April 17, 2019 — Our Online Retirement 101 Course continues today on a topic relevant to any retiree interested in an active adult community: what are the best ways to visit and appraise the developments you are interested in. The topic is far bigger than it initially appears because it includes how to find and select the communities you want to visit, how to get the most out of your on-site visit, and finally, how to compare the properties on your list of possibilities. In this article we will start with a general outline of how to get started. Then we will go on to some representative comments from the hundreds and hundreds of Member Comments we have received over the years on evaluating 55+ communities. See list on “Further Reading” at end for a list of articles on this topic.
The Process: How to Get the Most Out of Your Active Community Visit Following a disciplined path to visiting and evaluating 55+ communities will get you the information and feedback to help you make the best decisions. Finding the right community for you is a process – one site visit normally won’t give you an instant answer, but it will help build your knowledge base. After visiting several communities you will be in a position to knowledgeably evaluate all the properties you are interested in. Here is a basic approach to follow:
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.
March 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 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.
Note: This is the third module in our Retirement Planning 101 online training course. See bottom for links to Module 1 and 2.
February 7, 2019 — If you are visiting this website the chances are you are thinking about living in some kind of retirement community. Even if you think you might end up staying where you live now, or just moving to a more age-appropriate home somewhere else, it is a worthwhile exercise to kick the tires in the retirement housing market. There are all kinds of communities suitable for retirement, so this Module, the 3rd in our Retirement Planning 101 Series, will help you understand the differences so that you can focus your search on the types that interest you.
Most communities serving the retirement market have some type of designation indicating they are for retirement age people. Sometimes the designation is senior living or retirement community, both of which we think are unfortunate labels, since they make us feel old. Many communities you might consider for retirement living do not have an age restriction, even though most of the people who live there might be at least 50 years of age.
August 20, 2018 — It wasn’t like Mary Walsh and Beverly Nance hadn’t done their homework. They had visited Friendship Village Sunset Hills, a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in St. Louis, MO many times. They had dinner with friends who lived there. They especially liked the continuum of care offered by a CCRC, and the ability to age in place no matter what the future might bring. The people they met seemed friendly and they both felt comfortable; this was the ideal place for their retirement. Soon they had negotiated a deal on a $235,000 two bedroom apartment, and put down a small deposit.
Then the trouble started. Management of this faith-based, non-denominational (more…)
July 23, 2018 — If you are like a lot of baby boomers your retirement dream might involve buying a home or condo in an active adult community with a golf course. It is easy to see the attraction – stroll over to the first tee anytime, gorgeous views, and when you tire of your own golf game you can enjoy watching others play or have a drink in the clubhouse.
Paradise – or Purgatory
In the shopping phase you look forward to golf whenever you want, getting your handicap down to where you think it belongs. And beside golf, you might have visions of you and your grandchildren riding around in a golf cart, or you and your husband enjoying a peaceful breakfast with a background of passing foursomes. Fortunately for many retirees, this experience comes true. But the actual reality could turn into something like this: loud curses repeated every 20 minutes – 12 hours a day, incoming golf balls that shatter peace and quiet (not to mention windows), or strangers hunting through your property on quests to retrieve their $4 Titleists (or worse, water your bushes with the proceeds of their last Beerweiser). Unfortunately, as (more…)
May 23, 2018 — Our article of two weeks ago, “When Amenity Rich Isn’t the Answer”, stirred quite a reaction from Topretirements Members. It generated 53 (and counting) interesting comments in support of Pamela’s quest for a community with minimal to no active adult amenities. Which prompts us to ask, what is it that most people are looking for in an active adult, 55+ community? If not amenities, then what? If amenities, which ones are the objects of their desire? In this article we we review data from past surveys as well as some of the more interesting comments we have received on what Topretirements Members want to find in an active adult or 55+ community. We hope you will all chime in with your thoughts in the Comments section of this article – they are always the best part.
Amenity-Light – a quick summary Pamela’s article brought forth many like minded folks who seek a community with only the most basic amenities. The primary motivation seemed to be economic: “Why should I pay high HOA fees for amenities like a golf course and fancy clubhouse with activities director when I will probably never use them”? Ella then asked (more…)
This excellent suggestion came in from Pamela: “Please consider writing an article for people who don’t want to live in an amenity-rich community, and how frustrating it is trying to buy a home because that’s all that is being built? I’d love your perspective on this dilemma and any suggestions you may have. It would also be interesting to see the type of comments you get from your subscribers”. We hope her request will generate the usual amount of great comments from our Members. Here is her request, along with some of our thoughts.
May 9, 2018 — I’m an active adult baby boomer, but I can find my own fun. I don’t want to live in a 24-hour resort with a full-time lifestyle director, lavish clubhouses, fitness centers, numerous pools, tennis courts, bocce ball, playgrounds, basketball courts, soccer fields, etc. I’ve been paying for a manned gate and other amenities that mainly cater to families for a long time, and I’m sick of it. I’d love to find a simple, small and quaint community in Southwest Florida without all that stuff. It would be nice to find something maintenance free so I don’t have to deal with yard work, but I’d be happy to just find something without all the amenities.
I truly feel this is an expensive fad that baby boomers are going to regret because of the extremely high fees and those fees will be even higher when the builder is done (more…)
May 1, 2018 — Many baby boomers are headed to a South Carolina retirement. The State is considered fairly tax-friendly for retirees and offers a mild winter climate (see our Retirement Guide to South Carolina). Some of the big draws are towns with multiple communities designed for active baby boomers, attractive real estate prices, and a lower cost of living. South Carolina has also gained attention for attracting “halfbacks”, the so-called retirees who moved from the north to Florida, only to become disillusioned and move “halfway back” home to the Carolinas. This article highlights the 10 most popular active adult and 55+ communities in South Carolina, as measured by visitor interest at Topretirements.com. A few weeks ago we published a list of the 10 Most Popular Active Communities in North Carolina. (more…)