My retired aunt recently moved from Long Island, New York, to Wake Forest, North Carolina. It wasn’t easy. Packing all the furniture and stuff she crammed into her house over the course of 40-plus years and moving it 500 miles south required a lot of work.
But thankfully all that work was worth it. No more Long Island winters. No more Long Island traffic. And no more, shall we say, Long Island moxie.
Quick aside: Here’s a classic example of Long Island moxie. You walk into a bagel store and you’re the only customer. (You want to rejoice, but you know better.) You then approach the counter to place your order and the three clerks behind the counter ignore you so they can continue with their conservation. Tick, tick, tick…ten seconds go by. Tick, tick, tick…another ten seconds go by. Tick, tick, tick…finally at the thirty second mark you can’t take it anymore. So you interrupt the riveting conversation with a “hello.” Now the clerks are pissed. How dare you! Their conversation is way more important than your desire for a bagel with a schmear. And because you don’t realize that, you’re nothing but an inconsiderate jackwad. That’s the Long Island moxie. And it’s everywhere.
The most beneficial aspect of my aunt’s move, however, fell squarely upon her wallet. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but New York taxes are considerably higher than North Carolina’s. My aunt was paying $18K a year in property taxes in New York. Property taxes on her Wake Forest home are less than $3K a year. Let’s now extrapolate the difference between these two property tax obligations over a ten year period.
|Location of Home||Property Tax Bill for One Year||Property Tax Bill for Ten Years|
|New York State||$18,000||$180,000|
|North Carolina State||$3,000||$30,000|
By moving to Wake Forest, my aunt put an extra $15K in her pocket annually. Over a ten year period, she’ll have an extra $150K to spend on travel, her grandchildren, or whatever tickles her fancy. And the truly amazing part about this geoarbitrage gambit is that she sacrificed nothing. Her pension and Social Security checks are the same. She’s still close to family (her brother, sister-in-law, niece, niece’s husband, daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren live in Wake Forest too). North Carolina’s roads, parks, schools, and hospitals are just as good as New York’s. Utility costs are lower. Gas prices are lower. The weather’s nicer. Her home is better than her Long Island home. And few if any native North Carolinians have the Long Island moxie. Effusive niceness is the default position of most native North Carolinians.
Look, I get why New York City is more appealing than any city in North Carolina. New York City is a world-class city. Its cultural, entertainment, and business opportunities are off the charts. But my aunt, like most retired Long Islanders, wasn’t taking advantage of this. Over the course of her adult life, she probably ventured into Manhattan a dozen times.
My aunt has simple joys—having coffee with family and friends, doting on her grandchildren, and watching the Wheel of Fortune. And these simple joys can be satisfied much more cheaply in Wake Forest than Long Island. Staying on Long Island for her was insanity.
Highlights from Our Trip Out West
Okay, groovy freedomists, sorry about this. I can’t end this post without foisting some of our vacation pictures on you. Here we go.
Best huckleberry shake. It was the tail end of the huckleberry season when we arrived in Spokane, Washington. And the best huckleberry shake we had during our trip was at this joint called the Frosty Drive In. It’s located in Saint Regis, Montana, just east of the Idaho border.
Best writer’s nook. To escape the mayhem that five small children are wont to cause, Ms. Montana hides beneath her basement stairs to do her blogging.
Best classic car. Ms. Montana’s husband Adam is a classic car aficionado. Here’s his 1963 Mercury Comet.
Best hotel lobby. It’s a little blurry, but here’s a picture of the lobby in Glacier Park Lodge. The lodge was built in 1913 and is very impressive. But it’s also very rustic. I commented to Mrs. Groovy on our first night there that I felt like I was sleeping in a work camp for the Hoover Dam.
Best view of Missoula and the surrounding valley. This picture was taken from the “M” atop Mount Sentinel. It looked like an easy hike at first, but turned out to be a real chore. Mrs. Groovy and I both had “ass ponds” by the time we reached the top.
Best riverwalk. This picture was taken from Riverfront Park in Spokane, Washington. I believe the river is the Spokane River.
Best ice cream. This is a picture of the Big Dipper ice cream shop in Missoula, Montana. Mrs. Groovy had her heart set on the pumpkin stracciatella, but they ran out of it by the time we reached the counter. So she had to settle for the huckleberry ice cream. I had my heart set on the espresso heath and happily they had plenty on hand.
Best hiking trail in Glacier. We hit Glacier National Park at a rough time. There were a lot of forest fires prior to our arrival and much the park’s more famous hikes weren’t accessible. But of all the hiking trails we did manage to traverse, our favorite was the Hidden Lake Trail. The picture below shows a glimpse of Hidden Lake between two mountain ranges.
Best view of Saint Mary Lake. Right at the Saint Mary entrance of Glacier National Park there is a lake appropriately named Saint Mary Lake. Here’s a great shot of it from the Going-to-the-Sun Road.
Best view of Grinnell Lake. Our most ambitious hike while in Glacier was the Grinnell Glacier Trail. We didn’t make it to the top because the trail became too steep and icy. In short, the trail kicked our asses. But we did get a picture of Grinnell Lake.
Okay, groovy freedomists, that’s all I got. No Talking Trash this week. I have enough footage for a couple of episodes, but I’ve been too busy to toil with my video editor. Meh. No one ever said being a cutting-edge vlogger was going to be easy. Anyway, I hope to bounce back next week. In the meantime, let me know what you think about my shockingly simple math behind geoarbitrage and my vacation pictures. Have a great weekend. Grease for peace.