I was filming the final segment of my personal branding video today and I calculated some numbers regarding the cost savings associated with living in Reno. Some of the things I discovered shocked me, and I think they will shock you too. I compared living in Reno to living in California, since that is the low hanging fruit. I compared money one can save via taxes, the cost of living and commuting.
1. Income Taxes:
If you didn’t already know, Nevada does not have state income tax. Using this income tax calculator from Ca.gov, I discovered that if you make $100,000 per year in California, you will pay $6,860 in state income taxes if you file as single. Over the course of 10 years, that’s $68,600 you will save just by living across the border. Further if you were to invest the $6,860 per year, you could pretty easily turn your savings into over $100,000 over ten years, or more depending on your returns. That’s a huge amount of money that I would prefer to spend in almost any way other than giving it to the state.
2. Cost of Living:
I saw recently at the end of this article from the Reno Gazette Journal that the cost of living in Reno is about 5.8% below the national average. When evaluating the cost of living, the items discussed usually include the items displayed int he graph to the left. One aspect where Reno has a large advantage in savings compared to other areas is utilities. I’m not going to retrieve my bill and examine the amount I pay per kilowatt, however after speaking with my Dad who lives in El Dorado Hills California this weekend, I feel very fortunate to be saving a substantial amount of money per month on utilities. In the future, I think utilities in Reno will remain low because Reno has an abundance of renewable energy: 300 days of sunshine per year, some of the best geothermal energy in the country and even a good supply of wind. If it costs $25,000 to live each year than you save $1,450 per year by living in Reno, or $14,500 over the course of 10 years.
According to Zillow, the median home price in Reno is $198,700. The median home price in San Jose is $661,700, $887,700 in San Francisco and $235,100 in Sacramento. Renting prices are also relatively reflective of the purchase prices for houses. In Reno, you may be able to afford a house sooner, which will allow you to build equity in your asset rather than throw your money away while renting a 400 square foot studio for $1,000 a month in San Francisco. The loan you pursue in Reno will be smaller, which will make it easier for you to qualify and easier for you to meet your monthly payment. Also, your loan will be much cheaper since the loan amount will be smaller and there will be less interest over the life of the loan. It’s very difficult to say how much you will save per year by your mortgage payment because there are too many variables, but we can conclude the savings could be significant. For now we will include the savings in housing with the lower cost of living figure above, (5.8% below the national average.)
I live and work on the opposite sides of town, and it takes me just over 15 minutes to get to work. The national average for a commute is about 25 minutes. That means the average person spends about 20 minutes per day in the car that I don’t. Considering there are about 250 days in a working year, (you have to exclude weekends and holidays,) that amounts to 5000 minutes or 83.3 hours or about 3.5 extra days in the car each year. That’s a lot of time. When I get reimbursed for mileage at work, I get about $0.565 per mile and this figure factors in both gas and the cost of car maintenance. If that extra 20 minutes per day amounted to 20 extra miles per day, (freeway travel,) that would equivelate to $2,825 per year or $28,250 over our 10 year example.
Let’s total up what we have so far: Savings in income tax + savings in cost of living + savings in commuting = $11,135 per year. Wouldn’t it be nice to put that extra $11,135 in your retirement account each year? Also remember: your savings could be much higher depending where you rent or buy a house. If you were to add up the same factors above over our 10 year example, you would have savings totaling $111,350. This does not even factor in the possibility of investments or the exact amount you would save in mortgage payments or interest over 10 years. That is simply the amount of cash you would save. Isn’t this insane? San Francisco is an awesome city, but is it worth the money to live there? And it’s only getting more expensive, what’s your price? If you saved $111,250 per year in Reno, would you move here?
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