Unless they are considering the full-time-rv lifestyle. Then it becomes not only a common term, but an issue around which much research and decision-making occurs.
All our lives we identify with our "residence". Simply - where we "reside". Meaning we live there. We are physically in that location. It's where we plant a garden, hang our clothes, arrange our furniture. It's where our family and friends, and the pizza delivery guy, find us.
It's the same place we get our mail, and our voting information, and our car registration/insurance. It's where we pay our taxes. It's where we're counted in the Census. But, what I've learned while planning our launch is that these things are not about our residence. They are about our domicile.
Fortunately several veteran full-timers have done the research on the differences between domicile and residence, and what that means for the rest of us. Thank you Howard/Linda and Nina/Paul and Cherie/Chris, and countless other vanguards out there. We can learn every fact that defines the differences between residence and domicile. But we don't have to (yay) because we can read a few well-documented summaries, and know what's important for choosing our own domicile.
Because while we aren't required to have a residence - we must have a domicile. Well, only if we want to have a driver's license, a bank account, credit, voting rights, a passport, health insurance, vehicle insurance - little stuff like that. Uncle Sam and our 50 cousins (known by their State names) are also very vested in us having a domicile - for tax payments. Since I'll be driving on and across those taxes, I'm more than okay with paying them, but domicile impacts the amount we contribute, and that's always a factor in retirement.
|Not the same place when you're full-timing|
Three things generally impact the domicile-decision: money, mail, healthcare providers. It is no different for us. Although we are pretty healthy and rarely visit a doctor, the third one was the final deciding factor. By "final" I mean "what-we'll-do-for-the-first-year". We expect to learn a lot about what's right for us after we get out there!
It is an important decision and we feel comfortable knowing that while our residence will be where-ever we are, for now our domicile will continue to be in California.
Being debt-free by February means we can live comfortably with our net-income pensions. Simply put, we can afford to continue paying California income tax. At least we think we can. We'll know for sure in a year.
This week we made arrangements for our new address with good friends in Orange County. This resolves the issue of mail, plus establishes location for insurances, etc. It means changing doctors and medical facilities, but keeps us in the Kaiser Permanente network.
Which was the main reason we maintained domicile in California. One factor that allows us to live on our pensions is that fully-paid medical, dental and vision are included. As long as we "live" in California. We have been extremely happy with Kaiser's quality of care and the on-line access will be invaluable for us on the road.
|Prescriptions, physicians and records go with us|
There is a healthcare stipend option for living elsewhere, but until we've experienced the life we see no need to consider that change yet.
All but one of our "kids" live in California so that makes this one destination for family visits as well as medical appointments. Bonus!
There are drawbacks to every domicile choice. There are former-Californians who couldn't wait to "get out from under" the higher taxes. Certainly hospital care and jury duty commitments are a challenge when your domicile is on either coast. Hell, there are places in this country where having California license plates could get us run out of town.......
But for us this is a good, possibly temporary, decision - AND it's one more thing off the rapidly shrinking list of must-get-done-things to complete before we can launch.
|The list is getting shorter....|
Domicile? Check! Residence? Pending......