Showcase Listing

Fairfield Glade, a stunning master-planned community, is perched high atop the Cumberland Plateau, and offers serene mountain beauty as i...

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Showcase Listing

Bon Ayre is a 55+ active adult, manufactured home land lease community located in Smyrna, Delaware, a town which was recently ranked 31st...

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Showcase Listing

Wendell Falls is a new, all-ages community located just minutes from downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, and features an eclectic, walkable...

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Showcase Listing

Embrey Mill® is an all-ages master-planned community located in Stafford, Virginia, just north of Fredericksburg, and offers a totally st...

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Showcase Listing

Reflections on Silver Lake is a popular 55+ Manufactured Home and RV Community in Highlands County, Florida, offering a choice of lifesty...

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Showcase Listing

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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Jobs Without Benefits Help Retirees Bridge the Gap

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

January 16, 2022 — A significant number of workers underestimate their financial needs in retirement, and that includes calculating how much they will receive from Social Security. As a result they often retire too early and start taking their Social Security before they maximize their benefit. The end result is that they face an income shortfall in their retirement years. A new study from the Boston College Center for Retirement Research has concluded that taking a non-traditional job late in one’s career can help retirees avoid a serious shortfall in replacement income, and thus have a more comfortable retirement. Replacement income is defined as the ratio of a worker’s retirement income to pre-retirement income.

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Posted by Admin on January 15th, 2022

20 Most Captivating Places to Retire for 2022

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

January 12, 2022 — Every year we have fun coming up with a list of the very “Best Places to Retire“. This list is meant to highlight retirement towns that represent exceptionally great places to retire, as measured by Member and visitor interest at Topretirements. As wonderful as these towns might be, the one where you can be happy in retirement is your best place!

To develop our 2022 list we consulted our visitor logs to find out the 20 retirement towns in the U.S. whose reviews were visited the most at Topretirements. Many of the winners were predictable, they get named to the top 10 or 20 every year, but there were several other big surprises. The hope is the list will spark some ideas for you to consider in the quest for your best place to retire. Home prices in many of these towns are above the national median, reflecting their desirability, but a surprising number offer relative bargains. Although 11 states had towns in the top 20, Arizona, Florida, and Tennessee tied for the most cities on the list with 3 each. Congratulations to all these cities and towns!

20 Best of the Best Places to Retire

Popularity on this site, as measured by online visits by our Members, was the most important criteria. On that basis, here are the most captivating places to retire in all of the U.S.

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Posted by Admin on January 11th, 2022

Retiring on a Shoestring – And Loving It

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

January 5, 2022 — With inflation going up and just about everything getting more expensive, retirement is getting even more difficult than ever. So the beginning of the year seems like a great time to come up with some ideas to help everyone spread their income a little further, possibly even increasing it, and not forgetting to have fun and enjoy life.

Some of the best ideas we have ever seen have come from Topretirements Members. Two previous articles (see Further Reading at end) generated over 200 Comments with many great suggestions. So in this article we provide some broad based tips, then encourage you to go over the Comments already made and mine them for things that could help improve your budget outlook.

Nextavenue.org recently profiled a couple, Joan and Steve Reid, who retired and moved from the affluent New York City suburb of Pearl River, N.Y., to Vero Beach on Florida’s East Coast. They had a very limited budget, $30,000, most of which was from Social Security and some small pensions. By attending to the basics the couple was able live surprisingly well in a great Florida town. We love their attitude, shown best by a quote from Joan: “We are not rich except in friendships, our art, our families and our souls” .

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Posted by Admin on January 5th, 2022

What You Need to Know About Your HOA: 5 Things

Category: Active adult communities

January 4, 2020 — When people hear about Home Owners Associations (HOA) there is generally one of two reactions. Either they loathe them, citing high costs and restrictive rules, or they tolerate them as a necessary evil. They have no super fans. Also called Community Associations, HOAs govern critical aspects of life in condominiums and active adult communities. It is essential that retirees know something about their HOA before they move in. As Joe West, CEO of the Community Associations Network, told Topretirements many years ago, the most important thing to consider when buying into a community is: “Don’t fall in love with the house before you check out the association”.

In any 55+, active adult, or condominium development that has shared facilities the Community Association is the top dog. It establishes the rules, enforces compliance, manages the assets, and insures the financial and legal well-being of their communities. Even in the most successful community plenty can go wrong. When serious problems happen, as did in last year’s condo collapse in Surfside, Florida, the consequences can even become tragic.

5 things to know about your HOA before you buy:

Before you buy you retirement dream home some due diligence is required to help eliminate the risk of serious disappointments down the road. Here are some things you need to know.

How effective is your new HOA?

The people running your HOA and the structure that governs it are critical.  Are board members forthcoming with information? Do they seem engaged and receptive, and do new members join the board from time to time? You have a right to know what you are getting into.  Are there regular board meetings, and do things get done? Is member input permitted and acknowledged? Were you able to secure copies of the minutes? Do the financial documents look up to date, and have they been audited? 

How strong are the finances?

The condo building that collapsed in Surfside had an overwhelmingly negative financial situation – although millions were needed for urgent repairs, there were almost no reserves to pay for them. Does your new community have reserves salted away for future projects like streets, elevators, roofs, painting, and other repairs? Is there a recent reserve study? Has there been a history of unplanned assessments to pay for projects, instead of carefully salting away money to pay for them?  When a board continually underfunds the budget and hopes nothing goes wrong, that should be a warning flag. If there is a significant number of homeowners who are in arrears on their dues or assessments that is also cause for alarm.

Are there serious problems coming up?

There are always building and infrastructure issues that will come up – stuff wears out and systems fail. Are these projects being talked about at board meetings, and is there a plan to fund them? Buying into a community that faces imminent huge assessments could be a costly mistake.

Has the transition from developer to HOA been completed?

Perhaps the most perilous time in any community’s life cycle comes when the developer exits the sales phase and control moves to the association. Communal assets and amenities are often sold to the homeowners, or perhaps retained by the developer. If that is the case, how much, and how, will they be paid for or managed? Does the new HOA have good bylaws and a qualified board in place to run things?

Are there HOA rules you don’t know about or appreciate?

Moving into your new active adult community  and discovering that you have too many, or the wrong kind, of pets can be a horrible discovery. You might not realize that you cannot park boats or RVs on the property, change the color of your house, or construct a fence. Get a copy of the rules and regulations, and asked questions if you are unsure.

Finally, good to know

The laws governing the nation’s estimated 270,000 residential and commercial HOAs are confusing and sometimes non-existent. States like California and Florida have extensive laws, but many other states have just a condominium law or a poorly written, often amended, HOA law. The absence of clear legal guidance can be a problem. Having an effective board and reasonable bylaws is a good defense against that.

Everyone would like an HOA with low fees. Sometimes you get good value for these fees, and sometimes you don’t. HOAs are often viewed as some type of ogre by many homeowners. But in practice most people that volunteer for these boards deserve more credit– they work hard and they spend a lot of time unraveling tricky questions. As you get familiar with your community, consider running for the board and offering your experience and hard work.

For more on this topic see the 3 part series at Topretirements.com: “Meet Your New Boss, the HOA”.

Comments? Please share your thoughts about HOAs, including your personal experience, in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on January 4th, 2022