Web Site Compares Cost of Living in Different Areas

How much you need to live on after retirement depends in large part on where you live. You may be able to lower retirement living expenses by moving to a less costly area. For example, nine states have no income taxes and five states impose no general sales tax (although property taxes may be higher in these states).

A good place to gauge expenses in different areas is the Web site BestPlaces (www.bestplaces.net), which allows you to compare cost-of-living and quality-of-life data for 3,000 U.S. towns and cities. The site carries no advertising and requires no subscription fees.

By comparing different cities head to head, you will see how dramatic the differences can be. For example, according to BestPlaces someone making $100,000 a year in Boston, Massachusetts, will need only $67,483 to maintain the same standard of living in Jacksonville, Florida. The median price of a home in San Francisco is $453,880, compared to $106,380 in Appleton, Wisconsin.