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Life at Heritage Shores is full of amenities, activities and social opportunities. When you live here, each day can be as active or laid ...

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Cresswind Wesley Chapel is a vibrant, brand new 55+ active adult community Located just 40 minutes from Charlotte City Center.  Wesl...

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Welcome to Cresswind Charlotte!  This nature-rich refuge of inviting streetscapes, manicured landscaping and miles of walking trails...

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Few towns in the Southeast offer more gracious charm than Aiken, South Carolina.  Take a relaxing stroll through Aiken's tree-lined ...

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Cresswind Charleston is Charleston-area's BEST active adult lifestyle community. Cresswind inspires active adults to live life to the ful...

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Birchwood at Brambleton is an exciting new community for active adults 55+ located in the heart of Loudoun County, and is intentionally d...


70 Is the New 65 As Retirement Confidence Sinks

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

October 30, 2010 — Americans might be justified in being envious of the French, who are taking to the streets to protest the raising of their retirement age from 60 to 62. Here in the states, the Sun Life Unretirement(SM) Index indicates that just as many Americans expect to retire at 70 as do 65. More than half more the working Americans responding to Sun Life’s recent survey (52%) expect to work at least three years longer than originally planned. Whereas in previous years the reason for working longer was “to stay mentally engaged”, “to earn enough money to live well” is cited just as frequently now.

Confidence continues to fall
At Topretirements we continue to see a steady stream of financial concerns relating to (more…)

Posted by John Brady on October 30th, 2010

And the Newest Active Community Craze is …. Pickleball?

Category: General Retirement Issues

You thought maybe you would be spending a lot of time on the golf course or tennis court once you retired. But you might just be surprised about that, as our faithful correspondent Len discovered after he moved to The Villages, Florida. As he told us recently: “Pickleball has supplanted golf as my primary outdoor activity since I moved to The Villages. It’s good exercise and is somewhat addictive!”

Len is not alone – pickleball has caught active adult communities by storm. Many developments are converting tennis courts to (more…)

Posted by John Brady on October 26th, 2010

Snowbird’s Leaving for the Winter Checklist

Category: Home and Garden

Updated September, 2022 — Editor’s note: This article was originally written in 2010, but has been updated many times. Don’t miss the Member comments at the end – they are really terrific! There is also a helpful checklist you can print out at the end of the article.
When falling leaves start to hit the ground in the Northeast and Midwest, snowbirds across those regions start to get itchy. Winter is coming, and their thoughts turn to their homes in warmer climes. Harry, one of our esteemed members, suggested that we prepare a “Leaving for the Winter Checklist” to help these lucky folks in their preparations. Here you go:

Mail. There are several ways to handle this important function, none of them perfect. The P.O. will hold your mail for a month. If you will be gone longer than that, you need to find a different solution. You can forward your mail and have it sent to your winter address (our experience with that has not always been perfect, with important mail being returned to sender, addressee unknown). USPS also has a premium forwarding service where you can do a temporary usps address update and they will forward your mail via Priority Mail at a reasonable cost. See USPS for your options. If you don’t trust the Post Office the most (more…)

Posted by John Brady on October 25th, 2010

Home Owners Associations –Friend or Foe

Category: Active adult communities

Home Owner Associations (HOAs), also called Community Associations or Condominium Associations, have a major image problem. Many people have an instantly negative reaction toward these organizations – usually because they hate the idea of rules or any organization telling them what they can and cannot do in their own homes. People who already live in a community with such an association, however, probably tend to have a neutral opinion of their HOA, with some having a very positive opinion of these association.

So, are Home Owner Associations Friend – or Foe? One thing is certain, Home Owner Associations exist by the thousands across the country – in active adult, 55+ communities , condominium buildings, and most planned developments. They provide order to daily life in these developments, and they (more…)

Posted by Admin on October 21st, 2010

How Much Do You Need to Retire – Is Even $1 Million Enough?

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

The answer to this million dollar question is – it depends. And, considering that the average baby boomer has only socked away about $50,000, it might be a bit of an academic question. Nevertheless, we speculate a lot of people are curious about the answer.

If you take the usually noted figure of 4% a year that can be safely taken out of the $1 million, you get $40,000 per year. No matter how much you have saved, experts agree that a 4% withdrawal rate will let you take money out for 30 years with only a slight danger of running out of money. If you get a pension or social security you could add that income on top of the $40,000 (the average SS payment to (more…)

Posted by John Brady on October 18th, 2010

Thinking About Buying a Short Sale or Foreclosure Home – Think Again!

Category: Retirement Real Estate

October 18, 2010 — If you have been considering snapping up a great home at a bargain price through a short or foreclosure sale – don’t! The past few weeks have been filled with stories about banks who have stopped foreclosing on properties because of sloppy or incomplete paperwork. Bank of America has stopped foreclosure actions in all 50 states, and JP Morgan has stopped such actions in 41 states.The government is up in arms, bank stocks are being hammered, and many financial experts are worried that no one really understands the depth of the problem or how long it will take to solve. No one seems to have a solid grip on understanding the potential repercussions to buyers, sellers, and lending institutions.

The problem has gained so much attention that there is a growing groundswell to implement a national ban on foreclosures. Consider some recent headlines such as (more…)

Posted by John Brady on October 18th, 2010

Topretirements Interviewed for Fox News – Best Places to Retire

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

October 11, 2010 — A reporter from Fox News ( interviewed us today on the 10 best places to retire. She also had some related questions on how to find the best place to retire. The results of the interview, 2 separate articles, came out today on

The first article, “Where You Will Retire“, is the more interesting of the 2. Noelle Watters asked some thought-provoking questions that gave us the platform to offer some friendly advice on a few questions every retiree should be informed about. Her questions included: “What makes a place a popular retirement locale (lots of different factors), “Does weather play (more…)

Posted by John Brady on October 12th, 2010

Active Adult Competitors to The Villages

Category: Active adult communities

Last weekend’s newsletter was all about trying to find communities that could be considered competitors to The Villages – the huge and very popular active adult community south of Ocala, FL. We had so many interesting emails with comments about that article we decided to publish them here – and give you the chance to respond in the Comments section below.

In the first installment of the series we provided a sample of east coast competition, a future installment will cover the west coast. Our apologies to the many fine communities we couldn’t (more…)

Posted by John Brady on October 12th, 2010

Dueling Retirement States: DE vs. VA vs. MD vs. NJ

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

Updated March 28, 2016 (Original article was October 5 – 2010)–
This is the second in our extensive series comparing various states and regions as retirement destinations. You can find links to all of the comparison articles under “Further Reading” at the end of this article.

Our approach in this series is to evaluate various factors for each state, letting our readers draw their own conclusions from the facts. As always, reader input is extremely important. We encourage you to use the Comments section below to tell your stories and express your preferences. Note that since this article was written in 2010 there has been a steady stream of comments and suggestions about various towns and communities in these states, as well as other issues.

A note about taxes as a retirement consideration. Comparing taxes between these states illustrates the perils of a simplistic approach. NJ, MD, and DE are among the top half of high tax burden states. But if you focus on taxation just for retirees, Delaware and MD become more attractive. The type of tax is what should be focused on, and how it affects you. See rest of article for more.

Population (Data from American Fact Finder-U.S. Census Bureau).
With the exception of tiny Delaware, all 4 of these states have fairly high populations. Maryland’s population is 6,006,401 with 12.3% of its population over 65. New Jersey has 8,958,000 residents; 14.7% are over 65. Virginia has a population of 8,382,993 with 13.8% over 65. Delaware’s estimated 2015 population is by far the smallest at 945,934, but that was a 5.3% increase from 2010, the highest increase in any of these states. It also has a relatively high proportion of residents over 65 (14.4%). These states attract most of their retirees from within their own borders or the northeast.

Economics and Home Prices.
All 4 states have higher home prices than the national 2010-2014 median of $175,700 (Census Bureau) or the Zillow 2016 median of $184,600. The national household income median was $53,482 in 2010-2014; all of these states were higher. Of the 4 states compared here, Delaware has the lowest home prices and household income. Home prices in all of these states had not yet recovered in 2010-2014 from what they were in the pre-recession area 4 years previously.

Delaware’s median home value in 2010-2014 was $232,800 (Census Bureau). According to the Zillow Home Value Index the value of a home was $210,900 in 2016. DE household income is $60,231.

Maryland’s 2010-14 home value was $287,500 (Census Bureau), a significant decline from 2006-10. HH income was $74,149.

New Jersey’s 2010-2104 US Census reported home value was $319,900, declining from a few years previously. Median HH income was $72,062.

Virginia homes had a median value of $243,500 in 2010-2014, according to the Census Bureau. HH income was $64,792.

There are no significant differences between these 4 states are far as climate goes. New Jersey has the coldest winters, but only by a few degrees. Source:
State (City) Avg. July High Avg Jan Low
Delaware (Dover) 87 27
Maryland (Baltimore) 89 29
New Jersey (Trenton) 86 24
Virginia (Richmond) 90 28

Tax Environment
Delaware generally has a reputation as a tax-friendly state for retirees among this group, although it has a fairly high overall tax burden. Delaware was ranked in 2012 ( as having the 16th highest tax burden in the nation. The highest individual income tax rate there is 6.6%. It does have several pieces of good news for retirees: It has no sales tax.; it is the 48th highest for per capita property taxes; social security income is not taxed; and $12,500 of pension income is not taxed. DE does not have an estate tax.
Maryland is a high tax state with the 7th highest 2012 tax burden in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation. It has a top income tax rate of 5.75%; sales tax is 6%. On the plus side for retirees, it is the 25th highest for property taxes, and does not tax social security. Some residents over 65 can deduct up to $27,100 of their pension income (out of state income not included). Military personnel can deduct up to $5,000 of their military pensions. MD and NJ are among the few states that have both an estate and an inheritance tax.
New Jersey has the dubious distinction of being the #3 highest state for its tax burden, according to the Tax Foundation. Its top income tax rate is 8.97%; sales tax is 7%. Particularly hurtful for retirees, NJ has the highest per-capita property taxes in the nation. Fortunately, social security is not taxed. Some taxpayers may get exemptions from certain pension income. It has both an estate tax and an inheritance tax.
Virginia could be considered tax-friendly, at least compared to NJ and MD. It has the 27th highest state/local tax burden. The top income tax rate is a relatively modest 5.75%; sales tax is 5.3% (plus localities must collect an additional 1%). Residents who are age 65 may be entitled to $12,000 deductions, up to some income restrictions. Social Security income is exempt. It is ranked 18th highest in per capita property taxes. There are no inheritance or estate taxes.

For more facts about each state see our various State and Country Retirement Guides.

Physical Environment and Diversity
All 4 of these states are approximately the same from a geographic basis. All have a long coast line and/or waterfront on large bays. All are close to major cities in the Northeast. Virginia is the most distinctive and diverse of the 4, thanks to the mountains in its western half,

Places to Live
All 4 states have at least one important city, and all offer wide choices of college towns, beach communities, or livable small towns. Delaware and Virginia had towns that made our 2016 list of 100 Best Retirement Towns. Virginia had 3: Charlottesville (the highest ranked of these at #19), Williamsburg, and Winchester. Delaware had 2 towns on the top 100 list: Rehoboth Beach and Lewes.

Choice of Active Communities
Virginia and New Jersey seem to have the widest variety of active adult communities. At Topretirements we count 55 communities in our Delaware Directory of Active Communities, 54 in our Maryland Directory, 80 in the New Jersey Directory, and 91 in the Virginia Directory of Active Communities.

Retirement Popularity
Based only on the number of towns making the Topretirements’ list of 100 Best Retirement Towns, one could conclude that Delaware and Virginia are the most popular states for retirement among these 4. Delaware’s low tax property taxes and no sales tax are among the important reasons for its popularity; its beach towns like Rehoboth are another. New Jersey, as expensive as it is, does have many, many retirees living there and some attractive retirement towns like Princeton and those on the South Jersey shore (such as Toms River and Brick). In our opinion Maryland is an under-rated retirement destination. It might have high taxes, but it does have many charming and historic towns like Annapolis, Chestertown, and Leonardtown that make great retirement spots.

Aesthetics and Intangibles
All of these states have their admirers and each has its detractors. But all of them contain some wonderful places to retire, if the mid-Atlantic region is the region where you would like to retire. Rather than take sides on the issue, we recommend that you visit cities and towns in these states and see if you can’t find the place of your dreams. The region is not that big – in a few trips you should be able to get a good idea of the places that could offer you a happy retirement experience.

For your reference:
State Retirement Guides
Gulf Coast Retirement: Sun, Tax-friendly, and a Lower Coast of Living
Retirement 101 Mid-Atlantic States: MD, DE, VA, NJ
Florida Retirement 101
Dueling Carolinas: NC vs. SC
Dueling States: Arizona vs. Florida
California Retirement 101
Retirement in the Southwest: AZ, NM, and Utah
The Mountain States: CO, ID, MT, NV, UT, WY
Dueling States Mid-South: TN, GA, KY, AL
The Pacific Northwest: Oregon vs. Washington

What state do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below.

Posted by John Brady on October 5th, 2010