Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Cost of Living in Santa Fe, Part 1

Part of the published estimates for "income needed in retirement" include the assumption that you won't need as much money in retirement as you did before then--and one of the ways folks accomplish this is by paying off their mortgage and/or moving to a less expensive part of the country.

While Santa Fe is undoubtedly more expensive than any other part of New Mexico, I would say that housing is cheaper in Santa Fe than in Boston for comparable property. However, my mortgage is actually about the same as it was in Boston, partly because I bought a bigger house, and partly because I used some of the equity in my house to fund my transition here.

But here are some of the ways one CAN save money here:

• Taxes are lower. According to the US Census Bureau, the per capita state/local tax bill in 2004 in New Mexico was $2,861--only 68% of the comparable number for Massachusetts ($4,217).

• Parking is cheaper. When you live in a major metro area like Boston, you get used to shelling out $15-$20 for a parking space downtown (to see a show, for example). Parking here is either free or only costs a couple of dollars. And airport parking is $22 a day at Logan Airport in Boston--in Albuquerque, it's less than $4 a day.

• Utilities are cheaper. Because the winter is milder, the sun is stronger, and summer nights are cool--the relative demand for heat and cooling is lower. My gas/electric bills since I moved here are just about half of what they were for the comparable period in Boston.

Stay tuned for more updates on this topic!

2 comments:

sgreenway said...

Hi Santa Fe Kate! I'm very interested in your move and what you've discovered since living there for a couple of years now. My mother in law and her sister and husband are talking about retiring there in a couple of years and I think my family (me, husband and 2 young children) will probably go with them. We keep thinking Santa Fe must be a cheaper place than the San Francisco Bay Area so my husband and I are going to check out SantA Fe this fall. I haven't heard great things about the schools there so I need to investigate that a bit more. We're just looking forward to a more laid back way of life and staying close to family.

SantaFeKate said...

I suspect you're right about Santa Fe being cheaper than San Francisco. There certainly are issues here with the public schools--you might look at some charter schools as you explore. And it is definitely more laid-back than the coasts!!!