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!


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!!!