Low Income Retirement and Renting- A Discussion

Category: Retirement Real Estate

November 10, 2013 — Several members have requested a new thread be started on the subject of low income retirement. So we will start it for you with the original request (below):

Note to group – if you want to start a new discussion thread the best way to do that is to go the Forum (in the top navigation bar) and start a new Thread under the most appropriate “Topic” you see there. You do need to be registered as a Member to post there, whereas if you are commenting on the Blog you don’t have to be registered. Thanks for suggesting this Judith Keefer!

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Jeanne C brought up a really great topic for discussion. There have been some good responses so far, but doesn’t this subject deserve its own thread (we are still in AZ vs. FL territory, after all)? How does one go about setting up a new thread
__
Here was Jeanne C’s original suggestion:
Hello everyone. I would like to start a new thread regarding those of us retirees who own a home but have little else. Most of the ‘senior villages’ etc cost more than what we could gt for our home here in Florida (N of Orlando)


Here is another comment on this story that came in from Diane:

Agree with comment of Judith Keefer on Ariz vs Fla thread suggesting a new thread for low income retirement choices. Also wish there was more to see about renting in 55 pus communities. Have learned much good info on this site, but there are many retirees who still cannot afford to buy, but are looking for reputable and enjoyable communities with rental options. Thanks.

What do you think – post your responses below in the Comments section.

Posted by Admin on November 10th, 2013
Comments (120)
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120 Comments »
Jeff Longstaff says

Why are there not more 55+ mobile home/manufactured home parks? Is Florida the only state that has them?

November 11th, 2013 | #

Moving South says

Great idea about information on Low-income retirement rentals. I have contacted many who show 2,000 sq ft. homes in the $200,000 and up price range. And no rentals. There must be active adult communities with social contacts and amenities for rent in smaller than 1,000 sq. ft. I do not want to own.

Thanks for any information. I think I have found geographical area, but not
the community.

November 11th, 2013 | #

Jane Alynn says

A thread on low-income retirement choices interests me as well. We would love to move but feel stuck as we can’t sell our house for enough to purchase anything in areas we’d like to live. Three decades ago we expected a comfortable retirement. Now, at 70, it seems like we have to lower (significantly) our expectations. We like the idea of 55+ communities, but they seem out of reach, too.

November 11th, 2013 | #

rindi covington says

Looking for a place in florida we will be on a tight budget. anyone have any input on Harbor Cove in North Port Florida?

November 11th, 2013 | #

Linda says

Jeff, Arizona has TONS of mobile home parks.

November 11th, 2013 | #

Brutae says

How about adding low cost winter rental (with dog for us)into the discussion. For the past two years we have rented a house in Cape Coral, but it was over $4,000 for 28 days: bedrooms, 2 baths and pool. But all we really need is 1 bedroom with 1.5 bath but not a condo or townhouse as one of the three of barks. Thanks for any suggestions.

November 11th, 2013 | #

Jeanne C says

:cool: I appreciate this type of discussion board for those of who (maybe) own a small-valued home and not much of anything else; who would be wise to plan ahead as much as possible. we have been looking into ‘communities’, active living ctrs (w/nursing homes attached) etc.

November 11th, 2013 | #

JoyceR says

I would appreciate some ideas as to where to start to find rentals once I retire as I am not going to own a home either. Apts.com can show you apartment rentals but I would like other options.

November 12th, 2013 | #

Deb D says

My husband and I sold our home in 2007 and started renting in NC. In 2012 we sold all our furniture and now just find furnished rentals in SC and Florida during their off season. We spent last winter in Myrtle Beach SC in an ocean front condo for $700/mo. with all utilities included. We then went to Spruce Creek Country Club in Summerfield, Florida (about and hour north of Orlando) in a Del Webb community from May – Oct. Rent was $1,000/mo. for a 2 bedroom house with all utilities and amenties included (golf was extra). It was an absolutely beautiful community with homes selling for about $120,000 with an HOA of $125/mo. We are now on Hilton Head Island in a condo surrounded by 8 clay tennis courts. We are spending the winter here for $800/mo. all utilities included. We use VRBO to find our furnished rentals and have been very pleased.

November 12th, 2013 | #

Nancy c says

My mother lives in a mobile home park in St.Pete. That park has many rentals available, but the owners chose to handle the rentals themselves, rather than list it on a central site. You may want to visit the area you want to live in and drive thru some parks to see if rentals are available.

November 12th, 2013 | #

Jeff Longstaff says

We like the Idea of a mobile/manufactured home in a gated 55+ community. I don’t want to buy real estate because it would take money we would rather use to travel.
Renting leaves no base and storage fees, let alone the hassel of relocating each time we return after a few weeks/months. Arizona sound nice if they are truly 55+ gated communities.

November 12th, 2013 | #

Linda says

Deb D, can you share how you found that oceanfront condo in Myrtle Beach? My guess would be that off season there would be better than winter in Minnesota!

November 12th, 2013 | #

Nikki says

Hi Deb D. I also would like to know where the oceanfront condo was in Myrtle Beach….that sounds wonderful and the price was right! Thanks so much.

November 12th, 2013 | #

Deb D says

Hi Linda & Nikki,
Here is the posting from VRBO http://www.vrbo.com/408281 The owner, Glenn, has three condos in Coral Beach Resort and gave us a discount for renting multiple months. The resort is beautiful and well taken care of. It has a huge indoor pool,roman spa and sauna.

November 12th, 2013 | #

Julie says

Deb,

This is exactly what we are looking to do as well. At first we considered buying a property to rent out during peak and use off peak, but realized we would do better keeping the money for this in the bank and using the investment income on unspent capital to rent instead. As I get our current family home ready to sell, I am looking forward to having less real estate to keep up. It sounds as though you do this full time, though, having sold off all your furniture? Did I interpret that correctly? We would only rent during the colder weather. SC in the winter would no doubt feel balmy to us!

We’ve been vacationing via VRBO and Homeaway.com for well over a decade. Great experience.

November 13th, 2013 | #

Sharon says

No matter where you choose, I recommend checking that App Life360 on an IPhone or IPad before signing a lease or sales contract. I have kids who have gotten apartments, and have found registered rapists and child molesters in the complex. I’m a firm believer in knowing as much as possible before making a commitment to a neighborhood. You’d be surprised. (Of course, this can happen even in high priced neighborhoods.

November 13th, 2013 | #

Pat Campbell says

Deb D thanks for the link to vrbo – I checked this out and you state $700/mo – the site states 700 per week…a big difference. What did you really pay? Thanks for your help.

November 13th, 2013 | #

Deb D says

Pat,

We did the winter monthly rental from 12/1 to 3/31 for $700/mo. The owner has it listed now as $800 – $1200/mo. for the winter months but gave us a multiple month discount. In the spring it does go up to $700/wk. That is why we leave the end of March. Sorry for any confusion.

November 13th, 2013 | #

Deb D says

Julie,

We are hoping to do this full time for the next few years. We are trying to find the right weather where we can play year round tennis. I am not sure we will ever purchase a home again. We are really enjoying the carefree living right now of just taking our clothes, lap tops, and tennis gear with us.

November 13th, 2013 | #

Linda says

Thanks for the information! Looks good. What’s the weather like there in January, February, and March? And the rental rates were clearly listed at the bottom.

November 13th, 2013 | #

Deb D says

Linda,

We found Myrtle Beach, SC to be in the 50′s in Jan., the 60′s in Feb., and the 70′s in March. The outside pools, lazy river, and hot tubs did not open until March. So it was nice to have the indoor pool and hot tubs to use through the colder months. We found that condo owners are willing to give a significant discount when renting multiple months. I have never been to Minnesota but imagine this would be quite a bit warmer. Good luck with your search. I hope this helps.

November 13th, 2013 | #

Ginger says

I am so glad to hear from some folks who don’t have money to burn. I have been looking at 55+ parks in Arizona, and am especially interested in park model resorts. Park model homes are just small manufactured homes, around 400 sq feet. They interest me for two reasons. I want to downsize and live more of a minimalist life. And, they can be cheap. I have found some very nice used ones for around 15K to 18K. The rent to be in the park is normally around 350 to 400. If I can scrape up the money to buy one, then rent and utilities would be around 500/month…and I’d be in a place with pool, spa, activities, etc. I haven’t found many of these except in Arizona and Florida. Wish there were more choices.

November 13th, 2013 | #

L.D. says

My wife and I would like to retire in the Phoenix area, however we are very concerned with the heat. How do people who live there handle the heat in the summer time?????

November 14th, 2013 | #

Jim says

Looking at retirement in the near future. Rent or own? Appreciate all views.

November 14th, 2013 | #

Linda says

Deb D, you are right, those temps would be considerably better than Minnesota in January, February, and March! Minnesota is a lovely place in the spring, summer, and fall. Winter, not so much. Thanks for the information!

November 14th, 2013 | #

Elizabeth says

Ginger, I actually did find a beautiful place with adorable little Park Models. in Vermont, and another in NY, however, intriguing, and very cute, I simply could not stand it to live in that tiny place with my husband. We just would need to have two of them!
I can get the info if anyone would be interested or just scope them out on the web.
Hve fun, guys.=O) :grin:

November 14th, 2013 | #

Loralee says

To L D. I moved to Phoenix Az 3 years ago, and absolutely love it here. Yes the summers are hot and dry, but everything is air conditioned, and you learn to get used to it. Soooo much better than being up North or Back East with horrible cold weather in winter, hot and humid as heck in the summer, bugs everywhere, hurricanes, tornadoes etc!! 8 months of bliss out here, and it is not even like living in a big city, and I have lived all over. More like a big suburbia! Nice people from all over, and tons of fun things to do,and fantastic medical care and hospitals! If you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them…

November 15th, 2013 | #

Barbara says

Elizabeth, If you have the info on the Park Models in Vermont or New York , I would be interested. I am like Ginger , looking for a more affordable places to live, by renting or buying if price is right. Thanks for any info .

November 15th, 2013 | #

Marilyn says

My husband and I have traveled all over NC, SC and Fl, trying to decide where we want to live now that we’re retired. There are many beautiful communities and I think we would be happy in most, however, we have a real distrust about HOA’s. Most developers are still in these communities and you never know how much they are subsidizing the HOA until they pull out and your fees go up considerably. We have heard horror stories from some residents, and others are completely oblivious to it. We met with a developer, who is now retired, and he warned us to “beware”, that our concerns are well founded. Does anyone have any ideas/experience with this? I know the “sales pitch” you’re given when buying into one, but they are paid to convince you it’s “okay”. A healthy reserve is not always enough either.

November 15th, 2013 | #

Elaine says

Marilyn, thanks for the reminder. I am curious if the big developers like DelWebb are better or worse than some of the smaller developers…what other factors need to be considered? Some of the larger old active adult seem to have been able to keep costs down and still are very well kept amenties. For example Wynmoor in Coconut Creek FL. It’s not for me…no pets, but everyone that I have met from there is very happy.

November 15th, 2013 | #

Sharon says

Elaine: I’ve been researching DelWebb, and have looked on line for complaints. It’s probably easier to find residents who are happy, since unhappy people may keep their mouths shut until they can afford to move out so that their property values don’t drop. There are several forums on line where you can find complaints though — probably the same for every community. For example, there are complaints that most of the activities carry fees, that some of the promised amenities have never shown up and that the pool and community center are too small for the size of the Charlotte community. Personally, I’m disappointed that Del Web wouldn’t give me a straight answer when I asked the simple question about whether all of their communities are based on 99 year leases. I got an email response to my question telling me to call. When I called, the Concierge said she didn’t know the answer. Then I got a follow up email asking me how satisfied I was with the answer! Anyway, I’m a little gun shy about Del Webb as a result of my research. I plan on visiting their Charlotte community in a few months, but I’m going to keep researching other communities in the meantime. It doesn’t sound like they will meet my wish-list.

November 16th, 2013 | #

judy says

Elizabeth: I too would be interested in info about Park Models in Vermont and NY-Thanks

November 16th, 2013 | #

Linda says

Can anyone recommend a 55+ community in NC?

November 16th, 2013 | #

Elaine says

Dharon, thanks for the info. I have heard that there are add-on fees and that some of the clubs are “full”. Please let me know what you decide about Charlotte…it is one area I am interested in, as well as Asheville NC and Greenville SC. I will probably end up in the Raleigh triangle area. I always look at the north vs South Carolina blog http://www.topretirements.com/blog/great-towns/dueling-carolinas-north-carolina-vs-south-carolina-as-the-best-retirement-state.html/ and will watch there for you posts.

I would like to hear from others about the communities when the developers leave. HOAs scare me, but I think a good one would be a godsend. Just do not know how to get unbiased info…any additional advice would be welcome.

I just looked at a community (not active adult) in my area. I know that I am not interested in that community, but I always get some information that is useful. I stopped in the library on my way out. It is located in the community and part of the county system. I was asking about the library system…I am one county north. The man behind the desk said that they will probably move in a few years to a more centrally located area with things nearby. He said that except for the one grocery store, you need to go about 25 minutes to another area (where I live) for restaurants, etc.

But when talking to one of the three developers, he said it was great area and about the great Wyman’s grocery store…that would be about 45 minutes to an hour as well as good restaurants and easy to get to downtown. And I believe him…because for him about 40, it would be no big deal. And for the working folks, they just stop by on there way home. They are basically a younger community and only one plan had a first floor master.

November 17th, 2013 | #

Linda says

Elaine,
We have looked at Del Webb in Charlotte(actually it is in SC) at least five times because it seems to have a lot to offer. What we have seeen the last two times is the clubhouse is not big enough to handle the residents. They do have plans for a second one but when asked about the club being built, the comment was they would build it when the project is finished. What happens to all the many people that are coming in now and later when they need to use the club, pools and also use the facilities? As much as it seemed to offer it is just too crowded for us. The area is really growing and so is the traffic. We have also looked at the Triangle area. The Del Webb in Cary is almost finished and is very large. The Durham Del Webb is close to shopping and medical but is limited in other areas. The Triangle area has a lot to offer but needs more 55+ communities. Of course this is our opinion but we have really looked hard and this is what we have seen. North Carolina is still a great state and is a wonderful place to live.

November 17th, 2013 | #

NancyW says

Judy and Barbara,

Not sure if this is to what Elizabeth was referring, or for that matter what exactly a park model is, but I do know of this place in VT. It is located on one of the islands in Lake Champlain or if it is year round or seasonal but just thought I’d pass this information along.

http://www.appleislandresort.com/-sales-

November 18th, 2013 | #

Sam says

Elaine,
My wife and I now live in West Central Florida and have thought about moving to NC in the future. What do you like about living there and what are some negatives? We have been in both the Eastern and Western areas and are leaning to “Go West”. Any honest thoughts and info will be appreciated. Thanks.
Sam

November 18th, 2013 | #

Marilyn says

Sharon,
Not sure what you meant by 99 year lease? The Del Webb communities we have visited stated we buy the lot, not lease it. Would appreciate knowing more about what you’re referring to.
thanks

November 18th, 2013 | #

CB says

Does anyone one have any information on the following communities, Hilton Head Lakes, Sun City Hilton in Buffton, Lakeside Crossing or Wild Wing Lakes.
Thanks to everyone for all your information

November 18th, 2013 | #

Elaine says

I live in Virginia, but lived in Chapel Hill and Wilmington, NC. I did not find Wilington friendly, but I think the new Brunswick Forest near wilmington might be nice since it would mostly be new people from various places. Loved chapel Hill, but do not think it falls under the low income blog discussion here. It is hard to give pros and cons for the whole state since it differs greatly. You might find additional info on the toperetirements Dueling Carolinas blog.

November 18th, 2013 | #

» 2 New Lists to Help You Find An Affordable Place to Retire Topretirements says

[…] For further reading: 10 Affordable, and Highly Desirable, Places to Retire Low Income Retirement – A Discussion […]

November 18th, 2013 | #

Sharon says

Marilyn: The materials I received from Del Web’s Central FL community explained that their homes are sold with a 99 year lease. Kind of like owning property on an Indian reservation, you improve the land with your home but you don’t actually own the land under your house. At the end of the 99 years, the land reverts back to the Developer. I’d have to analyze the sales documents to determine how this works. For example, are you able to “purchase” additional years from the Developer when you sell your home, so that any subsequent purchaser also gets to buy a 99 year lease? Or if you sell your home after 10 years, does a buyer obtain an 89 year lease? And what terms of the lease constitute a breach so that the lessor can enforce rights against your lot? For example, if a hurricane wipes out your house and you don’t rebuild, does the lease revert to DelWebb? Not providing professional advice to anyone obviously, but any discount in property prices because of this arrangement isn’t worth it to me.

November 19th, 2013 | #

Ginger says

Elizabeth and Barbara…I’m. Not interested in staying in NY. I hate the cold, snowy winter. I also don’t like the taxes here. But I would be open to info on park model resorts in other states.

November 19th, 2013 | #

Ginger says

This thread is about low cost retirement and renting. Not sure del Webb communities qualify for that topic.

November 19th, 2013 | #

paul says

CB…I know quite a bit about Hilton Head Lakes and Sun City…What questions can I answer for you…Some generalities are..Built on more than 5,000 acres of sun-drenched woodlands and lagoons, Sun City Hilton Head offers its residents an engaging lifestyle. The community’s three golf courses, fitness centers, indoor and outdoor pools, walking trails, sports park, performing arts center and crafts facilities provide the venues for a daily schedule of events. With more than 100 active clubs and groups, and plentiful social and volunteer opportunities, there is truly something for everyone in Sun City Hilton Head. Fees are 227 per month billed quarterly…People are very friendly…New construction on north side of Hwy278…when finished I believe will be about 8-9000 homes and 14-16000 residents…

Hilton Head Lakes..Stretch your legs with a stroll along miles of lighted walking trails. They have 155 acres of navigable lakes. A golf course that is challenging.. Explore the joys of Lowcountry lakefront living. Count egrets and herons as your next-door neighbors. Take in the salty ocean breeze; a constant reminder that you’re just minutes from the beach…. this is a beautiful waterfront community is just 15 miles from the resorts of Hilton Head Island and about 20 miles from the beauty of historic Savannah. But with more than 452 acres of nature preserve, it is next to Sun City and does not have all the amendities as Sun City the fees are only 100 per month..Both are very nice places and I would say visit both…Well worth your time…

November 19th, 2013 | #

Diane says

I agree with Ginger. I think most of the posts on this thread so far are not about low cost retirement (unless most people think places like Del Webb are really low cost?). My husband and I, due to an unexpected catastrophic illness, have had to use most of our retirement money for medical and drug costs. We are now left in the position of retiring on only our 2 social security checks and a small monthly pension check. We were hoping this thread might provide some info on 55 plus rental communities, if there are any, in either Az or some of the southern states. We really wanted to try to get somewhere where the community is age restricted and may have some activities. We did not want to be in one of those rental communities that also provides assisted living services — those would be too expensive anyway. If anyone has info for 55 plus rental options that truly are low cost, we would really appreciate it. Thanks!

November 19th, 2013 | #

barbara says

I appreciate the post by Diane. I am basically in the same situation , except I am a widow and alone. So I am looking for a reasonable place to live with limited income. Any information on this subject is greatly appreciated.
Thanks

November 19th, 2013 | #

Ted says

That’s a really good point. Compared to many of the golf communities and other places that have been mentioned in other threads, Del-Web and Top of the World are lower-cost. Realistically if someone is living on Social Security and renting, the costs of living in these communities are likely to be too high. That article about where to retire on less than 40,000 a year at http://finance.yahoo.com/news/best-places-retire-under-40-110925854.html addresses the higher costs of renting vs living without a mortgage. I’ll definitely be watching this forum for suggestions!

November 19th, 2013 | #

topretirementseditor says

Everybody: So glad to see that this Blog post is generating so many interesting comments. Be sure to check out our latest Blog post, which features 2 new lists of the most affordable towns. Mostly they are in the center of the country, along with Central Florida and parts of Arizona. And for the least expensive housing alternative, we definitely recommend manufactured home communities. You can buy a used home in many of them for less than the cost of a new car. http://www.topretirements.com/blog/international-retirement/announcing-9-new-country-mini-guides-to-international-retirement.html/

November 19th, 2013 | #

Elaine says

I know this park and it is very nice. I do not know the monthly fees…would guess around $400 per month for the mobile homes…they also have adult RV Park.
http://www.golfviewestates.com/aboutus.html

November 19th, 2013 | #

Elaine says

Another good list for ideas from US News…this is the 2013 version. Greenville, SC does appeal to me on paper and the one quick visit.
http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2013/10/15/the-best-places-to-retire-on-75-a-day

November 19th, 2013 | #

Elizabeth S says

HI Everyone,
Who was it that said “Apple Island Resort.”That is it and I thought it was way too cute, and upon further investigation and perusal,I decided that my love of islands has be a little nutsy for me to retire on an island in Lake Champlain, and I did find out that it is seasonal. It must be frigid there in the winter, but really nice in the summer. I am sure there are many others. Did you all get my input from before? I hope it helped those who wanted to look into the smaller places. :grin:

November 19th, 2013 | #

CB says

Thank you Paul, I do have a few questions. First why the difference between the two communities, what does the $100.00 a month pay for, and the $227.00 pay for, does Sun City have a fishing lake like HHL does, when or how often do they increase HOA fees, can they ever decrease, is there good medical, restaurants, transportation services, adult education, grocery stores, movie theaters, farmer’s market, and last has either community been hit by one of the past major storm’s or are they inland just enough. Thank you for your knowledge, we live in Nevada and the cost to fly once a yesr to check out one or two states a yesr is very costly, I have spent many hours researching and came with a few places in SC and Florida.

November 20th, 2013 | #

paul says

CB..Sun City HOA pays for the following..Items covered by the HOA

•Resident lawn care maintenance•2 Resident Activity Cards•24/7 Security•Roaming patrol•Community Association administration buildings and employees•Roadway maintenance•Maintenance of fitness centers and equipment•Maintenance of buildings that house other amenities•Insurance on those buildings•Maintenance of 4 swimming pools•Maintenance of several hot spas•Maintenance of tennis courts, bocce courts, etc.•Maintenance of various Nature Trails•Maintenance of all Riverbend amenities, e.g., clubhouse, pool, dock, etc.•Periodic maintenance and support for all other amenities
the fees are paid quarterly avg at 227 per month.. This is a very large community about 5 miles from I95 and 20 miles from the water of Hilton Head Island…This community sits in Bluffton which is growing very quickly…Some other things about the area and Sun City are all the major hospitals from Savannah, Beaufort and Hilton Head have opened up offices in Bluffton, many are right outside our gate. I have not heard of anyone having problems getting a doctor. Beaufort Hospital Cancer Center is affiliated with Duke plus the major hospitals from Savannah have heart and cancer treatments in Bluffton. Also we are 2 hours from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and I do personally know friends who have chosen to go there for major problems.
there are rumors that another major Hospital will be built next to Sun City. Most residents of Sun City have golf carts they travel to everywhere Outside our gates, within golf cart distance, you will find many Doctors, dentists, hair and nail salons, restaurants, a grocery store, outpatient surgical center, physical therapy, blood and x-ray labs and banks. In South Carolina, you may drive on roads 35 mph and less up to 4 miles outside of the gates. We have weekly movies in the community and we have two restaurants and 3 golf courses. Most of us are quite comfortable with one car and a golf cart (electric).
you asked about resturants this area within 25 miles is every imagineable resturant you would want and they are GREAT…

November 20th, 2013 | #

marilyn says

Sharon
That is very interesting and I have never been told this by any of the Del Webb communities we stayed in, thank you. I have to investigate further.
I distrust the HOA’s and with the developers still building in Sun City, Hilton Head Lakes, Lawton Station etc. you just do not know what the HOA will jump to after they turn the HOA’s over to the residents. Also, there is no limit as to how much they can increase their HOA fees each year. Some communities we have visited had a 3% limit per year, but not these communities in SC because the developers are still there, subsidizing the community. There is a community in the Charleston area that had a golf course that was sold and when it went bankrupt the residents in the community were forced to purchase it back, through a majority vote of HOA members. Some residents (that we spoke to)had to leave their homes because they didn’t have the money to partake in such a large purchase, so they sold their homes and left. After speaking to them, I am gun shy about HOA’s and amenities.

November 20th, 2013 | #

Ursula says

For Paul…..I think that homes in the $250,000 range don’t qualify for “low income” homes…..at least not for me :roll:
For LD….I live in Prescott, Arizona where it does not get as hot as it does in Phoenix, but it is more expensive to live here. Many people with loads of money have moved here and built “mansions” on our mountains. Rent is somewhat reasonable. I managed to find a manufactured 3-bdrm. home with garage for $1,050 per month in a good neighborhood, but homes like that are not available all the time. One does have to look around.
I read Loralee’s post about living in Phoenix…..I, and others I know, would not want to live in Phoenix. That city does have many good doctors and hospitals. In fact many of us go to Phoenix from Prescott and surrounding areas if we want a good doctor, but it is a 2-1/2 hr. drive, at least. The traffic in Phoenix is very heavy. There is quite a lot of crime. I have friends living there, but they both are in very “exclusive” areas and both of them have huge homes with swimming pools, so life for them in Phoenix is better than the average person. I would suggest spending the summer months in Phoenix before making a move there.

November 21st, 2013 | #

Julie says

Marilyn, some insurance companies have riders that can be bought to protect you from special assessments. Perhaps this would cover something like the purchase of the golf course. It saved around $40K for someone I know whose high rise condo building needed the face of the building replaced due to water penetration. Any one who is subject to an HOA should ask their homeowners insurance about getting the rider, or change their insurer to one who provides it.

November 21st, 2013 | #

paul says

Marilyn…I take it you have limited yourself from a gated community if you don’t like HOA’s..For someone of my age or anyone who doesn’t like to do maintance on the home or grounds along with the amenities that you enjoy t places like Sun City and Hilton Head lakes..I also believe that the homeowners especially in Sun City control those HOA’s…Tell me what happens in the city that you live when the Water company, electric or garbage company needs more money, not to mention other services for you…Do you distrust them also..As an insurance executive I can tell you that many not all policies have assessments coverage for just that reason..

Ursula..I understand your statement however let me tell you about a program that may benefit you and others over 62 years of age…It is called a Reverse Mortgage Purchase..If you have the means you could purchase a 250K home for less that half of that price with NO future payments…Goggle it…

November 21st, 2013 | #

Jeanne C says

I have to agree w/Paul…$250,000 homes … that’s not for those of us who own our current, very modest home & have no savings due to low-paying jobs most of our lives and in addition have been visited by a very expensive illness so that any savings have been wiped away.

On to the subject associated with these discussions which is what to consider under the above conditions: We have considered moving from our home to a smaller home such as mfg’d or mobile to cut down on expenses. My concern is there is nothing stopping the ‘park’ owners from raising the lot ‘rent’ prices. Does anyone have any experience or knowledge as to how often and/or what % it goes up? Thanks

November 21st, 2013 | #

Robbie says

Hi enjoy all the great comments..we are looking in Florida again and searching for information on others experiences with ‘home owners insurance’..2 yrs ago we wanted to purchase a new home inland and was told by two major insurance companies they no longer insure in florida..then we had done some research and found companies there are charging very high rates..so we are hoping for info from real life residents..and ‘please if you detail prices the costs of the home are an important factor..ie..if someone said they pay $900 a yr,,then it is important to know if its a 1000 ft home etc..and/or a mobile home..Thanks

November 21st, 2013 | #

Allison says

Robbie, we live in Bradenton, FL. Our home is 2500 sq ft under air. 3100 sq ft under roof. The homeowners insurance is $3200 per year. NOT cheap! We hate the taxes and ins costs here but love our neighborhood and home. It’s going to be a tough choice when we retire. Hope this helps.

November 21st, 2013 | #

Karen says

To Jeanne C – There are a few manufactured communities in Florida (very few) where you own your own land and you don’t pay a lot rent. When we first looked I was astonished what some people pay to “rent” the lot. Also if the park closed for any reason you’d be left with a mobile home to move somewhere.

November 21st, 2013 | #

Dianne says

:lol: To Robbie I live in a 2000 sqf under air, block & stucco. Located in the middle of the state of Florida. Next door to The Villages. I am insured for 250k I have flood & water backup also added
500 deductible for hurricane. I have a new roof, house is 17+ years old. My ins. cost is a little better than $900.00 year. With a top rated Ins. co.

November 21st, 2013 | #

Loralee says

I totally disagree with Ursala about Phoenix, this is the 6th largest City in the U.S., and like any other area we have bad neighborhoods and crime, but you do your homework before moving to any place. The crime here is mostly in the southern section. I live up North, beautiful, and the traffic is not bad if you are retired and not travelling in rush hour. I have lived in other big city’s and this is one of the most manageable places! LOVE IT HERE! We all have an opinion, no place is perfect! I love the friendly people I meet here…Good luck on deciding where to retire!! I found my spot!!!:smile:

November 21st, 2013 | #

Marilyn says

Paul,
Spoken like a true insurance man. I believe that no one should go into any community under development and not have concerns. The developers hold the power in the HOA’s NOT the residents. Developers have the majority of members on the HOA boards. Your analogy of city water and electrical increases is not valid. All tilities in our city can’t be raised arbitrarily. They must go through the state public utilities commission and/or city council. Both the commission and the council have the right to say NO if the people deem it unfair through public hearings. I know residents in a community don’t have the power to stop an HOA increase as the developers have the majority vole on the board.

November 21st, 2013 | #

Svenska says

Loralee you are a good advocate for Phoenix, which is where I want to go when I sell my house in Colorado next year. Have been told of the many over 55+ communities south of Phoenix, I think it is route 60. Most of them are pre-fab homes, which is OK with me. The less upkeep and maintenance right now is fine. I would rather travel than spend time on a yard or house. Do you have any opinions on that area? Always appreciate your comments as they make me think about where/what/heat in the area and give more info, which I need right now. Thanks

November 22nd, 2013 | #

Suzanne Miller says

I was also planning to go to Arizona. I have done much reading and have learned that there is a problem with the water supply. I thought the water was just running low around the Tuscan area, but have found the same problem in Pheonix. Now I must make plans to go to another area.

November 22nd, 2013 | #

paul says

Marilyn…The point I was making is I don’t like lawn maintenance…I have a lawn care person cut my grass for 6 months per year 4 or 5 times per month at 35.00 per cut which would equal 840 to 1050 per year and then if you figure landscaping at 1000 to 1200 per year (mulch, flowers, replace bushes damaged durning winter and labor) that would be by this estimate 2000 to 2300 per year. That is about 170 to 190 per month, not to mention other maintenance you may have to perform on your home or pool…In my thinking Sun City HOA’s are not out of line and you should look at the history in which they have been raised…Also how often in last 10 years has the city council or public utilities commission in your area failed to grant the utility companies thier increase…Louisville this past year they granted a 5.5% increase the 3rd in last 5 years..

November 22nd, 2013 | #

Ginger says

I lost much of my retirement money to a Ponzi scheme (see IFFL, Gary Sorensen and milo brost) and have to make do on a tiny Ira and social security, so will probably be working at something most of my life. Meanwhile I need to find the best and cheapest place to live that I can. There is just ths ONE thread devoted to this topic. Couldn’t you folks who want to discuss golf resorts and Del Webb and 250k homes go to another thread more appropriate for that? I personally am interested in mobile home communities, as that is what I can afford, or rental options.

November 22nd, 2013 | #

Vicki says

FountainView in North Fort Myers is a manufactured community that you own you land. The HOA’s are low and the community holds about 300 units. While it doesn’t have the same amenities as a Del Webb we like it very much as it is a very friendly community. There are units for sale or for rent.

November 22nd, 2013 | #

Jane Alynn says

Ginger, I’m with you about staying on topic, that is, on low-cost options for us seniors who aren’t flush. I’d like to hear from some folks on the West Coast who’ve found low-cost living in their senior years. My husband and I (71 and 70) have been living for 13 years in beautiful Anacortes, WA. But the cost of living here is a little higher than we can afford as we are both working artists and want to travel. While we want a place with a rich cultural life and good weather, we also need to real about what we have to live on. Any West Coast artists’ experience?

November 22nd, 2013 | #

Elaine says

Ginger, to be fair, there is more than one thread here about lower costs:
http://www.topretirements.com/blog/great-towns/the-affordable-and-more-best-places-to-retire-list.html/
http://www.topretirements.com/blog/great-towns/8-more-affordable-places-to-retire-you-will-like-living-in.html/
http://www.topretirements.com/blog/real-estate/sandys-adventures-part-ii-how-anyone-can-find-an-affordable-warm-winter-retirement.html/

But I do not remember any other blog for renting (high or low income) so perhaps renting and and mayve even HOAs can be appropriate here. Or maybe rent vs buy would be a good separate blog.

November 22nd, 2013 | #

Sharon1 says

Has anyone applied to any of the federally subsidized senior housing were rent is based on a percentage of on income? There are a few apartment buildings in Pittsburgh with this arrangement, but I don’t know anything about them. I met someone who was getting low on savings and planning to live just on Social Security, who said she was getting on the waiting list for an apartment. She said they are all one-bedroom, one-bath They aren’t in the best areas, but they appear well-maintained from the outside.

November 23rd, 2013 | #

Jan Cullinane says

Consider a roommate. This can dramatically cut costs. I interviwed several women who did so, and for the most part, it worked out great. There is a site called nationalsharedhousing.org to help. And, read this article from AARP: http://www.aarp.org/home-family/your-home/info-05-2013/older-women-roommates-house-sharing.html

Jan Cullinane, The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement

November 23rd, 2013 | #

Ginger says

Elaine, those are articles, some dating back to 2011. But this is the only thread billed as ‘low income retirement’. Please forgive me for being persistent but I have been follow this site for several years, hoping for a discussion that was more relevant to me and my situation, and this is the first one. I have posted several times on other threads to ask if others are considering mobile homes and got no responses. I have waded thru so many threads on whether this golf community has better built homes than that golf community that I feel really well informed on golf communities. This whole site has both a well-heeled and eastern slant, and now this thread was becoming more of the same. The rest of us need help too. I have been hanging on to the idea that I would eventually stumble upon some folks who were interested in discussing Truly low-cost options, that I have hung in for years and years. I hope I haven’t wasted my time Elaine.

November 23rd, 2013 | #

SandyZ says

In reference to rising HOA’s for a manufactured home in a developer park. I inherited my mother’s home in a very well maintained, popular park in North Ft. Myers FL. The lot rent can rise up to 3% annually. The community is still owned by the developer so there are no property taxes for homeowners – a very big concern in FL. In addition, the lot rent includes all the amenities and lawn and tree maintenance. If you had to pay to belong to a swim club, fitness center, tennis club, etc and pay for lawn care and pay for 24 hour security guards – AND pay for property taxes, it would be well over the cost of lot rent. There are no HOA fees either- the lot rent covers it all. Keeping all that to a 3% annual raise is a deal, compared to the increases we pay annually for services on our home in Maine. Just saying, do the comparisons when you look at total costs and don’t automatically rule out lot rents or HOA’s until you add up all of the plus and minuses. There are many rentals in the communities in North Ft. Myers – and many 15 – 20 yr. old resales for less than $10,000 to purchase. A great and fun spot for retires with moderate incomes. Worth a visit!

November 23rd, 2013 | #

barbara says

Sandy, You mentioned N. Fort Meyers however you didn’t give the name of the park. I would be interested in researching it.

November 23rd, 2013 | #

Moving South says

Yea for Ginger! I have also been on this site for over a year. I have learned about climate and HOA’s, but when I contact individual locations I get Assisted Living or 2000 sq ft mansions. I wonder if there could be a separate thread for rentals as so many great retirement places do not seem to handle rentals. I am resigned that a community with activities and amenities will be more expensive than my current abode, but I do not need luxury or three gourmet meals.

November 23rd, 2013 | #

Moving South says

Continued -
or a golf course which I understand is expensive in upkeep which will be passed on to residents. Some hiking and biking trails would be nice.

November 23rd, 2013 | #

SandyZ says

Barbara – The community in North Fort Myers where my mom’s house is located is Lake Fairways. It does have a golf course, but that is optional and if you are not a golfer you pay nothing to just enjoy the view! We have rented it out for this winter, but it is listed for sale in the Classified section of this website as well. There are at least 10 similar communities in North Ft. Myers with a wide variety of rents, sale prices, and amenities. Beware of communities without gated security however. It is definitely not “Mayberry” in South Florida!

November 23rd, 2013 | #

Billy says

Where is the classified section of this website found?

November 24th, 2013 | #

MarianneK says

Billy,
Look down at the bottom. There it is in blue wedged between Reviews and Active Adult Communities. You can’t miss it!

Editor’s note: Thanks MarianneK for pointing that out. You can also access the Classifieds (Real Estate Classifieds) as a Topic under “Forum” in the top navigation bar. You can also start other threads in the Forum under the appropriate Topic.

Now, the point made by Ginger, let’s keep this Blog going on the issue of retiring on a low income and in particular, renting. As has been pointed out, there are other Blog posts for other issues. And if anyone wants us to start a new Blog post on a particular topic, let us know and we will consider.

November 24th, 2013 | #

Iwashere says

Another option I would like to bring up … Buying a rental unit, such as a duplex or multi-plex unit. You don’t have to be rich to do this and you could actually live payment free with additional income. If you do not want to manage you can hire a rental management company for 10% of the rent. I have been been in the rental business for 15 years in the south and have had several rentals, at the time I was married and did not need to live in one but now that my income is limited I know this would be a good option and supplement my income. If you do your homework and buy in a good area, be selective with your tenants and keep your property up things can run smoothly.

November 24th, 2013 | #

Liz says

Has anyone addressed home sharing or communal living here?

November 24th, 2013 | #

Bubbajog says

It would seem with so many boomers living alone that 55+ studio apartment rentals would be popular. This would be an economical way to live.

November 24th, 2013 | #

Billy says

Thank you MarianneK

November 25th, 2013 | #

Ginger says

Jane alynn, sorry I took so long to respond. Have you thought about Tucson? Lots of artists there, and low cost living. If you can manage in a small space, they have several park model home resort communities. Park models are typically 400 to 500 sq feet. Used ones can be purchased for as low as 15k. And they are in communities with clubhouses that usually have spaces like craft rooms. Another nice place in Arizona is Prescott. Since you live in Anacortes, the hot weather might not appeal to you, but in the higher elevations like Prescott and flagstaff, it is much cooler.

November 25th, 2013 | #

Elaine says

I am interested in renting…is there a range that folks consider appropriate for this blog?

I posted a $75 a day list and a lovely mobile home park in FL and other good low income choice blogs here, but somehow folks think I am rich and jump all over me. Like everyone else who follow top retirements, I am trying to find a good place for single folks like me. So I will just lurk on this blog unless I find the magic rental number.

November 25th, 2013 | #

Bubbajog says

I believe park model homes will be popular with single retiring boomers. The park model home is a low cost option for retirees. They seem to be popular in Arizona. And for us boomers living in the western part of the country, Arizona seems to be the retirement mecca.

November 25th, 2013 | #

Ginger says

Elaine I’m so sorry if you felt attacked. I didn’t mean to sound that way; I’m just so desperate for good low cost ideas. I’m frightened really; most of my retirement savings were stolen and I don’t know how I’m going to manage. But please don’t feel you need to lurk. You have good ideas. Lets help each other.

November 25th, 2013 | #

Ginger says

Bubbajog, the other reason I am interested in park models is I’m interested in the whole ‘tiny home’ movement, but I can’t afford the custom built ones. I really want to simplify my life and getting rid of stuff seems a good place to start. So park models seem like a good choice. But I’m open to other options. I could totally do a cheap rental unit.

November 25th, 2013 | #

Jane Alynn says

Ginger, you’ve hit on the core issue: how to manage in a small space. Our space needs (art materials, equipment, etc) make tiny living an impossibility, unless we also rent studio space. Maybe with AZ’s great weather we wouldn’t need so many walls!

November 26th, 2013 | #

Marvin L says

Does anyone out there own a park model home? How well are they made? How are the doors/windows/roofs. Will you cook to death in Arizona summer. Once set up how hard are they to move again or can they be moved again. I googled and out they must be 400 sq. feet or less, that only a 20′ by 20′ building, or about 14 by 28 foot to go down the road. Lots of outfits seem to make these homes. Also do they need to be set up on a slab.

November 26th, 2013 | #

Bubbajog says

There are senior studio apartment rentals that are economical and provide extra storage within the unit. Young people in studio apartments want a place to sleep. Storage area is not a priority. Oldsters want a more simple life, but storage area is a priority for their lifetime important belongings. There are senior studio apartments that fit the bill for low cost and simple living and provide that much needed extra storage within the unit.

November 26th, 2013 | #

Elizabeth says

HI Liz, and all interested in Communal Living,
I have looked into and have found several sort of communal places. There are some in Utah, and Pricy, and actually they are quite interesting. Everyone is asked to contribute their time and join in the community, and in one place, where all ages live, the homes are placed so the elders can look out and get to know the young children and keep an eye out for them and get to know them as they grow up. Truly a community where trust is involved. They do have big gardens and everyone is expected to work in the garden when they can and are able. The gardens are beautiful and everyone seems to get along well. They have regular meetings where the community business is taken care of, and everyone has a say in what goes on. These places are rather pricy, but what a lovely concept. There is a nice place in Ithaca, NY (Cornell University), which is near to where we live. It is not for everyone, but I would go for it m, but for the expense. The communal garden sounds great to me since all the fresh foods in many markets are really toxic, and I do not totally trust the Organic, unless I grow my own.(Which I don’t!)
We went to the market to get us through the horrible snow storm that is hitting Upstate NY, but now it is going to be just a dusting.
Happy for that!
Just go look online and you can find those places for communal living.
Have a Great Thanksgiving and Let’s all be thankful for our Lives.

Love, Elizabeth in NY~

November 27th, 2013 | #

Ginger says

Marvin l….I don’t currently own a park model but have been looking at them and know people that have them. They are just as comfortabl e as any manufactured home is in hot or cold weather. Quite livable. They are designed andbuiltfor the area where they will be used. These homes are not typically shipped long distances as they can only be moved with permits. They are on wheels but typically get moved to the location where they will be setup and…that’s it. Not moved again. They are just small mobile homes, really. In mst states, max 400 sq feet until they are moved to the site where they will reside. Then people add porches, decks, bonus room, etc. if you visit Phoenix or Tucson, like I did, you would have the chance to scope out a lot of these communities, and a lot of these units. In Florida, too. Many are very nice.

And bubba g, my whole point is to get rid of ‘lifetime’ memorabilia. Don’t want to have storage space for it. Tat is what I mean by simplify. I will keep my photos, probably, but not much else. I’m not gonna need it when I die. And no one else will want it or need it. I got stuck with the lifetime memorabilia of my two aunts when they died. Took me weeks to clean out their houses and discard their junk. Stuff was precious to them but not to anyone else.

November 28th, 2013 | #

Liz says

Thanks Elizabeth in NY. I did see one in CA but yes, VERY expensive. I will keep looking.

November 29th, 2013 | #

Elizabeth says

Hi Ginger,
I definitely agree that STUFF is something that we all would be better off without. I am going for the minimalist effect, hardwood floors, just a few choice things that I like to look at and a few mementos, and my own art work.
The old KISS theory. Keep it Simple Stupid=KISS ~ Now before there is a riot or a shooting, I want to make it clear that I did not say that my dearest Ginger, is stupid. ;)
I find her remarks rather brilliant and love the simplicity of everything and I would also like to live out in nature, but that is out ofmy budget also.
;)Thanks, Elizabeth in NY~
Have fun kids,
Elizabeth in NY~

November 30th, 2013 | #

Richard Anderson says

We are trying to find a 55+ active retirement community in NH to rent. We are in our late 70s but in good health and would like to move near our kids. We now live in IN. If any of you know of apartments or small cottages in NH please post them. Thanks

December 2nd, 2013 | #

Norah says

Hi everyone, I am moving from Ohio to either Albuquerque, NM or Pueblo, CO March, 2014. I have found apartments in my price range of below $500 per month and over 600 square feet in both cities. I live on social security only and I know if I look hard enough I can meet my goals to stay in budget. In addition to checking out apartment complexes online, I’ve also checked out rentals through Craigslist. There is a community in Albuquerque called Sawmill Community Land Trust where rental charges are based on your income. I plan to check them out when I arrive in March. I can’t wait to get out of the cold and the everlasting humidity. :roll:

December 4th, 2013 | #

Svenska says

Norah, I live in Pueblo West Colorado moved here from Connecticut, also away from the humidity. I love Colorado but house is too big so have to move and thinking of Arizona. Although Pueblo has beautiful weather it also has some cold winter months, which I want to get away from. Pueblo is a reasonable place to live, and does have a lot to offer but less metropolitan than Albuquerque. So welcome.

December 5th, 2013 | #

Norah says

Thank you Svenska for your kind words. Your comments are encouraging. Since I am an “urban chic” I must say that Albuquerque is first on my list. Pueblo would be my second choice if I can’t find an affordable apartment in a relatively safe walkable area. Good luck with your search of Arizona.

December 5th, 2013 | #

Jeanne C says

:cool: Someone had been saying home insurance in Florida is difficult to get but that really applies to any coastal area & not so much now that the hurricanes have decided to leave us alone. I am located in what is known as Central Florida which is north of Orlando, South of Gainesville or Ocala, a few hours from Tampa & about 45 min from Daytona Beach. FYI, we have approx 1225 sq ft block home. Property taxes (which always include city stuff, school stuff, etc) were a little over $400 & home insurance approx $1000/year. We were situated right in the middle of the area where the 3 hurricanes in a row hit. Unless you had a tree falling on your home, there was minimal damage. Do ask, if you’re planning to relocate by purchasing a home where the latest sink holes are located & if your area is a flood zone. We are in neither. The traffic is busy but not insane like Orlando. Medical care & hospitals are accessible & good. I don’t use the bus. I’ve heard that in Orlando it’s an interesting venture to get around. Here .. I have no information. Very ‘senior’ oriented but like anywhere else, do your homework about what you may need in the future in the way of transportation, medical care.

December 5th, 2013 | #

Jim Rogers says

Elaine–I couldn’t tell if you are looking for a short term or permanent rental. If permanent or 6 months minimum, check out On Top of The World in Ocala. Gated community with tons of amenities, activities and entertainment. You can rent a two br/two bath most over 1200 SF, for $750 to 900 a month. Yearly rentals are typically unfurnished, but six month ones are furnished (furnished are not always available. Their onsite rental office is found at palmacrerealestate.com

December 6th, 2013 | #

Elaine says

Thanks, Jim. Do you know if they accept dogs? If you do not no problem, I will check it out when I closer to deciding where I want to be! Thanks again.

December 7th, 2013 | #

Jane Alynn says

Other than VRBO and the classified on this website, are there links to other rental sites that offer the kind of deal that Jim Rogers mentioned: 1200 sq ft furnished for $750-900? If interested in checking them out.

December 7th, 2013 | #

Nikki says

Jim Rogers, thank you for the website for On Top of the World rentals. Does anyone know of a website for furnished rentals at The Villages other than VRBO?
Thanks so much.

December 7th, 2013 | #

Moving South says

Could you please repeat the website for Top of the World rentals?
Are there locations in the Carolinas or Tennessee?
Thanks.

December 7th, 2013 | #

Jim Rogers says

On Top of The World website–palmacrerealestate.com It will have the phone #. Ask for Lisa Reilly or Linda Adamson.

December 7th, 2013 | #

Sandra says

I am by myself and have come to the conclusion that, by reading most of the comments, I am poor or I live really really cheaply! Anyway, I have a townhouse I would be glad to sell in central NC. I am about 3 hrs to beach and about the same to mountains. I am thinking about moving north or west to the colder states with snow. I know….I am crazy but I hate the heat and humidity. I have lived in FL and I hated it. I miss the snow and plan on retiring middle of this year.

December 27th, 2013 | #

Bonnie M says

I am alone as well and what was a dream is slowly becoming a goal. I want to retire to Maine. I’ve lived in the Hershey PA area most of my life but had also moved myself at age 44 to Montana where I lived for 6 years (at one time in a fifth wheel AlfaGold 26′ for a year. Now, at 64 I am still feeling brave enough to move again. I am most likely to be considered poor as I will have my SS plus a tiny pension plus very few investments til I retire (I hope) at 66. I believe, if I’m going to make another move, I best do it before I’m 70. I have two sons and 3 grand daughters who will be about 8-10 hours away if I make it to DownEast Maine. Till I do, I am saving and researching and watching this blog for any advice etc. Maybe I can find a courageous soul to make the move and share expenses (Golden Girl style except in the way north!)

December 28th, 2013 | #

judy says

Bonnie M: Just curious why you left Montana; where did you live and did you like it while you were there?

December 28th, 2013 | #

Bonnie M says

Hi Judy, I’ll “assume” you want the long story? My brother had moved to MT and kept asking me to visit. When my oldest son graduated HS, I took him and my younger son to MT for a ten-day visit (from PA). I fell in love with the mountains, rivers, lakes, and the beauty. Two years later I visited again myself and didn’t want to leave. When youngest son graduated HS in 93 and oldest was in Army – I made a goal to move out there. Youngest said he wanted the more urban life and proceeded to find an apartment with friends. I bought a small truck and packed my precious possessions and had the rest scheduled for delivery on a United moving van. I first lived in Bigfork then the Swan Valley, and later Deer Lodge (I had an AA position with the MT DOC. After 6 1/2 years my parents were aging in PA and in poor health and sons were getting engaged, etc., and I was home sick. While I loved MT, it was, in the mi-90s to 2000, a hard place to make a living – cost of living was high but income was not. I have NO regrets after now being home 13 years as I have 3 darling grand daughters. The financial problem is partly from having two decent 401K plans of which I used one to move to MT and the other to move home, essentially starting all over when I got home. I’ve always been peripatetic in nature and am getting the itchy feet to move again while I’m able. Maine to me is ideal, it’s only 9-10 hours from my sons, but still the mountains, sea, etc. I just have to find a way to afford it. Thanks for your interest!

December 29th, 2013 | #

judy says

Bonnie: thanks for taking the time to reply; I appreciated it.

December 29th, 2013 | #

Sharon says

Bonnie: Love Maine too, but I think the climate is a little too harsh for me (not to mention the cost of living being high). Can you tell us about living in the Hershey area? I’ve been considering retiring by Mechanicsburg, Hummelstown, Hershey or Lancaster, and would love to hear your thoughts. I’d like to have a mall for walking in bad weather, good medical care, a good library, and to be in an area where it’s possible to find service providers like a cleaning lady, mechanic or handyman at a reasonable cost. I’ll be looking for a condo in the $225,000-$325,000 range.

December 30th, 2013 | #

Bonnie M says

Sharon, Hershey, et al, which you mentioned are pretty much the extension of the state capital, Harrisburg. Everything you mentioned is in abundance (malls, shopping, libraries) and the medical care gives many excellent choices. The area can be depressed but seems to be coming back; but there’s no lack of the services you seek at reasonable costs. Definitely check out the websites for the various CofCs and services plus reviews. You would have no problem finding a condo in your range – again, check out the web! Best of luck.

December 30th, 2013 | #

Jeffrey Gilfoy says

Thinking about Athens Georgia to retire too. I am retired military (enlisted) with small disability. My wife and I are active (love to jog and bike) and play golf (I am a 7 handicap). What are home rentals like in the Athens area and what parts are the best and safest?

December 30th, 2013 | #

Sharon says

Bonnie – Thank you so much. It’s great to be able to get some real info from someone who actually lives in a location that I’m considering.

December 30th, 2013 | #

EJ says

FOR SANDRA IN NC…..tell me more about your townhouse and location in central
NC. I am planning a move to somewhere in that NC area and would like to hear more of your experiences while living there. You can certainly email me at InParaFL@aol.com instead of posting here….or either way is fine. \ I will appreciate hearing from you.

December 30th, 2013 | #

Bonnie M says

You’re so welcome! I want to add, this area is kind of a hub – close to other cities such as York, Lancaster, and Philadelphia is less than two hours not to forget the shore points at about 3 or so hours. I lived in Mechanicsburg in the early 90s and it was a nice small town; it and the surrounding areas has grown rapidly with road improvements and industry and housing building. I don’t know if I’d know how to get around any more not having been that way in a decade or so. Hershey has very high taxes, etc., and is overrun by tourists during the season. There’s been so much road construction between my small town Palmyra, and where I work in Hershey, that the 3-mile commute can take a half hour at times even off-season. I don’t know where you’re living now, but if you have any more questions on this area, just let me know. I’ll help if I can!

December 31st, 2013 | #

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