Our Members Speak: One Story Living, Easy Walking Dominate Retirement Living Wants

Category: Active adult communities

March 5, 2013 — Wow, talk about feedback – 753 helpful folks provided their valuable insights on their retirement status, housing preferences, and the future of active adult communities in last week’s poll. Thanks to everyone who answered these 8 questions.

Your input provides so much to think about – we just wish we had room to highlight every comment! If there was one member statement that really struck us above all others, it was this one: “We love thinking about (retirement) and exploring our options. So many ideas, so many places to go, things to do. Can’t wait!” We just love that attitude, prevalent among so many Topretirements members.

Highlights
There is no single one thing that folks are looking for – everybody has a slightly different recipe for retirement perfection. But all you builders out there, please note some key trends here! We’ve detailed the findings to each of the 8 questions below, but here are a few highlights.

– Low maintenance and energy efficient are important
– Easy walkability to town, parks and lakes, shopping
– One story, detached or semi-detached for some privacy
– Affordable and low-tax
– Good medical nearby
– Good (sunny/warm) weather
– Access to transportation
– Plenty of activities
– Smaller homes
– Low crime and good security

While most people seem to agree the above characteristics make for great retirement living, there are substantial pockets of folks looking for these attributes:
– Gated
– No Golf
– Golf
– Small town
– Grandchildren can visit/grandchildren nearby
– Rent instead of buy
– No HOAs
– Pet friendly
– Gardening
– Townhome
– Patio
– Pool
– Manufactured homes/RV community

Findings
1. Retirement Status

A slight majority of our members and visitors are not retired – 49% retired vs. 46% not. Apparently our members are in the planning phase, which is a good thing!

2. Age
The majority (68%) of Topretirements members taking the survey are between 56 and 65, which, considering the slight majority who say they are not yet retired, makes sense. Those 66 and over make up 23% of survey takers, with the remainder 55 and under.

3. Type of community you intend to retire in.
Our poll confirms what we have seen in the past – most people intend to retire in a traditional neighborhood. But there is significant interest in active adult communities, small towns, and college towns. We listed 6 preferences and asked members to arrange them into their order of preference. The results produced a tight pattern with one clear preference at the top (regular town or suburb – 3.04 ranking), 4 closely clustered in the middle (see below), and a very distant 6th, Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC – ranking of 5.28). The latter undoubtedly reflects the relatively young age of our membership, since CCRCs tend to have an older audience.

Regular town or suburb
Active adult/55 community
Small town
College town
Mid-size or large city
CCRC
3.04
3.36
3.40
3.54
3.67
5.28

4. Type of housing
Builders take note: the overwhelming favorite type of housing among Topretirements members is a 1 story home. Townhomes, condos, and traditional homes were close together in the 2nd – 4th positions.

1 story home
Townhomes/coach homes
Condos
Traditional homes
Rentals
Mid-size or large city
2.06
3.22
3.34
3.35
4.26


5. How likely is it that you will choose to live in an active adult or 55+ community?
The answer is that there are just about as many Topretirements members and visitors who are interested in living in an active adult community as are not interested – 36% are likely or extremely likely vs. 33% who are on the other side. The remaining 31% are in the unsure category. We believe that our audience is more interested in these communities than the general population.

Extremely likely
Likely
Not sure
Unlikely
Extremely unlikely
12%
24%
31%
19%
14%

Why 55+ – or Not – A Sampling of Comments
There were hundreds of interesting comments explaining why people are interested or not in active communities. While there are plenty of reasons, here are a few typical comments:
– We like diversity of ages. 55 and older communities seem, well…
old!
– We prefer to retire to a 55+ active adult community where our neighbors are of like mind to ours and maintenance and daily chores are minimal.
– The HOA fees and politics make 55 plus communities not so appealing.
– We like the concept of all of the things an active 55+ community has to offer, golf, swimming, crafts, clubs, etc.
– Don’t like association fees and want to live with a mix of different ages
– My spouse and I have different opinions about 55 communities. I would love to live in one, but my spouse is not sure he would like one.
– Not enough land for gardening, homes are too close. I am afraid
of living too close to someone who blares the TV, or is in general not
a nice person.
– no noisy kids; a variety of adult activities at your ‘fingertips’; more of a community feel, w/ many opportunities to meet people in same age group

6. Likelihood of living where you are now in 20 years.
We asked this question to see how many people are contemplating a 2 stage retirement, or whose retirement plans are less permanent. It turns out more people think they will be likely to be living where they are now (37%) than unlikely (24%). The largest category was unsure (39%).

7. What do you think the future holds for active adult/55+ communities. What will they be like in 2050?
We recently saw a discussion where many folks were speculating that a lot of active adult communities would collapse or decline as their populations and facilities age. Apparently Topretirements members don’t share that opinion – 32% thought these communities would be thriving and only 10% thought they would be dying. The rest were unsure or thought there would be no change.

Thriving
About the same
Dying
No idea
Other
32%
23%
10%
32%
3%

8. Is there anything else you would like to share about your retirement housing preferences?
We thought this would produce the most interesting responses and we weren’t disappointed. A gratifying 383 members were kind enough to share their opinions. The top of this article provides an overview of these comments.

While we wish we had room for more, here are some of the most representative comments: (For a pdf document with all 383 comments go to Retirement housing prefs Topretirements.com 2013.
)

– I’m looking at towns that have good medical available, low crime,and activities I will be able to continue to do as I age, like walking trails. I am looking at towns that have things of interest, like a place for continuing education, theater, and different types of fairs and events. I would really like this information on many places put together for me.
– I’m looking for a community with lots of outdoor activities, cultural options, access to excellent medical facilities, lots of sun throughout the year and wide open spaces.
– The tricky decision for us is when is it time for us to move to a situation with more care options available, like a CCRC
– We live in an extremely rural area, dirt roads and all. We love gardening, watching the critters who share this life with us and hiking through our woods and hills. We hope to stay here as long as we can. Rural living was not one of the choices in this survey.
– I like housing that is close or attached to save some costs but still have privacy and are in areas with activity near at hand. I’ve seen one story houses attached at the garages so you have a great private home space.
– Pet friendly is very, very important. I want to be able to have a couple of cats and I don’t want to have them declawed to do so.
– There are things I like about communities and other things I don’t. Having people live so close to you and you have no privacy is not that good. Having lots to do is good but fees can go up is not so good. Places can get run down if upkeep is not good too. There are always pros and cons. It’s a hard decision for most because change can always happen
– One floor living, near a college or university, good hospitals, reasonable cost of living, quality law enforcement agencies in the area, cannot have massive traffic problems
– I would love to see a variety of communities catering to singles, couples, young retirees and old retirees, integrated and will a lot of activities.
– Access to military base activities for retied military members. Availability Veteran Affairs medical facilities for veterans.
– I would like to find a thriving town with charming housing, where one can walk to nearly everything one needs, that is also reasonably priced for middle class retirees.
– Near the ocean/beach is our first priority, near golf, low taxes (property and/or income), easy upkeep, probably with a pool/lanai, near family or attractions for children/grandchildren to visit. Anything else is negotiable
– I wish a builder would build homes in the 1400 to 1500sq ft range for sr. living. Most of our friends would move into a house that size if it was affordable in price.
– It’s nearly paralyzing to try to sort out all the conflicting needs and wants.
– Two locations would be ideal but most people will not be able to afford that option.
– We have found the 55+ community to be wonderful. I read all the stuff about the downsides and have yet to experience any of those. Yes, HOA fees can be higher but you get what you pay for and we absolutely love it. Many wonderful people here from all over the country and world with varied interests so you can easily make new friends.

Bottom Line
Thank you Topretirements members! Your input was so rich. We know your fellow members will find it useful. Please share your reactions in the Comments section below!

Links to Previous Surveys
Florida and Southeast Top Retirement Destinations
Our Members Getting Ready for Big Retirement Moves
Topretirements Members Report High Degrees of Spousal Compatibility- 2013
Medicare Survey
Best and Worst Things About Your Retirement
Your Bucket Lists Are Amazing
Top Concerns about Retirement
Plans for Retirement

Posted by Admin on March 5th, 2013

45 Comments »

  1. Nice article, John, as usual. Since “easy walking” is mentioned in your title as a dominant retirement living want, here are two helpful websites: http://www.walkscore.com, which allows you to see how far it is to the nearest park, bank, restaurant, grocery store, etc.; and, take a look at this link: http://www.tndtownpaper.com/neighborhoods.htm, which lists TND (traditional neighborhood design) communities – ones that are highly walkable – by state.

    Jan Cullinane
    AARP’s The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement (John Wiley & Sons)
    The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life (Rodale)

    by Jan Cullinane — March 6, 2013

  2. Thought the input from the survey was outstanding. My wife and I will maintain several homes after we retire – one of which will be our new retirement home which we believe will be located in central or southern Florida because of the warm weather and sunshine! Punta Gorda is being seriously considered. We are now living in northwestern Pennsylvania and the older I get the less I like winter. I could not agree more with the comments made about single story homes and everything within walking distance. That’s my dream – to retire in a single-story home located in a community where I can walk to the grocery store, restaurants theater etc. Good quality medical facilities are really important and a low crime rate is very close to the top of my list of “wants”. Thanks for putting the survey together and thanks for sharing the results.

    Greg – 65 years old and retiring in December of 2014

    by Greg Booth — March 6, 2013

  3. I agree with the comment about rural living and that should have been an option. While walking distance and activities are pluses, privacy, nature, quiet, and space are all double pluses. We feel we can commute where we want to and that includes the small town, the college town, and the large metro cities which are all within 20 – 30 minutes (yes, this is a choice spot!). Rural living requires some extra planning — and not just to combine your trips to town. You need to plan for long term care — you likely won’t be able to care for yourself in 10 – 20 years. Nor will you be able to maintain your home — so you need to budget for outsife help. And don’t forget that large appliances and such will have to be replaced. Some of these pertain to living anywhere, but for rural living it becomes even more important. Finally, some may be concerned for emergency health situations. Can you accept that the EMTs may not get to you in time? (In our case, we are 20 minutes from either driving to a major hospital or have the EMTs arrive — many to choose to live in a rural area are not so close.)

    by Rich — March 6, 2013

  4. :smile:This is another great article demonstrating the changing preferences of folks in the 55-75 age group. Hot Springs Village has 26 miles of dedicated nature trails throughout the community. You don’t have to play golf but we have 9 Championship courses that are wonderful. 11 lakes for boating, skiing and fishing. 200 Clubs so you will have friends immediatly after plugging into the community. Our average price of home is just under $200K but of course you can purchase townhomes or a million dollar lake home if you like. Loved the article!!!

    by Jeff Hollansworth — March 6, 2013

  5. One of the things that my husband and I really love about the two communities we spend most of our time in (Key West, Florida and the South End of Boston, MA) is the access to an incredibly rich offering of things to do — sports, cultural activities, civic engagement (volunteering at the library or public schools), social events and on and on. There’s never enough time to partake of all. Being able to enjoy a varied life, then, with a variety of folks is extremely important — to us — to stay active , to remain mentally engaged, and to just have a fun life. So do consider a smaller, but vibrant town when making a “retirement” choice.

    by Patricia Kennedy — March 6, 2013

  6. You can plan, plan and plan. And if you make a move, how do you know some bunch of idiots won’t come along and destroy what you have planned for? It is happening everyday in many governments, Federal, State, County and City. There are times when it might be more prudent to stay where you are and know, instead of moving and becoming a target. Things are changing so fast, it is like throwing a dart at a turning wheel to determine your future. Cable, phone, water, electric, gas, oil, garbage and tax bills can and do change without recourse causing financial constraints. Bills usually go up faster than one’s income, and that’s happening for people that are still working. It explains why many seniors continue to work, just to keep up. Do you feel like a hamster running in the wheel and getting nowhere? BTW, I live in a one story house because partner has never done well with steps her entire life, even though she is not disabled in any way. They are also hard to keep clean. We might consider moving to a less expensive place to live, but socializing with a bunch of other old farts isn’t something we are looking forward to.

    by Edward — March 6, 2013

  7. 😆 Bunch of old farts 😆

    by RUBYTUESDAY — March 6, 2013

  8. I wish that builders would wake-up to the fact that demographics are changing. Multi-generational families are becoming more common. So are Sibling and Friend families. I have 3 sisters 8 years apart, we are all currently single, I doubt that any of us will remarry. We would probably never live all together in 1 home, but 2 of us will.

    My ideal community would have:
    Homes designed to accommodate people who want separate but equal private spaces and shared public spaces in the 2-4 thousand sf range. All on a single level designed for owners to age in place.
    Large Lots 0.5-5 ac (Dogs, cats, chickens, horses welcome)
    Trails designed into the layout of the development, golf-cart lanes on the streets.
    Close to areas that have lots of outdoor activities and easily reachable cultural events.
    Good Medical facilities.
    Low or no State Incomes Taxes on Retirees.
    NO HOA
    That’s my dream, now let’s see if I can find it.

    by Margo — March 6, 2013

  9. Well along the lines of one story homes I come across some nice ones that are of good size for us 1400 sq ft one level and brand spanking new for under 300,000 and Del Webb is the community. Now heres the But they will not share any information about taxes, hoa fees nothing saying because I am in New York they dont have permission to. I must travel across the country to go to the development to get answers. That to me is crazy!:sad: anyone have answers to Del Webbs Summerville SC new community called Del Webb Charleston?

    by RUBYTUESDAY — March 6, 2013

  10. Have any of you considered retiring out of the country?? My husband and I used to talk about doing that one day. But I’ve recently lost him so now I’m on my own. But I still think about it but wonder if it’s a stupid thing to think of. Wine country in Italy sounds beautiful but I know no one and can’t speak Italian. Of course I could study Italian–not sure how fluent I might be tho.
    Does anyone know how ssi works if you’re living out of the country? What about medicare? Would they honor charges from a non US MD or hospital if you had to be hospitalized for anything?

    by Anne — March 6, 2013

  11. Ruby Tuesday, we are in tithe process of having a house built at Del Webb Charleston. It will be just over 1700 sq ft and about $263,000. Our taxes are estimated at $98 per month and the HOA is $235. We really liked the community and all the people we met when we visited last month. We are looking forward to our new adventure. If you have other questions, just let me know. Our salesperson was Yvette Grist and she was extremely helpful.

    by Kathy — March 7, 2013

  12. Rich,

    I’m with you on the rural option. We’ve already bought our place in rural VA, which is an absolute slice of heaven. We hope to move there full time in a few years, and in the meantime am fixing it up to suit our needs. It is amazing to me how much stress disappears when I am there, and how at home I feel on the outskirts of Appalachia. Yes, we are learning to deal with mice as a fact of life and the snakes that follow the mice, having to travel half an hour to a grocery store, and the nearest hospital being a half hour drive over mountain roads. We are also blessed with a state of the art multi-million dollar library within 10 minutes, the most glorious hikes and the ability to fish and kayak right out our back yard. Our living space is currently up stairs, but I am converting the ground level garage/workshop to a 2 bedroom apartment that is wheelchair friendly, so that we can hire someone to live upstairs and help us out when we need the help but still have the presence of mind to enjoy the mountain and river views from the patio.

    I like the city, and I look forward to visiting from time to time, but I LOVE the deep country.

    by Julie — March 7, 2013

  13. When it comes to housing, I’d like to see builders consider single story homes with two master suites, or perhaps each bedroom have a bath attached. That would give single adults more privacy while allowing them to share the costs of housing. For us the living room and dining room have become wasted space since we use the family room and breakfast nook. They could use that space to add the extra baths.

    by Marc — March 7, 2013

  14. Anne, Medicare does not cover you when you are out of the country.

    by Linda — March 7, 2013

  15. Anne, I have thought of doing ‘short term’ rentals, of a few month/yr out of the country with other like-minded people. A location would be agreed upon although it could change each season or each year. Retirement would be an ongoing adventure, allowing participants to retain the comfort of a ‘home base,’in the US, the safety of not being totally alone and the financial support of others sharing living costs.

    by Linda F — March 7, 2013

  16. Anne and Linda F, I like that idea of spending a month in a different location because I would never be able to decide on just one! I had given thought to retiring to the little Mexican mountain town of San Miguel d’Allende but my partner seems to think all of Mexico is overrun with drug dealers but I suspect the worst problems are near the coast and the border. However I might be able to talk him into a month there one year especially if the following year was in a Tuscan villa!
    Right now we’re spending the month of March in Asheville, NC to see if this might be a spot we’d like to call home base. We’re loving this adventure! Let’s keep this conversation going and see if anyone else might be interested!

    by cherie — March 7, 2013

  17. Cherie- Please tell us how you like Asheville. Asheville is on the top of my list.

    by LisaJ — March 8, 2013

  18. Asheville is on my list also..I went there last year for a week and spent 2 days with a realtor looking at different style homes. I also hear Wilmington NC has lots to do also. I now live in Ny and taxes are crazy so now starting to think where I would like to go.

    by barbara s — March 8, 2013

  19. A couple of comments. Almost any place would be better than NY, except where arctic temps occur in the U.S. Going overseas to retire. Visit first and stay a while. That doctrine applies to wherever you want to go. Don’t buy or plan on staying indef until you are totally comfortable. Then, if you don’t find the place to your liking, you can leave. Medicare is strictly U.S., but I understand medical is not that expensive out of the country. Should you plan on staying out of the country, cancel Medicare to pay for a local plan, or save the money for when you do need medical care. Scripts should be less, too. I have lived overseas, and what I learned is that it helps to have someone local to get you through the hoops, like for electricity, phone, utilities because these can be a hazard getting started w/o some help. One source would be to find other expats that have already jumped through the hoops. They can be a source of where to eat, shop, travel, safe neighborhoods, vehicles, etc, etc. Always visit first. Buy later.

    by Edward — March 8, 2013

  20. Has anyone retired in Las Vegas area or Henderson, Nevada? Appreciate your comments. Am currently in Calif. which is expensive & crowded, but reluctant to leave many friends.

    by Tami — March 8, 2013

  21. Regarding Asheville, it is a wonderful town with a progressive, almost SF-like vibe, but I prefer the less-touted Greenville, SC, about 90 minutes or so away. The town is every bit as sophisticated, with a good arts and dining scene, and I find the array of communities in the area to be wider in range than in Asheville (although, full disclosure, I look primarily at golf communities). I find traffic in the Greenville area to be much more manageable than in Asheville, and real estate prices (and overall cost of living) to be slightly lower. Furman University may be the prettiest campus in America; and the nearby BMW plant adds substantial stability to the area’s economy. If you are unfamiliar with Greenville, I would consider a visit.

    by Larry — March 9, 2013

  22. On Medicare while abroad n- do not cancel it. Two consequences if you do: you will only be able to enroll or re-enroll during the general enrollment period (Jan 1 – March 31 each year) and your coverage will not begin until July 1 therefore leaving you without coverage for several months. 2nd: you will have to pay late Part B penalties. These amount to an extra 10% permanently added to your Part B premiums, fir every 12 month period that has elapsed between turning 65 (or dropping it after age 65) and the end of general enrollment period when you originally signed up. For example, if you were away for 5 yrs, and didn’t pay the premiums, on your return you would pay 50% more for the same Part B coverage and this surcharge would never end. Part D suspension has different rules. I received this info from Patricia Berry an AARP Medicare/soc. sec. Resource. If u send her a question she is terrific about responding. Her address is msmed@aarp.com
    On Las Vegas. We did own a retirement home there. Sold it and moved to Texas because grand kids are here. LV is a challenge for people to get to as its a bit off the “beaten path” in terms of travel. Most friends did not visit from the North. They find it better or easier to visit us in Houston. Not a lot to do except go to shows in casinos and gamble. But then we didn’t really explore other things a lot when there as we were traveling a lot. There are some nice neighborhoods but be careful…lots of crime in others. Although we hate the weather here are “fish out if water” politically, we couldn’t live anywhere with more things to do and a reasonable cost of living. So for now we’ll stay until those grands are much older.

    by Sheila bryan — March 9, 2013

  23. Edward said, “Almost any place would be better than NY.” Agreed, NY has high state taxes and a fairly dysfunctional state government. But the quality and affordability of life in NY GREATLY depends on what part of the state one lives in. I live in western NY, on the Canadian border, near Lake Ontario and just downriver from Niagara Falls (Lewiston/Youngstown). This is a moderately priced area (GOOD housing at $225K and well under), including re: grocery & clothing prices; has excellent doctors/hospitals, all the shopping you need of every kind, lots of cultural and sports activities, including the benefit of the Canadian side as well (hour-and-a-half to Toronto, but can see it across the Lake. Climate is Zone 6: wonderful fall colors, beautiful scenery; moderate snow and temps for a four-season climate where we’re at — which is a different micro-climate than Buffalo has (30 miles away). So, when it comes down to it, my husband and I will have to come up with some REALLY good alternative if/when we were to move from here. He’s 67 and wants to work to 70 if he can. We’ve already considered many places, and visited some, but haven’t come to any conclusions. Everybody thinks of the expensive (and politically/socially liberal) eastern end of NYS, including the City when they think “New York.” This part of the state is different. In almost every way its seems a well-kept secret. (For us, maybe that’s good!)

    by Marian — March 9, 2013

  24. My wife and I are both in our early 60’s and retired. We currently live in northwest Indiana. We have been on the search for our next location to live. We have some family here, some in Spartanburg, SC, and Orlando. So we have looked at areas that would be closer to grandchildren, more temperate, and with more things to do.

    One thing that has become apparent to us is that although some places are fun to visit, they are not that great for us to live in. We spent this winter in two popular retirement areas, Orlando and Myrtle Beach. We discovered that although both are nice to visit they may not be the place to live. Orlando had great weather and we loved the area of downtown we stayed in January. But I know what weather is like from May-Oct and other issues are troubling, such as traffic, insurance, healthcare. Myrtle Beach is fun, especially for golfers, eating out and the beach, but once you get off the beach, affordable housing is out in the boonies.

    We really like Asheville, but again, a great place to visit, but not sure we would like to live there fulltime. We discovered Hendersonville last year and really like that area. Nice downtown, more temperate climate, lower housing cost, and 25 miles south of Asheville.. As Larry said, Greenville, SC is similar to Asheville, with a nice vibrant downtown area, lower taxes and cost of living, summers are hotter than Asheville, but there are always tradeoffs.

    Meanwhile, we have two houses we need to sell in Indiana, before we get serious about moving. We will continue to look for our next perfect area for us. But, I have always enjoyed the journey more than the final destination.

    by Bill — March 10, 2013

  25. Anne,Linda F and Cherish,
    Spending a few months out of the country is what my husband and I want to do and it’s so good to find others thinking similarly. Our home base will be Tucson, AZ where we purchased a place for retirement a few years ago. We live in CT now but will be making the move fulltime to Tucson by end of this year if plans work out as planned.
    I would really like to stay informed about thoughts, plans etc for part-time expat. Not sure how to give you my contact info.
    Joann

    by JoAnn N — March 10, 2013

  26. Bill, I completely disagree with your comments on affordable housing in Myrtle Beach. We live in Wilmington, NC but are planning to relocate to Myrtle Beach. I don’t know what your definition of affordable is but I find the cost of housing to be very reasonable. There are many housing areas south of Myrtle Beach which are very nice and the Market Common area just south of the airport is fantastic with great shopping,restaurants and outdoor activities. Look around, I love Myrtle Beach.

    by Dick — March 10, 2013

  27. Here is my take on Asheville 10 days into our month long “investigation.” Asheville is often called the Paris of the South and the comparison has much validity. Like Paris, there is great food but with an emphasis on healthy eating involving all-year farmers markets and farm-to-table local suppliers.In place of wine (of which there is plenty) Asheville has become a beer brewing center with lots of brew pubs and craft breweries. It’s a very artsy place, lots of galleries, a local symphony, free concerts, name performers, theatre and even the Southern Conference basketball finals for sports fans. The people are super friendly and helpful even to us stupid yankees! The city is also pet friendly and like Paris, many restaurants allow dogs to join owners. Shopping is also excellent and very eclectic. If you enjoy the Arts and Crafts architecture as I do, there are marvelously restored bungalows of every size and design in every neighborhood and even some modern well-built reproductions. For the outdoor types, there are hundreds of bike paths and bike lanes and motorists are respectful of bikers and walkers. The reason I prefer Asheville to Greenville, SC is the beauty of the mountains all around the city and the less humid summer climate. Yet spring arrives a month earlier than PA and fall lasts at least a month longer. This is also a very eco-conscious city – solar panels on the local BBQ joint,everyone recycling diligently and I’ve never seen so many Priuses in my life! And while I won’t get into political conversations, if it’s significant to your decision making, this is a very liberal community compared to much of the south. That is not meant to insult anyone or their viewpoints. It’s just an observation. I’m also impressed with the University of NC at Asheville where the Osher Lifelong Learning Center offers great classes for seniors & all sorts of activities from esoteric clubs and lectures to hiking groups. That’s a big plus for active retirees. Now for the negatives. The biggie is the cost of housing. In comparison to PA, it’s quite high. Finding a small bungalow under $250,000 that is in reasonable condition and in a walkable neighborhood is proving a challenge. I’m insisting on being able to walk to conveniences after 20 years in a rural environment where driving everywhere has had a negative effect on my once slim body! After a week of some serious walking my knees and back hurt less, I’m not as winded and I feel 100% better. I refuse to return to being car-dependent so walkable neighborhoods are high in priority. This limits our house hunting but we’re perservering! That so far has been Asheville’s only downside. We also love the smaller towns of Waynesville and Black Mountain which have charming downtowns if we decide on a quieter lifestyle. Hendersonville is nice but the traffic heading south out of the city is heavy during rush hours. This is of course all relative to where you’re coming from! I know the traffic is nothing compared to Chicago or Philly! I just think this area has something for everyone. Very diverse, very funky and even for old farts like us, very fun! While I know I have to grow old, I don’t have to grow up! They seem to accept that attitude here. If I have more to add as our month goes along that I think is pertinent, I’ll be back!

    by cherie — March 10, 2013

  28. Dick – Like so many people, retiring in the next few years, my husband and I are trying to figure out where we want to live. We currently live in SE PA and want to move. Just curious why you are moving from Wilmington NC to Myrtle Beach. From what I see Wilmington is a desireable town, one of which I have looked at online. We are still trying to figure out what our interests are — river, lake area, walkable town, reasonable housing and taxes, etc. – much like everyone else.

    by Debbie — March 11, 2013

  29. To Dick,
    So glad to hear you love Myrtle Beach. After visiting a couple of times both my husband and I felt so at home in the area that we bought a lot off of 31 on the outskirts of the Carolina Forest area. We plan on building a home in 2015 to retire to. But one thing does bug me..the crime rate statistics. When we’ve visited we’ve felt very safe. We have friends who have vacationed in North MB for years and love it and also plan to move on down when they retire. We have another friend who lives in the Conway area who says crime hasn’t been an issue. What do you say?

    by Barb — March 11, 2013

  30. I’d like to weigh in a bit on Myrtle Beach, since I have a more than 45 year relationship with the place — I’m a golfer — and have owned a vacation condo in Pawleys Island (40 minutes south of the MB airport) for the last 13 years. You do not need to live in the “boonies” to find affordable homes (although “affordable” is a relative term); the recession really hurt MB because of its reliance on vacationers (they stopped spending for a while). The market will begin to inch its way back, but for now, prices are seriously low. That said, you need to be comfortable living in a “resort” area to feel comfortable in Myrtle Beach, as traffic and lines at restaurants can be a pain at certain times of the year. We love being south of the city, but north — in Brunswick County, NC — will work too. Happy to respond to any specific queries about the Pawleys Island area. I am currently working with a few customers who are targeting golf communities in the area.

    by Larry — March 11, 2013

  31. Bill, reading between the lines, it doesn’t seem as if there is anything wrong for you with the choice of Hendersonville. I have visited the town a few times, as well as local golf communities Champion Hills and Kenmure, and was impressed with the downtown area (had a very nice meal in one of the restaurants). I have published a few articles lately about how sometimes we let “perfect be the enemy of good” in our search for a home. If you have done your homework, as you have, and if you find a place you like — sure seems like Hendersonville might be it — resist the temptation to think paradise is waiting for you elsewhere.

    by Larry — March 11, 2013

  32. Larry, thanks for the info on Myrtle Beach. We did check out some lots in Murrells Inlet but I wanted to be a little closer in to the shops. We were torn between buying an existing home (so many good deals right now) or a lot to build. Since my husband preferred an area that wasn’t so crowded with homes we decided to build just outside of the city of MB. We’re about seven miles from the beach just beyond the evacuation area. Hoping to avoid some of the bad weather but not sure seven miles will be enough. There seems to be plenty to keep a person busy and we’re looking forward on visiting again in May.

    by Barb — March 12, 2013

  33. […] to walkability in our retirement preferences poll of a few weeks ago (See full report in “Our Members Speak“). So that in turn gave us the idea of providing a list of 10 towns where walkability is […]

    by » 10 Great Walkable Towns for Retirement Topretirements — March 18, 2013

  34. […] For further reference: Our Members Speak […]

    by » What Home Buyers Want Topretirements — March 19, 2013

  35. Middletown, Delaware – This state has low property tax, which can be reduced once age 65 and a DE resident between 1-3 yrs., discounts on income tax, and no sales tax! This is a great small town with a lot of charm and modern conveniences. The location is also great for those who like to travel: Quick access to major highways, close to airports. Day trips to Wilmington DE, DE Beaches, Philadelphia, Annapolis MD, Baltimore MD.

    by Laura — April 11, 2013

  36. I live about 30 miles from Middletown De and wish I had bought in De instead of Md. Much lower taxes – they have a great dog park there as well. Two of my kids live in De – Newark and Smyrna – all since I moved to Chestertown Md
    My property taxes are killing me although Chestertown is a great little town too.

    I am now looking further south though cause I want to get closer to the water.

    by Carol — April 12, 2013

  37. […] For further reading: 100 Best Places to Retire for 2013 Links to Previous Topretirements Surveys […]

    by » Results Are in: Where You Think the Best Place to Retire Is Topretirements — May 21, 2013

  38. Having looked at a number of “active” communities in Florida, one question that is on our “must” list is this: What percentage of your residents are year-round? I don’t know about you, but I have no desire to live in a ghost town from May through November.There’s nothing wrong with snowbirds. Heck, I wish I could afford two houses and do what they do, too. But since we can’t, we want to be in a community that may be smaller in the summer, but that isn’t reduced to a few diehards. We have not figured out what the magic percentage of summer residents should be, but I would think at least half, maybe more. In any case, this is one of our top 10 questions.

    by tomcat3333 — October 29, 2013

  39. re: tomcat3333, question

    We live in a Florida golf course condo community as all-year round residents. It is not a 55 and over community, but most are over 55 or from out of the country. Many people leave for at least part, if not all of the summer. I think that you will more likely have all-year round residents if you buy a house in Florida, rather than living in a condo or apartment. However, I think you should also consider that in any community, those living there all-year-round also may be working. After I retired, we stayed in our Maryland home for six months. All our neighbors headed off to work every day, so it was a ghost town anyway.

    We actually look forward to the three months or so when the snowbirds leave. We can go to the beach and watch the sunsets without encountering traffic jams and filled parking. There is always a camaraderie amongst full time residents. It’s easy to meet year-round residents in Florida via a myriad of activities and volunteer opportunities.

    by Lynn — October 30, 2013

  40. […] the Survey Here are links to some of our previous surveys, which we bet you find interesting: Retirement Housing Preferences Your Bucket Lists Are Amazing! Top Concerns about Retirement from Our Members (Finding the Right […]

    by » Take Our Newest Survey – Where You’ll Live Topretirements — June 16, 2014

  41. […] are links to some of our previous surveys, which we bet you find interesting: Retirement Housing Preferences Your Bucket Lists Are Amazing! Top Concerns about Retirement from Our Members (Finding the Right […]

    by » Take Our Newest Survey – Where You’ll Live Topretirements — June 17, 2014

  42. […] Degrees of Spousal Compatibility- 2013 Our Members Getting Ready for Big Retirement Moves- 2013 Retirement Living Preferences – 2013 Medicare Survey – 2012 Best and Worst Things About Your Retirement Your Bucket Lists Are […]

    by » Florida and Southeast Top Your ‘Where to Retire’ Preferences Topretirements — June 24, 2014

  43. […] further reference: What Boomers are Looking for in Their Next Home – One Story Living and Easy Walking Dominate Are We Seeing the End of the McMansion Era? What Are the Must-Have Features in Your Retirement […]

    by » What Baby Boomer Guys and Gals Want in Their Next Home Topretirements — July 11, 2014

  44. Walkability sounds great. We all get very tired of getting into the car to go here or there. As a practical matter, I’m not interested in having to walk to a grocery every day to buy food. Loading up the car every week or so is fine. However, I would like to walk to a gym of some sort, library, movie theater, restaurants and some sort of cultural venue (sounds like a college campus.) Most of us need to walk more, so it would be nice to be able to do errands en route. The question is, how ar do you want to tote things like groceries or dry cleaning?

    by Sandie — July 12, 2014

  45. […] Degrees of Spousal Compatibility- 2013 Our Members Getting Ready for Big Retirement Moves- 2013 Retirement Living Preferences – 2013 Medicare Survey – 2012 Best and Worst Things About Your Retirement Your Bucket Lists Are […]

    by » Good News: Topretirements Members Very Confident About Retirement - Topretirements — September 16, 2014

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