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Leaving California as a senior: All you need to know

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As people approach their golden years, they often start thinking about leaving California. The high cost of living, traffic, and congestion can motivate seniors to explore other options for their retirement years. While the thought of moving to a new state can seem daunting, proper planning and research can help make the process more manageable. From housing and health care to taxes and transportation, taking into account the opinion of professional movers Northern California, this article will provide you with everything you need to know about leaving California as a senior and starting a new chapter elsewhere.

Advantages of leaving California as a senior

The cost of living in California is among the highest in the United States. This makes it difficult for many people to afford necessities and think about leaving the country. The high cost of housing, food, healthcare, and transportation contributes to this high cost of living. Moving to a state with California interstate movers may reduce your expenses and allow you to stretch out your retirement savings. Let’s see all advantages of leaving California.

elderly couple drinking wine sitting on the bench and looking to the water - Leaving California as a senior
You don’t have to fight the high costs of California by denying yourself the pleasure of wine tasting at a restaurant, simply change your state of residence

Finding a place with a lower cost of living

Housing is the biggest expense in California, and it’s not uncommon for people to pay over half of their income on rent or mortgage. In states like Texas, Oklahoma, and North Carolina, housing costs are significantly lower, which can save you thousands of dollars each year. For example, when moving from California to Houston, you’ll face a median price of a house of $340K, while the average price in California is doubled. Thanks to that, in Houston, nearly 60% are homeowners, while in Los Angeles, only 36% of residents can boast of ownership. This places California as the second lowest in the country when it comes to ownership rates.

Affordability of healthcare

Healthcare is also expensive in California, and even with health insurance, many people struggle to afford medical care. There are states like Oregon, New Mexico, or Idaho, where healthcare costs are lower. This can save you money on insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. In addition, California is among the 10 states at the bottom of the list for the quality of health care. For seniors, the quality of healthcare is of great importance, so you should focus on countries like Delaware, Iowa, or Colorado, which are, according to, among the first 15 in the US.

Tax considerations

California is one of the highest-taxed states in the nation, with a top income tax rate of 13.3%. This can be a significant burden for seniors living on a fixed income and may prompt them to consider relocating to states with lower taxes. Oregon, for example, has a top income tax rate of 9.9%, while Texas has no state income tax at all. Meanwhile, Colorado’s top income tax rate is a more modest 4.55%. Also, state property tax rates must be considered. In California, these rates are relatively high compared to other states. Property taxes can vary significantly by county and city. Seniors need to research these tax rates in their potential new state of residence to ensure they are comfortable with the tax burden.

two older persons standing in the forest holding each other hand
Leaving California as a senior will allow you to enjoy a more pleasant climate

Climate and lifestyle preferences

California has a diverse climate due to its size and location. The coastal areas of California have a Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and dry summers. But the inland areas of California have a hot, arid climate. Thanks to all these weather conditions, seniors can enjoy many different summer outdoor activities here. However, some seniors may choose to leave California due to overall expenses that also affect these activities. In addition, some seniors may prefer a quieter lifestyle, with less traffic, congestion, and noise. If you are a fan of colder climates and winter outdoor activities, then moving from California to Colorado will be a good idea. Colorado has a high elevation with a cold and dry climate. It has a variety of outdoor activities, including skiing, snowboarding, hiking, camping, and fishing.

Choosing your new destination: Oregon, Texas, and Colorado

If you decide to leave California, the state that borders you is Oregon. Given the proximity, especially if you live in Northern California, this can be a bargain move. Apart from better living opportunities, family and friends will be relatively close to you. But let’s see if other countries can offer you better conditions for life in retirement.

Leaving California as a senior can be a benefit to finding a more affordable housing market

As we already mentioned, California has high housing costs and low affordability compared to the national average. Some of the most expensive cities, like San Francisco and Los Angeles, have median home prices of around $1 million. It also has a high demand for housing due to the state’s population growth and limited supply of housing. On the other hand, Oregon is more affordable than California but still above the national average. Portland’s housing market became increasingly strong and competitive over the years with high housing demand and prices. Many other cities have also experienced growth and increased housing costs as well. However, if you like living in a big city, moving from California to Austin can be affordable when it comes to housing. The median home price for a 3bdr apartment is $455K, while in Portland, it is $651K. And the rent is lower by approximately 45%.

grandparents with their grandchildren in front the house
Outside of California, it will be easier to become a homeowner, and for less money, you can rent a house that suits you

Quality of healthcare in these countries

Since Texas ranks 47th in terms of overall healthcare performance, if you plan to leave California, turn to Oregon or Colorado. Oregon has lower prices both in terms of insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. Although California has a higher number of healthcare providers than Oregon, both states are projected to face a shortage of primary care physicians and other specialists soon. California has also more than double the number of hospitals in Oregon. However, the larger size of California means that the proximity of health facilities is not uniformly distributed statewide. Some rural areas may have limited access to healthcare services.

Colorado is known for its high-quality healthcare system, with a focus on preventive care and wellness. The state has consistently ranked in the top ten for healthcare access and affordability. Additionally, Colorado has a strong network of hospitals and clinics and a robust telehealth program. Moving from California to Denver will ensure you are close to high-quality equipment for modern diagnosis and treatment, as well as professional medical staff.

Recreational and social opportunities in countries interesting for seniors

Each state has its recreational opportunities according to its geographical and climatic offers. California has beautiful beaches and is known for all water sports. However, seniors may be interested in some quieter recreation and more socializing. Let’s see what is waiting for you outside of California.

a group of people is standing by the road in the forest, and next to them are many parked cars
Colorado has some of the most incredible hiking in the states

Colorado scene

Colorado’s cool, dry, and invigorating climate allows its residents to stay in the snow and enjoy all snow sports. If you are a fan of these sports, they are available at resorts such as Vail, Aspen, and Breckenridge. For hiking and camping, there is Rocky National Park, and you can try rafting on the Arkansas River or Clear Creek. The city of Boulder is famous for kayaking on Boulder Creek and has a lively downtown with restaurants and shops. Another interesting town for recreation and socializing is Steamboat Springs. This is a ski resort with hot springs, hiking trails, and a historic downtown area. If you want to explore the craft beer scene, there’s Denver or Fort Collins.

Entertainment and recreation in the Beaver State

Besides Crater Lake National Park or Mount Hood, where you can go hiking, Oregon also offers wine tasting in the Willamette Valley, exploring the coast, as well as music festivals like Pickathon or the Oregon Jamboree. If you are a foody or beer lover, moving from California to Portland will be the right choice for you. Portland is also known as home to museums and cultural attractions. Finally, you will have the opportunity for outdoor activities, such as hiking in the forest park. Other cities that have interesting happenings include Bend with its thriving craft beer scene and hiking and mountain biking opportunities, and Ashland, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and close to Mt. Siskiyou for many outdoor activities.

The music scene and historic architecture of Texas

If you choose to spend your golden years in The Lone Star State, you’ll have access to the Alamo and other historic sites in San Antonio. This city is famous for its historical architecture and river walk. It also has museums and cultural attractions. If you’re more into relaxing on the beaches, there’s Galveston or South Padre Islands. You can attend the rodeo at Stockyards Fort Worth and explore Austin’s art and music scene. Austin is also known for its food trucks and outdoor recreation opportunities like Barton Springs Pool and Lady Bird Lake. The Hill Country is interesting for its picturesque vineyards, historic towns, and natural attractions such as the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.

Barton Springs pool
There are many states besides California where you will be able to enjoy water and water sports

Preparing for the leaving California as a senior

Moving out of California as a senior citizen can be an overwhelming task, but proper preparation can help ease the process. The following are steps to make a timeline for moving out of California.

Beginning of moving preparation

Six months to a year before the move, you have to determine where to move. Choose a state, city, or town that suits the senior’s lifestyle, needs, and budget. Research more and try to visit the desired location. Check out housing options, healthcare providers, senior care facilities, transportation, grocery stores, etc. Gather comprehensive medical information, including prescriptions and insurance documents, from all healthcare providers. Assess the current financial situation, including savings, retirement and pension plans, social security benefits, etc.

Three to six months before the move

It is time to hire the moving company. Research and book a reliable and affordable moving company that can transport the senior’s belongings and furniture to the new location. There are many good moving companies California to Oregon that will help you with downsizing, decluttering, and packing. At this period, you should notify important parties. Inform banks, credit card companies, and utility providers (internet, gas, water, electricity, etc.) of the impending move.

One to three months before the move

This is the time to confirm travel arrangements. Book a flight or other means of transportation to your new home. Consult an attorney again to review legal documents, wills, and trusts. Update your personal information and start packing.

Important documents and legal considerations for a senior moving from California

Before moving to another country, you should make sure that all documents are packed and transported safely and securely. You must prepare personal identification and ensure that your driver’s license, birth certificate, passport, and social security card are up-to-date and readily available. Collect and obtain seniors’ health insurance, medical history, and records, as well as information on bank and investment accounts, pensions, and all other financial instruments. Check your real estate and tax documents.

older women packing things in box and bag
Rely on the services of a moving company so that you have more time for other pre-moving activities

The importance of hiring a moving company

Hiring a moving company when relocating to another state is an important decision that can help make the process easier and less stressful. It is important to do research and choose a reputable moving company that meets your specific needs and budget.

  1. A professional moving company has the skills and experience needed to move your belongings to your new home safely. They know the best routes to use, the documents needed for interstate moves, and the best strategies for packing and loading items onto a moving truck.
  2. They are equipped with the necessary tools and equipment needed for a successful move.
  3. Hiring a moving company allows you to focus on other important matters. You can spend more time with friends and family, deal with financial obligations and prepare for a new life. The movers will take care of the logistics, packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking your items, allowing you to relax and settle into your new home.
  4. A professional moving company also provides insurance for your belongings in transit. Thus, you are guaranteed the safety and security of your belongings.

Financial considerations and savings before the move

Seniors should consider the financial implications of moving to another state and plan accordingly to avoid any financial surprises. It is best to consult with financial advisors and senior advisors to make informed decisions. Consider the cost of living, the cost of housing, health care, and the new state’s tax system. Don’t forget to factor in moving costs. Based on all that, you will have a proper insight into the financial situation. It is good to have a free part of the saved money to make it easier to adapt to the new state.

Settling into your new home

Settling into a new home can take time but be patient and take time to adjust to your new surroundings. After unpacking and organizing your space, you’ll feel calmer and more comfortable in your new home. Add some personal touches to your new home by decorating with things that are meaningful to you. Introduce yourself to your new neighbors and get to know them. This will help you feel more connected to your new community. Joining a club or group that interests you can help you meet new people and make new friends. Try to get out every day and explore your new surroundings. This may include visiting local parks, museums, or other attractions. Stay in touch with your family and friends back home and talk about your new home.

Man and woman sitting at the sofa while looking at tablet researching leaving California as a senior
Stay in touch with family and friends, it will give you the feeling that you are not far from each other.

Leaving California as a senior can be a good idea with a proper selection of a new state

As you can see, leaving California as a senior is a decision that requires careful consideration. While the cost of living and taxes may be high, California offers a plethora of amenities and activities that can enhance the quality of life for seniors. However, if the financial burden becomes too grand, numerous states offer a more affordable lifestyle. Ultimately, each individual’s circumstances and priorities will dictate whether or not leaving California is the right choice. Nonetheless, the decision should be made with careful planning and a realistic understanding of the pros and cons of leaving the Golden State.

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