DEAR HARRY: We're thinking of moving to the South in the next few years, and I'd like your opinion. We live in New Jersey. I have a job that pays very well, and is "portable." I have a combined $330,000 in my retirement account, and I put 16 percent of my income into it. The company matches me with a 5 percent cash payment. Our house is worth about $250,000 with a $125,000 mortgage. Other debts are all for current items. We're also helping our son with his education costs. We live very comfortably. I'm not planning on retiring for seven more years. My wife earns no money. We have a friend in North Carolina who has shown us that living in the Carolinas is far less costly than up here. This would be a kind of prelude to retirement. We have no other connections down there. How does this sound to you?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: Your letter seems to indicate that your roots are in this area. You have made no social, religious or business contacts in the Carolinas. When people move for retirement, they usually go to be near a child or close friends. The weather is also quite different. My suggestion is that you go there for a kind of trial. Rent a small place for a couple of months to see just what living is like in the South. If you find it meets your needs and desires, then you can go for it.

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