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Retirement Communities in California

Thinking about retirement communities in California?

California has something for almost everyone. From the lush green pastures to the snow covered mountain tops to the Mojave Desert and all of its majestic beauty to the sunny sandy beaches. California pretty much has it all.

Northern California has an extremely diverse geography. The Pacific coast has beautiful sandy beaches in the west and the snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains in the east. Here youll find rich fertile farmland and some of the finest wineries in the world.

Southern California is home to some of the most renowned surf spots in the world including Huntington Beach, Malibu, Rincon, Trestles and The Wedge. Los Angeles and the surrounding area is one of the most important areas in the world for entertainment and the arts. To the east youll find the Mojave and Colorado Deserts and the Colorado River at the border with Arizona and Nevada.

Finding things to do in California is not a very difficult task but retiring in California has both pros and cons.

Some of the Pros:

There are more retirement communities in California than any other state in the union.

Lots of recreational activities. There is something for almost anyone.

Some of the most challenging golf courses in the world.

A wide variety of climates

There are a number of adult communities for retirees 55 and over where prices for a new home are less than $250,000. Also, there are many existing, well-established safe and secure neighborhoods with affordable and attractive housing for retirees and families.

California has 840 miles of coastline second only to Florida with 1350 miles of coastline.

Social security benefits are excluded from state income tax in California

Some of the Cons:

Californias top marginal income tax rate is 9.3%, higher than any other state in the country.

Real estate prices are quite a bit higher than most other states although the median price dropped from $594,110 in April 2007 to $403,870 in April 2008.

Sales tax is 7.25%, the highest of any state.

California has a lot to offer. But, before you decide to make one of the Retirement Communities in California your home, make sure you do your homework and be sure to visit the area you are considering before you make that final choice.

Important tax information to consider before buying into one of the retirement communities in California:

Median Home Price: $403,870

Personal Income Tax: Yes
For single and married filing separately taxpayers:
-- 1 percent on the first $6,827 of taxable income
-- 2 percent on taxable income between $6,828 and $16,186
-- 4 percent on taxable income between $16, 187 and $25,546
-- 6 percent on taxable income between $25,547 and $35,463
-- 8 percent on taxable income between $35,464 and $44,818
-- 9.3 percent on taxable income of $44,819 and above.

A 1 percent surcharge is collected on taxable incomes of $1 million or more, making California's highest marginal rate 10.3 percent.

For married persons filing joint returns and heads of households, the rates remain the same but the income brackets are doubled.

Sales Tax: Yes
California's minimum combined state, county and local sales and use tax increased to 7.25 percent (6.25 state-only portion) Jan. 1, 2002. The rate will be higher in cities and counties with special taxing districts.

Propety Tax: Yes
In California, all real property is taxable and is assessed at fair market value. Any homestead exemptions are handled at the county level and residents must contact the local County Tax Assessor's office to inquire.

The property tax postponement program allows eligible homeowners (senior citizens and blind or disabled residents) to postpone payment of property taxes on their principal place of residence. To secure the postponed amount, a lien is recorded against the property. Interest is charged on the postponed taxes. The state offers a homeowner and renter assistance program under which a once-a-year payment is allowed to qualified individuals based on part of the property taxes assessed and paid on their homes or paid indirectly as part of their rent. Click here for program details and eligibility requirements.

Inheritance and Estate Tax: No

For more Information: Contact the California Franchise Tax Board website

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