Results Are in: Where You Think the Best Place to Retire Is

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

May 21, 2013 — The heck with what all the so called “experts” think with their fancy best places to retire lists – you’ve told us what’s most important – where YOU think those places are. So thanks to the more than 130 members who took the time to answer our recent survey – “Tell us where you think the best place to retire is, and why“. Your answers are always so rich with details and interesting reasons! It was fun to look at your choices and understand your reasons for selecting them.

We will do our best to summarize and make sense of the amazing data you so generously provided. While we should caution that 130 responses do not make for a statistically reliable sample. On the other hand, your rich comments do provide some deep insights and solid indications of regional preferences.

Conclusions
1. Best Regions. No surprise, the South and the West are by far considered to have better places to retire than the Northeast and Midwest. The South had 44 mentions, the West 43, and the Northeast and Midwest combined had 11.

2. Best States for retirement. The best states for retirement are (by number of mentions):
– Florida (19 mentions)
– Arizona (13)
– Colorado (9)
– South Carolina (7)
– Delaware (7)
Tennessee, Texas, Hawaii, and North Carolina all had at least 4 mentions. It is interesting that Delaware, clearly not a Sunbelt State, had so much interest. Low taxes and good location were cited as reasons for its popularity as a retirement spot. The fact that North Carolina didn’t rank higher was also curious.

3. Best cities and towns. The most frequently mentioned cities for retirement were:

Durango, CO, the surprising choice for most mentioned retirement city

– Durango, CO was the city you mentioned the most (5 mentions),
– Sarasota, Fort Myers, Southwest Florida in general, northern Arizona (Sedona, Prescott) all had multiple mentions

4. Reasons why these places are the “Best”. The reasons that make for a best place to retire are consistent with what we have seen in our other surveys (See Further Reading at end).
The most frequently mentioned reasons:
– Affordable homes
– Weather (sunshine, mild winters, low humidity, not too hot)
– Low taxes (income tax, sales tax, property tax, taxes on pensions and 401k distributions)
– Close to family

These items were also considered important:
– Natural beauty (mountains)
– Outdoor activities
– Beaches
– Plenty to do (parks, recreation)
– Culture (colleges, libraries)
– Good medical care
– Close to airports
– Lots to do
– Walkability
– Good shopping nearby


5. Things you want to avoid.
– A considerable number of folks were trying to get away from California – its taxes, high cost of living, traffic were cited as reasons for the getaway.
– Expensive, intrusive Home Owners Associations

6. International Places to Retire:
You named 5 countries outside the U.S. as your best place to retire:
Panama, France, Mexico, Thailand, Canada.

7. Helpful advice
As always there were some great nuggets of advice contained within your comments. Here are some that struck us:
“If you want to make only one move, consider a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community)”. (Jan Cullinane)

(Regarding choosing a place to retire based on where your children live, of which there was much discussion:) “There is no way to predict where your kids will wind up long term. Today it is relatively rare for professionals to stay in one job very long, often transferring from state to state. Particularly when younger, this is often how professionals move up in their career and pay more quickly.” Julie

“Definitely want to rent (before you buy).” Jony

“The Best Place To Retire is where you want to be if you can afford it!!!” Russ

Discussion
As always, we recommend reading all of the comments to the original “Time to Share” article if you have the time. You will gain a great insight into various communities as well as the many reasons why people gravitate to certain spots.

Great quotes from your comments
– Sarasota. beautiful beaches, WOW factor, wonderful urban atmosphere
– Gulfport (FL) – no traffic, artsy, low-key and cost (Key West vibe for less)
– Dunedin (FL). Quaint, walkable, water access, low crime, traditional neighborhoods, warm climate, numerous public parks,
– Bought a house in Palm Coast, FL. No income tax, close to the ocean, inexpensive real estate, and low taxes.
– Stonecrest in Summerfield (FL). It is only a few miles from The Villages and is a true golf Cart community, so you can go via cart to all kinds of restaurants,entertainment & shopping etc, as well as the golf courses and of course, access to The Villages, as well. The HOA is extremely reasonable
– NE Georgia in the Appalachian foothills. Why Georgia? Taxes for retirees are good. Will have 4 seasons, but mild winters and less humidity (get away Louisa. hurricanes)
– Lexington KY. area, home to pretty horses and fast women !! All kidding aside mild climate each season and love the horse country, near a major university
– We are pretty excited because we are in the process of buying a condo, a large condo in Murrells Inlet, SC. There are many medical facilities, restaurants, golf courses, and the beach is not far. The taxes are low too! (10% of TX taxes)
check out Maryville. very close to the knoxville airport, good medical care and home to a small private liberal arts college.
-The Roanoke, VA area, and hope to move there in a couple of years when our last child is out of high school. We are looking forward to buying a small used RV to use when wanderlust strikes, and in the long run to visit the kids.
– Delaware…we love it here. Moved just off Coastal Highway in a beautiful development (Hearthstone Manor) of one floor homes, near beautiful beaches of Lewes and Rehoboth with TONS to do. LOW taxes, NO sales tax and no State SS tax
– State College, PA to be close to Penn State and all the cultural and sports related activities. We like the 4 seasons
– Phoenix metro area with Gold Canyon, Goodyear, north Peoria and Buckeye being our top choices. After lots of research, this area seems to be a good choice with taxes, cost of living & housing and medical
– Wanted a 55+ community, they remind us of a cruise – you can be as busy as you want or choose not to be. Sun City Festival was for us
– We are moving to Peoria, AZ. The weather is great for outdoor activities year round and the 40% lower overall cost of living is certainly a plus. (and escape CA)
– I’m headed back west for the dry weather, bright blue skies and milder winters in northwestern Colorado. Colo. exempts some retirement income from state taxation and has much lower property taxes than the midwest.
-Southern Colorado, we found a great climate, beautiful scenery, a noticeable lack of bugs, plenty of wine and oh that new little law they passed this year (puff, puff)
-Hawaii – yes I don’t enjoy the cold. Don’t appreciate two sets of clothes hanging in my closet year round. In Hawaii I can have one style shorts and shirt. I have also found the Big Island of Hawaii affordable home range
– Boise, Idaho? winters are mild with little snow but still have cold, weather is dry as we are high desert. Crime is low, people are very friendly
– Florence, Oregon. Its great no sales tax, small town but 1 hour from Eugene and intl airport. The town is extremely senior friendly.
– The west side of San Antonio. A large library system; a large zoo; Sea World; miles of bicycling in Texas Hill country; no rain; no state income tax
– We live in Kingwood – a suburb of Houston. Its a master planned community with lots to do. Its a beautiful setting – with most houses set amongst green space.
– Vancouver Island is for us, which we learned after driving coast to coast. Affordable waterfront, with a golf-course in a gated community. Good access to all major amenities including healthcare, banks, airports, restaurant
– Rosarito Beach, Baja, Mexico. Less than 30 miles south of San Diego, CA I’ve lived here for over 10 years. Weather is great, I’m into downtown San Diego in 1 hour. Lots of Americans
-Thailand. A cheap but accommodating lifestyle then Chiang Mai, Thailand. I have friends here who live well on only their social security check.
– France. I love being in France, speak the language, and have found a town in Provence where I have friends and connections. Living there is wonderful! That’s why it is overrun with other Europeans, mostly Brits.

For further reading:
Here is a link to a similar article asking for member input on best places to retire in 2012. It received more than 700 comments. The article has a link to our analysis of those comments.
100 Best Places to Retire for 2013
Links to Previous Topretirements Surveys

Comments? Now that you have had a chance to see what others think about the best places to retire and why they are so, do you have more to add? Any thoughts about why Colorado and Delaware did so well, and NC not so much. We continue to appreciate new comments and suggestions – please add below or to the original article.

Posted by Admin on May 21st, 2013

82 Comments »

  1. I have found retirement heaven in Huntsville, AL. Low housing costs, low taxes, excellent hospital system, great transportation (although more bike trails would be helpful [and are coming]), and great natural beauty. People complain about the weather, but I love it. Not too cold in the winter and not nearly as humid in the summer as Florida.

    by Dennis — May 22, 2013

  2. Another outstanding survey and summary, John. Keep ’em coming!

    by Jan Cullinane — May 22, 2013

  3. Punta Del Este, Uruguay is a wonderful place to retire. Clean, beautiful beaches, low cost healthcare, new airports in Montevideo & Punta Del Este, great weather…dry summers with mild winters, close to Buenos Aires.

    by Mark — May 22, 2013

  4. There is no best place to retire for every one. What is best place for the husband might not be the best place for the wife. Your thoughts while you are still working may be different than they will be when you have lots of time on your hands. Life is not static. Everyone no matter what their age should keep their options open and be able to change their location for retirement living easily. I think it best if you keep your costs down you are in a better position to be flexible if you need or want to. Nothing has to be forever. Be smart keep you future options open!!

    by David M. Lane — May 22, 2013

  5. Loved this survey and very happy to see that Arizona was number 2 on the list. I moved out here and love, love, love it. Great friendly place to be, and all the important stuff on the list is pretty much here, except maybe walkability (depending on what area you live)!!!

    by loralee — May 22, 2013

  6. This is a good start but would love to find places where everyone isn’t married. Considering the general population has quite a few single (divorced, widowed, etc.), very little attention is given to compiling information on places singles wouldn’t feel like a 3rd wheel

    Thanks for all of your efforts!

    by Cathy — May 22, 2013

  7. I too would like to find places that are ‘singles’ friendly. I’m not looking for a community of grandparents hosting their grandkids all summer….. This is is pretty cool though! Thanks for the helpful info!

    by Sandra — May 22, 2013

  8. I just want to share my friend’s experience with Prescott. She recently retired there and was quite happy until she had to find a physician. There are not enough physicians there. She was required to fill out a questionnaire and was told someone would get back to her and let her know if she would be accepted by the physician. This has happened at a number of doctors’ offices and she is still waiting to hear back. My hubby and I were considering retiring there but are now having second thoughts about it.

    by Lyn — May 22, 2013

  9. single, retired 68 year old looking for warm, low, low taxes near ocean but not on it because of cost and insurance, and most importantly, a conservative area. Where do you readers advise me to look into? I love this column and all the advice it offers. Please do get back to me and give me your ideas. I will be visiting areas soon. I’m from N.H. and tired of cold weather and high property taxes and state is getting too liberal for me. Thank you, all!

    by Barbara Stevens — May 22, 2013

  10. I’m awfully glad to see that FL and AZ won the Sweeps! My upcoming move to NC led a friend of mine to inquire whether Asheville was “full” yet! Variety is the spice of life as some wise (probably a woman!)person said!

    by cherie — May 22, 2013

  11. I appreciate this list, but I HATE HOT HUMID WEATHER. I want to find a place that is cooler in the summer. The south and southwest are out for me. I’d like to see more info about other areas.

    by Diane Stewart — May 22, 2013

  12. Mt. Airy, NC Mt Airy is a charming and dynamic community in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which protect it from severe weather.Its rolling topography combined with low density development, lots of trees and a love for landscaping is a treat to the eyes. It has a walkable downtown filled with interesting stores and two museums. It has a first class medical center type hospital and a very wide variety of specialists and general practitioners. It offers diversified cultural oppertunities. A branch of the nearby Surry Community College is located in Mt. Airy. It has an outstanding city governemt that provides first class services. The Parks and Recreation Department has a very comprehensive recreation program year around, delivered through two large parks, two smaller parks, two (soon to be three) fitness greenways adjacent to streams and a comprehensive fitness and recreation center that includes two olympic sized pools, one indoor and one outdoor.It is the town that Mayberry of the Andy Griffith Show was patterened after. It is filled with friendly and caring citizens.

    by Peter F. Lydens — May 22, 2013

  13. To Barbara S. Check out Palm Coast Fl. Nice town real estate very affordable, lots of bike/hike trails and state parks two hospitals, many restaurants and 4 miles west of the Atlantic Ocean. Located midway between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach

    by Bob Hattendorf — May 22, 2013

  14. Thank you, Bob H. for your suggestion to visit Palm Coast, Fla. Now I will begin to google this area. Florida seems to be my destination. I’ve considered Biloxi area, too. Inexpensive, and many miles of shoreline. I enjoy the casino atmosphere, too. Lots of entertainment,excellent restaurants and always lots to do.

    by Barbara Stevens — May 22, 2013

  15. I really appreciated the info on Kingwood near Houston and will look into it. I really want a Large city. We looked at places like payson, Prescott and Tucson…all too small for me. I also want a large airport that is a major hub. My husband worked in Huntsville Alabama and I thought I would expire from boredom…just not much there to interest me. I lived in the Phoenix area for years. Wouldn’t retire in Arizona because water is going to become a Major issue in the coming years for the whole state

    by Vicki — May 23, 2013

  16. VICKI: if u need more/other info. on Kingwood just let me know. We’ve been here 8 years so we’ve learned about the community and the area in general. Kingwood is close to GW Bush International Airport (one of the other reasons we chose the area – proximity to major airport). Weather is hot & Humid for most of the year and property taxes can be high – depending on where you live in Kingwood (ours aren’t because of the “Village” we chose in Kingwood). As well, at age 65 you get a freeze on taxes as a result of age (a definite benefit). Insurance (house & car) can be pricey but if you shop around then that can be managed well. Happy to help with info. anytime.

    by sheila — May 23, 2013

  17. Hi Cathy

    I agree with places that are ideal for singles.All of what I read to date is for married couples which is great. If you find any communities for singles please advise. I enjoy working out, bike riding, the beach, mountains as well as cultural/educational activities. From the many places I visited in the US, California appears to have it all including the low humidity and so much to do!
    Thanks..Guy
    LI,NY

    by Guy — May 23, 2013

  18. I would venture to make a guess about North Carolina. It’s really not that tax friendly for most retirees. It is of interest to me, though, as I would benefit from the Bailey exemption and not have to pay state income tax. But, for those who do not benefit from the “Bailey law,” the state income tax rate ramps up pretty quickly.

    Colorado was high on our list but we’ve ruled out the front range from Ft. Collins to Colorado Springs. It seems to be growing too fast for us, for one thing. Also, perhaps we didn’t look enough, but the subdivisions we found outside Denver had HOA rules that seemed ridiculous to us. When people are measuring your bird bath to make sure it’s within regulation…it turns us off completely.

    I’m enjoying reading others’ comments because…after six years of chatting about this topic, we still don’t know where we want to move!

    by Chuck — May 23, 2013

  19. Chuck: What is the “Bailey Law”?

    by Jeff Longstaff — May 24, 2013

  20. For Cathy. There are lots of singles in the Palm Desert..La Quinta..Palm Springs, Ca.area, known as the Cochella Valley! Also lots of singles in Phoenix, Az!!

    by loralee — May 24, 2013

  21. As intrigued as I am by the singles oriented place, would that mean you would have to leave if you got married or a significant other? Tough to police.

    by Julie — May 24, 2013

  22. We would love to retire in downtown Chicago to be close to family. I am concerned about how we will meet other people in our age group (late 60s). Can anyone comment?

    by Carol — May 24, 2013

  23. Lots of married couples there too, A lot of you have asked where there are singles, I just mentioned places where I have a lot of friends and visit them, and know the area very well. When you give an answer people should not be sarcastic!!!

    by loralee — May 25, 2013

  24. Jeff Longstaff – I am taking a chance but think it may be described here > http://www.ehow.com/info_8065558_north-carolinas-baileys-tax-law.html

    by BillS — May 25, 2013

  25. Loralee, I hope it wasn’t me that you thought was being sarcastic. I found the idea of a singles oriented retirement place an interesting concept, and clearly a need that is not being met. But marital/couple status is not a constant, so I really don’t know how one would fill this need as a long term community.

    by Julie — May 25, 2013

  26. I am reading a fabulous book by Jan Cullinane titled “The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement”
    It’s thorough, thought-provoking, and there is an endorsement by John Brady of this website.

    by Deborah Lehan — May 26, 2013

  27. Has anyone looked at the Del Webb communities in NC and SC? Can you provide insight as to what you thought?
    Thanks
    Marilyn

    by Marilyn — May 26, 2013

  28. I think that the comment from Dennis was the first I have see in regard to Huntsville, Al. I would be interested in hearing about what type of housing you have found there and a little bit more about the particular area of Huntsville you would recommend. I have looked at (only online) some of the homes in Old Town Huntsville which I thought were pretty interesting but not sure about the close in proximity to the city. I have heard that the traffic in the immediate Huntsville area near Redstone etc to be quite bad. True or false??

    by Anne — May 27, 2013

  29. Dennis—I am considering the Huntsville area. Are you living within the city limits or are you out in the Madison area. I have seen (online only) some of the cute little bungalows in the Old Town area but wonder about the traffic situation in the immediate city area.

    by Anne — May 27, 2013

  30. Marilyn ..we looked at Dell Webb in Summervile SC (near Charlston) and it was beautiful..was 2 yrs ago and plan another trip..the hesitation was due to selling our home..looks better now..getting back to your question..homes are great..very nice community..and amenities..the only drawback is very hot/humid and not sure if thats acceptable..take a look

    by Robbie — May 27, 2013

  31. Marilyn, We are closing on our new home in the Del Webb community in Summerville a month from today, We are very excited and can’t wait to move. We met a lot off very nice, friendly people when we were there and there are so many groups and activities. Our salesperson, Yvette is wonderful – very helpful and not pushy. She has sent us lots of pictures at several phasesmin the construction process. We too were nervous about selling our house. The good news is it sold in three days with 4 offers to choose from. Yes, we got 20% less than we paid for it but we still got a check at closing so we are pleased considering what the market has been like.

    by Kathy — May 27, 2013

  32. Carol,
    You are moving to downtown Chicago – it’s a beautiful city that has lots to do. You are concerned about how to meet people – the key is to talk, talk to anyone and everyone you see. If you are downtown, you’ll most likely get around either by walking or taking a bus – talk! There are also plenty of things offered by the museums as well as classes you can take at the many Universities. Have a great time – it’s a wonderful city!!!!!!

    by Sunny Rogers — May 27, 2013

  33. I have visited two Del Webb communities, one in NC and one in SC. I felt the construction was not of the best quality and that was in the models. I wonder what the actual homes look like.

    by Dick — May 27, 2013

  34. Dick I am sorry you felt like the Del Webb communities were not up to your standards as far as construction..I have visited Sun City the one in Bluffton near Hilton Head..I have found that the new construction while different than many of the custom homes in Kentucky are very accurate for the weather and area..The pricing is also much better than here in Louisville for comparable and the H/AC is very good and energy efficient…Of course the best part of Sun City was the people as Robin and I have never felt more welcome and comfortable..It is the place we will retire within the year…

    by Paul — May 28, 2013

  35. Many, many thanks for the endorsement, Deborah!

    by Jan Cullinane — May 28, 2013

  36. Marilyn, Robin and I have traveled to many places in preparing for our 2014 retirement. The ONE place we keep coming back to is Sun City a Del Webb community just outside of Hilton Head. The people and activities are something that has attracted us. The medical facilities are good and everything is close by. Savannah is 20 minutes, Jacksonville a little over and hour and Atlanta just 4 hours away. Charleston is 1n hour to the north also..I find that the cost of living is just a tad higher than here in Louisville BUT the amenities are much better not to mention the weather, water and sun…We are looking forward to our retirement..Good Luck

    by Paul — May 28, 2013

  37. Robbie, Kathy and Paul,
    Thank you for your input, we’re very excited about our trip to these communities in July. We’ll decide which community meets our needs and move forward. Dick, I heard you about construction, my husband has always built our homes so he will be checking this out carefully. It’s true the South does construct much differently than we do in the North.

    by Marilyn — May 28, 2013

  38. Widow of 9 years and would love to find a retirement community that is active, friendly and affordable that would be near (within 4 hours drive) family that is in NJ and PA. any suggestions?

    by Char — May 28, 2013

  39. My husband and I visited Del Webb in Ponte Vedre FL and we loved the area and the amenities, but the construction quality was very poor. My husband has been a sales manager for a building materials company for 31 years, and he was appalled at the selections made by the builder. All low end, cheapest quality,and poorly installed. Small HVAC systems for the house sizes, inexpensive aluminum windows that are not approved for hurricane weather, and little insulation. Low end appliances as well. Worst of all, there is no possibility to choose different materials or request or supply your own higher grade materials. Maybe there are different builders at different Del Webb communities, but best to be very wary and look carefully at those models! Ask lots of questions and maybe have an independent resource give you a second opinion. We have chosen to bypass Del Webb altogether.

    by Sandy — May 28, 2013

  40. Sandy, look at Vitalia at Traditions in Port St. Lucie, 55+ new builder and beautiful homes at a very affordable price with great amenities. Planned community and shopping only one mile away within community. Builder has been building in FL and Arizona.

    by Barbara — May 29, 2013

  41. The best place to retire is near family. If your family is near, stay there! Moving far away is fine when you’re in your younger retirement years, but the older you get the more important your family becomes. I know,because I lived 1000 from my parents and it was extremely difficult as they aged and had health problems. We did LUCK OUT moving to Asheville, NC before retirement and are staying right here in in this perfect place and, better yet, both of our grown children chose to stay here! If you like the south, but don’t like the really hot summers, Asheville is the place – elevation keeps us cooler than the rest of the south. As Upper Miwest transplants it’s the perfect place!! LOVE it here!

    by Sonja Dunbar — May 29, 2013

  42. Agree with you Sonja but you are very fortunate that your grown children have chosen to stay near but most people have children in at least two different states. I chose to retire to FL when my kids were in PA NV and NC … Now they live in PA and NJ. WOULD LOVE TO FIND SOMETHING WITHIN A FEW HOURS OF THEM but its not easy…especially when your widowed and have limited money. If anyone has any suggestions …please let me know…

    by Char — May 29, 2013

  43. My husband and I are in our early 50’s, no kids, (not much family at all) live in SoCal (love weather, hate the taxes, traffic, etc.) and have been looking for the retirement place for us. We are both from MN but moved to CA 30 years ago, so would love to stay on the west coast. We figure we have 15+ years to figure it out, but love reading about everyone’s thoughts and experiences. Any thoughts or ideas of a retirement spots in the western US?

    by Barb — May 29, 2013

  44. Does anyone have experience with savannah,ga as a retirement spot? Any pros and cons? Thanks.

    by jim k. — May 29, 2013

  45. What communities can anyone recommend in Delaware.

    by Joy — May 29, 2013

  46. Lived in Savannah, Ga. for 17 years. Would not go back to live. Nice place to visit though. I’m retiring to the gulf coast of Alabama. Beautiful beaches, low cost of living, very low property taxes. Just as beautiful as the BP ads make it look. Check out Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Foley, Fairhope.

    by Elizabeth Collins — May 29, 2013

  47. Char,

    If you are looking for close to NJ and PA, relatively anyway since there is a wide range in between, consider DE for lower property taxes if you are looking to buy. Taxes in NJ are very high, but PA has very reasonable income tax, particularly for retirement income which is not taxed. This includes social security, public and private pensions, 401Ks and IRAs.

    If you are looking to buy, PA can be a deal or not…it depends. Property taxes are set very strangely there. Property values near Hershey, PA are quite attractive, rents reasonable, and there is the added bonus that there is lots for the grandkids to do at Hershey Park, not to mention the excellent Hershey Medical Center. There is even a symphony and playhouse.

    If you are looking for a retirement community, however, I have no clue. If you tell us more of what you are looking for, budget, buying or renting, senior community or not, we might be more helpful. Otherwise we will tend to look at your question based on our assumptions, which are not likely to be the same as yours.

    by Julie — May 30, 2013

  48. To Elizabeth: What was the humidity like in Savannah? It seems like that whole area along the Gulf would be really uncomfortable in the summers. Thanks

    by Mark P — May 30, 2013

  49. Mark P,

    I know you asked Elizabeth about the humidity in Savannah, however I’d also like to respond.

    I have friends in Savannah that I have visited frequently. While Savannah can be quite charming, the humidity is very high during the summer months. Also, I seem to be a feast for mosquitos and usually get attacked by them. The last time I visited I counted 38 bites on my first day.

    by Gene Smith — May 31, 2013

  50. To Gene,

    I can’t help you with the humidity but if you put a sheet of Bounce in your pocket or belt loop the mosquitos will attack someone else. From personnal experience I can tell you it works..

    I go one step further and when I know I am going out to a BBQ/park/etc…I will place a sheet or two between my cloths and let the odor seep in…when I go out, the little blood suckers leave me alone and attack everyone else.

    Give it a try..the worse that can happen is you smell like bounce…if it works-and I know it does-passit on…

    by Russ — June 1, 2013

  51. Regarding Del Webb comminities – my husband and I visited their places in Naples and Wimauma, both in Florida. We found their quality of construction not what we wanted so we are leaning towards GL Homes in Valencia Lakes in the Tampa Bay Area. Does anyone have any experience with them? Although we’d rather be in Naples where they actually have a town center, the real estate is too expensive for us.

    by Lana — June 1, 2013

  52. Thanks to Gene Smith, Savannah has been eliminated from my short list. I hate the humidity. Think I’ll stick with something in the west where humidity (and high dew point) is virtually non existent.

    by Mark P — June 1, 2013

  53. Having lived in Alaska for 34 years and in Anchorage for the past 15 years we are very familiar with the Anchorage weather. We have never been to Prescott, AZ but are thinking of retiring there. A comparison of precipitation amounts between the two cities shows Prescott getting several inches more… we find that hard to believe. Anyone have insight into just how WET it is in Prescott?

    by Love2Cruise2gether — June 1, 2013

  54. thanks Julie for your comments….I would love to hear from people who have experienced DE and PA retirement communities. Its somewhat overwhelming to be single and looking to make the right decision. I’m not that interested in golf but would like an active community in regard to different interest clubs, college courses, healthy thinking residents, etc. Its so important for me to set up a life for myself since I want my kids to have their lives without me as a burden but an enjoyable part. Its hard to meet new friends at this age (66) and I guess thats why Im looking into retirement communities. Any information would be really appreciated……..

    by char — June 2, 2013

  55. Lana:

    I have a patient who lives here in DC AND has a home in Florida. He is an expert on builders (his business) and he said GL Homes are the best built in Florida Good choice!

    by Jennifer — June 2, 2013

  56. lana: Valencia Lakes is very nice and convenient to Tampa. The homes are of very good quality.

    by jim — June 2, 2013

  57. To Jennifer and Jim,
    Thank you so much for your feedback re: GL Homes. I love reading this blog and value the feedback. Best wishes to us all! Will let you know what and where my husband and I decide, whether we stay in our current place or move to Florida.

    by Lana — June 3, 2013

  58. I’m baffled by people, especially women, who seem to find it hard to meet others in new areas. I have moved a lot in my life and I find, even in retirement, that if you follow a few simple suggestions, you’ll soon be so involved you won’t have time for anything new! These ideas always helped me find friends: find a group that revolves around a hobby – gardening, bridge, photography, scrapbooking, cooking. There are a million of them. Find these groups through the local YW/YMCA, local community college, your city’s website, neighbors. Volunteer – most groups are desperate for help – animal rescue, neighborhood/city beautification, environmental, politics, women’s shelters. The lists are endless. Join a church, a Red Hat group, a book club. Every city, even very small ones, usually maintain a list of organizations on the city website that are always looking for new members. A site called http://www.city-data.com might help. You can just plug in your city name and all sorts of information pops up! If you don’t like one group, try another! And be open to any reasonable offers or suggestions. Enjoy your new city and its residents!

    by cherie — June 3, 2013

  59. Great suggestions, Cherie. It also might be time to step outside of the box a little bit and try an activity you’ve always wanted to explore but never got around to.

    by Judith — June 3, 2013

  60. All great suggestions, Cherie. One single woman put fliers on peoples’ mailboxes in her new community and invited them to coffee and to form a book club. And, don’t forget the local library. I’m on the Board of Trustees of mine, and there are tremendous offerings – book clubs, talks, activities, and clubs, and all free. And, there is Meetup (Meetup.com) that allows you to find and join – or start – groups based on common interests. No cost to join, but there may be a charge or dues for the meetings.

    by Jan Cullinane — June 4, 2013

  61. To Jan Cullinane….interested in your opinion about retirement near family. Right now I’m in Florida but my kids and family are in NJ NY and PA. As we age and health concerns happen do most singles move to be closer to family? I’m trying to decide weather to move now while I can afford it even though I’m 66 nd in great health or enjoy this community until problems occur. Wish there were more active , affordable communities “up north”….singles income is not always as large as couples.

    by Char — June 4, 2013

  62. I retired 18 months ago after the birth of my 2nd grandchild. I live in a small town in Maryland; one of my children lives here with my other grandchild, 11 and my other daughter and my son live with their families in Delaware – all within an hour of me. As a single woman, I wanted to be close to my children and have given up opportunities to be in a relationship for this. Why? My grandchildren given me happiness and joy in so many ways – it is better than when my own children were little – no stress and just unconditional love for them. We go to DC and Baltimore, Lancaster, Rehoboth and I am content.
    If I move, I will probably move closer to the shore – to a condo at some point.
    By the way, I still have a 96 y o mother who is 80 miles from me and I visit with her frequently, at least weekly.
    Would not have it any other way – being close to family.

    by Carol — June 5, 2013

  63. Any 55+ Active Adult Communities for lower or middle income earners? I don’t want to spend all on a home. Thanks.

    by Marty — June 7, 2013

  64. Thanks for the info on Savannah, was on my top two list, but not now. I currently live in Conroe,TX, outside of HotHouston, and I hate this weather. Humid, and hot, hot, hot. Love this site.

    by CeCe Williams — June 8, 2013

  65. Interesting to note that some of your writers (here and elsewhere) won’t move to a particular area because there are “conservatives” there…are they afraid they may go over to the dark side? 😳
    Our world would be a better place if we spent more time looking for new opportunities and listening to each other’s views than looking for a place where everyone thinks and acts like we do.

    by Steve — June 27, 2013

  66. Mving to Easton, Md–is the area damp?? Is good for a person with COPD? I have chronic boncatis is this area for my condition?

    by Tom — November 27, 2013

  67. Love2cruise2gather…have spent some time in Prescott and loved the weather. It is high desert which means fairly dry summers. But you do get snow in the winters. Not to the depth you get in Alaska! I once lived in Seattle, where it seemed to rain for 9 months. But I noticed many places, like Mississippi, that have higher precipitation. I think this can be accounted for by the type of weather. Seattle has a lot of grar, overcast, drizzly days. Very few big storms with hard driving rain. Other places have less frequent overcast days , but get more big storms. This is probably why the data you are seeing looks strange.

    by Ginger — November 28, 2013

  68. I have read several articles about great places to retire. Three of the ones that have interested me are; McCall, Idaho – Kirksville, MO and Decorah, Iowa. Does anyone have any firsthand information about these places?

    by Builder Bob — December 10, 2013

  69. To Builder Bob – moved from Florida to Kirksville, MO five years ago. Positives of Kirksville area – easy to get around by car (no traffic congestion); limited shopping but close to other cities for those types of services; excellent medical care; 2 excellent colleges; interesting history; beautiful countryside; cost of housing is very inexpensive; there are enough activities to keep us busy between local sports, concerts, library and the like.
    Negatives of Kirksville area – overall negative attitude of community; very rural and somewhat backward (many have never been out of the area); lack of appreciation for the contributions of the 2 colleges to the community economically and in many other ways; crumbling infrastructure especially roads that residents complain about having to pay to fix and repairs are done on the cheap therefore needing to be done more frequently; overall ghetto appearance of many properties in town; good ole boy network is thriving and they don’t forget historical slights to family members; crime rate is increasing somewhat due to influx of criminal element into the area; lack of shopping and restaurant variety.
    We are here for approximately 5 more years and then hope to be able to move elsewhere out of Missouri. If we would have to stay we would deal with it, but think that there are better places that we could live.

    by Kathy Atkinson — December 12, 2013

  70. New to this blog and have read with interest the posts regarding active 55 plus communities. I live close to the Del Webb, Summerville, SC which has a monthly HOA of $235.00. Can anyone say if this amount is the norm for these types of communities? It seems like a large expense to pay out each month as a retiree.

    by Amy — December 13, 2013

  71. To: Kathy Atkinson
    Thank you so very much. I was born in southern Missouri, West Plains, and thought I would like to move back, but the southern portion of Missouri is almost exactly what you described for the north (Kirksville) Perhaps my dreams of Idaho are more to be realized. Let’s go!
    Cheers

    by Builder Bob — December 13, 2013

  72. Amy, $235 is probably a bit on the low side if this community has a pool and a clubhouse to maintain. Do you know what the fee covers?

    by Linda — December 13, 2013

  73. Amy $235 is on the low side. Be sure to ask the realtor for the list of any and all fees. If you don’t ask they may not share that with you.. In addition ask if the HOA Association has a reserve. Asked if there is any special assessments due. Do your homework thats have I learned the questions to ask. Ask for a copy of the latest Hoa by-laws. Hope this helps.

    by Skip — December 13, 2013

  74. Marilyn
    Amy we have visited 15 communities in 3 states so far and the HOA has ranged from $100./month to $250./month. I know there are some that are higher but we decided to cross those off of our list. HOA’s will only go up.

    by Marilyn — December 13, 2013

  75. Thanks to everyone who responded. Personally, although I like the idea of a plus 55 community because of all the activities on offer, I’m not convinced they are worth the price. Since my biggest fear is driving, I’m thinking that moving to a small town might do the trick. That way I can join groups for socializing, but not have to deal with too much traffic. Thank you Cherie for providing some good ideas on where to find them.

    by Amy — December 14, 2013

  76. We are buying a home in a 55 plus community in Florida and the HOA is $311 monthly. Seems like a lot but includes a gated community, also includes basic cable, internet, security monitoring system, yard mowing and triminsg of bushe sand a 24,000 square foot clubhouse. In Connecticut we were paying $200 for cable and internet.

    by ralph — December 14, 2013

  77. Steve…I would prefer to live in an area with less conservatives, but not because I am afraid ill go over to the dark side. Rather, I find that I enjoy spending time with people who share my views. It is not fun to spend time with someone who disagrees with your world view and wants to argue. Te fact is that very few people ever change their views based on an argument or discussion; it really serves little purpose. And it isn’t usually fun to spend time arguing. Besides, the activities that are organized are different in a more liberal community. I grew up in Oklahoma…lots of pancake breakfasts, church dinners, picnics, sporting events. I moved to San Francisco for college and suddenly we had gay pride parades, bay to breakers, race for the cure, poetry groups, womens groups, book clubs. Very different, and more to my taste.

    by Ginger — December 14, 2013

  78. To Ralph, I would be interested as to what community you are buying in, that is what I am looking for. I now pay for everything separate and it sure comes to more than 311.00 pm
    I am alone and I want everything included, so much easier:smile: I am in Fl. now and I want to stay in the state. Your help would be much appreciated.

    by Dianne — December 14, 2013

  79. Ralph, are you buying in Vitalia? I have a home there and it is so true, once you add up your monthly charges for all the things offered it is more to pay separately. It is best to have it all included. Vitalia does a great job and the community is beautiful and Traditions offers so much with everything you need in the community including the new hospital. Ginger you may want to take a look at Vitalia at Traditions.

    by Barbara — December 15, 2013

  80. Ginger: Your response to Steve was very well written, and explained my feelings as well. After we get through with cost of living analyses, weather considerations, and identification of housing opportunities, other factors come into play. We all want medical care to be available, and often weigh transportation options. I am also looking for some generic stuff like having a choice of two or more movie theatres, a mall that is good for walking (exercise), book stores, great grocery stores, and have checked online to see whether my church has a parish within a reasonable distance. Whether or not a particular location is known for having a particularly strong political identification is an additional factor that might make a difference.

    Funny – you would think that having the whole country to choose from would give me a sense of freedom. Instead, this process feels oppressive. I am taking to heart something that several people wrote on blog about retiring near kids. Several people mentioned that we don’t need to choose a single destination, but can view retirement in a series of stages or adventures. The place where we choose to retire from 60s to 70s doesn’t have to be the place where we retire from 70s to 80s.

    by Sharon — December 15, 2013

  81. Ralph sounds like you buying in valanthia lakes Tampa.i am planing to visit there soon . what make you make the final move ?

    by chris dedes — December 16, 2013

  82. This question came in from Jim. Anyone care to comment?

    I am wondering if anyone has any advice regarding the greater Houston area as a place to retire.

    by Admin — February 16, 2014

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