top of page

Retire early by moving to Palm Springs (case study)

Ready to turn in the badge and call it quits? If retirement is calling your name, you may be wondering what's next, as you contemplate all that's involved. Planning for retirement can be an overwhelming exercise. Already facing a new Iifestyle, there are enormous financial decisions that have to be made. Make it easier on your pocketbook by retiring to Palm Springs. The cost of living is 32% less than San Francisco^1.  If you own a home, selling the highly valued asset may be enough to fund an early retirement in Palm Springs. Your other efforts from saving along with Social Security may be enough to take you to your goal. Hypothetical scenario:

  • John, age 60, is single and eagerly wants to retire

  • He owns a $1.2 million home in San Francisco with a $500,000 mortgage

  • Has $500,000 in his 401k and $300,000 in regular investments

  • He enjoys hiking, eating out, and travels once or twice a year. He spends $5,000 monthly in living expenses, not including taxes, insurance, and liabilities.

John would be unlikely to enjoy San Francisco if he stops working. He would still have a mortgage payment, property taxes, and the continued expense of living in S.F. Let’s say John sells his home and nets $640,160, after realtors fees and the mortgage. He moves to Palm Springs and buys a 2-bedroom condo for $300,000 cash.  This move increases his chances for a successful retirement from 14% to 91%. That means he'll have enough money to retire successfully in Palm Springs!

Obviously, everyone’s situation is different, and there are things to look out for. John has to self-insure medical for 5 years until he’s eligible for Medicare. He obtains coverage through the Affordable Care Act and enrolls in a high-deductible HMO plan that costs $585 monthly.

Deciding to go through with his plan, John obtains the happy hour schedules for the bars and restaurants in Palm Springs to make the most of his cash flow.  He gets involved with a local hiking group on Meetup. He also will continue his travels, this time from the Palm Springs airport, which has 10 airlines and 10 non-stop destinations.

A financial advisor can do the math on your retirement, potentially shaving off years of unnecessary work. They can also be a resource for the move, connecting you with local realtors, tax advisors, and attorneys.


Matthew Davis is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner and owner of Eureka Wealth Management, based in Palm Springs, CA. He advises on retirement, selling and purchasing real estate, investments, insurance, tax & estate strategies. For a complimentary initial consultation, visit or call (760) 537-0791.

bottom of page