Florida Tops Most Popular Places to Retire for 2015

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

Update February 24, 2016: The 2016 Most Popular Places to Retire is now out

February 21, 2015 – When Topretirements members and visitors dream about their best places to retire, warm places in Florida are usually featured. The Sunshine State dominates our 2015 list of the best places to retire, with 25 of its cities and towns making the cut (2 more than in 2014). Florida was followed by North Carolina (11 towns), South Carolina (10 – up from 8 last year), and Arizona and Washington with 6 each. Tennessee had 5 cities in the top 100.

The Sunbelt Rules
The Sunbelt, with 78 towns on Topretirements.com’s 9th annual list of the 100 most popular retirement spots, continues to be the target of most of our visitor’s retirement dreams. After that the American northwest and mountain states attract a lot of attention – 16 destinations made the list from Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Just 3 states in the Northeast made the cut: Virginia (Charlottesville, Williamsburg, and Winchester), Delaware (Lewes and Rehoboth Beach), and Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh). The Midwest failed to garner an entry on the list. The highest ranking non-Sun Belt city on our list was Charlottesville (VA) at #19. Note: To make sure you don’t miss new lists like this, sign up for our free weekly “Best Places to Retire” newsletter. See also “The Worst States for Retirement – 2014“.

10 New Towns Join as Popular Places to Retire
Ten new towns moved onto the 2015 list, one fewer in 2014. Eight of the 10 newcomers were from the Sunbelt, mostly Florida. The 8 Sunbelt towns new to the list this year were: 5 from Florida (Port St. Lucie, Cape Coral, Dunedin, Boynton Beach, and Fernandina Beach); Las Vegas (NV); and Gulf Shores (AL). The 2 non Sunbelt cities joining the list this year were both from the West – Boise City (ID) and Whitefish (MT).

Green Valley Joins Top 10
As has been the case since Topretirements published its first list in 2007, Asheville, NC is the #1 town, receiving 10 times as many page visits as Boise City (ID), which grabbed the #100 position with under 1,400 page visits. Asheville has a top reputation as a great place to retire because of its beautiful mountains, gentle 4 seasons climate, and recreational/cultural opportunities such as the University of North Carolina at Asheville and its many programs for retirees. Only 1 retirement destination broke into the top 10 this year, Green Valley in Arizona, which nudged out last year’s #7, Austin, Texas. Otherwise the order of the top 10 was more or less the same.

Downtown New Bern

Moving up to the top 25
Within the top 25 best places to retire there were more dramatic changes, with Bluffton (SC) clinching the #15 spot (from #36 last year), New Bern moving form #30 to #16, Tampa from #43 to #17, Brevard (NC) from #50 to #22, and Colorado Springs gaining enough altitude to climb from #72 to #25.

Towns Rather Than Active Communities
This list concentrate on towns/cities rather than on active communities, which we have excluded. If we had included them, several active communities were popular enough to have made the list (The Villages would have been in the top 10, and Tellico Village would been somewhere in the middle. See our 2015 list of “The 100 Most Popular Active Adult Communities” for more.


Our Criteria
Topretirements.com, “Where Baby Boomers Go to Find Their Best Place to Retire”, has published its 100 most popular list annually since 2007. While most of the “Best Places” lists are either the subjective opinions of the authors or a ranking from various criteria, our list is different. Ours is essentially a popularity contest that reflects the opinions of our visitors. It was compiled by calculating the 100 towns that receive the most online visits of the 1000+ cities reviewed at Topretirements.com during the last 6 months of 2014. Some probably made the list this year because they were featured in one of our weekly newsletters. Note that we consider the states from North Carolina and Tennessee to Florida, plus the Southwest, as being in the Sunbelt (so Virginia and Kentucky are not Sunbelt states by our definition).

These are the 100 most popular places to retire for 2015. But we urge you not to stop there – you can explore the more than 1000 towns and 2900 active adult communities by using the “Find a Community” feature on the top right of all pages at Topretirements. And of course, we look forward to your Comments – last year’s list generated almost 300 comments!

1. Asheville, NC
2. Sarasota, FL
3. Venice, FL
4. Green Valley, AZ
5. Beaufort, SC
6. Charleston, SC
7. Myrtle Beach, SC

The Grand Strand at Myrtle Beach

8. Prescott, AZ
9. Ft. Myers, FL
10. Naples, FL
11. Paris, TN
12. Austin, TX
13. Clearwater, FL
14. St. Petersburg, FL
15. Bluffton, SC
16. New Bern, NC
17. Tampa, FL
18. Pensacola, FL
19. Charlottesville, VA
20. Summerville, SC
21. Las Cruces, NM

Southwestern archictecture in Las Cruces

22. Brevard, NC
23. San Antonio, TX
24. San Diego, CA
25. Colorado Springs, CO
26. Knoxville, TN
27. Greenville, NC
28. Tucson, AZ
29. Chapel Hill, NC
30. Savannah, GA
31. Eugene, OR
32. Chattanooga, TN
33. Portland, OR
34. Aiken, SC
35. St. Augustine, FL
36. Fairhope, AL
37. Athens, GA
38. Williamsburg, VA
39. Beaufort, NC
40. Jacksonville, FL
41. Vero Beach, FL
42. St. George, UT

St. George moved from #97 to #42 this year

43. Bend, OR
44. Lewes, DE
45. Blue Ridge, GA
46. Clemson, SC
47. Maryville, TN
48. Hendersonville, NC
49. Crossville, TN
50. Greenville, SC
51. Sequim, WA
52. Port Charlotte, FL
53. Grand Junction, CO
54. Sedona, AZ
55. Southport, NC
56. Denver, CO
57. San Luis Obispo, CA
58. Bellingham, WA
59. Rehoboth Beach, DE
60. Stuart, FL
61. Charlotte, NC
62. Flagstaff, AZ
63. Ft. Collins, CO
64. Delray Beach, FL
65. Orlando, FL
66. Murphy, NC *

Murphy is new to the list this year

67. Gulfport, FL
68. Albuquerque, NM
69. Hilton Head, SC
70. Reno, NV
71. Winchester, VA
72. Port Townsend, WA
73. Winter Park, FL
74. Eureka, CA
75. Henderson, NV
76. San Juan Islands, WA
77. Port St. Lucie, FL *

Port St. Lucie, a 2015 newcomer to our list, has many active communities to choose from

78. Pittsburgh, PA
79. St. Simons Island, GA
80. Spokane, WA
81. Mt. Airy, NC
82. Key West, FL
83. Durango, CO
84. Las Vegas, NV *
85. Santa Barbara, CA
86. Corpus Christi, TX
87. Cape Coral, FL *

In Cape Coral just about anyone can live on a canal

88. Dunedin, FL *
89. Palm Springs, CA
90. Gainesville, FL
91. Mesquite, NV
92. Seattle, WA
93. Boynton Beach, FL *
94. Santa Fe, NM
95. Gulf Shores, AL *
96. Whitefish, MT *
97. Leesburg, FL
98. Phoenix, AZ
99. Fernandina Beach, FL *
100. Boise, ID *

*New to the List in 2015

Sliding Off the List
As always, some towns lost part of their allure to prospective retirees last year. Ten cities dropped off the list from the previous year, and those include Daytona Beach (FL), Melbourne (FL), Winston-Salem, NC, Murray, KY, Mesa (AZ), Napa (CA), Cheyenne (WY), Boca Raton (FL), Cape May, NJ, and Mount Dora (FL).

For Additional reference:
2016 Most Popular Places to Retire is now out
2014 List of Best Places to Retire
Sunbelt Rules: The 2013 List of 100 Best Places to Retire
100 Best Active Adult or 55+ Communities – 2014
Dueling Retirement States Series (Starts with Arizona vs. Florida)
10 Worst States for Retirement – 2014

What do You Think?
Please add your Comments and reactions below. We are eager to hear your thoughts about where you are considering for retirement.




Posted by Admin on February 21st, 2015

169 Comments »

  1. I continue to think your criteria for landing on this list is strange, but I guess it’s your list. I haven’t clicked on Cape Coral, Florida, so I didn’t “vote” for it. I voted for it by spending my money to buy a condo here. I can’t afford to live on the ocean which would have been my preference. I also can’t afford to live in California which would have been another preference. Living on a major canal at the intersection of another major canal was a good second choice for me. Beautiful water view. Lots of boat traffic (the intersecting canal leads to the river and then the gulf). Fish jumping, dolphins cruising, lots and lots of birds. And I don’t have to pay for flood insurance which is very expensive. I was careful to pick a condo that’s not in a flood zone.

    by Linda — February 22, 2015

  2. Linda, I’m surprised that the condo you purchased on a canal is a no flood zone.
    I would figure any home on a canal is subject to flood. But being in a condo perhaps a high rise is why?

    by LindaF — February 23, 2015

  3. […] For further reading: See the last time we wrote this article: “Worst States to Retire 2102“. 100 Most Popular Places to Retire – 2015 […]

    by » 10 Worst States for Retirement for 2014 - Topretirements — February 23, 2015

  4. I’m not a big fan of these types of lists, but it is interesting that of the 10 most popular areas, 7 are coastal, 2 are desert and, yet, the number 1 ranked town is mountain.

    by Larry — February 24, 2015

  5. My husband and I are in our mid 70’s. We live on a mountaintop in Jasper, GA. We absolutely love it here….the weather is great….we do have some snow in the winter and sometimes we are snowed in but I would guess no more than 10-11 days a year and that is because we are on a mountaintop. The people that live here are wonderful and mostly retirees. We check on one another and there are clubs and classes of all kinds in our little town. There are many waterfalls, hiking trails nearby and we are within 15 min of Amicalola Falls….the largest falls east of the Mississippi! The beauty, wildlife and breathtaking views are unsurpassed! If you prefer gated communities, we have those, too, including Big Canoe, Bent Tree and Georgian Highlands. We are only an hour and a half from Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport and the first mountain town from Atlanta….foothills of the Appalachians! Blue Ridge Lake and Lake Lanier are within 45 min away. A beautiful place to live!

    by spiderwort — February 25, 2015

  6. After all the time we take in deciding where to retire, I often wonder how many people made the right choice. Does anyone move back to where they came from because they’ve decided the place they chose wasn’t right for them after all.

    by Anne J — February 25, 2015

  7. I think a good article for TopRetirements would be how retirees’ preference or “best place” changes with added age and time retired. (Maybe it’s been done — I’ll look for it.) For example, we have changed significantly since retiring and before (now at 67 we have been retired for 12 years). Some of this is due to continued research on “best place” for us, some has definitely been due to the effects of aging (and having a better understanding of what is to come) and some is simply time. Related to this might be whether retirees expect whether their first location will be their final retirement spot — we did. (With longer retirements of 20 – 40 years anticipated, this becomes a real question.)

    On this Top 100 article specifically, I find that including Virginia in the Northeast is a real stretch. Having lived 12 years in Virginia and 40 years in NC, they should be grouped together. Perhaps in a mid-South belt. But let me hasten to say that these two “similar” states are also vastly different.

    Now this particular input relates to both of my first two comments. This winter, one of the “preference” changes came to a head with a strong desire for a warmer, sunnier climate thank central NC — especially with this very difficult winter. We have eliminated the Southwest for reasons I’ve discussed elsewhere in TopRetirements. But in Jan, we rented a place in Cape Coral, FL which is newly in the Top 100. We have already booked two weeks in Cape Coral for next winter (different house).

    Cape Coral was NEVER in our top choice even in FL. Nothing on the Gulf Coast was (is?). But we found there a marvelous town, nice canal locations (on the water) all over with many nearby attractions and all that South Florida has to offer. Being from central NC, humidity is not new to us nor is it a deterrent. Easy access to the intercoastal waterway and the Gulf is great. With minor (but apparently increasing) physical impairments, I find the attraction of being able to use a bicycle without a hill or requiring a “mountain bike” is nice. The selection of good quality (not necessarily expensive) restaurants just in Cape Coral alone is excellent to say nothing of surrounding communities.

    So we’re looking forward to going back and will take more time to investigate South Florida in general (exclusive of big cities).

    Rich

    by Rich — February 25, 2015

  8. The Villages in Florida did not make the top 100? Really? Or is it not on the list because it’s not a traditional city, even though it’s over 100,000 in population?

    Editor’s note:
    See this paragraph from the article that explained your perfectly reasonable question. The reason we went with what we did is it is too hard to draw the line between active communities when they start to become cities. So we have another list for the Best 100 Active Adult Communities.

    Towns Rather Than Active Communities
    This list concentrate on towns/cities rather than on active communities, which we have excluded. If we had included them, several active communities were popular enough to have made the list (The Villages would have been in the top 10, and Tellico Village would been somewhere in the middle. See our 2014 list of “The 100 Most Popular Active Adult Communities” for more.

    by Peter — February 25, 2015

  9. I was looking forward to see if the town that my wife and I are seriously are thinking moving to. A fellow Officer is fro Asheville and he gave me a town to consider which is Cornelius N.C. He explained the too many people are moving to Asheville. Does anyone have any comments regarding Cornelius. Looking for any response, I’m retired, the wife has a couple of more years.

    by Andre — February 25, 2015

  10. I am in a total state of confusion as to how anyone arrives at some of the cities listed as being ideal for retirement. I am a 64 year old male, separated, and of course living alone. I am a retired engineer from the Department of Defense. I currently live in Lincolnton, NC, the last of the three cities where I’ve resided since I moved to NC in 2004. The other two are Charlotte and Harrisburg. Since I am retired, I am now on a fixed annuity from the DoD, and a small SS income. My total monthly income is roughly 60% of what I would make if I still worked. Therefore, an ideal retirement city or state should cater to a reduced income, not a RICH income. Many adult (55+) communities are unbelievably expensive, and assume that you already own a paid for home worth at least $300K that you can sell and spend the equity. I am NOT one of those. I had to start all over again in 2011 when I bought my current home, a 3 bedroom, 2 bath rancher (1500 square feet) with 2 car garage, and I bought it for $129,900. It is financed 100% (USDA loan). My monthly mortgage is $850.00/month (P.I.T.A), and that is all I can afford, and still afford utilities and groceries. The luxury retirement communities and cities that show up on these annual “lists” are absolutely preposterous recommendations for those of us living on a relatively low fixed income. For those that don’t know, Department of Defense Engineers are neither rich nor overpaid! Other factor that should be included for retirement is the quality of the native people in terms of reliability, honesty, integrity, etc. and here in the State of NC I have found that be the worst of any of the 35 states I have explored. Another factor is general quality of life, education level, the “redneck” factor, quality and quantity of restaurants and stores, quality and quantity of roads, driver knowledge, skill, and courtesy, and many other things that make day to day life a joy instead of a chore. North Carolina does NOT fit any of that criteria, and I have no clue why any NC city is on this list. As soon as the good Lord opens the door I am leaving NC, hopefully to relocate in either Waco or San Antonio, TX, both of which are more affordable and have a lot more to offer. One other point, I am totally offended that Virginia is not included in what this list calls the South. The folks that generated this “top 100” list must all be from North Carolina, because all the natives here think the South starts at the VA/NC state line. I hate to tell them that the Mason/Dixon line is between Maryland (where I was raised) and Pennsylvania. I spent the last 15 years of my life before I moved to NC (against my will) in VA, and I consider it home. Quality of life in VA is night and day different from NC.

    by Rodney D. Hays — February 25, 2015

  11. We go back and forth between Colorado Springs and Marco Island, FL. Although we are early in the retirement journey it seems to me that people/friends that we have close along the way make us happy. We like Marco because there is a heavy population of retired people and it’s easy to make friends. The warm weather and water activities add to our enjoyment.

    by Craig Drescher — February 25, 2015

  12. Spiderwort,
    I was so glad to read your post. I’ve been more interested in Jasper/Marble Hill Georgia than any other place in the country as a possible retirement destination. I am getting ready for work now and don’t have time to write my questions, so please (please) tune in later today.
    Many thanks!

    by ella — February 26, 2015

  13. does anyone out here has any information regarding Vevice Florida ; my wife and I looking to invest in that area when we retire, any feedback will be appreciated thanks

    by george dardonis — February 26, 2015

  14. Was just wondering if the comments from all of these articles could be sorted and listed by state and/ or town? There is a lot of valuable comments and information scattered throughout the many articles that I have read on this website over the years. It seems that questions just recur over and over again. For example, George’s request above for info on Venice FL. I remember quite a discussion about Venice a while back, and it would be helpful if there were a way for George and others to access a compilation of all Venice comments and thoughts sprinkled throughout the many articles archived here. Possible?

    by SandyZ — February 26, 2015

  15. Rodney, The criteria are clearly stated as a popularity contest for this list. So read it and take away what you want. I certainly consider VA southern…Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy. But read the Top Retirments blog “Can a Yankee find happiness in the South” The south can be defined in many ways…for example how many times the state is listed in country music songs. I also do not consider FL southern, but I do recognize it is in the south.

    I have also lived in NC and VA. And for most things statewide comparisons are not very useful. For example, I loved Chapel Hill and did not like Wilmington NC at all…so I enjoy these lists and all the comments.

    by elaine — February 26, 2015

  16. Rodney,
    Why are you planning to relocate to Texas rather than Virginia?

    by ella — February 26, 2015

  17. Ella – would love to chat about Jasper, GA!
    George – Venice is great!

    by spiderwort — February 26, 2015

  18. Thanks, Spiderwort.
    I realize i have been remiss in posting, so i’m so glad you’re still there! Extra hours at work and a sinus infection have kept me from the computer. Tomorrow for sure. I’m looking forward to ‘corresponding.’ Thanks again!

    by ella — February 27, 2015

  19. We are considering a move in about two years. We are considering Wy or Tn. Any comments.

    by Cheryl Coverly — February 27, 2015

  20. Does anyone live or lived in previously any manufactured home communities in Rimrock, AZ and if so, opinions of the area. Thanks.

    by judy — February 28, 2015

  21. Spiderwort,
    I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get back to something that’s so important to me, but here i am (finally!). I loved your posting! The outdoors is so important to me; i recognized a kindred soul in you. Your description of the beauty of the area, the hiking trails, and waterfalls sound exactly like the area i would like to live in.

    So here come the questions. My husband’s around your age, i’m a bit younger. We’d like this home to be our next and last home, if at all possible. Although we are both healthy now, being practical and realistic, we have to think carefully about future health care needs. That said, how close in a good hospital and how good are the roads to get you there? Also, how close is a decent medical office?

    Regarding Jasper vs. Marble Hill, i spoke to a realtor at Big Canoe and he said the community is more in Marble Hill than in Jasper. Is there a difference in the flavor between the two communities. Even more important, during the summer does the area become a playground for Atlantians escaping the city? Does it change in the summer for the worse? (Traffic jams, lines in stores, etc.)

    What about the climate? Does the altitude decrease the humidity a bit, or is it very humid? Recently i met someone from Nashville and they said the further south, the more humid. This one’s kind of silly but, i read that mosquitoes are outside in the mountains in Georgia all day long. I live in NYS and when they come out at dusk, i hide. They bite me no matter what i put on. I used to be able to garden at night, but for the past few years haven’t been able to. So, mosquitoes all day long would be a nightmare for me. Is this bit of information true or false?

    The town of Jasper sounds delightful. The clubs and classes sound wonderful. Where are they and how far is the town from you? Is it crowded or did i read that about Ellijay (traffic jams again). I love what you wrote about people looking in on one another. I thought i’d have to live in a community for that.

    Do you have any comments on the communities you mentioned? A community is not my first choice. I would much rather live like you’re living. Just not sure if we can maintain that lifestyle into our 80’s/90’s should we live that long.

    Thank you so much, spiderwort! I can’t wait to hear from you! (I guess you’re a gardener too!)

    by ella — February 28, 2015

  22. Sorry, typo in line reading “how close in a good hospital?”
    Of course, i meant to say how close is a good hospital?

    by ella — February 28, 2015

  23. Ella – Wish I could correspond with you by phone!!! I’ll try to address your concerns….
    Hospital – It’s Piedmont Mountainside Medical Center – it’s owned by what we call “Big Piedmont” in Atlanta….one of Atlanta’s top hospitals. This is a fairly new hospital and we have had very good care there and they are quick to transfer you to “Big Piedmont” if needed. The medical care in the community is good….the doctors start coming up from Atlanta once or twice a week and then realize how much they love it here and then eventually move here….we are very lucky to have such good quality healthcare in Jasper. Jasper is not a tourist town as is Ellijay and Blue Ridge….roads are good….although if you live on the higher elevations as we do, you do have to consider the winter and possible snow/ice problems and the possibility of not being able to get “to town”! Actually, I just got out today for the first time in several days but that is because I am on the top of a mountain and then at the end of a private gravel road and then a steep driveway….you can live up here and enjoy the lifestyle and all the area has to offer without being on the top of a mountain! The gated communities are beautiful and Big Canoe and Bent Tree offer lots of amenities and, again, you don’t have to live on the higher elevations and have to negotiate the windy roads in the fog! Big Canoe is about half way between Jasper and Dawsonville….there is a grocery store, bakery, a few restaurants, hardware store, etc. nearby but otherwise you are about 20 min from either town. We are not bothered by mosquitos or any bugs for that matter…at least up here on the mountaintop. We do have lots of wildlife including black bears….but as is the case with most wildlife if you leave them alone they will leave you alone….no feeding them, etc. I walk a very rural woodsy stretch of the road that goes along our ridge and have seen bears….I stop, make a lot of noise and stand still until they leave and these encounters have included moms with cubs! The town is awesome….the local drugstore….and there are the chain ones as well…..will open up at night if we need a prescription. There are lots of volunteer opportunities here….Habitat for Humanity; CASA; child mentors; Good Samaritan Medical; etc, etc. We absolutely love it and I have lived in Miami, Siesta Key (Sarasota), Atlanta and am from New England. The question we are wrestling with right now is because our home is so large…it’s 14 acres, large house with guest house and gated….it’s way too much for the two of us and it can be expensive if you can’t do the work yourself! The winter weather up here can be a problem so where do we want to go and do we want one more move or two!!! We may just build or buy a smaller place nearby but not on the mountaintop and possibly in one of the gated areas…something without too much maintenance. We don’t have a crime problem here either. If you like the woods, nature, waterfalls, hiking trails, wildlife, etc., you would love it here. I hope I have helped in some way….would be glad to chat further……Climate is great – beautiful seasons!

    by spiderwort — February 28, 2015

  24. Andre – My husband is a graduate of Davidson College, Davidson, NC…..so I have been to this delightful town which is not far from Cornelius and Lake Norman. I have not been to Cornelius but I suspect that town which is in this beautiful area of NC would be very nice as well. I would check it out but also check out the quaint college town of Davidson.

    by spiderwort — February 28, 2015

  25. spiderwort, Thank you for your long and wonderful note. The life you’re living now is exactly the life i’d like to be living. The only thing holding me back is exactly what you’ve expressed – cost, maintenance, and for me, accessibility. I’m thinking far out. What will it be like for me in 10 years, 20 years?, etc. I’m just so glad that you did it when you could!

    I would love to talk to you. If you’re willing, you can contact me at eleasharose@gmail.com, an account i’ve created just to be displayed on public websites. We can them move ahead from there. Thanks again, so much!

    by ella — March 1, 2015

  26. Is this supposed to be about the best places to retire in Florida or just an open best place to retire. Come on people please stay on subject or start your own state blog.

    Editor’s comment: It is about best places to retire, anywhere. As long as you keep your comments within that range, please post away!

    by Jeffrey Giloy — March 1, 2015

  27. This comment came in from Jeanne via email. We would add an editorial comment that it is important to remember that all kinds of people come to this site looking for help and guidance about retirement and where to retire. You can’t assume that everyone is just like you – they are not!

    My comment is negative. Retired means poor or limited income. Not only are cities no place for human being to live, they are the last place that would be beneficial for retired persons.
    I live in Madison. Rents are too high for retirees, let alone retirement communities which are simply places designed to suck up as much of the retiree savings as possible leaving the retiree destitute and destined for a county nursing home to live out the rest of a miserable old age. How about a small town evaluation. I am looking for a reasonably small friendly town where a decent rental will not break the bank. To be useful, evaluating or suggesting a city as any rational place for a retiree to live is singularly not helpful! Jean F – Retiree

    by Admin — March 1, 2015

  28. @LindaF Much of Cape Coral is in a flood zone. However, the canal I’m on (the Rubicon) is not, but still has direct access to the river and the gulf. FEMA draws the flood zone maps, not I. I’m just happy not to have to pay for flood insurance.

    I’ve met more lovely people here in the 5 months I’ve been here than I ever have in 50 years in Minnesota. People in Minnesota think they have all the friends they need by kindergarten, and are not open to new relationships. Since I wasn’t raised there, I never really fit in. Just about everyone I’ve met down here is from someplace else. All friendly and open to new friends. One of my new neighbors is from Nova Scotia. Told him I’ll be visiting him on a cruise next fall!

    by Linda — March 1, 2015

  29. @LindaF Forgot to address your other comment. No, my condo is not a high rise. Very, very few high rise condos in Cape Coral. Most are two-story walkups with no elevators. I’m on the ground floor in an end unit. Small complex, 16 units. This sort of condo is very common in Cape Coral.

    by Linda — March 1, 2015

  30. Linda,
    We got a chuckle regarding your comments about MN, since I was born and raised there, and lived all but about 4 years of my life there.
    I also believe it is a valid perception. We just can’t fathom anyone choosing to move there, when we find the wintertime (1/2 the year) so difficult. If you prefer anonymity, you may want to choose MN, as several famous folks have surmised…..the locals mind their own business, and let you go about yours.
    Sorry about that, we really should be a lot more welcoming, however there is also the issue of the lake owners. They develop attitudes that they own them, and no one else should be able to build a home, a business or a resort. “Mn nice” is a stereotype that really doesn’t hold much water, compared to what we have experienced out here in Eastern TN.

    by Caps — March 4, 2015

  31. I have followed this site for a couple of years and sought out some of the places on the list. I have yet to find the perfect place. When I explored some of the states on the list they were either full of crime or tornado alley. There are a few exceptions to the rule but there again these were the exceptions. We went into an area where the retirement was high on the list but the crime was over 70 percent in the area. I just got back from a road trip to South Carolina starting point Los Angeles. I have come to the fact no place is perfect you have to just settle what you can afford. We are currently in Hawaii on the big island. What a beautiful place I keep hearing about the hugh cost of living how expensive it is to live here. After 3 weeks I wonder who writes this stuff. After visiting Costco and local farmers market I fail to see the hugh cost of living. Milk is not a big issue for us as we drink very little at costco the milk is 4.65 high yes for a gallon but not the 9-10 dollars everybody talks about. Avocados as big as you hands at the farmers market just for a dollar a piece. Bananas local grown are cheap as well. All the fruit on the island is cheap and its fresh. Oh we just had fresh caught Yellow fin tuna wow what a difference. We paid 25 dollars for the fish which had been cleaned from our neighbor which is enough for a family of six. I love this island I am not rich just an average retired guy with a small pension. But I find I can live here on the island less than I can in Los Angeles. Discovery Harbour Hi is a small retirement town I say that because its mostly retirement aged couples. in the 200,000 dollar range you can buy a nice home. And be warm in the winter months. The town is in between Hilo and Kona does not get the rain Hilo gets does not get the heat Kona gets. Lava Zone 6 for those afraid of the volcano which means its safe. We like it because its away from the tourist traps which is where you find the expensive cost of living. You have to check this out before real estate is bought up or prices are way beyond most of our level. I will be here a total of 2 months we just finished our 3rd week and still find it affordable. Lots can be bought for as little as 35,000 and up and this gives you a 1500 sq ft lot. and you can build a home for 120.00 a sq ft I am told but I think that is on the high side.

    by retro — March 5, 2015

  32. Retro: We went to Maui on a vacation many years ago, and found the WalMart — with almost the same prices as our WalMart in PA. You make a good point that sometimes there are workarounds or ways of living at or near one of those destinations that are supposed to be too costly for retirees. Maybe there are tradeoffs (small, older house instead of new…being an hour away from the beach instead of waterfront….farmer’s market instead of Whole Foods…Netflix or RedBox instead of first run movies…) but those destinations shouldn’t automatically be rejected.

    by Kate — March 6, 2015

  33. Love to read and hear more about a little town I found in Florida close to my son-n-law home of Tampa The little town is Dunedin Fl. I see it is ranked 88th on your list My wife and I are 58&60 looking forward to our reservations we have had for 2 months to visit Dunedin in late May Maybe someone has been there and can share some positive or negative comments about my little town

    by Ray Winsett — March 8, 2015

  34. Ray Winsett – We have been looking to Dunedin also! Please let us know what you think when you get back. When are you going? Thanks.

    by Liz — March 9, 2015

  35. This Comment came in from Terri on another post and we are moving it here to be more relevant:

    Hello, We are considering moving to No. Calif, Colorado mountains or at least the Southwest for retirement.We can’t handle the humidity or bugs of the South or east coast. We currently live in So Ca (Mission Viejo which we will sell) and will have a home In Palm Springs Ca to live from Jan-May, but I miss the seasons. We want an area that will give great fall foliage and don’t care about snow .We don’t want to live in a busy ski town because of too many tourists. We will probably not be retiring for about 10-12 years from now but want to start looking into areas now. Any suggestions??? Terri

    by Admin — March 15, 2015

  36. Terri,

    My answer: Class A motorhome. Maine is beautiful in the fall. Seattle is beautiful for the 2 weeks they call summer. See all the National Parks between the two.

    JMO.

    by Art — March 16, 2015

  37. (Note from Admin. This comment from Louise was originally posted to a Social Security topic; we have moved it here where it fits better.)

    SandyZ, do you have an SC destination picked out or are you still in the decision process? I have been to Myrtle Beach several times on vacation and always loved it. We stayed in North Myrtle beach. There are several things I like about Myrtle beach and one is the airport and another might seem ridiculous but there is a Costco there too. I would be interested in the surrounding area to be away from tourists though. When you are on vacation that’s one thing but to live with it day and night would be annoying. Anyone have suggestions on good locations out of the hub bub? I had a friend who moved to Longs, SC. Not sure what is there or if it is a desirable place to live. I would be interested in buying new construction. Anyone know of any new communities without HOA?

    by Admin — March 16, 2015

  38. Does anyone have information on the Milton FL area? I know it is near the military base so it sounds like a young community. Is there a very good hospital in the area? I had been looking at Ocala but someone mentioned this area.

    by LCA — March 17, 2015

  39. These comments from Louise and Sandy were moved here from a different Blog to help keep comments on topic:

    Louise – congrats on your planning and savings! Go and enjoy it soon! Yes, we have purchased a lot in a gated community in Beaufort SC. Things are on hold at present, as our builder with whom we designed our house, passed away in December. We are starting over with a new builder, hopefully soon! Visit Beaufort if you are planning another trip – nothing like Myrtle Beach!

    SandyZ, How great you are building a new dream home! We built our home 40 years ago and still are living in it today! My Father was into building Spec. houses and guided us on building our home. I am ready for a different style home that is one story and to put in a bathroom that would be handicap accessible. Neither of us are handicapped but our current bathrooms are so small that it would be a nightmare if anything should happen.

    How did you choose Beaufort, SC? Do you have friends or relatives there? I don’t know anyone in SC. Makes it hard to choose an area.

    by Admin — March 17, 2015

  40. Thanks Admin! Our conversation about SC was getting off track on the SS blog! Sorry about that! Louise, we chose Beaufort, no. 5 on the above list because it is a small historical town with a charming downtown and a welcoming feeling as well as being surrountded by water in the low country – a must for me! Two large cities within an hour or so provide bigger stores and medical facilities. There is a lot of military in the area, both retired and active, Including a marine air base. Doesn’t bother me, but the flights overhead might bother some. We chose a gated community – there are many in the area- for its amenities and security. No, we do not have family in SC , but we do have a few friends who have retired in HHI area. Good luck!

    by SandyZ — March 18, 2015

  41. This Comment came in from Roger:

    We have retired to Satellite Beach, FL. Small city. A mere 45 minutes to Orlando, Disney, and all big city events. 10 miles South of Cocoa Beach. 10 minute walk to beach.
    Close to A1A. Everything is here. Artsy Melbourne Beach 15 minute down the road.
    Heaven to us

    by Admin — April 2, 2015

  42. Does anyone have any opinions or information on either the “Arlington Ridge” or” Legacy” communities located in Leesburg, Florida? Has anyone visited either of these two communities, and if so, what did you think of them? Many thanks in advance for any info that you might be able to provide.

    by Valerie L. — April 3, 2015

  43. Valerie,
    We looked at Arlington Ridge. Very nice homes and good prices, but a very inactive community. They have very few clubs because people don’t want to continue doing the work to keep a club going. The town square was literally dead every evening we were there. Very sad actually, because it’s a nice town. They did have a cute movie theater that played a movie twice a month. If you plan to move there, I’d highly recommend looking at pre-owned homes. There were several foreclosures at excellent prices.
    We also looked at Legacy. Nice community with lots of green space. I think they only have a few new lots, but several very nice pre-owned homes for sale.
    The crime rating in Leesburg has us a bit concerned, so we aren’t going to that area.

    by SandyM — April 3, 2015

  44. Sandy, thanks so much for your quick response. We were thinking of visiting both of these communities on our next upcoming trip to Florida, so thanks very much for your insight on both of them, and especially the info about the crime rating, which we were totally unaware of. We (me, especially — LOL) are leaning more towards South Carolina, than Florida, but my DH wants to explore all options. Have you found any communities in any part of Florida that you were particularly excited about? If so, would you be willing to share what they are? Thanks!

    by Valerie L. — April 3, 2015

  45. Hello,

    Just returned from a visit to Fairhope Alabama. This town came on our radar a few month ago and sounded lovely.
    First, what are our wants for a retirement area. I must be able to walk or bike to a beach. Must have good seafood and Barbeque. Must be reasonably priced (up to $200000 for a home, ideally something less than $100000, I know I’m dreaming there but we are talking ideally!)

    We have decided to continue our search.
    My review: Fairhope is a cute small town. Short term rentals are expensive. We were able to find a two bedroom on VRBO. While the reviews were excellent I found myself constantly cleaning and it was about 15 minutes from town. We went to some open houses and did not particularly care for the styles we found. I also have a plan for a home I would love to build. I was told that it would be difficult to find an inexpensive ($50000 or less) lot and even if I could do that it was likely I would not be allowed to build a house under 2500 square feet. The house I want to build is only around 1500 square feet. After leaving Fairhope and driving to our lodging we discovered there are no grocery stores outside of town. They are in Fairhope, Foley and Gulf Shores. Also restaurants were difficult to find outside of the towns. There are lots of weekend homes in Fairhope and the whole coast of Alabama. On our final day there we decided to check out the shops in town. In the part of town nearest the bay we found extremely expensive SOUTHERN LIVING style shops. Think $400 sweater and $500 shoes. The true Southern perfectly coifed, perfectly and stylishly dressed and perfect make up, carrying the appropo handbag exists here. There are many. Older retired people shop for summer clothing ($80 to $150 per piece) and discuss bridge. While I am certain that I could find my tribe somewhere in Fairhope, they have a very small beach. Almost all of Mobile Bay is bulkheads, no beaches. We did drive over to Gulf Shores for a couple of days. If you drive south from Foley and turn right when you reach the beach highway you will discover a large number of beautiful homes that are unoccupied. No stores, grocery or otherwise and no restaurants. We were there in Mid March and the place was pretty deserted. While the beach in Gulf Shores is beautiful I am also looking for a community atmosphere. Friendly people, golf, fishing(for husband), dining out, playing cards (some bridge is OK, I just don’t want to have to keep of a bridge playing schedule) Pinochle is better, 500, Hearts etc.
    So Fairhope is a no for us, although I love the ambiance of the area I am hopeful of finding a better fit.

    by Vicki — April 4, 2015

  46. We are not able to make our planned trip to do some looking with the hope of buying soon, so really appreciate these detailed reviews. All very helpful, several from places we planned to visit. Reviews don’t necessarily stop us from checking out but give us a good perspective of what we are might face. Thank you.

    by Carol — April 4, 2015

  47. Does anybody have anything nice and/or not to say about Deland, FL. Villa Villar?

    by johnpl — April 4, 2015

  48. Vicki, your comments on Fairhope and surrounding beaches is very descriptive and helpful. My wife and I currently reside in Pawleys Island SC and are considering the AL coast as one of our daughters lives in AL. We have heard similar comments but not as well articulated as yours. We are lucky to live where we do but haven’t explored as much as we should before we totally settle down. This winter was great in Pawleys compared to the North but colder than I would have liked. But I guess that’s the way it was all over the US. We may stay where we are but are interested in the FL panhandle as well as the east coast of FL. Thanks for your comments. Gerry

    by Gerard — April 4, 2015

  49. Gerard: Can you tell us anything about the Pawleys Island area for retirement? I’ve been thinking about Summerville, but am researching Pawley’s Island, Murrell’s Inlet and the rest of that area, all the way down to Hilton Head.

    by Sharon — April 5, 2015

  50. In need of suggestions on where to relocate for my final 15 years. My preferences: everything within 30 minute walk, college with OLLI nearby, major airport not more than 1 hour away, no tax on any retirement income, not in desert, not in red state, lower cost of living than Hawaii (where I have lived for more than 50 years). Am I being unrealistic, unreasonable, naive, or downright foolish?

    by rozcole — April 6, 2015

  51. Sharon, we have been coming to Pawleys for the past 20 years or so on vacation and made some purchases along the way that we rented out to snowbirds and vacationers looking to go to the beach. The area varies in cost as the closer you get to the beach in general the more expensive property is. However, there are some areas very close to the beach that are not too pricey. You have to look around. We meet many people from the North that have just retired or are planning to retire here. By here I mean the Murrells Inlet area, Litchfield, and Pawleys. Although Myrtle beach is about 20-25 mi north most people don’t go there as there is enough to enjoy here. If you are looking for a walkable town, this is not it. You have to drive everywhere and that is a downside.There are some nice bike/walking trails, the beach, plenty of stores, and safe, peaceful communities. Good luck!

    by Gerard — April 6, 2015

  52. Valerie,
    We’ve been to The Villages in Lady Lake and Solivita in Kissimmee a few times.
    I like The Villages, because you can go grocery shopping, out to eat, dancing every night, parades and even to the hospital in your golf cart! The quality of their construction is questionable compared to other 55+ communities. I’m not sure if a stick built home in Florida (hurricanes) is a good idea. My hubby thought there were too many people.
    Solivita is really nice and we both like it. Most houses don’t back up to neighbors so that’s a plus! Either a water view or forest views. My biggest concern is the area outside of Solivita. We aren’t retiring for a few years, so we are waiting to see what happens once they are built out and to the neighborhoods outside of the secured gates.
    We are also looking in Tennessee and maybe North & South Carolina. We’ve always wanted to live in Florida, but we also want an area that is safe. Lots of drive by shootings in the city that I live in now and getting pretty sick of it.
    There are so many 55+ communities, so I think we will find something that we both like. We just want to make the right choice the first time and not have to move again until we are unable to care for a house.
    Good Luck!

    by SandyM — April 6, 2015

  53. Thanks Gerard. I’m planning a Summerville and Hilton Head trip soon, and will also try to get to the Villages. I like the idea of a community with golf cart access to nearby stores. I was hoping to get back to being within driving distance of a beach (I grew up on Long Island Sound).

    by Sharon — April 6, 2015

  54. Sandy, thanks again for your viewpoint on communities in Florida. Regarding the Villages, one of our local news stations did a special report/broadcast a few months ago from the Villages, and while we were intrigued by what was presented, we, like your husband, felt that there were too many people (as many as 70,000???) and that we would probably not care for that particular aspect of the community. Regarding Kissimmee, we lived and worked there for a very short time back in the early 90’s and found it to be an extremely hectic place. Naturally, its proximity to WDW and all of the other nearby attractions adds to all of the busyness, but I would think that living within the confines of a gated community, such as Solivita, would give you an altogether different experience.

    by Valerie L. — April 7, 2015

  55. After years of searching, we opted for a community equal distance to the Villages/Lady Lakes and Clermont, FL. We do enjoy Clermont far more, It is friendlier, more serene, less hectic than the Villages.
    Once a while we shop/eat at the Villages, and we always wonder how older people can possibly manage the crowds, the traffic etc on daily basis.
    Living in between both places, as well as being equal distance from east and west coast, has its advantages, if one doesn’t mind driving a bit now and then.
    Grocery stores are very close to us, so we don’t mind the occasional drive, while we can also enjoy what the demands of neighboring communities have to offer

    by godsgirl — April 7, 2015

  56. Valerie,
    Yes I’ve heard it’s over 100,000 people that live in the Villages now and still growing extremely fast.
    Solivita is extremely relaxing with 200+ activities and very nice people. When leaving Solivita, the traffic is very busy. I can’t imagine what it must be like in the summer and around Christmas break! We ride a Harley, so that’s even more concerning with so much traffic.I love WDW, so that is a plus! I guess I never outgrew my Disney side!

    Godsgirl,
    Would you mind saying what community you selected? Are you happy with the decision you made? We’ve searched several 55+ communities. We never thought finding a place to retire would be so difficult.

    by SandyM — April 7, 2015

  57. Thanks to Gerard!
    I have had Murrells Inlet on our radar for some time so your comments are certainly appreciated.

    Vicki

    by Vicki — April 7, 2015

  58. Now, for the rest of you!

    On to Texas! I’m looking for information on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Climate, cost of living, communities you love and why you love them.

    Also, Mississippi and Louisiana coastline.

    Vicki

    by Vicki — April 7, 2015

  59. Johnpl – Regarding your request on DeLand, FL, I lived there for 35 yrs. prior to moving to Ohio 13 yrs. ago. The town is quaint and friendly with one of the best “renewed” main streets in the state/country.

    It’s not uncommon for people to say hello while walking down the street. There are many independent businesses lining both sides of the street as well as a super Walmart on the north end of the town. There is an “artsy” side of the community and during the art festival the crafters set up their booths downtown. DeLand is also home to Stetson University that has a beautiful campus for walking. There is a cultural arts theater for attending plays also near the university.

    DeLand is in a good location as far as easy access to both Daytona and Orlando without being in the congestion of either. I don’t know anything about Villa Villar except that it’s not far from the city’s library (very nice one) and the high school football stadium is just down the street.

    Hope this gives you some insight!

    Lu

    by Lu — April 7, 2015

  60. Hello. I recently purchased a home in a really nice community, Del Webb Spruce Creek Golf and Country Club in Summerfield, Florida (Marion County.) It is 55+, approximately 6 miles north of the northern end of The Villages and 14 miles south of Downtown Ocala. If you are visiting the area and thinking about retiring here, consider checking this place out. The community was built between 1997 and 2005 so there are definitely some younger people moving in now. But I wish there were more younger singles. There is a wide range of homes and prices available, beautiful amenities, and a convenient location for interesting day trips to various places.

    by Karen — April 7, 2015

  61. If you would like a perspective on The Villages, you might want to look up a book called LEISUREVILLE. I read about it somewhere and found that my local library owns it. The author, whose name of course escapes me, gives some background on the origin of active adult communities and did some research in the villages himself by visiting ex-neighbors who moved there. Interesting reading. He will relate some of the fees involved in The Villages. The book is older now so fees are surely out of date.

    by Carol — April 7, 2015

  62. SandyM, we moved to the Plantation at Leesburg. You can easily look up their website. You are welcome to ask admin for my EM address for more detailed information

    by godsgirl — April 8, 2015

  63. This request came in from Marta – any advice for her?

    I have to go from MA to Fl and I would like some sort of directions as to what place to go. I am from a city with libraries and museums and I need public transportation. I think I prefer north Fl because the temperatures are not so high.
    With this in mind, where do you think I should go?

    by Marta — April 8, 2015

  64. Godsgirl,
    Thank you for the information! Just a few more questions.
    How is the crime in Leesburg? Also, how is the traffic in the winter months? Do you have lots of activities in the Plantation? Are they built out yet or still building new homes?
    We love that area and keep going back to it.

    by SandyM — April 8, 2015

  65. Can anyone tell me about WA state? I like the tax situation, the cooler climate, and I suppose they are likely to not have water shortage. I have been to Seattle several times but, like many retirees, housing is much too expensive for me there. Several friends have mentioned Gig Harbor, and it sounds like it might be just right. However, I have not yet done enough travelling, having lived in Hawaii for more than 50 years, so need to be within an hour of a major airport. Nothing on the east coast calls to me, although (or maybe because) I lived the first 30 years of my life there. Florida sounds a lot like Hawaii, but with more hurrricanes and higher humidity (who needs that?). Please advise.

    by Sallie50th — April 8, 2015

  66. Marta: I love st. Augustine and considering it myself. You will, however, need a car. Jacksonville is a large city with a variety of options. I believe (but not sure) that they have public transportation. Gainesville is also supposed to be very nice. Hope this helps

    by Stacey — April 8, 2015

  67. By Karen,
    I was wondering if you checked out Del Webb Stonecreek in OCALA ? We stayed there several days and found it to be a really nice place as we want to go to newer community. Most articles indicate the newer communities have a better chance of slightly younger demographics.

    by alexmac56 — April 8, 2015

  68. SandyM, more activities than you could want. I am particularly fond of the three pools, which are well kept. If you play golf, you will have fun. And you don’t pay extra for water views (usually a quarter acre puddle that many communities charge you an extra $ 100 for) or views of the golf course.
    As for crimes, it is as in most cities, but we aren’t anywhere near. If one insists on going into Leesburg proper, at night, you might take your chances, but we have the option of going to the Villages/Lady Lakes, Eustis or Clermont. If you want city, Orlando is just a hop away. Leesburg has some not so nice areas, so yes, look into it and make sure this is for you. From watching local news and from talking to locals and those who have been here for a while, I have gathered that improvements are being made. Also keep in mind that the Villages and Orlando are among the fastest growing areas. That alone serves as an incentive to improve overall safety. But there are no guarantees, and after years of searching, we came to the conclusion that no one place is perfect and we have to weigh our options, the pros and cons. So we landed here not too long ago. Please keep that in mind.
    The Plantation offers rentals, so check that out if you are reluctant to buy outright.
    Pet friendliness is very important to us, and here, while with strict leash laws and clean up, pets of all sizes are very welcome. Plenty of shaded walkways and a very nice dog park very close to here, so our furry friends can enjoy themselves as much as we do.
    Neighbors are taking care of neighbors. Volunteers are about to help, from rides to the doctor to picking up your prescription etc. Disaster plans are in place, and will hopefully never have to be implemented.
    Airport rides, to and from, are very affordable.
    Overall, very organized from what we have gathered.

    http://theplantation.com/activities.asp

    http://www.city-data.com/crime/crime-Leesburg-Florida.html

    by godsgirl — April 9, 2015

  69. alexmac56. (Hope this was for me) No, I didn’t check out Stone Creek. I did go to the pretty park next door and some other neighborhoods in SW Ocala. Newer communities, esp. brand new house, were out of my price range but it makes sense that they would be younger. I do plan to attend some classes (open to the public) at On Top of the World and hope to meet some seniors closer to my age that way. Maybe even some singles:)

    by Karen — April 9, 2015

  70. Karen,
    What you said about younger singles is something that I’m looking for and is one of the reasons I’m only looking at communities where they are still building. Like alexmac56, I wonder if you checked out any other Del Webb communities? I’ve seen people talk about Stone Creek on this site. Wonder if you or others have looked at Del Webb Orlando the ones in Tampa or Sarasota? Thanks.

    by Tessa — April 9, 2015

  71. Lu,

    Thank you very, very much for your comments on Deland. I have been living in a 3rd world Central American country for 28 yrs. and have been thinking about returning to USA. I do not want to return to hometown Philly because of the winters. Florida has been part of my internet investigation for the last year and a half and Deland (via internet) has factors that I consider desirable, i.e., transport, climate, size, location, university, prices?. From what I have seen it seems what I want and I don’t need a lot.. Things to do and necessities within walking and biking distance. I never see any mention of Deland here. (maybe folks want to keep it secret–which is fine by me.) I know there is nothing like a visit to get a first hand impression and I hope to do it soon. Thank you again.

    by johnpl — April 9, 2015

  72. Tessa,
    We have stayed a Del Webb Orlando and found the community to be enjoyable and definitely on our potential communities for the next stage of our life. I felt stonecreek had more to offer heated outdoor pool, indoor jacuzzi, steam room and really nice gym. I also felt being close to OTOTW you could participate in the learning center and ranch resort at discounted rates. When you compare the houses, Stonecreek homes are cheaper than DW Orlando. The only issue we are having is the location in OCALA . DW Olando has location going for it and that’s the hurdle we are weighing. DW Orlando has some really nice scenic marshes and a lake that adds to the peacefulness of community. If I had my choice it would be stonecreek but I really need to check OCALA out before we commit.
    good luck

    by alexmac56 — April 9, 2015

  73. godsgirl = Should be Godsgirl with a BIG “G” – that is unless you have a little god/lol

    🙂 Robert

    by Robert — April 10, 2015

  74. Godsgirl, Thank you for the information! We will look into the Plantation. We would love to be near The Villages, but probably not in the Villages. We’ve been to the area several times, and love the location. Enjoy your retirement!

    by SandyM — April 10, 2015

  75. Thanks, alexmac56. I want to do stay & play visits at both the Ocala and Orlando Del Webbs. I’ve been to Stone Creek but it was a couple of years ago. From your feedback it sounds like Stone Creek is the better option. I think my preference is the Ocala area because I suspect it is less congested than the Orlando area, but I need to visit to find out. It’s not too far to the Orlando airport and I’m sure they have plenty of shuttles. I like the homes at OTOTW. If I decide on Ocala I’ll have to decide which community is a better fit for me, but that’s why I need to do the stay & play. And you’re right, you’ll still be able to participate in Master the Possibilities if you live at Stone Creek. I also want to check out Solivita and Trilogy Orlando, and perhaps Vitalia in Port St. Lucie. I have a couple of years to go so there’s time to check out a few different places. Good luck in your search. .

    by Tessa — April 10, 2015

  76. Do you have any pros or cons on Tellico Lake, TN, just south of Knoxville?

    by Cindy — April 10, 2015

  77. Tessa, I did visit Del Webb near Tampa several years ago during the early stages. For me, purchasing a pre owned home gave me more value for the money. If I had been in a different financial situation, sure I might have considered a new house. One of the advantages of buying in an established community is mature landscaping and trees. This community is very pretty. In addition, the financial and organizational structure is sometimes clearer once the developer has been gone for awhile. The amenities are terrific and include both a heated indoor and outdoor pool, pickleball, tennis, golf, fitness center and numerous established clubs and other activities. Naturally younger people are moving in, but many older residents still remain. I think it’s a matter of seeking them out, even though they may not be right next door.

    by Karen — April 10, 2015

  78. alexmac56, you are right to make sure that the area is right for you……in my opinion, that comes before the community. Some people like the slower pace of Ocala, others want to be nearer to a bigger city. But most of these communities you are speaking about have lots to do right inside them. I personally like being able to travel easily to downtown Ocala or The Villages. And I believe The Villages Lifelong Learning is open to outsiders but at a slightly higher fee. As you may know, they just built a large performing arts center. Orlando is about an hour away…..definitely a day trip if one wants to go. No one place is perfect…..follow what your heart tells you is best!

    by Karen — April 10, 2015

  79. Tessa,
    We will be staying at Trilogy at the end of April and keep you posted on what we discover. We passed through a couple of months ago and found the clubhouse and amenities spectacular. Just concerned about hoa fees going forward and homes seem a little pricey.
    The sales person I am dealing with seems very knowledgeable and we alooking forward to checking the community out. Thanks for your input …

    by alexmac56 — April 10, 2015

  80. Sharon, let us know your perspective on SC. I often went to LI sound in the summer. Friends relatives owned the Southold Town beach motel. Totally loved it. Across the street was the sound and the back yard was the great peconic bay. Some great times for a kid from Greenpoint. Thanks, G

    by Gerard — April 10, 2015

  81. ORLANDO -To wanna be residents = Check the Crime. Over 1 murder per day!!
    Negative? No Factual.

    by Robert — April 11, 2015

  82. SandyM, one more thing. Should you be visiting the Plantation, make an appointment with PAL Realty. This community works different than others. You won’t just walk into a community sales office and take your chance, like one does with many others. It is best to make an appointment with an actual realtor first. Preselect a home from the website I linked. Homes range from 50 thou for an older home to several hundred, depending on what you are looking from. As mentioned we have several sub communities within the plantation.
    To Robert,
    et al
    just call me Anne if you like.

    by godsgirl — April 11, 2015

  83. Karen,
    I agree that there are some advantages to buying in an existing community. The place you live sounds appealing and someplace I would look at, in fact it was on my radar until I discovered it was built out, if I were to change my mind and go that route. I hope you are able to meet lots of people there. Maybe I’ll check it out the next time I’m in the area but that won’t be for several months.

    by Tessa — April 11, 2015

  84. alexmac56,
    Please do share about your stay at Trilogy after you make your visit. I plan to check out a couple of places in September and need to decide which ones. Thanks.

    by Tessa — April 11, 2015

  85. I wondered if anyone knows anything about Spanish Wells in Bonita Springs Florida? A relative of mine is building a home in Cordova there. How well are Toll Brothers Homes built? It is a gated community and I wondered if anyone had any comments about it. Thanks in advance.

    by Jennifer — April 12, 2015

  86. Tessa,
    Of the 12-15 communities my wife and I have visited in Florida this year, Solivita was my favorite. Just outside the city, quiet, well maintained, lot’s of water and forest. Homes reasonably priced and decent construction.
    Dave

    by DLee — April 12, 2015

  87. Correct me if I am wrong but most of the of the periodicals I read suggest buying in a community that is not built out. They reason when a community is built out the population may be older and a lot of the social network established. I think it would be nice starting your retirement or semi retirement with individuals who are starting in a new community like us. I also feel while the builder is there ( although that has its issues ) he has a vested interest to keep community clean and fresh. When the Hoa is handed over to the community we would have the opportunity to participate in the early stages of hoa board creation and just maybe help in the process for a healthy and fair board.

    by alexmac56 — April 12, 2015

  88. Ok Anne = just “pulling ur leg” but actually ur too far away!

    Little “light” humor.

    Godsguy. Hmm, actually the Bible states that I am a King and Priest!!

    Better get of Religion – someone will be sending me “hate” responses.

    Ciao

    by Robert — April 13, 2015

  89. DLee, My cousin lives in Solavita and absolutley loves it. Good choice!

    by ella — April 13, 2015

  90. Godsgirl,
    Thanks! We will make an appointment with PAL Realty before our visit.

    DLee, we also love Solivita. All the ponds, trees, wildlife, prices and quality construction are certainly a plus with us too. The activities and people are wonderful. We are waiting for it to be built out and see what happens to the value of the homes. They should be built out before we retire in a few years. What did you think of the area outside of Solivita? That is our biggest concern, so we are watching to see what happens with that as well.

    Robert, I’m not sure what the crime is like where you live, but I’m in the Midwest and we have a shooting almost every night and our city is 1/8 the size or Orlando. They don’t kill someone every night because they must not know how to shoot a gun, but someone is injured in a drive by shooting every night. We don’t live in that area, but it’s still in our city and it gets pretty old watching that on the news. Can’t wait to get out of here, but want to make sure it’s better before we move to a new area!

    by SandyM — April 13, 2015

  91. Jennifer, I don’t know anything about the communities you mention but I do know that Toll Brothers are probably in the top 5 home builders in the U.S. The build only top of the line houses in what are supposed to be top notch communities.

    by Dennis — April 13, 2015

  92. Robert and SandyM, I’m from Pittsburgh (suburbs), and although I certainly don’t mean to give my home town a black eye, we wake up nearly every morning and turn on the news to hear of yet another shooting (drive-by or otherwise). Unfortunately, this seems to be a very sad sign of the times, so where does one retire to that doesn’t have these kinds of issues.

    by Valerie L. — April 13, 2015

  93. My wife and I went to Ft Myers and Cape Coral last week to find a house to rent and we came up empty. We were looking for a three bedroom, two bath with a two car garage. Those type of houses are in great demand and they go fast. We liked Cape Coral better than Ft Myers especially the SE and SE areas. There are houses in the NE and NW part of Cape Coral but that area is not really not built up and the houses have wells and septic systems. City water and sewer are coming to that area but if you buy there beware of a $20,000, assessment when public water and sewer come to the area.

    Florida is not cheap. Gas in the Ft Myers are very close to Connecticut prices $2.48, it is cheaper in the Tampa area by 10 cents. Food is about the same price (Publix vs. Big Y), Discount Grocery Store Aldi’s is not in the Ft. Myers area but it is in other areas of Florida. Auto insurance was $100 cheaper in Cape Coral than where I am in CT but it was on par or several dollars higher in the Tampa area. Real estate taxes can sneak up on you, a friend of mine purchased a house in the St. Pete area and saw a $2000.00 increase this year. If you live near the coast, and add up Homeowners, Flood, Wind, Hurricane insurance it could look like Connecticut real estate taxes.

    Earlier this year we looked at Myrtle Beach for a second time and South Carolina even with an income tax is cheaper to live but doesn’t have the beauty or the charm of southeast Florida.

    So as right now after April 30, we are living on a moving van. Keeping the fingers cross that we find a place in time.

    by Markg — April 13, 2015

  94. DLee, SandyM, and ella, Thanks for the comments on Solivita. DLee, Are you still searching?

    alexmac56, Agreed…one of the main reasons I want to move into a community where they’re still building is because I figure it will be easier to meet people. Since I’ll be moving solo that is especially important to me.

    Arlington Ridge, Leesburg, FL — Not sure if it was on this thread but someone asked about Arlington Ridge recently. The latest issue of Where to Retire magazine has an article about it.

    by Tessa — April 13, 2015

  95. Anybody live in On Top Of The World?

    by Lillian — April 13, 2015

  96. Valarie – I recently moved from Pittsburgh to Charlotte for work, and I have to agree with you that crime is a fact of life. The level of serious crime including shootings in Charlotte is much higher than Pittsburgh – and the traffic and population density are much worse here. On the other hand, there are also some pluses like the weather, gas at $2.05 over the border in S.C. and the cost of living has netted out to be slightly less after taking into account everything from utilities, groceries, income and property taxes, insurance, and costs of services. There are so many transplanted people here, that it’s almost rare to meet someone who has a Southern accent! Traffic is so bad though, that I have eliminated this area from my retirement list. There’s no way to get to medical care quickly in an emergency, and I can’t imagine battling highway traffic when I’m in my 70s. I really appreciate reading other people’s opinions of different locations, since I’m hunting for that perfect spot….it’s a lot tougher than I expected.

    by Kate — April 14, 2015

  97. I am thinking of moving to Sun City, AZ . I am 68 and single female and want to keep busy. I enjoy swimming and crafts. I would love to get more information on living in Sun City, AZ from someone that lives there year round. I’m moving from MI so the hot summers are a concern. Are there lots of activities for singles? Is Sun City pet friendly, etc? Any information would be helpful, thanks.

    by Nan — April 14, 2015

  98. Tessa,
    We decided to take a different path before settling down permanently in a 55+ community. I just turned 60 and retired 8 months and my wife will be 57 when she retires in 3 months (hooray defined benefit pension plans). We purchased an RV and are going to try life on the road. We will winter in Fort Meyers and continue to look there and other areas of Florida next winter for a community to settle.

    SandyM
    As part of our 3 day “Stay & Play” at Solivita we were given a tour of the Kissimmee area. Kissimmee is aged but seems to be developing and modernizing quickly. The city seems to understand the need for upgrading services and improving infrastruxture. The Kissimmee area has a new hospital that they are already adding an addition to and there are some nice shopping malls in the area as well. Bottom line… the community of Kissimmee does not concern me.

    by DLee — April 14, 2015

  99. Kate, We have driven through Charlotte several times on our way to Myrtle Beach, and I quite agree with you on the traffic hazards. It was quite a challenge, to say the least, in trying to navigate all of the roadways on top of all of the heavy traffic. I also agree with you regarding your comment about it being a lot tougher than expected in finding that “perfect spot” in which to retire. However, If there is any consolation, most of us seem to be in the same boat. I know that we are in the same quandary ourselves. Good luck to you, Kate!

    by Valerie L. — April 14, 2015

  100. DLee, Sounds like fun. Best of luck to you.

    by Tessa — April 14, 2015

  101. We have visited Solivita, Top of the World, Del Webb Stone Creek, The Villages, Trilogy of Orlando, and Del Webb Ponte Vedra. Liked Trilogy of Orlando and Del Webb Ponte Vedra the best. We are going to visit Prince Creek Seasons in Murrells Inlet this summer and also Cascades in St. Augustine and return to Del Webb Ponte Vedra, which is my husband’s favorite. As you can see, we are wandering aimlessly looking for a place to retire.

    by JB — April 15, 2015

  102. I have been reading alot about OTOTW and decided to contact them to get the correct facts. My wife and I will be visiting Florida this summer and searching for a 55+ community. Here is one of the sales perseon response to leasing/owning the property and HOA fees

    You asked about the lots being leased – I will explain. We have two (2) types of neighborhoods in OTOW: ‘maintenance-free’ and ‘owner-maintained’. If you purchase a home in the owner-maintained neighborhood (Candler Hills) you are responsible for your own lawn care and home maintenance (interior and exterior). Title to your home is conveyed through traditional warranty deed (called ‘fee simple).

    When you purchase a home in one of our ‘maintenance-free’ neighborhoods (Windsor or Renaissance Park) we take care of the lawn and exterior maintenance, including repainting the home after one year, then again every seven years. Title to the home is conveyed through a Warranty Leasehold Estate Deed. You have full ownership rights to the home and the land beneath it for 100 years from the time of the first closing. There are no additional lot ‘lease’ fees. Under this type of deed you can resell your home, lease it out, will or transfer title and make application for homestead exemption. I have attached a PDF of a pamphlet that will also help explain Warranty Leasehold Estate Deed. This type of ownership is often misunderstood, but provides you with full ownership rights. For what it’s worth, we have more homes in these neighborhoods (maintenance-free) than in the owner maintained neighborhoods…they have been in more demand once people fully understand the benefits.

    There are indeed monthly Community Service Fees (HOA) for each home. The fees vary by neighborhood, but range from $229 in Candler Hills to $342 in Windsor.

    The Community Service Fees (CSF) are adjusted annually based on actual operating costs. Any increase is usually small, less than the rate of inflation. The increase 2 years ago was $5 per month. This past year, due to some achieved economies of scale, the CSF actually went down.

    Even though you are not retiring until the end of 2017 there are some purchase options you might want to consider. One option is to purchase a home now, then place it in our property management program and rent the home until you are ready to retire and occupy the home. This provides you with income to offset the purchase as well as providing some other tax reducing incentives. The rental market is very good here. You would be able to get today’s price for the home and avoid certain future increases. Also, there would be no waiting to build when you retire – you could move right in. Any ‘normal wear’ repairs would cost much less than the cost of price increases. I realize this option is not for everyone, but does have advantages.

    Another option to consider is our ‘delayed-build’ program. This option gives you up to 15 months to close on your home. The program works in the following manner. You select a lot and home and reserve it with a fully refundable $5,000 for 90 days. If, for some reason, you decide within 90 days this is not for you, we refund your money. If you are ready to move forward at 90 days, the reservation converts to a contract and requires another $5,000 deposit. You can then delay the start of the construction process for another 5 months. Our normal build time is 7 months. This gives you a total of 15 months before you close on the home. The advantages of this purchase type are: you get the lot of your choice that will likely not be available later, locks in the current price of the home avoiding future price increases, and lastly, allows you to time the close with your retirement.

    These are just a few options we can offer that few other builders or communities can, or will, offer.

    I hope this gives you a better feel for the ownership types as well as purchase options to consider.

    by Mike — April 15, 2015

  103. @Mike: Good explanation of the ownership options at On Top of the World. I didn’t delve that deeply into it because, while I liked the homes, there didn’t seem to be too much activity going on in the community. Maybe because I was there in October? Then that means that there are a LOT of rentals going on and people are only there during the season. I was looking for a year-round solution. Plus I really wanted to be on the water. You might check to see if they have some sort of stay before you buy program, or even better, rent something for a few months if rentals are widely available. That’s really the only way to get the flavor of the community.

    by Linda — April 15, 2015

  104. We too visited Ponte Verde and liked it very much. But we were not happy about the CDD (CCD?) fees of $20,000. Please make sure you check into those fees as they are I believe, yearly. Apparently those fees are common around Jacksonville for new construction. There are also wild pigs roaming the Ponte Verde area which I thought kind of fun. But not sure I would like them rooting around my landscaping.

    We are also interested in Cascades and Seasons in Murrells Inlet so will be waiting to hear from the visits made there. As everyone says, finding ‘the’ place isn’t so easy! This site is very helpful.

    by Carol — April 15, 2015

  105. Ponte Verde is a wonderful place. I lived there about 10 years ago. It has probably changed since then, but it was like being on a beautiful vacation every day.

    We bought a new construction that was already done. As I recall, there were a number of additional expenses, both for construction and insurances due to hurricanes. Another down-side, traffic.

    by Cindy — April 15, 2015

  106. My wife and I have been looking for the past year, prior to last year we also considered various placed we vacationed.
    we have sold our home and are renting living in the Northeast where are family is located. We would like to move to a warmer climate, like NC but have been unable to located anything close to what we want. Honestly we feel stuck in place.

    by Bob — April 18, 2015

  107. To Bob, Requires a lot of “homework” on ur part and I would strongly advise when you decide on a possible location to RENT FOR A PERIOD OF TIME before purchasing. As a Senior I would also suggest one of the 7 (?) states that are tax friendly and ones that do not tax your SS (if ur on that). NC = IMO IS NOT one of the states I would move to because of the aforementioned subjects.

    This site provides much information but also requires a lot of searching. CAUTION: 2 years ago we moved to be near the children and GC and I let emotions override Intellect. Didn’t do my homework and am now paying dearly for it.
    As soon as we sell our house we will moving BACK TO FL. In our particular case it’s not a question of where we want to live = it’s where we can afford to live and that is just a fact of life for these “Seasoned Citizens”

    Buon fortuna / Robert

    by Robert — April 19, 2015

  108. Robert and others,
    I’ve read over and over that NC is not as cost-effective a state as others, but WHY? No one ever gives specifics. Is the state income tax an extra $800 or $3500 (just numbers i’ve chosen, no significance). If anyone can give some insight, i’d be most grateful. I am considering NC and the surrounding states VA, GA, and TN.
    Many thanks,

    by ella — April 19, 2015

  109. We moved to On Top of the World (OTOW) a few years ago–a move that we now regret. There have been numerous problems with both new and older homes at OTOW that have not been covered by the “warranty” they advertise. The community is OK, but there are better (and less expensive) retirement communities in this part of FL. The HOA is an abomination. The developer has a monopoly on the water, sewer service and media (cable, internet, etc.) available in the community and the charges are high for these services.

    by Horace — April 19, 2015

  110. My husband and I are looking in central Florida to buy a home for retirement (I’m still working and will be retiring next year and my husband is retired).
    We will be selling our home in New Jersey soon and are contemplating on moving by the end of next year.
    The problem is that we cannot find newer homes without HOA fees (we’ve read horror stories about HOA fees).
    We do not want to move to an older home because we are tired of renovating our current home to sell it.
    We honestly don’t know what to do.

    by Carmen & Frank — April 19, 2015

  111. Horace,
    Can you provide some specifics on the problems in the new homes at OTOW? What are the better communities in the area, based on your experience? Thanks.

    by Tessa — April 19, 2015

  112. Carmen and Frank,
    we pay $ 85/mo where we live (see prior comments).
    I also came across an advertizement in a local paper just yesterday for Lake Weir. I have no affiliation with the community.
    They are 8 miles from the Villages, charge NO HOA, homes from $190s to 500s. Check them out at
    http://www.LakeWeirPreserve.com
    I hope it helps

    by godsgirl — April 19, 2015

  113. Ella, this is a complicated question and it would be hard to provide you an answer, but there are some good resources that have been mentioned and maybe some new ones. Start with toprequirements resources. Then some others
    Cost of living calculators there are many, but here is an example http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/savings/moving-cost-of-living-calculator.aspx?ec_id=m1117688&s_kwcid=AL!1325!10!4765227748!7129084719&ef_id=VOC0YAAAAXAKNUbN:20150419225831:s There are others with more cities and even zip codes, but less breakdown by category. Do a search
    Taxes
    http://www.kiplinger.com/tool/retirement/T055-S001-state-by-state-guide-to-taxes-on-retirees/index.php Go here and look at the state profile for the states that you are interested in. Some will depend on your sources of income. Fr example, TN does not tax earned income, but does have a tas on dividends and interest like had in NH. Also you need to look beyond just the income tax rates…look under the Exemptions for Other Retirement income
    Look at state sales tax and the exemptions, but be aware that locality may add taxes. Property tax…depend on price and assessment process…and are collected by local governments so this will not be state wide A good way to get an idea is look at the MRIS for area you are interested in…it usually had the tax and year.

    Then go to the tax revenue for a state and figure you taxes…it shouldn’t take that long since they start with you federal income tax.
    GAS
    http://www.bankrate.com/finance/taxes/gas-taxes-by-state.aspx If you tend to spend a lot of time right in your neighborhood and travel by golf cart this may not matter. On the other hand if you are towing your boat to the lake or your horse trailer to shows, this may matter
    Well this should give you a place to start. Then you can start on insurance costs (you would need a good ideas of location other than state), weather stats

    by elaine — April 19, 2015

  114. I actually took a driving trip to Lake Weir when I lived in Daytona Bch Fl and was severely disappointed! just some building lots out in the Boonies (some have motorhome garages and parking spaces – nothing around there (grocery stores etc) and no amenities at all if that is important to someone. IMO it “sucks”. Sorry but that’s my honest opinion. Yes, the Villages is about 10 miles from there but so what?

    by Robert — April 20, 2015

  115. Ella: I also bought two state tax packages from TurboTax this year, so I could play around with different scenarios. You still have to do some research to get data on local taxes (such as property taxes on vehicles), but for those of us who are compulsive researchers it’s another way of checking data :-). And of course, we also have to total the cost of homeowners insurance, HOA fees, gas taxes, sales tax, and all of the other cost-of-living factors that might use up disposable income. The savings for moving to a cheaper location might also end up being spent to visit family, be eaten up in moving & closing costs, etc. And that’s before we look at weather stats, lifestyle options, and all the other considerations for making a change. Whew.

    by Sharon — April 20, 2015

  116. I know it is up to each of us to do our homework on researching new places to live but for those of you who have already done this and are ‘wiser’ than us newbies who are now searching for Nirvana, is it possible that you could put together an Excel spreadsheet or PDF version of what needs to be price checked and share with us? It could be like comparing A to B. What your situation is now compared to where you ‘think’ you want to move to. I can imagine many of us think our financial situation now is expensive, however an analysis of the current situation compared to a new situation may prove that moving may not make sense. You might be paying high taxes in one state but may be faced with expenses in another state that you don’t incur where you are now. As an example, you may pay high town taxes on your home in CT but if you moved to a coastal location in SC you would have to pay for hurricane insurance or maybe flood insurance. You may have low taxes but the savings could be eaten up by certain insurance requirements. A spread sheet of things to look out for would be really helpful.

    by Louise — April 20, 2015

  117. Elaine and Sharon, Thanks so much for your responses. I think your last comment, Sharon, just about sums it up: “Whew!” Lot’s to do! I’ve used some of these websites, and i will try the others. However, as said, i think i must do the individual state income taxes to see how much money the difference comes to. People quote the same data (TN good, NC bad), but i don’t know how many, if any, have actually done the math. It would be very good to know, at least concerning state income tax, the difference between the states. Where as Tennessee, for example, might be great for persons earning income; for many of us, much of our income will come from IRA and 403B/401K mandated distributions. These will be taxed as interest or dividends (TN). Is this even considered when reading Kiplingers, etc. I know, to know, i have to sit down and do the math! Thanks again,

    by ella — April 20, 2015

  118. Robert, how long ago did you live in Daytona and do you think that areas under development may change?
    If someone wants me to check out the NOW, I will gladly do so and save you a trip, but we can’t base opinions on what once was.

    by godsgirl — April 20, 2015

  119. Carmen & Frank, You have every right to be wary of HOA’s. They can range from the truly benign to the horrendous. We are lucky in our community in Northern Virginia, it is there to make sure no one parks a boat in their driveways, or puts a rusty 1968 Chevy up on blocks in the front yard. $120 per year is great and the community is absolutely beautiful. Of course it is an upper middle, lower upper class, 1+ acre secluded, 116 home sub-division. Other HOA’s around the area are what everyone calls “the people’s republic of xxxxxxx (you supply the name)”, where people have to absolutely conform to the covenants or the HOA WILL sue and put liens on your home until you take that little gnome out of your front plantings. (I’m not exaggerating, they are that bad, and very expensive). So be aware of HOA’s, they are NOT necessarily your best friends!! Little dictators are what some are!

    by Dennis — April 20, 2015

  120. Yes, Louise, wouldn’t it be great if the math has already been done! As for me, i don’t particularly like where i live. I agree with you; if i did, i’d stay. As it is, it will be hard enough to leave friends and what’s familiar (and valued).

    by ella — April 20, 2015

  121. Ella, you are so right! You have to like where you live, but drilling down on that remark, you have to determine why you don’t like where you live. Easy to say, hard to do. My wife has finally drilled that into the head of this wandering soul body! We love our house and the neighborhood having built new 21+ years ago. Very secluded, GREAT neighbors, not bad weather, Northern Virginia after all, but a beautiful, quiet small subdivision. Virginia rates almost dead center in the statistics on taxes and cost of living so we could do a lot worse. Now, having said that I keep saying I want to move to the beach, the desert southwest, the Rocky Mountains, Hawaii where we lived for a number of years, etc., etc. I think you get the point . . . . if you like where you are, STAY there. That is what my wife and are are going to do.

    by Dennis — April 20, 2015

  122. Bob, take heed and do as suggested, pick a spot and do a short term lease during what would be the worst time of year. We have a couple of close friends who were determined they were going to retire out of Northern Virginia. For about 2 years they traveled coast to coast, border to border and finally settled on Las Vegas. They sold their home and packed up and move to the desert. They were smart in one way because they did do the short term lease thing, and it wasn’t 2 months into their relocation that they were back in Virginia! The reason, they had never been in Las Vegas in August! A month and a half of July-August was enough for them. They bought a house here not more than 40 miles from where they sold.

    by Dennis — April 20, 2015

  123. Ella, I too would like to move to NC, for a couple reasons. 1. We have many good friends who have retired there, but 2. my wife and I are both federal government retiree’s who have retirement annuities from the government, plus we both collect social security. We were both long time employees when we retired so our annuities are pretty darn good. Virginia taxes all income, where NC specifically exempts federal annuities and SS. Several states do this and it means we could save thousands of dollars by not being taxed. Also, Virginia has a car tax of 3.5%/per $100 valuation so my BMW and my wife’s Prius, and my pickup cost a pretty penny every year. It is a big inducement to move, that’s for sure!

    by Dennis — April 20, 2015

  124. ella, just to be clear just to be clearTN does not tax ira disdributions…i should have said income…not earned income…my bad. tax on dividends and interest only

    by elaine — April 20, 2015

  125. Looking for info on Delaware. We are looking at Seaford, Lewes and the Dover area. Would love to hear good and bad from others.

    by Shirl — April 20, 2015

  126. Elaine,
    My financial advisor has told me that IRA distributions are taxed as interest.

    by ella — April 20, 2015

  127. Ella, yes kiplingers does consider the detail…did you look at the more detailed state profile (click on state) for the states you are interested in? Here is TN http://www.kiplinger.com/tool/retirement/T055-S001-state-by-state-guide-to-taxes-on-retirees/index.php?map=&state_id=43&state=Tennessee

    Perhaps, the cost of living calculator would be better for you to start you journey. They include thing like utilities groceries, taxes etc. you can compare your present location to another area or compare two of your retirement locations. City data has a lot of good info.

    look back at http://www.topretirements.com/blog/retirement-planning-2/this-is-rocket-science-how-a-space-engineer-found-his-best-place-to-retire.html/ and http://www.topretirements.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Why-retire-at-Ocean-Shores_WA-v7-2014.pdfit will give you some ideas of what factor you want on your spread sheet if you do one… glass blowing would not be on mine. you can see with his 7 page document that it is a lot of work, but very individual.

    Yes, cost is important, but make sure you like the place. A second move would be even more expensive.

    by elaine — April 20, 2015

  128. Elaine, Thanks for the links. I went to the Bankrate calculator, and any area i’m interested in is not listed. I did compare two large towns in TN and VA, but as they’re not exactly where i’d plan to live; i’m not sure how helpful the info. is. I’ve been to the Kiplinger site, and although helpful, once again, not exact enough. I did TRY to go to Internal Revenue in VA, and couldn’t find the tax forms i need. I think that’s the route i need to go (comparing the four states); but don’t think it will be simple. First, i’ll need to know which forms to fill out. Then, i’ll need to know how to obtain my credits. My Long Term Care Insurance credit is not on my Federal tax form. Here is NY, it’s state only. I’m not sure if the states i’m investigation even give this credit or what form i’d need to learn the amount. So, once again, i’m stuck.

    I would imagine doing the state taxes will take a full day. I guess i need to bite the bullet and just do it.

    by ella — April 20, 2015

  129. Sharon,
    What two states did you compare and how did your comparison come out? If you don’t mind my asking, how big was the difference? This is my biggest question. Whether the difference in state income taxes is large or small.
    Many thanks,

    by ella — April 20, 2015

  130. Dennis,
    How wonderful that you love where you live, and that you and your wife have great pensions! As for moving to the beach, the desert, the Rocky Mountains, or Hawaii; how about planning on great, long vacation every year.? As for Virginia’s taxes, i don’t believe they tax social security. You may want to compare your state income tax with one done as if you lived in North Carolina before you move. Make sure the difference is worth moving over. Nice that you have friends already in NC. Gives you additional options!

    by ella — April 20, 2015

  131. Ella,
    The TN Dept of Revenue web site says IRAs are not taxable. I copied what you see below from the web site.
    Q – Is pension income, Social Security, 401(k) and IRA distributions taxable for Hall income tax purposes?
    A – No. As the Tennessee income tax does not apply to salaries and wages, items of income such as Social Security and pension income are not subject to the tax. Also, distributions from IRAs and 401(k) plans are exempt from the tax.

    Dennis,
    When it comes to NC, I think they tax all pensions. They’ve had some changes in the past few years.
    From the NC Dept of Revenue web site….
    Deduction for Other Retirement Benefits – There are no longer deductions available to certain taxpayers for up to $4,000 for federal, state, or local government retirement benefits or up to $2,000 for private retirement benefits.

    by Tessa — April 20, 2015

  132. Ella – I bought both of the Carolinas, but I haven’t had time to fool around with them yet (still working long hours…hard to fit retirement research in!). I need to get more info on the anticipated amount of real estate taxes and whether personal property taxes are payable, among other things. The software is a tool, but you still have to do a lot of research to input the correct data. Sorry – guess we’re both still in the research stage.

    by Sharon — April 21, 2015

  133. to godsgirl (Anne). I was there 2 yrs ago if that is what u classify as “once was”. I suggest you drive/fly/walk there and form your own opinion. I personally would not purchase, live there or base intelligent decision on what “may be”.

    As a Senior (actually a Seasoned Citizen) I wanna know “what it is” NOW! Not what it May Be? Maybe (pun intended) I won’t be around for what “May Be”=???

    Las Vegas “once was” when it started around 1941. Now it’s what it is in 2015. So if you would have moved there when you were 10 years old when it “once was” and stayed until what it is now “May Be” you would now be 86 years of age and had experienced the transition.

    That poses a problem for most SENIORS!

    As for me and my house = We don’t have that much time left on this planet – now you can understand why I am only interested in WHAT IT IS NOW./lol

    Capisce?

    by Robert — April 21, 2015

  134. Tessa,
    Thanks so much; invaluable information!

    by ella — April 21, 2015

  135. Sharon,
    I agree. It’s never simple! Right now we’re getting the house ready to sell, and i’m planning a second trip down south. There never seems to be enough time.
    My best to you,

    by ella — April 21, 2015

  136. Shirl: We retired to Delaware from PA..we live the just off Coastal Hwy. 11 miles from the Beach area of Lewes, just south of lovely Art Town of Milford. We chose this because of the quick trip to beach and all it has to offer, while living peacefully in a beautiful area. State of the Art Medical Center being built right across the Highway from us and Golf course next door. Perfect location! Seaford was too far from the beach for us and Dover area very congested as it’s the State Capital. Been here 8 years and enjoying carefree condo living and LOW LOW TAXES in Beautiful Delaware. Good Luck in your search.

    by sunlovingal — April 21, 2015

  137. Thanks for the info. We will be making a weekend trip to Delaware in the next month or so to check things out. My husband is retired from the military, but not yet retired from the civilian arena until next Spring. Being close to a military installation is important to us, but hoping to avoid the congestion of a large city. We are drawn to DE partly because of the low taxes and also not being more than a few hours from NJ since we have a daughter here. Not sure about a condo, since we have always owned a home and we have 2 small dogs as well. We’ll see how things go on our visit.

    by Shirl — April 21, 2015

  138. Shirl: Our development , Hearthstone Manor , is a Mix of Condos, Villas and Single homes mostly retired folks. Clubhouse and Pool also. Sorry I failed to mention this. good Luck again.

    by sunlovingal — April 22, 2015

  139. sunlovingal, what is meant by low taxes in Delaware? I’ve read the state income tax could be significant , thanks in advance.

    by Billy — April 22, 2015

  140. Billy: Delaware offers Home Buyers some of the Lowest Real Estate Taxes in the country. For most that is enough of an incentive to live in Delaware but when you add to the equation that there is No Sales Tax, No Inheritance Tax for most residents, and No Social Security Tax it is difficult to find a better place to live. Railroad Retirement Benefits are Exempt from Income Tax, and if you’re 60 or older you can Exclude up to $12,500 of Investment and Qualified Pension Income from your taxes. And even Out-of-State Government Pensions qualify for the Exemption. This makes Delaware “The Most Tax-Friendly State for Retirees” according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine. Hope this helps…we retired here from PA..tax crazy state. LOL

    by sunlovingal — April 22, 2015

  141. Sunlovingal: Thanks for the info on Hearthstone Manor – I’ll look into it. My husband is not big on a 55+ community, but it’s worth checkingout.

    by Shirl — April 22, 2015

  142. My friend lived in a quiet mobile home park just across the highway from all the outlet malls and behind a manufactured home sales lot. Her mailing address was Rehoboth but it was next to Lewes. Don’t know if you would be interested in that kind of living or not. It was mostly retired people, some used it as vacation homes but I think most were retired. They had a dog. She visited her daughter in NJ often and now lives there near her. But they loved being near the beach and having a little piece of land, not much of course. Many have lived there a long time as evidenced by the landscaping and care they took of their property. It was very quiet there when we visited. I think there was some recreation there but nothing like a 55+ community. And there is always the lovely tax situation.

    by Carol — April 22, 2015

  143. Carol: Do you know the name of the mobile home park next to Lewes? Thanks, Judy

    by judy — April 23, 2015

  144. My wife and I have been contemplating where to retire within the next 3 years. We currently live together outside Los Angeles over 25 years. I have lived in Los Angeles County most of my lives and she have lived in Hawaii during her young life. We have compared both states base on State income tax, property tax, cost of living, sale tax and housing cost. We found out that Hawaii don’t tax on Federal, State or Local pensions(including outside pension). The property tax is lower in Hawaii compare to L.A. County of 1% of house value. As to Hawaii, $3.75 per thousand of home value. (Maui County $5.57 per thousand). The sale tax is cheaper in Hawaii 4.5% as LA County 9 to 9.5%. The housing market is higher in Hawaii. Comparing food and material goods from Home Depot, Costco and local supermarket, I have notice that food is higher because 85% of food are imported from mainland as to material goods from Home Depot and Wal-mart is pretty much comparable in L.A.

    Here’s the link to look a the State comparion per income state and property tax rates.
    http://www.retirementliving.com/

    by ray — April 24, 2015

  145. We will be leaving Connecticut in a couple of weeks and decided to move to Florida. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina was my choice but my wife did not like Myrtle Beach or South Carolina. We are renting for a year to see if we like it there and feel our way around. Lifestyle, Healthcare, Part time employment, Cost of living, etc….. We first looked at Ft Myers but everyone we asked said Cape Coral is the place to live, so that is we rented. We spoke to several Lee County Sheriffs detective that we met at a Dairy Queen. Cape Coral is a pretty save area and parts of Ft Myers is OK too. They told us to stay out of Leigh High Acres. Crime rate is much higher there. We found our rental through Rossman Realty Management, Cape Coral office. We will not actually see the house until we get there, Rossman was willing to rent to us without actually meeting us, Paperwork was either emailed or sent overnight via USPS Express Mail. With Google Maps, the internet you can get a pretty good idea what an area is like.

    by Markg — April 24, 2015

  146. Mobile home community in Lewes/Rehoboth – had to get info from my friend. She and her husband and their boxer lived comfortably there for years until he got sick. They moved from a couple of acres near Newark with a goat and a horse at one time and were comfortable after their move to a single wide with large screened in porch. The community is Colonial East and she said also check baysidehomesales.com, mobile homes. It is not 55+. While we are looking for 55+, stick built, Del Webb kind of community, but much farther south, I wouldn’t rule out a place and location similiar to hers because of our visit with them. Her place is still for sale. About 5 mi to Rehoboth Boardwalk if that, and about same to Lewes downtown. And on ocean side of a busy highway so you can avoid a lot of beach traffic.

    by Carol — April 25, 2015

  147. This comment came in from Millie. Can anyone help her out?

    In attempting to relocate to the Gulf coast of Florida, because I own three indoor rescue cats I am unacceptable anywhere. No. Carolina areas ok, Virginia ok,Mass. ok etc. I would like comments or help.

    by Admin — May 1, 2015

  148. Millie please provide some clarification might help. Are you looking to rent or buy? when you mention that NC, VA and MA are ok…do you mean that you can find housing in those states? Or are you saying that those areas are ok with you as places to live if you can have the cats?

    by elaine — May 2, 2015

  149. Millie,

    I get it!

    We are moving soon to an apartment from a large home. We’ve owned homes and had cats always. Now we have one cat and we will have to pay a $500 deposit to have her with us.

    From a landlord position. Cats can really stink up a place (not yours, of course!) but ours can certainly cause trouble. She urinates on everything, plastic especially, but has stopped doing that as much since we discovered a minor medical issue. That’s been cleared up and she can now go outside because it’s no so cold. Also, many people are allergic to cat dander these days. Stinky indoor littler boxes can be a problem also.

    I assume you are looking for a rental. If you could commit to a long rental period the landlord may be more lenient. I don’t know what type of place you’re looking for but maybe a mobile home/manufactured home may be more accepting. There are many of those in Florida and really nice people live there.

    Now, how do move my outdoor loving cat to a second story apartment with a balcony?

    Aaaakkk!

    by Vicki — May 3, 2015

  150. Millie, I gather that you want to rent. I’m not sure about the “3” cats, but you may want to inquire homes in Cape
    Coral. I find that pets are welcome in some of the rentals..although you will have to pay a pet deposit.

    by LindaF — May 3, 2015

  151. Question came in from Mark:

    I just started subscribing to your weekly newsletter. What is the best way to find things like beach communities or Southern California Active Communities?

    Thanks for subscribing to our free weekly “Best Places” newsletter. To answer your question, our “Search” feature in the top main navigation bar offers many ways to get at specific searches. You can search cities or communities by amenity, region, type of community, etc. For example if you select “Coastal” you will see only communities on or very near a coast. You can select “California” using that, or just go to the California Active Community Directory in the top right orange box, http://www.topretirements.com/active_adult_communities/California.html or the “Best Places” link in the main navigation.

    Good luck

    by Mark — May 8, 2015

  152. Has anyone checked out the community Stonecrest in Summerfield, Fl? It’s just outside the villages.

    by Linda — May 9, 2015

  153. […] are Sunbelt towns, although 25 are concentrated in Florida. Topping the list of this year’s “Where Baby Boomers Go to Find Their Best Place to Retire” is Asheville, North Carolina followed by Sarasota and Venice, Florida. The method of compiling […]

    by THE TOP 15 BUILDERS IN 2015’S RETIREMENT MAGNETS - The Scoop News — May 18, 2015

  154. Lol! I have seen quite of few of these towns first hand, and expect this list is to generate income for these towns. I suggest everyone visit and find what feels like home to them. I accidentally found my retirement town. Please consider your financial factors before relocation. Here’s some notes to refer to:
    •State taxes on retirement benefits;
    •State income tax rates;
    •State and local sales tax;
    •State and local property taxes; and
    •State estate taxes.
    •While some states tax pension benefits, only 14 states impose tax on Social Security income: Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia. These states either tax Social Security income to the same extent that the federal government does or provide breaks for Social Security income, often for lower-income individuals.
    I myself, am relocating to Kentucky. Why?
    A.Kentucky-Retirement Check Not taxed- Retirement Pension-Exempt to a certain level ,
    Up to $41,110 of retirement income from a pension plan, annuity contract, profit-sharing plan, retirement plan or employee savings plan, including IRA amounts and other similar income, is exempt.
    B. Property is tax at half it’s value in Franklin, Kentucky.
    – Warm winter climate, 3 weeks of hot tropical summer
    – Good medical care
    – Where your children, family, and friends want to visit.
    C. Where you can afford to live a full retirement with
    * Nearby Recreational and cultural opportunities, golfing, boating, horses, hiking trails and
    live music in the downtown square.
    * Nestled in natural beauty, flowers bloom year round.
    * Transportation around 30 minutes to Nashville, or Bowling Green
    * Low grocery and retail prices
    * Low Crime, 4th lowest in the country!
    * Low Natural disasters, ice storms, or tornado’s are occasional.
    D. “Rumor” has it you can live very well on 25K a year. (5 cousins living there now, doing better than I have ever seen them do working!)

    by DeyErmand — August 29, 2015

  155. Hello DeyErmand!

    May I ask where in KY you are talking about? Visited KY and wasn’t really impressed, maybe I was in the wrong area.

    Thank you!

    by Debbie — August 30, 2015

  156. Hi Debbie, I posted Franklin, Ky. But different strokes for different folks. Owenville Ky was my second choice. Life is about what you feel comfortable with, I suggest you spend a weekend AND a few days in the week in any town you are researching for retirement. Finances must be considered first and foremost.

    by DeyErmand — August 30, 2015

  157. I am a KY native living in southeastern Fl, ten miles from the beach. Not yet retired. Don’t discount KY. Explore Louisville and Lexington. Both are beautiful, full of culture, activities and delightful, friendly people. I ‘ll choose the general tranquility of KY over super expensive and corrupt south Fl.

    by amy — August 31, 2015

  158. regarding Lexington KY:
    Snow in 2015: January: 3.5, 1.5, 0.8 inches
    February: 0.3, 0.1, 0.3, 10.2, 4, 0.5 inches
    March: 7.1, 10 inches

    Enough said???

    VinceMoloney

    by vincent moloney — September 1, 2015

  159. Thinking about Clermont, Florida for retirement next year. Currently living in New Jersey and it is too expensive and winters have become too harsh for our taste. I would appreciate any feedback on Clermont and any desirable areas in Central Florida.

    by Mary — September 23, 2015

  160. To Mary: We settled on a home in Trilogy of Orlando last December. About 5-10 minutes from Clermont. We are living in Maryland and traveling back and forth to Trilogy approx. 3-4 times a year until my husband can retire in 2017. Clermont is wonderful and we feel we made the right choice vs buying a house near the ocean. Plus beach homes much more expensive. Just finished a trip down there a couple of weeks ago and it was great.Our mode of transportation these days is the Amtrak auto train. Leaves Lorton, Va every day at 4pm arrives in Sanford Fl at 9 am the next morning. (Sanford is about a 35-40 min drive to Clermont) It works for us because we need our vehicle while in FL and it goes on the Auto train. Your vehicle cost a regular price of a ticket. You actually pack your vehicle as much as possible and take a carry on bag on the train. We have a small SUV and have been able to take down a lot of things. Our vehicle has been like a mini uhaul. Clermont is full of rolling hills and beautiful. Hope this helps.

    by Vickie — September 24, 2015

  161. Mary,
    Clermont is a really lovely area and we stayed at Trilogy in Groveland while we investigated the area. Herritage in Clermont was ok but if you get a chance check out Trilogy and Delwebb in Davenport.

    by alexmac56 — September 24, 2015

  162. Vickie,
    Your comment is just the reason why this site is helpful. We may or may not settle in Trilogy/Groveland but we are going to settle in that area. Your suggestion of using AMTRAK opened up a new set of alternatives for us when we do move..
    Thanks
    Ps the average temperature in Groveland is 3 degrees cooler than Davenport which is only 25 mins away…

    by alexmac56 — September 24, 2015

  163. Mary, we live at “the Plantation” (look it up, it will be worth your while) between Leesburg and Clermont, and we do shop in Clermont more often than Leesburg or even The Villages. All are within a short drive from us.
    Clermont is easy to navigate and a friendly town. We relied on GPS for our first trip, but didn’t need it on our second. If you remember Hwy 50, E/W and 27, N/S, you are set
    As mentioned by Vickie, Clermont’s rolling hills offer beautiful views and an alternative to …flat…
    City living but a short drive to the country, with cattle ranches and citrus groves, near equal distance from both coasts,short drive to Orlando for more upscale shopping and entertainment, more cost effective.
    We love it here.

    by godsgirl — September 25, 2015

  164. We just came back from two weeks on the North Atlantic Coast. We looked at the area from Amelia Island to New Smyrna Beach. We liked Ormond Beach (Halifax Plantation) but we love Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach. Great downtown on the marina; wonderful restaurants and shops. Good beaches. On the pricey side, if you want to live “on the island”, $400K+. Good communities on the mainland, about 15-20 minutes away. Amelia National and North Hampton appealed to us the most.. We found good houses with water/golf views for $320-$390K. We’ll be focusing our search here.

    by Richard — October 21, 2015

  165. This comment came in from Rita:

    Hello, does anyone know of a good retirement location around Chicago, St Louis, or Pittsburgh where people are friendly, close to transportation and stores. Some place where a retiree can feel comfortable and accepted?

    Not ready for a 55+. If not, maybe a gated community where there is a mixture of people.

    by Admin — January 28, 2016

  166. For Rita- I think all of Pittsburgh is exceptionally friendly, and all neighborhoods are close to stores. Transportation is trickier. Yes, there are bus lines to downtown (and often park and ride lots) but it depends on what you need the transportation for. If you want to go downtown to work, there could be bus options. If you want to take a bus to a mall or grocery store, or to go to the airport from a suburban neighborhood, it’s a lot more difficult. I am not aware of any gated communities, although I understand that one of the few 55+ communities in the area is thinking about putting up a gate.

    In Pittsburgh, you have to decide which side of the city you want, and then narrow it down further by neighborhood. Because of the hilly topography, tunnels to the South and East, and age of the city, each area has its own supporters and detractors. You can choose to be nearer universities on the East side, “out by the airport,” towards the West Side, in the North Hills, etc. Each side of the city has a mall (strip malls out by the airport, smaller busy mall to the South, large indoor mall to the North, dying mall in Monroeville to the East), movie theatres, lots of churches, etc. Some areas have small universities, such as LaRoche College in the North or Robert Morris University near the airport. Even the community college has branch campuses on each side of the city. Each area has plenty of restaurants…typical suburbia. Few people actually live downtown, but it’s easy to get to downtown’s sports venues, the casino or theatre district. Nothing is too far if you want to go to an event somewhere else, although everyone complains about delays through the tunnels (and why do people slow to a crawl when it rains?). Every side of the City has great libraries and hospitals. Even the community college has branch campuses on each side of the city. I lean towards the Northern suburbs, simply because that’s where I lived. I worked with people who were extremely enthusiastic about the pluses of their own sides of the city — yet we are all Pittsburghers and KNOW the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates will win championships next year! Pittsburgh is considered primarily Allegheny County, and you’ll find countless communities within that county within approximately a 25 mile radius from downtown. Aside from the cold weather, high real estate and gas taxes, the only other negative to Pittsburgh for retirement IMO is a lack of a lot of good retirement housing options. There are older homes with associated issues that haven’t been updated, and many homes have integrated garages and lots of stairs because of the hilly topography…you can see the options on the real estate web sites. It’s not impossible to find good housing for aging in place, of course. I just think it’s a lot more challenging than in areas where developers market to 55+ homeowners or where topography has permitted more ranch homes. Hope you get some responses for Chicago and St. Louis! I’ll be interested in hearing what others have to say.

    by Kate — January 29, 2016

  167. Kate — your comments about Pittsburgh are very well stated. As a born and bred Pittsburgher, I concur with everything that you wrote here about Pittsburgh’s plus and minuses. However, whenever I think of a place to retire, it is to someplace warm and sunny, and right now, Pittsburgh is neither of those 🙂 🙂

    by Valerie — January 29, 2016

  168. Western suburbs of Chicago would be a great place to retire. Wish I could. I live here. I am a 20 minute walk to thriving and growing downtown Naperville and train station to Chicago, hospital in town, at least 7 different food stores from Trader Joes on up plus new grocery stores coming, every kind of store you could imagine within easy range including 3 major shopping centers and a mostly diverse community. That is why I have been dragging my feet about leaving because I fear winding up in a place with a great climate but not adequate stores and doctors nearby. May come a time when that is more important than Pier 1, Macys and World Maket etc. There are several active adult communities in the area also. But taxes are very high here, Illinois government is a mess, community will be raising water and trash fees, plus we live in a 2 story house and are tired of snow and cold. So be preparead to pay for all of the above. Not much snow here this year and wildly, temps will be in the 40s this weekend. But that is a fluke for sure. If you are interested in a two story house with all these amenities nearby, call me in six months.

    by Carold — January 29, 2016

  169. Carold,
    My wife and I are originally from Naperville but have lived in Liburn, GA (Atlanta suburb) for the past 23 years. We have grand children there so visit once or twice a year. We both miss Naperville but because we are retired could not afford to move back there. We have not seen real estate values go up nearly as fast as they did in Naperville. You can’t beat the cost of living in the south but would be hard pressed to find the ammenities you enjoy in Naperville.

    by Jim C — January 30, 2016

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