a 401k, Roth IRA’s, Traditional IRA’s & taxable investments. No mortgage on our current home, and after the sale we’d probably walk away with around $450k. The plan is to buy the next house cash for around $350k'ish, & invest the difference in taxable. All accounts are invested in diversified, low-cost index funds. Total between the retirement/investment accounts is around $1m, maybe $1.1m or so.

Health insurance is 100% covered, provided we stay in the areas mentioned. It is a good, low-cost health insurance plan, with low copays and low overall costs. We live a frugal lifestyle, and many of the things we enjoy doing are very low cost or free. Libraries, parks, picnics, family gatherings…

A big part of our plan is to perform Roth conversions of most of our pre-tax retirement account funds within low tax brackets; preferably the standard deduction, 10% & 12% (or 15% if it reverts back to this rate in a few years), and also capital gain harvest the taxable account within those same brackets. Not having to worry about losing ACA subsidies makes these financial maneuvers a lot more beneficial and less stressful for us.
How does someone in their mid 40s accumulate a pension of $100,000/year? Just curious. Even working since age 21? Since the vast majority of (at least public) pensions pay out at, maximally, 75% of salary (and usually much less) how were you able to accumulate that combination of years of service AND high salary AND social security?
Probably Public Safety employees. Its not unusual to see 150K+ salaries including overtime. The majority pay into SS as well although they can't collect SS until somewhere in their 60s.I
Bingo!

I got hired into a pensioned position at 24 years old, and was required to contribute 2.15% into the pension fund, while the City contributed 5%. The rate of return on the pension when I got hired was 8.25%.... It's 5% now for the new guys & gals. In addition, after I had been working for 3 or 4 years, I started making extra contributions into the pension fund. I matched the 5% the City paid in for me (pretax, which was nice because this reduced my tax burden, just like the pretax 457 & 401k). I also made extra post-tax contributions on top as well; post fed/State/City taxes.. This made my overall pension contributions around 11% of my pay + 5% from the City. When I separate from service with my agency, I will actually be rolling the extra post-tax money (around $65k now) into my Roth IRA. This rollover will reduce my pension to around $100k. If I left that post-tax money in the fund, my pension would probably be closer to $110k per year or so.

I am at 17 years with my Department, and am actually 3 years shy of a regular service retirement. My pension would grow considerably, believe it or not, if I stick out these next 3 years... But I am actually considering retiring a bit earlier than planned in order to have 2 years to convert large swaths of my pretax accounts to Roth, prior to the pension kicking in in 2025.

If you think I have a large pension, I wish you heard some of the conversations I've had with old-timers with 25-30+ years in my agency. We're talking $175k+ per year, and million dollar 457/401k accounts! I'm not looking to have such a large pension, since I know that the long-term tax implications of having such a high ordinary income will lock me out of taking advantage of many beneficial tax maneuvers, like Roth conversions in the lower tax brackets & capital gain harvesting in the 0% federal tax brackets, and even subject me, potentially, to the social security tax torpedo.

This estimate is a couple months old, so the numbers have increased a little bit... Also, I'm out of contract so assuming a decent raise for 2022, this should also kick the numbers up a bit as well.

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Ozonewanderer
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by Ozonewanderer »

Parkinglotracer wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:09 am Good luck


We’ve lived in Syracuse burb since 1991. Home of stickley furniture. Wife was an elem school teaching asst in local school system. Public Schools are top 50-100 in state. Our local girls cross country team has been named one of the top 10 sports dynasty in last decade. Kids grew up playing ice hockey and lacrosse and snow skiing and boating in finger lakes. Both played sports in college (one club, one D1). I know you don’t want to go this far upstate but if you change your mind PM me. We have moved around US in military and everything else being equal it’s a great place to raise a family. taxes are not low .. say 7K year on a 220K house. Good luck!
Fayetteville-Manlius and Dewitt are Syracuse suburbs and good places to raise a family with good schools. I lived there for 40 years and retired to FL. Summers are great; winters can be long. But with global warming, this might be the best place to settle long term. The Finger Lakes are the largest bodies of fresh water in the world.

But the City Syracuse itself is one of the poorest urban areas in the US and crime is getting worse.
RoadThunder
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by RoadThunder »

Admiral wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 3:42 pm
Que1999 wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 11:04 am
dodecahedron wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:06 am Some of the lovely older tree-shaded neighborhoods in Niskayuna, NY, supposedly "One of the happiest towns in America", check pretty much all your boxes, with the exception of low taxes. But housing prices are certainly WAY lower than downstate.

Fun fact: the surviving co-author of Boglehead classic The Millionaire Next Door has chosen to continue living in a modest home in this town for decades, despite a net worth of what I imagine must be millions in frugally stewarded and invested royalties from the book. Public property tax assessor records say FMV of his home is $225K and Zillow says market value is $288K. His annual property taxes are in the $6K to $7K range.

Great place to raise kids. Excellent public library system, lots of free or low cost fun educational, cultural, recreational opportunities. Very highly regarded public schools and very high levels of education among town residents (lots of scientists, engineers, physicians, professors, attorneys.) Easy access to airport and Amtrak station.

If you are willing to accept more car-dependence, you can get somewhat lower taxes in Saratoga County (but home prices are correspondingly higher there.)
I have heard of Niskayuna. We are willing to pay $6-7k in property taxes if the school system is worth it, but I think that may be the top range… After living in the NYC tri-state area for many years, we are totally over exorbitant property tax rates. Libraries are big, actually, now that you mention it. Nothing better than spending a day in the library with a nice cup of coffee… This is one place we didn’t get to stop at during our recent upstate vacation/scouting adventure, but it will definitely be in the next one. Thanks!
Parkinglotracer wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:09 am Good luck

We’ve lived in Syracuse burb since 1991. Home of stickley furniture. Wife was an elem school teaching asst in local school system. Public Schools are top 50-100 in state. Our local girls cross country team has been named one of the top 10 sports dynasty in last decade. Kids grew up playing ice hockey and lacrosse and snow skiing and boating in finger lakes. Both played sports in college (one club, one D1). I know you don’t want to go this far upstate but if you change your mind PM me. We have moved around US in military and everything else being equal it’s a great place to raise a family. taxes are not low .. say 7K year on a 220K house. Good luck!
A good friend from years ago retired from NYC to the Syracuse area and loves it as well. I’ll have to check into the availability of health insurance around there, and maybe we’ll give it a look. I think it may be a bit too north for DW, but we will look into it… Thanks.
mikejuss wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:11 am Are you sure you have enough money to cover the next 40 years of expenses (including health care, schooling, and housing)?
I think so. I have a substantial pension coming in 2025, around $8250 per month. DW also has a smaller one coming in 2036, around $1200 per month…. No COLA for either, unfortunately. Not to mention SS payments are solid seeing to it that I’m very close to reaching the second bend point, after my years of working/maxing out SS contributions. We also have a smattering of: (2) 457 accounts which are available pre 59.5 with around $500k or so available, a 401k, Roth IRA’s, Traditional IRA’s & taxable investments. No mortgage on our current home, and after the sale we’d probably walk away with around $450k. The plan is to buy the next house cash for around $350k'ish, & invest the difference in taxable. All accounts are invested in diversified, low-cost index funds. Total between the retirement/investment accounts is around $1m, maybe $1.1m or so.

Health insurance is 100% covered, provided we stay in the areas mentioned. It is a good, low-cost health insurance plan, with low copays and low overall costs. We live a frugal lifestyle, and many of the things we enjoy doing are very low cost or free. Libraries, parks, picnics, family gatherings…

A big part of our plan is to perform Roth conversions of most of our pre-tax retirement account funds within low tax brackets; preferably the standard deduction, 10% & 12% (or 15% if it reverts back to this rate in a few years), and also capital gain harvest the taxable account within those same brackets. Not having to worry about losing ACA subsidies makes these financial maneuvers a lot more beneficial and less stressful for us.
How does someone in their mid 40s accumulate a pension of $100,000/year? Just curious. Even working since age 21? Since the vast majority of (at least public) pensions pay out at, maximally, 75% of salary (and usually much less) how were you able to accumulate that combination of years of service AND high salary AND social security?
Wrong on almost everything you just said; it’s common for Police/Fire/EMS to pay 100% @ 20/25 years of service. Additional, most often they do not pay into Social Security. I have almost a identical pension with cola and 100% survivor benefits along with health insurance. I receive colas because I waited till age 50 to pull the pin. Don’t blame the player blame the game.
RoadThunder
Posts: 131
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by RoadThunder »

Que1999 wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 5:43 pm
pshonore wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 3:53 pm
Admiral wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 3:42 pm
Que1999 wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 11:04 am
dodecahedron wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:06 am Some of the lovely older tree-shaded neighborhoods in Niskayuna, NY, supposedly "One of the happiest towns in America", check pretty much all your boxes, with the exception of low taxes. But housing prices are certainly WAY lower than downstate.

Fun fact: the surviving co-author of Boglehead classic The Millionaire Next Door has chosen to continue living in a modest home in this town for decades, despite a net worth of what I imagine must be millions in frugally stewarded and invested royalties from the book. Public property tax assessor records say FMV of his home is $225K and Zillow says market value is $288K. His annual property taxes are in the $6K to $7K range.

Great place to raise kids. Excellent public library system, lots of free or low cost fun educational, cultural, recreational opportunities. Very highly regarded public schools and very high levels of education among town residents (lots of scientists, engineers, physicians, professors, attorneys.) Easy access to airport and Amtrak station.

If you are willing to accept more car-dependence, you can get somewhat lower taxes in Saratoga County (but home prices are correspondingly higher there.)
I have heard of Niskayuna. We are willing to pay $6-7k in property taxes if the school system is worth it, but I think that may be the top range… After living in the NYC tri-state area for many years, we are totally over exorbitant property tax rates. Libraries are big, actually, now that you mention it. Nothing better than spending a day in the library with a nice cup of coffee… This is one place we didn’t get to stop at during our recent upstate vacation/scouting adventure, but it will definitely be in the next one. Thanks!
Parkinglotracer wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:09 am Good luck

We’ve lived in Syracuse burb since 1991. Home of stickley furniture. Wife was an elem school teaching asst in local school system. Public Schools are top 50-100 in state. Our local girls cross country team has been named one of the top 10 sports dynasty in last decade. Kids grew up playing ice hockey and lacrosse and snow skiing and boating in finger lakes. Both played sports in college (one club, one D1). I know you don’t want to go this far upstate but if you change your mind PM me. We have moved around US in military and everything else being equal it’s a great place to raise a family. taxes are not low .. say 7K year on a 220K house. Good luck!
A good friend from years ago retired from NYC to the Syracuse area and loves it as well. I’ll have to check into the availability of health insurance around there, and maybe we’ll give it a look. I think it may be a bit too north for DW, but we will look into it… Thanks.
mikejuss wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:11 am Are you sure you have enough money to cover the next 40 years of expenses (including health care, schooling, and housing)?
I think so. I have a substantial pension coming in 2025, around $8250 per month. DW also has a smaller one coming in 2036, around $1200 per month…. No COLA for either, unfortunately. Not to mention SS payments are solid seeing to it that I’m very close to reaching the second bend point, after my years of working/maxing out SS contributions. We also have a smattering of: (2) 457 accounts which are available pre 59.5 with around $500k or so available, a 401k, Roth IRA’s, Traditional IRA’s & taxable investments. No mortgage on our current home, and after the sale we’d probably walk away with around $450k. The plan is to buy the next house cash for around $350k'ish, & invest the difference in taxable. All accounts are invested in diversified, low-cost index funds. Total between the retirement/investment accounts is around $1m, maybe $1.1m or so.

Health insurance is 100% covered, provided we stay in the areas mentioned. It is a good, low-cost health insurance plan, with low copays and low overall costs. We live a frugal lifestyle, and many of the things we enjoy doing are very low cost or free. Libraries, parks, picnics, family gatherings…

A big part of our plan is to perform Roth conversions of most of our pre-tax retirement account funds within low tax brackets; preferably the standard deduction, 10% & 12% (or 15% if it reverts back to this rate in a few years), and also capital gain harvest the taxable account within those same brackets. Not having to worry about losing ACA subsidies makes these financial maneuvers a lot more beneficial and less stressful for us.
How does someone in their mid 40s accumulate a pension of $100,000/year? Just curious. Even working since age 21? Since the vast majority of (at least public) pensions pay out at, maximally, 75% of salary (and usually much less) how were you able to accumulate that combination of years of service AND high salary AND social security?
Probably Public Safety employees. Its not unusual to see 150K+ salaries including overtime. The majority pay into SS as well although they can't collect SS until somewhere in their 60s.I
Bingo!

I got hired into a pensioned position at 24 years old, and was required to contribute 2.15% into the pension fund, while the City contributed 5%. The rate of return on the pension when I got hired was 8.25%.... It's 5% now for the new guys & gals. In addition, after I had been working for 3 or 4 years, I started making extra contributions into the pension fund. I matched the 5% the City paid in for me (pretax, which was nice because this reduced my tax burden, just like the pretax 457 & 401k). I also made extra post-tax contributions on top as well; post fed/State/City taxes.. This made my overall pension contributions around 11% of my pay + 5% from the City. When I separate from service with my agency, I will actually be rolling the extra post-tax money (around $65k now) into my Roth IRA. This rollover will reduce my pension to around $100k. If I left that post-tax money in the fund, my pension would probably be closer to $110k per year or so.

I am at 17 years with my Department, and am actually 3 years shy of a regular service retirement. My pension would grow considerably, believe it or not, if I stick out these next 3 years... But I am actually considering retiring a bit earlier than planned in order to have 2 years to convert large swaths of my pretax accounts to Roth, prior to the pension kicking in in 2025.

If you think I have a large pension, I wish you heard some of the conversations I've had with old-timers with 25-30+ years in my agency. We're talking $175k+ per year, and million dollar 457/401k accounts! I'm not looking to have such a large pension, since I know that the long-term tax implications of having such a high ordinary income will lock me out of taking advantage of many beneficial tax maneuvers, like Roth conversions in the lower tax brackets & capital gain harvesting in the 0% federal tax brackets, and even subject me, potentially, to the social security tax torpedo.

This estimate is a couple months old, so the numbers have increased a little bit... Also, I'm out of contract so assuming a decent raise for 2022, this should also kick the numbers up a bit as well.

Image
Take the money and run !
Parkinglotracer
Posts: 1511
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2019 3:49 am
Location: Upstate NY

Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by Parkinglotracer »

Ozonewanderer wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 6:38 pm
Parkinglotracer wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:09 am Good luck


We’ve lived in Syracuse burb since 1991. Home of stickley furniture. Wife was an elem school teaching asst in local school system. Public Schools are top 50-100 in state. Our local girls cross country team has been named one of the top 10 sports dynasty in last decade. Kids grew up playing ice hockey and lacrosse and snow skiing and boating in finger lakes. Both played sports in college (one club, one D1). I know you don’t want to go this far upstate but if you change your mind PM me. We have moved around US in military and everything else being equal it’s a great place to raise a family. taxes are not low .. say 7K year on a 220K house. Good luck!
Fayetteville-Manlius and Dewitt are Syracuse suburbs and good places to raise a family with good schools. I lived there for 40 years and retired to FL. Summers are great; winters can be long. But with global warming, this might be the best place to settle long term. The Finger Lakes are the largest bodies of fresh water in the world.

But the City Syracuse itself is one of the poorest urban areas in the US and crime is getting worse.
We live in the FM school district. It is sad that there are some very poor schools within miles of ours. I think you have described the area well. We spend the winters in st Pete Clearwater area near family. Lucky we are.
Last edited by Parkinglotracer on Sun Jul 24, 2022 5:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
Parkinglotracer
Posts: 1511
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2019 3:49 am
Location: Upstate NY

Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by Parkinglotracer »

Valuethinker wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 11:15 am
Parkinglotracer wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:09 am Good luck


We’ve lived in Syracuse burb since 1991. Home of stickley furniture. Wife was an elem school teaching asst in local school system. Public Schools are top 50-100 in state. Our local girls cross country team has been named one of the top 10 sports dynasty in last decade. Kids grew up playing ice hockey and lacrosse and snow skiing and boating in finger lakes. Both played sports in college (one club, one D1). I know you don’t want to go this far upstate but if you change your mind PM me. We have moved around US in military and everything else being equal it’s a great place to raise a family. taxes are not low .. say 7K year on a 220K house. Good luck!
I had a friend, from California, who lived in Upstate NY, for career reasons, for several years during which time his young sons were born.

He said it was "the kind of life style of growing up in America 40 years ago". He meant that in a good way. Affordability. Community.

They now live in Santa Cruz in the Silicon Valley area, homeschool their kids and are fairly scathing about California as a place to raise children (says SC doesn't have the best schools) (although being able to go to the beach all thru the year is a big plus).

(I have known Canadians who got into pretty elite American colleges on the basis of "unusual" sports, which are not so unusual in the Great Lakes area. Ice hockey (of course), lacrosse, rugby (probably more of a private school thing).

It should be noted that there really is a "Lake Snow Effect" (see wikipedia) meaning heavy snowfall immediately downwind of the prevailing winds on Lake Ontario & Lake Erie. Buffalo and Rochester, at least, seem to get 2x the snow of Toronto. Not sure re Syracuse.
Yes if the Great Lakes are north west of you and the wind is out of the Northwest - you get 130 inches of lake effect snow. We have ski hill 45 min away Lacrosse and hockey are big upstate. One son played lacrosse well at public hs and it enabled him to get into/ pay for a great education. We are the lucky ones.
Last edited by Parkinglotracer on Sun Jul 24, 2022 5:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
DarthSage
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by DarthSage »

We lived in upstate NY (Saratoga County) for 20 years. We lived rural, but there are nice, suburban type towns (Burnt Hills, Ballston Spa), in addition to the tonier (and pricier) Saratoga Springs.

Niskayuna is also nice--the GE R&D center is there, so there are lots of engineers, scientists, doctors, etc. that populate the town. Nerdy but nice, if you will. Glenville might also be worth a look. But, if schools are a top priority, Niskayuna is the pick of the litter.

Note that there is a snow line, literally on the county border between Schenectady and Saratoga counties. You could see it, some days! In Saratoga County, we got, on average, 7 feet of snow per year. This can really be a crapshoot, though--some storms would hit the north dead-on, others would pass to our south, and Albany would get slammed. Most people had woodstoves, at least as a back-up heat source, in the more rural areas.

We left because of minimal job opportunities, education concerns, and costs/taxes. We had kids with some special needs (enrichment and strings instruction, not what people commonly mean by "special needs"), our school was cutting programs, we would have had to drive to Albany for the strings stuff.

A couple other, random thoughts:

Yeah, Albany has an airport. It's not much of one--you'll be switching planes to get most places. But, there are plenty of flights.

For better or worse, there's only one viable political party. Rural voters tend to be more red, but it doesn't matter.

NYC is an easy day trip, either by Amtrak or bus. Unless things have changed (pandemic), Brown Transportation used to offer any number of trips to NYC for shopping, shows, Bronx Zoo, etc.

There are definite pockets of poverty, and upstate can't seem to catch a break. OTOH, Albany has cultural events, there's SPAC in the summer (NYC Ballet, concerts, etc.), and there are some fun local teams, if any of that interests you.

Good luck in your search--the area is beautiful, and the people are great!
Parkinglotracer
Posts: 1511
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2019 3:49 am
Location: Upstate NY

Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by Parkinglotracer »

hicabob wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 11:10 am My parents used to live in the Ithaca area. I was surprised how many separate taxes there were compared to other parts of the US. County, town, school, etc which, IIRC, ended up being about a 3% tax rate relative to the real value of the house.
Overall in Syracuse burb I pay a total of about 7.2K property tax (county/town, school, and village) on a 275-300K house (3/2.5/2; 1900 sq ft on .7 acre cul de sac). It would be 9K but I get $1750 off for being a combat vet. We get A+ schools, trash / roads plowed / leaf pickup at curb / nice library / sr center / kids summer programs / code enforcement / fireworks on 4th. 3% is about right.
Last edited by Parkinglotracer on Sun Jul 24, 2022 5:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
dan7800
Posts: 208
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by dan7800 »

I've lived in upstate NY my entire life; having experienced the total state except for the southwest corner. If you like nature, the Adirondack area cannot be beat; especially in the summer.

If you like small city life, check out Little Falls. They have a hospital, are close to the Adirondacks etc...Inexpensive to live there and great views/scenery. The canal is also beautiful. If you like small city living, that's where I'd live. Personally, Syracuse is as far west as I'd go. Buffalo is OK, but Rochester is absolutely horrible.

Ask me anything.
bsteiner
Posts: 7167
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Location: NYC/NJ/FL

Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by bsteiner »

Que1999 wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 9:39 am I will be retiring at some point between January 2023 & July of 2025, when DW & I will both be in our early-mid 40's. DW early-retired a few years ago to stay home with the kids; 8 &11. We both initially were planning to move out of NY State, but since our pre-medicare retiree health insurance is tied to the NYC/Long Island/Upstate regions, we have come to the realization that it is probably better for us to stay here as opposed to relocating to another State and having to worry about ACA insurance, subsidies, income limits, etc...

So I am wondering, what are some nice Upstate NY areas that will check off all our boxes?

1- Good public schools
2- Low crime
3- Low cost of living/taxes (at least for NY)

These are the three most important factors for us... Also important are:

4- Good sense of community
5- Rather not be TOO car-dependent. We're just not really fans of driving and cars in general, unless the drives are relatively short trips

After some research via my health insurance website and conferral's with representatives, it seems we have coverage in most areas from the NYC/Long Island area, north to Lake George, all the way northwest to around Utica. Anywhere between these areas is fair game. ...
1. Good public schools. Best would be the North Shore of Nassau County, various places in Westchester, Ithaca, and the selective schools in NYC. As others have pointed out, some of the suburbs of some of the upstate cities have good schools.

2. Low crime. New York State is much safer than most of the country. Here are the statistics by county: https://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/crim ... estats.htm.

3. Low cost of living/taxes. Upstate is generally less expensive than the NYC metropolitan area. NYC has its own income tax and a low property tax on residential property. Federal and New York state and local pensions are exempt from NYS/NYC income tax. So someone whose income is mainly Federal or New York state or local pensions would probably find NYC to be the lowest tax place.

4. Good sense of community. Any place with people with whom you have common interests.

5. Not too car dependent. Manhattan would be best. KIngs, Queens and Bronx Counties would be good. Nassau County would be good as well since you're willing to do short trips.
gck1891
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2022 9:40 am

Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by gck1891 »

Hey OP-
I am from LI, but spent a considerable amount of time in upstate NY. I have also traveled a bit, and is understanding of cost of living differences across the US.

I would first "do the math" and confirm that you need to limit your search to upstate NY because of the benefit you may lose. You may find that COL in other areas may be lower than NY, which can partially mitigate the financial loss of the benefit. Second, I would also think "bigger" than just the financial equation when making a decision on where to move. Moving is a long term personal investment as well, and there considerations beyond economics and school systems that need to be considered. I hate the winter and like having access to beaches and the amenities of a major metros, so upstate wouldn't work for me.

As for Upstate NY, there are secondary metros spread across the State. Most of those metro have gone through significant economic declines unfortunately as businesses have moved out of the region. However, each metro typically has one Affluent burb with good schools and housing stock. Upstate NY also has a few rural tourist areas, like Ithaca and Saratoga Springs, if you are interested in that type of thing. If you are seeking a rural lifestyle, you will find many options.

If your 100% headed to Upstate NY, I would take road trips to get a feel of the area. NY is huge, so I would visit one region at a time including...
1) The Capitol Region (Albany and the surrounding rural areas). Albany has likely the most vital economy in Upstate because of state government and it is only a few hours from NYC.
2) The Finger Lakes region, including Syracuse
3) Western NY (Rochester and Buffalo)

Good luck!
homebuyer6426
Posts: 966
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:08 am

Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by homebuyer6426 »

Que1999 wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 9:39 am
1- Good public schools
2- Low crime
3- Low cost of living/taxes (at least for NY)
Most suburbs of most upstate NY cities and town tick 2 and 3. Some tick 1. Even the highest crime cities tend to have some pretty peaceful suburbs if you go 30 minutes out.
Que1999 wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 9:39 am
4- Good sense of community
5- Rather not be TOO car-dependent. We're just not really fans of driving and cars in general, unless the drives are relatively short trips
In almost all the low-cost areas of the USA, extensive public transportation and low crime are inversely correlated. But if you just mean bike paths, lots of communities are making those now.
likegarden
Posts: 3179
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:33 pm

Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by likegarden »

We live in Clifton Park, NY, which is south of Saratoga Springs and north of Niskayuna. Shenendehowa school system is very good, our son went there and is an engineer. Our grandson just graduated from it and will study Computer Science at RPI. Our 2-story house is 2500 sqft not considering finished basement, probably is worth now $400 K. Our son once lived and worked 2 years on Long Island and price of a house there compared to ours was 5 times our price. So he was happy getting a job back at GE here. I worked 37 years at GE, my wife is a former school teacher, we love it here.
Valuethinker
Posts: 45572
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by Valuethinker »

Ozonewanderer wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 6:38 pm
Parkinglotracer wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 10:09 am Good luck


We’ve lived in Syracuse burb since 1991. Home of stickley furniture. Wife was an elem school teaching asst in local school system. Public Schools are top 50-100 in state. Our local girls cross country team has been named one of the top 10 sports dynasty in last decade. Kids grew up playing ice hockey and lacrosse and snow skiing and boating in finger lakes. Both played sports in college (one club, one D1). I know you don’t want to go this far upstate but if you change your mind PM me. We have moved around US in military and everything else being equal it’s a great place to raise a family. taxes are not low .. say 7K year on a 220K house. Good luck!
Fayetteville-Manlius and Dewitt are Syracuse suburbs and good places to raise a family with good schools. I lived there for 40 years and retired to FL. Summers are great; winters can be long. But with global warming, this might be the best place to settle long term. The Finger Lakes are the largest bodies of fresh water in the world.

But the City Syracuse itself is one of the poorest urban areas in the US and crime is getting worse.
The Finger Lakes would be delighted to know that ... but the Great Lakes would be peeved ;-).

Not that I a Great Lakes Nationalist or anything ....

https://www.syracuse.com/data/2022/03/s ... rty%20rate.

https://cnyvitals.org/poverty/

I wasn't aware of the above until you flagged it. Deindustrialisation has hit Great Lakes NY very hard. These were once some of the richest communities in North America - Buffalo had more millionaires than any other city in North America at one point.

One has to hope for a better future.
Valuethinker
Posts: 45572
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by Valuethinker »

gck1891 wrote: Sun Jul 24, 2022 8:30 am Hey OP-
I am from LI, but spent a considerable amount of time in upstate NY. I have also traveled a bit, and is understanding of cost of living differences across the US.

I would first "do the math" and confirm that you need to limit your search to upstate NY because of the benefit you may lose. You may find that COL in other areas may be lower than NY, which can partially mitigate the financial loss of the benefit. Second, I would also think "bigger" than just the financial equation when making a decision on where to move. Moving is a long term personal investment as well, and there considerations beyond economics and school systems that need to be considered. I hate the winter and like having access to beaches and the amenities of a major metros, so upstate wouldn't work for me.

As for Upstate NY, there are secondary metros spread across the State. Most of those metro have gone through significant economic declines unfortunately as businesses have moved out of the region. However, each metro typically has one Affluent burb with good schools and housing stock. Upstate NY also has a few rural tourist areas, like Ithaca and Saratoga Springs, if you are interested in that type of thing. If you are seeking a rural lifestyle, you will find many options.

If your 100% headed to Upstate NY, I would take road trips to get a feel of the area. NY is huge, so I would visit one region at a time including...
1) The Capitol Region (Albany and the surrounding rural areas). Albany has likely the most vital economy in Upstate because of state government and it is only a few hours from NYC.
2) The Finger Lakes region, including Syracuse
3) Western NY (Rochester and Buffalo)

Good luck!
This is good advice, I feel.
NY is huge, so I would visit one region at a time
I grew up near Western NY, may parents courted in eastern NYS & the size of NYS is easy to underestimate. Big and geographically very diverse place.

Perhaps initiatives like better train service, and, as another poster noted, the possibility of warmer weather, will contribute to a revivification of upstate NY. One has to have long term concerns re the fiscal position (but I don't want to get involved in the arguments we see upthread about pensions).
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by WillRetire »

NY State is beautiful and diverse culturally and geographically, but do pay close attention to population trends by region/county. Persistent population decline leads to economic decline. Plus it's no fun living in a region that others are fleeing.

It sounds like you (OP) are set for life, financially, so no worries on that front. In fact, you can probably afford to move anywhere that strikes you, then move again.
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by gips »

we lived in cazenovia, a small suburb of syracuse and it was beautiful. close to small ski centers, great hiking, very affordable. we have friends that have lived in a beautiful part of loudenville for 40 years. cant speak to schools but his son attended mit. finally, we’ve extensively vacationed in ithaca and the fingerlakes. i’ve read ithaca is a popular retirement destination due to lower cost of living and two colleges, just didnt get it while we were there…or maybe the town didnt attract us, lots of subutban sprawl. i will say there is a good, diverse restaurant scene.

luck!
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by Beachey »

One other benefit to the Albany Metro area is you are a day trip away from NYC, Boston, Adirondacks and skiing in Vermont. Montreal (Pre-Covid) is a little far for a day trip but is good for a short weekend.

As others have said, the Albany airport is super convenient though can be pricey, we tend to drive to a NYC airport if we are going overseas as the fare difference makes up paying for parking or other transportation down there plus gets you a direct flight.

I do think the OP’s stated budget of $6-7K for taxes is a little low for any good school district but should be able to stay under $10K if you add school and county taxes together.
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by Ozonewanderer »

Valuethinker wrote: Sun Jul 24, 2022 9:14 am
Ozonewanderer wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 6:38 pm Fayetteville-Manlius and Dewitt are Syracuse suburbs and good places to raise a family with good schools. I lived there for 40 years and retired to FL. Summers are great; winters can be long. But with global warming, this might be the best place to settle long term. The Finger Lakes are the largest bodies of fresh water in the world.

But the City Syracuse itself is one of the poorest urban areas in the US and crime is getting worse.

The Finger Lakes would be delighted to know that ... but the Great Lakes would be peeved ;-).

I am sorry, I stand corrected. I meant to say the Great Lakes are the largest bodies of fresh water. Good catch.

But note the beautiful terrain around Syracuse: Finger lakes to the west, Adirondacks to the north, and Catskills to the south. I took a lot of overnight trips in my motorcycle. It was heaven.
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by Valuethinker »

Ozonewanderer wrote: Sun Jul 24, 2022 11:21 am
Valuethinker wrote: Sun Jul 24, 2022 9:14 am
Ozonewanderer wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 6:38 pm Fayetteville-Manlius and Dewitt are Syracuse suburbs and good places to raise a family with good schools. I lived there for 40 years and retired to FL. Summers are great; winters can be long. But with global warming, this might be the best place to settle long term. The Finger Lakes are the largest bodies of fresh water in the world.

But the City Syracuse itself is one of the poorest urban areas in the US and crime is getting worse.

The Finger Lakes would be delighted to know that ... but the Great Lakes would be peeved ;-).

I am sorry, I stand corrected. I meant to say the Great Lakes are the largest bodies of fresh water. Good catch.
No need to apologise - anyone reading would have got what you meant. It was just my opportunity for a cheapshot. I should apologise for making the crack ... :) :wink:
But note the beautiful terrain around Syracuse: Finger lakes to the west, Adirondacks to the north, and Catskills to the south. I took a lot of overnight trips in my motorcycle. It was heaven.
It is indeed really beautiful, and with some very nice wine, I believe. I entirely agree with you re the accessible beauty of the area. Its economic and population decline is just sad.

Ontario's Niagara Peninsula has many similar characteristics. But as the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area explodes in population westwards, that has brought sky high home prices (cause and effect flowing both ways on that), urban sprawl & traffic congestion.
Oddly, you also get suburbs that were developed 50 years ago, that are now experiencing falling populations - retirees "aging in place" (perhaps wintering in Florida).
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by Valuethinker »

WillRetire wrote: Sun Jul 24, 2022 10:21 am NY State is beautiful and diverse culturally and geographically, but do pay close attention to population trends by region/county. Persistent population decline leads to economic decline. Plus it's no fun living in a region that others are fleeing.

It sounds like you (OP) are set for life, financially, so no worries on that front. In fact, you can probably afford to move anywhere that strikes you, then move again.
This, unfortunately, is a very real consideration. Hard to maintain the public services on a declining population and tax base. Can lead to something of a death spiral.

These were great cities, once: Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse. Perhaps this century will see their regeneration -- due to changes in climate, and a general quest for affordable homes by younger people. However the jobs have to be there, too - perhaps via remote working?
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by JackoC »

WillRetire wrote: Sun Jul 24, 2022 10:21 am NY State is beautiful and diverse culturally and geographically, but do pay close attention to population trends by region/county. Persistent population decline leads to economic decline. Plus it's no fun living in a region that others are fleeing.
Yes, Upstate NY (I have the City perspective: everything too far to commute to the City except eastern LI) has a probably higher % of houses obviously needing a new paint job than any other state (PA might challenge it). 'Seen better days' places are numerous, widespread economic stagnation or decline. Something to keep in mind choosing a place, though there are of course exceptions to that, and even many economically stagnant areas are naturally beautiful. And if your own income is secure the local economy doesn't make as big a difference, though lack of economic opportunity can have nasty side effects on quality of life for those doing well.

Also as others pointed out, low housing cost on one hand and car dependence and amenities tend to be offsetting, and economic opportunity and higher housing cost tend to go together. My daughter lives in Columbia Cty (SE of Albany on MA border). It's got the 'seen better days' upstate NY look in many places but OTOH its commutable to Albany (state big govt isn't going anywhere in NYS soon IMO) and an active organic agriculture economy (she works in). Housing costs are low compared to places further south in the Hudson Valley. But it's very car dependent if you live outright rural, and even if you live in one of the quaint villages of this former heartland of New Netherlands (Martin Van Buren's home county) or the one real town (Hudson, 4th largest city in the state at one time after NY, Brooklyn and Albany, on the downslope for a looong time) you still have to drive to big stores and probably school.
Last edited by JackoC on Sun Jul 24, 2022 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by LadyGeek »

I removed a contentious interchange regarding pensions of public employees. The discussion was derailed.

Please stay on-topic and help the OP make a decision.


This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (where to live).
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by eddot98 »

retire2022 wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 4:53 pm Op

After my first year retired (2021) with 34 years of state and nyc time, my NY states exempt income from 457 withdrawals and pension payouts on the state side, not on FEDs 1040 side.

You will give up the state exemption by leaving NYS, also think of your local social connections built up over years you would start over.
I retired from NY State with 36+ years of service in 2010. I live in Massachusetts as I have since 1982. My Massachusetts state income tax on my NY retirement income plus my Real Estate tax here are still less than NY Real Estate tax would be for a comparable house in upstate NY. Now that I started taking RMD’s from my 457b account this year, the $1250 I would save on the RMD’s ($25,000 x 5% tax) by living in NY may make me less than breaking even by living in Massachusetts.
There are several other positives for living in Massachusetts, one of which is zoning laws.
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by tibbitts »

Que1999 wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 9:39 am 5- Rather not be TOO car-dependent. We're just not really fans of driving and cars in general, unless the drives are relatively short trips
Upon further reflection this is really an overwhelmingly important point. 99% of what I enjoyed about living in upstate NY involved driving on probably what you'd consider long trips. I would have been miserable and frustrated without that. It seems like a lot of the comments are assuming you'll come around on that issue but there are people who just don't, and that's okay, especially since you have the NYC option.
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by Que1999 »

tibbitts wrote: Sun Jul 24, 2022 1:24 pm
Que1999 wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 9:39 am 5- Rather not be TOO car-dependent. We're just not really fans of driving and cars in general, unless the drives are relatively short trips
Upon further reflection this is really an overwhelmingly important point. 99% of what I enjoyed about living in upstate NY involved driving on probably what you'd consider long trips. I would have been miserable and frustrated without that. It seems like a lot of the comments are assuming you'll come around on that issue but there are people who just don't, and that's okay, especially since you have the NYC option.
I think you're right. I figured I'd just throw that in for the input, but I'm assuming we won't be able to get away from the whole car thing living upstate. Which is fine, if everything else is great.

Thanks to everyone for the great input and those who sent PM's offering advice, and more, for our next scouting trip upstate. We have a few new places on the radar to visit!
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by ScubaHogg »

tibbitts wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 4:55 pm
Admiral wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 3:42 pm How does someone in their mid 40s accumulate a pension of $100,000/year? Just curious. Even working since age 21? Since the vast majority of (at least public) pensions pay out at, maximally, 75% of salary (and usually much less) how were you able to accumulate that combination of years of service AND high salary AND social security?
I don't think a pension in that range in mid-40s would be that unusual for military or as mentioned some public safety employees.
No US military pension pays anywhere close to that for someone in their mid-40s. From what I can tell, public safety pensions, at least in some locations are significantly more generous than the most generous military pension.
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by tibbitts »

ScubaHogg wrote: Sun Jul 24, 2022 7:31 pm
tibbitts wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 4:55 pm
Admiral wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 3:42 pm How does someone in their mid 40s accumulate a pension of $100,000/year? Just curious. Even working since age 21? Since the vast majority of (at least public) pensions pay out at, maximally, 75% of salary (and usually much less) how were you able to accumulate that combination of years of service AND high salary AND social security?
I don't think a pension in that range in mid-40s would be that unusual for military or as mentioned some public safety employees.
No US military pension pays anywhere close to that for someone in their mid-40s. From what I can tell, public safety pensions, at least in some locations are significantly more generous than the most generous military pension.
You're probably correct on the military part; I just now looked at a calculator briefly and came out with more likely in the mid-$60k range. And with so many different employers there's a lot more variation on the public safety front, so some employees will earn a much higher or lower pension, even for similar positions.
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by tibbitts »

Que1999 wrote: Sun Jul 24, 2022 2:27 pm
tibbitts wrote: Sun Jul 24, 2022 1:24 pm
Que1999 wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 9:39 am 5- Rather not be TOO car-dependent. We're just not really fans of driving and cars in general, unless the drives are relatively short trips
Upon further reflection this is really an overwhelmingly important point. 99% of what I enjoyed about living in upstate NY involved driving on probably what you'd consider long trips. I would have been miserable and frustrated without that. It seems like a lot of the comments are assuming you'll come around on that issue but there are people who just don't, and that's okay, especially since you have the NYC option.
I think you're right. I figured I'd just throw that in for the input, but I'm assuming we won't be able to get away from the whole car thing living upstate. Which is fine, if everything else is great.

Thanks to everyone for the great input and those who sent PM's offering advice, and more, for our next scouting trip upstate. We have a few new places on the radar to visit!
If the area is mostly like it was when I lived there it seems like it would be a good place for you.
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by newyorker »

My only concern with the majority of upstate NY is that it is a dying state in general. Population is constantly decreasing with many companies and employers moving out. Same stuff happening along with the rest of rust belt states.

I dont know if westchester counts as upstate but that area is really nice. Maybe tarrytown?
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by tibbitts »

newyorker wrote: Sun Jul 24, 2022 9:24 pm My only concern with the majority of upstate NY is that it is a dying state in general. Population is constantly decreasing with many companies and employers moving out. Same stuff happening along with the rest of rust belt states.

I dont know if westchester counts as upstate but that area is really nice. Maybe tarrytown?
I think it might depend whether you live in NYC in which case it might squeak in under the "upstate" definition. Not so much if you live in Watertown. The average price of a home in Westchester County is significantly higher than the OP seems to be considering.

I understand the concern in that back when I lived there, there was lot of evidence of the decline of the industrial base and frankly a higher percentage of people who lived there wanted to leave than has been the case with other places I've lived. But I would have happily stayed had circumstances (work, etc.) not intervened.
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Re: Retiring to Upstate NY

Post by newyorker »

tibbitts wrote: Sun Jul 24, 2022 9:33 pm
newyorker wrote: Sun Jul 24, 2022 9:24 pm My only concern with the majority of upstate NY is that it is a dying state in general. Population is constantly decreasing with many companies and employers moving out. Same stuff happening along with the rest of rust belt states.

I dont know if westchester counts as upstate but that area is really nice. Maybe tarrytown?
I think it might depend whether you live in NYC in which case it might squeak in under the "upstate" definition. Not so much if you live in Watertown. The average price of a home in Westchester County is significantly higher than the OP seems to be considering.

I understand the concern in that back when I lived there, there was lot of evidence of the decline of the industrial base and frankly a higher percentage of people who lived there wanted to leave than has been the case with other places I've lived. But I would have happily stayed had circumstances (work, etc.) not intervened.
Yeah i have been an upstate resident as well. Its a dead city/town. Syracuse, Albany and etc all these downtowns give me "dead" vibe same feeling I have felt in Cleveland OH. Its an area where I couldnt expect more new businesses coming in. I left due to such reason. Had OP not be restricted in NYS due to pension, i would recommend up and coming state like North Carolina or Texas.
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