Wanted: Your Member Input and Survey Topics!

Category: General Retirement Issues

May 29, 2013 — Jeanne, one of our members, suggested that we do more reader input stories like we had last week on the best places to retire. We have a few ideas for topics to poll on, but would really like to hear yours! Please give us your suggestions on what we should get reader input on – we’ll take your input and get started. Speaking for ourselves, we love the member input we’ve been getting – the comments are so interesting. So we can’t wait to see what else you can come up with!

Instructions:
Please use the Comments section below to give us ideas on what you would like us to survey Topretirements members to help generate future articles. The more ideas the better – so put your creative hats on! Thanks.

PS – We have published the results of your suggestions in this summary article. But please keep your ideas coming.

Posted by Admin on May 28th, 2013

60 Comments »

  1. Dear Editor,
    Here’s one for you: Snowbird pairs!
    “For lots of folks, the best place to retire is not one place but two! 😀 These people want it all – topped off with their versions of the best weather year-round. So snowbirds, what two “best places” do you split your time between, and which months do you spend in each place?”

    Editor’s comment: Fantastic suggestion – just the kind of idea we were hoping to see. Keep ’em coming! Make sure you see the article we wrote on this: “Best Places to Retire: Your Ideal Snowbird Pairings

    by Clark — May 28, 2013

  2. How about “What are the advantages of staying put and not re-locating in retirement”

    by Judy — May 29, 2013

  3. I would like to know what members have done/going to do for when the big moving day comes, such as renting a POD, driving a moving van, renting a driver/truck, what they found worked best, the in and out, cost, with all the pit falls. Along with hotels along the way and when they get there.

    by CB — May 29, 2013

  4. How about some info on full time RVing? We want to do this but have questions about residency for voting and license plates, also mail and etc while in transit between places.

    by Claudia — May 29, 2013

  5. I would like to know if there is any info on renting a winter get away for five or six months at a time near or on a body of water and has worm weather.

    by Trish — May 29, 2013

  6. RE: CB asked about moving. We have moved repeatedly over the years and my recommendation is to hire a PROFESSIONAL! Get several bids and Do Not try to “save money” on this if you you want your stuff to arrive entact. Peace of mind is worth it and at least the major companies have insurance to cover anything broken. Some movers have a minimum weight requirement, usually 1000 lbs., and there are waivers for press board furniture. Let them come in a pack – they know what they’re doing.

    by Holly — May 29, 2013

  7. Does anyone want to live in New England? It is expensive, I know, but as I drove around there this week (my friend is in a senior facility there) i thought how lovely it is–gloucester and north of boston. But the cost is prohitive. Just throwing that in for those that maybe can afford to look there for 6 months.

    by millie — May 29, 2013

  8. I would like to see the topic of cultural diversity of states, cities and communities. I live in New York and love the wealth of differences within our melting pot…

    by AaBeeda — May 29, 2013

  9. I agree with Claudia, lets have more about the RV life style. And more about affordable places to live. Most of us can’t do a luxury life style.

    by Marv — May 29, 2013

  10. I would like to read about retiring to the US Virgin Islands. Does anyone have any experience with this? I am particularly interested in St Croix…

    by Lookdowntheroad — May 29, 2013

  11. Long time reader, first time poster here —
    I’d love to hear about the experiences people have had selling their homes before moving to another location. My husband and I currently live in an old (1850) church building that we renovated 17 years ago when we moved in. Most people would consider it a major fixer-upper, though there aren’t aren’t any real problems as far as day-to-day living goes. I know we’re in an unusual situation, but how about other people who have sold old buildings? How do you find the market for them when so many people clamor for state-of-the-art updates?
    I agree with AaBeeda about cultural diversity. Also, what locations are best for working artists with very little money?

    by Judith — May 29, 2013

  12. Will you consider co-housing with a friend/relative if it means you could actually retire?

    OR

    When your spouse dies (or you divorce) are you afraid you’ll be lonely?

    by Jerry Myroup — May 29, 2013

  13. I would like to hear more about renting (1 to 3 month stays) in retirement communities. It’s going to take a lot of research to decide where/if I want to move to a place like that. I’m liking better the idea of staying where I am and travelling during the winter months.

    by Rose — May 29, 2013

  14. I would just like to see topic’s about the average person. Not on trips to Europe for 30 days or how long your money will last if you have a million dollars. Most retirees can’t afford what magazines write about. Just keep it simple for us that are retired and don’t have millions of dollars.

    by Jeffrey Snyder — May 29, 2013

  15. I agree with Rose about information on renting in retirement communities. We want to move west. We love North Central California, but the state seems to be in crisis.

    Also LOW Humidity is on our list. We can take high temperatures but the humidity is killing us, not to mention restricting outdoor activities that we love.

    by Jane C — May 29, 2013

  16. I would like to know about places for women to retire. Many of the towns I have researched have a median age of 35-40. This is if you are not buying in a retirement community.
    Also has anyone ever considered house sharing?

    by j&j — May 29, 2013

  17. I would like to hear about the most scenic places to retire in the USA. Some more information about splitting the time between 2 places would also be helpful.

    by Bill Hunt — May 29, 2013

  18. I’d like to hear more about cultural diversity of states, cities and communities. I live in California and love the wealth of differences within our melting pot.

    Also about other that are considering early retirement that may have teenage children, where you still need to find good schools in retirement areas.

    by Jeffrey — May 29, 2013

  19. Where to find a newer over 55 community in the southeast that is moderately priced with low maintence fees?

    It seems almost everything I see in the way of a new home is aimed at luxuary retiremunt living along with high maintence costs.

    by Mike L. — May 29, 2013

  20. I would like to know about renting rather than buying a place. Are there 55+ communities that have rentals? Not just for snowbirds but for year round. As others expressed, I am also interested in cohousing.

    by Stacey — May 29, 2013

  21. We checked with moving.com and received 4 free quotes. 2 of the companies only will call and vice you a quote without actually seeing what you have (my husband and 8 won’t be going with them) and 2 companies already came out and gave us quotes after doing a total walk through our current house. We have quotes and will hopefully be moving to a resident owned mobile home park in west central Florida before the end of October. Also August and September months cost more to move due to higher demand.

    by Angela — May 30, 2013

  22. I third the request for an article on full time RVing. My parents did this for 10 years, loving it. Was cheap and satisfying, but was a while ago so curious about how things have changed.

    by Julie — May 30, 2013

  23. Lookdowntheroad,

    We lived in St. Croix for work for 10 years, so I can hopefully answer some questions for you, though I’m not sure this is the place for it. IMO it falls under the old truism: “It’s a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.” Particularly true now that THE major employer on island, the refinery, has shut down. Crime was bad when we left 10 years ago…I can only imagine what it is like now. Of course, real estate is probably much cheaper because of the plant closure.

    by Julie — May 30, 2013

  24. I agree with the ideas of having “where (and how) to retire in different bandwidths of retirement income. People who are looking to retire on $30,000 a year, people who will retire on $50,000 a year, etc. I’m also frustrated with the 55+ communities that are $300,000 or more. That may be a deal for retirees from the most expensive parts of the country, but not for the rest of us. I’d also like to see some information on the REAL prices of the developments. The developers always advertise a low price, and then you find out that it doesn’t include light fixtures, bathroom hardware, or flooring costs yet. Feels like a bait & switch.

    by Sharon — May 30, 2013

  25. Oh – and I also think that it’s a good idea to have more info for solo retirees (I’m a new widow, and I’m definitely more sensitive to this!). I think it’s also relevant to couples, since sooner or later it happens to everyone. I’d like to see each article contain at least one paragraph on how the article applies to solos.

    by Sharon — May 30, 2013

  26. Some info for the single gals interested in co-housing http://www.goldengirlsnetwork.org/

    by Maggie — May 30, 2013

  27. Obamacare and how it impacts retirees for good or bad. I fear it will cause the few companies that still offer retiree healthcare for those not yet eligible for Medicare to cancel their policy, but that is a possibility we live with anyway. Retiree health care in most companies can be cancelled at any time, so perhaps this will make early retirement more secure? Just wish I knew more.

    by Julie — May 30, 2013

  28. Singles: I have visited some adult communities where I would feel like a third wheel and some that seem more accepting, but I cannot visit all of them…it would be nice to hear from married couples and how many singles are happy in there communities.

    Towns that befriend you (if you make the effort of course) vs “frinedly” towns that often

    by Elaine — May 30, 2013

  29. Elaine,

    Several examples where single women have found acceptance and happiness (not all are active-adult communities): Villages (FL); Woodside Plantation (SC); Wolf Creek Lodge (cohousing)in CA; Del Webb Orlando (FL); Victoria Gardens (FL), Daniel Island, SC; Fairfield Glade (TN). These represent places real single women live; single women (never-married, divorced, widowed) contributed anecdotes for my book about single women and retirement.

    by Jan Cullinane — May 30, 2013

  30. Thanks Jan. I have your book and am enjoying it.

    I didn’t finish, but hit send by mistake. I just visited Asheville NC and it seems to have it’s fair share of happy singles. My preference is probably a town vs an active adult community, but I will keep an open mind. I am one of the never married and no children so children is not a factor for me. I have also lived in 7 different states so I have had some experience in making friends. I lived in Wilmington NC and did not find the people very friendly so I know that’s not for me.

    One of the things that many folks in Asheville mentioned was the Reuter Center where the OLLI resides. OLLI is a nice place to start, but apparently they vary and Asheville has a very active OLLI.

    by Elaine — May 30, 2013

  31. I would also like to hear more about advantages and disadvantages of staying put during retirement.

    RVing for a few years would also be interesting to learn about.

    What about reverse snowbirds? Those of us who live in places that have pleasant temperatures 9-10 months a year, but want to get out of the heat during summertime.

    Lastly, some of us are still caring for very elderly parents. Ideas about segueing into retirement while still being sandwiched between parents and grandchildren would be very helpful.

    by JCarol — May 30, 2013

  32. I am interested in retirement options for poor people…people who will be living on 20 – 30 k a year..and who do not have a lot of money to spend on a home. Also interested in places for singles. Things like coho using are interesting if the buyin is not so prohibitive. Also interested in hearing more about western states and low humidity. This is a pretty eastern-centric board.

    by Ginger — May 30, 2013

  33. Ok, hope I’m not going to sound like a curmudgeon but almost all that I’ve read on this topic pretty much involve couples. Yet in my current neighborhood alone there are a fairly good number of persons like myself, trying to make plans for one. Statistically we are a large group nation wide.
    Would be very nice to get some ideas for those of us now traveling alone.

    I do agree strongly with Ginger. This is a “pretty eastern-centric board”.
    Does that imply that people who live in the western states are happier where they are than us easterners??

    by Anne — May 31, 2013

  34. Anne: “I do agree strongly with Ginger. This is a “pretty eastern-centric board”.
    Does that imply that people who live in the western states are happier where they are than us easterners??”

    Or that this website reaches more people in the East, for whatever reason, and that we tend to be more vocal. Discussion is stimulated by the participants. If you want to see something, continue to talk it up.

    Personally, I am looking forward to discovering the west, but won’t be able to do so until retirement. Not enough time currently.

    by Julie — May 31, 2013

  35. I would like to see some recommendations of towns where there is a major medical college. My PCP is leaving family practice to return to school and come out a dermatologist (edited) …she is recommending to her elderly patients to become established with a major medical college (edited)
    I have a friend in Atlanta (edited) who has lost three of her long established doctors. Two are refusing Medicare and one is retiring early.
    So far we have looked at Augusta, GA (we have been posted at Ft. Gordon twice and are also retired military) and the Medical College of Georgia, and also at Knoxville, TN and the Medical College at the Univ. of Tennessee.
    I also would like to see public transportation discussed since there will possibly become a time when I do not have my husband to chauffeur me to appointments or go shopping for me. I may have to use public transportation and that has been difficult to ascertain. I know that we cannot live in N. Augusta, SC since you must transfer buses to go into GA, and since I now am dependent on a walker and will someday require a power chair, this would be difficult.
    Sorry this is so long but we are now preparing our home for the market and that too is another subject!

    by Diane — June 1, 2013

  36. :roll:Thanks for asking. I love all the information I get from your site and newsletters. I’d like to hear more about pros and cons around renting vs. purchasing in retirement. I’m strongly looking at the Carolinas. I’d like to hear more options about short term renting before making a decision of where to live in retirement and what to look for.

    by Linda Clark — June 2, 2013

  37. Diane,
    Not sure what you mean by “major” medical schools, but US News recently came out with their 2014 “best medical schools” rankings. The primary care medical schools may be of more interest than research schools. You can also get their rankings of hospitals. Not perfect, but a good place to start.

    by Elaine — June 2, 2013

  38. I think it would be helpful to write about the monthly expenses in your most popular areas, see “Jo” in your most popular places blog. The purchase price of housing is easy to find on the Internet, but the HOA fees, utilities, insurance costs vary wildly! When looking this past year, we were shocked -HOA fees from 400 – 2500 per year for similar housing and amenities. This info would be so helpful in figuring out total monthly cost to retire to certain communities and areas. Thanks for asking!

    by Sandy — June 3, 2013

  39. Ideas for surveys:
    -How to find a primary MD for Medicare in new area?
    -Things to consider for the actual move (for example using a mover at destination vs origin of move; expedited or not; getting estimates, etc
    -Before the move: Downsizing, was there anything you wished you had kept? Is it just stuff? Other planning. What did those who have already mover wish they had done before move? Move managers, what situation makes it worthwhile, when is it not?
    -The unforeseen costs in general or a specific area…the ones we should have considered, but didn’t think to consider.
    -Singles, especially the all alone ones…no family to speak of. We want to hear from couples, not just singles on this one. For example, we do not know of any singles in our neighborhood is also useful info. Jan Cullinane’s book is a great place to start…good stuff (The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement). Useful for men and couple’s too since it is a newer book…therefore newer info.
    -Financial advisor: how to find one? find a new one or stick with old; the pros and cons if you have low net worth; is one who specializes in retirement good idea? Are the independent ones that partner with a discount brokerage, truly independent?; etc.

    by Elaine — June 3, 2013

  40. Ooooh, those were good suggestions Elaine. I’m decluttering now, and it’s hard to figure out what to keep and what to get rid of. I also liked your suggestions about unforeseen costs.

    I really want an analysis of small house or condo, and to hear from people who made those choices.

    I’d like to see an article just about mistakes. What did people discover they did wrong?

    I keep looking at big condos. My kids keep telling me that I have to remember I’m looking for a home for one person not five or six people. How do people decide how much they can downsize comfortably?

    by Sharon — June 4, 2013

  41. I would like to see a survey on ‘Retired or Retiring Early and Relocating’. Why retired or retiring? (planned choice, medical reasons, job loss, family crisis); Income level and source (pension, disability, savings); Why relocating? (personal choice, taxes, oost of living, family, weather); Where relocating? (or staying in place); Lessons learned (or being learned) about your early retirement and retirement location?

    by Dachsie — June 4, 2013

  42. I agree with the “mistakes” idea…..as I am just starting with our retirement journey, I would like to know…if you could begin again with the retirement search, what would you do differently. With the choices you made…ie downsizing, location, weather, finances, family. Would you do anything differently if you could do it all again, or would you change nothing?

    by catz — June 5, 2013

  43. 1. RV retirement: class A vs. B vs. C; places to buy, repair, shows to visit; used vs. new; rental vs. buy; handling mail (USPS like), email & internet; choosing state to register vehicle and for voting + taxes; storing RV if not full-time; places that have RV platforms for long-term residence or retirement in vehicle … and MANY more concerns.
    2. Western states. Agree that list currently/historically western biased, but would like to see more involving west (specifically: NM, CO, WY, MT, ID, UT, NV, AZ, CA, OR, WA)
    3. Reverse snowbirdng and two-place residency (could tie in with #1 & #2)
    4. Renting vs. buying
    5. Making current homes appropriate for seniors/elderly, what to look for in new construction, RVs, rentals, etc.

    by Mad Monk — June 6, 2013

  44. Sorry, I mean that list is Eastern biased … “W” is right beside “E” … dang keyboard does not do what I think!

    by Mad Monk — June 6, 2013

  45. I would like to talk about ways to give back. Are there any unique ones.

    by susan — June 7, 2013

  46. Maybe boring but possibly important: I’d like to see differences in housing structure discussed especially regarding effect of climate, old vs new construction, different sorts of foundation, different siding materials.
    I have never in my life lived in a new house — always very sturdy 19th century structures with “good bones” and solid as rocks.
    Now I’m delving into previously unknown territory and am wondering what I should be looking out for, especially in a warm & humid climate. Is masonite siding always to be avoided? What is the best foundation for a manufactured home? How long do manufactured homes last, anyway?
    Houses built in the 60s & 70s seem particularly flimsy to me. Am I right or am I prejudiced? And houses built in the 20s and 30s are often charming but also tend to be laden with asbestos — should that be a concern?
    And et cetera …

    by Judith — June 7, 2013

  47. How about a discussion of places for Baby Boomers – where can we go to find an interesting, eclectic life style that is not all about golf courses and country clubs? Not interested in retirement communities but instead REAL places where we can find like-minded people with varied interests. Maybe eco-friendly, walkable communities that are attractive to our age group (born in the early 60s!) Thank you!

    by Anne B — July 4, 2013

  48. Anyone know of any information about possible shared or alternative living situations for couples in which one is disabled and one is caretaker. I want to live with my husband but get (and give) some support and relief, and avoid high cost of assisted living. There are probably others like us out there. Relocating to a warm climate sounds good!

    by Carolyn E — July 5, 2013

  49. I hear you, Anne B. There have actually been several conversations about areas that are not golf-centric on the 100 Best Places forum. Check it out and bring your own ideas, too!

    by Judith Keefer — July 5, 2013

  50. LOL — I seem to keep changing identities — from just plain Judith to Judith KT to Judith Keefer. I’m very glad everything is straightened out now, thanks to admin at TopRetirements. Fast & friendly responses!

    by Judith Keefer — July 5, 2013

  51. I would like to see conversations about good places for boomers too, with respect to what I am looking for…which would be someplace that I can have lower-than-average costs of living, decent weather (no snow!), public transportation preferable, communities with some culture happening (little theatre, live music, author/book signings, poetry readings, clubs like book clubs, women’s groups, political groups, etc) a place with decent medical care including alternative care (holistic medicine, chiropractic, acupuncture, etc). I grew up in the 60s and am concerned about my haalth, both physical and spiritual, and my environment. And I am also poor. How do we get as much as possible of the good life, at the lowest cost?

    by Ginger — July 5, 2013

  52. I would love to see the administrators of Top Retirements partner with HGTV and get them to maybe have a couple of shows aimed towards retirees Jonathan and Drew could get involved with fixer uppers in 55+communities, relocating seniors looking for the ” perfect” retirement areas, etc. There are so many if us baby boomers around, it would be a wonderful thing to do!

    Editor’s Note: Thanks so much for the great idea and vote of confidence. We agree, HGTV’s viewers would be well served with some segments of boomers as they go about searching for their dream retirement home. For our part, we would be eager to cooperate with HGTV and provide our input to help make the shows more realistic and valuable.

    by DianaF — July 6, 2013

  53. Great idea, DianaF! One of my many guilty pleasures is watching House Hunters, Property Virgins, My First Sale, and My First Place on HGTV. ALL of these shows spend an inordinate amount of time on affluent young professionals, and I spend WAY too much of my own time watching these yuppies turning down places just because they couldn’t possibly consider a house unless it’s brand-new move-in ready (with, of course, stainless steel appliances, granite counters, and “open plan” kitchen/living area).
    HGTV is a very good and useful channel, and its lack of attention to the boomer demographic (both buying and selling) is puzzling to me.

    by Judith Keefer — July 6, 2013

  54. I also watch HGTV on a regular basis. I feel the shows not only neglect boomers, but also most of the population. Very frustrating to see yuppies complaining about the most trivial details, when the homeless problem is so prevalent in this country.

    by Bob P — July 6, 2013

  55. DianeF/Judith/Bob: I agree about HGTV. So how about we EACH write to them online and let them know we would like to see some shows about boomers/seniors looking for retirement homes? This site would be a great place to find lots of subjects for their shows – including couples or singles looking for their next home into retirement.

    by sheila — July 7, 2013

  56. Sheila-I will do that! While it s true the HGTV shows show many yuppies; I have seen shows where the buyers do not have a million, or even five hundred thousand to spend on a home…they have normal budgets 😉 for their age…I do find myself wondering what the big spenders do for a living…ANYWAY, I will be writing them in a few minutes asking them not to neglect the baby boomers 🙂

    by DianaF — July 7, 2013

  57. Well, I gave HGTV a pitch for what it’s worth.
    Just FYI — First you have to register at HGTV.com. Like most such sites these days, it’s free to do. I had a bit of trouble finding contact information but eventually put “contact” into the search box and came up with a form for comments & questions. If anyone here has a more direct way of contacting HGTV, please share it!
    Also, don’t forget they also publish a magazine. The more letters the better!

    by Judith Keefer — July 7, 2013

  58. Earlier on, I mentioned my experience renting for 6 months at a co-housing community in NH.
    Something like this for people seeking many of the issues addressed in this forum are met here.
    It’s not for everyone. Perhaps not me, although the jury is still out.
    Multi-generational or adults only… There are thousands of choices.
    Deborah

    by Deborah — July 8, 2013

  59. Judith Keefer- I too had a small problem finding contact information for HGTV. I found it by also searching their site. I did not have to register, but found something that said questions and comments and filled in he appropriate information…it was almost painless 🙂 So, let’s get more people to do so and maybe they will listen to us.

    by DianaF — July 8, 2013

  60. Good for you, DianaF! I registered before I searched, so I’ll retract my statement that you *have* to register first (may not be such a bad idea, even so …).
    I chose “Comment” rather than “Question” and sent it to HGTV Corporate — might as well start at the top! Got a robot response right away which did at least acknowledge that my input had to do with a programming suggestion …
    Okay, all you active, energetic boomers — let’s get ourselves a show on HGTV!

    by Judith Keefer — July 8, 2013

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Salary Data custom salary reports specific to your state and industry.