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Baby Boomer Self-Appraisal: Where Should I Live in Retirement

Category: Baby Boomer Retirement Issues

Note: This is the 3rd in a 3 article series about baby boomers and their retirement real estate plans. Part 1 featured the differences (and similarities) of boomers’ retirement housing preferences and the homes builders are building. Part 2 explored the conflict between baby boomer desire to retire in suburbia vs. reality.

What kind of retirement lifestyle is best for you?
Some visitors will recognize a few similarities to these questions and those in our free “Baby Boomers Guide to Selecting a Retirement Community“. Our goal with this article is to provide thought-provoking questions any self-respecting boomer should ask herself before deciding where and how to live in retirement.

1. Are you willing to move far away in retirement? Recognize that might mean starting over again with friends, and not seeing children and grandchildren as often as you do now. This issue is one of the most frequent causes of unfortunate retirement location decisions.
2. Can you afford to retire where you live now? Are your property taxes, insurance payments, and maintenance expenses going to be affordable on your retirement budget? Should you consider downsizing to save money and work?
3. Is warm weather important to you in the wintertime? Just how warm – would it be OK to have an occasional cold day in the 30’s or 40’s, or do you want at least 60’s every day? If the former is OK, there are lots of places in the Carolinas, west, and south. If it’s the latter, better head to South Florida.

4. Are you passionate about some activity, sport, or culture? If golf, tennis, or boating are extremely important you should probably consider an active adult community that has those activities. If culture is critical to you, better head for a college town or at least a medium sized city.
5. Do you like meeting people, but aren’t necessarily good at it? If that describes you, you should consider an active adult or 55+ community. In these communities it is so easy to meet people you almost have to try not to have a full social life.
6. Are you willing to try living in a new culture? If not, forget about moving to the south if you are from the northeast. Ditto moving to Mexico, or South America. No matter how cheap the lifestyle might be, you will not be happy.
7. Have you really thought through the idea of retiring in the suburbs where you live in now? It might be tempting to say you don’t want to move, but think about these factors: maintenance; taxes; driving miles to get to a store, doctor, or pharmacist. Imagine yourself in your 80’s living in your current house – who is going to maintain it, and what will happen when your doctor tells you to stop driving? The experts predict that residential density is the wave of the future – critical for transportation, energy efficiency, and an improved social life.
8. What is your plan for the long term? If we are lucky enough, youwill live into old age. If you live long enough, you won’t be able to take care of yourself. Long term care insurance is one way to plan for that eventuality, and you can either buy it or self-insure. But when the day comes that you need it, you better be ready. Many forward thinking people have a plan that includes living in a CCRC – Continuing Care Retirement Community- by a certain age. That way when they might need assisted living or nursing care, they can get in, and it’s paid for.
9. Have you thought about a 2 part retirement? Most people in their 50’s or 60’s probably wouldn’t like living in a CCRC – now. That being the case, you might be smart to consider a 2 part retirement (young retirehood in a 55+ or conventional community, then moving to a CCRC or independent living). You could make that a lot easier by making your first move to an active adult community that has these options as part of its campus, or has those type of facilities in the vicinity. That way your 2nd move, when you won’t be that young, will be a lot less traumatic.
10. Have you listed your priorities for the features that must be in your baby boomer retirement home? Here is what is on our list: universal design, door handles (not knobs), accessible counters, wide hallways, minimal steps, 1st floor master bedroom, no/low maintenance, public transportation nearby, walk/bike/golf cart to stores and doctors. List your must-haves, and don’t settle for less.
11. Before you buy, how about renting? We hear this time and again – I wish I would have rented first – then I would have known (fill in problem).

Bottom Line
Take a moment with your significant other to discuss these questions (and feel free to add others in the Comments section below). Are you both in agreement on these issues, and have you come up with a plan? In our opinion, the mere act of discussing these issues could help lead you to a more interesting and enjoyable retirement.

Posted by John Brady on October 12th, 2009


  1. […] Note: This article is a continuation of our earlier article, “55+ Home Buyers and Builders Not Exactly in Synch“. See Part 3, a Boomer’s Retirement Self-Assessment. […]

    by » Boomer Conflict Looming on Suburban Retirement: Desire Vs. Reality Topretirements — October 12, 2009

  2. […] here to read the rest: » Baby Boomer Self-Appraisal: Where Should I Live in Retirement … Leave a comment | […]

    by » » Baby Boomer Self-Appraisal: Where Should I Live in Retirement … — October 12, 2009

  3. Another question if you’d like to relocate, especially if you’re single: Can you take some of your friends with you? That way, you are already starting with a nucleus of a support group.

    by Jan Cullinane, co-author The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your LIfe (Rodale 2007) — October 13, 2009

  4. I am a single woman age 59,,financial so-so, I have no family, what do you recommend for a 55+ communities ?::::::::::???:(in 4-5 years from now,to be prepared, and do my home work).

    by Anna — October 13, 2009

  5. This informative list suggests 55+ communities for people who “like meeting people, but aren’t necessarily good at it” I would offer another suggestion – cohousing. When you become a member of a cohousing community, you own your home but are part of a group where you know all your neighbors well, share many resources (including some meals during the week) and actively work to build community. Families are supported, singles become part of a welcoming group, older members are revered and not marginalized as can happen in other housing situations. More than 100 such communities exist in the US. Some are new and actively seeking members, such as Daybreak Cohousing ( ) in Portland, Oregon. Others have openings from time to time. A directory of cohousing projects and more information is available at Tours of cohousing projects are listed at

    by Katlin — October 22, 2009

  6. […] test before helping a client search for a retirement location. I found this article, Baby Boomer Self Assessment, a very good starting point of the pertinent questions you and or your significant other want to […]

    by Baby Boomers - Retirement - Where - On a Tight Budget | Personal Finance — April 8, 2013

  7. This is becoming another where to retire site. Few folks seem interested in addressing the “what are you goong to do all day” once they get to whatever nirvan they’ve selected. Have you got any data on people who retired to a location then moved “home” when they got tired of the new place. Also, if you have kids, chances are that if you need assisted living or nursing home care, you”ll wind up close to them.

    by Sandie — April 9, 2013

  8. Reading thru this list I was thinking that it wasn’t helping me in anyway. Just another where to retire list. Then along came Sandie’s input which echoed what I had just been thinking. Talk with friends or acquaintances + you get a list of most of the warm weather locations. These same persons may or may not have even traveled to these perceived idyllic locations but like myself only read of them. I guess I could put the dog in the car and take off to which ever destination sounds enticing but I’m not too crazy about driving half way across the country by myself. The question I keep asking myself is how do I decide what to do? Moving near my children will make me the resident baby sitter for 5 grandkids. That’s ok once in a while but not really what I had in mind as my retirement activity. I know that if I weren’t a widow it would make this decision much easier–but —I am what I am and very confused about how to handle whatever amount of life is left for me.
    Re-reading this I sound a bit like a curmudgeon which I really am not. It’s just that I’ve never had any difficulty deciding what to do with my life up until now. This uncertainty is a weird feeling. Does anyone else feel like this??

    by Anne — April 10, 2013

  9. Well, Anne, one of the first things I did after I retired was to take off on a long road trip. I wanted to see if I could stay awake driving by myself. I don’t have a dog. I was gone for a little over a month, escaped winter in Minnesota, visited with friends along the way, visited my grandchildren, enjoyed various national parks, went to Las Vegas for the first time, and generally just had a great time. So I discovered I could do it by myself. I’ve since taken several road trips with friends–those are fun as well. I also like to cruise–I am about to head off for Europe for 5 weeks on 3 back to back cruises. I belong to two book clubs and read a lot. Between planning the next trip and reading a lot, my days are very full. I sometimes wonder how I had time to work!

    by Linda — April 10, 2013

  10. Anne
    Uncertainty IS a weird feeling and you are the “norm” for retirees. Many of us feel this when deciding the next step in our lives. My husband and I both feel this way as we try to decide where to move and when to visit these areas.
    We spent 2 months in Florida this Winter looking at areas, but are still undecided. Our next trip is to South Carolina.

    by Marilyn — April 11, 2013

  11. Anne,
    You said it well! I am also a single woman trying to decide where to retire. To be honest, I’d rather stay where I am. I have great friends here and there is lots to do. Unfortunately, my retirement income will not be enough to remain in this area (DC metro), so I have no choice but to re-locate. I’m feeling very unsettled about the whole process. I think that’s why I still haven’t retired. In order to retire, I have to know where I’m going and I don’t. I do plan to take some weekend trips to Deleware to check it out. I haven’t seen many comments here about Delaware. Has anyone else looked there?

    by Leah — April 11, 2013

  12. Anne, I feel the same way as a divorced person with children and grandchildren in my current location. I am very conflicted because I feel like I could have a better retirement experience if I were to move to a lower cost of living area with better weather (currently in Northern Illinois) but would miss the kids and grandkids. Maybe, I do just put the 2 dogs in the car and take off for a month or so. As you said, Anne, I have never had a problem making decisions before.

    by Sue — April 12, 2013

  13. Glad to see that I’m not alone in my feelings altho at the same time sorry that so many of us have such conflicting thoughts. Leah says it’s very expensive in the DC area. I’m in Ct. which the last time I checked was #1 on high cost of living. So I should get out of here. I keep saying that but doing nothing about it. One thing that is quite overwhelming to tackle is clearing out a house we’ve living in for over 35 yrs. The cellar still contains a bunch of the stuff my kids had when they were young. The attic equally so. Goodwill agreed to come +get some of it but only if I have it outside. Are you kidding me?? Lots of things would take 2 strong men to carry them. Ok, so that means I would have to hire someone to unload the house. Then I would need to sell the house. But how does that work? If you need the funds from this house to buy a new property then you need to sell it before you’ve found the next one. Is that right? Sounds right.
    How do any in a similar situation feel about moving to an area where you know no one? If you need help for any reason what do you ?? You have to establish with new dr’s, dentist etc.
    but you don’t have contact people to talk to.
    Recently watched ‘the best exotic marigold hotel’ which starred Judi Dench, Maggie Smith. I thought it depicted quite well how difficult the decision becomes when you reach this stage in your life.
    I’m usually upbeat but this uncertainty about what to do with the rest of my life is making me a bit grumpy. On top of that my 13 yr. old dog died last week. It’s raining today but the sun should come out tomorrow and I’m sure then I’ll feel better. Altho I still won’t have any better ideas about what to do with the rest of my life.
    Time to go eat something sweet and fattening. Like a BIG piece of chocolate.

    by Anne — April 12, 2013

  14. Anne,Sue, and others,
    The hardest part is getting started whether it is the where to move or unloading the house. Go on vacation next week and in a month or two maybe try going somewhere else for say 2 weeks. Extend the travel times and areas you are curious about, stay with friends and relatives if possible. It’s a start that gets us up and out.

    With unloading a house it is much the same principle. Go down stairs and grab a piece to part with. The first is always the hardest. If you want something to go to a family member then give it to them. If it needs sold, sell it. Or if you want to donate something then now is the time. Many people in need and if it’s been sitting around then we can usually part with it. When the time came for Mother’s house of 50 plus years to be cleaned out it was a chore but a fun time too. We gathered around and pitched in and had some good laughs, shed a few tears, but most importantly shared memories.

    All in all, it helps to see who we have become. I moved from WY to CT for Love. Life is always an adventure if you can get out the door…

    by Larry P — April 13, 2013

  15. Anne,
    Consider clearing out the basement, attic, etc. to get the house ready for sale. Begin looking by choosing the climate and type of environment you want to live in. Put the house up for sale under a realtor (so you are free to leave town to view other areas) and go. If the house sells quickly, put your furniture in storage. If you are going South, you will see substantial financial gains in the cost of real estate there, My brother moved from Ct to Florida and he saved a lot in cost of living even though he is in an upscale gated community. Another family member lives in a 55+ community in Georgia and states “everyone is looking to make friends with others in these communities and there are many clubs and activities to meet people”.

    by Marilyn — April 13, 2013

  16. Anne – You have expressed my own feelings exactly. I am a senior and single person now and probably can afford to stay where I am (expensive Virginia suburbs of DC), but I keep thinking it would be better to move to a locale where I could have more discretionary spending and not have to be so careful. And many of my friends have retired elsewhere so the social circle gets smaller. And that makes me think what difference would it make to move….I’d just have to make new friends anyway. But then a flu experience this winter with the ER and my nearby doctors and hospital gave me pause. I had great care there plus help from friends and neighbors. I asked myself what would have happened if this had taken place where I was a new to a community, knew no one, had established no doctor relationship, etc. It made me think that maybe the grass is not greener elsewhere and it’s safer and more comfortable to just stay put.

    by Judy — April 13, 2013

  17. when emptying parents’ home, we found auctioneers or liquidators who come to your location, takke what you want to get rid of and pay you something for it. we used different entities in two different states. In both cases, they came with strong men and big trucks and cleaned up afterward. There are some books that deal with this, a good one is “Stuff after death” by Mary Miley Theobald, it ‘s on Amazon. Don ‘t let your stuff become an albatross around your neck. Those who die with the most stuff have crabby heirs!

    by Sandie — April 13, 2013

  18. We started after the holidays with cleaning out a room at a time. Taking it in small bits made it much easier to tackle. My husband was in the army for 20 + years so we have been to many areas of the country. We were pretty sure we wanted to retire in the Carolina’s so we went to several areas of NC last summer and then to Hilton Head and Charleston areas in February. We decided on a house in the Del Webb Charlston community located in Summerville. It just felt like the right place when we were there. We came back to MI and finished getting the house ready to sell. We had 4 offers and an accepted contract within3 days! We are selling for less then we bought but at a higher price then we thought possible. We move the end of June and are very excited. It is a process and just takes time.

    by Kathy — April 13, 2013

  19. Oh my gosh…. I thought I was the only who thought this way. I am widowed with no children. Sold my house, bought another one, sold it. Sold some possessions, put others in storage and moved into an apartment with boxes all around me temporarily (temporary 2 1/2 yrs) and still don’t know what to do. I hate leaving my drs and friends, who will retire and move on probably, but am I in a rut? It would be soooo cool to have a new adventure while I am still lucid but scary all at the same time. It is killing me financially and mentally as it takes over my thoughts constantly. What to do, what to do????? I do love that idea that posessions make for crabby heirs! I never thought of it that way. I’m so setimental, however I doubt if they will be.

    by Karen — April 13, 2013

  20. Ann, and everyone, retirement and moving to new place is very difficult and a huge decision. My hubby and I are both semi-retired and looking for full-retirement but where we live, we will not be able to afford it. We love where we live now (suburb of NYC) except shoving snow, and it was not easy decision to put our house for sale. It took me about a year to clean up thing that was accumulated for years. My husband was no help; he wanted to keep everything!
    I sold clothes on eBay, give away things on crags list, goodwill, etc. but a lot of junks I had to just throw away. Trust me, your heirs do not want to clean up these junks. If our house will be sold, we will put the rest of our staff in the storage and will rent. Not sure where yet, still researching, checking areas, visiting for here and there, but we really need to live there for while to know if it is the right fit. We also gearing towards 55+ community to establish new friendship. Forum on is very helpful to checkout places.

    by Francesca from NY — April 14, 2013

  21. I turn 65 in two weeks, so I guess that qualifies me somewhat to weigh in here. I am frankly stunned by the lack of planning and lack of adaptability on the part of some of those commenting here. “We love where we live now (suburb of NYC) except shoving snow, and it was not easy decision to put our house for sale.” You are leaving a place you love because you don’t like to shovel snow? Seriously? For others, you can’t leave because you don’t know what to sell or throw away? Was 40 years not enough “adult” time to contemplate what you would do in retirement or enough time to develop a plan to do it? OK, I understand that the economy and the death of a spouse can throw us for a loop, but what are the alternatives to getting on with our lives? For those up north (I am in CT too) or in a high-expense location like the DC metro area, you will give yourselves an annual cost of living raise of between 25% and 50% by moving to one of many southern U.S. locations. And many planned communities have such rosters of activities that it would be difficult not to make friends quickly — as long as you don’t turn them off by exhibiting feelings of self-pity. Sorry to be harsh and holier than thou, but I really thought my generation was made of sterner stuff.

    by Larry G. — April 14, 2013

  22. Too much time to think about what to do, when to do it and where to go can be a problem. Our story helps underscore how a compressed time schedule maked it work for us. Last November, my wife and I had an opportunity to semi-retire and took it.

    As minority shareholders in a business, our parent company made us an offer to take over the business (in Washington, DC). We decided to sell our home of 30 yrs because “it was time”. To make the story short, we received a note in our mailbox from a young couple who wanted to buy our home. After looking at FL for 2 yrs (one of my brothers lives there), we began to move quickly. We FOCUSED: We forgot FL. Sold our home in 5 days. Rented it from the owners for 30 days. Drove to DE 6x to look at homes. Decided to build. Rented a beach condo for 5 months. Got all new doctors and settled in at a casual pace. We move into our new home on May 1st.

    We learned a great deal including the relative ease of navigating the “system” in an area with a small population that is home to lots of retirees. Almost everything is less expensive (3 examples: property taxes are 1/6, auto insurance is 1/2 and our PCP called my wife at 7 pm to review the results of her blood test from her “new doctor intro exam”. AND, people are friendlier – since so many people are transplants, making friends is extremely easy.

    We’re very happy again, only 2+ hrs away from family and friends, and 10-15 minutes from 3 beach towns. We survived a relatively cold winter, no snow and hurricane Sandy. BUT, when I see on TV that winter has ended in FL, and the temps there are in the mid 80s with extreme dew points already, we’re thrilled to be having mid-60s to mid-70s days with blue skies and taking advantage of the 1st of two beach shoulder seasons.

    Oh, I almost forgot. I started a new online marketing business and will meet my (hopefully) 1st of 5 clients this coming Tuesday – only 5; no more! We’re thrilled with our new life that came together in 6 months after worrying about it for 2 yrs.

    by — April 14, 2013

  23. Larry, G. I understand your point. Just to clarify my posting, we are not leaving current resident not just because of snow, but also main reason is financial (high tax and COL). My husband is CPA and he projected our retirement cost with where we live now, and where we wants to live. We are probably cheapest person in this town, and lives way below our means, but we wants to travel and enjoy things we have not done yet. Our family is spread out all over the world, and our good friends are also move away from, it is our time.
    Roberbb, sounds like everything worked out for you! sometime timing is everything. Our house was almost sold in March, and we were almost ready to move to NC but our buyer change their mind. We came across retirement in Delaware by accident, and that where we are looking next. Are you living in 55+ community?

    by Francesca from NY — April 15, 2013

  24. Francesca: No, we did not settle in a 55+ community. We had specific home layout features in mind, which is why we decided to build (after looking at over 20 homes). Our 1st choice location – Nassau Grove in Lewes – is a 55+ community, but the layout we were seeking was not available there. Co-incidentally, the same builder took over a non-55+ community a few miles away from Nassau Grove while we were looking. The home plan we liked was available there.

    by — April 15, 2013

  25. Roger,

    What is the name of the community where you are building? I’m very much interested in the DE area. There is so much to choose from, it’s mind boggling.

    by Nancy M — April 15, 2013

  26. Delaware’s borders are within 50 miles of 4 nuclear power plant sites.Yikes and im complaining about one.

    by rubytuesday — April 16, 2013

  27. read alot about Delaware..and do like it…but beaches leave alot to desire..on some they allow cars/trucks and those people come down early am.put a truck there and take alot space…they go on water line as far as one can cant be used by others..just small areas left..they must be surfin so they just put a line or two in water,,,so definetly not fair to other beach users who just walk out..

    by Robbie — April 17, 2013

  28. where are the sites? I am thinking of relocating to De- at least the southern part and I can think of only one in Calvert Co Md within 100 miles


    by Carol — April 17, 2013

  29. Carol they are Salem/Hope Creek, NJ; Calvert Cliffs, MD; Peachbottom, PA; and Limerick, PA

    by rubytuesday — April 17, 2013

  30. I’ve just read Larry G’s post. I’m a bit surprised at his comments. Life doesn’t treat all of us the same way. For example, I’ve been pretty lucky in most things but the loss of my husband has been a bit of a hurdle to get over at a time in our lives when we were transitioning from work to retirement. So it isn’t 40 yrs. of “adult time” as you put it that makes decisions difficult. It’s how and what to do on your own when you expected it to be a 2 person decision. Perhaps you should re-think your wording before you criticize those whose circumstances you can only understand if/when you experience them first hand.
    I know this reply is curt but I do feel that your posting as worded is out of place in this discussion.

    by Anne — April 17, 2013

  31. Nancy M: It’s the Villages at Red Mill Pond in Lewes. Homes start in the mid-$200s; top is about $360. Go to to see homes/plans. Khov is a national builder.

    Rubytuesday & Carol: Regarding Nuclear Power Plant danger – (1) As weather conditions, particularly wind, play a major role in the distribution of radioactive material that may result from a meltdown and the failure of containment, it is impossible to say how far away one should be if concerns over this possibility are more than minor. (2) Go to to see a map of all US Nuclear Power Plants, currently operating and decommissioned. Looks like most of the area East of a line from, roughly, Wisconsin to Texas is potentially problematic. And in the West, it’s earthquakes; and in the mid-South, it’s tornadoes; and in the Southwest, it’s water; and so on. Even Mexico has 2 NPPs.

    by Rogebb — April 17, 2013

  32. Anne,
    You are correct in your feelings regarding Larry G’s comments. Just write it off as “there’s one in every basket”. I can only imagine your circumstance and having nearly lost my husband of 40 years, I have felt the fear and depth of emotional pain when the “love of your life” and best friend might be taken from you.

    by Marilyn — April 17, 2013

  33. Marilyn and Anne, you are so right on the money! I lost my husband suddenly and at the time where to live during retirement was in the casual talking stage. We had several more years to work and as you said it was always a two person decision. Larry G is safely ensconced in a marriage and/or coupledom and really hasn’t a clue what it’s like to plan a future alone. Unfortunaely, it’s something you have to experience to really get IT……

    by Karen — April 17, 2013

  34. Just looking for some Florida info..We (wife and I) are considering retiring ‘full time’ home in south fl..and would like feedback on summer months there..difficult to maintain 2 homes…ie in NE ..but we were told by some peole summers are unbearable in looking for comments etc fromm ‘full time’ retirees..greatly appreciated..thanks
    also any location recmmendations would be appreciated..

    by Robbie — April 18, 2013

  35. Robbie: I would suggest spending a week or two in South Florida in July or August. Experience the heat, and see if you can take it. Remember, you have months of it. If you have a tough time in three-day heat waves in New England, think five months’ of ’em!

    by Ed — April 18, 2013

  36. Karen, I keep looking at these posts and yours is the only one that I really zeroed into. I too am alone now and have no idea where one goes when we don’t have our other half. We always talked about moving to NC or SC, but now it seems silly when I don’t know a soul there. Where does one go when we are alone?

    by Linda Krummenacker — April 18, 2013

  37. My husband and I are looking to leave NY, we have looked in Cary, NC and the surrounding towns and they are beautiful, we are planning to go to northern Florida in July to look around, any suggestions. I do not want extreme heat, so is northern Fl better?

    by Monica M — April 18, 2013

  38. My wife and I were interested in Deleware, and drove down last week from NJ. We wanted to take a look at the Rehoboth Beach area. It was unbelievably crowded for early April, and the locals informed us it is much worse in the Summer months. They claimed routes 1, 9 and 24 are virtual parking lots during peak Summer season. Not for us.

    by Steve W — April 18, 2013

  39. To those I offended with my last post, I apologize. I am indeed blessed with having my wife with me and feel bad for those who have lost their life partners. The point I tried to make — perhaps too emphatically — is that if I died, I would hope and expect my wife to be able to assess her situation and decide if she wants to live near the kids and grandkids or at some distance, independently but surrounded by potential friends; or perhaps a combo of both (near kids and in an independent-type situation). Although like most folks, we don’t like to talk directly about what either of us would do in the case of an unanticipated death, I am confident that one of the many alternatives that we have considered together should be viable in the event we had to go it alone….To Steve W. and others contemplating Delaware, I toured and played the golf course at Heritage Shores, a 55+ community about 35 minutes west of Rehoboth and Lewes. It is off the beaten path a bit but close enough to get a “beach fix” when needed. It might be worth a look.

    by Larry G. — April 18, 2013

  40. My hubby and I live in a shore area in NJ. What a crowded place this has become. Not much pleasure any more since hurricane “Sandy” has caused excess traffic for us now and also those folks who are siteseeing, so to speak. But we are looking to retire to another area where the traffic isn’t as prominent all year round and real estate taxes don’t stifle you. Maybe just summertime traffic would be easier to deal with in De., than it is here all year round. I will say tho, many adult communities are filled here in Ocean County and the folks seem to like it. So its all in what an individual person or couple wants to live with.

    by g. sands — April 18, 2013

  41. Linda K. I pray you will find some peace and a place to call home that will make you happy or at least content. When I was much younger and my father-in-law passed away, my mother-in-law said a few months afterward that she never realized how the world was divided into “two’s”. I remembering thinking that really isn’t the way it is, however now that it has happened to me I very definitely understand. We were never fortunate enough to have children so there is no option there. I feel that you are like so many of us and don’t want to be an albatross around the necks of what little family we have left. It really is difficult to just take the leap and whatever happens, happens! It is crippling, I know. I have never been this way at any time in my life. I was always the one who wanted to take chances where my husband was more cautious. It’s a wonderful balance as a couple, but very off center when not. Hang in there…… they tell me better days are coming!

    by Karen — April 18, 2013

  42. thank you Karen for your input. My children are stepchildren so I have none of my own. There is no problem with my moving if I wanted to since there wouldn’t be anyone who would really care. The whole idea is finding a place where I would feel comfortable with the “twos” thing. All the 55plus places seem to advertise the active and couple oriented life, the way it would have been. Now I have to find a place where there are other single women, but not necessarily women who are looking for a mate. I am not looking for anyone, but merely want to feel like I belong somewhere. Therefore, since I am still working, I still have time, but hoping that this website might be able to steer me in the right direction. Maybe there is a 55+ community for “ones”? Hahaha! Well, hopefully I will find an idea of sorts. I will hang in there…you too. Anyone have any ideas?

    by Linda — April 19, 2013

  43. Linda: don’t discount 55+ communities as those that cater to “twos”. In my late 60s, I was single until about 9 years ago. Before my marriage, most of my friends were couples. I went to dinners, activities, events of all kinds – by myself – and never felt like a third wheel or out of place amongst my couple friends. I’m sure its tough to get used to being alone again after many years of marriage. However, you will, no doubt, be welcomed in whatever community you decide upon so please just look for a place that makes you happy. All the best.

    by sheila — April 19, 2013

  44. Larry G: I think your comments are on the money in one regard…the lack of flexibility. I am a widow and can appreciate how devastating the loss of your spouse is, but still you must go on. Life is an adventure, and I don’t think we can always expect everything to be the way it has always been, or expect it to always feel safe and secure. Risk exists; this is why self-confidence and self-esteem are so important, to help us navigate risks successfully. I have a multitude of issues to resolve, including some big financial challenges, but I’m exploring and looking for all kinds of alternative options. No, I won’t have the wonderful secure retirement I envisioned before most of my money was stolen in a ponzi scheme, but I think I can manage something safe enough, and still exciting and fun. I have to scale back to a mobile home community, but so what? I probably can’t live in California, but so what? My son is there, but travel exists! I’m looking forward to finding an inexpensive place in the sun and making new friends and having new experiences. No more NY winters for me!

    by Ginger — April 19, 2013

  45. Hello to Ann and Everyone,
    Relocating can be alittle scarey by yourself but can also be invigorating. My husband and I live in a coastal Georgia town but are preparing for a move now that we are retired. What we have done is narrowed our search to Florida. We have spent the last 2 years traveling in our RV all over the state. It has helped us eliminate 99% of the cities plus provided us enjoyable vacations at the same time. We are very active 59 year olds that enjoy being close to the water for boating, fishing, and bird watching. We love St. Augustine, Sebastian, Port St. Lucie. St. Augustine offers the beach, water activities, and so much culture w/o living in a huge city. You can find everything from condos to single family homes with a diverse age group.

    by Bonnie — April 19, 2013

  46. Bonnie
    We are also looking at those areas, as well as South Carolina. The property in SC appears to be much less than Fl as they only assess property at 4% of the market value. We compared a $220,000. home in SC to one in Fl. and the difference is nearly $2000. Has anyone else found this to be true?

    by Marilyn — April 19, 2013

  47. Marilyn, your point is an important one regarding taxes. I have customers who focus on a no-income tax state like Florida when, in reality, their retirement income isn’t high enough to worry about income tax. Instead, they should focus on property taxes and sales taxes, which hit every homeowner, and figure out the best tax state for them (as you have done). A friend recently steered me to a web site called There is a state-tax section that can help you identify the best tax states based on your own personal circumstances. I cannot vouch for its accuracy, but as one of the tools to calculate the best place to live, it seems helpful.

    by Larry G. — April 19, 2013

  48. I’m new to this website & blog. I have yet to find a discussion on retiring in California. Please limit responses to meaningful ones. I’m aware of the cost of living, taxes, etc. Has anyone decided to retire in CA? If yes, where? Thank you!

    by Zephyr — April 19, 2013

  49. Larry
    Thank you for the information, I am going to look at this site now.

    by Marilyn — April 20, 2013

  50. For Zephyr: You might want to look into Palm Desert, La Quinta, Ca. Indio, Ca.Palm Springs, California…all these cities are in the Cochella Valley. Reasonable cost of living there as compared to some other areas. It is beautiful, and a lot of retired people are there! I lived in California for 13 years and go back every 6 weeks, still love it there….

    by loralee — April 20, 2013

  51. To Marilyn, Ann, and Larry G.
    I agree that you have to take all things into consideration when making a decision to move. My husband is from Charleston, SC which is a beautiful and historical area. He is an avid fisherman and has enjoyed the fishing opportunities in our area of St. Marys, Georgia which were even more plentiful than the surrounding Charleston area. His fishing and my bird watching has definitely played into where we will relocate. The areas I’ve listed in Florida meet these needs for us but with everything….we have to have trade offs in life. The housing market in Florida varies from town to town and taxes vary. Living outside the city limits reduces taxes significantly wherever you go. St. Marys offers a relatively low cost of living on the southern most eastern part of Georgia.

    by Bonnie — April 20, 2013

  52. Bonnie, I’m sorry, I might have lost a thread somewhere but why, may I ask, are you moving from St. Marys? I’ve visited the area — had a very nice lunch on the water, I recall — and it seems to offer everything you say is important. I can’t imagine St. Marys is that much more expensive than, say, St. Augustine, but I have not done the research you have. No doubt you have familiarity and friends on the Georgia coast, so there must be a compelling reason to leave. I apologize if I missed an earlier explanation.

    by Larry G. — April 21, 2013

  53. After enjoying this site for about the past 2 years, I thought that I would
    summarize the end of our trail with regards to our retirement locale. We started
    out with an open mind, having traveled extensively prior to our search. Then
    we took the last 2 years to visit the top contenders. Our biggest driver was warm
    weather – I want nothing to do with winter, and we will be snowbirds, so we
    aren’t concerned with the hot summers of the West or South as we will be back in
    the Midwest. We immediately eliminated California because of its taxes,financial
    status and unacceptable (to us) value system. We gave Texas a try, loved Austin,
    but felt it was too isolated. Texas being so big, it would be too difficult for
    us to explore. It seemed all we did also in Phoenix was drive, and had friends
    there who told us it is difinitely a driving lifestyle there. Plus, it was soooo
    brown. My eyes and sinuses were misesrable being so dried out. The warmest
    winters are definitely in the South (we had previously lived in Knoxville, but
    even that wasn’t warm enough in winter). So, yes, we, too, considered Florida.
    Being from the Midwest, we ventured toward the West coast where things are a
    bit more laid back. We did tremendous amounts of research. It turned out to be
    an easy decision, even though we made 4 trips there before finalizing on
    Sarasota. It was number one last year, number two this year, and there is a
    reason for that. It has a WOW factor. For someone who asked previously (when do
    you know it’s the right place), – if you can’t feel it in your bones, then it’s
    not. We have purchased a lot, and will be building. So, there is a definite sigh
    of relief and now we can begin the fun part.

    by Kathi M — April 21, 2013

  54. […] Note: This is the 1st of a 3 part article. Here is a link to the second, “Conflict Looming on Suburban Retirement: Desire Vs. Reality“. Part 3 is a Self-Assessment for Baby Boomer Retirement Preferences. […]

    by » 55+ Home Buyers and Builders Not Exactly in Synch Topretirements — June 22, 2014

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