Those Best Places to Retire Lists Keep On Coming

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

January 20, 2018 — How many “best places to retire” lists have you come across this month? We know we’ve seen plenty, in fact our son even forwards them to us. The big question about the never ending barrage of lists is, are they worth reading? Here we will explore the somewhat wild and crazy of best places lists, a topic we hope you will find interesting.

#1 – There is no limit to how specialized these lists can get
Thanks to a Denver Post article we learned a whole lot of new ways to skin the “best places” cat. Consider some of these candidates (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 19th, 2018

The Holy Trinity of Retirement

Category: Retirement Planning

January 17, 2018 – Many important things in life rely on a three sided approach. Christianity has as the Holy Trinity the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. A pyramid relies on 3 faces for stability. Less seriously, our brother likes to say that a good gumbo relies on the holy trinity of vegetables: green peppers, celery, and onions (we would add okra). We think there is a good case to be made that a good retirement relies on three key supports as well.

3 Pillars of Retirement
1. Health. Far too many people yearn for and plan for a great retirement, only to have those hopes shattered by a serious change in their health. Sometimes that happens before they retire, other times it happens not along after their working days end. Instead of enjoying golf, tennis, hiking, fishing, or whatever – you find yourself living a sedentary lifestyle, often with crushing medical expenses and painful treatments. Having a serious health change can also affect many other aspects of life too, such as where you live, and how you plan to stay busy in retirement.

The problem is that no one ever thinks bad medical news will happen to them. But too many times, one day (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 16th, 2018

Health and Retirement – Do You Have a Story to Tell?

Category: Health Issues

January 14, 2018 — We will be writing an article for Topretirements that touches on the importance of health in retirement. Would love to hear from anyone who has had a change in their health that affected their retirement plans. You can reply below as a Comment, on our Facebook page, or of feel free to contact us via the Contact Us link. The change might have happened before retirement or after it started.

We will not mention any (real) names when we publish the article. Thanks

Comments: Please tell us YOUR story below if it involves health and retirement.

Posted by Admin on January 14th, 2018

Do You Plan on Working After You Retire?

Category: Work and Volunteering

January 14, 2018 — Do you have plans for working after you retire? And if you did, how did it work out? We know many people think they might work after they retire, either to keep busy or to help overcome an income shortfall. We would like to find out more about what people like you intend to do on this subject. Please fill out our new, quick question quiz on your plans to work post-retirement. We’ll take the results and develop an informative article that summarizes what we learn about people’s plans and the success they might have had in finding work in the next few weeks.


Posted by Admin on January 13th, 2018

Is The Villages Right for Your Retirement: Facts and Opinions

Category: Active adult communities

January 9, 2017 — When active baby boomers start investigating places to retire, sooner or later they are going to hear about The Villages (TV) in Central Florida. The big reason is that it is the largest 55+ community in the country. As of mid 2017 over 115,000 people lived in The Villages, most of them because they enjoy its mind-boggling array of amenities and non-stop active lifestyle. The population is growing fast – it was only 51,000 in the year 2000.

Clearly the lifestyle appeals to the people who live there. For folks who like to always have something to do, make instant friends, and drive their golf cart to sports, church, and shopping – The Villages is hard to beat.

Facilities and more facilities
The Villages has every kind of amenity. There are 36 executive golf courses, most of which are 9 hole courses and where residents can play at no charge. There are 10 Championship golf courses and country clubs (where owners are automatically members), plus an amazing array of other sports, amenities, crafts, and social clubs – from archery to pickle ball, polo, Tai Chi, and theatre groups. There are hundreds of clubs, including one for every state in the Union. There are 3 downtown squares (Sumter Village, Brownwood and Spanish Springs) that have restaurants, bars, and piped in music. There is a dazzling array of neighborhoods to live in,
and there seems to be no end to the expansion plans. The Villages has 32 neighborhood centers (pools for adults and other recreation), 17 village centers (pools for families and other activities like pickleball), and 8 regional centers with larger facilities including fitness centers.

Critics including the “Leisureville” book
Yet there are critics of The Villages lifestyle. One of the most famous “exposees” of The Villages came out in a book by Andrew Blechman called “Leisureville – Adventures in America’s Retirement Utopias” (the book also profiles Sun City, Arizona). Blechman is a terrific writer and weaves together a fascinating story. If you are at all interested in living in The Villages (or Sun City) you should read the book. You will get a lot of background and insight into the ownership/management structure of the place, which can be a bit murky.

The Villages

On the other hand you the book will also get a lot of opinions, most of them negative, about what it is like to live in this giant community 60 miles northwest of Orlando and south of Ocala. Knowing that Blechman is not yet of retirement age, and that he likes a good conspiracy, you won’t have to look too hard to find plenty of condescension plus a big dollop of smugness in his account. Bored at night, Blechman finds the latest-closing bar (at the bowling alley) and surprise, he finds the soft underbelly of The Villages. From here he gives you a vivid tour of a the more unusual sexual activities in the community – what life is like here for a transexual; the underground homosexual community; and particularly a Viagra-fueled, aging Adonis named Mr. Midnight. The character is highly amusing, that is for sure.

By now you have probably heard the titillating story that The Villages has the highest rate of STD’s in… (pick your place). We certainly hear it all the time. The truth is that this is just an unsubstantiated rumor, one that residents of The Villages get tired of hearing. Facts from bear that out, as you can see in the chart for Sumter County (where most of The Villages’ residents live), which shows that the County’s rates of STDs are far below the state averages. The orange bars are for Sumter County and the gray bars are for FL statewide.

Sumter County STDs vs Florida statewide

One thing “Leisureville” will help you learn a lot about is the situation with the Villages Community Development Districts (CDDs) (run by the developer but which spend resident money on infrastructure) vs. the Home Owners and Property Owners Associations. The latter were set up by residents to try to protect their interests vs. the developer. The Villages’ CDDs have been in disputes with the IRS over the tax-exempt structure of those bonds.

Politically speaking, The Villages is very red (conservative), although we are sure that there are some blue folks too. Every national Republican candidate makes a point of stopping by during election time.

Scene at The Villages

A much more straightforward and helpful resource for The Villages is a useful book by Ryan Erisman, the “Inside the Bubble: Unauthorized Guide to Florida’s Most Popular Community”. Ryan has also published the “Florida for Boomers- A Guide to Real Estate”. Erisman’s book should be required reading for anyone thinking about buying in TV. You will get a wealth of resources and facts about neighborhoods, costs, amenities, contracts, Home Owners Associations, and Commercial Development Districts. Ryan doesn’t have an axe to grind about The Villages. Instead he sets out to provide all the facts necessary to buy a home in The Villages – even down to the nitty gritty of Homeowners Insurance, Property Taxes, Real Estate Contracts, New Home Walkthrough Inspection, and Florida Real Estate Closings in The Villages. He also provides helpful links to everything about the place (full disclosure, Topretirements does receive a small commission on sales of this book).

Here at Topretirements we have a nice article that explains what it is like to live in The Villages, “Why The Villages Is the Best Place for Len and Ann to Retire“. The article explains how this Connecticut couple came to choose TV, buy a home there, and what daily life is like in TV for them.

Another essential resource for anyone considering moving to The Villages is Talk of the Villages (see link below). On this discussion forum you’ll get to eavesdrop on the concerns, joys, challenges, and gossip of every day life here. Spend an hour there online, it is fascinating.

For Further Reference:
Are There Alternatives to The Villages – You Bet (2 parts, East and West)
“Inside the Bubble: Unauthorized Guide to Florida’s Most Popular Community”
Wikipedia article about The Villages
Talk of the Villages Forum

Comments? Have you visited TV or did you actually retire there? Please share your experiences in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on January 8th, 2018

Lake Tahoe Retirement Life Part 2: Is the West Shore the Best Shore?

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

Part 2: Is the West Shore the Best Shore? (See Link to Part 1, the East, at end of article)
By Flo Williamson

January 8, 2017 — There are many folks that claim the West Shore of Lake Tahoe and areas north offer the best living on the lake. The hardest part in visiting the West Shore is actually getting there, especially heading north along the lake from South Lake Tahoe.

West shore Lake Tahoe

While the areas just north of South Lake Tahoe have some of the best beaches and great state parks, it is also the route for some of Lake Tahoe’s greatest tourist attractions. In fact, this part of the lake in particular is generally much more oriented towards tourists than it is retirees. Camp Richardson is a government run campground, RV park, marina, restaurant, and more, catering to lake visitors. With 300 camping and RV sites and more cabin accommodations, the resulting traffic along this stretch of the one road around the lake can be horrendous, especially during the summer. Then, as you continue north, the road rises hundreds of feet above the lake with hairpin curves (and no guardrails) that seem like they’re ending in the lake itself – not for the faint hearted!! This leads us to Emerald Bay, one of the most beautiful and photographed bays in the world and the starting point of numerous hikes and (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 7th, 2018

Topping Our 2017 In Review: Different Takes on Best Places to Retire

Category: General Retirement Issues

January 3, 2018 — It is always a good exercise to review our most read articles of the year. It tells us what our Members are looking for, and it has the side benefit of alerting new readers to articles that struck home for others. So here goes:

Site recap
Thanks so much to our many members and visitors. We enjoy your feedback, and most of all the 1000s of incredible Comments we get to our articles each year. Your input is valued by us and your fellow members. In 2017 had over 2 million site visitors and 5 million page views. It is gratifying to know that we are being useful in some fashion to people interested in retirement. (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 3rd, 2018

A High Desert Retirement: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

January 3, 2018 — Many people are intrigued with the idea of retirement to one of America’s oldest communities – Santa Fe, New Mexico. They are attracted by the beautiful mountains, the dry air, the charming old architecture, and the abundance of art. In this article we will discuss our recent retirement scouting trip to Santa Fe – what we learned about retiring there along with its pluses and minuses. We also hope that our Members who are familiar with the area can give their opinions and advice too.

Spanish explorers came to this mountainous area in northwest New Mexico and were followed by mssionaries in search of souls – the native Americans, the Pueblo people. These native Americans visited the area in search of game for thousands of years, then a few hundred years before Columbus discovered America settled here to farm and live in cliff dwellings and pueblos. Spanish settlers arrived about 1600 and in 1610 Santa Fe became the capital of the territory, the oldest State Capitol in the U.S. They built its charming downtown with a central plaza in the Spanish style. There you can find the Palace of the Governors, St. Francis Cathedral, several very old churches, and an (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 2nd, 2018