March 26, 2019 — Not everyone is looking for an active adult or 55+ community. Many prefer to stay where they live now, but there is another interesting group too – people looking to move to the city.
The attractions are many, particularly for people who are tired of the suburbs or small town living. The idea of walking to restaurants, coffee shops, the library, and cultural events can be very appealing. So is being able to take public transportation, and do without a car most of the time. For others the attraction is being around interesting people of all ages. Cities can be great places to retire – and they come in all sizes – from the huge (New York, Chicago, Miami) to midsize like Sarasota or Columbus (OH).
NPR did a very interesting radio program that you can listen to, see “Listen” in this NPR link. It describes several different baby boomers and why they decided to move to various cities, including Hartford, CT.
March 23, 2019 — This is the 5th module in our “Retirement Preparation 101” online course. The social aspects of retirement was one of most frequently requested topics for the series. Here is where you can see all of the Modules and all the Member suggestions for the course.
Here is a sample suggestion which led to this Module:
Katie: Loneliness in retirement. Whether single, divorced or widowed, loneliness is something that many of us will face as we retire from our work lives. Many of us spent our lives with people at work and any free time with spouses, children or other family. Friendships may have been with neighbors, our kids’ friends’ families, spouse’s work friends, etc. With retirement and a loss of the people around us, retirees can find themselves alone. Surely there are other good ideas and stories from people who have gone through this.
Overview – one step at a time
One short article cannot possibly address all the strategies or be a magic bullet to solving the problem of feeling alone. We encourage you to to view these tips as something to experiment with. A lifetime of habits cannot not be overcome in a day or a week or a month, but if you gradually apply some of these ideas in your daily life you just might be able to make a difference. Here we go:
Singles vs. married couples. A later module in this series will specifically address loneliness for singles. But we firmly believe that the strategies presented here are useful no matter what your state – single or married.
March 19, 2019 — If you have been on the campus of an active adult community or near a city park lately, you might have heard a repetitive loud sound – that of a composite racquet hitting a softball sized whiffle ball. What you are hearing, along with many cries of joy and frustration, is the game of pickleball, and it is expanding everywhere. Unless you have mobility or other serious health issues, we recommend you get it a “whack”.
Pickleball got started in 1965 on a modified badminton court. Kids in gym class sometimes play it because it can be played indoors in a fairly limited space with minimum equipment. Since then it has expanded around the globe, but has really taken off as an activity in 55+ and active adult communities.
What is it the game and how is it played Pickleball is played on a court that is roughly half the size of a tennis court. There is a net and there are different lines marked to indicate the playing area. Watch the Youtube video above to see a championship match in action!
The game can be played as singles (2 opponents) or more commonly doubles (4 players). It starts by a player serving a plastic ball with holes in it from the baseline across the net and to the diagonally opposite opponent. It must land in the box on the receiver’s side and bounce once before being hit back across the net. The small honeycombed racquet is several times the size of a ping pong paddle. When the racquet hits the perforated plastic ball there is a distinctive “whack”. To counter complaints about noise, newer, quieter racquets are coming in to play.
Updated Nov. 18, 2019 — Of the thousands of 55 plus communities listed at Topretirements, it is always interesting to see which ones attract the most attention from our Members and visitors. After examining the data from the last 6 months of 2018, here are the 15 most popular communities at Topretirements in the Southwestern states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. This article complements a similar article we wrote earlier this month on the “Most Popular Active Adult Communities in the Southeast“.
This year’s winners are a surprising group. None of them are household names, in some cases we are not sure why these communities sparked so much visitor interest. Taken together they reflect the diversity of different types of active adult and 55+ communities that exist in the Southwest. Some of them are relative bargains as RV or manufactured home communities, offering good value at a lower price point. One is a community offering assisted living, which an unusual type to be this popular. One is a cohousing community. A few others are 55+ neighborhoods tucked in much larger master planned communities. About half of the communities are age restricted, although in practice most of the people living in all of them would meet a 55 year age requirement.
The biggest surprise in this year’s findings was that Colorado was far and away the most popular state. It had 10 out of the 15 communities on the list – we can see it is a very popular state for retirement! Arizona and New Mexico had two each, while Nevada earned one spot. Utah and Southern California communities had a chance to make the list, but none did.
While these are the 15 most popular active adult communities on this site for these four states, they might not necessarily be the “best”. That is for you to determine, based on how well they fit your needs. One big takeaway here is how important it is to spread your net wide when researching active adult and 55 plus communities. There are thousands of choices that might work for you, but you won’t even find out about them unless you look around. If this list does anything for you we hope it expands your horizons. If you are interested in moving to a particular area, at least do an Internet search to get a good idea of the possibilities before you just settle on one you or your friends have heard of. There are many good choices awaiting you!
The most popular 55+ communities in the Southwest
1. Albuquerque Meadows – Albuquerque, NM. This senior (55+) community offers affordable manufactured homes with friendly neighbors, and activities. Amenities include pool, arts & crafts, exercise programs, bridge, line dancing. Albuquerque Meadows is located near the foot of the beautiful Sandia Mountains which offer hiking and skiing.
2. Antelope Ridge – Colorado Springs, CO. Comfortable, energy-efficient ranch homes are provided in this all ages community of manufactured homes. The 4,000 sq. ft. Community Center with a ski-lodge look draws residents for events, private parties, working out, and just having fun. There are two outdoor pools, business center, children’s play area, bocce, fitness center, and outdoor veranda.
March 13, 2019 — Over the years millions of Americans from the Midwest and Northeast have packed up and moved to Florida for their retirement. They move there because of the warm winters and long coastlines, and retirees have been doing it for at least 100 years. But the Sunshine State has its detractors too; a Florida retirement is not for everyone. To wit, a recent article from Kiplinger, “11 Reasons Not to Move to Florida,” caught our eye.
We agree that there are some valid reasons against retiring in Florida (and we will include them later in this article). But we have to say that the ones cited in the Kiplinger article seemed a bit grasping. These are the basic reasons why their editor said you shouldn’t retire to Florida:
March 10, 2018 — Bills proposed in the Florida legislature would remove local control of short term rentals offered by companies like Airbnb, HomeAway, etc., and place it in the hands of the State. The online companies are lobbying for passage of the bills, since that would open up all areas of the state to rentals as short as one night. Local communities oppose the bill because they would lose the right to regulate what is often a problematic issue in many communities, particularly resort areas. It is a complex issue with the same people often having two different opinions on it: while at least half of the population would be happy to use one of these services for a short term vacation rental, but the vast majority of homeowners are against having them in their own neighborhoods.
The bill is euphemistically called “The Private Property Rights of Homeowners”, SB 824. The bill’s sponsor is State Sen. Manny Diaz Jr,. of Hialeah. If passed, it would give the Florida legislature the preemptive right to regulate vacation rights – local governments would have to abide by whatever the state decides. A group in northern Florida has been active in the fight against it. That organization believes that each local community knows best what should be permitted when it comes to rentals, citing many problems such as noise, traffic, and general mayhem when vacationers invade local neighborhoods. The problem is made worse when absentee owners buy up large number of homes and/or apartments and rent them out. That has a deleterious impact on affordable housing.
March 6, 2019 — The appearance of a pair of bills in the Florida legislature has brought the issue of short term (usually vacation) rentals to the fore. It is a complex topic, and one that has powerful constituencies on both sides. The purpose of this survey is to find out where the Topretirements membership stands on the issue. We will be reporting on the results, both here at Topretirements as well as our Florida representatives. So please take a moment to answer this very quick survey. Thanks!
March 6, 2019 — You might call this article, “SALT in the Wound”. The federal tax law that went into effect last year capped state and local tax (SALT) exemptions at $10,000. It was feared at the time that this decrease would depress real estate values in some high tax states. A recent Wall Street Journal article, “Out of State Real Estate Buyers Flock to Miami“, reports it is happening – out of state real estate purchases in Miami and Las Vegas have jumped, driving price increases along the way. Many of these buyers are coming from states like New York, New Jersey, and Illinois, where home prices are flat or even worse.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo even blamed the 2017 tax bill for a recent budget deficit, saying that it made states like Florida much more attractive to residents of the Empire State. The Journal quoted Jonathan Miller of the real-estate company Douglas Elliman as saying: “I’ve been starting to see New Yorkers as Florida’s new foreign buyer.”
Price date from the National Association of Realtors for the 4th Quarter of 2018 bear this out. While prices in Miami rose 4.5% year to year and Las Vegas’s were up 10.6%, New York/Jersey City/White Plains declined 0.4%, and Philadelphia was flat year to year. Hartford increased 1.4%. Austin, in the zero income tax state of Texas, had a healthy 5.9% increase in the 4th quarter.
Residents of states in the Northeast, California, and Midwest can easily pay far more than the $10,000 deduction allowed for SALT taxes. Property taxes alone in the NYC region can go over $30,000 with no problem.
While this shift in value and flight from high tax states would seem to affect working people more than retirees, it still will probably have an effect on boomers looking to relocate. That is because they will probably get less for their high tax home, and pay more in the low tax Sunbelt.
March 5, 2019 — We were curious to find out which of the thousands of 55 plus communities at Topretirements attract the most attention from our Members and visitors. So after examining the data from the last 6 months of 2018, here are the 17 most popular communities in the Southeastern states of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. This article complements a similar one for the Southwest: “15 Most Popular Active Adult Communities in the Southwest for 2019“.
The results are a combination of those that are: “of course” (The Villages and several very large Cresswind and Valencia communities that advertise here), a few “head shakers” that we never expected to make this list, and some pleasant “surprises”. The choices cover a wide range – from really big (The Villages), to 55+ communities within larger master planned developments (Cresswind), to special interest (Indian River Colony Club), to inexpensive manufactured home and RV communities popular with snowbirds (Citrus Park and others). Note that most, but not all, of these communities are designated 55 plus. But the majority of residents probably would meet that qualification in all cases.
While these are the 18 most popular active adult communities on this site for these three states, they might not necessarily be the “best”. That is for you to determine, based on how well they fit your needs. One big takeaway here is how important it is to spread your net wide when researching active adult and 55 plus communities. There are thousands of choices that might work for you, but you won’t even find out about them unless you look around. If this list does anything for you we hope it expands your horizons. If you are interested in moving to a particular area, at least do an Internet search to get a good idea of the possibilities before you just settle on one you or your friends have heard of. There are many good choices awaiting you!
The most popular 55+ communities in the Southeast
1. Cresswind at Victoria Gardens, Deland, FL . Located within the master planned Victoria Park in Deland, this 55+ community offers an impressive array of amenities. Those include pickleball courts, horseshoe pits, event lawn, numerous parks, lakes and nature trails, not to mention the championship golf available at the Victoria Hills Golf Club. There’s also a bank, pharmacy, salon, nail spa, dry cleaners and other services at the adjacent Village Center.
2. Valencia Cay At Riverland, Port St. Lucie, FL Here is another 55+ community located within a much larger development. Homeowners will enjoy resort-style living with an array of wonderful amenities right in their own neighborhood, and will also have the added benefit of being among the first residents to live at Riverland. The amenities include a spectacular 34,000 square foot Clubhouse and over 5 acres of recreation.
3. Cresswind at Lake Lanier. Gainesville, GA. Located in Gainesville on Lake Lanier, Cresswind offers 55+ lakeside living and an Audubon-designated sanctuary. There is a full suite of social and recreational amenities designed for the active adult lifestyle.