The 'Couv'

The 'Couv'

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Happy Holidays!

I'm here to wish you the warmest greetings for a great holiday season. You could be enjoying it in fabulous Washington State.

Please peruse through the last couple of years worth of posts to find information about retiring to Washington State.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How Do Good Schools Effect Retirement?

Henrietta Lacks Health and Bio Science High School,
Vancouver, WA
Washington State is very proud of its public education system. Although it does suffer from many government related issues, they are well funded and heavily protected by the state constitution's iron clad wording. There is no down side to a strong education system aside from it taking a larger chunk of the budget. Many seniors that no longer have children in the school system take a less enthusiastic approach. It is often the older crowd voting against school bond measures. So what does all of this edu-speak mean to retirees?

Retirees gain many benefits to a strong local school system. First of all a well educated population leads to high paying jobs that help the local economy. A strong local economy is good for everyone, including retirees. Secondly and often overlooked by those on the sunset trail, is the fact that a strong education system attracts families. Many retirees find themselves a great distance from their families and grandchildren. Washington State offers many wonderful benefits to retirees as it is often rated as one of the best states to retire in. It also offers some of America's best public schools and a strong economy. That means the family can come here to!

How good are Washington State's Schools? Right here in America's Vancouver we have nine traditional high schools,the award winning Clark County Skills Center, the Washington State School for the Blind, the Washington State School for the Deaf, Arts and Academics High School, a Health and Bio Sciences High School, two alternative high schools, and an alternative programs center. These fantastic public schools are not just limited to the 'Couv'. It is a statewide affair. Here in Clark County according to US News and World Report, we have eight nationally recognized high schools and two nationally top ranked high schools.

Education is not something retirees traditional concern themselves with, but it can make a significant difference in their lives whether by drawing their extended family to them or by enhancing economic conditions around them it is yet another reason to retire to Washington.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Low mortgage rates a boon for retirees.

These super low rates in the mid-threes for a 30 year fixed and in the high twos for 15 year notes is a juicy opportunity for those nearing or already enjoying retirement. If you still carry a mortgage and your are at a rate above 4.5% a refinance to these very low rates could save you tens of thousands of dollars and free up precious cash each month. This could be an opportunity to knock that 30 year fixed loan with 26 to go down to a 15 year loan. The dream of owning outright your home could be close to reality.

If you are already hammering the the principle balance down hard each month refinancing may not be the best idea for you. Refinancing a 30 year loan that is 10-12 years deep might not save you any money over the long run, Sure the monthly payment will be lower but the term is extended and you push away the notion of a free and clear home.

Buyers looking to secure that golden deal on the "last home" you'll buy, that deal is hear now. These rates are shaving 10s of thousands of dollars off the effective price of a home. This excerpt from my Real Estate Blog discusses the buying power of low rates,

'Seriously my friends, these are truly fabulous times. Sellers will get the strongest offers when rates are low because more buyers will qualify at the higher price. Buyers will get the most bang for their buck at 3.5%. Buyers can also qualify for a lot more money. The same buyer that qualifies to borrow $240,000 at 4.5% will qualify to borrow $270,500 at 3.5%. These super low rates will allow buyers to essentially get 12.5% more money for the same monthly payment. 4.5% is a great rate, 3.5% is a OMG rate! Be sure to check with your favorite mortgage professional as there are a few variables that banks look at such property taxes, mortgage insurance, etc. But in general these are pretty accurate figures.'

Essentially the payment on a $240k loan at 4.5% is the same as the payment on a $270k loan at 3.5%. The lower rate is giving a $30,000 cash bonus or one could simply enjoy the lower payment on the $240k. Either way if a mortgage is to be part of the retirement plan, these crazy low rates should be taken advantage of.

Talk to your financial planner and/or mortgage professional for more information on using a low rate mortgage to enhance your retirement picture.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Senior Living on a Budget, Part II

I wrote an article about 18 months ago on this very subject and have updated it to suit the current market conditions:

I have spent a fair amount of time chattering on about some of the spectacular places in Southwest Washington that one might choose to retire to. But what about a retiree that doesn't want to sink the whole 401k into a residence? What about retiring on a budget?

That can be achieved and Vancouver, Washington offers several affordable alternatives to high prices. There are several over 55 communities with manufactured homes in Clark County but three of them stand out as a strong value proposition for the discriminating retiree on budget.

Vista Del Rio in Fisher's Landing, Vancouver, Cascade Park Estates in East Vancouver, and Creekside Estates in Evergreen, Vancouver. The former is located adjacent to a very nice neighborhood of upscale homes priced well into the 300s. The park is conveniently located near Fairway Village (see post on Fairway Village here.)It is also quite close to the SR14 freeway, PDX and the amazing 164th Avenue retail and business corridor of the East side of the 'Couv'. This community is built along the gentle slopes at the bottom of Prune Hill. Some of the units offer nice views across the river to Portland and the West Hills. The area is a mix of older 1980s and newer 2000s homes. The park has a nice clubhouse with all the amenities to keep a socialite happy. It also offers a nice pool and indoor recreation as well. Homes in this community can be found between $60,000 and $150,000. Ground lease fees will probably run around $500 per month.

Cascade Park Estates offers less in the way of social and recreational activity and more along the lines of security. It is a gated community. The homes are all newer than 1993 and the place is clean as a whistle. It is also very well located at 164th and SE 1st which is right in the heart of the East side business and retail area. Everything is close, doctor, dentist, shopping the whole bit. Prices here are a touch higher than Vista Del Rio with units running $70,000 to well above $140,000. Space rent running a bit higher as well.

I sold my in-laws a unit in Cascade and they are delighted. They love the location and they love all the extra cash they have for Cruises, Travel, Dining, etc. Their home is gorgeous and the overall cost is low.

Creekside Estates is centrally located in Vancouver close to the SR500/I205 interchange. This is a nice manufactured home community and offers a nice clubhouse and an indoor swimming pool for year round enjoyment. Units here are reasonably priced for the most part running between Creekside Estates in Evergreen$50,000 and $120,000.

A high quality manufactured home in nice community like these can be an excellent way to free up some of the "fixed" income and have some fun. Be sure to be certain that the park rules suit your needs as they tend to be somewhat strict in enforcing them.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Are you Ready to Retire?

I came across this interesting article recently and decided to share it with you today. The numbers are startling and those of us nearing retirement need to get those proverbial ducks in their respective rows.

This article was written by Emily Brandon for U.S. News and World Report the original can be found here.

When to retire. For some people, it's a financial calculation. You know you're financially ready when the combination of your Social Security, traditional pension, and investment income produces enough cash flow to cover all of your anticipated expenses for the rest of your life. "Working two or three more years can make an incredible difference to your long-term plan if you continue to save in your 401(k) or 403(b) and continue to pay into Social Security," says Mary Alpers, a certified financial planner and founder of Alpers and Associates in Colorado Springs, Colo. But retirement also often involves an identity shift from your former job title to a free agent. Sometimes this decision is made for you because of a layoff or buyout. Many people also like to coordinate their retirement with a spouse.

When to claim Social Security. You can sign up for Social Security beginning at age 62, but payouts increase for each year you delay claiming until age 70. "Wait as long as you possibly can, because the additional percentages that are added on are enormous," says Jane Nowak, a certified financial planner for Kring Financial Management in Smyrna, Ga. "Since we are living longer, you certainly want your paycheck from Social Security to be as fat as possible."

Health coverage. It's essential to find affordable health insurance if you want to retire before age 65. "If you are not entitled to retiree medical benefits or if they are deferred to a later date, make absolutely certain you have access to and can qualify for individual coverage," says Robert Henderson, president of Lansdowne Wealth Management in Mystic, Conn. "Also verify the costs. Health insurance can be prohibitively expensive in some cases." Even after you qualify for Medicare, the decisions don't end. You have to choose whether to purchase a supplemental policy and shop around for the Medicare Part D plan that best meets your prescription drug needs each year in retirement.

How much you can safely spend each year. If your nest egg isn't sizeable enough to finance your retirement completely, you'll need to calculate how much you can safely spend each year without depleting your savings too quickly. "Three to 4 percent is my comfort zone, and I hope less," says Alpers. An annual draw-down rate of 4 percent on an investment portfolio with 35 percent in U.S. stocks and 65 percent in corporate bonds has an 89 percent likelihood of lasting 35 years or more, according to Congressional Research Service estimates.

How much investment risk. Retirees need to balance their investment needs for safety and continued growth. "Hold as little equities and higher-risk assets as possible, while still enough to meet your long-term goals," says Henderson. "Most retirees need no more than 50 to 60 percent in equity and equity-like investments." You'll also need an emergency fund and several years' worth of living expenses set aside in a safe place. "Always make sure that you have your first three to five years of withdrawals invested in very conservative investments. Good choices are CDs, money market accounts, short-term treasuries or mutual funds that invest in them, and fixed-immediate annuities," says Henderson. "This way, regardless of what the stock market is doing today, you don't have to worry about withdrawing assets that have dropped in value."

When to pay taxes. After decades of deferring taxes on your retirement savings using 401(k)s and IRAs, the tax bill becomes due upon withdrawal in retirement. The timing of these withdrawals could affect how much you pay in taxes. "Try to balance out your withdrawals from taxable and nontaxable accounts each year so you are not kicking yourself into a higher tax bracket at some point," says Henderson. Taking a large IRA withdrawal in a single year could result in an oversized tax bill. Withdrawals from traditional retirement accounts become required after age 70½.

Where to live. Once you are no longer tethered to a job, you can live anywhere that suits your tastes and budget. Moving to a place that costs less than where you live now can boost your standard of living and help stretch your nest egg. You could also test out a place with better weather, more opportunities for recreation, or move closer to family.

Whether your home should help finance retirement.* A paid-off mortgage can help finance your retirement because it eliminates one of your biggest monthly expenses. In some cases, downsizing to a smaller home or moving to a place where the cost of living is significantly lower can even give a significant boost to your nest egg. "Especially if you live on the East or West coast, where housing can be extremely expensive, you may have an opportunity to downsize and realize quite a bit of the appreciation you had in your real estate," says Henderson.

Whether to keep working. A part-time job is increasingly becoming common in the retirement years. Many people downshift to a job with shorter hours and less responsibility before retiring completely, while other people return to work after a break. The income, and sometimes benefits, a part-time job provides allows you to withdraw less of your retirement savings each year. Some people also find jobs they enjoy that allow them to interact with former colleagues, consult on the occasional project, or learn a new skill.

What you will do. Retirement isn't only about quitting your job. It's an opportunity to have complete control over how you spend your time. Make sure you have a few ideas about how you will fill the eight or more hours per day you previously spent working and commuting. Some people miss the sense of purpose and friends that their job provided for them, while others finally have the time for hobbies and projects they have been waiting years to tackle.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

To Own or Owe in Retirement

Many people ponder their financial position as the close in on retirement or sometimes after they begin to adjust to retirement. There is a large contingent of folks that want to have their home free and clear during retirement. At first glance owning a home outright seems like a no-brainer, especially once the homeowner has retired and set on a fixed income.

As with many things in the financial universe the prevailing sentiment is not always the best solution for any one given situation. Generally having a free and clear house is a good thing. The retiree need only be able to make the tax payments and handle maintenance to keep a roof over his head. Regardless of one's financial position, a free and clear home is a good thing. But is it the best thing?

Retirees often find themselves in a bit of an IRS tax challenge. Typically they no longer have tax deductible children, college deductions, etc. They find themselves in a similar position tax wise that they were in decades earlier before the "family". Uncle Sam can dig deep into the pockets of retirees without any shelter. Most retirees do not have enough income to have this "problem". However, retirees that have incomes that approach six figures need to consider the value of having a tax deductible interest payment on their primary residence.

Interest rates are low right now and taking out a 30 year note for half the value of the home during retirement may be a great hedge against the IRS. 50% loan to value protects the homeowner against even the most severe economic downturn but offers up a decade or more of generous tax deductions while the interest payments are still steep early in the loan cycle. Retirees that are drawing on 401k assets can draw less if the taxes are reduced by the deduction against the mortgage. Sometimes the tax benefits outweigh the monthly expense of servicing the note on the mortgage. Additionally the retiree has extra cash in the bank roughly equal to the loan amount at his discretion to use as capital of additional retirement savings.

Retirees are well advised to consult a financial planner and a tax professional to be certain all the possible scenarios are evaluated to ensure the best possible outcome in the future. A house is often a tax shelter as well as a physical shelter, in retirement it may turn out to be the only tax shelter. To owe or own in retirement is a valid question that must be taken under consideration for each
individual situation and always under the advisement of well qualified professionals.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Retire to Washington!

Originally published by Real Estate with Realtor Rod; November 1st, 2013 and this blog 2/17/2014.

Washington State is not the first state you think of when pondering the exodus of retirees to "fairer" locales. You might think of the warmer sun belt states like Arizona and Florida. But Washington offers a unique combination of favorable taxes for seniors, a variety of climates from dry to wet and mild to wild. Washington offers its qualifying seniors a significant reduction in property taxes. There is no state income tax. Southwest Washington really hits the spot, because for those who like to shop and spend money the very nearby Oregon has no sales tax. A trip to the Oregon coast is easy and inexpensive.

Many retirees in the area keep two inexpensive (or expensive depending on their finances) homes. One in Washington State and another in California or Arizona. They fly south for the winter in November and return to our more tolerable climate in the late spring. usually it is better to claim Washington as the "home" state since we have favorable tax conditions for seniors. Although Washington is not the TOP rated state for tax friendly status, it would be when considering the live in Washington, play in Oregon angle offered by Southwest Washington.

Vancouver offers the glorious beauty of the west side of the Cascades with a moderate amount of rain and very modest snow. East of the Cascades delivers much more sunshine but also has more drastic swings in temperature and much more snow in the winter. Southwest Washington also offers close proximity to the aforementioned Oregon Coast and the metropolitan Portland area.

Speaking of the coast, Southwest Washington has the lock on reasonably priced beach property. The Oregon coast is world famous, largely because the state of Oregon spends millions of dollars promoting it. The southern Washington coast is equally spectacular but offers amazing values in property and taxation. This is especially true when compared to Oregon which is very tax unfriendly according to several prominent sources such as Money Magazine and Kiplinger.

Sourced from
Our southern neighbor, Oregon is rated as "least tax-friendly" for seniors while we enjoy the "tax friendly" status. Our base property taxes are much lower than Oregon and many seniors qualify for one of four property tax reduction programs. Sales tax is a much less intrusive tax than income tax for middle and upper income seniors. Arizona rated higher than Washington for tax friendly status but actually depending on income and spending habits we might be better than them as well.

Now that all this taxation benefits are out of the way, we can consider other factors. The well known fact that Washington state is absolutely gorgeous is a strong draw. We have four distinct seasons here in Clark County but none are severe. That is tough to find anywhere on Earth. It seems like the proverbial slam dunk for a retirees to move here. And many of them are moving here. So there you have it, Washington State is the best northern state to retire to. Start packing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Over 55 Communities are a Hot Commodity These Days

Perhaps it is the retiring Baby Boomer generation's large numbers, or maybe just a lack of available housing in retirement communities. It could be either or both but in any case, we are seeing a tremendous and robust market for these types of properties. Whether it is senior living in manufactured housing or golf course living the properties are not staying on the market very long.

Southwest Washington is a great place to retire and the hordes of retirees are snatching up our real estate. Over the last year I have written about many opportunities here in the region for retirees. Below are a few links to some of the articles about specific areas to retire in Southwest Washington.

Clark County,Washington has the ability to provide a great retirement home across every economic class. Whether you are a snow-bird or a full-timer Washington's distinct but mild, four seasons are hard to beat.

Read up and find out why Washington State is the best place to retire.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Golf Season is Here!

originally posted on this blog March 13th, 2014

Here in the Portland Metro Area we have a variety of golfing opportunities. From a casual 9 hole experience right up to a professional 18 holes; you will not have to drive far to enjoy a sporting favorite among the retired crowd.

There are roughly 75 public golf courses within 30 miles of Vancouver, WA. Seventy Five! 30 miles too far to drive? Yeah,me too; narrow the reach to just 10 miles and you still have an astounding 17 choices. With this kind of selection any player at any level can find multiple places to play.

Personally I am a pretty weak player. I have played at King City as well as Glendoveer and Heron Lakes in Portland; Camas Meadows and Green Mountain in Camas; Fairway Village, Green Meadows, Lake View, Pine Crest, and Hartwood in Vancouver; Tri Mountain in Ridgefield, Lewis River in Woodland and The Cedars in Battle Ground.

These courses are a real mixed bag from easy and kid friendly to links that are challenging enough for Tiger Woods. I have not even begun to tickle the surface of great golf opportunities in Southwest Washington and our nearby neighbor Portland, OR.

Check out more information on local golf on my golf page here.

When choosing to retire in Washington State you can keep more of your income with our highly rated, retiree friendly tax system. Then you can spend extra cash on the latest high tech golf gear and the finest links. It is 'tee' time in Washington State, come enjoy the Evergreen state and keep more of your pension in your pocket!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Managing Cash Flow in Retirement

Back in 2010 I wrote a book about managing investments in real estate and wall street investments through the treacherous economic recession that was underway at the time. ("Don't Panic, Now is the Time to Supercharge Your Portfolio" available on Amazon.) For retirees or those nearing that mark, Fidelity Investments has some solid advice the offer on their website.

This helpful information was published by Fidelity Investments and features some sound basic advice for retirement cash flow. Fidelity article here.

Whatever the size of your nest egg, retirement will likely mean big changes in your financial life. Sources of income can shift, as can expenses. And financial priorities often change as you move from saving for retirement to generating a "paycheck" from your hard-earned retirement savings.

"Retirement is a milestone and a good opportunity to start fresh," says Ralph Poirier, vice president of cash management at Fidelity Investments. The clean-slate approach, he says, has the potential to make dealing with finances easier, more efficient, and cheaper if you can consolidate accounts and mitigate fees.

Managing your retirement paycheck

To start, consider the ways that retirement can change cash flow. Your weekly or biweekly paycheck may be replaced by income from a variety of sources, including Social Security benefits, pension distributions, and annuity payments. If you are age 70½ or older, you will be required to take minimum distributions from your retirement plans [401(k), 403(b), IRAs, etc.]. Some retirees may even generate income from part-time employment or sales of assets.

All of this means that money is arriving in varying amounts on very different schedules—most likely in the form of a check. To manage these income sources efficiently, you can set up direct deposit services, or use a financial institution that offers remote deposit—meaning you can log on to your computer and scan or snap a photo of a check with a smartphone.

Spending patterns will also likely change, reflecting both your new lifestyle and shifting financial responsibilities. When you retire, often nothing is being withheld for state and federal income taxes, so you may be responsible for any quarterly estimated taxes. Likewise, most retirees generally have to pay health care and other insurance premiums directly to the insurance carrier(s). Some retirees may also find they are traveling more or living in dual residences. All these situations can make monthly bill paying even more complicated.

"It makes sense to simplify and consider new options, given your change in lifestyle," notes Poirier. This may include taking advantage of everyday financial management tools over the phone, on the Web, or via a mobile device. These days, technology makes it easy for people to effectively manage their regular financial transactions from anywhere. Doing so can eliminate worries about paying the mortgage bill, no matter where you happen to be.

Consider a bucket approach

At any point in your retirement, your income streams may be producing more cash than you are spending. If so, you’ll want to think about how to continue to invest that excess cash flow to help meet both your near-term liquidity needs and longer-term needs for both income and growth. When investing, be sure to make liquidity—how quickly you need access to your cash—a central consideration. In general, the more comfortable you are with risk and the less liquidity you need, the more yield you can afford to pursue.

One approach to consider is to bucket cash for different short- and longer-term needs, such as living expenses, short-term goals, and emergencies. Here are some ways to implement each:

Living expenses: You’ll want to have a portion of your savings easily accessible and liquid for paying everyday living expenses, such as groceries, utility bills, and insurance premiums. For these needs, you may want to consider keeping cash or cash equivalents invested in lower-risk, highly liquid investments, such as money market funds* or short-term Treasury bills.

Short-term savings goals: If you have short-term savings goals, such as a car purchase or a dream vacation, you may want to consider investing in low-risk vehicles, such as Treasury bonds and FDIC-insured CDs with maturities that correspond to the date you need the money.

Emergencies: You should review the adequacy of your emergency fund, or set one up if you have not already done so, keeping as much as six months of expenses for unexpected events, like a roof that needs to be replaced or another hefty bill you did not anticipate. However, one size does not fit all. You will need to take into account your expenses, liabilities, and other individual circumstances in order to determine a dollar figure that suits your needs. Consider investing this money in a mix of highly liquid accounts, such as money market funds, and less liquid options, such as CDs or conservative bond funds.
How to tie it all together

The key is to make sure that your money can be easily accessed, moved, and invested according to your needs, and by mitigating fees. Some people opt to consolidate by putting all their funds into a group of accounts with a single provider so that money can move easily from one account to another. For example, you might have a basic checking or brokerage account for paying the bills with a variety of electronic options, including mobile or Web payments, electronic funds transfer, mobile check deposit, or similar services.

Look for a provider that offers options to easily transfer money from your retirement accounts, such as IRAs, into your cash account. Some firms will offer periodic withdrawal methods so you can harvest retirement assets or earnings on a schedule that fits your needs. Periodic withdrawals help you create a "just-in-time" income stream and allow remaining assets to produce potential earnings until you need more cash. If you are spending less than you expected, consider setting up access to a sweep system that automatically reinvests excess cash.

Look to mitigate fees and increase efficiency

Retirees can create a similar kind of financial network by linking accounts across different banks and brokerage firms. This may require a little more effort and there could be some additional fees involved. Whatever approach you take, it’s important to choose reliable financial institutions that provide the features you need to make your retirement finances easy to manage, affordable, and flexible.

  • Consider an account that offers:
  • Free direct deposit
  • Mobile deposit
  • Online access
  • Free checks
  • An ATM or "no-fee" debit card
  • Free transfer services
  • The ability to speak with a representative by phone or in person

If FDIC coverage is important to you, make sure that your cash accounts don't exceed the maximum covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures individual bank accounts for up to $250,000 per institution.

Make sure you have a clear picture of your finances

Finally, the retirement cash management system you create with your providers should offer a comprehensive view of your finances. Being able to access concise, up-to-date reports on your cash balances, transactions, and assets is a basic requirement and can help prevent unpleasant cash flow surprises.

Putting a good cash management system in place now can pay off in the future, Poirier says. For example, it can make it easier for you to handle your finances as you grow older. Make sure you record the specifics, such as direct deposits and automatic transfer schedules, so if you are unable to access your account(s), a properly authorized spouse or third party can make changes as necessary.

Taking the time to think through the "what ifs" of future cash management also means that you get to make the decisions about how you'll be using your financial resources during a retirement that may stretch 30 years or more.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fairway Village is still a great Retirement Community

I wrote this post on Fairway Village last year and felt like this was an opportunity to talk about it again. I made some modifications to the story to reflect a few positive changes in market conditions since.

Some retirees want to stay in close to town. Services such as shopping and medical offices are nice and close making for easy access with less time and hassle. That frees up more time for the fun part of retirement living.

Fairway Village is a community built around a beautiful 9-hole par 34 golf course, in the Cascade Park area of Vancouver, Washington. The community is restricted for persons 55 years and older. There are a variety of homes in the community ranging from condominiums to large single family homes. Many wonderful single level, 2 and 3 bedroom homes are right on the golf course. The 'village' has a nice clubhouse with an in-ground pool and year round activities.

Visit the Fairway Village HOA site for more info about the community.

As a Realtor®, I always enjoy showing and listing homes in Fairway Village. It is just such a great location for retirees. Almost everything you need on a regular basis is inside a one mile radius. Quite a bit of services are well within comfortable walking distance. If you do have to drive it will be a short drive

Cascade Park was developed in the 1970s before the Glen Jackson Bridge was even built. It nearly was incorporated into its own city. As time progressed Cascade Park built eastward until it met up with 164th Avenue or Fisher's Road for the Clark County old timers. As you move east the development becomes newer topping out with homes built in the mid 90s. Fairway Village is on the far east end of Cascade Park.

What makes this location so enticing is a combination of location and neighborhood quality. Fairway Village maintained solid footing even as the real estate market struggled in 2009-2011. It is just that desirable.

164th and Mill Plain Blvd. is the hub of the East Side. Fairway Village is conveniently located at that hub. Here are some distances (linear miles) to nearby services, from the Fairway Village clubhouse.

  • 0.40 miles to IHOP Restaurant and nearby professional center
  • 0.61 miles to Village Public Storage
  • 0.62 miles to Fred Meyer (Grocery/Department store) 
  • 0.62 miles to East Vancouver Public Transit Hub
  • 0.67 miles to Cascade Health Club
  • 0.76 miles to Canepa Dental or Oasis Dental
  • 0.79 miles to Regal Cinema Cascade 16 movie theatre
  • 0.80 miles to Hwy 14 on ramp at 164th Avenue 
  • 1.03 miles to 164th and Mill Plain (a virtual cornucopia of shopping and services including, Red Robin, Target, Old Spaghetti Factory, Ross, Kohl's, Olive Garden and quite literally hundreds more)
  • 1.50 miles to Vancouver Clinic (popular local medical office)
  • 1.80 miles to Kaiser Permanente Cascade Park
  • 2.07 miles to 192nd and Mill Plain (Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, JC Penny, 5 guys and much more)
  • 3.46 miles to Camas Meadows Golf Course
  • 3.64 miles to Peach Health Southwest Washington Medical Center (Major Hospital)
  • 3.87 miles to Portland International Airport
  • 4.15 miles to Green Mountain Golf Course
  • 4.92 miles to Lacamas Lake and Lacamas Park
  • 5.25 miles to Westfield Vancouver Mall
  • 8.16 miles to Downtown Vancouver
  • 9.91 miles to Downtown Portland

I took the liberty of pulling some current listings in the Fairway Village community.


The home sits on the golf course with easy access and a great view from the backyard. This home features a spacious floor plan all on one level totaling 1469 square feet. There are two bedrooms and two bathrooms


This fabulous home has nice private backyard. It is a very spacious one level home with a whooping 1636 square feet of living space. it is also a 2 bedroom 2 bath offering.

Fairway Village is really, a Fair Way place to Retire. Contact me for additional information about opportunities to own property in this wonderful retirement community.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Oregon vs. Washington for Retirees

Many Californians are looking for a place not called California to retire. I can understand that, believe me, I get it. The border states and even bordering Mexico are often considered prime for Californians since they are relatively close by. Mexico offers one thing to Californians on the plus side, economics. US Dollars are strong in Mexico. The rest of that Mexican-connection equation is pretty sketchy. Arizona and Nevada are for the most part desert regions and one must feel comfortable in that environment. Coastal and Northern Californians may not want the desert lifestyle.

So many turn to Oregon as the only California border state that is not like living on a sizzling griddle. Oregon has a wide variety of terrain and climate so it is a good look for the weary Californian. Washington and Oregon in many ways are quite similar especially when comparing Northern Oregon to Southern Washington.

Washington has a few distinct advantages over her sibling to the south. Most of these come in the form of taxes and general cost of living. For middle and upper income retirees this can be a critical difference. The chart below shows common fixed expenses. For Washington State the Seattle Metro Area was excluded. I do not consider Seattle to be an affordable retirement spot by any measure so it was deliberately excluded. Gasoline and Natural Gas are nearly identical in cost between Oregon and Washington with Oregon being 1% cheaper for natural gas but 5% more for gasoline. Close enough to call those a tie. Oregon actually has a lower base property tax rate but when you get to the Portland-Vancouver Metro area the property tax rates on the Oregon side have heavy local levies that cause a severe increase in that expense. The chart operates under the following assumptions. Household taxable income of $60,000 per year, $200,000 dollar home, average energy consumption of 20,000 KW/H and $20,000 in annual taxable purchases. This chart furthermore makes the assumption that Washingtonians are not making sales tax free purchases across the Oregon border. You will see that the Washington side saves more than $5,000 annually over their Oregon counterparts in the Portland Metro Area. Outside the Portland Metro Area the savings is still more than $4000 annually.

Since natural gas is nearly identical in both states we could compare homes equipped with natural gas furnaces. Of the 20,000 KW/H of annual usage 60% was home heating. This means the difference between the two states if both houses have natural gas furnaces would be $4700 in favor of Washington. It is the income tax in Oregon that makes the difference. For those living at or near the poverty line income tax is a non-issue. For those with a retirement income such as a pension or well funded private accounts, that aggressive Oregon State income tax will bleed you dry. Honestly, I did not run the numbers for the Seattle Metro Area, but it would still probably be cheaper than Oregon just from the standpoint of this: If you can afford a house in Seattle you probably have a six-figure income and in Oregon you would be giving 10% of that away to the state.

For Californians looking for the California "feel" Southern Oregon is hard to beat, especially in and around Medford. The Rogue River Valley has a very Central California feel to it. It is a little chillier in the winter however than most Californians are used to. Medford is also a bit isolated. The metro area is very small and it is a long drive to Portland or Sacramento (roughly 300 miles either way). Northwestern Oregon and Southwestern Washington are either inside or very close to, the Portland-Vancouver Metro Area and all of the related urban amenities provided by a major city.  

Any retiree considering Oregon as a destination would be remiss not to consider Washington state as well.

Sources of data used in this article:
  • United States Department of Energy
  • Regional Multiple Listing Service
  • Washington State Department of Revenue
  • Oregon  State department of Revenue