Why Not Retire in a Pocket Neighborhood

Category: Retirement Real Estate

September 28, 2016 — This website absolutely gets so many great article ideas from our Members and visitors. A perfect illustration was the suggestion from huntley61 to explore the idea of retiring in a pocket community. Thanks!

What is a Pocket Neighborhood?
The most common characteristic of a pocket neighborhood is homes and other type residences sharing a common, open space area. That space might be for gardens, pedestrian walkways, shared yards, or something else. The idea is to promote a close knit sense of community and neighborliness with an increased level of contact. Instead of a sterile parking lot as a common area, these usable public spaces belong to everyone who lives in that neighborhood. While the name and the communities are new, the idea is old and traditional – villages and city neighborhoods in Europe and New England (think homes clustered along the green) have had the same thing going for centuries. Pocket neighborhoods exist in a variety of environments – rural, in cities, or even the suburbs. Another aspect of pocket neighborhoods is that they are small scale – maybe 12 homes max (although many pocket neighborhoods might be linked together by walkways). Homes are usually smaller and closer together than in existing towns and suburbs. The movement is in some ways an extension of residential cluster housing, where a group of homes might be built on fairly large piece of property, but the homes are close together to create large common spaces.

Are pocket neighborhoods good for retirement and those 55+?
While we are aware of only a few pocket neighborhoods built expressly for those 55+, many baby boomers are interested enough in the idea to move into one. One attraction is the idea of living next to and relating to people of all ages, not just older people. In these shared settings neighbors get to know one another; children learn to (more…)

Posted by Admin on September 27th, 2016

Living the Mobile Lifestyle in Retirement – Part 2, The Money Pit

Category: Adventurous retirement

September 23, 2016 — By Betty Fitterman
Note: This is Part 2 of a 6 Part series that Betty Fitterman was kind enough to contribute way back at Topretirements’ beginning. Here is a link to Part 1, Parts 3-6 are at go Tips & Picks Section/Adventurous Retirements (we will eventually move all of them into the Blog so people can Comment on them).

As we approached retirement, we realized that the failing economy had done a real job on both our savings and our businesses. Up until now, money had not been (more…)

Posted by Admin on September 26th, 2016

Why Betty Loved Living the Mobile Lifestyle in Retirement

Category: Adventurous retirement

September 23, 2016 — By Betty Fitterman
Note: This is a 6 part series that Betty Fitterman was kind enough to contribute way back at Topretirements’ beginning. To see the other 5 parts go to our Tips & Picks Section/Adventurous Retirements (we will eventually move all of them into the Blog so people can Comment on them).

While millions of baby boomers are starting to check out active adult communities, college towns, and cities as their retirement destination, a sub-set of young-at-heart retirees has a much more adventurous approach. These folks have adopted a mobile lifestyle, and for them, the entire continent is their community.

We’re talking about the permanent and semi-permanent RVers, many of whom have sold everything – homes, condos, cars, furniture and all – to live as turtles, as one friend described it, carrying their homes on their backs for as long as they enjoy it.

It’s not an easy decision, especially when it comes to (more…)

Posted by Admin on September 22nd, 2016

10 Best Places to Retire in South Carolina

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

September 20, 2016 — So maybe you have been thinking about retiring in The Palmetto State – but wondering where are the best places to retire in South Carolina. Here is our 10 Best Places list, formed from 10 years of experience in evaluating places to retire across the world.

As always, it is important to recognize that this is our list with our criteria – your ideal list of SC places to retire might not be the same. Here are our criteria:
– High “Popularity” ranking on our annual “100 Most Popular Places to Retire” list
– Be an interesting place to live in retirement – is it pretty, have an interesting history, or have a vital downtown?
– Things to do there – are there a lot of activities, restaurants, or cultural resources?
– How about places to live – are there different neighborhoods or communities suitable for a retirement lifestyle?

Should you retire in South Carolina
SC is increasingly a popular choice for retirement, and for many good reasons:
– Mild winter climate
– Varied places to live – from beautiful beaches to lakes to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Charming little towns and some interesting mid-sized cities
– Lower cost of living and taxes. South Carolina is a very tax-friendly state with the 9th lowest tax burden in 2011 according to the Tax Foundation. Social Security is not taxable, and people over 65 enjoy favorable tax status (see our Guide to Retiring in South Carolina).

Our Top 10
Here is our list. All of them made our annual Top 100 list – 6 of them were in the top half (ranking on that list shown in parentheses). Most of these towns have at least 10 active adult or 55+ communities to choose from. To see all of them check out our SC 55+ and Active Adult Community Guide. (more…)

Posted by Admin on September 19th, 2016

Share Your “Best of Retirement” Experiences – Cruises, Grandchildren Trips, Vacations, Bucket List Item

Category: Travel

September 13, 2016 — Maybe the most fun thing about being retired is the chance to do all the things you have been postponing for so long. Now that your boss has to get along without you, the kids are out of the house (we hope!), and (maybe) you have to money to do something with all your free time, you have the green light for new experiences.

One of the suggestions we’ve heard is to give more emphasis to activities and experiences in retirement. To that end we would like to develop a “Best of” article for all kinds of categories, but we need your help to do it. Could you please pick of a couple of your “Best of” experiences in retirement and a quick description in the Comments section below. We promise to take what we get and try to arrange it in a readable fashion for a future article. Your item doesn’t have to be a luxury extravaganza, in fact simple (more…)

Posted by Admin on September 13th, 2016

Part 3: Even More Retirement Planning Stories – Christina, Nancy, Ben, Kent, Craig, and Dennis

Category: Retirement Planning

September 12, 2106 — We are very grateful to the many folks who agreed to tell us their retirement planning stories, along with suggestions for improving Topretirements and ideas for articles. Here in Part 3 are six more interesting and varied adventures! See “For Further Reading at Bottom” for links to Parts 1 and 2, which generated lots and lots of Member Comments.
Note: We edited down some of the comments to fit here but have tried not to change the sense of the input we received.

From Christina – Happy in Sun City Texas
Q: Where did you live before you retired, and how old were you when retired?

A: We lived in Southern California for 32 years. I was 54 and my husband was 63 when we became empty nesters. That’s when we sold our house and moved to Sun City Texas. We are still working part-time and will continue working part-time for a couple more years.

Q: How has Topretirements helped you in the retirement process?

A: I was able to read reviews and articles to evaluate and compare potential retirement locations. I travelled extensively for work in the past and was able to check out many of the communities in person after doing my online research.

Q: Where did you end up retiring, and why? Or, are you still looking?

A: Sun City Texas is where we ended up. This is a large retirement community that has three golf courses and a multitude of senior activities and clubs. We are located 45 minutes north of Austin and have the big city amenities available if we want them. Most of the time, we hang out in Georgetown, TX which is our local small city. We weren’t interested in small retirement communities because they have too few amenities; nor did we want extra-huge communities like Ocala in Florida. We also wanted a new house, so older communities already built-out weren’t on our list.

Q: Are you pleased with your choice of location and lifestyle?

A: Yes, definitely. The people are friendly here with lots of activities, plus the cost of living is 30% lower than California. I would have had to work another 8-10 years full-time if we had stayed in California. Moving to Texas has allowed us to make our retirement dream a reality now. We have a brand new house on the golf course.

Q: Anything else we should know about your retirement adventure?
A: It took us a full year between putting a deposit on an empty lot to having a finished, fully unpacked house. We’re glad that we made the transition at this stage of our lives, while we are both healthy and have lots of energy.

Q: Anything you would like to change about Topretirements, or things we should keep the same?

A: Overall, I like the format and topics on TopRetirements. I wish that there were some articles on the following topics:

– How to down-size and cut ties with the old location — it was a huge amount of work which we grossly underestimated.
– How to stay within budget — we underestimated the cost of the new house – it’s tempting to add all the bells and whistles offered by the builder and that’s before the landscaping and patio are built.
– How to work part-time but live in a retirement community — it can be challenging to balance the community clubs and activities vs. work obligations when you’re not 100% retired.

(End of Christina)

From Craig: Loves Watching the Manatees and Dolphins from His Pool!
Q: Where did you live before you retired, and how old were you when retired?
A: Colorado Springs and retired at 57.

Q: How has Topretirements helped you in the retirement process?
A: I read every story I could get my hands on trying to sort out how, when, and where to retire. I love hearing from others and reading their stories.

Q: Where did you end up retiring, and why? or, are you still looking?
A: After a lot of discovery we ended up in Marco Island, Florida. We split time between Colorado Springs and Marco. We rent out the Marco house when we are not using it to make ends meet. This gives me a purpose and helps me with expenses. I love that Marco Island is a destination spot for vacationers so it’s easy to rent when we want. Love to watch the dolphins and manatees from the pool.

Q: Are you pleased with your choice of location and lifestyle?
A: We are extremely fortunate, we count pot blessings every day!

Q: Anything you would like to change about Topretirements, or things we should keep the same?
A: Absolutely love reading it! It’s so fun to hear the positive and good things in life!

Q: Anything else we should know about your retirement adventure?
A: I choose a place that our kids would love to visit. It makes it that much better when family joins you!

End of Craig:

From Ben: From CT But Living in Greenville, NC

Q: Where did you live before you retired, and how old were you when retired?
A: We came fron Stamford, CT and I was 68 when i retired.

Q: How did you come across Topretirements, and how long have you been a Member/visiting the site?
A: Tripped over you on the web email. be reading for about 1 year.

Q: Where did you end up retiring, and why? or, are you still looking?
A: My wife will retire from the medical center in Greenville, NC in December and we are not looking to move to a different place anytime soon.

Q: Are you pleased with your choice of location and lifestyle?
A: We are happy in Eastern NC. The cost of living here is good. Not much snow although the summers can be hot and humid. Much better the CT.

(End of Ben)

From Kent: His Early Planning Included Setting a Date for Retirement

Q: Where did you live before you retired, and how old were you when retired?
A: I have lived in Ridgefield CT for all but 4 of the past 20 years. We have previously lived in suburban Detroit MI, Stamford CT, Boca Raton FL, Binghamton NY, Rochester MN, and Virginia.

I retired at age 57 in 2013 after 35 years with IBM. My savings and pension allowed my wife and myself to be financially secure in retirement. This took a lot of saving and planning during working years to be in this situation.

Q: How did you come across Topretirements, and how long have you been a Member/visiting the site?
A: Topretirements was referenced in a newspaper article. Have been following for 6 years.

Q: How has Topretirements helped you in the retirement process?
A: Ideas about where to live, how to explore options, ideas on work and activities post retirement. I am currently volunteering for a few non profits (Habitat for Humanity and the Community Action Agency). Both serving low income working people. I also joined board of directors of a few non profits.

Q: Where did you end up retiring, and why? or, are you still looking?
A: Have a summer home on the NY Finger Lakes region. Still living most of year in CT but would like to find a warmer location for winter months. For now, my situation fits the needs of myself and my family. However, I expect it will change as it appears at least 2 of my 3 children will have careers in Washington DC area so we will likely want to move further south in years to come.

Q: Anything else we should know about your retirement adventure?
A: It began about 2 years into my career. for over 37 years I have maintained a personal balance sheet, income statement as well as a set of goals for the future. Goals always included target date for retirement. I have used many financial projection models to help predict retirement income and when I was confident I could sustain the lifestyle I desired I retired. (Fidelity has some that tools that are excellent). Watching my financial wealth grow was helpful in delaying gratification during working years. As my children start their employment I enjoy seeing that they have also starting planning for retirement in their 20s. I think it rubbed off.

Q: Anything you would like to change about Topretirements, or things we should keep the same?
A: More focus on activities, jobs and volunteering in retirement. Most of my happiness comes from what I do with my time and less from where I am located. Staying active and involved in a community is key to happiness in my view.

(End of Kent)

From Rev. Nancy – Officiates Weddings in Vieques But Hope to Return to States
Q: Where did you live before?
A: I decided to move back to Atlanta, GA where I knew I could live on less money. There it came to me that I could go back to school and become a minister. At age 50 I was still disabled but able to attend classes and was ordained in 2000. I did not actively work as a minister until 2001 when I moved to Vieques, Puerto Rico to help the peace movement. I started writing and officiating weddings for people who came from all over the world. I have been able to assist many people without having to actually work which is the best I feel as a disabled person can do. At age 69 I hope to move either to Missouri or Georgia for easier healthcare and conveniences. I hope this is my last move.

Q: How has Topretirements helped you in the retirement process?

A: Topretirements has given me the opportunity to explore areas and find resources about other areas and has really helped me narrow my search for a new retirement place down to two areas.

Q: Where did you end up retiring, and why? or, are you still looking?
A: I am considering the Columbia, MO area for great healthcare or a place in Georgia because the weather is less severe and still has great healthcare.

(End of Rev Nancy)

Dennis: Part 2 of Retirement, Living in a College Town, Has Been a Great Experience

Q: Where are you from and when and where did you retire?
A: My wife (73) and I (75) have been retired 12 years. Shortly after our retirement in 2005 we moved from NJ to CA to be closer to our grandkids. Prior to our retirement we sold our home and downsized to a condo, also in NJ. Our oldest son lives on the west coast which got us to CA in 2005.

We spent 10 great years in CA in a retirement community in northern CA, place called Rossmooor in Walnut Creek, CA. Our other son and family live in Chapel Hill, NC. About 4 years ago our CA son was transferred to Portland, OR so we were frequent flyers with Southwest Air traveling to Portland, Chapel Hill and a summer “get-away” in Ocean Grove, NJ (we sold NJ place last year).

Two years ago we moved from CA to Chapel Hill, home of the Tar Heels. Spending 10 years in a retirement community where the average age was 75 (population 10,000) and now living in a college town with a nice mix of retirees has been a GREAT experience. During our 12 years in retirement we have visited about 25 countries. Fun trips with Road Scholar and now into cruising. We are off on a cruise to Alaska in 2 weeks.

Health care facilities both in CA and NC have been a top priority in our moving decisions.

(End of Dennis and Pat)

Comments: Isn’t it great that everyone seems to have such different stories? Would you care to comment or add to any of them? Please feel free to add your ideas and experiences in the Comments section below.

For further reading
Part 1: How Robert and Jan Planned Their Retirement
Part 2: Vic, Karen, and George



Posted by Admin on September 12th, 2016

3 More Retirement Planning Case Studies: Vic, Karen, and George

Category: Retirement Planning

Sept 3, 2016 — Today’s installment is Part 2 our series with 3 more Topretirements Members and their retirement planning stories. It is interesting how everyone has a different approach, experiences, goals, and results. You can find links to Part 1 and Part in the “Further Reading” section at end of article.

1. Vic Chooses Port Charlotte Based on Affordable Lifestyle
Vic: Although we have not yet moved to our retirement destination, Topretirements has played a key role in our strategy and planning. It is almost 5 years ago that a general Internet search resulted in subscribing to your email news feed. At that time, retirement was years away, but the concept of winding down our careers and taking the next step was becoming a frequent topic of conversation. This stage began not long after the adjustment to being “empty nesters” was firmly established. We found ourselves asking, “Who are we” or perhaps, “Who WERE we” and can we be those people again?

Our decision to purchase our eventual home four years before (more…)

Posted by Admin on September 2nd, 2016

Digital Legacy – Or Digital Mess – What Will You Leave Your Loved Ones?

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

August 31, 2016 — Consider this unpleasant scenario: You go to bed tonight and don’t wake up. Instead, you go on to your greater reward, leaving a saddened spouse, family, and friends. They, on the other hand, are about to find out how well you prepared for this event. While not fun to think about, this is not an “if” it happens situation, it is only “when”.

Not so long ago your heirs would face many unpleasant chores as a result of your untimely death, but at least the tasks were relatively straightforward. Assets could generally be traced by looking in file folders, safe deposit boxes, and various spots around the house. Statements would eventually come in the mail, alerting your survivors to the existence of various accounts. Now in the digital age, your executor or surviving spouse face the same tasks, only they tend to be much more difficult. That is mainly because so many of your assets and accounts only exist online. How will they find out what accounts (more…)

Posted by Admin on August 30th, 2016

Case Study: How Robert and Jan Planned Their Retirement

Category: Retirement Planning

August 30, 2016 — One of our longstanding Members, Robert M, suggested that we interview our early subscribers who are still members and see how Topretirements and its community have helped them over the years. This is his and his wife Jan’s retirement planning story – which is still going on. Even though they have been with Topretirements almost 10 years, they are still 5 years away from pulling the trigger. We admire their planning spirit! We hope that their experience will prove useful to all of our members in suggesting ways to improve their retirement planning. Thanks Robert and Jan, it has been great to read how real people manage the retirement process (and thank you for your many kind comments)! Several other folks who responded to our interview request will be publishing their retirement stories in the near future.

Take it away Robert. We have tried to provide links to some of the features mentioned for your convenience.

Q: When and how did you discover Topretirements?
A: Looking at my files where I printed stuff off it looks like I found your site in late 2007/early 2008. I found it through looking for information on retirement and various states. Back then we decided we need to (more…)

Posted by Admin on August 29th, 2016

The Infinite Possibilities of Volunteering: Tell Us About Your Experiences

Category: Work and Volunteering

August 23, 2016 — One of the often overlooked challenges of retirement is how you will stay busy and engaged over time. You might think that you’ll be happy just by kicking back and relaxing, but that is not generally how humans are built. In that regard we are a lot like working dogs, happiest when we have a job or activity that keeps our minds and bodies busy.

Volunteering is an obvious and rewarding way to keep a focus in retirement. There are so many possibilities: mentoring children, helping a small business on a project, assisting at the library or hospital, trading work for free space at a national park, helping a local volunteer group or community association, or (more…)

Posted by Admin on August 22nd, 2016
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