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Retiree moved from California to North Carolina: Pros and cons - Business Insider

Author: Business Insider

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/moving-from-california-to-north-carolina-for-retirement-pros-cons-2023-10

Image of Retiree moved from California to North Carolina: Pros and cons - Business Insider

Sandra, a Gen Xer, recently moved from the Los Angeles area to the beaches of North Carolina.She said California's rising cost of living pushed her toward the East Coast for her retirement.While the weather isn't as ideal, North Carolina has been a pleasant surprise.LoadingSomething is loading.Thanks for signing up!Access your favorite topics in a personalized feed while you're on the go.Sandra decided that instead of retirement by the beaches of Los Angeles, she'd instead enjoy life by the North Carolina shore.Sandra, who is in her early 50s and is originally from California, met her Massachusetts husband while in the Navy, and at the time she knew she never wanted to move to the East Coast.It was too cold, she said, and it didn't have the same charm as California.Sandra, whose identity is known to Insider, chose to use just her first name, citing privacy concerns.But after seeing prices rising and more people moving into her area, Sandra was ready to move.She visited North Carolina for a wedding, and after talking to some contacts in the area, she realized that was where she'd begin her retirement.A few months in, she's loving the change of scenery and pace in North Carolina.She loves the people, the prices, and the politics — as well as the fall weather."I do miss California, the people and certain other aspects, but I really don't miss the high prices," said Sandra, who is planning to retire in December."We just decided that if we wanted early retirement, since we still had a mortgage, to sell the house and then move elsewhere and just retire whenever," she added. "My husband will continue working remotely, but if he decides he wants to retire next year, then he can, and it gives us more financial freedom."Around 818,000 people left California for other states between 2021 and 2022, while just 475,800 moved in, according to US Census migration data released last week.Many, including Sandra, have cited California's high cost of living, from housing costs to taxes, as a major reason for making the move.Nearly 23,000 former Californians made the move to North Carolina.Some have moved to larger cities like Raleigh and Charlotte, while others have moved to the coast to still get the beach feel.Weighing the pros and consSandra said she misses the California weather, as her first summer in North Carolina was quite humid, though she's been enjoying the moderate fall weather.Sandra had never been to North Carolina before her nephew got married a few years ago.She and her husband desperately wanted to move to Charleston or Hilton Head in South Carolina, though they couldn't secure a property.So, they settled for a coastal property one state north."I liked the idea of moving here, but I thought, I hate the heat, and if I'm going to move here, I need to be near the ocean and I have to be somewhere that's air conditioned or has a pool," Sandra said.Still, she doesn't miss the higher prices for everything from home costs to the price at the pump.Sandra and her husband bought a house in "quaint" Ventura 25 years ago, but over the last few years, she noticed traffic was picking up, gas prices have put a dent in her wallet, and many more people were moving in from Los Angeles.She said her California home sold for over $2 million and she and her husband were able to buy a similar beachfront home in North Carolina for $1.2 million that they paid off in full. Even though she said insurance is a bit higher in North Carolina given the prevalence of hurricanes, her taxes have been cut by around half.Real estate prices in California were rising fast, and the couple thought they should sell their home and move to another coastal town.She was paying around $1,000 a month just in property taxes, yet she started feeling less safe walking around her community.Though she misses her friends, she said the people she's met in North Carolina have been very welcoming.Her area is also a lot less crowded than her California neighborhood, she said, with a lot fewer younger people.The more diverse politics of her area — since North Carolina is a purple state — was also a plus over deep red South Carolina, she said.Gas prices — which came in at $5.33 a gallon in California as of Friday, according to AAA — were way lower in North Carolina at $3.23 a gallon.Groceries, though, are relatively similar between the two states, she said.Still, she said she was shocked by how low the wages are in her area, which has made her wonder how many are able to make ends meet compared to what many in California are making.Whereas the median household income in California is $84,097, in North Carolina it comes in at $60,516, according to GOBankingRates' analysis of data from the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey.While she's not sure if this is where she'll stay for the rest of her life — she said she'll give it a few years — she's loving it so far and is preparing all her winter clothes for what may be a much colder season than she's used to.Have you recently moved from California to another state? Reach out to this reporter at [email protected].

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