NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Moving Experience of a Lifetime

September 30, 2013

Scott Burns, a registered investment adviser, recently sat down with Pamela Villarreal, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), to discuss a new tool at the NCPA's website -- a free calculator that will estimate the lifetime value of moving from one state to another.

Yes, you read that right: The lifetime value. Not just whether you can afford a move today, but the long-term impact on how much more (or less) you'll be able to spend each year or leave to heirs.

Example of testing the move from California to Texas:

  • A 40-year-old worker, who is single, earns $70,000 annually, has $70,000 in retirement accounts, $70,000 in taxable savings, rents in California at $1,500 a month and intends to rent in Texas at the same amount.
  • After pressing the "calculate" button, the 40-year-old worker will gain $1,615 a year in spendable income by moving to Texas.
  • If the money is saved rather than spent, he or she would have an additional $133,593 in his or her estate.

The engine behind this calculator isn't driven by the relative price of avocados and movie tickets. Its primary driver is tax differences. A single worker earning $70,000 a year gets hit with a tough income tax in California. The federal income tax rate is pretty tough, too.

Using a very sophisticated calculating engine, it calculates the lifetime discretionary income ramifications of decisions about location, shelter, savings and taxes. The main difference between the NCPA tool and the full financial planning software is that the NCPA calculator makes a variety of assumptions to reduce the items you have to enter to get a result. The NCPA calculator is available at

Source: Scott Burns, "The Moving Experience of a Lifetime," Daily Herald, September 29, 2013.


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