Retiring in California? Financial Advisor (Santa Rosa, CA) Shares 5 Factors to Consider

Retiring in California? Financial Advisor (Santa Rosa, CA) Shares 5 Factors to Consider

Retiring in California – specifically Sonoma County – is a dream come true for many people, but it takes proper planning to pull off.

Sonoma County is one of the most expensive counties in California, so it’s important to consider all assets of your retirement plan. Will you be able to afford to maintain your lifestyle when you’re no longer working? How will taxes affect your plans? Do you have an appropriate withdrawal strategy that won’t drain your retirement income too quickly? These are important questions to ask if you currently live in Sonoma County or are planning to relocate here in retirement, either from somewhere else in the Golden State or from a different area completely.

There are many unique challenges to a California (and Sonoma County-specific) retirement, so make sure to discuss your plans with a financial advisor to prevent any financial surprises in your Golden Years.

Montgomery Taylor Wealth Management is a Santa Rosa-based firm serving the greater Sonoma County area for more than 30 years. Our team of financial advisors, certified public accountants and estate planning attorneys help integrate complete financial advice so our clients can simplify life and maximize their opportunities. If you’re not currently working with a financial advisor in Sonoma County or feel it’s time to make a change, let’s talk.

There are 5 elements you’ll specifically want to address.


Schedule a no-obligation conversation with Montgomery Taylor Wealth Management’s highly specialized team of financial advisors in Santa Rosa, CA.


Cost of Living

Parts of California are notoriously expensive to live in. Real estate prices can be especially high, but costs such as transportation and even groceries are also above the national average. If you’re relocating, make sure to consider your new cost of living.

If your cost of living makes it difficult to retire as planned, you may have options. Read our recent blog post: 3 Ways to Retire: Financial Advisor in Santa Rosa, CA Looks at Each. Make sure you fully understand how a specific decision will affect your bottom line.


Taxes surprise a lot of people in retirement – in California, they can be high! But there are ways to offset these costs.

This is one of the major reasons you can benefit from hiring a CPA as your wealth advisor. (For more on this, watch our short video.) At Montgomery Taylor Wealth Management, tax planning is a key element of retirement planning. In fact, I was the first CPA/Certified Financial Planner (CFP) in Sonoma County. I understand how much of an impact taxes can have on your retirement plans as well as strategies that can help minimize these effects.

Crunch the numbers, use accurate and realistic projections and discuss your potential tax position with a financial advisor, specifically addressing data about your income, assets and location within California. This can save you stress and money in the long-term.

Read our recent blog post: 7 Common Tax Planning Mistakes Made in Retirement.


If you are relocating to California or to a different part of California from where you live now, consider all the factors that may be different.

  • Will you be downsizing?
  • Will you be paying a mortgage?
  • Will you be close to family and friends? If not, who will you spend your time with? Will you incur extra costs to travel to see people?
  • Will your new location have activities for you? How will you spend your day-to-day?
  • Will you have new insurance needs or costs? (California is prone to earthquakes, flooding and wildfires.)
  • What is your retirement personality and how will it affect your finances?

If possible, try living in the area you’re thinking of relocating to for a short period of time, or at least vacation there. Make sure that you feel comfortable before making the move. Relocating just to move back can obviously be stressful, complicated and costly.


Retiring with debt can affect your retirement, not just in California, but anywhere you go. But debt can pose even more of an issue in California, because certain aspects of life may cost more, such as real estate.

Paying debt every month takes a chunk of your disposable income. Your disposable income in retirement is much more likely to be fixed than when you are working.

Talk to a financial advisor about paying off or minimizing your debts before you retire. A financial advisor may be able to recommend strategies you didn’t think of on your own.


Inflation affects everyone in retirement, not just folks in California, yet the effects inflation has on retirement are all too easy to overlook.

On average, the inflation rate in the U.S. grows by about 2 percent per year. If your retirement lasts 30 or more years, inflation can have a major effect on how much money you have. Over time, even an average rate of inflation can drive prices up 60 percent and more.

Also, inflation in certain categories, like healthcare, can be much steeper than the average.

Be sure to project the impact of inflation on your spending and income over the years. Examine several different scenarios with a financial advisor to see the real effects inflation will have on your income.

A Golden Retirement

Where you plan to spend your retirement is a crucial piece of information when creating a financial plan. You don’t want to base your numbers on an area with a lower cost of living just to find out it won’t work in the area you’ll be. Remember, $1 million here doesn’t always equate to $1 million there.

Montgomery Taylor Wealth Management is a Santa Rosa-based firm serving the greater Sonoma County area. Our team of financial advisors in Santa Rosa, CA, certified public accountants and estate planning attorneys have firsthand knowledge of what it takes to retire in California, and specifically Sonoma County. Schedule a no-obligation conversation with our team and get the conversation started!

Montgomery Taylor Realistic Financial Planning